• China says concerned over Turkish religious complaints

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BEIJING (AP) — China expressed its displeasure Wednesday with Turkey's complaints about restrictions on worship and fasting by minority Chinese Uighur Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that Beijing had demanded that Ankara clarify the matter after the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said Turkey's "deep concerns" about the restrictions were relayed to the Chinese ambassador. "We have expressed concerns over the statement made by Turkish Foreign Ministry," Hua told reporters at a briefing. In a mildly worded statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the Turkish public was "saddened" by reports of the restrictions.

  • Abbas removes long-time critic from No. 2 position in PLO

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — An official says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has fired a long-time critic from the No. 2 job in the Palestine Liberation Organization in what is seen as his latest move to sideline potential rivals. Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO member, says Yasser Abed Rabbo was removed as PLO secretary general in a leadership meeting late Tuesday headed by Abbas, the organization's leader. Abed Rabbo has criticized Abbas' policies and leadership style. Abbas has alleged in closed-door meetings that Abed Rabbo is part of a group of Palestinian politicians trying to undermine him with financial support from the United Arab Emirates.

  • Israeli court rules Kafka works to go to National Library

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court has stripped an Israeli family of a collection of Franz Kafka manuscripts, ruling that they be transferred to the country's National Library. The court decided that the family, in possession of a trove of unpublished Kafka works, must hand them over to the library. The library says it plans to post them online so that unknown Kafka stories may emerge. The decision, made public in court documents released Wednesday, is the latest in a Kafkaesque courtroom saga. A lower court made the same ruling in 2012. Eva Hoffe received the manuscripts, among other works, from her mother, the secretary of Kafka confidant Max Brod, who kept and published Kafka's works after his death.

  • Armenia whacked by protests over electricity price hike

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Street protests in Armenia against a hike in electricity prices, which have been roiling the capital for nearly two weeks, are the most serious unrest the Caucasus nation has seen in years. The protests are continuing despite the president's decision to suspend the price rise. Armenia is allied closely with Russia, where some fear the protests could follow the pattern of massive demonstrations in Ukraine that swept a pro-Moscow president from power last year. The action organizers, however, describe it as a purely social protest and strongly deny affiliation with any political forces.

  • Russia-US ties alive and well at Iran nuclear talks

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    VIENNA (AP) — Russia-U.S. relations are at a post-Cold War low just about everywhere, except at the Iran nuclear talks. Despite a chill over the Ukraine crisis that has spread to almost every element of their relationship, Moscow and Washington find common cause on a pressing issue on the global agenda — a deal to prevent Iran from being able to make nuclear weapons. Officials credit each other with pragmatic proposals and good faith that transcends their broader differences. For the U.S. and Russia, failure to get an agreement carries the unappealing risk of American involvement in a new Mideast conflict. A former U.S. negotiator at the nuclear talks, Gary Samore, says getting an agreement is in Moscow's stra

  • IMF: Greece misses $1.8 billion loan payment

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest news on Greece's financial woes (all times local): ___ 1:21 a.m. The International Monetary Fund says Greece missed a $1.8 billion debt payment Tuesday, becoming the first developed country to default on a loan to the lending agency. Eurozone finance chiefs refused to grant a last-minute extension of the bailout program Greece has relied on for five years, and the Greek government couldn't come up with money on its own to pay the IMF. The IMF said its executive board would consider a Greek request to extend the loan. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called a referendum Sunday in which Greek voters can decide whether to approve a deal proposed by the country's credito

  • APNewsBreak: Tunisia beach killer trained with museum gunmen

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The student who massacred tourists in a Tunisian seaside resort trained in a jihadi camp in Libya at the same time as the two men who attacked a leading museum in March, a top security official said Tuesday, enforcing the notion of a link between the two assaults and raising fears of more attacks from an underground world clawing at this North African nation's budding democracy. Investigators were searching nationwide for accomplices in the attack that killed 38 tourists and questioning a handful recently detained. "It has been confirmed that the attacker trained in Libya with weapons at the same period as the Bardo attackers," said Rafik Chelli, the secretary of state for the Interior Ministry. "He cr

  • UN: World should be ashamed at failure to end Syria conflict

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday the world should be ashamed that three years after major powers approved a blueprint in Geneva to bring peace to Syria the suffering of its people is reaching new depths and the country is "on the brink of falling apart." The U.N. chief said more than 220,000 Syrians have died in the conflict, now in its fifth year, almost half the population has been forced to flee their homes, and civilians still face attacks by barrel bombs and "horrendous" human rights violations including torture and the prolonged detention of tens of thousands.

  • Yemen fighting allows 1,200 prisoners to flee

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Some 1,200 inmates fled a prison in Yemen on Tuesday after guards deserted their posts amid fierce fighting between Shiite rebels and their opponents, officials said. A security official said the jailbreak in the southwestern city of Taiz came after its main prison was caught in crossfire between southerners fighting for autonomy or outright independence and the rebels, known as Houthis, who are backed by army units loyal to a former president. It was the third major jailbreak since a Saudi-led air campaign against the rebels began on March 26. The Iran-backed rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, last September and control much of the country's north.

