• The Latest: Iraqi forces fire tear gas at protesters

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on anti-government protests in Iraq (all times local): 6:40 p.m. Iraqi security forces have fired tear gas on protesters at one of the entrances to the Green Zone as hundreds of supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr continue to stream into the highly fortified government compound. Associated Press reporters at the scene say thousands of protesters have entered the Green Zone since breaching the walls and storming parliament earlier on Saturday. The heavily guarded area is home to most government ministries and foreign embassies.

  • Iran's moderates emerge from runoff with most seats

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian moderates and reformists who support President Hassan Rouhani and last year's landmark nuclear deal have failed to secure a majority after parliamentary runoff elections but the bloc will retain the highest number of seats, followed by hard-liners and independents. State TV announced the results for all of the remaining 68 contested seats on Saturday, the day after the runoff was held. The new assembly, which will convene next month, will be far friendlier to Rouhani, but his supporters will have to ally with independents -- whose views vary depending on the issue -- in order to push through legislation.

  • Iraqi protesters breach Green Zone, storm parliament

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Hundreds of protesters climbed over the blast walls surrounding Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone for the first time on Saturday and stormed into parliament, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. The breach marked a major escalation in the country's political crisis following months of anti-government protests, sit-ins and demonstrations by supporters of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Green Zone is home to most ministries and foreign embassies and has long been the focus of al-Sadr's criticism of the government. Earlier Saturday, al-Sadr accused Iraqi politicians of blocking political reforms aimed at combating corruption and waste.

  • 20 Egyptians get life in prison over 2013 storming of jail

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has sentenced 20 people to life in prison for storming a prison in the Suez Canal city of Port Said in January 2013. In his Saturday ruling, Judge Mohammed Saeed Cherbany of Port Said Criminal Court said the defendants had been "backing evil people in the execution of the crime." Thirty other defendants were sentenced to prison terms of 10 or five years. The verdicts will be appealed. The case stems from a riot that ensued after a court issued death sentences to people allegedly involved in Egypt's worst ever soccer violence at a match in 2012. The soccer violence killed 72 people. The verdict the following year sparked riots, and police opened fire into the crowds. Some 42 people were k

  • Holy fire ceremony in Jerusalem draws thousands

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Christians have gathered in Jerusalem for an ancient fire ceremony that celebrates Jesus' resurrection. In a ritual dating back at least 1,200 years, they crowded Saturday into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. During the annual ceremony, top Eastern Orthodox clerics enter the Edicule, the small chamber marking the site of Jesus' tomb. They then emerge to reveal candles said to be miraculously lit with "holy fire" as a message to the faithful from heaven. The details of the flame's source are a closely guarded secret. Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Easter in March, in accordance with the Gregor

  • Air strikes on Aleppo amid calm in other parts of Syria

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government warplanes and helicopter gunships launched new airstrikes Saturday on insurgent-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo. The fresh violence comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the intensification of fighting brings millions of people closer to a humanitarian disaster. Contested Aleppo, Syria's largest city and former commercial center, has been the scene of intense shelling and air raids over the past nine days that killed nearly 250 civilians according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The surge in fighting has caused the collapse of a two-month cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia.

  • Educated migrants have edge as Germany aims for integration

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — Wafaa Askar arrived in Germany barely a year and a half ago from her Syrian homeland, but she already speaks German fluently and counts more Germans than Syrians as friends. Orhan Sahin arrived from Turkey more than three decades ago, but still feels like a foreigner and speaks in broken German. The difference? Education. Based on previous waves of immigration, experts say that the best indicator of whether someone will fit into society is their level of education — the higher, the better. That trend bodes well for many of Europe's newest residents even as many arrivals from long ago struggle to integrate.

  • Turkish airstrikes target Kurdish rebels overnight

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    ISTANBUL (AP) — The Turkish military says it conducted overnight airstrikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey. The nearly three-hour bombing blitz targeted areas of Avasin, Hakurk and Qandil, the Iraqi stronghold of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Turkish planes also carried out raids in the southeastern province of Sirnak, Turkey. An army statement carried by the state-owned Anadolu Agency on Saturday said several bunkers and depots were destroyed. Turkey, along with its U.S. and European Union allies, designates the PKK as a terrorist organization. The PKK has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state that has left 40,000 dead.

  • IS claims responsibility for Baghdad bombing that killed 21

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing Saturday east of Baghdad, according to a statement posted on an IS-affiliated website. The attack killed at least 21 people and wounded at least 42 others, according to Iraqi police and hospital officials. The IS statement described the attack as a three-ton truck bombing. The attack targeted Shiite civilians shopping in an open-air market selling fruit, vegetables and meat in Nahrawan, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry. The IS statement and initial reports from local officials at the scene claimed the bombing targeted Shiite pilgrims walking to Baghdad's holy Kadhimiyah shrine. "It was not a road for people walking toward Kadhimiyah," said Brig

  • Saudi forces kill 2 militants after failed car-bombing

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry says security forces have killed two militants before they were able to detonate a car bomb in the southwestern town of Bisha. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency late Friday that security forces tried to stop two cars but the drivers fled and took refuge in nearby mountains before one of the cars exploded. Al-Turki said the two continued firing at security forces, but were eventually killed with the help of a helicopter gunship.

