• Powerful former Syrian army general dies in hospital

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — Rostom Ghazali, the Syrian general once considered the most powerful man in Lebanon and a key suspect in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, has died in a hospital in the capital Damascus, a Syrian activist and local media reported on Friday. Ghazali, in his early 60s, was once head of his military's powerful political security branch and one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's most trusted generals. There was no official government comment and the circumstances of his death remain unclear. Director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdurrahman said Ghazali died nearly two months after he was admitted with a head injury.

  • Families stream to battlefields for 100th year of Gallipoli

    Yesterday

    GALLIPOLI, Turkey (AP) — Families of soldiers who served in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, along with world leaders, streamed onto the battle sites on Friday for ceremonies marking 100 years since the disastrous British-led invasion. Representatives of countries that faced off in one of the most iconic events of the war were honoring the dead in a joint ceremony, on the eve of the centenary since troops landed on beaches here. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Britain's Prince Charles each laid wreaths at a memorial for the fallen Turkish soldiers at Gallipoli before listening to a recitation from the Muslim holy book as well as prayers for peace. A band in Ottoman Janissary costume performed old Turkish mi

  • Germany: Defendant regrets death of female student

    Yesterday

    BERLIN (AP) — An 18-year-old man on trial over the death of German-Turkish student Tugce Albayrak said Friday that he regretted his actions. The defendant, identified only as Sanel M., told a regional court in Darmstadt on the opening day of his trial that he slapped Albayrak in the face before she fell to the ground. The 23-year-old student died two weeks after the Nov. 15 altercation at a fast food restaurant in the city of Offenbach, prompting outrage in Germany and Turkey. "I'm eternally sorry for what I did," German news agency dpa quoted the defendant as saying in court. "I never expected her to die." Witnesses said Albayrak had earlier come to the aid of two girls who were being harassed by the defendant and an

  • Opposition leader accuses Cameron of weakening UK in world

    Yesterday

    LONDON (AP) — British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband on Friday accused Prime Minister David Cameron of weakening Britain on the world stage with an isolationist foreign policy and uncertainty about membership in the European Union. In a speech that brought international affairs into Britain's election campaign, Miliband said Cameron's failure to plan for post-Gadhafi Libya had contributed to the North African country's descent into chaos. "The tragedy is that this could have been anticipated. It should have been avoided," he said. "And Britain could have played its part in ensuring the international community stood by the people of Libya in practice rather than standing behind the unfounded hopes of potential progres

  • Bombings in Iraq near market and courthouse kill 7

    Yesterday

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say two bombings, one near a marketplace and the other near a courthouse, have killed seven people. Police officials say the first of Friday's attacks took place in the morning, when a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Sunni town of Tarmiyiah, killing four people and wounding eight. Tarmiyah is 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad. A bomb near a courthouse killed three people and wounded nine in the town of Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad. Medical officials confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

  • Iraqi boy's dream of becoming dancer defied threats, borders

    Yesterday

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — As a boy in pre-war Baghdad, Adil Faraj dreamed of becoming a dancer, inspired by a Michael Jackson performance he watched on DVD. For over a decade, he pursued his passion despite daunting challenges and harassment by strangers and police. He taught himself by moving to dance videos in his cramped family home — hiding from a conservative society scornful of the art form and from the chaos that engulfed Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Last weekend, the sweat and tears paid off when the now 22-year-old performed on stage for the first time, to a packed house at the Amman Contemporary Dance Festival in the Jordanian capital.