  • IS fighters stage surprise attack on key Syrian border town

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State fighters on Tuesday launched a surprise attack on a Syrian border town recently seized by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, taking positions in the eastern part of the town and waging fierce gun battles with its defenders, activists said. The attack on Tal Abyad resembled another surprise assault by the IS group last week on the border town of Kobani, where Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes had driven out the extremists in January. The two attacks brutally displayed the extremists' resilience and signaled a possible change in tactics following a string of defeats at the hands of Kurdish forces.

  • Egypt's president vows 'swift justice' after assassination

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed Tuesday to accelerate a crackdown on extremists and bring "swift justice" after the assassination of Egypt's chief prosecutor, raising the prospect of carrying out executions of senior Muslim Brotherhood figures, including the former president. Pounding his fist as he spoke at the funeral of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, who oversaw the cases against thousands of Islamists, el-Sissi's comments seemed to signal an even tougher campaign on the Brotherhood and other government opponents. Despite an international outcry against legal abuses and lack of due process, Egypt has waged a 2-year-old crackdown that has led to thousands of arrests, mass convictions and death sente

  • Israel deports Gaza flotilla activists

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has deported a group of pro-Palestinian activists, including a former Tunisian president, who tried to breach its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said among those sent home Tuesday was former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. Another 14 people on board the activist boat, which was peacefully intercepted early Monday, will be deported in the coming days. Gaza has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007, when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Pro-Palestinian activists have launched flotillas aimed at drawing attention to the blockade ever since.

  • France's Orange prepares possible split from Israeli partner

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — French telecommunications group Orange has reached a deal with its Israeli partner that could lead the way to their split, amid controversy and growing calls for companies to boycott Israel. An Orange spokesman insisted Tuesday that the company is not pulling out of Israel but rethinking its brand agreement with Israeli company Partner Communications. Orange said that the two companies reached an agreement that allows either of them to terminate the existing agreement. Orange would pay Partner up to 90 million euros ($100 million) if it's terminated within two years. Orange CEO Stephane Richard stoked anger last month by announcing he wanted to sever business ties with Israel.

  • Rights group says airstrikes in Yemen killed many civilians

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on Saada City in northern Yemen which is controlled by Shiite rebels killed dozens of civilians in an apparent violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday. The rights group said its investigators were able to visit Saada City on May 15-16 during a five-day humanitarian cease-fire and compile the names of 59 people killed in aerial attacks, including at least 35 children. It said satellite imagery showed over 210 impact locations in built-up areas consistent with aerial bombings.

  • Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli espionage. The expo was part of a conference promoting business partnerships between military and civilian industries. About two dozen Israeli companies — some of them founded by ex-intelligence officers — exhibited products used by militaries, police units and intelligence agencies in Israel and around the world. It was the first such display of Israeli-made surveillance products in a non-covert setting in Israel, said Ron Kitrey, a retired Israeli military intelligence official who chaired the

  • Angry protesters whitewash rainbow flag on West Bank barrier

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian protesters whitewashed a rainbow flag of gay rights that was painted by a Palestinian artist on six slabs of the West Bank separation barrier. The artist, Khaled Jarrar, said Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. But protesters perceived the painting as support for homosexuality, a taboo subject in Palestinian society, where gays are not tolerated.

  • Iran nuclear talks extended; Iranians meet key obligation

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    VIENNA (AP) — Pushing past a Tuesday deadline, world powers and Iran extended negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement by a week as the U.N. nuclear agency prepared to announce Tehran had met a key condition — significantly reducing its stocks of enriched uranium that could be used for atomic weapons. Iran's failure to comply would have severely undermined the negotiations, which are aimed at curbing the Iranians' nuclear program for a decade in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in relief from international economic sanctions The State Department announced the extra days of talks only hours before the expiration of the target date for their completion.

  • Jobs program needed for Syrian refugees, UN official says

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The head of the U.N. refugee agency in Jordan has called for jobs programs for Syrian refugees to deal with the fallout from the protracted Syria crisis and dwindling funding for aid programs. Andrew Harper spoke Tuesday, as the aid agency CARE International released findings showing that refugees in Jordan are slipping deeper into poverty amid cuts in international food and cash assistance. Harper says that "we can no longer work as we did in the past," and that one solution is to put refugees to work. Jordan has been reluctant to formalize refugee labor, fearing a rise in unemployment.

  • Israeli PM lashes out at Palestinian leadership in West Bank

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister criticized the Western-backed Palestinian leadership in the West Bank on Tuesday for not condemning a recent spate of attacks on Israelis. Benjamin Netanyahu spoke a day after a Palestinian woman stabbed a female Israeli paramilitary police officer in the neck, seriously wounding her. Later Monday evening, three Israelis were wounded in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank. One of the three succumbed to his wounds Tuesday, Shoham Rubio, a spokeswoman for Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem, said. Last week, there was a similar stabbing attack in Jerusalem and a shooting attack at a West Bank settlement, which killed an Israeli man.

  • Turkey fails to elect new speaker in initial voting

    Updated: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament has failed to elect its new speaker after two rounds of voting that were being watched for an early indication of the Turkish parties' strength in the coalition-building process. Ismet Yilmaz, the ruling party's candidate and the defense minister in the outgoing government, came first with 256 votes in both rounds Tuesday, short of the minimum 367 votes required. The speaker — who will lead Turkey's 550-seat parliament — is expected to be chosen in a final round of voting Wednesday when the candidate with the most votes will take the post. The ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party came first in Turkey's June 7 elections, taking 258 seats but losing its majori