Top Stories


  • 8 killed in Finland parachutist plane accident

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    HELSINKI (AP) — Finnish officials say eight people died when a small plane carrying parachutists crashed to the ground and caught fire. Det. Supt. Petri Kangas said three people survived the accident Sunday after they parachuted from the aircraft above Jamijarvi airfield, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) east of the southwestern town of Pori. Kangas said investigators didn't know the cause of the accident but that "apparently some parts fell off the plane before it crashed." Police said the eight victims were found in the badly burned aircraft, a Comp Air 8 kit aircraft, popular among parachutists. Police said all 11 people on board were accounted for and that the three survivors were being treated for minor injur

  • Large wildfire in Dutch national park

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    EDE, Netherlands (AP) — A large wildfire destroyed at least 530 hectares (1,300 acres) in the Netherlands' Hoge Veluwe National Park on Sunday, one of the worst fires seen in the region for decades, Dutch authorities said. No injuries have been reported, according to Mayor Cees van der Knaap of the municipality of Ede, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Amsterdam, which oversees the park. Military helicopters and firefighters from surrounding provinces have been summoned to assist in combating the fire, which has been difficult to control because of strong winds. The park is home to the Kroeller-Mueller Museum, which houses a major collection of Impressionist art and 20th-century sculpture.

  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home. Well over 150,000 tourists — Romans and pilgrims, young and old — turned out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. So great were their numbers that they overflowed from sprawling St. Peter's Square, which was bedecked with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of blue hyacinths and bunches of white roses.

  • 4 French journalists home after long Syrian ordeal

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home Sunday to joyful families, a presidential welcome and questions about how France managed to obtain their freedom from Islamic extremists. Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres were freed Saturday by their kidnappers at the Turkish border. They were captured in two separate incidents last June. Francois recounted details of the captivity on Europe 1 radio, saying there were periods of "total isolation," numerous transfers to new locations and, sometimes, chains to guard against escape. The four were kidnapped in two separate incidents last June, and it was unclear how much time they spent together.

  • Dealer wanted in US for art fraud nabbed in Spain

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    MADRID (AP) — A Spanish businessman suspected of having dealt in millions of dollars of fake art has been arrested during Easter festivities in southern Spain, officials said Sunday. Art dealer Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, who is wanted for fraud in the United States, was arrested Friday at a luxury hotel in Seville. The Interior Ministry said he was so surprised by his arrest that he had to be attended by medical workers. Glafira Rosales, Bergantinos Diaz's partner, was arraigned in New York in August, accused of peddling counterfeit art for 15 years as undiscovered works by world-renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

  • New portrait unveiled for British queen's birthday

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by renowned British photographer David Bailey has been unveiled to mark the monarch's 88th birthday. The black-and-white photograph, taken at Buckingham Palace in March, shows the queen smiling broadly. Bailey described his subject as a "very strong woman" with "very kind eyes with a mischievous glint." The portrait, unveiled Sunday for the queen's birthday on Monday, was commissioned for a government campaign to promote Britain's heritage and tourism to potential visitors abroad. Britain's monarchy and royal history is one of the biggest drivers of its strong tourism industry. The queen celebrates two birthdays each year: Her actual one on Apr.

  • Pope's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi'

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The following is the text of the Vatican's official English-language translation of Pope Francis' Easter Sunday "Urbi et Orbi" (Latin for 'to the city and to the world') read by him in Italian from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. "Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter! The Church throughout the world echoes the angel's message to the women: "Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised . Come, see the place where he lay" (Mt 28:5-6). This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope.

  • Aesthetics-minded Americans decry Paris love locks

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Without love, what is Paris? And yet what is a trip to Paris without unfettered vistas of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre or Notre Dame from bridges over the River Seine? Concerns about scenery are clashing with sentimentality in this reputed City of Love over a profusion of padlocks hitched by lovers on bridges as symbols of everlasting "amour" — locks that some decry as an eyesore. Part of a global phenomenon, the craze has grown in Paris recently and now two American women who call Paris home have had enough. They've launched a petition to try to get the city's mostly laissez-faire officials to do something. City leaders say they're exploring alternatives.

  • Pope seeks to bring faith to "ends of the Earth"

    Yesterday

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the Earth" as he presided over an Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica. The vigil is among the Vatican's most solemn services. Francis entered the darkened basilica with a lone candle, which he then shared with others to slowly illuminate the church. The symbolic service commemorates the darkness of the faithful over the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and their joy and light at his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Francis urged the priests, bishops, cardinals and ordinary Catholics gathered for the late night service to remember when they first found their faith. "Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it?

  • Fiat and Chrysler to build 3 Jeep models in China

    Yesterday

    ROME (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler announced plans Saturday to build three new Jeep models in China for that market, the biggest for the vehicles outside the United States, as they attempt to boost sales in a country where they lag behind their competitors. The automakers said they will expand their joint venture with China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd., and increase the portfolio of Jeeps, which are currently imported to China. Production is expected to start in late 2015 in Guangzhou, the companies said in a statement, adding that they are considering a Jeep model "uniquely designed for China." Chrysler Group LLC spokesman Gualberto Ranieri declined to provide details on that model.

  • Man arrested over murder of ex-IRA leader

    Yesterday

    DUBLIN (AP) — Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man for questioning about the killing of a senior Irish Republican Army hard-liner. Police said Saturday the 26-year-old man was being questioned about the shooting of Tommy Crossan. Local residents say that gunmen escorted the 43-year-old Crossan to a fuel depot on Friday and shot him in the head and body at close range. Residents say a Catholic priest was called to give him the last rites. No group has claimed responsibility, but police and politicians accused Crossan's former group, the Continuity IRA, of following through on 2011 death threats against him.

