News roundup

Too busy

Newly returned Russian president Vladimir Putin has excused himself from the first international leaders summit since his return. He said he was too busy to attend the G8 meeting in America this week. He will send PM Dimtry Medvedev.

Peace shattered

The Unites Nations is reconsidering keeping its observer mission in Syria after a double car bomb on Friday in Damascus killed 55 people. At least 400 were wounded. It follows an earlier explosion which nearly struck UN representatives.

Obama turns

Barack Obama has become the first US president to declare his support for same-sex marriage. In a television interview Obama said he had changed his mind after meeting community members. However, legislation is a matter for individual states.

Fire starter

The journey to the 2012 London Olympic Games has officially started with the lighting of the Olympic flame in the games’ spiritual home, Greece, on Thursday. The relay will arrive in the UK next week and end in July at the opening ceremony.

Indonesian crash

About 50 passengers were killed after a Russian Sukoi Superjet crashed while on a demonstration flight over Indonesia. Contact was lost with the plane about 50 minutes after it left Jakarta. Wreckage of the plane was found the next day.

Expensive mistake

Italian carmaker Ferrari has been left red-faced after a demonstration by a Chinese dealer caused irreparable damage to an ancient city wall in Nanjing. A $950,000 model did laps on the landmark, leaving skid marks. The stunt was not authorised.

Potential leaders debate

Egypt presidential hopefuls have faced off in a television debate ahead of elections this month. For the first time, millions of undecided voters watched frontrunners – former Arab League boss Amr Moussa and Islamist Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh – debate.

Asian standoff

Protesters in Manilla have taken to the streets near the Chinese embassy to call on the superpower to withdraw from a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. The month long stand-off began when Phillipine authorities saw Chinese naval vessels in the area.

Aid limbo

The International committee of the Red Cross has announced its 900 staff will suspend its work in Pakistan pending a review of the safety of its services in the country. It comes after a 60-year-old worker was abducted and killed.

Deadly clashes

Clashes between police and opposition demonstrators in Guinea have killed 41 people. Tensions have been rising over elections, which are 12 months overdue. President Alpha Conde said “technical problems” have delayed the staging of a poll.

Looking forward

Sepp Blatter, the chief of the world football authority, FIFA , has met with officials staging the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The meeting comes after months of disagreements about preparations for the event. They have vowed to overcome differences.

Police expelled

Australian police forces patrolling the pacific nation of Vanuatu have been expelled from the country. The island’s prime minister Sato Kilman said he was insulted by his treatment during a recent trip to Australia when his secretary was arrested.

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