• Turkey would oppose US arms transfers to Kurds

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    SURUC, Turkey (AP) — Turkey wouldn't agree to any U.S. arms transfers to Kurdish fighters who are battling Islamic militants in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Sunday, as the extremist group fired more mortar rounds near the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkey views the main Syrian Kurdish group, the PYD — and its military wing which is fighting IS militants — as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terror group by the U.S. and NATO. Washington has said recently that it has engaged in intelligence sharing with Kurdish fighters and officials have not ruled out future arms transfers to the Kurdish fighters. "The PYD is for us, equal to the P

  • Iran bans human rights lawyer from practicing law

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian court has banned a prominent human rights lawyer from practicing her profession for three years, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported Sunday. Nasrin Sotoudeh told ISNA that the Bar Association had been under pressure to cancel her license since she was released from jail last year. She said she had requested that the association delay any decision until the pressure diminished, without elaborating. She said she would not challenge the decision. "The Bar Association is my home and I will never appeal against my home," she said. Sotoudeh, a mother of two, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2011 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security.

  • Yemen's Shiite rebels take town south of capital

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's Shiite rebels captured a town south of the capital Sanaa early on Sunday, when they also blew up the home of a rival Islamist politician, security officials said. In Sanaa, the rebels, known as the Houthis, stormed the headquarters of the capital's local government. According to officials, the rebels chased out the governor, Abdul-Ghani Jameel, who they accuse of corruption. The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Sunday's developments reflected the growing strength of the Houthis, who overran Sanaa last month and captured a key Red Sea port city last week along with a province south of the capital.

  • Roadside bomb kills 7 in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — A roadside bomb in Egypt's restive northern Sinai province hit an army vehicle on Sunday, killing 7 troops including two officers and seriously wounding six others, officials said. The explosion ripped through the armored vehicle traveling south of el-Arish, the provincial capital, as it headed to a natural gas pumping station to comb it for suspected militant activities, the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has been a haven for Islamic militants, who have waged regular attacks against troops and security forces.

  • Low expectations as China considers legal reforms

    Yesterday

    BEIJING (AP) — The most important meeting of the year for the 205 members of China's ruling Communist Party's Central Committee, beginning Monday, will focus on how to rule the country in accordance with law. That has fed hopes that the party might move to respect the letter and spirit of the constitution, but some legal experts and political analysts say the country's leaders are intent on expanding power, not limiting it. There may be some efforts at the four-day plenum to discourage rampant corruption in low-level courts, they say, but the key goal will be to build a legal system that protects and strengthens the party's political dominance.

  • S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

    Yesterday

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Troops from the rival Koreas exchanged gunfire Sunday along their heavily fortified border in the second such shooting in less than 10 days, South Korean officials said. There were no reports of injuries or property damage, but the 10 minutes of shooting highlighted rising tensions between the divided countries. The Koreas' first exchange of gunfire came after North Korea opened fire at balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets that were floating across the border from the South. Sunday's shootout began after North Korea sent soldiers close to the border line. The move was an attempt by the North to increase worries in the South about what might happen if leafleting continues, analysts say.

  • Egypt officials say roadside bomb in restive Sinai Peninsula kills 7 troops

    Yesterday

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egypt officials say roadside bomb in restive Sinai Peninsula kills 7 troops.

  • Ukraine says Russia has agreed to supply gas

    Yesterday

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian president has said his country has reached an agreement with Russia on supplies of natural gas for the winter. When Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June over unpaid bills, it raised the risk that Ukraine would be left without heating during the coldest months of the year. It also raised fears that Russia could cut off flows to Europe if Ukraine began siphoning off gas from the pipelines crossing its territory, as has happened during past gas disputes. President Petro Poroshenko said in a television interview late Saturday that Russia has agreed to supply Ukraine with gas through March 31 at a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters. "I can say that Ukraine will have gas, Ukrai

  • Iraqi authorities lift curfew in Anbar capital

    Yesterday

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi authorities in the country's western Anbar province have lifted a curfew imposed Friday in the provincial capital of Ramadi over fears that the militants might try to advance on the city. Anbar provincial council chairman Sabah Karhout said Sunday that the curfew was lifted the previous day. Karhout says Islamic State militants continue to shell some neighborhoods with mortar rounds but have failed to seize additional territory in the city. The group has been making gains around Ramadi in recent weeks against the embattled Iraqi military, despite ongoing U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on the militants.

