• Global stocks bolstered by US earnings, home sales

    Updated: 17 min ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks mostly rose Wednesday, bolstered by solid U.S. earnings and home sales as tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine eased. Europe markets opened with moderate gains. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent to 6,806.46 and Germany's DAX added 0.4 percent to 9,771.38. France's CAC 40 also advanced 0.4 percent to 4,386.53. Futures augured a tentative advance on Wall Street. S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures each inched up 0.1 percent. Markets have been roiled the past week by heightened tensions between Russia and the West after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists, killing all 298 people on board.

  • Gaza families plead for evacuation amid battle

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as dozens of Palestinian families trapped by the fighting scrambled to flee the area. The U.S. secretary of state meanwhile presses ahead with top-gear efforts to end the conflict that has killed at least 650 Palestinians and 31 Israelis. John Kerry, who is on a Mideast trip to push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, landed in Tel Aviv despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban following a Hamas rocket near the airport the day before. Kerry was to meet Wednesday with Israel's prime minster, the Palestinian Authority's president and the United Nations chief in a daylong visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

  • China braces for 2nd typhoon; Taiwan drenched

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BEIJING (AP) — China was bracing Wednesday for the arrival of a second typhoon in as many weeks, as communities along the country's southern coast cleared away debris in the wake of the earlier storm that killed 46 people. Authorities in eastern Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, ordered fishing boats to return to port and stepped up patrols to watch for breaks in coastal and river embankments, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Typhoon Matmo, with sustained winds of 140 kilometers (85 miles) per hour, was churning northwest toward the heavily populated coast of Fujian province after dumping heavy rains on Taiwan overnight. The typhoon injured five people in Taiwan and knocked out power to 31,505 homes, the isla

  • Australia focuses on both Malaysian jet disasters

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia says the hunt for the Malaysian airliner that vanished off the Australian coast continues uninterrupted despite the top search official shifting his attention to recovering bodies from the Ukraine air disaster. Angus Houston heads Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center, which oversees the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean in March 8 after veering far off course. The former Australian defense chief was on Wednesday in the Ukraine town of Kharkiv as the prime minister's special envoy to receive the bodies of Australian victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 which was shot down last week by a suspected surface-to-air missile.

  • Venezuelan conspiracy theories a threat to critics

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Roderick Navarro was in class when he got the news that a high-ranking minister had accused him of plotting to assassinate Venezuela's president. His first thought was, "Not again." The 26-year-old student leader had already been accused by the ruling socialist party for collaborating with the U.S. to overthrow Venezuela's then-leader Hugo Chavez in 2010. But as messages from friends lit up his phone, Navarro began to worry that it was more serious this time. The denunciation came on live TV, with orders to appear before the national intelligence service. Announcements of foiled coups and plots against the government have long been a part of the Chavista discourse.

  • Argentina zoo freezes polar bear move to Canada

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's last captive polar bear will remain in the country despite a petition by more than a half million people asking that it be moved to Canada. The director of the Mendoza Zoo in western Argentina told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 28-year-old bear is too old to safely be relocated. Animal rights advocates say the bear, named Arturo, paces nervously in his concrete enclosure and they suggest the animal suffers from depression. They have campaigned to move the bear to a zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has welcomed the idea. Even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has rallied to the cause.

  • In international flight, volatile conflicts abound

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Libya, militias armed with shoulder-launched missiles are battling for control of the country's main airport. In Africa, the entire Sahel region is awash with weapons that include portable air defense systems leftover from the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Then there's Syria's civil war, in which thousands of soldiers have defected and set up new battalions that have shot down military helicopters and jets. And in Iraq, the al-Qaida breakaway group that has taken huge swaths of territory seized weapons depots all along the way. The world is pockmarked with volatile hot spots stretching from West Africa to Central Asia — a wide arc where commercial flights and airline passengers could pot

  • US: Russia 'created the conditions' for shoot-down

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. The intelligence officials were cautious in their assessment, noting that while the Russians have been arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia. The officials briefed reporters Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to last week's air disaster, which killed 298 people.

  • UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday it is his "hope and belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel "in the very near future." Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council by videoconference from the West Bank city of Ramallah that he could not publicly reveal details "at this highly sensitive moment." As he started to address the council a siren could be heard in the background. The U.N. chief has also visited Qatar, Kuwait, Cairo and Jerusalem and said he will go on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia on what he called a mission "of solidarity and peace" to quickly end an escalating two-week war between Israelis and Hamas militants who contro

  • Police probing switch of flags on Brooklyn Bridge

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Police are searching for four or five people they believe scaled to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge's two towers in the dead of night, disabled lights illuminating two large American flags and then replaced the flags with bleached-white ones. The security breach at one of the city's most secured landmarks didn't appear to be the work of terrorists or even a political statement, said the police department's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, but was likely done by people familiar with climbing or bridgework who may even have scaled the bridge before. "We don't take these things lightly, or as a joke, or as art or within the realm of speech," John Miller said.

