Lightning strikes 15 at French festival

The lightning struck in several areas of the Vieux Canal festival in the town of Azerailles, the regional council said in a statement.

Those injured include children who were in a tent during the storm.

The victims were "directly hit by the lightning and suffered burns", the regional council said.

A woman in her sixties and a 44-year-old man are reported to be in a serious condition as a result of the strikes.

Parts of France around this time of the year are often put on alert for violent storms.

US and EU reject expanding laptop ban to flights from Europe

But after a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials said other measures were still being considered.

US officials had previously said they were looking into extending to Europe a ban on electronics on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries.

The measure was introduced over fears a bomb could be concealed in a device.

The meeting was requested by EU officials after recent reports suggested US authorities had new information regarding laptop parts being turned into explosives.

US State Department issues travel alert for Europe

"While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks," the alert said. "U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning."

Obama warns of 'meaner world'

Instead, Obama found himself warning of an impending shift in the global order, one he advised could lead to a "meaner, harsher, more troubled world" if not stopped.

"Whoever is president and whoever is the chancellor of Germany and whoever is the leader of other European nations and other democracies around the world, they need to recognize that," Obama said. "There are going to be forces that argue for cynicism. For looking the other way with somebody else's problems. That are not going to champion people who are vulnerable because sometimes that's politically convenient."

Three gold medalists named in Flying Fijians squad

Leone Nakarawa is an established member of the 15-a-side setup and has been joined by new caps Josua Tuisova and Vatemo Ravouvou, who were also a part of Fiji sevens success in RiOlympic gold medallists Leone Nakarawa, Josua Tuisova and Vatemo Ravouvou have been named in the Flying Fijians team.Photo: AFP

Akapusi Qera reassumes the captaincy and is one of seven players who last featured at the 2015 World Cup, alongside Nemani Nadolo, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Manasa Saulo, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Nikola Matawalu and Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Teenage cannabis use rises in Europe - EU Espad survey

The Espad report for 2015 includes most EU countries, but not Germany or the UK, and data for Spain is incomplete.

In 2015 "current smokers" accounted for 21% of those surveyed, and the highest total was in Italy (37%).

In 1995-2015 those using alcohol in the past 30 days fell from 56% to 47%. Top in cannabis use were the Czechs (37%).

That figure for Czech teenagers reporting a lifetime experience of cannabis was higher than the level in the US - 31% in comparable surveys.

Anti-establishment tsunami sweeps Europe

The decision upended global markets, led to UK Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to resign and blew a cloud of uncertainty over Europe.

And the UK isn't alone. Anti-establishment leaders in France and other countries are already pushing similar referendums.



This month, Rome got its first female mayor in its almost 2,800-year history.

Europe, US split over form of Syria talks

The Europeans invoke the success of the Iran nuclear talks in arguing for a similar format — with key additions.

Iran negotiated with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to reach their July 14 agreement. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday called for a similar arrangement "enlarged with regional partners."

The Americans, in contrast, want a tighter group, without the Europeans.

An early jump for US stocks following big gains overseas

Several stocks were moving on corporate news in early trading Wednesday.

Ralph Lauren jumped 13 percent after the company named a new CEO to replace the company's founder. The stock is still down sharply for the year.

Chesapeake Energy rose 3 percent after announcing that it would cut 15 percent of its workforce.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 227 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,275 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time.

Syria blames Europe for flow of migrants out of the country

The minister, Omran al-Zoubi, said in a rare comment from Damascus, that the migrants are mostly fleeing from areas held by rivals of President Bashar Assad's government, including the Islamic State group.

His remarks, carried by state media, say European countries, "which sent terrorists" to Syria and imposed economic sanctions on the Syrian people, must take responsibility for their anti-Syria policies.