• Turkish cartoonists sentenced for 'insulting' Erdogan

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    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

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    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

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    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

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    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

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    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

  • 230 suspected jihadis prevented from leaving Australia

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Counterterrorism squads have prevented 230 suspected jihadis from departing Australian airports for the Middle East this month, including at least three teenage boys, officials said Wednesday. Officials had previously announced that two Sydney-born brothers, aged 16 and 17, were intercepted at Sydney International Airport on March 8 attempting to board a flight for Turkey without their parents' knowledge. The siblings were returned to their families and were to be charged. Within a week, a 17-year-old boy was intercepted at the same airport on suspicion that he was headed for a Middle Eastern battle, Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said Wednesday. The boy was also returned to his fam

  • AP Investigation: Are slaves catching the fish you buy?

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    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.

  • Shiite rebels fire on protesters in south Yemen, killing 6

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Shiite rebels fired bullets and tear gas Tuesday to disperse thousands of protesters demanding they withdraw from a southwestern province, killing six demonstrators, wounding scores more and escalating tensions in a country on the verge of civil war. The rebels, known as Houthis, seized the capital Sanaa in September and have been advancing south alongside forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. In recent days they have closed in on the southern port city of Aden, where the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is now based. Hadi on Tuesday asked the U.N.

  • Yemen leader asks UN to back military action against rebels

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Yemen's embattled president asked the U.N. Security Council to authorize a military intervention in support of his government to oust Houthi Shiite rebels who control much of the disintegrating country's north and are advancing south. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said in a letter to the council obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press that he had also asked members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to immediately provide "all means necessary, including military intervention to protect Yemen and its people from the continuing Houthi aggression." Hadi, the country's internationally recognized leader and a key U.S.

  • Iran says no snap inspections of nuclear sites

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian official on Tuesday rebuked the chief of the U.N. atomic agency for demanding snap inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, saying the request hindered efforts to reach an agreement with world powers, state TV reported. The United States and five other world powers face an end-of-the-month deadline to reach a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. Western nations suspect Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside the civilian program. Iran denies such allegations, insisting its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful. Earlier this month Yukiya Amano, the head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tehran should agree to snap inspections to reassure th

  • Syrian rebels launch offensive on government-held city

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels launched an offensive Tuesday against a major government-held city in the country's northwest, shelling the outskirts and warning residents to remain indoors in the coming days. The target of the operation is Idlib, a city of some 165,000 people and the provincial capital of a province with the same name. Opposition fighters have controlled the countryside and towns across the province since 2012, but President Bashar Assad's forces have maintained their grip on Idlib city. Activists said Syrian government helicopters attacked the nearby town of Binish with chlorine gas Tuesday night.

  • Obama: Dim hope for end to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. is weighing whether to back Palestinian efforts to seek U.N. recognition for an independent state and that recent remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dim hope for a negotiated two-state solution. Obama's comments at the White House did little to repair rocky U.S.-Israeli relations, which were aggravated by a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday alleging Israel spied on sensitive negotiations about Iran's nuclear program. The report said Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings and other means and shared it with members of Congress to build a case against making a deal with Iran, which has threatened to destroy Israel.

  • Analysis: A divided Israel may seek unity government

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — After a strong performance in last week's parliamentary election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be cruising toward forming a new government of hard-line and religious parties. But in the smoke-and-mirrors world of Israeli politics, a centrist government more amenable to peace negotiations could easily emerge at the last minute instead. With his "natural partners," Netanyahu could control a comfortable 67-seat majority in parliament — but such a government would probably set on a collision course with the international community.

  • Jordan, Russia sign $10 billion deal on nuclear power plant

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan signed a $10 billion deal with Russia on Tuesday to build the kingdom's first nuclear power plant, with two 1,000-megawatt reactors in the country's north. The deal, signed in the Jordanian capital, Amman, caps efforts of the energy-poor kingdom to attain energy sufficiency and reduce imports. Jordan lacks any local energy sources and imports 96 percent of its electricity. The violence in neighboring Iraq and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has threatened and in many cases, completely cut off supplies. According to the state Petra news agency, Jordan plans to finish construction of the plant in Amra in the country's north by 2022. There are hope it will be fueled with uranium mined in Jordan.

  • Suicide bombers kill 5, wound 20 in Libya's Benghazi

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — A spokesman for the Libyan army says suicide bombers in two cars have attacked an army checkpoint in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing five people and wounding 20. Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari said it was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were military or civilian. He spoke from Tobruk, where the internationally recognized government has been based since being expelled from Tripoli by Islamist-backed militias last year. Libya has been mired in months of fighting between rival militias. Extremist groups, including affiliates of the Islamic State group, have exploited the turmoil since the 2011 overthrow and killing of Moammar Gadhafi.

  • Official: US-led aircraft flying over IS-held Tikrit

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TIKRIT, Iraq (AP) — The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group has begun surveillance flights over the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit, a senior coalition official said Tuesday, marking the first time the alliance has taken part in a major offensive there that is being spearheaded by Iranian-backed Shiite militias. The official said the flights and intelligence sharing began Saturday and were requested by the Iraqi government. He declined to comment on whether the coalition was carrying out airstrikes, saying he cannot discuss current or future operations. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

  • In south Yemen, a militia leader is president's top ally

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    BATAYS, Yemen (AP) — In the Yemeni president's battle with Shiite rebels, one of his chief allies is a powerful southern militia leader, a one-time anti-government fighter who later led his men in a bloody campaign against al-Qaida. At 34, Abdul-Lateef al-Sayed al-Bafqeeh is already a battle-hardened figure and a local hero in southern Abyan province. He has survived multiple attempts by al-Qaida to assassinate him, including a suicide bombing that cost him an eye and nearly one of his hands. But the reliance of U.S.-allied President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on al-Bafqeeh's 6,700-man militia for survival is just another illustration of how Yemen is falling apart.

  • Arab-Israeli political leaders reject Netanyahu's apology

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Arab political leaders in Israel on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology for comments he made in last week's national elections that offended members of the Arab community and said his words made him unsuitable to return for a third consecutive term on the job. The spat has touched on longstanding claims of discrimination by Israel's Arab minority, which makes up 20 percent of the Jewish state, and signaled that the rift will not be healed anytime soon. An Arab advocacy center in Israel said the country's national elections brought an "unprecedented level of racist incitement" against the minority community.

  • Canada to conduct airstrikes against IS group in Syria

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TORONTO (AP) — Canada is expanding its military mission against the Islamic State group to include airstrikes on targets in Syria, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Tuesday. Harper told Parliament that he will not seek "the express consent" of the President Bashar Assad government for the airstrikes, but will work closely with allies who have been carrying out such airstrikes against IS over Syria in recent months. Canada will be the first NATO country, other than the United States, to conduct airstrikes in Syria. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have also done so. Canadian airstrikes have been limited to IS targets in Iraq thus far. Canada also has 69 special forces soldiers training K

  • Egypt fires forensics official over comments on killed woman

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's forensics authority on Tuesday dismissed a doctor who said last weekend that a female protester killed by police in January died because she did not have enough body fat to protect against shotgun pellets. Authority head Mahmoud Ahmed Ali also said in his statement that all doctors and officials at the authority are banned from making comments to the media or providing them with any information about their work. The doctor, then-spokesman Hisham Abdel-Hamid, told a television program last weekend that Shaimaa el-Sabbagh was shot from around 8 meters (26 feet) away and died in what was a rare incident at that distance where shotgun pellets managed to penetrate her heart and lungs because she was "very sk




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