  • Lebanese army arrests 8 wanted militants, including soldier

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Lebanese army says it arrested eight wanted militants, including a soldier who deserted to join the Islamic State group and four Syrians. An army statement late Thursday said the arrests came during a raid earlier in the day in the northern town of Akkar. The eight are accused of terrorist attacks in Lebanon and attacks on the military. Lebanon struggles with the spillover from neighboring Syria's civil war. Militants have carried out cross-border attacks, kidnapped and killed soldiers. The Lebanese are divided, with some Sunnis supporting the Syrian rebels while some Shiites and Christians side with Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. At least four Lebanese soldiers have deserted to jo

  • Rooftop restaurant provides rare bright spot in Gaza

    Yesterday

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — When nightfall descends upon Gaza, the glittering lights of the Level Up restaurant seem to be the only bright spot in this darkened city. In a territory plagued by chronic power outages, poverty and shortages of construction materials, the restaurant defies all the rules: It's well lit, thanks to a humming generator. The tables are crowded and hard to come by, and it is one of the few places in Gaza to rebound and relax. "People want to believe that they should live their lives," said Basil Eleiwa, the manager of the restaurant. "People seem to like this place." The story of Level Up is in many ways the story of Gaza.

  • For asylum seekers, a novel (and odd) solution: Cambodia

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    BANGKOK (AP) — Still haunted by the Vietnam War next door and the 1970s genocide that followed, Cambodia is not exactly the place that the world's refugees dream of reaching. Plagued by poverty, corruption and human rights abuses, it has been run by a strongman prime minister who has held power for 30 years. It's a nation where medical care outside main cities is nonexistent, where decent jobs are so scarce that more than 800,000 of its own people have left to find work abroad. Yet when it comes to 700 asylum seekers detained on the remote Pacific Island nation of Nauru, Australia is hard-selling Cambodia as something unexpected: their new promised land of opportunity.

  • Erdogan: Turkey's ancestors never committed genocide

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — On the eve of the day marking the centenary of the Ottoman massacres of Armenians, Turkey's president said Thursday his nation's ancestors never committed genocide. Addressing a meeting billed as an international peace summit Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also accused the international community of indifference toward refugees and wanting migrants to drown at sea. Britain's Prince Charles and the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand were among dignitaries attending the event, which was part of a series of ceremonies marking the centenary of the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

  • EU leaders commit ships, aid to address migrant crisis

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    BRUSSELS (AP) — Late to the rescue, European leaders came through Thursday with pledges of big ships, aircraft and a tripling in funds to save lives in the Mediterranean after the deaths at sea of more than 1,300 migrants over the past three weeks, and agreed to lay the groundwork for military action against traffickers. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose country has been faced with almost daily tragedy as rescuers plucked bodies from frigid waters, called it "a giant step forward." Within days, Britain's aptly named HMS Bulwark and the German supply ship Berlin could be steaming to the heart of the Mediterranean in the biggest sign of the European Union's belated commitment to contain the tide of rickety ships maki

  • Angelina Jolie set to brief UN on Syria's refugee crisis

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Angelina Jolie will brief the U.N. Security Council on Syria's refugee crisis, which has seen almost 4 million people flee over the past four years. Jolie is a special envoy for the U.N. on refugee issues. On Friday, she will headline a day of briefings that include the U.N. refugee and humanitarian chiefs and the special envoy for Syria. A draft presidential statement by the council, obtained by The Associated Press, seeks the world's support for Syria's neighbors, who have warned they are dangerously overstretched by the flood of refugees.

  • Israel retaliates to Gaza rocket attack, no injuries

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian militants fired a rocket from Gaza that exploded in Israel whose military later retaliated by shelling a base used by the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the coastal territory, officials said Thursday. The Gaza rocket exploded inside Israel without causing injuries or damage Thursday night as Independence Day celebrations for the country's 67th anniversary were winding down. The Israeli military said it was the first rocket fired at Israel from Gaza this year. Soon afterward Hamas officials in Gaza said Israeli forces fired two shells at a base its militants use for training. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said there were no injuries. Gaza militants have fired thousands

  • Saudi-led airstrikes bomb Yemen's Shiite rebels in 6 cities

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Attempts to ease fighting in Yemen appeared to falter Thursday, as Shiite rebels pressed an offensive in the south and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition intensified its airstrikes less than two days after it said it was scaling back the campaign. All sides have declared their willingness to enter talks, but none has taken any steps to end the conflict that has killed more than 1,000 people. Still, the head of U.N. operations in Yemen said in an interview with The Associated Press that a renewal of such talks is "inevitable," and behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts could bring results in the coming weeks.

