• Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — More than 2,000 Syrians — almost half of them pro-government forces — have been killed in just over two weeks of fighting in Syria, marking one of the worst death tolls in the country's three-year civil war, opposition activists said Monday. The reports reflect a recent surge in deadly attacks by the al-Qaida-breakaway Islamic State group targeting President Bashar Assad's forces, signaling shifting priorities as Sunni militants seek to consolidate their hold on territory and resources in northern Syria. Assad's forces have gained momentum in the fighting with rebels seeking to topple him from power.

  • UN condemns terrorist oil sales from Iraq, Syria

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned any sale of oil from Syria or Iraq by terrorist groups and reminded all countries that buying this illegally obtained oil violates U.N. sanctions. A presidential statement approved by all 15 council members targets two terrorist groups already subject to U.N. sanctions: Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the most powerful Syrian rebel groups; and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has seized a wide swath of territory in eastern Syria and western Iraq and now calls itself the Islamic State. It expresses "grave concern" at reports that these two groups have seized oilfields and pipelines in Syria and Iraq and warns that they could face further sanctions.

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's government said Monday it will make another effort to reach a deal with US. creditors ahead of a looming deadline that risks sending the country into its second default in 13 years. Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said that an Argentine delegation will travel to New York and meet a court-appointed mediator there on Tuesday, just a day ahead of the deadline. "Argentina's position is to reach a dialogue that establishes fair, legal and sustainable conditions for negotiation with 100 percent of the bondholders," Capitanich said in a press conference at the presidential palace. But the mediator, Daniel A.

  • UN rights chief: Flight 17 possible war crime

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 may be a war crime, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday. Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, called for a thorough investigation into the violation of international law that occurred when the flight was shot down with a surface-to-air missile over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. Pillay's comments coincided with a new report by her office that says at least 1,129 people had been killed and 3,442 wounded in Ukraine's fighting as of Saturday, and more than 100,000 have fled the violence since April.

  • UN chief reinforces call for Gaza cease-fire

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reinforced the Security Council's call for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza war on Monday and demanded that Israel and Hamas end the violence "in the name of humanity." The U.N. chief accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal of being irresponsible and "morally wrong" for letting their people get killed in the conflict. He urged them to demonstrate "political will" and "compassionate leadership" to end the suffering of war-weary citizens. "Gaza is in critical condition" after pummeling by Israeli forces that has killed helpless civilians and raised "serious questions about proportionality," he told r

  • AP PHOTOS: Coal-exporting town fights rising seas

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Norfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming. The region exports more coal — and the heat-trapping pollution that comes with it — than any place in the U.S. At the same time, Norfolk is already experiencing one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country. Flood walls protect downtown from rising waters. Residents raise houses to escape floods. Yet an endless procession of trains filled with Appalachian coal rumbles into Norfolk every year. They're bound for ships that will take the coal to foreign power plants and factories to be burned. As the U.S. weans itself off the dirty fuels blamed for global warming at home, it has sent more dirty fuels than e

  • Poland, Britain call for more sanctions on Russia

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The foreign ministers of Poland and Britain have called for more economic sanctions on Russia, saying it is responsible for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine this month. Poland's Radek Sikorski said the responsibility for the downing of the airliner carrying almost 300 people rests with "the Russian Federation, who were and unfortunately are still supplying advanced weapons to the so-called separatists." Hammond said that evidence suggests the airliner was downed by a missile belonging to pro-Russia separatists. While fighting blocks international investigators from the crash site, Hammond insisted conditions should be created for a fair probe.

  • Iraq police find 17 bodies, some bound, in Baghdad

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi police found 17 bullet-riddled bodies in different areas of Baghdad, officials said Monday, raising fears of more sectarian bloodletting at a time of soaring tensions as other attacks around the capital killed 10 people. Authorities found the bodies of 14 men and three women dumped in the streets late Sunday and early Monday, two police officers said. Some had suffered gunshot wounds to the heads and chest, with others blindfolded and bound, they said. Some showed signs of being tortured, they said. Officers found no identification cards on the bodies and police could not offer a motive in their killings. The discovery is a grim reminder of the sectarian killing that engulfed Iraq in 2006 and 2007

  • Muslims mark end of Ramadan with Eid celebrations

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Millions of Muslims across the world celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday Monday, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan. The three-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is a time to celebrate the completion of Ramadan, a month devoted to worship and repentance during which observing Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset every day. But the mood was dark for millions of people affected by the Syrian civil war, the Gaza war and the militant advance in Iraq. Many were just too busy trying to survive to observe the holiday. Beyond the Middle East, the few remaining Muslims in the Central African Republic's capital city ventured out to a mosque und

  • New Spain king moves to clean up palace's image

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    MADRID (AP) — Spain's royal palace accounts will be subject to external audits and the results made public under a series of measure ordered by new King Felipe VI in an apparent bid to clean up the royal family's tarnished image. A Palace statement said Monday that the measures include plans for a new code of good conduct, a ban on immediate royal family members working outside the Palace and greater control of gifts received by the royal family. Felipe, 46, became king last month after his father, Juan Carlos, announced he was stepping down after a four-decade reign to allow younger royal blood to rally a country trying to shrug off an economic crisis and a 26 percent jobless rate.

