Congo's army clashes with rebels near eastern city of Goma

Congolese soldiers clashed with rebel fighters for the first time in nearly six months on Monday near the city of Goma, just days before U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit the troubled eastern borderlands.

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Fighting began in the early morning after the Tutsi-dominated M23 rebels attacked government positions around 10 km (6 miles) north of mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's largest city, a military spokesman told Reuters.

 

M23 seized and briefly held Goma last November despite the presence of thousands of U.N. soldiers.

"The fighting has been with heavy weapons. It's still continuing although it is less intense ... We're sending reinforcements. We must protect the town of Goma at all costs," Colonel Olivier Hamuli said.

M23 spokesman Amani Kabasha said that M23 had initially driven off an attack by the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu rebel group based in Congo's volatile east, before coming under attack from government artillery.

"We are not responding to their shelling, but what we're hearing is not good, that (Congolese president Joseph) Kabila is sending reinforcements. He needs to calm down," Kabasha said.

No casualty figures from the clashes were immediately available.

The fighting comes after months of stalled peace negotiations and as Tanzanian troops, part of a new U.N. brigade charged with neutralizing armed groups including M23, began deploying in the east.

Ban is due to arrive in Goma this week as part of a visit with the president of the World Bank, aiming to draw attention to the conflict in Congo, where millions have died during nearly two decades of violence.

(Reporting by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Joe Bavier and Alison Williams)

Wayne and Coleen Rooney delighted after she gives birth to second son Klay Anthony

Proud father Wayne Rooney has shared a picture of his newborn son Klay Anthony after wife Coleen gave birth in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The 27-year-old footballer is seen cradling baby Klay Anthony Rooney while three-year-old Kai sits on his lap and radiant but tired Coleen, wearing a floral robe, envelops her family.

Alongside the image, Wayne wrote: 'My family with our new baby boy Klay.'

Growing brood: Wayne Rooney shared a picture of his newly-extended family after wife Coleen gave birth to their second son Klay Anthony

Apple of her eye: Coleen later shared a black and white picture of herself nursing little Klay

The picture came after Wayne announced the birth to his six million followers on Tuesday morning, writing: 'Our Beautiful Son Klay Anthony Rooney was born at 2.11am, Weighing 7Ib 11.5 oz. Both Klay and Coleen are fine..... We're all delighted!!'

Coleen, also 27, echoed her husband's sentiments by adding: 'At 2.11am our Beautiful Son .... Klay Anthony Rooney entered the world. He weighed 7Ib 11.1/2 oz We're all so happy and doing well. X.'

Following Klay's arrival, an excited Kai was seen arriving at Liverpool Women's Hospital on Tuesday morning to meet his new baby brother.

Big brother: Kai was seen arriving at Liverpool Women's Hospital on Tuesday morning with his grandmother Colette McLoughlin

Proud dad! Father of two Wayne was also seen with his eldest son at the hospital

The three-year-old was carrying an 'it's a baby boy' balloon as he walked in with his grandparents Colette and Tony McLoughlin.

Celebrities including Coleen's fellow WAGs Danielle O'Hara, Alex Gerrard and Sheree Murphy, as well as other stars including Ed Sheeran and Apprentice mogul Lord Sugar were quick to send congratulations.

Among the family tweets, Coleen's brother Anthony McLoughlin tweeted: 'Made up for @ColeenRoo and @WayneRooney ..well done , another nephew to put on the naughty step!!'

Proud dad: Wayne chats to a fellow visitor outside the Liverpool Women's Hospital

Another boy: Kai and Colette were joined by his grandfather Tony McLoughlin

Claire Rooney, who is Wayne's cousin and Coleen's best friend, tweeted: 'Congratulations @ColeenRoo & @WayneRooney on the new addition to the family gorgeous baby Klay!! Can't wait to meet him! Well done!'

And cousin Leanne Rooney tweeted: 'Congratulations @ColeenRoo @WayneRooney on your beautiful baby boy Klay!! Can't wait to meet him x.'

Fashion designer Coleen, who revealed over the weekend she had passed her due date, was said to have been taken to hospital on Saturday, after admitting she had struggled to sleep the night before.

