• Saudi king reaffirms commitment to hajj after Iran criticism

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Salman said Monday that "irresponsible comments" and criticism of the kingdom's management of the hajj will not affect his country's oversight of the annual Islamic pilgrimage. It was the king's first official response to denunciations by regional rival Iran, which has questioned Saudi Arabia's custodianship of the hajj following a deadly crush Sept. 24 that killed at least 1,480 pilgrims, according to an Associated Press count based on official statements from nations whose citizens died. Iran's death toll of 465 is the highest announced by any country thus far. Egypt's Foreign Ministry on Monday said the death toll among Egyptians has climbed to 181, with 53 still missing.

  • AP Interview: EU climate boss says emissions cuts not enough

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Europe's climate chief has acknowledged for the first time that climate pledges made by national governments ahead of a major U.N. conference fall short of meeting the international goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said the EU's projections show the current pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions would put world on a path toward 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming. That's a level that scientists say could result in dangerous changes in the Earth's climate system, such as rising seas flooding coastal areas and small island nations.

  • Nigeria raises toll to 99 killed in hajj stampede near Mecca

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — An official says the number of Nigerians killed in the Saudi hajj stampede has risen to 145. Spokesman Uba Mana of the Nigerian Hajj Commission said Nigerian officials have found dozens of citizens in searching through corpses at morgues near the scene of the Sept. 24 disaster in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca. He said 165 Nigerians remain missing and seven are hospitalized with injuries. Mana, who spoke by telephone on Monday, said bodies are being buried in Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials have said 769 were killed, a figure they used when Nigeria first reported 64 citizens dead. An Associated Press count has at least 1,551 killed.

  • Hezbollah holds funeral for senior commander killed in Syria

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group held a funeral Monday for a senior commander who was killed in Syria while fighting along government forces against insurgents. Hassan Hussein al-Haj was killed last week in Syria, where the Shiite movement has sent thousands of fighters to back President Bashar Assad's forces. Hezbollah has lost hundreds of fighters in Syria since it openly joined the war in 2013. Hundreds of people marched in the streets of the southern Lebanese village of Loueizeh as scouts in blue uniforms carried red religious flags and a poster of al-Haj. Supporters carried Al-Haj's coffin, draped in a yellow Hezbollah flag. His two daughters, dressed in black, cried as they held portraits of him.

  • Iran says Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian convicted

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist who has been detained in Iran for more than a year on charges including espionage, has been convicted, according to Iran's judiciary spokesman in a ruling the newspaper blasted Monday as "an outrageous injustice." Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi confirmed the verdict in comments aired on state TV late Sunday night but gave no indication of what punishment the 39-year-old Iranian-American journalist could face. The ruling is eligible for appeal within 20 days, Ejehi said. "He has been convicted, but I don't have the details," Ejehi said. In its report, Iranian state TV called Rezaian an "American spy." He reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison.

  • Russia arrests IS-linked suspects who plotted terror attack

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Highlighting a new terror threat to Russia raised by its air campaign in Syria, security officials said Monday they have thwarted a planned attack on Moscow public transport system by militants trained by the Islamic State group. Sunday's arrest of several terror suspects — some of whom, intelligence officials say, were trained by IS in Syria — has brought back memories of the string of deadly bombings that struck the Russian capital just a few years ago. President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged the new danger, but insisted that launching the Russian airstrikes in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's army was necessary to fight IS and other militant groups before they pose an even bigger security ch

  • Official: Kuwait to produce 4M barrels of oil daily by 2020

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait's oil minister says his country still plans to produce 4 million barrels of oil a day by 2020, even as global crude prices have slumped. Ali Al-Omair made the comments Monday at an oil and gas conference in the capital, Kuwait City. The state-run Kuwait News Agency also quoted al-Omair as saying Kuwait's production now stood at 3 million barrels of oil a day and that any U.S. decision to export crude oil wouldn't have an impact on Kuwait. Meanwhile, KUNA quoted the CEO of the Kuwait Oil Co., Nizar al-Adsani, as saying Kuwait may import natural gas from Iraq and Iran to power its electricity plants.

  • Anger as new migrants sent to tiny Dutch village

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    ORANJE, Netherlands (AP) — In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortman's garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude.

  • Indonesia tries 7 suspected militants over IS links

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia began trials Monday of seven men on charges of conspiring with terrorists and recruiting for militant groups in the Mideast, including the Islamic State, which has an estimated hundreds of Indonesians as members. The government has outlawed the Islamic State group and spoken forcefully against it, as have mainstream religious groups in the world's largest Muslim nation. One fear is that militants who travel abroad will return home and conduct terrorist acts in Indonesia. The West Jakarta District Court began separate trials for Ahmad Junaedi, Ridwan Sungkar, Helmi Muhammad Alamudi and Abdul Hakim, as well as two others who helped them go to Syria to join Islamic State jihadists.

  • EU aviation agency issues safety note over Caspian missiles

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a safety bulletin to airlines and authorities regarding Iranian and Iraqi airspace after Russian warships in the Caspian Sea last week fired cruise missiles toward Syria. EASA said in a bulletin dated Friday that "before reaching Syria, such missiles are necessarily crossing the airspace above (the) Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq, below flight routes" used by commercial aircraft. The agency says it has no specific recommendations at this point and was issuing the bulletin to inform airspace users about the potential hazard. EASA said it will be amended "if more specific information is received" about the situation.

