-UN-backed international court has convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of war crimes – the first African head of state to be found guilty by an international tribunal. Taylor, 64, was charged 11 counts of war crimes including murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in which more than 50,000 people were killed.
-Activists say an explosion has ripped through a building in the central Syrian city of Hama, killing several people and wounding dozens more. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 12 people had died. But another anti-government group, the Local Coordination Committee, said 54 were killed when security forces fired a rocket at the building.
-France’s Socialist presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande has claimed European leaders are awaiting his election to back away from German inspired austerity. He said the budgetary discipline treaty signed by 25 EU leaders in March would plunge Europe into recession, and he will immediately set out his ideas for reforming the pact to European leaders, if he wins the election.
-Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, has been convicted by the country’s Supreme Court of having committed contempt of court in a case that could see him expelled from office. Gilani was sentenced to be detained in the court until the hearing was adjourned, the state broadcaster reported, and shortly afterwards emerged smiling and waving to supporters.
-Egypt’s election commission has released a final list of 13 candidates eligible to run in next month’s presidential elections, bringing a close to one of the most turbulent chapters of the nation’s chaotic transition to civilian rule. The list released today includes Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
-High oil prices and adverse weather conditions have caused a major hike in the cost of what we eat. Latest figures show that in the last three months world food prices have risen by 8 per cent threatening the food security of millions of people.
-Argentina‘s senate has approved the forced takeover of the country’s biggest oil company, underscoring broad domestic support that has caused outrage among foreign investors.The expropriation bill passed easily in the elected body after midnight, with 63 senators voting in favour of the expropriation, only three voting against the bill and four abstentions.
-Rupert Murdoch, the indomitable head of the News Corp. empire, called before a judicial inquiry again today to explain how his influence has shaped Britain’s media and political landscape.
Dozens of websites offering credit card details and other private information for sale have been taken down in a global police operation. Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) says raids in Australia, Europe, the UK and US are the culmination of two years of work.
Ewan McGregor, The Descendants director Alexander Payne and Wuthering Heights’ Andrea Arnold are among the jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Led by Italian director Nanni Moretti, the line-up will also include French actress Emmanuelle Devos and fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier.
Sources: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Reuters, euronews, NYT, WSJ