• President of Yemen flees by sea; Saudis begin airstrikes

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled Yemen by sea Wednesday as Shiite rebels and their allies moved on his last refuge in the south, captured its airport and put a bounty on his head, officials said. Hours later, Saudi Arabia announced it had begun airstrikes against the Houthi rebels. The departure of the close U.S. ally and the imminent fall of the southern port of Aden pushed Yemen further toward a violent collapse. It also threatened to turn the impoverished but strategic country into another proxy battle between the Middle East's Sunni powers and Shiite-led Iran. Saudi ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said his country had begun airstrikes against the rebels. He said his government ha

  • Kerry lands in Switzerland for make-or-break Iran nuke talks

    Yesterday

    GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Switzerland to resume Iran nuclear talks as negotiations go down to the wire against an end-of-month deadline for the outline of a deal. With just days until that target is reached, Kerry touched down in Geneva late Wednesday and was driving to the lake resort of Lausanne. En route to Geneva, U.S. officials said the deadline is achievable but remains uncertain amid significant gaps in certain areas. One official traveling with Kerry to the talks said the American side "can see a path forward to get to agreement" by the end of March. The official said the last round of talks, also in Lausanne, produced more progress than many previous rounds when it ended last w

  • Yehuda Avner, Israeli diplomat and prime minister aide, dies

    Yesterday

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Yehuda Avner, a former Israeli diplomat and aide to a string of prime ministers who turned his insider stories about the country's leaders into a best-selling memoir, has died. Avner, who was 86, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, his family said. The British-born Avner immigrated to Israel when he was 17. He later joined the Foreign Ministry and was assigned to the prime minister's office. He served as an adviser and speechwriter to the country's leaders for some three decades beginning with Levi Eshkol in the 1960s through Shimon Peres in the early 1990s, said David Sable, his son-in-law. During that period, he also served as Israel's ambassador to Britain and Australia.

  • Syria's opposition says it won't attend new Moscow talks

    Yesterday

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Syria's main Western-backed opposition group says it will not attend the next round of peace talks in Moscow on the Syrian conflict. The Syrian National Coalition's representative to the U.N., Najib Ghadbian, told reporters Wednesday that his group had been invited to the second round of Moscow talks set for April 6 through April 9. The coalition also boycotted the first round of talks in Moscow in January, along with most rebel groups. Ghadbian rejects the idea of Russia framing the talks as a dialogue with the Syrian government. The coalition insists that President Bashar Assad must go. Russia is a key ally of Assad's government, but its U.N.

  • Israel's Netanyahu takes conciliatory tone

    Yesterday

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, struck a conciliatory tone on Wednesday as he was formally tapped to form a new government, vowing to heal rifts in Israeli society and fix ties with the United States following an acrimonious election campaign. Netanyahu's comments appeared to be aimed at repairing the damage caused by comments he made in the final days of the campaign that strained relations with the U.S. and drew accusations of racism from the country's Arab minority. "I see myself as the prime minister of everyone," Netanyahu said. "I will act to heal the rifts, rifts that were opened between different parts of the society during the election campaign.

  • Saudis, Egypt consider intervention in Yemen, likely by air

    Yesterday

    CAIRO (AP) — With Yemen's president swept out of power by Shiite rebels, neighboring Saudi Arabia and allies such as Egypt are considering whether and how to intervene to stop a takeover of the country by rebels they believe are backed by Shiite Iran. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has asked Gulf countries for military intervention and asked the United Nations to set up a no-fly zone to shut down rebel-held airports that he claims are being used to fly in Iranian weapons. The question is how Arab nations might act: Experts say a ground operation would be a likely impossibly daunting task, but that airstrikes are an option.

  • Syrian rebels seize ancient town near Jordanian border

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels on Wednesday seized an ancient town near the Jordan border that is a key government stronghold, ousting Syrian soldiers and allied militiamen from the region after four days of intense battles, opposition activists and rebels said. There was no immediate comment from the government on the fall of Busra Sham, a town in southern Syria classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic citadel, ruins and well-preserved Roman theater. It was once the capital of the Roman province of Arabia and a stopover on caravan routes to Mecca, according to UNESCO.

