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KAMPALA, Uganda - Responding to growing international criticism of anti-gay efforts in Uganda, the government said in a statement on Friday that it does not discriminate against people of a different sexual orientation. No government official is (supposed) to harass any section of the community and everybody in Uganda enjoys the freedom to lawfully assemble and associate freely with others, the statement said.
ANKARA, AFP - The Turkish army said Friday it lost radar and radio contact with one of its aircraft on the Mediterranean near neighbouring Syria. The plane took off from Malatya airbase in the southeast at 5.30pm (AEST) on Friday and lost communication with the base just before 7pm (AEST) in the southwest of the Hatay province bordering Syria, the general staff said in a statement posted online. Search and rescue efforts have started immediately, it said adding that it was not immediately clear if the plane crashed or if there were casualties.
ATHENS, AP - Greeces new finance minister was taken to the hospital on Friday, hours after officials announced the debt-struck countrys new prime minister was to undergo eye surgery for a detached retina. Vassilis Rapanos, 65, was taken to a private hospital in Athens and was undergoing tests, the hospital said without immediately giving further details. Greek media said he had fainted and that doctors recommended he be hospitalised for observation for two or three days.
LONDON, AP - The Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party says one of its leaders, Martin McGuinness, will meet Queen Elizabeth II next week, a once-unthinkable symbol of progress toward peace in Northern Ireland. McGuinness, a former IRA commander, has been invited to attend an event with the Queen in his role as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of her UK-wide tour to celebrate her 60 years on the throne.
OSLO, AFP - The trial of Anders Behring Breivik ended on Friday, exactly 11 months after he massacred 77 people in Norway, with the confessed killer insisting his attacks were justified and demanding acquittal. The court announced the verdict would be issued on August 24, while Breivik claimed at the end of his 10-week trial that his attacks were necessary to defend Norway against multiculturalism and a Muslim invasion. The July 22 attacks were preventive attacks in defence of my ethnic group and I can therefore not acknowledge guilt, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist said.
WELLINGTON, AAP - Two New Zealand aid workers have been caught up in a failed bomb attack in Afghanistan. The New Zealanders were shaken but unharmed when there was an attempt to detonate a bomb on a motorcycle outside Mirwais Hospital in the Kandahar district on Thursday. Fortunately only the fuse detonated, so the injuries sustained were instead minor, the New Zealand Red Cross said.