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  • Muslims mark end of Ramadan with Eid celebrations

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Millions of Muslims across the world celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday Monday, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan. The three-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is a time to celebrate the completion of Ramadan, a month devoted to worship and repentance during which observing Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset every day. But the mood was dark for millions of people affected by the Syrian civil war, the Gaza war and the militant advance in Iraq. Many were just too busy trying to survive to observe the holiday. Beyond the Middle East, the few remaining Muslims in the Central African Republic's capital city ventured out to a mosque und

  • Palestinian official says 10 people, including children, killed in strike on park in Gaza

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian official says 10 people, including children, killed in strike on park in Gaza.

  • Palestinian officials: airstrike hits main Gaza hospital compound, causing casualties

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian officials: airstrike hits main Gaza hospital compound, causing casualties.

  • Liberia president orders new anti-Ebola measures

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak in the West African nation. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the measures late Sunday after the first meeting of a new taskforce she created and is chairing to contain the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region. A top Liberian doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital died on Saturday, and two American aid workers have fallen ill, underscoring the dangers facing those charged with bringing the outbreak under control. Last week a Liberian official flew to Nigeria via Lome,

  • Philippine leader: Not even a bomb can stop reform

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — An emotional Philippine President Benigno Aquino III called his opponents desperate Monday and expressed confidence that many people will carry on his reforms even if he is stopped by a bomb. Aquino said in his annual state of the nation address before Congress that he could not avoid thinking somebody may make an attempt on his life because of the kind of people he has crossed in his effort to fight corruption and reform his poor Southeast Asian nation. Aquino's father, an opposition senator who fought dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated at Manila's international airport while under military custody in 1983.

  • Abu Sayyaf gunmen kill 21 Filipinos in road attack

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked Filipino civilians traveling to celebrate the end of Ramadan with their families on Monday, killing 21, including at least six children, in a brazen road attack that was the bloodiest in recent years by the violent militant group, police and military officials said. Eleven other civilians were wounded as the group traveled in two vans in a coastal village in Talipao town in predominantly Muslim Sulu province, where the militants have survived in jungle camps despite years of U.S.-backed Philippine military offensives. About 40 to 50 Abu Sayyaf militants armed with assault rifles opened fire on the vans, marine Brig. Gen. Martin Pinto and other military officials said.

  • In war-struck Gaza, civilians struggle to get by

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Caught in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, Gaza's civilians are increasingly struggling to get by. There is no electricity 21 hours a day because power lines have been hit. Water taps have run dry because there's no power to their fuel pumps and tens of thousands of displaced sleep on the floors of schools and hospitals. The hardship is felt more keenly as Muslims on Monday start observing the Eid el-Fitr holiday, which is meant to be a joyous time of festive meals, shared traditional sweets and family visits. Here is a glimpse of life in wartime Gaza. ___ Men kneel in prayer on blankets laid out in the courtyard of a U.N.

  • US: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. has released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists has crossed the border. The images, which came from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and could not be independently verified by The Associated Press, show blast marks where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. Officials said Sunday the images show heavy weapons fired between July 21 and July 26 — after the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

  • Chinese police remove church cross amid crackdown

    Updated: Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of police took down a church's cross Monday in a city known as "China's Jerusalem" for its many houses of worship amid a crackdown on church buildings in a coastal region where thousands of people are embracing Christianity. Evangelist Qu Linuo said he and about 200 others had rushed to the Longgang Huai En Church in the eastern city of Wenzhou to protect the building but peacefully made way for the police, who used a crane to remove the 3-meter-tall (10-foot-tall) red cross from its steeple. Authorities told the church the cross violated building height limits, and returned it to the parishioners, who wept and prayed around it, said Qu, who is a member of another church.

  • UN council agrees on demand for Gaza cease-fire

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council agreed on a statement Sunday calling for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas and scheduled a meeting at midnight to adopt it. The council will be meeting as Muslims start celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Its agreement to press for a cease-fire follows new attacks launched by Israel and Hamas despite going back and forth over proposals for another temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting. A 12-hour lull Saturday was agreed to by both sides following intense U.S. and United Nations mediation efforts.

  • Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday. The failure to reach even a brief humanitarian lull in the fighting illustrated the difficulties in securing a more permanent truce as the sides remain far apart on their terms. After initially rejecting an Israeli offer Saturday for a 24-hour truce, Hamas said Sunday that it had agreed to hold fire ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. But as Israel's Cabinet met to discuss the offer and the ongoing war, rockets rained down on southern Israel and

  • Ebola kills Liberian doctor, 2 Americans infected

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, officials said Sunday, and an American physician was being treated for the deadly virus, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people in West Africa — the largest ever recorded. A second American, a missionary working in the Liberian capital, was also taken ill and was being treated in isolation there, said the pastor of a North Carolina church that sponsored her work. Dr. Samuel Brisbane, a top Liberian health official, was treating Ebola patients at the country's largest hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia, when he fell ill.

