Vatican: Pope Francis denounced abortion as the "white glove" equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics programme and urged families to accept the children that God gives them. Francis spoke off-the-cuff to a meeting of an Italian family association, ditching his prepared remarks to speak from the heart about families and the trials they undergo. He lamented how some couples choose not to have any children, while others resort to pre-natal testing to see if their baby has any malformations or genetic problems. "The first proposal in such a case is, 'Do we get rid of it?"' Francis said. "The murder of children. To have an easy life, they get rid of an innocent." Francis recalled that as a child he was horrified to hear stories from his teacher about children "thrown from the mountain" if they were born with malformations. "Today we do the same thing. Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves," Francis said. The Pope urged families to accept children "as God gives them to us."

United States: Chicago anti-violence activists and a group of Florida high school shooting survivors fanned out across the city's South Side, knocking on doors and registering people to vote in a bid to build support for changing the nation's gun laws. Ryan Deitsch, 18, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 people died on February 14, said the tragedy has afforded the survivors a national spotlight they are now using to try and build a groundswell of support. Their goal is to reach "anybody who lives here and is tired of the status quo." Chicago is the first location on more than 25-stop tour Parkland students are taking this northern summer, targeting communities rocked by gun violence, or where lawmakers supported by the National Rifle Association are seeking office.

Mexico: Heavy rain and wind from Tropical Storm Carlotta lashed Mexico's Pacific coast southeast of Acapulco ahead of its expected landfall. Carlotta, the third named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, was meandering just off Mexico's coast, according to the US National Hurricane Centre. It said that Carlotta had maximum sustained winds near 85km/h, and its centre was located about 115km south-southeast of Acapulco.

Afghanistan: A suicide bomber blew himself up in eastern Afghanistan, killing 21 people and wounding another 41, most of them believed to be Taliban fighters who had gathered to celebrate a three-day ceasefire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a police official said. Nangarhar provincial Police Chief Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai said the devastating explosion came as previously unthinkable scenes of unarmed Taliban fighters celebrating Eid, often alongside Afghan security forces, played out in cities throughout the war-shattered country. Within hours of the explosion President Ashraf Ghani announced he would extend a nine-day ceasefire that was to expire today. The ceasefire was to end at the conclusion of the Eid holiday, which follows the monthlong fasting month of Ramadan.


United States: A seven-time Jeopardy! winner who taught history at a small Michigan college faces up to five years in prison for sneaking into the email accounts of other professors, administrators and students. Stephanie Jass, who taught at Adrian College in southern Michigan, pleaded guilty in Lenawee Circuit Court to a charge of unauthorised computer access. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 20. Authorities said Jass logged into other people's email accounts without permission over a four-day period last year after the college reset everyone's passwords and assigned everyone the same temporary password. A professor told a detective that Jass had a document that listed "notes and comments and problems" of faculty members, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot. The 48-year-old Jass, of Tecumseh, was later fired.

Nicaragua: Six people have been killed in Nicaragua by suspected paramilitary officers loyal to President Daniel Ortega amid ongoing talks aimed at ending weeks of unrest. Nicaraguan Fire Chief Ramon Landero said that masked men threw Molotov cocktails into a three-storey house, killing four adults and two children. A survivor told a local news station that officers wanted to use the house as a sniper's perch. Landero said assailants also attacked firefighters as they attempted to put out the blaze.

Mexico: Six police officers have been shot dead in the central Mexico state of Puebla by suspected fuel thieves. Puebla state security secretary Jesus Morales vowed to investigate the incident and said police had arrested two suspects. A vehicle carrying natural gas was recuperated from the area near where the officers were killed.

Greece: The left-led coalition Government survived a no-confidence vote in Greece's Parliament brought over a deal to end a decades-old dispute with neighbouring Macedonia concerning the latter's name. But the Government suffered a loss in its parliamentary majority after MP Dimitris Kammenos of the nationalist Independent Greeks, the government's junior coalition partner, voted in favour. He was kicked out of the party immediately after the vote, leaving the governing coalition with a three-member majority. MPs voted 153-127 in the 300-member Parliament against the motion brought by the conservative main opposition party over the deal to rename the former Yugoslav republic North Macedonia. In the agreement, Athens would drop its objections to the country joining Nato and the European Union.

Austria: Vienna demanded clarification from neighbouring Germany of reports that its spy agency snooped for several years on nearly 2000 targets in the Alpine nation, including companies and ministries. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said "spying among friendly states is not just unusual and unwanted. It is unacceptable." He and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz were responding to reports in the Der Standard newspaper and the Profil magazine about a list of alleged targets in Austria of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, between 1999 and 2006. It reportedly included most major companies and banks in Austria, as well as phone numbers at the chancellery and various ministries in Vienna. Armin Schuster, the chairman of the German Parliament committee that oversees the intelligence service, told Germany's Funke newspaper group that the panel is already looking into whether the allegations are new or part of what was already known in 2015, when the BND faced allegations that it may have helped the United States spy on Europeans.

Egypt: Cairo announced steep increases in fuel and cooking gas prices as part of the country's economic reforms and austerity measures designed to overhaul the country's ailing economy. Prices for cooking gas increased from 60 to 100 Egyptian pounds (from US$3.30 to US$5.60) per cylinder for commercial use, a more than 60 per cent increase. The authorities also raised transportation fares by up to 20 per cent, according to state-run news agency MENA. This is the third time the Government has increased fuel prices since austerity measures were announced late 2015. The move is likely to send prices soaring further.

- AP