• BP signs $12B deal to develop Egypt gas field

    Updated: 36 min ago

    CAIRO (AP) — The U.K.-based energy company BP has signed agreements worth $12 billion to develop a major gas field in Egypt, which has been trying to attract foreign investment after four years of unrest. BP said in a statement Friday that the investment is "a vote of confidence in Egypt's investment climate." The West Nile Delta project aims to produce 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and 55 million barrels of condensate. Production is expected to begin in 2017 and reach up to 1.2 billion cubic feet a day, or about 25 percent of Egypt's current production. BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley says the project is his company's "largest foreign direct investment in Egypt.

  • Tajik opposition figure shot dead in Turkey

    Updated: 44 min ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A businessman and opposition figure from the former Soviet nation of Tajikistan has been killed with a single shot to the head in Istanbul after dining with a friend, Turkish media reports said Friday. Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said Umarali Kuvvatov was killed by the friend in the street in Istanbul's Fatih district late Thursday after the two got into an argument. The private Dogan news agency, however, said Kuvvatov was shot by an unknown person. Dogan said Kuvvatov's wife and children were taken to a hospital by ambulance suffering from shock. Radio Ozodi, the Tajik service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, cited its own sources as saying Turkish police had detained a Kuvvatov acquai

  • Iraqi forces push on to Tikrit as IS destroys ancient site

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi forces pressed their offensive against the Islamic State group Friday, expecting to reach the outskirts of the militant-held city of Tikrit, a day after the extremists reportedly "bulldozed" a famed archaeological site in the area. In Paris, the head of the U.N.'s cultural agency said the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage — such as the latest rampage at Iraq's archaeological site of Nimrud — amounts to a "war crime." The discovery of the treasures of Nimrud's royal tombs in the 1980s is considered one of the 20th century's most significant archaeological finds. It dates back almost 3,000 years and has been compared to King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt.

  • EU slaps new sanctions on Syria regime backers

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has stepped up its sanctions against Syria in response to the crackdown by President Bashar Assad's regime. EU Council headquarters said in a statement Friday that it had slapped travel bans on seven more people, and frozen both their assets and the assets of six more "entities" — usually banks, institutions or companies. No details of who was covered by the action were released. They will be made public when the sanctions are published in the EU's official journal on Saturday. The statement said that "as the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, the Council has reinforced EU restrictive measures against sponsors of the Syrian regime.

  • Road accident east of Egyptian capital kills 15 people

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian police official says a road accident on a highway east of Cairo has killed 15 people. Police chief of Sharqiya province, Meligi Meligi, says Friday's accident happened when a bus collided with a microbus, both carrying commuters along the Ismailia-Cairo highway. Ambulances rushed to the crash scene to take the injured to hospital and remove the bodies of those killed. The police chief says the crash was caused by speeding. Deadly road accidents claim thousands of lives in Egypt every year. They are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or lack of regular vehicle maintenance. Road accidents killed about 13,000 people in Egypt in 2013.

  • Palestinian assailant injures 5 Israelis in car attack

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian assailant rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedestrians near an Israeli police station in east Jerusalem on Friday, injuring four officers and a bystander, and lunged at security guards with a knife before being shot and wounded, the police said. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri described the assault as a "terror attack." The attacker first plowed onto the curb next to an Israeli paramilitary border police station in east Jerusalem, hitting three border policewomen and lightly injuring them, Samri said. He then charged forward, hitting another policewoman and an Israeli man. A border police officer and a security guard fired at the vehicle from the entrance to the station, she added.

  • UNESCO decries destruction of ancient site in Nimrud, Iraq

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — The head of the U.N.'s cultural agency says the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage like that at an archaeological site in Nimrud, Iraq, amounts to a "war crime." UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova appealed in a statement Friday to people around the world — "especially youth" — to protect "the heritage of the whole of humanity." The Iraqi government says Islamic State militants "bulldozed" the renowned archaeological site of the ancient city in northern Iraq with heavy military vehicles on Thursday. Bokova denounced "this cultural chaos" and said she had alerted both U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

  • In Turkey, criticizing the president can land you in jail

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    ISTANBUL (AP) — There's no monarch in democratic Turkey — but you might not know it watching the news these days. It has become as easy to get jailed for offending the country's paramount leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as it is in countries where lese majeste laws forbid insults to royals. The trend alarms many people who have harbored hope for Turkey as a beacon of Western-style government in the Islamic world. Take the case of former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac. Last year, the beauty queen posted a seemingly innocuous poem on her Instagram site. The verses, a satirical adaptation of the Turkish national anthem, did not mention Erdogan by name, but alluded to a corruption scandal that involved his family.

  • Al-Qaida's Syria branch confirms death of field commander

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate is confirming that its top field commander has been killed in an airstrike. A spokesman for the Nusra Front was quoted on a prominent militant website Friday as saying the group's "military commander" Abu Hommam al-Shami was killed a day earlier when an airstrike targeted a meeting in the western Syrian province of Idlib. Syria's state news agency and Syrian activists abroad first reported the death on Thursday. The website says three other people — two of them bodyguards for al-Shami — also died. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that several prominent Nusra leaders were killed. It remained unclear who conducted the airstrike.

  • Emirates forges special relationship with el-Sissi's Egypt

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — This small Gulf nation, known for its soaring skyscrapers and mercantile bent, is making itself into the most stalwart ally of the Arab world's biggest country. The United Arab Emirates has pumped billions of dollars into Egypt and is lining up investors to try to stabilize its damaged economy, while building military cooperation. In their deepening relationship, an economically exhausted Egypt benefits from the UAE's finances, and the U.S.-allied Emirates gets a heavyweight with extensive manpower on its side in a region deeply unstable with threats of militant violence and Iranian expansion.

