• Coalition airstrikes in Syria killed over 500

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    MURSITPINAR, Turkey (AP) — U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria have killed more than 500 people since they began last month, mainly Islamic militants, activists said Thursday, as fighting flared yet again in the northern Syrian border town of Kobani. Despite the large death toll and international intervention to aid Kurdish forces fighting to defend Kobani, Islamic State forces on Thursday seized a hilltop overlooking the town along the Syria-Turkey border, activist said. To aid their brethren, Iraqi Kurds pledged to send dozens of fighters over the coming days to battle alongside Syrian Kurdish forces in Kobani.

  • AP Interview: Libya FM wants Tripoli negotiations

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Libya's newly appointed foreign minister said Thursday that he hopes to see a negotiated solution to the standoff in the capital, Tripoli, where Islamist-allied militias have taken over the city and forced out the elected lawmakers. The dramatic developments have further mired Libya in its worst turmoil since Moammar Gadhafi's ouster in 2011, with the country deeply fractured and having two rival governments and parliaments. Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri, who assumed his post in late September, said he hopes mediation efforts by U.N. special representative, Bernardino Leon, would produce a political power-sharing agreement.

  • Lebanon says it won't accept more Syrian refugees

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon announced on Thursday it will not accept any more refugees from neighboring war-torn Syria, except in what authorities deem to be "exceptional" cases — a move that could prevent tens of thousands of Syrians from escaping the civil war. Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said Lebanon can simply not handle any more refugees. The tiny Mediterranean country has 1.1 million officially registered Syrian refugees, although the number is believed to be far higher. They make up almost a quarter of the country's population of 5 million. The refugees have stretched the country's already fragile infrastructure and compete with Lebanon's poorest for low-paid jobs, causing tensions.

  • AP Interview: Jerusalem mayor vows to calm city

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Jerusalem's mayor on Thursday called for a crackdown against a wave of Palestinian unrest, as police beefed up security after a Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded light rail train station and killed a baby girl. The crash Wednesday night escalated already heightened tensions in east Jerusalem, the section of the holy city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital. Since the summer, Palestinian youths have clashed frequently with Israeli police, thrown stones and firebombs at Israeli motorists and disrupted service of the city's light rail train — a service meant to unify the city.

  • After alarm, Lebanese man tests negative for Ebola

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese man who arrived in Beirut from West Africa believing he may have Ebola was reassured by doctors that he is disease free but was still taken into a hospital quarantine on Thursday as a practice run to check the country's preparedness, a health official said. The case initially raised concerns because it was announced by the health minister, Wael Abu Faour, who said earlier in the day that Lebanon had quarantined a man suspected of having Ebola. The announcement came after days of warnings by the government that the country was at a high risk of exposure to the disease.

  • French moving troops toward Libyan border

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — France is moving troops toward the Libyan border within weeks and, along with U.S. intelligence, is monitoring al-Qaida arms shipments to Africa's Sahel region, a top French military official said Thursday. A French base will go up within weeks in a desert outpost 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the lawless Libyan border region overrun by Islamic militants, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. U.S. intelligence is helping French troops "a lot," he said. Earlier this month, French troops destroyed an arms convoy in northern Niger carrying three tons of weapons from Libya to Mali. A French drone had located and followed the convoy from sout

  • For teen with passport, Syria trip can be seamless

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — The teenage sisters told their father they were staying home sick from their suburban Denver school. Instead, they took $2,000 and their passports and headed off for Syria with a 16-year-old friend. They made it as far as Germany before border guards detained them for questioning. The fact that adolescent girls could make their way across the Atlantic might come as a surprise to many parents, but a patchwork of laws and rules governing international air travel in many cases makes it easy for teenagers to travel with nobody's permission but their own.

  • Cyprus: crews locate small plane wreckage, bodies

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The bodies of two people have been found near wreckage belonging to a small aircraft that vanished over the Mediterranean Sea while en route to Beirut from Cyprus, the defense minister said Thursday. Christoforos Fokaides expressed condolences to the families of the "two members of the crew." He said the bodies will be taken to the island nation for positive identification. Family members of both victims have been notified, according to a Defense Ministry statement. Cypriot authorities said the twin-engine Diamond DA42 plane with one Cypriot and one Lebanese national onboard disappeared Wednesday evening around 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the coastal town of Larnaca.

  • Lebanese health minister says man suspected of having Ebola quarantined in Lebanon

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese health minister says man suspected of having Ebola quarantined in Lebanon.

  • Danes summon Turkish diplomat over freed suspect

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark has summoned Turkey's ambassador over the disappearance of a man suspected of attempted murder who was arrested in Istanbul at Denmark's request. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard says he will tell Mehmet Donmez on Friday that "it is clearly not satisfactory" that Turkey has not informed Danes why and when Danish national Basil Hassan was freed. Lidegaard said Thursday the 27-year-old's release was "a huge problem." Hassan, suspected in the failed shooting of a Danish anti-Islamist in 2013, was arrested April 16. On Wednesday, Turkey said that a Turkish court was behind his release without giving further details.