  • Rising violence kills over 200 in a week in Syria's Aleppo

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian army and rebels unleashed deadly new attacks on each other Friday in Aleppo, with insurgents shelling a mosque during weekly prayers and government airstrikes hitting opposition neighborhoods in escalating bloodshed the U.N. decried as a "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties." More than 200 people have been killed in eight days of mounting violence in and around the contested northern city, including 15 at the Malla Khan mosque hit by rebel rockets and another 10 from the government warplanes and helicopters, officials said. The surge in fighting has caused the collapse of a two-month cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia.

  • At the Vatican, Biden seeks common cause with pope on cancer

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden found common cause with Pope Francis on Friday at the Vatican for a global commitment to fund cancer research. Biden spoke at a conference on regenerative medicine and ended up sharing the stage with the pope, who used his own speech to decry a profit-driven medical research system. With light streaming through stained glass into an ornate auditorium, the pope called for empathy for the sick and communal guarantees that all have access to care. "Research, whether in academia and industry, requires unwavering attention to moral issues if it is to be an instrument which safeguards human life and the dignity of the person," the pope said.

  • Thousands march in Yemen to call for cease-fire

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Friday to call for an end to the fighting in the country's conflict. In the city of Taiz, thousands marched after prayers, residents said. The city has been besieged for months by rebels, known as Houthis, who residents and aid groups say have been indiscriminately shelling Taiz and blocking humanitarian aid deliveries. "We seek to draw the attention of the international community," said demonstrator Mahyoob al-Khalidi, urging the rebels to adopt a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire. "The resolution is as obvious as the sun: stop the war and have the usurpers withdraw from the cities and hand over their weapons," he added.

  • Iran votes in parliamentary runoff as rare shooting wounds 4


    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in the country's parliamentary runoff elections, a key poll that will decide how much power allies of moderate President Hassan Rouhani will have in the next legislature after the landmark nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani continues to have popular support after the deal, its promised economic effects have yet to trickle down to the Islamic Republic's 80 million people, something hard-liners have belabored in the time since. That political tension, once only reflected in newspaper columns and angry speeches, boiled over into rare political violence Friday that saw four people wounded in a shooting in a rural region of the country's Fars province.

  • The Latest: MSF says Syria hospital bombing killed 50


    BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria's civil war (all times local): 6:30 p.m. The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says the death toll from the bombing of a hospital and nearby buildings in Aleppo in Syria has risen to 50, including 6 medical staff and patients. The organization, also known by its French acronym MSF, says in a Friday statement that the bombing a day earlier of Quds hospital, in a rebel-held neighborhood of the city, destroyed one of the last remaining places in Aleppo in which "you could still find humanity." MSF warned that the 250,000 residents in the rebel-held parts of Aleppo are in danger of being completely cut off and left without medical care.

  • Pilgrims trace Jesus' footsteps on Good Friday in Jerusalem


    JERUSALEM (AP) — Greek-Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox pilgrims are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by following the path in Jerusalem's Old City where, according to tradition, he walked on the way to the cross. The Good Friday procession passes along the Way of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa, the route believed to have been walked by Jesus to his crucifixion. Pilgrims from around the world chanted prayers and carried crosses as they walked the 14 stations along the route, each marking an event that befell Jesus on his final journey. The final stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and laid to rest before his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

  • Jordan lifts ban on performance by popular Lebanese band


    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan is permitting a popular Lebanese rock band to perform, lifting an earlier ban imposed amid claims the group's songs promoting religious and sexual freedom violate local customs and religious beliefs. Khalid Abu Zeid, a regional politician who initially announced the ban against "Mashrou Leila," or Leila's Project, said in a new statement that "we don't mind if this concert takes place." He didn't elaborate. The indie band, known for songs about controversial subjects, says the reversal comes too late for the Jordan show to take place as scheduled on Friday. The initial ban sparked criticism of Jordan, which presents itself as an island of relative tolerance in a turbulent region where relig

  • Islamic State group claims bomb attack on Saudi police


    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in eastern Saudi Arabia that officials say wounded an officer on patrol. Police said early Friday that the attack caused a "minor injury" to the police officer. It took place on Thursday night in the country's predominantly Shiite east. Five vehicles were damaged. A post on a website known to be used by Islamic State sympathizers claimed the attack and said militants carried out other assaults in the area. The police's statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, did not mention any other attack. An Islamic State affiliate in Saudi Arabia has claimed a series of attacks and suicide bombings.

  • Germany worries migrants will try to reach Europe from Libya


    BERLIN (AP) — German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has told reporters the government is concerned that an increasing number of migrants will try to reach Europe this summer by crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. De Maiziere and his Austrian counterpart, Walter Sobotka, met Friday, and both ministers said that Italy needs to do more to protect its southern sea border. With the flow of people across the eastern Mediterranean slowing sharply due to the NATO patrols and an EU agreement to return illegal migrants to Turkey, officials say it is likely that those trying to reach Europe will increasingly try to set off from Libya again. The route has seen a number of mass drownings over the past year of migrants

  • Residents of Iraq's IS-held Fallujah suffer under siege


    BAGHDAD (AP) — Abu Jassim can only afford to provide one meal a day for his seven-member family — usually a stew made of locally grown leafy green vegetables or rice with a small portion of flat bread. "We are experiencing the agony of starvation for the first time in our life," said Abu Jassim, a 52-year-old grocer and resident of the besieged Islamic State-held city of Fallujah. In reality, nobody seems to be starving in Fallujah just yet. But medical officials say malnutrition is on the rise and vital medical supplies are running out. Since August, Iraqi government troops have tightened their grip around Fallujah — under IS control since the early days of 2014 — and have prevented the entry of food and medici