  • Mexico's circuses caught up in animal rights spat

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's "circus wars" are heating up, with a growing movement to ban circus animals meeting rising anger from circus workers. There have been messages posted on social networking sites urging people to attack circuses, Armando Cedeno, the head of the nation's circus owners association, said at a demonstration by circus performers Tuesday. "We have a lot of threats on Facebook, with environmentalists urging people to go burn down circuses, which is very worrisome," Cedeno said as he oversaw a protest in Mexico City's main square at which circus entertainers put on a free show with horses and dogs — the only animals they will be allowed to use under a new city law banning acts with lions, tigers, elephan

  • Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine. Israel declared that Ben-Gurion Airport was safe and said there was no reason to "hand terror a prize" by halting flights. The rare flight ban came as Israel grappled with news that a soldier went missing after an attack in the Gaza Strip, raising the possibility he was abducted, a scenario that could complicate intense diplomatic efforts to end the two-week conflict.

  • Qatar, Saudi rulers meet on Gaza cease-fire talks

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — For the first time since an unprecedented diplomatic rift among Gulf powerhouses, Qatar's emir flew to Saudi Arabia late Tuesday in a surprise visit and met with King Abdullah to discuss cease-fire efforts that have yet to bring an end to 15 days of war in the Gaza Strip. A senior Saudi official told The Associated Press that Saudi Crown Prince Salman, and Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin also attended the meetings with Qatar's Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the coastal city of Jiddah. King Abdullah's security adviser Prince Bandar bin Sultan and the king's son who heads the National Guard, Prince Miteb, also sat in on the discussion, the official said. He spoke anonymously because of the sensitivit

  • Crash sends industrial soap into Blackfoot River

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    BONNER, Mont. (AP) — A tractor-trailer that crashed Tuesday on Montana Highway 200 spilled chemicals used to make industrial soap into the Blackfoot River, the Montana Highway Patrol said. The driver told the patrol that his right front tire blew as he was rounding a corner about 2 miles east of Bonner around 9:15 a.m. The truck ended up on its side. The chemicals appeared to be coming from containers of aluminum sulfate and diethanolamine, which are used in making detergents, Missoula Rural Fire acting Battalion Chief Paul Finlay told the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/1tvVXsT ). Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed the river downstream from the crash for about six hours before reopening it Tuesday afternoon.

  • Physician detained for defaming Ecuador president

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Authorities in Ecuador say prominent physician Carlos Figueroa has been detained near Quito and sent to prison to serve a six-month sentence for defaming President Rafael Correa. The arrest was confirmed Tuesday on the Interior Ministry's Twitter account. Figueroa, opposition congressman Clever Jimenez and his adviser Fernando Villavicencio were convicted in April of defaming Correa by accusing him of crimes against humanity in ordering the military to use force to free him from a besieged hospital during a 2010 police uprising. Jimenez and Villavicencio were sentenced to 18 months. Human rights groups have questioned the independence of Ecuador's judiciary, accusing Correa of stacking the courts

  • End comes for notorious Venezuelan vertical slum

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The beginning of the end came for the world's tallest slum Tuesday as officials began evicting thousands of squatters from a haphazard community inside the half-built Caracas skyscraper known as the Tower of David. Police in riot gear and soldiers with Kalashnikov assault rifles stood on side streets as dozens of residents boarded buses for their new government-provided apartments in the town of Cua, 23 miles (37 kilometers) south of Caracas. Ernesto Villegas, the government minister overseeing Caracas' redevelopment, told reporters the residents could not be allowed to stay indefinitely because the 45-story building in the heart of the capital is unsafe.

  • Plane crash bodies removed from war zone

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner finally reached Ukrainian government-held territory Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to allow the full-scale investigation demanded by world leaders. Five days after the plane was blown out of the sky, refrigerated railcars bearing victims' bodies — gathered up after several days in the sun — rolled out of the war zone and into a weedy railyard in the city of Kharkiv. The dead will be flown to the Netherlands, the homeland of most of the victims, for identification. The Dutch government declared Wednesday a day of national mourning as the country prepared for the arriva

  • Legal marijuana milestone heads for Seattle museum

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — The first recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle will be put on display at the city's Museum of History and Industry after a woman donated part of her purchase Tuesday. Deb Greene, a 65-year-old retiree, waited all night to be first in line at the Cannabis City store when legal pot sales began in Washington on July 8. Cannabis City also donated items from its opening day, including the receipt of the first purchase. Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by voting in November 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21 and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.

  • At least 21 dead in Iraq checkpoint car bombing

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide driver rammed his explosive-laden car into a police checkpoint in the Iraqi capital killing 21 people, including more than a dozen civilians en route to a Shiite shrine in the final days of the Islamic holy month. At least 13 people killed in the attack were civilians, according to police and hospital officials. At least 35 people were wounded — more than half of them civilians. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak with the media. The attack occurred at the entrance to Baghdad's Khazimiyah district, where many cars were en route to the Imam Al-Khadim Shrine in the lead up to the Eid feast commemorating the end of Ramadan.

  • Jakarta governor wins Indonesian presidency

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo, who captured the hearts of millions of Indonesians with his common man image, was declared the winner Tuesday of the country's presidential election, calling it a victory for all of the nation's people. A former furniture exporter known to most as "Jokowi," Widodo was the first candidate in a direct presidential election in Indonesia with no ties to the former dictator Suharto, who ruled for 30 years before being overthrown in 1998. "This is a victory for all Indonesian people," Widodo, who received 53 percent of the vote, according to the Election Commission, said in a televised speech. "We hope this victory will pave the way to build Indonesia to be an independent econom