• In Jerusalem's culture war, secular residents make gains

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Crowds of angry ultra-Orthodox Jewish men, wearing long beards, black and white garb and large black hats, protested in the streets of Jerusalem earlier this month against a new cinema opening its doors on the Sabbath. The demonstration was meant to be a show of strength in a long-running dispute over the role of strict Jewish law in the cultural life of Jerusalem. But in many ways, it was also a sign of desperation after a series of gains by the city's secular community in recent years. "No one's saying we're giving up," said Shmuel Poppenheim, an unofficial spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox community. But, he conceded, "We know it's a lost cause. ... We know that we can't stage a war" over every new establ

  • France train suspect watched jihadi video, prosecutor says

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — Minutes before he slung an assault rifle across his chest and walked through a high-speed train, the Moroccan suspect in the foiled attack watched a jihadi video on his cellphone, the French prosecutor said in formally opening a terrorism investigation Tuesday. The actions by Ayoub El-Khazzani on the Amsterdam-to-Paris train Friday night and information from other European authorities on his travels and apparent links to radical Islam prompted the investigation, said prosecutor Francois Molins. El-Khazzani, 26, was tackled and tied up by five passengers, including three Americans and a Briton, averting what President Francois Hollande said "could have degenerated into monstrous carnage.

  • Hezbollah throws weight behind protests, deepening crisis

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah threw its weight Tuesday behind mass protests calling for the government's resignation, deepening a crisis that started over piles of uncollected garbage in the streets of the capital but has tapped into a much deeper malaise. The explosion of anger targets the endemic corruption, hapless government and sectarian divisions of a brittle country once torn by civil war and now struggling with a wave of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. A grassroots youth movement calling itself "You Stink" mobilized thousands of people in two rallies over the weekend, and has called for another large protest on Saturday.

  • Palestinians, Vatican could raise UN flags before pope visit

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters — just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month. Supporters of the idea hope the U.N. General Assembly will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives. They're betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis' first U.S. visit. The Palestinians' proposal has been tabled, and a draft of the resolution set to be made public Wednesday has been seen by The Associated Press. It would allow non-member observer states — there are only two — to display their flags with

  • In Islamic State war, like others, heritage always a target

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. The group has destroyed ancient buildings and artifacts, as well as shrines to Shiite and Sunni Muslim saints — looting some sites for profit — all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of idolatry to create a society dedicated solely to its extreme and violent interpretation of Islam. The IS campaign has horrified many around the world with a scope of destruction that hasn't been seen for decades. Still, it isn't unprecedented.

  • Turkey, US conclude talks on anti-IS operation plan

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish and U.S. officials have concluded "technical talks" over their cooperation on operations against the Islamic State group, Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday. Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that Turkish and U.S. military officials had sealed an agreement concerning "the procedures and technical details" of their operations. He didn't provide details, but he has said an extensive, coordinated operation against the militant group would start soon. "The military authorities have signed off," Cavusoglu said. Ending months of reluctance, Turkey last month took on a more front line role in the fight against IS.

  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman to visit US next month

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi officials say King Salman will visit the United States early next month for the first time since ascending the throne and will meet with President Barack Obama. The diplomats told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Salman is expected in Washington on Sept. 5 for a visit that could last two to three days. Salman, who ascended the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, is expected to then visit Egypt before returning to Saudi Arabia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. The trip comes amid Saudi concerns about a nuclear deal reached with regional rival Iran.

  • Official: S. Sudan president may sign peace deal Wednesday

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan President Salva Kiir may sign a peace deal with rebels on Wednesday, more than a week after refusing to do so, a presidential spokesman said Tuesday. The U.N. Security Council threatened to "act immediately" if he doesn't. Kiir will first express "reservations" about the agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar at a summit with regional leaders in the nation's capital, Juba, Ateny Wek Ateny said. He said Kiir is unhappy about the demands that Juba be demilitarized, the rebels will appoint two state governors, and a foreigner will head a monitoring commission. Machar last week signed the deal, but Kiir said he needed more consultations.

  • A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — Record numbers of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea are trying to reach Europe, despite the risks of perilous sea crossings and the inability of countries to provide adequate humanitarian assistance. Here are the latest developments Tuesday: ___ HUNGARY: Thousands of migrants, many from Syria, poured into Hungary as soldiers frantically tried to finish a border fence to keep them out. Government officials said a record 2,093 migrants reached Hungary a day earlier — roughly 40 percent higher than the daily average influx in the previous week. Most quickly leave for richer European Union countries like Germany or the Netherlands.

  • Grand Egyptian Museum to be managed internationally

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's antiquities minister said Tuesday that the long-planned Grand Egyptian Museum will have an independent, international directorship in an effort to overcome bureaucracy. Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said the awaited museum near the Pyramids of Giza will be run "independent" of the government, similar to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, an elaborate piece of architecture which opened in 2002 under a special act of parliament guaranteeing its administrative independence. "We have a plan for it to have independence and an international board of trustees like the Library of Alexandria," he told reporters at a news conference near the museum's 120-acre construction site.

  • UN rights arm denounces executions in Iraq's Kurdish region

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — U.N. rights officials are denouncing the execution of a man and his two wives in Iraq's Kurdish region over the kidnapping and murder of two girls, saying they fear the self-ruled region may slide back toward use of the death penalty. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that Farhad Jaafar Mahmood and wives Khuncha Hassan Ismaeil and Berivan Haider Karim were hanged Aug. 12 following convictions in April last year. Local officials said, however, the hangings took place Saturday. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the OHCHR, said he could not immediately explain the discrepancy. The U.N. opposes the death penalty.