And then there were four: Kai has been preparing to become a big brother for months

He's a big boy now! Kai leaves the hospital with his grandparents after meeting his new brother

She tweeted: 'Such an uncomfortable sleep last night!!! #hurryupbaby (sic).'

And Coleen admitted during an interview in the Daily Mirror earlier this month that she was looking forward to having some sleep after giving birth... perhaps forgetting the sleepless nights having a newborn can entail.

She said: 'It’s been really good, but I am looking forward to having a good night’s sleep. I have to keep getting up in the night because I can’t get comfortable.'

Making it a double: Wayne announced the good news on his Twitter page in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Happy days: After going into labour late on Saturday night, Coleen was delighted to announce the arrival of her second son

Family excitement: The McLoughlins and Rooney were thrilled by the new arrival

Something to occupy Kai: Coleen's father Anthony was carrying a bag of Kai's toys

The couple announced in December they were expecting a son, two months after confirming Coleen's second pregnancy.

Announcing the baby's sex via Twitter, Coleen wrote: 'Absolutely loved seeing our baby on the scan yesterday!!!

'We decided to find out the sex...... It's a ..... BOY!! So exciting @WayneRooney.'

Coleen has previously admitted she would love to have a large family, saying: 'I'd like to have maybe three or four children. I'd be happy to be a full-time mum.'

Spending time together: The trio were seen at Manchester United's final game of the season against West Bromwich Albion on 19th May

And Coleen added that Kai was more than a little excited about becoming a big brother.

She said: 'He’s given up on having a brother now and doesn’t believe he’s actually ever going to arrive. He’s so ready for him to be here now!'

Following in the footsteps of the Kardashians, the Rooneys could end up naming their future children with names beginning with K, after choosing the monikers Kai and Klay for their boys.

Date night: Wayne took Coleen to the Neighbourhood Restaurant in Manchester that night after the team celebrated winning the Premier League

'Hurry up baby!' Coleen admitted she was feeling uncomfortable as she neared the end of her pregnancy

Growing brood: Coleen tweeted an adorable picture of Kai and Wayne earlier this month

Klay - often spelled Clay - is an old English name which means 'mortal'.

Manchester United ace Wayne and Coleen married in Italy in 2008 after a five-year engagement.

The unsettled striker is now expected to have some downtime with his family before linking up with Roy Hodgson's England squad at the weekend ahead of next Wednesday's friendly at Wembley against the Republic of Ireland.

Despite ongoing issues at United, with his future at Old Trafford still uncertain having asked for a transfer, Rooney is in contention to captain his country.

You did so well! Coleen's fellow WAGs Danielle O'Hara, Alex Gerrard and Sheree Murphy were quick to send their congratulations

Congratulations! Lord Sugar and Ed Sheeran joined lots of other fans in tweeting well wishes to Wayne






















Iran electoral watchdog hints at Rafsanjani rejection

Iran's electoral watchdog said on Monday it would bar physically feeble candidates from running for president, in an apparent hint that it could disqualify 78-year-old former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the race.

Rafsanjani, if he is allowed to run, would be a significant challenge to conservative hardliners who are ultra-loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and who otherwise dominate the field for the June 14 presidential election.

 

The wily, pragmatic cleric, who has often been close to the heart of power since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, shook up the election contest earlier this month when he joined the race.

But the Guardian Council, a conservative body of clerics and jurists that vets all candidates, may disqualify him, along with Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a close ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also registered to run at the last moment.

"If an individual who wants to take up a high post can only perform a few hours of work each day, naturally that person cannot be confirmed," Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodai said on Monday, according to the ISNA news agency.

Kadkhodai did not name Rafsanjani. The council is due to present a final list of approved candidates on Tuesday to the Interior Ministry, which then has two days to announce it.

Hardline legislators demanded last week that Rafsanjani and Mashaie be banned from running.

Rafsanjani earned hardliners' ire for criticizing the crackdown on opposition protests after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in 2009 in a vote that reformists said was rigged.

Conservatives are suspicious of Mashaie, saying he holds an unorthodox view of Islam and seeks to sideline clerical rule.

Lawmaker Ali Motahari, who is close to Rafsanjani, told reporters on Monday that a rejection of Rafsanjani's candidacy would put the very principles of the state under question, "because Hashemi (Rafsanjani) had the biggest role in the Islamic revolution", according to the ILNA news agency.

