World championship leader Nico Rosberg topped the times just ahead of his Mercedes team-mate and nearest rival Lewis Hamilton in Friday's opening free practice for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. Rosberg, who leads Hamilton by 11 points in the title race, clocked a best lap of one minute and 51.577 seconds around the spectacular and sprawling 7.004-km circuit set in the Belgian Ardennes. This gave him an advantage of just 0.097 seconds and confirmed the ferocity of the close contest between the two as they rejoin battle a month after their controversial disagreement at the Hungarian Grand Prix where Hamilton ignored team instructions to allow Rosberg to pass him. Two time former champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third fastest ahead of Jenson Button of McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen, who has won four times in Belgium, in the second Ferrari.
At least 25 people have died in a collapse at a gold mine 60 km (40 miles) north of the Central African Republic town of Bambari, Ahmat Negat, spokesman for the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, said on Friday. The mine at Ndassima is carved deep into a forested hilltop north of Seleka's military headquarters in Bambari.
US casual-wear retail giant Gap Inc says it will open 40 stores in India, calling the expansion "an important next step" in its global growth strategy. The San Francisco-based company, known for its relaxed-style denim and other attire, is the latest foreign company to enter India to tap its increasingly brand-conscious and expanding middle-class. "India is an emerging, vibrant market and an important next step in our global expansion strategy," Gap global president Steve Sunnucks said in a statement late Thursday. It expects to have 110 Gap stores in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan by the end of 2014, while the Gap brand is already present in nearly 50 countries.
Ireland is testing a dead person who recently returned from Africa for the Ebola virus, the Health Service Executive (HSE) of Ireland said on Thursday. Appropriate infection control procedures are being put in place in the community and at the mortuary in the north-west county of Donegal where the person's remains lie, pending the outcome of laboratory tests, the HSE said. "The public health department was made aware earlier today of the remains of an individual, discovered early this morning, who had recently travelled to one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola virus disease outbreak," it said.
The liberation of the bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris by the writer Ernest Hemingway 70 years ago, as the French capital was freed from its Nazi occupiers, is the stuff of legend. Hemingway, a war correspondent for the American "Collier's" magazine who went on to win the Nobel prize for literature in 1954, was embedded with US 4th Division troops that landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. Over the next two months he stuck with the foot soldiers as they marched towards Paris in support of the French 2nd Armoured Division, which entered the capital on August 25. Hemingway had a special attachment to the luxurious Ritz hotel, and its bar, where he had spent a great deal of time before the war.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - At least 191,369 people have been killed in Syria's conflict through April, more than double the figure documented a year ago and probably still an under-estimate, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday. The U.N. report, based on data from four groups and the government that were cross-checked, reflects a reality of killing and torture while the civil war has "dropped off the international radar", U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.