Top Stories


  • Al-Qaida chief blesses attacks on Egypt security

    Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has given his blessing to attacks of Egyptian jihadis on the police and army, but said they should avoid harming civilians. In an audio interview with al-Qaida media arm as-Sahab posted early Saturday on a militant website, al-Zawahri advised jihadis that any armed confrontation should be popularly supported and that victory cannot be achieved without this support. Al-Zawahri said the jihadis should choose their targets very carefully and explain the aims of each operation to the people. He also harshly criticized Egypt's ultraconservative Islamist al-Nour Party, accusing it of deceit and deception by supporting the military backed interim government and secular constituti

  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick

    Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior Iranian military official has urged the foreign ministry to name a new envoy to the U.N. after the U.S. blocked its chosen ambassador over alleged ties to the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Semiofficial Fars news agency also quoted Gen. Mohammad Bagherzadeh as saying Saturday that Hamid Aboutalebi should remain close to his mother because the family lost two sons during the 1980-88 war with Iraq. President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday aimed at blocking Aboutalebi from entering the U.S. Tehran has refused to name a different envoy after Washington refused to grant him an entry visa. Iran says it is challenging the U.S. "through legal channels.

  • Blast in busy Cairo square kills 1 police officer

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — An explosion rocked a busy square in central Cairo late Friday, killing one police officer and causing panic, Egypt's Interior Ministry and security officials said. The ministry said the bomb detonated next to a traffic post in Lebanon Square in Cairo's Mohandessin district, killing Maj. Mohammed Gamal Eddin. A security official said the bomb was planted inside the traffic post and it exploded around 10 p.m. Cairo time. A second official, however, said unidentified assailants hurled the bomb from a bridge over the traffic post before fleeing. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the two accounts.

  • After Algerian landslide, what next?

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's frail president won a fourth term in a landslide victory, but it only masks a bigger question for this oil-rich North African nation — what now? It's still unclear who will eventually succeed the 77-year-old leader who has been in power since 1999 and deal with an emboldened opposition. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had a stroke last year, won a staggering 81 percent of the vote in Thursday's election despite not even appearing in his own campaign. His main opponent, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, has responded by crying foul and promising to found a new political party to unite the opposition against a system he describes as rotten and a leader he believes is no longer capable

  • Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Christians in the Holy Land have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions through Jerusalem's Old City. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." They carried wooden crosses and followed the 14 stations ending at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tradition says the church was built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. The Easter holiday and Jewish Passover coincide this year. According to the Gospels, Jesus ate his last supper — a Passover meal — hours before he was betrayed.

  • Syrian state TV: 14 killed in car bombing in Homs

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — A powerful car bomb exploded Friday outside a mosque in a pro-government district of central Syria, killing 14 people in the latest violence to hit the war-shattered city, state-run Syrian television reported. The bombing occurred as worshippers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque on the edge of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, the report said, and also wounded at least 50 people. The area, populated mainly by Alawites, members of President Bashar Assad's minority sect, repeatedly has been targeted by car bombs. Opposition activists also reported the blast. The Syrian Observatory for Human rights said the explosion killed at least nine people, adding that the number likely would rise.

  • In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Hesham Genena has created uproar by trying to actually do his job. The head of one of Egypt's foremost government oversight agencies, he says he has uncovered billions of dollars-worth of corruption, involving some of the country's most untouchable institutions, including the police, intelligence agencies, and the judiciary. As a result, rivals have barraged him in the media, calling him a sympathizer with the Muslim Brotherhood. His insistence on going public with allegations has led to two court cases against him, including one for insulting judges. And he is struggling to translate his investigations into action. He has referred hundreds of cases to the general prosecutor but says less than 7 percent have be

  • Algeria's ailing incumbent president wins 4th term with 81 percent of vote

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's ailing incumbent president wins 4th term with 81 percent of vote.

  • Saudi Arabia to build world's tallest building

    Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from neighboring Saudi Arabia. Dubai's iconic Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, could be stripped of its Guinness title if Saudi Arabia succeeds in its plans to construct the even larger Kingdom Tower in Jeddah -- a prospect looking more likely as work begins next week. Consultants Advanced Construction Technology Services have recently announced testing materials to build the 3,280-feet (1 kilometer) skyscraper (the Burj Khalifa, by comparison, stands at a meeker 2,716 feet, or 827 meters).