He derided the idea that Rafsanjani was too old, saying: "How do they know whether Hashemi can run the country or not?"

Motahari also suggested that Khamenei could step in to push the Guardian Council to approve Rafsanjani's candidacy if it is initially rejected. The body re-qualified two reformist presidential candidates in 2005 after Khamenei intervened.

Parliament proposed age restrictions for presidential candidates last year, but dropped the measure after opposition from the Guardian Council.

Many Iranians would view Rafsanjani's disqualification on the basis of age as a political pretext - and it might look awkward for Khamenei, who reinstated Rafsanjani as head of the Expediency Council, an advisory body, in 2012.

"It is hard to fathom a justification for Rafsanjani's disqualification," said Farideh Farhi, an Iran analyst at the University of Hawaii. "His disqualification on the basis of not being sufficiently committed to the Leader will also challenge the Leader's judgment."

(Additional reporting by Marcus George; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews confesses he could marry Miss Watson

He has developed a reputation for being extremely averse to commitment and has only had three serious girlfriends his whole life.

Yet, Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews has surprisingly revealed that he could end up marrying his co-star Lucy Watson.

The reality show lovers have become rather unpopular with certain other cast members, but despite this they have become a strong couple.

The only way is marriage: Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews says that co-star Lucy Watson would make a great wife

Viewers watched Spencer split from ex-girlfriend Louise Thompson earlier this month, and now the Sloane Square Lothario is happy with vixen Lucy Watson.

  More... JIM SHELLEY: Made In Chelsea has re-invented the love triangle and it's surprisingly good viewing The love rat defeated! Spencer Matthews fails to make amends with Louise Thompson after Lucy Watson dumps him in Made In Chelsea Who's the weak one now? Lucy Watson's romantic tweets to 'boyfriend' Spencer Matthews moments after viewers watch her dump love rat on TV

Speaking to OK! magazine, he said: 'Sorry Louise – Lucy will make a great wife.'

When asked if the pretty brunette, who describes herself as 'not a pushover', could be the one for him, Spencer was adamant she was.

He gushed to the magazine: 'Yes she is otherwise I wouldn't be dating her. I think Lucy will make a fantastic wife and mother. I can't lie, she'd be a beautiful bride.'

Perfect in every way: Spencer gushed over Lucy and said she would make a fantastic wife and mother

And Lucy responded: 'We’re surprisingly happy in our relationship. We’re trying to take things slowly but that’s just not happening.'

Spencer was exposed as a cheat after it emerged that he slept with another woman in Louise's bed, and the ill feeling between the former couple is only going to get worse.

The 25-year-old Etonian said: 'Louise has always been jealous of Lucy, even before we were dating. She hated the fact that there was so much chemistry between us.

'If we were ever in the same room as each other she'd freak out.'

Moving on: Louise Thompson is now dating Andy Jordan, but is still clearly harbouring feelings towards Spencer

He continued: 'While I was with Louise, I was always thinking in the back of my mind that I would give Lucy a call when I was single.

'Louise knew that deep down. I remember when we were hooking up after we broke up; she said 'Promise me one thing, that you wont hook up with Lucy Watson?' I told her I couldn't.

'She said 'So you're going to?' And I told her that I fancied Lucy so yeah!'

OK! Magazine is out now

In the glossy photoshoot Spencer is pictured stripped to the waist showing off a lean physique following a week at No 1 Boot Camp in Ibiza, and he revealed that he had been using the latest slimming supplement Forza T5 Black to help him get into shape quickly.

After losing nearly a stone in weight during his five days at the camp, he told the magazine: 'It was amazing the boot camp had me up at the crack of dawn doing punishing work-outs and then in the afternoon we would go for four hour hikes up the hills and coastline of Ibiza. It was beautiful but also very tiring but the end result was great.

'I was taking this latest training supplement Forza T5 Black as well, it helps burn off fat, but it's totally safe and healthy supplement to take.'

In the current series of Made In Chelsea, Spencer whisked Lucy off to Paris for a romantic day trip.

Louise, who is now dating Andy Jordan, was rather put out at the fact that Spencer had never taken her to Paris.

She'll be left fuming then when she learns the new couple have had a romantic trip over to Cannes Film Festival and are going to be guests of singer-songwriter Stacey Jackson for the launch of her new album Live It Up, on board a luxurious Sunseeker super yacht.

The full interview and photoshoot of  Spencer Matthew’s and Lucy Watson is out today in OK! Magazine.

You can see a video of Spencer at No 1 Boot Camp in Ibiza here...




Five dead in Israeli bank robbery

A bank robbery in Israel on Monday ended with the deaths of five people, including one of the holdup men who apparently shot and killed himself when police launched a raid to free hostages.

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Police special forces surrounded the branch of Bank Hapoalim in the southern city of Beersheba after two robbers carried out the botched lunchtime heist in a residential street.

Witnesses reported volleys of gunfire, and a nearby school went into lockdown. During the standoff, police apprehended one of the robbers, but the other remained holed up in the bank with at least one hostage, who later emerged unscathed.

 

"Four people have been killed and the robber apparently shot himself dead. The scene is now clear," regional police commander Yoram Levy told Israel Radio after his forces raided the bank.

Israeli media reports said three bank employees and a customer were among the dead.

Violent bank heists are rare in Israel. In 2011, a robber killed a security guard in a bank in the centre of the country.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alison Williams)

How embarrassing! A bra-less Lady Victoria Hervey gets kicked off the red carpet in Cannes after posing for too long

Lady Victoria Hervey committed the ultimate faux pas at the Cannes Film Festival.

As if her outfit choice, a rather revealing lace peach dress, wasn't enough - the 36-year-old former It girl posed for so long on the red carpet she was moved on by security.

Socialite Lady Victoria, who is not even in French film Blood Ties, was told several times by security that she should move on because she was 'hogging the red carpet'.

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It was all going so well...: Lady Victoria Hervey poses up in her atrocious peach dress which barely covers her assets

However the slim aristocrat would not be told and forced a rather dapper looking security guard to actually eject her from the star-studded red carpet.

  More... All eyes on her! Marion Cotillard steals the show in a stunning flowing gown on the red carpet at Blood Ties premiere

Lady Victoria, who is the daughter of the late 6th Marquess Of Bristol and his third wife Yvonne Marie Sutton, is known for her racy outfit choices but being kicked off the red carpet is a new low for the aspiring actress.

Victoria looked stern as she posed up on the red carpet in her peach lace dress which barely covered her thin frame.

Don't you know who I am? Sadly for Lady Victoria Hervey the answer was no

Listen, you have to move! Lady Victoria gets a little irate after she is accused of 'hogging the red carpet'

Opting to go without her underwear Lady Victoria looked decidedly stocky as she posed up with chunky gold shoes and a sparkling clutch bag.

Since moving to Los Angeles several years ago, Victoria has tried to make a place for herself in Hollywood, landing odd acting jobs here and there including a small part in the 2004 film RX opposite Colin Hanks playing a diner waitress.

She even made friends with Lindsay Lohan a few years ago in an effort to be in the 'in crowd'. 











Subsidy reform dispute imperils Morocco's ruling coalition

Morocco's junior government party is threatening to quit the coalition unless Islamist prime minister Abdelilah Benkirane moderates plans for sweeping cuts to subsidies on food and energy.

Increased subsidies have been part of Morocco's strategy to prevent popular discontent welling up into an uprising of the kind that has toppled rulers across north Africa, but the moderate Islamist PJD argues, along with the IMF, that they have become unsustainable.

State subsidies on food and energy shot up to 57 billion dirhams ($6.6 billion) in 2012 - 15 percent of total public spending - from 48.8 billion in 2011 and 29.8 billion in 2010.

Nevertheless, the conservative Istiqlal party, in a move that analysts said was likely to have the backing of the palace, the ultimate power in Morocco, said the PJD's reform plans were too radical.

 

"The PJD is ignoring our demands and trying to rule as if it controlled the whole government," party spokesman Adil Benhamza told Reuters on Monday. "If we get no answer we will quit the government."

In a step supported by the International Monetary Fund, the government aims to repair its finances by reducing subsidies on food and energy in favor of direct aid to the poorest Moroccans.

