• New Egypt comic artists push limits of expression

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A new feminist comic book, the Jewelry Box, has emerged in Egypt, the latest addition in a blossoming scene of alternative comics, as artists seek freer outlets of expression in a country where independent voices are finding it harder to speak. Cartoons and political satire go back over a hundred years in Egypt, and are a staple in newspapers that have often lampooned social mores and officials in public office. But a new generation of young comic artists is finding space to express what is often a hard sell in mainstream media. Building on the region's spirit of rebellion over the past four years, they are experimenting with new and more subversive style to look at Egypt's realities.

  • US sends Guantanamo prisoners to Georgia, Slovakia

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    MIAMI (AP) — Five prisoners have been released from Guantanamo Bay as part of a renewed effort to close the detention center at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, officials said Thursday. Three men were sent to Georgia and two to Slovakia for resettlement. They were among dozens of low-level prisoners at Guantanamo that an administration task force in 2009 deemed to no longer pose a threat. The release of the men, four Yemenis and a Tunisian, brings the prison population to 143, about 100 fewer than when President Barack Obama took office pledging to close the detention center. Obama's vow to close Guantanamo was thwarted by Congress, which prohibited sending any prisoner to the U.S. and imposed restrictions that brought rel

  • Israeli mayor's ban on Arab workers ignites uproar

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The mayor of a southern Israeli city sparked a national uproar Thursday by barring Israeli Arab construction workers from jobs in local preschools, citing security concerns after a rash of attacks by Palestinian assailants elsewhere in the country. The proposal was condemned as racist by Israeli leaders, but it reflected the tense mood in the country and deepened longstanding divisions between the nation's Jewish majority and Arab minority. An opinion poll showed solid public support for the measure. Israel has been on edge following a wave of Palestinian attacks that has killed 11 people over the past month, including five this week in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue.

  • Slain beauty queen, sister buried in Honduras

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    GUALJOCO, Honduras (AP) — Grieving family members laid to rest a beauty queen and her sister amid drenching rains Thursday, pleading for divine justice after the women were shot to death in what police say was a jealous rage by the sister's boyfriend. Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, and her sister Sofia, 23, were interred in two cement graves at a tiny cemetery in this hamlet north of their hometown of Santa Barbara. About 300 people, including mourners and security forces, trudged through the mud for the ceremony. The bodies had been delivered to the family home before dawn, but a sustained downpour prevented the graves from being dug for hours. Their mother wept as she kissed the two caskets adorned with f

  • Mali Ebola crisis deepens with doctor's death

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali's emerging Ebola crisis deepened Thursday as the government announced that a doctor had died from the disease, becoming the second health worker fatality linked to a single patient initially thought to have kidney disease. At least five people now have died from Ebola after coming into contact with a 70-year-old grand imam, who was brought to the Malian capital of Bamako from Guinea, the bordering country where the regional Ebola epidemic first began. The death of a 25-year-old male nurse at Clinique Pasteur who treated the imam first prompted health authorities to review past patients. The imam's family members who had brought him to Bamako all were later admitted to an Ebola clinic back in Guinea

  • Egypt president considering pardon of journalists

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said on Thursday that a presidential pardon is "being examined" for the three Al-Jazeera journalists who were handed heavy prison terms in a court ruling that raised international outrage. El-Sissi told France 24 that a pardon "is being examined to resolve the matter." When asked if he will do it "soon" he answered that the journalists would receive pardons only if it was "appropriate for the Egyptian national security." The comments are the first indication that the Egyptian government might be considering freeing the journalists. El-Sissi has previously dismissed the idea of a presidential pardon, saying it would be an inappropriate interference in the Egyptian judicia

  • Kerry to join Iran nuclear talks in Vienna

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    VIENNA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held out hope of a last-minute nuclear deal with Iran Thursday, as he added his diplomatic muscle to talks aimed at overcoming deep differences with Tehran over the size and scope of its future atomic activities. After landing in Vienna, Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on the sidelines of the talks that face a Monday deadline. U.S. officials said he would assess the situation and then decide on additional meetings and whether to stay in Vienna through the weekend. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius planned to join the talks on Friday along with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

  • FIFA to review World Cup corruption report

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    GENEVA (AP) — FIFA will further review the 2018 and 2022 World Cup corruption investigation, putting the status of hosts Russia and Qatar back in question. The head of FIFA's auditing committee will examine the full 430-page confidential report by American prosecutor Michael Garcia into impropriety during the bid process, reviving a probe which seemed closed one week ago. Domenico Scala, a Swiss businessman who serves as the soccer body's audit panel chairman, will then decide whether to turn over any evidence to FIFA's executive committee. The decision to hand over the documents to Scala came a week after FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert ruled that the case against Russia and Qatar was closed.

