• Japan provides Vietnam with 6 vessels

    Updated: 25 min ago

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Japan will provide Vietnam with six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi's maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea. The deal announced Friday for the six used vessels worth 500 million Yen ($5 million) was signed by Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on a two-day visit for a cooperation conference. "We hope this will help strengthen the maritime law enforcement capability of Vietnam," Kishida told journalists after signing the agreement with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.

  • Interfaith house of prayer to be built in Berlin

    Updated: 37 min ago

    BERLIN (AP) — A rabbi, an imam and a priest start praying together under the same roof. It may sound like the start of a joke, but hopes are high it will become reality in Berlin. The three men are working together to build a common house of worship — the "House of One" — in the center of the capital that will include a church, a mosque and a synagogue, as well as a joint meeting hall at the center of the building. "We have noticed, as a community here in the middle of the city, that a lot of people want to meet people from different backgrounds and religions and that there is a strong desire to show that people from different religions can get along," Pastor Gregor Hohberg of Berlin's St. Petri parish told The Associat

  • 3-day Gaza cease-fire goes into effect

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A three-day cease-fire in the Gaza Strip has gone into effect following heavy Israel-Hamas fighting. The cease-fire, announced hours earlier by the U.S. and the U.N., took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were "no guarantees" that the lull would bring an end to the Gaza war, now in its fourth week. Israel and Hamas both said they would respect the cease-fire but would respond to attacks. At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting. Hours before the cease-fire was to take effect, 17 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strike

  • Death toll in Indonesia boat accidents up to 34

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers in Indonesia recovered more bodies after vessels carrying villagers to celebrations of a Muslim holiday capsized in two separate rivers, raising the death toll to 34, officials said Friday. Seventeen bodies were pulled out from the Barombang River in North Sumatra province, where a boat carrying 48 villagers sank early Thursday after hitting a stump in the river, said Mujiono, an official of the local disaster agency. Among the dead were six children between the ages of 7 months and 11 years. Twenty-eight passengers have been rescued, said Mujiono, who uses a single name. He added three others were still missing.

  • $11M deal struck to conserve Colorado River basin

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — Water providers from four western states and the federal government announced an $11 million agreement Thursday to fund projects meant to counteract critically low water levels in the Colorado River basin, which supplies water to about 40 million people in seven states. The Interior Department said Thursday that local water providers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado will take part in the deal. It aims to create several small pilot programs in 2015 and 2016 that would provide incentives and compensation for conservation by cities, farmers and industry, according to a statement announcing the agreement. The programs that work best can then be expanded, extended, or both.

  • Heavy Gaza fighting ahead of proposed 3-day truce

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian officials say 17 Palestinians, including 10 members of one family, were killed in Israeli strikes ahead of a planned three-day cease-fire in the Gaza war. Health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the family members were killed in an airstrike early Friday on their home in the southern town of Khan Younis. Gaza police reported heavy Israeli tank shelling in northern and eastern Gaza. The cease-fire was to take effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday, under a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations. During the lull, Egypt is to host indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo on a more durable truce. More than 1,450 Palestinians have been killed sin

  • Judge won't free Russian accused of hacking in US

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A federal judge in the U.S. territory of Guam denied a motion Thursday to release a Russian lawmaker's son accused of hacking computers inside hundreds of U.S. businesses. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled her court had jurisdiction over the case against Roman Seleznev and allowed it to move forward, even though his lawyers had filed a motion to dismiss. Another ruling confirming Seleznev's identity cleared the way for him to be sent to the state of Washington, where documents filed in federal court in Seattle allege he hacked into retailers' computers, installed malicious software and stole credit card numbers from 2009 to 2011.

  • Asia stocks dip on Dow drop, China data cuts loss

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.3 percent to 15,572.38 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent to 24,623.90. South Korea's Kospi was less than 0.1 percent lower at 2,074.01. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 tumbled 1.4 percent to 5,556.40. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 2,203.08. US SELL-OFF: Asian stocks are LOWER after U.S. markets had their worst day in months. Factors include weak corporate earnings from big companies such as Exxon Mobil as well as the approaching end of stimulus from the Federal

  • Abbas seeks broad support for war crimes charges

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Nearly a month into Israel's fierce assault on Hamas in Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is facing mounting domestic pressure to seek war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court. He has hesitated in the past because such a move would instantly put the Palestinians on a risky collision course with Israel. But with about 1,400 Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to health officials, Abbas has signaled he might move ahead — cautiously. Palestinian officials said Thursday that Abbas asked all Palestinian political factions, including Hamas and the smaller group Islamic Jihad, to give their written consent to such a move.

  • Default fuels uncertainty, stock drop in Argentina

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina entered economic limbo Thursday, forced into a default that could undermine an already frail economy if a dispute with U.S. creditors is not resolved soon. President Cristina Fernandez and her economy minister both insisted they were open to more discussions with holdout creditors, but also maintained an air of defiance and denied that the situation Argentina finds itself in really amounts to a default. Fernandez in a rousing and emotional speech dismissed the effects of the default, the country's second in 13 years. "In the first place, we are here on the 31st of July and the world continues and so does the Republic of Argentina, which we can all say is very good news," she to

  • Gaza truce comes after days of pushing for a deal

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NEW DELHI (AP) — Hours past midnight Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was still working the phones, trying to come up with a cease-fire plan to stop the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. He'd been pushing for a deal all day — in fact, for more than a week — and nailing down a final agreement was proving elusive. Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3:30 a.m. Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out. It was the kind of announcement that ricocheted around the world: announced simultaneously at U.N.