It has not put detailed numbers to its plans, but the political sensitivity of the matter has already pushed the measures back beyond the planned June start.

Nevertheless, the PJD has shown no sign of backing down.

"Subsidies burn up 57 billion Moroccan dirhams ($6.6 billion) - how is it possible that someone says that's a red line?" Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane told a PJD meeting on Sunday, adding that the state pension system also required reform.

"They attack us via their papers and TV, but the Moroccan people have chosen us, and voted for us," Benkirane said. "So we are the people."

Istiqlal, a major political force before losing an election to the PJD in 2011, said it favored introducing bigger efficiency savings and import control measures.

"PJD wants to raise prices and hit the poorest, while we prefer to pick up some billions which are at the hands of speculators by controlling imports," Benhamza said.

"The government said it spent 57 billion dirham in subsidies last year, but it is not true. It recovers 23 billion in value added tax."

The political establishment around King Mohammed is anxious to avoid a drop in living standards and prevent a return to street protests for political and economic reforms that he managed to stifle in 2011 with social spending, harsh policing, and constitutional reforms that paved the way for the PJD to come to power.

Morocco's trade deficit rose to a record 197.2 billion dirhams ($23.6 billion) in 2012, while the budget deficit reached 2.2 pct of GDP in the first quarter of 2013.

Since King Mohammed retains decisive power, some analysts said the Istiqlal demands looked far from spontaneous.

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"The Istiqlal (move) is not independent from the palace, which retains real power," said Omar Bendorou, a constitutional expert at the University of Rabat. "Maybe the palace wants to control the structural reforms and put the PJD under pressure."

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($1 = 8.6438 Moroccan dirhams)

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(Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Petra Ecclestone wears exercise gear and denim jacket to pick up some purchases for daughter Lavinia

She is an expert in shopping for herself and now Petra Ecclestone has another excuse to indulge in a spot of retail therapy - making purchases for her daughter.

The 24-year-old heiress and her husband James Stunt headed to a baby shop in Hollywood, Los Angeles on Monday and Petra was sporting her signature shopping style in workout wear and trainers.

The couple emerged with a number of bags from upmarket boutique Bel Bambini with plenty of goodies for their daughter Lavinia.

Petra Ecclestone and her husband James Stunt went out to shop for baby clothes in Hollywood on Monday

Although the products in the store are pricey, money is no object for Petra, who is heiress to a billion pound fortune.

Petra dressed in a casual outfit for the shopping trip and wore a pair of black cropped exercise trousers, a black vest and a denim jacket.

As ever, she carried the ultimate Ecclestone accessory, a Hermes birkin bag, this time in sky blue.

Keeping her style casual: The 24-year-old blonde wore a pair of workout trousers, a black vest and a denim jacket for the retail therapy

Cute couple: Petra's husband James Stunt accompanied her on the shopping trip for their daughter Lavinia

The blonde gave birth to her daughter Lavinia in February and has been busy getting used to being a new mother.

Petra will also, no doubt, be helping her sister Tamara, as she prepares for her wedding to Jay Rutland, in just a few weeks time.

The youngest Ecclestone sister married her husband James Stunt in a lavish ceremony, in Odescalchi Castle, Rome.

The baby is on the brain: The couple bought gifts at pricey boutique Bel Bambini in Hollywood

The Ecclestone uniform: Petra carried her staple Hermes birkin bag, this time in a sky blue colour

The wedding reportedly cost £12 million and no doubt Tamara will be eager to top her sister's big day.

Tamara and Jay have only been engaged for three months but it seems Tamara is determined to celebrate their union in extravagant style.

According to reports the brunette has offered Sir Elton £1 million plus expenses to perform for guests when she marries Jay.

Money is no object: Petra is seen shopping in Los Angeles most days

It would see the Oscar-winning singer top a star-studded line-up of performers including Lionel Richie and DJ Calvin Harris at what is shaping up to be one of the biggest society weddings of the year.

More than 150 guests, including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their mother Sarah Ferguson, will be flown to the South of France on a chartered jet for the three-day wedding at the Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat on June 10.

Thirsty work: Petra was also seen picking up an iced later , with her security in tow

Heavy protection: Petra had not one but two security men in tow