Sri Lanka's ousted president Rajapaksa plans return

Mahinda Rajapaksa has told a crowd of thousands that he planst to contest August's elections.

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Ecuador vents ire with president 

Hundreds of people gather during a protest against the government in downtown Guayaquil, Ecuador June 25, 2015. Ecuador's President Rafael Correa eased its proposed redistribution of wealth to avoid an escalation of conflict with the business sector on Thursday amid mounting political pressure and mass marches by opposition groups throughout the country. REUTERS/John Guaman

Ecuador President Rafael Correa is scrambling to roll out the red carpet for the first papal visit in 30 years, but many in the Andean nation are sending their leader a raspberry.

Scientists predict polar bear population crash

Polar bears will be severely and adversely affected by climate change, unless the trend is reversed.

Imperilled polar bears will see a population crash in most parts of the Arctic if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates.

China approves new sweeping security law

Chinese paramilitary policemen pledge loyalty to the Communist Party as they observe the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Mohe county in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province Wednesday, July 1, 2015. (Chinatopix Via AP) CHINA OUT

China has enacted a new national security law, expected to bolster the power of its domestic security apparatus and military.

Latest world news

Child labour sharply increasing in Syria

Syrian children

Rick Gladstone 3:11 PM   Before Syria was plunged into war more than four years ago, nearly all children went to school. Now many Syrian children are working to supplement the family incomes

Identity of mystery 'Australian' woman with amnesia revealed

"Sam" appeared on US television to try to solve the mystery of her past. She has now been identified as Ashley Menatta.

Lisa Visentin 2:44 PM   A mystery woman, whose identity had perplexed the FBI, Interpol and thousands of online amateur sleuths, has been named after her nephew saw her call for help in the avalanche of media coverage that her plight generated.

Donald Trump surges, Democrats cheer

Trump is taking the legal route over a backlash to his remarks about Mexican immigration.

Philip Rucker 2:22 PM   For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention.

#askPOTUS becomes debate on state of union between guacamole and peas

US President Barack Obama holds strong views on what makes the best guacamole.

Stephanie Wood 12:58 PM   President Barack Obama's firm views on the subject of guacamole have brought the dish to the centre of international debate.

Sri Lanka's ousted president Rajapaksa plans return

Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Dharisha Bastians 12:16 PM   Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has told a crowd of thousands of Sri Lankans that he would lead an opposition group in parliamentary elections in August.

Baltic states 'outraged' by Russia's independence review

Russian president Vladimir Putin: the Kremlin has distanced itself from the independence review.

Maria Tsvetkova 10:36 AM   Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia remain extremely concerned about Russia's plans to review the legality of a 1991 decision formally granting them independence from the Soviet Union.

Why do so many Americans own guns? Because family and friends do

People in the US were more likely to own guns if their friends and family also had them, a new study has found.

Kathryn Doyle 10:07 AM   Almost a third of American adults own a gun, but the rate varies widely by state and tops out at almost 62 per cent of people in Alaska, new survey data show.

Saudi prince pledges to give away $US32 billion fortune

'With this pledge, I am honouring my life-long commitment to what matters most' ... Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Adam Taylor 9:53 AM   California-educated prince has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former president Jimmy Carter's Carter Centre.

New York City reviewing business relationships with Donald Trump

New York mayor Bill de Blasio: "Donald Trump's remarks were disgusting and offensive."

Matthew Chayes and Emily Ngo 9:35 AM   Many disassociate themselves from billionaire presidential candidate after he cast aspersions on Mexican immigrants.

Punishment is the only reason for EU to force Greece to exit the euro

A woman passes a banner supporting the No vote to the upcoming referendum in Athens.

Clive Crook 8:58 AM   In my more than 30 years writing about politics, I have never before witnessed such sustained, self-righteous, ruinous and dissembling incompetence - and I'm not talking about Alexis Tsipras and Syriza.

UK hotter than Mumbai as nation swelters in hottest July day for 160 years

Unusually warm weather in Britain and northern Europe this week.

Sarah Knapton and Victoria Ward 9:00 AM   Britain experienced its hottest July day for 160 years on Wednesday as temperatures hit 36.7 degrees, surpassing even Mumbai in India.

Child's nightmare about 'man with a light' turned out to be real

The boy's family used an old smartphone and an app called Salient Eye to capture the intruder.

Talia Shadwell 7:49 AM   For three days, a three-year-old boy had been saying there was "a man with a light" outside his window at night.

In Hong Kong, thousands protest anniversary of city's return to China

A protester raises a Hong Kong colonial flag during a pro-democracy protest on Wednesday on the 18th anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain to China.

Alan Wong 7:41 AM   Low turnout attributed to despair after failure of months of mass protests to achieve democratic goals.

Sir Nicholas Winton - dubbed Britain's Oskar Schindler - dead at 106

Nicholas Winton, aged 101, holds flowers while sitting on a stage after the premiere of the movie 'Nicky's family' which is based on his life story in Prague.

Emily Langer 6:41 AM   He was credited with saving, through his personal initiative, the lives of at least 669 boys and girls of Czechoslovakia from the Nazis. For decades after the war, he kept his work secret.

Australian government experts received secret draft of official MH17 crash report

Malaysian Airlines planes parked on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Nick Miller 6:25 AM   A top secret draft of the official report into the cause of the crash of flight MH17 in Ukraine was handed to the Australian government experts almost one month ago, it has emerged.

Mother jailed for contaminating son's IV fluid

Candida Fluty who has been sentenced to six years in prison for contaminating her son's IV fluid.

Lisa Cornwell 6:09 AM   Prosecutor says woman told investigators she acted in the hope doctors would change their treatment approach.

Death toll rises to 142 in Indonesian Air Force plane crash

A mother, whose son was a victim of the Indonesian Air Force C-130B Hercules crash, cries outside Adam Malik hospital in Medan, Indonesia.

Arlina Arshad 5:38 AM   The death toll from the crash of an Indonesian air force plane packed with military personnel and their families has risen to 142, as witnesses described people fleeing the disaster zone covered in blood and with their clothes alight.

Islamic State claim responsibility for Egypt's North Sinai attacks, scores killed

Smoke rises in Egypt's North Sinai.

Yusri Mohamed and Ahmed Hassan 4:49 AM   Militants launch a wave of attacks that kills more than 100 people, one of the biggest militant strikes in Egypt's modern history.

Oregon crowds count down to legalisation of marijuana - then light up

Midnight toke: A man smokes a joint as it becomes legal in Oregon.

Shelby Sebens 4:20 AM   Joints lit up at midnight on the streets of Portland as marijuana became legal in the fourth western US state.

Greek PM sticks with referendum and urges his country to vote no

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has signalled he's ready to accept the bailout terms.

Michael Birnbaum 4:09 AM   After offering to accept an earlier bailout, and being turned down by Merkel, Tsipras stands by his previous plan.

US restores diplomatic ties with Cuba after 54 years

President Barack Obama announces the historic move at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden.

Daniel Trotta 2:39 AM   A US flag could fly over a Havana embassy as soon as July 20, as Obama announces another major achievement.

Teenager dies of Ebola in 'clear' Liberia

Health workers take a blood specimen from a child to test for the Ebola virus in a area were a 17-year old boy died from the virus in Liberia.

Aislinn Laing 2:09 AM   A 17-year-old boy has died from Ebola in Liberia: the first confirmed case in the country since it was declared free of the virus seven weeks ago.