  • AP Investigation: Slavery taints global supply of seafood

    Yesterday

    BENJINA, Indonesia (AP) — The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home. Just a few yards away, other workers loaded cargo ships with slave-caught seafood that clouds the supply networks of major supermarkets, restaurants and even pet stores in the United States. But the eight imprisoned men were considered flight risks — laborers who might dare run away. They lived on a few bites of rice and curry a day in a space barely big enough to lie down, stuck until the next trawler forces them back to sea.

  • Egyptian leader defends Nile rights in Ethiopia's parliament

    Yesterday

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el- Sissi on Wednesday urged Ethiopia's leaders to put aside "centuries of mistrust" and cooperate on sharing Nile River waters as Ethiopia presses ahead with the construction of a massive new dam. El-Sissi, in Ethiopia on a three-day official visit, said in an address to Ethiopia's parliament that Egypt hopes to continue to have access to the Nile's waters without being threatened by other countries. In his speech, which received applause from the Ethiopian legislators, el-Sissi said that no one "should ever feel secure about his future without the other, or to build his welfare at the expense of his brother.

  • Islamic State group car bomb, clashes leave 17 dead in Libya

    Yesterday

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The Islamic State group's affiliate in Libya said it played a role in a string of suicide car bombings that killed 12 people Wednesday in the eastern city of Benghazi. Meanwhile, its militants carried out an attack on a rival militia in the central coastal city of Sirte, leaving five dead. A Libyan security official said the three suicide bombings, which also wounded 25, were targeting forces of Libya's elected government and allied fighters. Two of the bombings were carried by militants affiliated to the umbrella group known as The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the other bombing in a post on an Internet bulletin board known to be used

  • Iran says progress has been made as nuclear talks resume

    Yesterday

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's atomic energy chief said good progress has been made in nuclear negotiations with world powers, as a critical round of talks begins, the official IRNA news agency reported. Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, is heading to Lausanne, Switzerland as part of a negotiating team led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The negotiators are working to meet a self-imposed deadline for a preliminary agreement by the end of March. The talks are focused on an agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of harsh international economic sanctions.

  • Turkish military: army responded to Kurdish rebel attacks

    Yesterday

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's military says Kurdish rebels launched separate attacks on military units stationed near Turkey's border with Iraq, prompting troops to retaliate. There was no word on any casualties. The incident comes as Turkey is holding talks with the imprisoned leader of Kurdish insurgents in a bid to end the conflict which has cost tens of thousands of lives since 1984. A military statement said three mortar rounds were fired Wednesday at units based in Hakkari province, where the borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey meet. It said Turkish artillery retaliated by pounding positions from where the mortars originated.

  • Palestinian premier heads to Gaza on reconciliation mission

    Yesterday

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Palestinian Prime Minister kicked off a visit to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in a renewed effort to resolve an eight-year rift with the rival Hamas militant group, which controls the tiny coastal territory. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah entered Gaza on Wednesday through an Israel-controlled border crossing. He told reporters he is seeking a resolution to the dispute between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction. Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority governs parts of the West Bank, while Hamas remains in control of Gaza. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after ousting Abbas' forces.

  • NEWS GUIDE: The crisis in Yemen as president flees Aden home

    Yesterday

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has fled his palace in the southern city of Aden as Shiite rebels are closing in on the country's third-largest city. The rebels, known as Houthis and reportedly supported by Iran, offered a bounty for Hadi's capture on Wednesday and arrested his defense minister. They have been tightening their grip on the country since they captured the capital Sanaa, last September, and several key northern provinces. The rebels' advance could plunge the Arab world's poorest country into a civil war that could draw in its Gulf neighbors. Hadi, a close U.S. ally, has appealed to Gulf Arab allies and the United Nations to intervene militarily to stop the rebels' advanc