  • Alleged fraudster visits Austrian police, arrested

    Yesterday

    VIENNA (AP) — A German sought by authorities for alleged fraud has been arrested in Austria — after dropping into a police station to ask officers whether he was under investigation. Police in Salzburg said the 59-year-old man walked into a police station in the city on Friday night. Spokesman Anton Schentz told the Austria Press Agency on Saturday the man told officers he just wanted to check that they had "nothing on him." Officers checked their records and found a recent arrest warrant from a Vienna court on four counts of fraud and embezzlement. Police say the man, whose name wasn't released, was taken to a Salzburg prison.

  • Student fought bureaucrats for Holocaust justice

    Yesterday

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Charlotte van den Berg was a 20-year-old college student working part-time in Amsterdam's city archives when she and other interns came across a shocking find: letters from Jewish Holocaust survivors complaining that the city was forcing them to pay back taxes and late payment fines on property seized after they were deported to Nazi death camps. How, the survivors asked, could they be on the hook for taxes due while Hitler's regime was trying to exterminate them? A typical response was: "The base fees and the fines for late payment must be satisfied, regardless of whether a third party, legally empowered or not, has for some time held the title to the building.

  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus

    Yesterday

    FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus (AP) — An unexpected moment during the Good Friday service in a long-abandoned church in Cyprus' breakaway north illustrated how religion is helping to bring together Christian Greek Cypriots and Muslim Turkish Cypriots on this ethnically divided island. It came when Turkish Cypriot Umit Inatci handed the key of the church of Agios Georgios Exorinos in the medieval center of Famagusta to the city's Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Vasilios, saying: "This is not gift, it's something that is surrendered to its owner." Rapturous applause greeted the announcement by Inatci, who helped make possible the first Holy Week service at the 14th-century church in nearly 60 years.

  • 4 French journalists held hostage in Syria freed

    Yesterday

    PARIS (AP) — France's presidential palace says four French journalists held hostage in Syria since June have been released. President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement he felt "immense relief" after learning Saturday of the release of Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres — all said to be in good health despite "very trying conditions" of their captivity. The Elysee Palace said the four would return to France in the coming hours, and it did not provide any details about the conditions of their release. The four went missing in two separate incidents in June. Press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders has called Syria "the most dangerous country in the world" for journalis

  • EU official against cutting Russia gas ties

    Yesterday

    BERLIN (AP) — A senior European Union official says he opposes cutting back gas ties with Russia in the next few years but the bloc should work on diversifying supplies. Russia is a major European gas supplier, and mounting tensions over Ukraine have raised concerns about possible disruption. In an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger conceded there's a risk of Russia cutting supplies to Ukraine, an important transit country, over unpaid bills. However, Oettinger was quoted Saturday as saying: "We agree that the gas sector should not be a priority in possible economic sanctions — whether on the European or Russian side.

  • Putin: no blocks to boosting relations with West

    Yesterday

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he sees no obstacles to improving relations with the West, which are fraught with tension over the Ukraine crisis. In an interview on state television shown Saturday, Putin was asked whether relations with the West would improve by the end of the year. "This doesn't depend on us, or not only on us. It depends on our partners," Putin said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "I consider that there is nothing that would impede normalization and normal cooperation," he said. The United States and the European Union have accused Russia of encouraging recent unrest in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia insurgents are occupying government buildings and police stat

  • Pensive pope at Good Friday Colosseum procession

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    ROME (AP) — Desperate migrants, suicidal failed business owners, battered women, torture victims and all people suffering in the world were remembered at a torch-lit Good Friday Way of the Cross procession presided over by Pope Francis at the Colosseum. With his head bowed and eyes often closed, Francis joined tens of thousands of faithful in listening to meditations read aloud in the ancient arena in downtown Rome. One meditation, read by Italian actress Virna Lisi, singled out the plight of child soldiers. Other readings recalled migrants who risk death in trying to reach the shores of affluent nations, women and children enslaved by human traffickers and inmates in overcrowded prisons.

  • Belfast IRA figure killed in splinter-group feud

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    DUBLIN (AP) — A senior Irish Republican Army hard-liner was shot to death Friday in Belfast three years after former comrades in his splinter group threatened to kill him. Residents say gunmen escorted the victim, 43-year-old Tommy Crossan, to a fuel depot overlooked by houses and shot him in the head and body at close range. He appeared to know he was about to be executed, a longstanding practice in IRA circles, and a Catholic priest was called to give the victim the Last Rites. While no group claimed responsibility, police and politicians blamed Crossan's former group, the Continuity IRA, of following through on 2011 death threats against him.

  • French President Hollande's top aide resigns

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — The French president's top adviser resigned Friday following allegations of a past conflict of interest, striking a new blow to the already unpopular Francois Hollande. Aquilino Morelle —Hollande's political adviser and head of his communication staff — had denied allegations by the news website Mediapart that his work for the government pharmaceutical regulator in 2007 while also lobbying for the drug industry was a conflict of interest. The report also criticized Morelle's supposed lavish lifestyle at a time when the government is making cuts in public spending. Hollande sought to distance himself from the new scandal, telling reporters while on a visit to Clermont-Ferrand "I am not the judge of wha