  • Jailed sons of deposed Egypt autocrat Mubarak to be freed

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court ordered the release of the sons of deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak on Monday, taking into account time already served on a corruption conviction. The Cairo criminal court ordered the release of Gamal, Mubarak's one-time heir apparent, and his brother Alaa, a wealthy businessman, after they were sentenced in May to three years' prison each in a corruption case dubbed the "presidential palaces" affair by the Egyptian media. The two were first detained in April 2011 — two months after their father stepped down during a popular uprising against his three decades' rule, but were freed in January on bail before being convicted in May along with their father, who remains held in a military hospital.

  • The Latest: UN official says migrants need new legal options

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Developments as tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in their homelands embark on a quest to seek safety in Europe. All times local. ___ 2:40 p.m. The United Nations' top official for refugees says European Union plans to take in about 160,000 migrants are insufficient, and is urging Europe to provide asylum-seekers with legal immigration options. Antonio Guterres said the relocation program is a starting point but not enough. Speaking in Athens, he called for the EU to accept more refugees, and expand beyond Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans. More than 500,000 refugees or economic migrants have entered Europe this year, four-fifths of whom paid to be smuggled by sea to Gre

  • NATO chief accuses Russia of prolonging war in Syria

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has accused Russia of prolonging the war in Syria by supporting President Bashar Assad and calls on Moscow to join the fight against Islamic State militants. Stoltenberg says Russia's violation of Turkish and NATO airspace is unacceptable and that the alliance is worried about Russia's "substantial military build-up, its air strikes and its cruise missile attacks" in the Middle East. Noting that many countries in the region and NATO allies are participating in the U.S.-led mission against the militants, he called on Moscow to "play a constructive role in the fight against ISIL." He adds that "supporting the Assad regime is not constructive ... (and) is only p

  • Germany's Merkel to visit Turkey on Sunday


    BERLIN (AP) — The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Turkey on Sunday for talks with the country's leaders on terrorism, Syria and the migrant crisis. Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that the chancellor will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Seibert said the visit will focus on the countries' "common fight against terrorism," the situation in Syria and dealing with migrant crisis. Germany and other European Union countries hope for help from Turkey to stem the influx of refugees and other migrants into EU member Greece.

  • Iran pulls stand from Frankfurt book fair over Rushdie


    BERLIN (AP) — The Frankfurt Book Fair says the Iranian government has canceled plans for a national stand at this year's event to protest a planned appearance by British author Salman Rushdie. Rushdie is to appear at a news conference Tuesday ahead of the annual fair's opening. The author spent years in hiding with heavy security after his novel "The Satanic Verses" drew a death edict from Iran's religious authorities. Fair director Juergen Boos said Monday that he regrets the cancellation by Iran's culture ministry and hopes this year's absence of an Iranian national stand will only be "a short interruption." But he added that free speech "is not negotiable." Book fair organizers said a few Iranian publishers are sti

  • 3 Palestinians killed, 4 Israelis wounded in latest violence

    Updated: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence showed no signs of abating Sunday, as three Palestinians, including a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old, were killed by Israeli forces, and four Israelis were wounded in an evening stabbing attack. The attacks have been primarily stabbings and shootings, but a Palestinian woman seriously injured herself when she detonated a gas canister on Sunday. The attack, which lightly wounded a police officer, was the first in the current round of violence to involve such an explosive device. The unrest erupted last month around the Jewish New Year, with clashes beginning at a contested holy site in Jerusalem and quickly spreading to other parts of the city, across Israel and into the

  • AP Exclusive: Prince says Saudi will stay in charge of hajj

    Updated: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal on Sunday rejected the idea of sharing the administration of the annual hajj pilgrimage with other Muslim nations, saying Riyadh considers it "a matter of sovereignty" and a "privilege." The senior member of the Saudi royal family spoke to The Associated Press as his country faces mounting criticism in the wake of last month's disastrous crush of pilgrims outside the holy city of Mecca, which killed over 1,400 people, according to an AP count, making it the deadliest annual pilgrimage on record. Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, which lost the largest number of pilgrims, has accused the kingdom of mismanagement and called for an independent body to overse

  • Islamic State could gain from Turkish peace rally bombing

    Updated: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Thousands mourned the 95 victims of Turkey's deadliest attack in years as state inspectors tried Sunday to identify who sent suicide bombers to a rally promoting peace with Kurdish rebels. The government said Kurdish rebels or Islamic State militants were likely responsible, while mourners accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of fomenting violence to gain votes for the ruling party. No one has claimed responsibility, but the attack bears similarities to a suicide bombing the government blames on the Islamic State group that killed 33 Turkish and Kurdish peace activists near a town bordering Syria in July. Police detained 14 suspected Islamic State members Sunday in the central Turkish city of K

  • Jewish, Muslim groups raise temperature at contested shrine

    Updated: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Jewish and Muslim grassroots groups, self-declared defenders of their faiths, have played a key role in rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions, stepping up activities at a contested Jerusalem shrine at the heart of the current violence. Each side has accused the other of causing provocations, as religious activists become more organized. Israel pins much of the blame on a domestic fundamentalist group, the Islamic Movement, saying it whipped up Palestinian anger with claims that Israel is plotting to take over the Muslim-run site. Those claims, dismissed by Israel as incitement, reflect widespread Palestinian fears fueled by the doubling of Jewish visits to the shrine since 2010.

  • Iran summons UAE envoy over arrest of teachers

    Updated: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has summoned the United Arab Emirates envoy to Tehran over the arrest of nine Iranian teachers who were working in the Gulf federation. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency reported Sunday that the Foreign Ministry had summoned the UAE's charge d'affaires over the Oct. 7 arrests. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency says the Iranian teachers appear to have been arrested due to visa issues. Fars quotes Khalilollah Babalou, an Education Ministry official, as saying the teachers may be released Monday. Emirati officials had no immediate comment.