  • Review: 'Guardians' is irreverent but not enough

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    At the height of their powers, our overlords at Marvel have deigned to prove, like an emperor tolerating a court jester, that they do, in fact, have a sense of humor. The Marvel universe, of course, isn't entirely lacking comedy, as we've seen in "Iron Man" and "The Avengers." But on the whole, the Marvel kingdom is built on an unshakable foundation of self-seriousness. The comic book studio seems to fear that if the solemnity of its fiction isn't diligently guarded, people might start questioning whether all these men in spandex merit quite so much attention.

  • Palestinian official says 10 people, including children, killed in strike on park in Gaza

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian official says 10 people, including children, killed in strike on park in Gaza.

  • Head of California science museum speaks in Maine

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The executive director of the California Academy of Sciences will give a presentation about global environment, climate change and land use at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland. The event is slated for Monday at 5:30 p.m. The academy announced Dr. Jonathan Foley's appointment as executive director in April. He is a native of Bangor, Maine whose work focuses on issues including people's impact on global environment, food systems and biosphere sustainability. He won the Heinz Award for the Environment this year. The California Academy of Sciences is located in San Francisco and is one of the world's biggest natural history museums. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan will attend Monday's event

  • German court receives suit against EU bank union

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — A group of German professors has filed a complaint to the country's highest court against the European Union's plans to create a so-called banking union, a central part of the effort to make the continent's financial system more resilient. The Federal Constitutional Court said Monday it had received the complaint. It wasn't clear when the court might rule; verdicts on previous attempts to block measures meant to stem Europe's debt crisis took at least several months. The group behind the complaint says the banking union "has no legal basis in the European treaties.

  • Palestinian officials: airstrike hits main Gaza hospital compound, causing casualties

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian officials: airstrike hits main Gaza hospital compound, causing casualties.

  • Liberia president orders new anti-Ebola measures

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the measures late Sunday after the first meeting of a new taskforce she created and is chairing to contain the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region. A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital died on Saturday, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control. Last week a Liberian official flew to Nigeria via Lome,

  • Philippine leader: Not even a bomb can stop reform

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — An emotional Philippine President Benigno Aquino III called his opponents desperate Monday and expressed confidence that many people will carry on his reforms even if he is stopped by a bomb. Aquino said in his annual state of the nation address before Congress that he could not avoid thinking somebody may make an attempt on his life because of the kind of people he has crossed in his effort to fight corruption and reform his poor Southeast Asian nation. Aquino's father, an opposition senator who fought dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated at Manila's international airport while under military custody in 1983.

  • Rosario Murillo: Nicaragua's 'first comrade'

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — In Nicaragua, where Marxist dogma has given way to a free market economy, the red-and-black flags of the Sandinista revolution have been supplanted by the pink and baby blue colors favored by the country's first lady, "la companera" Rosario Murillo. Her husband, Daniel Ortega, is president, but as chief of communications, Murillo is the voice and the other face of the government. At border crossings and on roadside billboards throughout the country, "Daniel and Rosario" are pictured side-by-side. On the government website, she dominates the page of "Speeches by Daniel and Rosario." And while Ortega occasionally appears in public, Murillo holds forth on current events each weekday on national televi

  • Ukrainian PM urges vote to pay for war

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's prime minister says parliament needs to come up with more money to pay the mounting costs from the war against pro-Russian separatists and to rebuild infrastructure shattered by the fighting. Yatsenyuk urged parliament Monday to amend this year's budget and come up with an additional 9.1 billion hryvnias ($774 million) to pay the military, and 3.3 billion hryvnias ($280 million) for repairs. Yatsenyuk said the government would raise some of the money through a one-time 1.5 percent war tax on incomes, and by eliminating supplementary compensation for public officials. Parliament is to vote Thursday on his proposals. It will also hold a vote of confidence in Yatsenyuk, which could open the

  • Maine sea acidification group meets for first time

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Ocean Acidification Committee will hold its first meeting on Aug. 1. The committee is studying the impacts of ocean acidification on the state's environment and its economy. It is slated to meet in Walpole. The Maine state Legislature passed a law this spring establishing the commission 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. State officials say the 16-member council will meet at least four times before completing its work by Dec. 5. It will then report findings to the state legislature's Marine Resources Committee.