  • Clarification: Turkey-Islamic State-Istanbul story

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    ISTANBUL (AP) — In a story Oct. 17, The Associated Press reported that the owner of a bookstore in Istanbul that sells pins bearing the emblem of the Islamic State group said jihadists should not be classified as terrorists. The story should have specified that Osman Akyildiz said he does not support the Islamic State militants' campaign of beheadings.

  • China, Iran defense officials pledge closer ties

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — China's defense minister met Thursday with Iran's navy commander in the latest sign of warming ties between their two militaries following their first joint naval drills in the Persian Gulf last month. Chang Wanquan told visiting Iranian Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari that China hopes for "further pragmatic cooperation and the uninterrupted development of ties between the two militaries," China's Defense Ministry said. It quoted Sayyari as saying that Iran attached great importance to its relations with China and also hoped for stronger military-to-military ties. China has been building closer ties with the militaries of U.S. rivals such as Russia to help counter American naval dominance in the Asia-Pa

  • Dubai cuts profile as Mideast plastic surgery hub

    Updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai, the emirate known for its celebration of over-the-top glamour and luxury, is racing ahead to dominate the Middle East's plastic surgery market with plans to attract half a million medical tourists in six years. Where cosmopolitan Beirut was once the region's best known city for going under the knife, turmoil in Syria and violence often spilling into Lebanon is driving away wealthy Arab tourists. After splashing out on medical infrastructure over the past years, Dubai already ranks globally and aims to move up the list of top international destinations for medical tourism. It plans to attract 20 million tourists by 2020 — with half a million medical tourists bringing in revenues of

  • Arab Idol winner wants to give back to Gaza

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Last year's feel-good winner of the TV singing contest Arab Idol said Wednesday he wants to give back to Gaza, where he grew up, by setting up an arts center nurturing young musicians, writers and actors. The center would be funded by Palestinian Americans who have pledged support, Mohammed Assaf, 24, said in an interview in the Gaza City office of The Associated Press. He said he is waiting for a new Palestinian unity government to establish a foothold in Gaza before moving ahead. Until recently, the territory was ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas which has ceded some control.

  • Gaza rebuilding slowed by trickle of aid, rivalry

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Several dozen tons of cement bags stored in a warehouse are one of the few tangible achievements so far of a $2.7 billion plan to rebuild war-wrecked Gaza Strip. The program was launched with high expectations at an international conference in Cairo on Oct. 12, but has run into obstacles, including wrangling between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah for control in Gaza and what officials say has been a trickle of promised aid. Hardest hit by delays are tens of thousands of Gazans living in communal shelters or the ruins of their homes since the summer war between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas destroyed or damaged some 100,000 homes.

  • Rights group: Migrant workers abused in UAE homes

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Many Asian and African women working as domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates say their employers beat them with sticks or cables, punched and slapped them, and there's little they can do because they're excluded from the country's labor law protections, a rights group said Thursday. The abuse complaints are rampant throughout the wealthy Persian Gulf region that relies on foreign labor. The Human Rights Watch says the problem is that the migrant workers' residency is tied to their employers through a sponsorship system that prevents them easily changing jobs. It cited passport confiscation, non-payment of wages, excessive work, forced confinement, food deprivation and psychological, physic

  • Canada's PM says shooting rampage was terrorism

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A masked gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Canada's war memorial Wednesday, then stormed Parliament in an attack that was stopped cold when he was shot to death by the ceremonial sergeant-at-arms. Canada's prime minister called it the country's second terrorist attack in three days. "We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated," Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed in an address to the nation. Unfolding just before 10 a.m., while lawmakers were meeting in caucus rooms, the assault rocked Parliament over and over with the boom of gunfire, led MPs to barricade doors with chairs and sent people streaming from the building in fear. Harper was addressing a caucus when the attack beg

  • Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack. The girl and her parents, who were injured in the attack, were U.S. citizens, according to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. The violence came after months of tensions between Jews and Palestinians in east Jerusalem — the section of the city the Palestinians demand as their future capital. The area has experienced unrest and near-daily attacks on the city's light rail by Palestinian youths since a wave of violence over the summer, capped by a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas mi

  • UN inquiry head rejects N. Korea's 'honeyed words'

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — "A few honeyed words" by North Korea as it tries to avoid a referral to the International Criminal Court has not changed the human rights situation on the ground there, the head of a U.N. commission of inquiry on the North told reporters Wednesday. Michael Kirby then had a rare exchange with North Korean officials, who showed up and challenged the commission's work during a U.N. human rights event featuring testimonies from North Korean refugees. "We can't let lies pass at the United Nations," Kim Ju Song, an adviser with the North's foreign ministry, said before the meeting began. Kirby thanked the North Korean officials for coming, and he asked repeatedly to visit the country.

  • North Korean detainee reunites with family in Ohio

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (AP) — An American arrested and held for nearly six months in North Korea for leaving a Bible at a nightclub returned home to Ohio on Wednesday to tears of joy and hugs from his wife and surprised children. A plane carrying Jeffrey Fowle, who was released with help from a retired diplomat and former Ohio congressman, landed Wednesday morning at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, where he was reunited with his family. Moments after Fowle stepped off the plane, his three children and wife ran from a nearby airplane hangar and shared hugs. Base Col. John Devillier said Fowle had a tearful reunion, and that Fowle seemed thrilled. "We had a great reunion for an American citizen coming