  • Gunmen kill 8 laborers in southwest Pakistan

    Yesterday

    QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani police officer says unknown gunmen have shot dead eight people and injured one in an insurgency-hit part of southwestern Pakistan. Senior police officer Bashir Brohi said Sunday the victims were laborers from eastern Punjab province who were abducted and shot while working in Baluchistan province's poultry industry. Two locals were released unharmed. Baluchistan is a sparsely populated province that is rich in mineral and gas resources province. Baloch nationalists are demanding a greater share of economic proceeds from the area, while separatist groups have unleased a low-scale insurgency seeking complete autonomy. They have targeted people from outside the province on several occa

  • Iraq lawmakers approve interior, defense ministers

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers approved Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's remaining Cabinet nominees on Saturday, including for the critical defense and interior portfolios, completing the formation of a government that will strive to push the Islamic State extremist group out of the sprawling territory it has seized in recent months. Control over the two powerful security ministries has long been a source of tension among Iraq's feuding political factions. The U.S. and other allies have been pushing for a more representative government that can reach out to Sunnis, who felt marginalized by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

  • Palestinian leader calls settlers "herd of cattle"

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian president says his people should guard a Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims against visiting Jews, who he referred to as a "herd of cattle." Mahmoud Abbas' fiery rhetoric Saturday follows comments he made the previous day that Jews should be banned from visiting the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Palestinian demonstrators have recently clashed with Israeli forces over what Palestinians see as Jewish encroachment on the site. The site is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Israel maintains that it allows free prayer to all but Palestinians claim Israel is unilaterally widening access to accomm

  • Iran says number of foreign tourists surges

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The number of foreigners visiting Iran jumped dramatically over the 12-month period ending in March, with 35 percent more tourists compared to the same period a year earlier, Iran's top tourism official said Saturday. Masoud Soltanifar said on state TV that the thriving industry could help boost Iran's economy out of recession and bring in much-needed hard currency. He said 4.5 million foreign tourists that came to the Islamic Republic over the period, bringing in some $6 billion in revenue. He attributed the increase to the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani, who has shifted away from the bombastic style adopted under his hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rouhani, who has advocated for

  • US-led strike kills 8 in IS-held Syria town

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    MURSITPINAR, Turkey (AP) — A U.S.-led coalition airstrike on a gas distribution facility in a stronghold of the Islamic State group set off a series of secondary explosions and killed at least eight people in eastern Syria, activists said Saturday. The airstrike targeted a distribution station in the town of Khasham in the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour late Friday, Deir el-Zour Free Radio, an activist collective, said on its Facebook page. The collective named four of those killed and said another four charred bodies were placed in a nearby mosque. It said the slain men were mostly fuel tanker drivers. Another activist group, the Deir el-Zour Network, described "long tongues of flames" from the strike.

  • Yemen's rebels attack home of Islamist, 12 killed

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's empowered Shiite rebels attacked the home of a rival Islamist politician south of the capital on Saturday, setting off clashes that left 12 people dead, security officials said, adding that the politician was not home at the time. The officials said Shiite rebels and allied fighters attacked the home of a local politician from the rival Islamist Islah party, killing two of his relatives in the town of Yarim, an Islamist stronghold in the Ibb province south of Sanaa. The ensuing clashes left eight rebel fighters and two bystanders dead. Another four rebels were killed when a roadside bomb struck a convoy bringing reinforcements to a battle with Sunni conservative tribesmen raging in both Yarim and

  • 3 Egyptian troops killed in border tunnel collapse

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — At least three Egyptian troops died when a smuggling tunnel on the border with the Gaza Strip collapsed on them as they were investigating it on Saturday, a military official said. Rescuers recovered the bodies of an officer and two soldiers, and were looking for a fourth body in the rubble. Another soldier was injured in the collapse, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief journalists. Egypt's military has been sealing hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border because authorities believe they are used to smuggle weapons into the restive Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic militants routinely carry out attacks on soldiers and police.

  • Turkish prosecutors drop corruption probe

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish prosecutors dropped a bribery and corruption investigation that forced four government ministers to step down earlier in the year, drawing criticism on Saturday from an international graft watchdog which said the case should have been followed through to counter allegations that powerful politicians are able to act with impunity. Prosecutors in Istanbul ruled Friday that there were no grounds for legal action against 53 suspects, including the sons of two former government ministers and a prominent Iranian businessman, who were suspected of bribery and corruption in a case that shook the country in December, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

  • Sudan could be arming S. Sudan rebels, says report

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Sudan's government plans to increase military assistance to rebels in South Sudan, which could prolong the south's civil war and return the region to a wider conflict, according to a leaked document. Sudan will provide tanks and artillery and share intelligence with rebels fighting South Sudan's government, according to the minutes of a high-level meeting of security and military officials in Khartoum, that a top American expert on Sudan has concluded are real. South Sudan — which broke away from Sudan in 2011 after a peaceful vote for independence — has had an internal conflict since last December between supporters of the government and former Vice President Riek Machar. Thousands have been kille

  • Iraq lawmakers approve nominees for interior, defense ministers amid Islamic State group fight

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq lawmakers approve nominees for interior, defense ministers amid Islamic State group fight.

  • Lebanon pulled into war with Islamic State group

    Updated: Sat, Oct 18, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — With all eyes on the Islamic State group's onslaught in Iraq and Syria, a less conspicuous but potentially just as explosive front line with the extremists is emerging in Lebanon, where Lebanese soldiers and Shiite Hezbollah guerrillas are increasingly pulled into deadly fighting with the Sunni militants along the country's border with Syria. The U.S.