Sri Lanka's ousted president Rajapaksa plans return

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

Top world stories

Ferry sinks off Philippines, dozens dead

Police and rescuers comfort a crying passenger after he was brought ashore from a capsized passenger ferry in Ormoc city, central Philippines.

Rosemarie Francisco 1:13 AM   At least 36 are dead, but a majority of the 189 passengers have been rescued from the heavy waves.

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.

Cyberwar: no borders, no rules, no judges

With no established rules or standards of behaviour, the cyber world is one of today’s frontiers much like space was in the 1950s. Pictured: the mesophere, just above the maximum altitude for aircraft but below the level of orbiting satellites. Click for more photos

12:10 PM   No borders, no rules, no easy answers: 11 pictures explaining cyberwar.

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

BP will pay $18.7 billion for the worst oil spill in US history

The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 workers on April 20, 2010 and spilled 3.19 million barrels of oil for nearly three months.

Ellen Nakashima 2:20 AM   Five years after the worst spill in US history, the oil company faces largest ever settlement.

Baltic states 'outraged' by Russia's independence review

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

Maria Tsvetkova 1:40 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.

Varoufakis: I'll resign as finance minister if Greece votes yes

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says he'd "rather cut off" his arm than sign a new deal with creditors that does not restructure Greece's debt.

Liz Alderman 1:10 AM   The comment is the starkest sign the government could fall from a yes vote - and a new poll has the referendum too close to call.

False alarm over possible shooter at Navy Yard in Washington DC: reports

A large police presence gathers along a street near the Washington Navy Yard.

Susan Heavey, Bill Trott and Phil Stewart 12:30 AM   There was no evidence of a shooter at the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday morning, a Washington police department spokeswoman said.

'Wow, pulled back wrong throttle' - the last words of TransAsia plane captain

The plane clipped an overpass and taxi before crashing.

Faith Hung 11:35 PM   The captain of a TransAsia Airways ATR plane that crashed in Taiwan in February, killing 43 people, had switched off the working engine after the other lost power, the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) confirmed on Thursday in its latest report.

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

Protesters raise a Union flag

Alan Wong 9:05 PM   Low turnout attributed to despair after failure of months of mass protests to achieve democratic goals.

US researcher jailed for falsifying HIV study

Former Iowa State University researcher Dong Pyou Han leaves the federal courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa.

8:48 PM   A former university scientist who altered blood samples to make it appear he had achieved an HIV vaccine breakthrough has been jailed for more than four years.

Obama legacy: consequential wins but more to do

US President Barack Obama winks at visitors and reporters as he arrived back at the White House on Wednesday.

Nick O'Malley 12:15 AM   The president whose place in history could easily have been destroyed, has emerged as one of the most consequential Democratic leaders of the modern era.

Child labour sharply increasing in Syria

Syrian children

Rick Gladstone 3:57 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

New York City reviewing business relationships with Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Matthew Chayes and Emily Ngo 3:57 PM   Many disassociate themselves from billionaire presidential candidate after he cast aspersions on Mexican immigrants.

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.

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.

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.

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.