United States: A half century after getting a divorce, a Kentucky couple plans to get married again. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that 83-year-old Harold Holland and 78-year-old Lillian Barnes will exchange wedding vows on April 14 in Lexington. Their grandson will perform the ceremony at a local Baptist church. Holland and Barnes first were married on Christmas Eve in 1955. They had five children together before splitting up. Holland says his job kept him away from the family prior to the breakup. Both remarried and their spouses died in 2015. After that, Holland and Barnes attended a family reunion, and by last December, they were talking marriage again. Holland says, "We decided we want to walk the last mile together."

Australia: Tourists have flocked back to the New South Wales south coast town of Tathra weeks after a massive bushfire reduced dozens of homes to ash. The small community, outside Bega, confronted a firestorm on March 18 which destroyed more than 60 homes as well as 30 caravans and cabins. Hundreds of residents face months or years of displacement as their destroyed properties are cleared of asbestos, assessed by insurance companies and — hopefully — rebuilt. But many quickly identified tourism would be critical to getting the town, on the whole, back on its feet. Bega Valley Shire Council, in a message posted online, said tourism is a major economic driver for the region and would be crucial for local restaurants, shops and, ultimately, families.

Syria: The group in control of the last rebel bastion near Damascus appeared to have agreed a deal for its fighters to surrender to the Government or quit the Eastern Ghouta enclave, Syrian state media said. Jaish al Islam has been defending the city of Douma against a months-long onslaught by government forces. If confirmed, this marks the end of their revolution and an end to large-scale conflict in the enclave. But the future of the people displaced from Ghouta is far less certain. Some 25,000 residents have now left for Idlib, the largest remaining rebel stronghold, under a deal agreed between opposition groups and the regime's Russian allies. Deals have played out across the country during the course of the seven-year war. The Government uses the term "reconciliation" when discussing them, the opposition prefers "forced repopulation".

Asia: Vietnam and China called for restraint in resolving disputes in the South China Sea. Speaking to reporters at a joint press briefing with his Chinese counterpart, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the two countries should manage the disputes and not expand them. "We propose that the two sides in the coming time should seriously implement the mutual understandings of leaders (of two countries) ... well manage disputes, do not have activities that complicate and expand disputes, respect the legitimate rights and interests of each other in accordance with international laws," Minh said. For his part, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said "settling maritime disputes is very important for the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations."

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A Fifth Avenue entrance to Saks, in New York. Photo / AP
A Fifth Avenue entrance to Saks, in New York. Photo / AP

United States: A data breach at department store chains Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off Fifth and Lord & Taylor has compromised the personal information of customers who shopped at the stores. The chains' parent company, Canada-based Hudson's Bay Co., announced the breach of its store payment systems. The company said it was investigating and taking steps to contain the attack. New York-based security firm Gemini Advisory LLC revealed that a hacking group known as JokerStash or Fin7 began boasting on dark websites last week that it was putting up for sale up to five million stolen credit and debit cards. The hackers named their stash BIGBADABOOM-2. While the extent of its holdings remains unclear, about 125,000 records were immediately released for sale. The security firm confirmed with several banks that many of the compromised records came from Saks and Lord & Taylor customers.

Indonesia: A crater in Indonesia's scenic Dieng Plateau has erupted, spewing mud up to 150m into the sky. The eruption of the Sileri Crater in Central Java on Sunday occurred because the underground water was heated by lava or volcanic material, producing steam that pushed the lava mud into the air above, Sutopo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, explained. He added that prior to the eruption, the crater had emitted black smoke 90m into the sky, followed by a high-pressure thick white plume of smoke that soared up to 150m high.

United States: Former US Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is making it clear he was fired from his job amid conflicting claims from the White House. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters had told AP that Shulkin had "resigned" from his job when President Donald Trump abruptly announced via Twitter that he was nominating White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him. But in television interviews, Shulkin said he had not submitted a resignation letter, or planned to, and was only told of Trump's decision shortly before the Twitter announcement. Meanwhile, New York Magazine is presenting the President as a pig on its latest cover illustrating a story by Jonathan Chait which argues that "Corruption, not Russia, is Trump's greatest political liability".


Bahrain: The Gulf island nation says it has discovered its largest oil field since the country's first oil well began operation nearly 90 years ago. The Government said that the new resource is "understood to dwarf Bahrain's current reserves." Details about the initial findings of size and extraction viability are to be released by the Oil Ministry at a news conference on Thursday. Bahrain says the tight oil and deep natural gas field was discovered off the west coast of the island in the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin.

India: Indian security forces have killed at least three civilians and wounded about 70 in restive Kashmir when hundreds of people tried to prevent them from carrying out operations against suspected militants, police and residents say. At least 17 other people, including 13 suspected militants, were killed in gunbattles in southern Kashmir, police officials said, the worst violence in the region this year. When hundreds of people came out on the streets of Kachdoora village in Shopian district to try to halt a gunbattle between militants and security forces, troops used tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the crowd. They later opened fire. Local residents said that after the protests, the security forces called off the operation.

Australia: Cyclone Iris has reformed off the Queensland northern coast and already sodden communities are bracing for further downpours and damaging winds. Iris regained cyclone strength and is currently a category one storm, 310km east of Cairns and 330km northeast of Townsville. The Bureau of Meteorology says it could strengthen further and while it will come closer to the coast, it is not expected to make landfall.

- agencies