  • Armenians still haunted by Turkish massacres 1 century later

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    VAGHARSHAPAT, Armenia (AP) — Life had barely begun for Khosrov Frangyan when he knew the fear of being an Armenian in the Ottoman Empire. A century later, the memories still torment him. "Somebody told us that Turks will come and start killing us," said the 105-year-old, recalling how he and fellow villagers hid atop a mountain. "Turkish soldiers came and wanted to come up ... We did not have weapons, so we started to throw stones and rocks on them." Frangyan and his family managed to escape by boat to Beirut and then on to Armenia itself. He now lives with his children and grandchildren in this city 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital. But an estimated 1.5 million Armenians died in the massacres, deportation

  • German president labels Armenian killings as genocide

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany's president on Thursday described the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide, marking a shift in his country's stance after officials previously avoided the term. President Joachim Gauck said it is clear today that "the fate of the Armenians is exemplary for the history of mass destruction, ethnic cleansing, expulsions and genocides which marks the 20th century in such a terrible way." Germany's Parliament will debate a motion using the same words on Friday, a formulation that the government has backed after consultations with lawmakers and Gauck's office. Gauck made a second, more direct, reference to "the genocide against the Armenians." Historians estimate

  • Prince, 20, is youngest to chair UN Security Council meeting

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Jordan's 20-year-old crown prince has become the youngest person ever to chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, to applause and some "He's cute!" sighs. Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II led an open debate Thursday on how youth can combat violent extremism and what he calls its "poisonous ideology." In his remarks, the prince noted that over half the world's population is under 30 years old, with most living in developing countries. Jordan currently holds the council presidency. For his part, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the prince is "not yet 21 years old, but he is already a leader in the 21st century.

  • AP Interview: Yemen peace talks inevitable, says UN official

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A renewal of talks on ending Yemen's conflict is "inevitable" and behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts could bring results in the coming weeks, including a possible U.N.-hosted conference involving most parties, the head of U.N. operations in Yemen said Thursday. The Gulf nation of Oman is also involved in mediation, Paolo Lembo, the U.N. resident coordinator in Yemen, told The Associated Press in an interview. Lembo, speaking at a hotel in Amman, Jordan, said all sides "are aware that there is no other solution" than a political settlement, but that fighting will likely continue for some time. All sides have declared their willingness to enter talks, but none have taken steps so far to halt the f

  • Rebels launch new offensive in northwestern Syria

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Several hard-line Syrian rebel groups pushed a new offensive against government forces in northwestern Syria on Thursday, less than a month after seizing control of the provincial capital there. The conservative Islamic factions, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, are coordinating a multi-pronged campaign whose main target appears to be the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. Opposition fighters are also attacking government checkpoints in a sprawling agricultural plain south of the town as well as nearby military facilities. The operation keeps the pressure on beleaguered government forces in the area just weeks after the rebels captured Idlib city, the provincial capital.

  • Rescuers, survivors recount wreck of migrant ship in Greece

    Updated: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    RHODES, Greece (AP) — Locals know to avoid the razor-sharp rocks and strong currents near Zefyros Beach on the Greek island of Rhodes. But 93 migrants fleeing war and political chaos on another continent had no idea of the dangers as they caught their first glimpse of Europe and the current pulled their rickety wooden boat toward shore. Within minutes of crashing into the rocks next to a strip of hotels, the migrants were in the sea and their 15-meter (45-foot) boat was sinking. Some clung to pieces of wreckage as they waited for rescuers to pull them to shore. They described scenes of chaos as coast guard officers, army recruits, volunteers, and fishermen scrambled to help.




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