• EU chief says Turkey should meet visa terms, ignores threats

    EU chief says Turkey should meet visa terms,...

    Updated: Thu, May 26, 2016

    BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the EU expects Turkey to respect all conditions to secure visa-free travel for its citizens and has rejected what he called threats from Ankara. Juncker said at the Group of Seven summit Thursday that "we do expect that Turkey will stick to its commitments." Turkey must meet 72 conditions to get the visa waiver. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to change Turkey's anti-terror laws to do so. The visa offer is part of a deal to persuade Turkey to stop migrants coming to Europe. Erdogan has said the deal could collapse if the Europeans renege on visas.

  • In image-conscious Dubai, even police patrol in luxury cars

    In image-conscious Dubai, even police patrol in...

    Updated: Thu, May 26, 2016

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Image is everything in Dubai — even when fighting crime. Police in this desert metropolis have built up a high-horsepower arsenal of luxury sports cars and SUVs over the years to complement their fleet of green-and-white patrol cruisers. The high-end squad cars fit into the greater gearhead ethos of Dubai, where fire-engine red Ferraris growl at stoplights and convertible Rolls Royces prowl the boulevard ringing the world's tallest building. Lamborghinis also glisten through the glass of a massive new showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road, the country's longest thoroughfare that is a dozen lanes at its widest when cutting through Dubai. But don't expect their Lamborghini Aventador to

  • Israel's Netanyahu adds hard-liner to coalition

    Israel\'s Netanyahu adds hard-liner to coalition

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named one of Israel's most polarizing politicians as defense minister on Wednesday, solidifying his parliamentary majority at the risk of antagonizing the international community and his own military — and clouding already slim hopes for a resumption of peace efforts. The addition of Avigdor Lieberman to the Cabinet comes at a sensitive time. After a two-year breakdown in talks, France is preparing to host a conference next month aimed at restarting negotiations. At the same time, the U.S.-led quartet of international peace mediators is set to release a report expected to be critical of Israel.

  • UN envoy says radically more must be done for Mideast peace

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Palestinians in Gaza are growing ever more desperate and unless "radically more" is done to address the situation, it is only a matter of time before there is another escalation of violence, the U.N.'s top Mideast envoy told the Security Council on Wednesday. Nickolay Mladenov said that early May saw the biggest escalation of violence in Gaza since 2014 and that those incidents serve to highlight the fragility of the security situation and threaten the current ceasefire. "Recent events clearly demonstrate that the specter of violence looms ominously over the territory.

  • Russia accuses Turkey of supplying Islamic State extremists

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia has accused Turkey of supplying the Islamic State extremist group with components for improvised explosive devices. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated Wednesday that the devices "are being widely used to commit terrorist acts." He said an analysis of chemical components of explosives captured from Islamists in the region of the Iraqi city of Tikrit and the Syrian city of Kobani, and a review of conditions for selling the components, "indicates that they were either manufactured in Turkey or delivered to that country without the right of re-export.

  • Hamas planning to execute 13 convicted murderers

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers said Wednesday they intend to execute residents convicted of murder even without the needed approval of the Palestinian president. Hamas lawmakers "endorsed" 13 death sentences after mounting pressure from victims' families. West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to approve the Hamas verdicts and the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights says he is deeply concerned over the imminent executions. "The Gaza authorities' statements follow the demands of several families for the death penalty to be carried out against individuals accused of killing their relatives," a spokesman for the commissioner, Rupert Colville, said.

  • Cyprus: UN shares blame in kerfuffle that paused peace talks

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus says the United Nations mishandled a diplomatic kerfuffle involving the leader of the ethnically divided island's breakaway Turkish Cypriots that led to ongoing reunification talks being temporarily put on hold. President Nicos Anastasiades, a Greek Cypriot, said Wednesday he won't tolerate the United Nations' "bad handling" or allow the island nation's internationally-recognized government to be "downgraded." Anastasiades canceled Friday's meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci after he attended a dinner for heads of state at the invitation of Turkey's president at the end of a U.N.-sponsored humanitarian summit in Turkey. Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides sa

  • Turkish official: Kurdish rebel car bombing kills 3

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish official says a car bombing by Kurdish rebels against a gendarmerie station near the Syrian border has killed three people. The official said the attack in the town of Midyat, in Mardin province, killed two government-employed village guards and a junior officer. The station chief was seriously wounded. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

  • Egypt deports French journalist in latest crackdown on press

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt deported a French journalist without explanation, the reporter said Wednesday, the latest move in an ongoing crackdown by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government on freedom of expression and the media. Correspondent Remy Pigaglio, who worked for several publications including Catholic daily La Croix and was based in Egypt since 2014, was returning from vacation in France and prevented from entering the country on Monday. Pigaglio said he has a valid residency work permit and a press card, and was detained for 30 hours at Cairo International Airport before being sent back to Paris.

  • Official: Greek efforts to handle refugee crisis significant

    Official: Greek efforts to handle refugee...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has faced major problems in dealing with the refugee crisis but has made a significant effort to handle the issues, a leading European human rights official said Wednesday. Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland told The Associated Press, however, that concerns remain about the detention of some asylum-seekers while their applications are being processed in Greece. Greece has been the main gateway into Europe for hundreds of thousands of people, the vast majority from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, fleeing war and poverty.