  • Iran film portrays the Prophet Muhammad, drawing criticism

    Yesterday

    ALLAHYAR, Iran (AP) — Here in this Persian replica of Mecca, built at the cost of millions of dollars, an Iranian film company is attempting to offer the world a literal glimpse of the Prophet Muhammad despite traditional taboos against it. The movie "Muhammad, Messenger of God" already recalls the grandeur — and expense — of a Cecil B. DeMille film, with the narrow alleyways and a replica Kaaba shrine built here in the remote village of Allahyar. But by even showing the back of the Prophet Muhammad as a child before he was called upon by Allah, the most expensive film in Iranian history already has been criticized before its even widely released, calling into question who ultimately will see the Quranic story come to life on

  • Turkish cartoonists sentenced for 'insulting' Erdogan

    Yesterday

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish satirical magazine says a court sentenced two of its cartoonists to 11 months in prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and later commuted the sentence to a fine. The Penguen weekly said Wednesday cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan were each ordered to pay 7,000 Turkish Lira ($2,700). The two are the latest to be prosecuted for alleged insults to Erdogan as Turkey cracks down on freedom of expression and silences critical voices. They were on trial for a cartoon published in August depicting newly elected Erdogan arriving at his palace and criticizing aides for not slaughtering journalists at the inauguration.

  • Turkish artillery retaliate to stray Syrian rocket at border

    Yesterday

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's military says it has fired shells at Syrian artillery positions near the border in retaliation for a Syrian rocket that landed close to a Turkish military unit and slightly wounded five people. The military said Wednesday the rocket was fired during fighting between the Syrian regime and opposition forces and landed inside Turkish territory, some 200 meters (yards) west of the military unit, near the Turkish border town of Reyhanli. The exploding rocket formed a large crater, caused the roof of a military building to collapse and damaged two vehicles. Five people were injured by broken glass, the military said. It said the Turkish artillery retaliated by firing at the Syrian regime posit

  • Former President Jimmy Carter meets Saudi crown prince

    Yesterday

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter has met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muqrin during a visit to the kingdom. The official Saudi Press Agency says the two met in a palace in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Wednesday. The report says they discussed a number of topics but gave no details. On Tuesday, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, visited Saudi Arabia's neighbor Qatar where they met Saad al-Muhannadi, the president of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. The Carters and al-Muhannadi discussed ways to build cooperation between the foundation and The Carter Center, a non-profit public policy center that focuses on ways to tackle poverty, disease, conflict

  • Iraq's February oil exports below planned level for IS fight

    Yesterday

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's oil exports for last month were below planned levels, the country's Oil Ministry said Wednesday, depriving the nation of badly needed funds for its battle against the Islamic state group. Crude exports in February averaged 2.596 million barrels a day — almost a million barrels less than planned. The exports grossed about $3.402 billion, based on an average price of $46.795 per barrel, said the ministry's spokesman, Assem Jihad. January's daily exports averaged 2.535 million barrels, bringing that month's revenues to $3.258 billion. Iraq's 2015 budget is based on an expected price of $56 per barrel with a daily export capacity of 3.3 million. The nearly 119.6 trillion Iraqi dinars budget (about

  • Sectarian tensions simmer in Iraq shrine city targeted by IS

    Yesterday

    SAMARRA, Iraq (AP) — The al-Askari shrine in the Iraqi city of Samarra is surrounded by thousands of Shiite militiamen in mismatched uniforms, many of them awaiting transport to the nearby front lines of the war against the Islamic State group. For months, they have fended off attacks by the extremists and now they are on the offensive in Tikrit to the north, but their presence has alarmed Samarra's mainly Sunni residents, who fear both sides of the increasingly sectarian conflict. The golden-domed shrine is among the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, and pilgrims from neighboring Iran continue to flock there despite the fighting. In 2006, Sunni extremists bombed the site, sparking a wave of sectarian bloodletting across the c




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