• Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel stepped up its campaign against Gaza's ruling Hamas on Thursday, killing three of the group's senior military commanders in an airstrike that pulverized a four-story home, the second such attack targeting top leaders in two days. The pinpoint pre-dawn attack on Hamas' inner sanctum was launched minutes after the men emerged from tunnel hideouts, a security official said — displaying the long reach of Israel's intelligence services. The killing of the commanders, who played a key role in expanding Hamas' military capabilities in recent years, was bound to lower morale in the secretive group, but might not necessarily diminish its ability to fire rockets at Israel.

  • Hamas admits kidnapping Israeli teens

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip. Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas's military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a "heroic operation" with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising. "It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades," he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

  • Correction: Emirates-Terrorism Law story

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a story Aug. 20 about a new counter-terrorism law in the United Arab Emirates, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Gulf researcher Nicholas McGeehan works for Amnesty International. He works for Human Rights Watch.

  • TVA board votes to retire Memphis coal plant

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority's board voted Thursday to retire the coal-fired Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis and replace it with a natural-gas facility, marking another step by the nation's largest utility to reduce its reliance on coal. CEO Bill Johnson said the $975 million, 1,000-megawatt natural-gas fired plant will significantly cut emissions of carbon dioxide and gases that cause smog, while providing power to about 580,000 homes. The 55-year-old Allen coal plant generates about 4.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough for 340,000 homes. The TVA said the plant consumes about 7,200 tons of coal daily.

  • Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fierce fighting raged in eastern Ukraine on Thursday in what appeared to be a last-gasp attempt by government troops to snatch back territory from pro-Russian separatists before the arrival of a Russian aid convoy overseen by the Red Cross. Trucks loaded with water, generators and sleeping bags for desperate civilians in the besieged city of Luhansk began moving through Ukrainian customs after being held up at the border for a week, in part because of safety concerns and Ukrainian fears that the convoy's arrival could halt the military's advance.

  • Reports: Syria troops kill scores of jihadis

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops killed dozens of jihadi fighters, including a prominent media activist, in heavy clashes on Thursday around a sprawling northern air base that the Islamic State group is trying to seize, activists and state media said. Islamic State fighters began a long-anticipated offensive on Wednesday to seize Tabqa air base in the northern province of Raqqa, the last position held by the Syrian government in a province that is a stronghold of the al-Qaida breakaway group. The assault on the Tabqa air base had been expected for weeks. Islamic State fighters have tightened their siege of the military facility in recent days, capturing a string of nearby villages.

  • Thai army ruler named prime minister

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — Three months after overthrowing an elected government, Thailand's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will prolong his rule and bolster the military's grip on power. Thailand's legislature voted overwhelmingly Thursday to name Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha to the new job. There was little doubt over the outcome since Prayuth was the only candidate and the assembly — hand-picked by the junta — is dominated by active and retired duty officers. The 60-year-old leader is due to retire from the army next month and until then will hold both positions.

  • Pakistan parliament rejects calls for PM to quit

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's parliament on Thursday rejected calls for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation as unconstitutional despite massive anti-government protests just outside the assembly in the capital Islamabad. The resolution, supported by nearly every opposition party, marked a defeat for cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and popular cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who have led weeklong protests from the eastern city of Lahore to the gates of parliament calling for Sharif's ouster over alleged voting fraud. The assembly rejected the protesters' demands for Sharif's resignation and the dissolution of parliament, vowing to "uphold the supremacy of the constitution" and the "sovereignty of the parliament." The

  • Study: Combining vaccines boosts polio immunity

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — New research suggests a one-two punch could help battle polio in some of the world's most remote and strife-torn regions: Giving a single vaccine shot to children who've already swallowed drops of an oral polio vaccine greatly boosted their immunity. The World Health Organization officials said the combination strategy already is starting to be used in mass vaccination campaigns in some hard-hit areas and is being introduced for routine immunizations in developing countries, too. "It could play a major role in completing the job of polio eradication once and for all," said Dr. Hamid Jafari, WHO's director of polio operations, who led the study published Thursday in the journal Science.

  • Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — The year since a chemical attack that killed hundreds near Damascus has been a strikingly good one for President Bashar Assad. His deadly stockpile has been destroyed, but he has stayed in power, bought time and gotten world powers to engage him. Along the way, global disapproval has shifted away from Assad and toward the Islamic extremists who are fighting him and spreading destruction across Syria and Iraq. In Syria, frustrated opposition leaders plan modest rallies Friday to commemorate an attack that they believe the world has largely forgotten. For many Syrians, hopes for justice are fading and a deep sense of bitterness prevails. The U.S.

  • Romania: Ex-PM imprisoned for corruption released

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A former Romanian prime minister who was imprisoned on corruption charges has been released early from prison. Adrian Nastase, the highest-ranking Romanian official to be sent to prison since 1989, shot himself in the neck in an apparent suicide bid when he was handed a two-year sentence in 2012 for illegally raising funds for a failed presidential bid. He sustained minor injuries only. Nastase was sentenced again in January for illegally receiving goods. A court ruled that the former leader could be released because he is 64 and because of his good conduct in prison.