  • Instagram account for Iranian general briefly inaccessible

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Instagram account associated with a powerful general who leads an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard briefly was inaccessible on the application. The account featuring images of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who heads the elite Quds Force focusing on foreign operations, was inaccessible Wednesday, then later restored. It's unclear whether the account, followed by some 300,000 users, is managed on Soleimani's behalf. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency described it as belonging to him. A website associated with Iranian state television also reported on the account's disappearance. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Israel's new defense minister could clash with his soldiers

    Israel\'s new defense minister could clash with...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's incoming defense minister once called for bombing Egypt, suggested just weeks ago that Israel kill Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip and opposed the prosecution of a soldier accused of killing a wounded Palestinian. These are just a few of the positions that could put former bar bouncer Avigdor Lieberman at odds with the military he now commands. While people close to Lieberman insist he is a pragmatist, his long history of incendiary statements bode poorly for him as he takes over one of the region's most sensitive posts. As Israel's defense minister, he will be responsible for overseeing military policy and handling delicate security matters with international allies whom he has antagonized in the past.

  • Yemeni officials: Airstrike kills 11 from same family

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The death toll of a suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a family's house in southern Yemen has been raised to 11, including four children from one family, security officials and witnesses said Wednesday. The officials said that warplanes, thought to be Emirati, fired two missiles at the family's house in the town of el-Mahala, in the southern province of Lahj. The house was flattened and only one child from the family survived the strike, they said. The officials said the home is adjacent to a building that is suspected of housing Islamic militants. A witness, Ahmed Hadash, said he heard explosions for 40 minutes while the warplanes were flying. "The bodies were distorted and the

  • In Iraq battle, IS prevents Fallujah residents from fleeing

    In Iraq battle, IS prevents Fallujah residents...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group is preventing people from fleeing Fallujah amid a military operation to recapture the city west of Baghdad, a local Iraqi official and aid groups said on Wednesday. Thousands of civilians are estimated to remain inside Fallujah, located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, which IS has held for over two years. On Sunday, government forces launched a large-scale offensive, teaming up with paramilitary troops and backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led coalition. Nearly 20 families have fled from Fallujah's outskirts, where sporadic clashes have been taking place, since the offensive started, said Shakir al-Issawi, the head of the council in the nearby town of Amiriyat al-

  • Seeking greater powers, Erdogan chairs Cabinet's 1st meeting

    Seeking greater powers, Erdogan chairs...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is presiding over the first meeting of Turkey's new Cabinet led by a trusted ally, in a clear sign that he intends to maintain influence on the running of government. Erdogan on Sunday appointed Binali Yildirim as prime minister. Yildirim promised to immediately work toward a constitutional overhaul that would increase the powers of the largely ceremonial presidency. He replaced Ahmet Davutoglu, whose support for a powerful presidential system seemed lukewarm. Erdogan chaired the new government's first meeting at his palace on Wednesday. Constitutionally, the prime minister has executive powers in Turkey. But Erdogan, a former premier, has continued to wield powers

  • Turkish minister: EU membership not Turkey's 'only option'

    Turkish minister: EU membership not Turkey\'s...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A top Turkish official says Turkey's EU membership is important but is not the country's "only option." Omer Celik, the new minister in charge of relations with the EU, also said Wednesday that the bloc was applying "double standards" concerning its fight against terrorism. His comments come amid tensions between Turkey and the EU over a deal to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens traveling to Europe. The EU says Turkey must narrow its definition of terrorism before it can grant a visa waiver. Turkey rejects that condition saying it would hamper its fight against Islamic State militants and Kurdish rebels.

  • Egypt hires 2 foreign firms in search for plane recorders

    Egypt hires 2 foreign firms in search for plane...

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — The chief of EgyptAir says Egypt has contracted two foreign companies to help locate the flight data recorders of the carrier's plane that crashed last week in the Mediterranean, killing all 66 passengers and crew on board. Safwat Masalam said on Wednesday that a French and an Italian company will be working with Egyptian search teams to try and find the black boxes, which could give clues as to what happened in the final minutes of the flight. He didn't identify the companies. Earlier, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said a submarine would join the search. Ships and planes from Britain, Cyprus, France, Greece and the U.S. are also participating in the search for the debris from the aircraft, including th

  • Rights group: Israeli army probes of soldiers a fig leaf

    Updated: Wed, May 25, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading Israeli rights group said Wednesday it will stop seeking investigations of Israeli soldiers suspected of abusing Palestinians, arguing that internal military probes have failed to deliver justice and effectively help whitewash half a century of occupation. In a rebuke to the military justice system, the Israeli group B'Tselem said military investigations are deeply flawed and create a "mere semblance of justice." Hagai El-Ad, the group's executive director, said B'Tselem would stop cooperating with a system it cannot trust. "The system's real function is cover-ups," he said. He said once the group reached that "painful conclusion ... we found it morally unacceptable for us to continue workin

  • Rights group urges halt of arms deals to Egypt over abuses

    Updated: Tue, May 24, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Britain-based Amnesty International is calling on European Union member states to halt arms sales to Egypt over human rights abuses it characterizes as "fueling killings and torture." In a Wednesday statement, it said that almost half of EU member states have flouted a suspension on arms transfers to Egypt, "risking complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture." "Internal repression by the security forces remains rife, and there has been virtually no accountability," says Magdalena Mughrabi from the group. "Excessive use of force, mass arbitrary arrests, torture, and enforced disappearances having become a part of the security forces' modus operandi," she added.

  • Buses and Bulldozers: Refugees are removed from Greek camp

    Buses and Bulldozers: Refugees are removed from...

    Updated: Tue, May 24, 2016

    IDOMENI, Greece (AP) — It grew to the size of a small town, becoming a symbol of Europe's closed border policy for migrants and refugees. On Tuesday, Greek authorities began to dismantle it. Starting at dawn, police moved more than 2,000 people out of Idomeni, the sprawling makeshift camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, and sent in bulldozers to begin erasing the tent city. The move definitively dashed the dreams of the thousands who had camped there for months in the hope of eventually being able to reach the continent's wealthy heartland. The refugees — many from Syria and Iraq — had stubbornly resisted government efforts to leave the site voluntarily, braving torrential rainfall and winter weather.