  • Death toll hits 51 from mudslide in Indian village

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    MALIN, India (AP) — Heavy rains hampered efforts Friday by hundreds of rescue workers digging through heavy mud and debris, as the death toll from a landslide that engulfed an entire village in western India rose to 51. Rescuers are still looking for about 100 people missing and feared dead, after another 10 bodies were pulled out of the debris overnight. "We have reached the main inhabited area and are continuing efforts," one district official, D.D. Kale, said Friday. There has been no let-up in the rain this week, he said. More than two days after the Wednesday morning landslide, authorities said the chances of survival were slim for anyone still trapped under the mud in Malin, a village of about 700 people i

  • Australia welcomes Gaza ceasefire as 'marvelous'

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister on Friday welcomed a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as "a marvelous humanitarian thing." Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative government is a staunch ally of Israel, and angered Arab and Islamic countries in June by changing its description of East Jerusalem from "occupied" to "disputed." He said Australia had been working at the United Nations and elsewhere for an immediate ceasefire. "Thank God that's what there is," Abbott told reporters several hours before the ceasefire was to take effect. "That will be a marvelous humanitarian thing.

  • US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire to begin Friday morning, the United Nations and United States announced, although Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were "no guarantees" the lull in violence would bring an end to the 24-day-old Gaza war. The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy Hamas' tunnel network "with or without a cease-fire" and as the Palestinian death toll soared past 1,400. Noting the difficulties that lay ahead, Kerry said: "This is not a time for congratulations or joy or anything except a serious determination — a focus by everybody to try to figure out the road ahead." "This is a res

  • Tentative agreement reached on SC Common Core

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Common Core standards will be considered by teachers crafting new reading and math benchmarks for South Carolina students, state Education Department officials said Thursday. The six-month, stepped-up process could take teachers selected by the department out of the classroom for up to a month's worth of meetings. The stance marks a change from what Republican Superintendent Mick Zais told the media earlier this month. Agency spokesman Dino Teppara said Zais spoke "in-artfully" when he said he would direct the panels to ignore Common Core entirely and not even provide them a copy. Zais wanted to stress that the standards implemented in August 2015 won't be a simple rebranding of Common Core, Teppara sa

  • Lab worker says he was fired for anti-nuke paper

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former member of Los Alamos National Laboratory's non-proliferation team says he was fired after writing an article for a nonprofit web site in support of abolishing nuclear weapons. James Doyle says he believes he was let go after 17 years because lab officials feared the article, which espoused his personal views, could be interpreted as a voice from the laboratory and could present problems in seeking funding for Los Alamos's nuclear bomb building mission. A Los Alamos spokesman said the lab doesn't discuss personnel matters. Doyle says he was fired July 8, several months after lab officials claimed his article raised classification concerns.

  • Maine ocean acidification panel first meets today

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    WALPOLE, Maine (AP) — The Maine Ocean Acidification Committee is ready to hold its first meeting. The committee is charged with studying the impacts of ocean acidification on the state's environment. Its first meeting is scheduled for Friday in Walpole. The council has 16 members and is slated to meet at least four times before wrapping up its work by Dec. 5. Officials say the panel will report its findings to the state legislature's Marine Resources Committee. The panel is expected to study and address the effects of ocean acidification on ecosystems and shellfisheries. State officials say the commission is the first of its kind in the eastern United States. They say the panel will issue a report about the environmen

  • Top UN aid official urges daily 'pauses' in Gaza

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief called Thursday for daily "humanitarian pauses" until a long-term cease-fire is reached between Israel and Hamas in order to deliver relief to hundreds of thousands in need in Gaza, rescue the injured and give civilians a reprieve from the war. The call by Valerie Amos came hours before the United Nations and the U.S. announced a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning in Gaza. The U.N. Security Council heard briefings from Amos and Pierre Krahenbuhl, head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, who warned that the population of Gaza "is facing a precipice." Amos said the world has watched in horror as children and civilians have come under attack

  • Power gradually being restored in Colombia city

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities in Colombia say electricity is gradually being restored in the port city of Buenaventura, which was blacked out Monday night when suspected rebels blew up a transmission tower. Pacific Power Co. said Thursday that a team of more than 50 workers installed an emergency tower over three days so electricity could again start feeding into the Pacific coast city that is home to about 400,000 people. Priority for power service is being given to health institutions and security facilities. Officials have blamed the attack on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and President Juan Manuel Santos has warned that such attacks could cause him to break off peace talks with the rebel movement.

  • US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday. The announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy Hamas' tunnel network "with or without a cease-fire" and as the Palestinian death toll soared past 1,400. There was no immediate Israeli comment on the announcement. In a statement released in New Delhi where Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling, the U.S. and U.N. said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire.