UK public finances improve more than expected in boost for Osborne 9:32am BST

LONDON - Britain's public sector budget deficit narrowed more than expected in April, giving Chancellor George Osborne a boost as he renews his push to fix the country's public finances.

A worker passes a sign for Bank Street in the Canary Wharf financial district in London October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Banks struggle to shake off past sins

Twenty of the world's biggest banks have paid more than $235 billion in fines and compensation in the last seven years for a litany of misdeeds that has scarred the industry and is delaying its rehabilitation.  Full Article | Graphic 

A nun votes in central Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on gay marriage, May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Irish vote on gay marriage

DUBLIN - The Irish are voting on whether to allow gay marriage, just two decades after Ireland became the last country in Western Europe to decriminalise homosexuality.  Video | Full Article 

A member of the Afghan security forces keeps watch at the Kunduz airport, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Stretched Afghan army falls back on militias

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan/KABUL - The Afghan government has enlisted hundreds of militia fighters controlled by local commanders to battle Taliban militants near the northern city of Kunduz, underlining how the armed forces are struggling to tackle the insurgency.  Full Article 

Separated saffron stigmas are kept in a plate beside the flowers during a drying process in Pampore, 15 km (9 miles) south of Srinagar November 2, 2012.   REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

Saffron could help combat dengue fever

An extract from the Indian spice saffron could be the latest piece in the puzzle in the fight against dengue fever, say researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.  Video 

Cricket - England v New Zealand - Investec Test Series First Test - Lord?s - 22/5/15 England's James Anderson looks dejected as New Zealand's Tom Latham (L) and Martin Guptill run Action Images via Reuters / Philip Brown Livepic

Guptill, Latham give New Zealand steady start

Openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham give New Zealand a solid start as they reach 44 for no wicket in reply to England's 389 at lunch on the second day of the first test at Lord's.  Full Article 

Fans wave flags during the first semifinal of the upcoming 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest In Vienna, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Eurovision carnival hits Vienna

Vienna hopes the final of the Eurovision Song Contest will show a new liberal and light-hearted side to the opulent Austrian capital when the jamboree of glitter, capes and power ballads hits town.  Full Article 

Ireland votes in historic gay marriage poll

Ireland votes on whether to allow gay marriage in a referendum that could make the country the first in the world to adopt the policy by popular vote. Yiming Woo reports.