Thailand bomb blast kills one, injures 20: A string of explosions over a two-day period in Thailand killed four and injured 34.
The bombings appear to have specifically targeted Hua Hin and Phuket; both are popular tourist destinations.
Two men were arrested in connection with the bombings in Hua Hin on Saturday.
Although the kingdom has struggled with Islamist insurgents in south Thailand of late, authorities have dismissed the bomb blasts as the work of militants and have stated it is likely the result of local sabotage.
Assange to be interviewed by Swedish authorities: Charged with sexual assault in 2010, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be questioned by Swedish authorities in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange denies the allegation he attacked two women, but faces two counts of sexual assault, a single count of unlawful coercion and one count of rape.
Although Assange has expressed a willingness to be quizzed by Swedish officials from inside his London refuge, only recently did Sweden agree to his terms.
No date has been set for the formal interview.
Ukraine president wants direct talks with Kremlin: With a truce negotiated 16 months ago on the verge of collapse and amid allegations from neighboring Russia Ukrainian agents attempted to commit acts of terror in Crimea, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated he seeks a direct conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to press reports, Mr. Poroshenko has asked for a phone conversation with Mr. Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and EU President Donald Tusk to discuss the rising tensions in the region.
Fighting erupted in the eastern Donbas region recently causing civilian casualties. Both sides have blamed the other for the truce violations.
Russia to keep Syria base: The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced Thursday its intent to convert Khmeimim Air Base outside Latakia, Syria, for permanent use.
Although the Russian military conducted a partial withdrawal from the base in March, the MOD admitted it intends to maintain a presence at the instillation to continue its aerial bombardment against ISIS and foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia also announced the facility would not host either nuclear weapons or strategic bombers.
Turkey’s Erdogan to U.S.: Gulen or Ankara: Despite conducting a ruthless crackdown against those suspected of involvement in the July 15 coup, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim re-affirmed Ankara’s commitment to demanding the extradition of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
According to unconfirmed reports, an Turkish prosecutor has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen.
Gulen has lived in exile in the U.S. since 1999.
Ankara claims Gulen is the source of inspiration for the July coup.
[The Guardian] [The Mirror] [Reuters] [RT News]