  • Yemen rebels kill 3 Saudi soldiers in border attacks

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Attacks by Yemeni rebels have killed three Saudi soldiers and wounded another three along the border, the Saudi military said Tuesday. The official Saudi Press Agency said two soldiers were killed in action on Tuesday. Another was killed Monday when the rebels, known as Houthis, attacked a border post in the Jizan province with rocket and artillery fire. The statement said Saudi troops fired back, without providing further details. Saudi Maj. Gen. Abdulrahman al-Shahrani was killed Sunday in the same region. He is the highest-ranking Saudi officer to be killed in the conflict since March, when a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the Iran-supported rebels.

  • IAEA: Iran provides sizable amount of info for nuclear probe

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    VIENNA (AP) — Iran has provided a "substantive volume" of information to the U.N. atomic agency on allegations that it worked on nuclear arms, the agency's chief said Tuesday, but declined to characterize the value of the documents. Yukiya Amano said it would be premature to say how useful the information given by Iran last week would be in the investigation being conducted by his International Atomic Energy Agency. "We need to see the whole picture to have an assessment," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board, convened to seek approval — and funds — for the agency's assigned task of monitoring the July 14 Iran nuclear deal.

  • Israel releases African migrants from detention center

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    HOLOT DETENTION FACILITY, Israel (AP) — Faysal Hussein from Sudan walked out of Israel's desert detention center Tuesday already sweating with just a backpack, barely enough cash for bus fare and lunch, and after 19 months in custody, no idea where to go. Hussein was among hundreds of African migrants Israel began freeing from this remote detention facility after a court ruling this month ordered their release. The release reflected Israel's ongoing struggles in coping with an influx of African migrants that it does not want in the country, but is unable to forcibly send anywhere else.

  • Russia's Putin hosts Middle East leaders at air show

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has played host to the king of Jordan and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi on the first day of Russia's main aviation and space show. In opening the International Aviation and Space Salon, or MAKS, Putin said Tuesday the six-day show near Moscow would see the signing of a series of "serious agreements." He said Russia intends to promote its passenger and transport planes more actively on both the domestic and international market, while also increasing its space potential and strengthening its position as a leading producer of military aircraft. Putin was joined by Jordanian King Abdullah II and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy co

  • Diplomat: Iran has no plan to swap detained Post reporter

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian diplomat said Tuesday that Tehran has no plans to swap detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian for prisoners held in the United States, the first time a high-level official has alluded to the possibility of such a trade. Rezaian awaits a verdict in his closed-door espionage trial in a case widely criticized by the U.S., press freedom organizations and the Post. He reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted. The semi-official Tasnim and Fars news agencies quoted Hassan Qashqavi, Iran's deputy foreign minister in charge of legal and consular affairs, as saying: "An exchange of Jason Rezaian is not on the agenda. Each of the issues has their own separate case." Far

  • Dubai, Saudi markets make gains after sell-offs

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's stock market closed more than 7 percent higher and Dubai's main index inched up more than 4 percent on Tuesday after several days of sell-offs on the back of a further slide in oil prices and investor concerns over China's economy. The Saudi Tadawul index, the region's largest, had dropped 12.3 percent over two consecutive trading sessions, before gaining 7.4 percent. Dubai's index rose 4.6 percent after sliding almost 8.5 percent since opening day of trading for the week on Sunday. Sebastien Henin, head of Asset Management at United Arab Emirates-based firm The National Investor, said some investors felt it was a good time to get back into the Gulf market after the drop in

  • Iraqi PM says defense of refinery town crucial to IS defeat

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Winning the battle for control of an oil refinery town north of Baghdad is a key step toward defeating the Islamic State group, Iraq's prime minister said in remarks aired Tuesday, hours before a suicide attack killed 13 soldiers and allied militiamen in the western Anbar province. "Victory at Beiji is a crucial step toward ending Daesh's presence in Iraq," Haider al-Abadi told military and militia commanders during a visit to the area the day before, using an Arabic acronym for the IS group. The military retook the town of Beiji from the extremists in November, but government forces and allied Shiite militiamen there have come under mounting pressure in recent weeks.

  • Red Cross pulls foreign staff from Yemen office after attack

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — The International Red Cross says it has withdrawn its 14 foreign staffers from its office in Aden, Yemen, following an attack by unknown gunmen who held employees at gunpoint and made off with cash, cars and equipment. The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday the staffers were relocated to another of its sites in Djibouti on the Red Sea following the attack on Monday. Local leader Samer Jarjouhi said the Red Cross office had faced "at least 10 such incidents recently.

  • 3 generations of Swedish family linked by single womb

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    GOTHENBURG, Sweden (AP) — For one family in Sweden, a pioneering procedure has led to a baby being born from the same womb that nurtured his mother, uniting three generations. The new mother, who lost her own uterus to cancer in her 20s, said it was "unimaginable" that she now had her own child, thanks to her mother's donated womb. "It can't be described how happy we are," she told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. "It's everything that I hoped for and a little bit more," said the woman, who asked that she and her mother not be identified in order to protect the privacy of her 9-month-old son. Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who is behind the revolutionary process, has ushered in four babies — all boys — with t




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