  • Iraq says Islamic State militants 'bulldozed' ancient site

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants "bulldozed" the renowned archaeological site of the ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq on Thursday using heavy military vehicles, the government said. A statement from Iraq's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities didn't elaborate on the extent of the damage, saying only that the group continues to "defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity" with this latest act, which came after an attack on the Mosul museum just days earlier. The destruction of the site of one of ancient Mesopotamia's greatest cities recalled the Taliban's annihilation of large Buddha statues in Afghanistan more than a dozen years ago, experts said. Nimrud was the second capital of Assyria, an a

  • Turkish minister urges fight against extremists in Syria

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The world never had a plan to end the worsening Syrian conflict, Turkey's prime minister said Thursday. Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference that all countries should fight the Islamic State group but also keep Syria's government from committing "war crimes" in Aleppo, Syria's largest city. He warned that if the attacks in Aleppo continue, "there may be hundreds of thousands of refugees approaching to Turkey," which already hosts two million Syrians who have fled. Davutoglu praised the plan for a freeze in fighting in Aleppo recently proposed by U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura but said the Syrian government wasn't keeping its promises.

  • Ex-wife of Argentine prosecutor says he was killed

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The former wife of a prosecutor whose mysterious death has rocked Argentina said Thursday a team of experts she hired concluded that her former husband was killed and his body moved to the bathroom where he was found dead. Alberto Nisman "was a victim of homicide, without any doubt," said Sandra Arroyo Salgado, who had two daughters who are still minors with the late prosecutor. Authorities have said they are investigating the possibility of suicide or homicide. Nisman was found dead with a bullet in his head in his bathroom Jan. 18.

  • US draft urges UN to condemn use of chlorine in Syria

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States has circulated a draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council that condemns the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in Syria without assigning blame, while threatening militarily enforced action in the case of further violations. The council will vote on it Friday morning. The draft obtained Thursday by The Associated Press follows last month's condemnation by the world's chemical weapons watchdog of the use of chlorine in Syria as a breach of international law. While its fact-finding mission concluded "with a high degree of confidence" that chlorine was used on three villages in Syria last year, killing 13 people, the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of

  • Netanyahu's Iran speech gains tacit support in Saudi Arabia

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fiery speech this week before the U.S. Congress, in which he argued against an emerging nuclear deal with Iran, has received tacit support from an unlikely quarter -- Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Sunni kingdom views Shiite Iran as a regional rival that is perhaps even more menacing than Israel. That was clear in a string of columns this week published in Saudi state-linked media, which is widely seen as reflecting official views and mainstream thought in the kingdom, and which voiced skepticism of President Barack Obama's efforts to broker a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran.

  • Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — The military commander of al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate was killed Thursday in an explosion targeting a meeting of senior militants in northern Syria which also killed and wounded a number of other fighters. State-run news agency SANA said Abu Hommam al-Shami was killed in a military operation carried out by the Syrian army that targeted a Nusra Front meeting in the village of Habeet, in the northern Idlib province. It did not elaborate, but the report suggested he was killed in an airstrike. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that a number of prominent leaders, including Abu Hommam, were killed when a Nusra Front leadership meeting was targeted. It said it was not clear

  • PLO calls for ending security coordination with Israel

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A top body in the Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday called for ending security coordination with Israel — a step that could further escalate tensions. It is not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will implement the resolution by the PLO's Central Council. Since the beginning of the year, both sides have taken retaliatory steps. In January, Abbas sought membership in the International Criminal Court, paving the way for possible war crimes charges against Israel. In response, Israel withheld tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority. Activists in Abbas' Fatah movement countered by enforcing a boycott of goods made by Israeli food companies.

  • Libya says 11 oil fields non-operational after IS attacks

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's state-run oil corporation has declared 11 oil fields in the country non-operational after attacks by suspected Islamic State militants, opting for a force majeure clause that exempts the state from contractual obligations. The National Oil Corporation blamed Islamist-backed authorities in the capital Tripoli for failing to protect the oil fields. The statement, issued late Wednesday, said "theft, looting, sabotage and destruction" of the oil fields have been on the rise despite pleas for the authorities to ensure the safety of Libya's oil installations.

  • UN: Almost half a million people in Darfur displaced in 2014

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A new report from the U.N. secretary-general says nearly half a million people were displaced in Darfur last year, the highest number in a decade for the chaotic region of western Sudan. Ban Ki-moon's latest update on Darfur comes as the U.N. begins meeting with Sudanese officials on plans for an exit strategy for the 20,000-plus peacekeeping mission. Tensions have been high between the U.N. and Sudan, especially over a Human Rights Watch-documented mass rape of more than 220 women and girls in a Darfur village last year. The report blamed Sudanese army troops, while Sudan said its own investigation found not "a single case of rape." Ban's report, posted online Thursday, says he deeply regrets th

  • Egypt to offer projects worth $35 billion during conference

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt plans to offer some 50 projects valued at up to $35 billion at an international investment conference later this month, officials said Thursday, as the country looks to revive an economy battered by four years of unrest. Some 1,700 international investors, executives, government officials, financiers and experts have registered to attend the three-day conference beginning March 13 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, International Cooperation Minister Naglaa al-Ahwani said at a press conference Thursday. In the years of turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, growth rates have sunk to around 2 percent, leaving the government with a budget deficit hovering around 12 percent.