  • A look at govt ransom polices in US, Europe

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    A look at how the United States and various European nations have dealt with hostage-taking and ransom demands for their citizens in recent years: UNITED STATES U.S. policy prohibits government negotiation with terrorists, including paying ransom demands. Technically, family members or employers of captives could be prosecuted for paying ransom on charges of providing support to terrorists, although the government is wrestling with whether that should be changed. BELGIUM Belgium is widely thought to negotiate and pay ransoms if needed to free its citizens, even though the government in Brussels routinely denies ransom payments.

  • Saudi court sentences 18 more on terror charges

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 18 more people on terrorism charges, wrapping up a week of verdicts on nearly every person in an alleged 50-member cell charged with launching attacks aimed at toppling the monarchy around a decade ago. In recent months Saudi authorities have tightened laws to ban fighting in foreign conflicts, fearing a repeat of the 2003-2006 violence, when Saudis and others who had been radicalized in battlefields abroad turned their weapons on the kingdom in a series of deadly attacks. The 18 were found guilty of financing terrorism, collecting information about compounds where foreigners reside, providing hideouts for fugitives and possessing unlicensed weapons, the offi

  • Libya flights canceled amid militia fighting

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Tunisia and Egypt on Thursday canceled flights to neighboring Libya citing security concerns, as militias battle in the capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi, where a renegade general has launched airstrikes on Islamist militia barracks. Tunisia's Transportation Ministry on Thursday said flights coming from Libya were canceled, citing the need to ensure travelers' safety in accordance with international standards. Egyptian airport officials said flights from Cairo to Libya have been canceled, though service from second city Alexandria would continue. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Libya is witnessing its worst spasm of violence since Moam

  • Hunt for German neo-Nazis was 'complete disaster'

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — Police and security services in Germany's eastern state of Thuringia bungled the hunt for three neo-Nazis, who years later turned out to be the main suspects in a far-right murder spree, according to an official report published Thursday. A panel of lawmakers in the state assembly examined thousands of case files and interviewed dozens of former investigators, concluding that efforts to find the fugitive trio between 1998 and 2003 were a "complete disaster." "In the best case the comprehensive failure of many of those involved resulted from simple lack of interest," the panel said in its 1,895-page report. But so many mistakes were made that one might even be justified in suspecting "deliberate sabotage.

  • Turkey's Davutoglu named new premier

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Recep Tayyip Erdogan named Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as his successor as prime minister on Thursday, with expectations high that the man who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade will stay in charge once he is president. Erdogan has indicated that he plans to maintain tight control of the government and wants to transform the largely ceremonial presidency. He has said he intends to employ its seldom-used powers, such as summoning and presiding over Cabinet meetings. As Turkey's first popularly-elected president, Erdogan takes office Aug. 28. Erdogan announced after a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party that party leaders had chosen Davutoglu, 55, to replace him as

  • Iraq museum inaugurates 2 halls of statues

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi National Museum inaugurated two renovated halls adorned with life-size stone statues on Thursday, highlighting the rich history of a country once again shattered by war. The newly renovated halls feature more than 500 artifacts that mainly date back to the Hellenistic period (312-139 B.C.), some of which were retrieved and renovated after the looting of the museum following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, said Qais Rashid, who head the state-run Museum Department. The museum chronicles some 7,000 years of Mesopotamian civilization, including the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians, but remains closed to the general public out of security fears.

  • Russia checks more McDonald's after closing 3

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's food safety agency said Thursday that it was checking McDonald's restaurants around the country, a day after several branches of the chain were shuttered in Moscow. The pressure on the American chain, which has 435 restaurants in Russia, comes at a time of heightened tensions over the fighting in eastern Ukraine. After the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Russian state banks and major industries last month, Russia responded with a wide-ranging ban on food products imported from those countries. Inspections took place or were planned in dozens of regions, Russian news agencies reported, quoting regional representatives of the federal regulatory agency, Rospotrebnadzor.

  • Turkey's Davutoglu expected to be a docile premier

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hand-picked by president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan to succeed him as prime minister, is expected to accept a largely backseat role as his boss strives to make his new job the most powerful position in the land. But Davutoglu is known to be ambitious — and Turkey has seen cases in the past where presidents have tried and failed to control their prime ministers. Erdogan, who nominated Davutoglu Thursday to be premier, is counting that the 55-year-old continue to be the staunch loyalist he proved himself to be during Erdogan's long tenure as premier.

  • Amazon starts selling physical books in Brazil

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Online retailer Amazon has started selling physical books in Brazil, two years after it began selling books in digital format in Latin America's biggest country. In a statement posted on the company's website, CEO Jeff Bezos says Amazon's new service will offer more than 150,000 titles in Portuguese starting Thursday. Amazon started selling e-books in early 2012, with a catalog of 13,000 titles. Today more than 35,000 titles are available in Portuguese, along with the more than 2 million in other languages. Alexandre Szapiro is Amazon Brazil's vice president. He tells the G-1 news portal that by the end of the year, e-books will have a 5 percent share of the country's book market.