  • Bomb in shopping street in Iraqi capital kills 3

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials in Iraq say a bomb planted on a street full of shoppers in the capital, Baghdad, has killed three people and wounded five. Police officers say the explosion took place in the capital's predominantly Shiite neighborhood of al-Ameen on Friday morning. Health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, but Sunni insurgent groups have stepped up attacks across the country since last year, in a bid to undermine the Shiite-led government. The uptick in violence comes at a crucial time, as Iraqis prepare to hold parliamentary electio

  • Egypt stops attempt to smuggle Jewish artifacts

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Authorities in Egypt say they have seized a cache of Jewish religious artifacts that smugglers wanted to ship to Belgium at one of the country's main ports. Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said in a statement Friday that officials found the artifacts while searching cargo Thursday at the coastal city of Damietta. Among the artifacts are a cylindrical wooden box plated in silver, which would have held Torah scrolls. Officials also found a silver knife dating to roughly 1890 with inscriptions, and bells commonly hung in synagogues. A committee will study and date the cache, which the statement says "embodies a period of religious tolerance in Egypt's history." Egypt has experienced a security va

  • Syrian state TV: 14 people killed in car bomb near mosque in pro-government district of Homs

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian state TV: 14 people killed in car bomb near mosque in pro-government district of Homs.

  • Iran: Rouhani talks peace, outreach at army parade

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president underscored his moderate policies and outreach to the West in a speech Friday during a military parade on the country's National Army Day. Referring to the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear program, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran has shown it has no hostile intentions toward anyone in the world, including the United States, which has long been considered an enemy. "During the talks, we announced to the world and we say so again ... we are not after war, we are after logic, we are after talks," Rouhani said. He touted Iran's diplomatic outreach and said the backing of the military and the nation was crucial.

  • Vandals damage mosque in northern Israel

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Police say vandals have damaged a mosque in northern Israel in an attack blamed on a fringe group of Jewish extremists. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the door of a mosque in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm was damaged overnight and the house of worship was sprayed with anti-Arab graffiti. He said on Friday that the attack appeared to be the latest "price tag" incident. The phrase is used by a small group of Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government's pro-Palestinian policies. He said police were investigating. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by the vandals in recent years. The acts have been condemned by I

  • Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Christians in the Holy Land are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions through Jerusalem's Old City. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." They are carrying wooden crosses and following the 14 stations ending at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tradition says the church was built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. The Easter holiday and Jewish Passover coincide this year. According to the Gospels, Jesus ate his last supper — a Passover meal — hours before he was betrayed.

  • UN envoy urges Syria's warring sides to save Homs

    Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — The United Nations envoy to Syria on Thursday said the besieged central city of Homs has become a "theater of death and destruction," and he urged both sides in the country's civil war to return to negotiations. In a statement, Lakhdar Brahimi called on Syrian government officials and opposition leaders to resume talks that broke off in February. The central city has seen some of the worst fighting in the 3-year-old conflict. An agreement on a weeklong cease-fire that allowed more than 1,000 civilians to leave Homs' rebel-held areas was hailed as the only achievement of the recent Geneva peace talks that Brahimi mediated.

  • Opposition cries fraud in Algerian election

    Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The main opposition candidate in Algeria's presidential elections cried foul late Thursday night hours after voting ended, alleging massive fraud and vowing to reject any results announced. Ali Benflis told supporters at his headquarters that preliminary information indicated fraud on a grand scale with grave irregularities across the country. "Our history will remember this date as a great crime against the nation by stealing the voice of the citizens and blocking popular will," he said, while fireworks from celebrating supporters of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, his opponent, could be heard in the background.

  • Gulf Arab states strike new deal to heal rifts

    Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Western-allied Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council said Thursday the bloc has agreed on the mechanisms to implement a security pact, marking a possible first step toward bridging deep rifts among its six energy-rich states. Qatar's official news agency confirmed that Doha's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah took part in the GCC Foreign Ministers meeting held in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh. The GCC statement was released just before midnight after the meeting concluded.

  • Iranian woman forgives son's killer at the gallows

    Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    The execution of an Iranian convicted of murder was halted at the very last minute in a dramatic scene this week when the mother of his victim forgave him as he stood on the gallows with the noose around his neck. That's according to Iranian media and dramatic images published of the incident. The ISNA news agency reported the convict, identified as Bilal, had been sentenced to death for killing a teenager, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, during a street fight in the market of the northern Iranian town of Nour seven years ago. Bilal was brought blindfolded to the site of his planned execution Tuesday. But at the last minute, Hosseinzadeh's mother, Samereh Alinejad, forgave him, after giving a speech to the crowd and then slappin

  • Curious about Palestine, Israeli visitors return

    Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — This bustling center of Palestinian life is just a 20-minute drive from Jerusalem, but for Israelis it might as well be on the other side of the world. Since a major round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting more than a decade ago, Israelis have been kept out of Palestinian cities by the Israeli military and their own fears. But after several years of relative calm, a few have begun trickling back in tours led by Palestinian guides and guarded by plainclothes Palestinian security agents. On Wednesday, about two dozen visitors, Israelis and a few foreigners, visited the mausoleum of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and a shrine to national poet Mahmoud Darwish — though hopes of talking to local resid