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  • Arab states lag in media war against extremists

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As the Islamic State group battles across Syria and Iraq, pushing back larger armies and ruling over entire cities, it is also waging an increasingly sophisticated media campaign that has rallied disenfranchised youth and outpaced the sluggish efforts of Arab governments to stem its appeal. Long gone are the days when militant leaders like Osama bin Laden smuggled grainy videos to Al-Jazeera. Nowadays Islamic State backers use Twitter, Facebook and other online platforms to entice recruits with professionally made videos showing fighters waging holy war and building an Islamic utopia.

  • Sierra Leone concludes nationwide Ebola lockdown

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Frustrated residents complained of food shortages in some neighborhoods of Sierra Leone's capital on Sunday as the country reached the third and final day of a sweeping, unprecedented lockdown designed to combat the deadly Ebola disease, volunteers said. While most residents welcomed teams of health care workers and volunteers bearing information about the disease, rumors persisted in pockets of the city that poisoned soap was being distributed, suggesting that public education campaigns had not been entirely successful. The streets of the capital, Freetown, were again mostly deserted on Sunday in compliance with a government order for the country's 6 million residents to stay in their homes.

  • Erdogan: Turkey won't give hostage release details

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish government won't reveal details of a covert operation that ensured the release of 49 people held hostage by the Islamic State group, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday. The hostages — 46 Turks and three Iraqis — were returned to Turkey on Saturday after more than three months in the hands of the Islamic State group, which captured them when it overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in June. "There are things we cannot talk about," Erdogan told a group consisting of some of the hostages and their families. "To run the state is not like running a grocery store. We have to protect sensitive issues. If you don't, there would be a price to pay.

  • Bombings, mortar fire kill 13 people in Iraq

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Bombs and mortar fire killed 13 people in Shiite areas in and around Baghdad on Sunday, as Iraqi security forces said they succeeded in breaking a siege on soldiers who had been surrounded by Islamic State militants west of Baghdad. Police officials said three mortar shells landed on a residential area in Sabaa al-Bour, a town just north of Baghdad, killing six, including a 12-year old-boy. Several cars were damaged in the attack, which wounded 17. Later, a bomb blast in a commercial street killed four people and wounded 11 in the capital's northeastern district of Shaab. At night, a bomb explosion at a commercial street in the Shiite part of Baghdad's district of Bayaa killed three people and wounded seven o

  • Syria blasts coalition against Islamic State

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's parliament speaker said Sunday that the U.S. should work with Damascus to battle the Islamic State extremist group rather than allying with nations which he accused of supporting terrorism. Speaker Jihad Laham was apparently referring to Saudi Arabia and other countries backing rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. Obama is currently working to form a global coalition to confront the Islamic State group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq. The U.S. meanwhile has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq since August. Obama last week authorized strikes against the group in Syria. U.S.

  • Thousands march in Moscow against Ukraine fighting

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — Tens of thousands of people marched through central Moscow on Sunday to demonstrate against the fighting in Ukraine and Russia's alleged complicity in the conflict. An Associated Press reporter estimated the crowd at about 20,000, although the city police department put the number at about 5,000. The demonstrators chanted slogans including "No to war" and "The junta is in the Kremlin, not Kiev." The latter refers to Russia's contention that the ousting of Ukraine's former Russia-friendly president was a coup. The fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine that erupted after the ouster has killed more than 3,000 people.

  • UN General Assembly to focus on war on extremists

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — A brutal terrorist organization that calls itself a state but lacks recognition from any government will take center stage when more than 140 heads of state and government convene for the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this week. The head of the so-called Islamic State, a man called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has not been invited. But the danger posed by his jihadi army will be the overriding theme for an international community horrified by its atrocities in Iraq and Syria, along with a growing concern about random beheadings or larger terror attacks at home inspired by militants abroad.

  • Kenya marks 1 year since Westgate mall attack

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Relatives of the dead, survivors and shop owners converged outside Nairobi's Westgate Mall on Sunday, lighting candles and laying flowers in memory of those killed a year ago when gunmen stormed the upscale mall. The attack killed 67 people and left Kenya's capital unsettled for days as militants battled with security forces, and people trapped inside tried to flee the fighting. A memorial plaque with the names of the victims was also unveiled in a separate ceremony at the Amani Garden memorial site in the Karura Forest on the edge of the city. Families laid flowers for their lost loved ones, sharing memories and tears. Amu Shah remembered his son Mitul, who was killed in the attack.

  • Pope in Albania urges Muslims to condemn extremism

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Pope Francis called Sunday for Muslims and all religious leaders to condemn Islamic extremists who "pervert" religion to justify violence, as he visited Albania and held up the Balkan nation as a model for interfaith harmony for the rest of the world. "To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman," Francis told representatives of Albania's Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic communities during a half-day visit to Tirana in which he recalled the brutal persecution people of all faiths suffered under communism. Francis wept when he heard the testimony of one priest, the Rev.

  • China, US, India push world carbon emissions up

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurred chiefly by China, the United States and India, the world spewed far more carbon pollution into the air last year than ever before, scientists announced Sunday as world leaders gather to discuss how to reduce heat-trapping gases. The world pumped an estimated 39.8 billion tons (36.1 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air last year by burning coal, oil and gas. That is 778 million tons (706 metric tons) or 2.3 percent more than the previous year. "It's in the wrong direction," said Glen Peters, a Norwegian scientist who was part of the Global Carbon Project international team that tracks and calculates global emissions every year.

