Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
Ultra-radical Islamic State insurgents have killed at least 2,154 people off the battlefield in Syria since the end of June when the group declared a caliphate in territory it controls, a Syrian human rights monitor said on Tuesday. The killings of mostly Syrians included deaths by beheading, stoning or gunshots in non-combat situations, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, urging the United Nations Security Council to act. Islamic State, which also holds tracts of land in neighboring Iraq, is an offshoot of al Qaeda and has set up its own courts in towns and villages to administer what it describes as Islamic law before carrying out the killings. The Observatory, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground, said its figure included combatants, civilians and also 126 Islamic State fighters who had tried to flee the group or were accused of being spies.
Britain's economy grew far slower than expected in the first quarter of 2015, official data showed Tuesday, delivering a blow to the government just nine days before a general election. Gross domestic product expanded by 0.3 percent between January and March compared with 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in an initial estimate. As neither is expected to win an outright majority in the election, they will likely have to team up with one or more smaller parties in order to govern, such as the Scottish National Party (SNP). "GDP figures show our economy is still growing, but we can't take the recovery for granted," Cameron tweeted following Tuesday's data.
Indonesia made final preparations Tuesday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as weeping family members paid last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the drug convicts' prison. Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison appealing for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran's sister collapsing in grief. Authorities in Indonesia have refused to disclose exactly when the executions will take place, but Sukumaran's mother Raji tearfully told reporters that her son would be put to death at midnight Tuesday (1700 GMT). The executions were widely expected early Wednesday after inmates were given formal notice on Saturday, after which authorities must wait a minimum of 72 hours.