  • Israel acknowledges mortar shell hit UN school

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel acknowledged Sunday that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. The shell was not fired at the school intentionally, an army spokesman said. Palestinian officials have said three Israeli tank shells hit the school in the town of Beit Hanoun last Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding dozens. It was one of the single deadliest incidents during three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting. The school was one of dozens used to house tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced by heavy fighting, especially in areas of Gaza bordering Israel. Th

  • Islamic militants destroy historic mosque in Mosul

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Militants from the Islamic State group blew up a mosque and shrine dating back to the 14th century in Mosul on Sunday, local residents said, the latest casualty in a week that has seen a half dozen of the Iraqi city's most revered holy places destroyed. Mosul residents said the Prophet Jirjis Mosque and Shrine was bombed and destroyed by the radical jihadist group. They spoke anonymously to The Associated Press for fear of reprisal. The complex was built over the Quraysh cemetery in Mosul in the late 14th century, and included a small shrine dedicated to Nabi Jerjis, the Prophet George.

  • Israel, Hamas hold out for more gains in Gaza war

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas are holding out for bigger gains in the Gaza war, helping explain the failure of the world's most influential diplomats to broker even a precursor to a lasting cease-fire. Hamas wants to break the seven-year blockade of Gaza and believes the only way to force serious negotiations on ending the closure is to keep fighting. Israel wants more time to destroy Hamas' rocket arsenal and military tunnels and to inflict enough pain to deter the Islamic militant group from launching rocket attacks in the future. In a further complication, regional rivals have lined up on opposite sides and no trusted mediator has emerged. Here's a look at what each player wants.

  • Fighting intensifies near MH17 disaster site

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, released satellite images that it says back up its claims that rockets have been fired from Russia into eastern Ukraine and heavy artillery for separatists has also crossed the border. A four-page document released by the State Department seems to show blast marks from where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. Officials said the images, sourced from the U.S.

  • Costa Concordia wreck reaches final destination

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    GENOA, Italy (AP) — The shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner completed its final journey, reaching Genoa on Sunday where it will be scrapped. Pulled by tugboats and nudged by winds, the ship was eased into the port in this northwestern Italian city. The Concordia struck a reef when its captain sailed too close to Giglio Island off Tuscany's coast Jan. 13, 2012, and capsized, killing 32 people. A spectacular operation set the ship upright in September 2013. On Wednesday, tugboats towing the wreck began the slow, five-day journey to Genoa, headquarters of ship owner Costa Crociere Spa and the port where the luxury vessel first set sail, after construction in 2005.

  • State media: Car bomb in central Syria kills 7

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A car bomb exploded Sunday in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least seven people, the country's state news agency reported. State news agency SANA said the vehicle targeted the Arman neighborhood, home to mostly minority Christians and Alawites, the sect of the President Bashar Assad. It said two rockets also were fired at the site after the bombing. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the bombing and death toll. The Arman neighborhood has been repeatedly hit by car bombs. Syria's conflict, which began as a 2011 uprising, has turned into a chaotic war with sectarian overtones. Mostly Sunni Muslim rebels fight against forces loyal to Assad.

  • Suspected al-Qaida attack kills 2 troops in Yemen

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A car bomb targeting army posts in southern Yemen killed two soldiers Sunday, officials said, an attack authorities blamed on the country's local al-Qaida branch. Military officials said forces also foiled two other attacks by suspected al-Qaida militants, killing at least three of the assailants in the southern province of Abyan. Yemen's state news agency reported that army forces damaged two other bomb-laden cars and killed those inside before they reached the targeted military camps. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. The U.S. considers Yemen's local branch of al-Qaida to be the world's most dangerous.

  • AP PHOTOS: North Korea marks war anniversary

    Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, meaning the two Koreas remain technically at war. But in North Korea, the anniversary of the agreement ending the hostilities is commemorated as "Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War," a major national holiday. Sunday's 61st anniversary was low-key. There were no large-scale military parades or public appearances by leader Kim Jong Un, who privately paid his respects just after midnight at the mausoleum where his father and grandfather lie in state. Veterans, now in their 70s and 80s, many wearing uniforms laden with medals and clutching bouquets of flowers, were celebrated in patriotic events around the country.