ENGLAND

2 billion now overweight globally

Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis. Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly 60 percent of men and 65 percent of women are heavy. The U.S. has about 13 percent of the world’s fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 percent. The new report was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

EGYPT

Landslide victory expected

Egypt’s former military chief appeared well on his way to a landslide presidential victory over his left-wing rival, according to partial election results announced late Wednesday, after voting was extended for a third day in an attempt to prevent an embarrassment over low turnout. The campaign of retired field marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he won 4.2 million votes after results from 2,000 polling stations were counted, with left-wing politician Hamdeen Sabahi taking 133,548.

Central African Republic

Rebels storm Catholic church

Muslim rebels stormed a Catholic church compound in the capital of Central African Republic on Wednesday, launching grenades and spraying civilians with gunfire, witnesses said. At least five bodies were brought to area hospitals, though some witnesses said the death toll could be as high as 30. The attack on the compound at the church is the largest and most brazen blamed on Muslim fighters since their Seleka coalition was ousted from power nearly five months ago.

Colombia

Venezuela alleges plot by U.S.

Venezuela alleged on Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Colombia has plotted to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro’s rule, adding to tensions between the two countries as the U.S. House approved a measure calling for sanctions on officials in the South American nation over human rights abuses.

RUSSIA

Rocket carries three into space

A Russian rocket carrying a three-man crew to the International Space Station blasted off successfully from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz booster rocket lifted off as scheduled today and soared into the darkness over the Central Asian steppe in what a NASA commentator described as a “flawless launch.” The crew — NASA’s Reid Wiseman, Russian cosmonaut Max Surayev and German Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency — were set to arrive at the orbiting station less than six hours later and remain there for six months.

Compiled from wire reports