People costumed as devils and witches gather in Schierke, central Germany, to mark Walpurgis Night, a religious holiday of pre-Christian origins. The overnight April 30-May 1 event is named after St. Walburga, an English nun who helped convert Germans to Christianity in the eighth century.



US deploys small number of troops in support role

The Pentagon has deployed a small number of troops to Mali to support allied forces fighting there, despite repeated pledges by the Obama administration not to put "boots on the ground" in the war-torn African country.

About 10 U.S. military personnel are in Mali to provide "liaison support" to French and African troops but are not engaged in combat operations, said Lt. Col. Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman. Twelve others are assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, the capital, he added.

The Pentagon had previously said that it would involve itself in the conflict only at arms length - by providing aerial refueling to French warplanes and sharing intelligence with allies.


Jailing of former PM deemed rights abuse

KIEV - Ukraine's jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was a politically motivated violation of her rights, Europe's human rights court ruled on Tuesday.

The decision dealt a harsh blow to President Viktor Yanukovych who has insisted that the case against his top opponent was not political.

The prosecution of Tymoshenko, the country's most vocal opposition leader, has strained the former Soviet state's ties with the European Union and the United States. Tuesday's ruling put fresh pressure of Yanukovych to ensure Tymoshenko's release if he wants to sign a key cooperation agreement with Brussels later this year.


6 plead guilty in terror plot to attack anti-Muslim rally

LONDON - Six men pleaded guilty Tuesday to planning a terrorist attack that failed only because the far-right rally they were targeting in central England ended before they arrived.

Police discovered the plot after searching the men's car following a routine traffic check. Inside the trunk was a cache of weapons that included machetes, knives, sawed-off shotguns and at least one crude bomb packed with nails.

The six men who entered guilty pleas in a London court Tuesday had decided to go on a rampage through a June 30, 2012, rally conducted by a far-right anti-Muslim group, the English Defense League, police said. The plotters drove to the rally site with their weapons in tow but arrived to find that the gathering had broken up earlier than expected because one of the featured speakers was a no-show.


Gunmen surround ministry to press their demands

TRIPOLI - Gunmen swooped in on trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and surrounded Libya's Justice Ministry on Tuesday, cutting off roads and forcing employees out of the building in the latest instance of powerful militiamen showing their muscle to press their demands on how Libya should be run more than a year after Moammar Gadhafi's ouster.

Over the past three days, militiamen stormed the headquarters of the Interior Ministry and state-run TV and besieged the Foreign Ministry while publicly calling for the removal of Gadhafi-era officials from government posts.


2 killings raise tensions

JERUSALEM - Tensions rose Tuesday between Israelis and Palestinians after two separate killings - one by each side - shattered what had been a period of relative calm in recent months.

At a northern West Bank hitchhiking stop, an Israeli settler was stabbed to death by a Palestinian man who stole the settler's gun and attacked nearby soldiers before being arrested, officials said. It was the first such killing of an Israeli by a Palestinian in the West Bank in 18 months.

Separately, Israel Defense Forces killed a Gaza Strip-based militant accused of participating in rocket attacks, the government said.

Wire reports