  • Scotland's leader: Voters 'tricked' in referendum

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — The debate over Scotland's future fizzled amid a bitter war of words Sunday, with the Scottish leader claiming his countrymen were "tricked" into rejecting independence in a referendum and Britain's three main political parties bickering over how to take political reform forward. Alex Salmond, Scotland's outgoing independence leader, accused politicians in London of reneging on their promises to hand more power to Scots in a rare cross-party pact that he said played a crucial role in swinging the votes in favor of union in Thursday's vote.

  • US general: Arab nations need to help in Iraq

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — The U.S.-led military campaign plan to retake Iraqi territory held by the Islamic State group calls for attacking the extremists from several directions simultaneously, and its success depends on getting more Arab help, the top American military officer said Sunday. "We want them to wake up every day realizing that they are being squeezed from multiple directions," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, referring to the Islamic State group, which also is known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

  • Hopes dim for return of Philippine troops to Golan

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he's been told security threats on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights are not expected to ease soon, dimming hopes that U.N. peacekeepers can be deployed back to the region in the near future. A group of 244 Philippine peacekeepers flew back to Manila on Friday after being recalled, while 84 more were due home Sunday, ending a five-year presence in the increasingly volatile Golan. There have been no signs suggesting the Philippines will resume its mission in the Golan. Filipino forces continue to help a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Aquino said his government was informed in a letter from the U.N.

  • France charges 5 in Islamic State recruiting ring

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — French authorities have filed preliminary charges against five people, including a sister and brother, suspected of belonging to a ring specialized in recruiting young female fighters for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. A judicial official said Sunday the five were arrested Tuesday and Wednesday in Vaux-en-Velin in central France and were being held in custody. The arrests came weeks after a series of detentions of adolescent girls around France, including a 16-year-old caught at the airport in Nice as she prepared to leave for Turkey and ultimately Syria, and three teens who were planning to travel abroad together and corresponded on social networks.

  • Roadside bomb kills 2 policemen in Egypt's capital

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A roadside bomb went off on Sunday on a busy downtown Cairo street near the Nile-side Egyptian Foreign Ministry, killing two senior policemen, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. In a separate incident, a military helicopter on a training mission crashed in an oasis province some 100 kilometers (65 miles) southwest of Cairo, killing six people, according to state television and chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir. The crash in Fayoum was caused by a technical malfunction and Defense Minister Gen. Sedki Sobhi ordered an investigation into the incident, they said. The 10:45 a.m. blast in Cairo targeted a police checkpoint near the back gate of the 34-story ministry building. Several pe

  • German families to sue Ukraine over MH17 crash

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    BERLIN (AP) — German relatives of three people killed in the downing of Malaysia Airline Flight 17 plan to sue Ukraine for negligence, a lawyer for the families said Sunday. Weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that lawyer Elmar M. Giemulla intends to file a suit at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, demanding €1 million ($1.29 million) compensation for each victim. MH17 was shot down July 17 over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, with 298 people killed. A recent report by authorities in the Netherlands, where most of the victims came from, stopped short of blaming any one side.

  • Egypt to host post-Gaza war talks this week

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Egypt will host a brief round of indirect talks this week between Israelis and Palestinians on a sustained Gaza cease-fire deal, as well as negotiations between Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah on who should run the territory, a Palestinian official said Sunday. Both sessions will be held Tuesday in Cairo, said Azzam al-Ahmed, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment. Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas fought a 50-day war that ended in late August. Under the deal that ended the fighting, Israel and Hamas were to return to Cairo within a month to hold indirect negotiations on a broader deal for Gaza.

  • US applauds Afghan power-sharing agreement

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration applauded the power-sharing deal signed Sunday by Afghanistan's two presidential candidates. The agreement resolved a drawn-out dispute that threatened to plunge Afghanistan into political turmoil while complicating the withdrawal of U.S. and foreign troops. A White House statement said the pact will help bring closure to Afghanistan's political crisis and restore "confidence in the way forward," and that the U.S. was ready to work with the new Afghan government to ensure success. The deal is a victory for Secretary of State John Kerry, who got the candidates to agree in principle to share power during a July visit to Afghanistan.

  • At Asian Games, rivalries not always about sports

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — On the one hand, you have China and India, which account for about a quarter of the world's population. On the other, the Maldives, population 345,000. There's Bhutan, which has been described as the happiest place on Earth, and Syria, which certainly isn't. And for good measure, why not throw in some of the most repressive regimes on the planet — North Korea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan? Welcome to the Asian Games, where, as the organizers put it, "Diversity Shines." Host South Korea has managed to bring together all 45 member states of the Olympic Council of Asia for a spectacle of sports that over the next two weeks will put the spotlight on more than 10,000 athletes vying for 439 gold medal

  • Chinese destroyer docks in Iran, first such visit

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A Chinese destroyer has docked in a southern Iranian port in the first such visit to the country by the Chinese navy, Iran's state television reported on Sunday. Adm. Hossein Azad, naval base chief in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, said the four-day visit that began Saturday saw the two navies sharing expertise in the field of marine rescue. "On the last day of their visit while leaving Iran, the Chinese warships will stage a joint drill in line with mutual collaboration, and exchange of marine and technical information particularly in the field of aid and rescue," said Azad.