Astana team controversy mars Tour de France start

Astana's Lars Boom (L) and Vincenzo Nibali on stage during the team presentation ceremony in Utrecht ahead of the start of the 102nd Tour de FranceA doping-related scandal involving the tainted Astana team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali marred the start of the Grand Boucle in Utrecht on Saturday. Late Friday night, news emerged that Astana's Dutch rider Lars Boom had returned a low level of cortisol in an unofficial test conducted by the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) earlier this week. Under MPCC rules, which are not binding, Astana are obliged to stand down Boom for a period of eight days.



Mosque bombing kills 15 al-Qaida fighters in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say a bomb has exploded inside a mosque where al-Qaida's branch in Syria was holding a fast-breaking meal, killing at least 14.
China brokerages pledge to buy $19.3 billion in shares to steady plunging market

An investor walks past as information displayed on an electronic screen at a brokerage house in ShanghaiThe rout in China's highly leveraged stock market has become a major worry for international investors, who fear a meltdown could further destabilize the global economy even as Greece risks crashing out of the European common currency. China stocks had more than doubled over the past year, fueled in large part by investors using borrowed money to speculate on further gains. The brokerages met on Saturday in Beijing to discuss the market situation and expressed "full confidence" in the development of China's capital markets, a statement on the website of the Securities Association of China said.



Yemen's Houthis say Ramadan humanitarian pause under discussion

People search for survivors under the rubble of the collapsed house of Yemen's late prime minister Ghanim after it was hit by a Saudi-led air strike in SanaaYemen's dominant Houthi movement said on Saturday a pause in fighting to last until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was under discussion with the United Nations to allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid. Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam said in a post on his Facebook page he had met U.N. special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Friday to discuss the matter. An Arab coalition has been bombarding Iran-allied Houthi forces and allied army units since March in a campaign to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.



Report on past Iran nuclear work could be ready by year end: IAEA

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Salehi and Fereydoon, brother and close aide to President Hassan Rouhani meet with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry in ViennaThe U.N. nuclear watchdog can likely issue a report on its investigation into past Iranian research suspected of being linked to nuclear weapons development by the end of the year if Tehran cooperates, the agency's chief said on Saturday. "With cooperation from Iran, I think we can issue a report by the end of the year on the assessment of the clarification of the issues related to the possible military dimensions," International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano told reporters. Answering the IAEA's so-far unresolved questions about the possible military dimensions (PMD) of past Iranian nuclear research will be a condition for easing some sanctions on Iran if Tehran and six powers succeed in agreeing on an historic nuclear accord in Vienna, diplomats close to the talks say.





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