  • Founder of Brazil's largest retail chain dies

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Samuel Klein, the Polish-born founder of Brazil's largest home-appliance retailer, has died, the company said in a statement. He was 91. Casas Bahia said Klein died Thursday at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital where he was undergoing treatment for the past two weeks. It did not give the cause of death, but a hospital official told reporters he died of respiratory failure. Born in 1923 in a village near Lublin, Klein was one of nine children born to a Jewish family taken by the Nazis to the Treblinka concentration camp. He, his father and one brother survived. His mother and other siblings perished in Treblinka. He survived two years at the Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin from where he escape

  • Report: Global obesity costs hits $2 trillion

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — The global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism, according to a new report released Thursday. The McKinsey Global Institute consulting firm's report focused on the economics of obesity, putting it among the top three social programs generated by human beings. It puts its impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product. "Obesity isn't just a health issue," one of the report's authors, Richard Dobbs, said in a podcast. "But it's a major economic and business challenge." The company says 2.

  • Swiss museum to decide future of Gurlitt art trove

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BERLIN (AP) — A Swiss museum and German officials plan to announce Monday what will happen to a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to the museum by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt. Bavarian authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 items from Gurlitt's apartment in Munich while investigating a tax case. Gurlitt later reached a deal with the German government to check whether any of the works were looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. Authorities say that deal is binding on any heirs. Gurlitt died in May and designated Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern as the sole heir to his collection, setting off a six-month deadline for the museum to decide whether to accept the bequest.

  • Ford: Lower oil prices unlikely to slow green cars

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The executive chairman of Ford Motor Company said he doesn't think that a drop in oil prices will dissuade people from buying fuel-efficient vehicles. Bill Ford, the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said the Dearborn, Michigan automaker will continue to promote green technology. "Fuel is a cost and anytime we can save our customers money, I think that's a good thing," he said. "I believe our point of view of greater fuel economy coupled with better performance is absolutely the right way to go." Ford was speaking to a select group of media in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, where the company recently established a business unit to serve the Middle East and Africa.

  • Egypt acquits doctor in female genital mutilation

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Thursday acquitted a doctor charged with performing female genital mutilation that led to a 13-year-old girl's death in a Nile Delta village, the country's first trial on charges of breaking the ban on the practice. The verdict surprised activists against the practice, who had been hoping for a conviction and tough sentence to serve as a deterrent for doctors and families. Egypt has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the world and criminalized the practice in 2008, but it remains widespread.

  • Attacks in Kabul raise concerns about security

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan capital has become a city under siege as the Taliban stage almost daily attacks against government and foreign targets, penetrating layers of heightened security and fueling concerns that insurgents have infiltrated the security forces. Kabul is protected by a fortress-like "ring of steel," with police and soldiers manning roadblocks and spot-checking vehicles. Streets around important buildings such as parliament, ministries and the presidential palace are blocked off, while others are protected by razor wire and concrete blast walls.

  • Food and face-lift scandals rock Lebanon

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — It is often said that Lebanon has only two things going for it, food and plastic surgery. This week, both industries took a hit as Lebanon's health minister revealed that dozens of restaurants and supermarkets across the country were selling food contaminated with sewage and bacteria — and rattled off a long list of beauty clinics that were operating without a license. In a country bedeviled by security and political challenges, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour's announcement was met with a collective shrug from most Lebanese, who said it was another sign of their government's perpetual dysfunction. But many worried about the effects on tourism.

  • Egypt arrests senior Muslim Brotherhood member

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Thursday arrested a leading Muslim Brotherhood member who played a key role in negotiations between his now-banned group and the government. In Cairo, at least nine people, including five policemen, were hurt in incidents involving a home-made bomb and a stun grenade. The early morning arrest of Mohammed Ali Bishr from his home in the Nile Delta was linked to a call for demonstrations at the end of the month, according to a security official. The rallies have been called by a hard-line Islamist group called the Salafi Front, and not the Brotherhood.

  • Experts: Home, baby cameras not secure worldwide

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — A child playing in Bucheon, South Korea. An empty crib in Absecon, New Jersey. Cattle feeding in Behamberg, Austria. Footage from more than 100 countries is being streamed from bedrooms, office buildings, shops, laundromats, stables and barns. Experts have a message for anyone with a webcam, baby monitor or home security camera: change your password now, because feeds from the cameras are being posted online by a Russian website. The site takes advantage of the fact that camera users receive default passwords to get devices working — such as "1234." Many manufacturers also put default passwords online, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office said Thursday.

  • 3 men in UK court over beheading plot

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Three men have appeared in a British court accused of planning terrorism acts that reportedly included a beheading plot. The men, aged 19 to 27, were remanded in custody after a brief hearing at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court. British media, including the BBC, reported Thursday that the men had allegedly planned to behead a member of the public in Britain. No details were immediately available. The men — Nadir Ali Sayed, Yousaf Shah Syed and Haseeb Hamayoon — were arrested on Nov. 6, three days ahead of Remembrance Sunday, an important annual national tribute to Britain's war dead. Police said they were arrested as part on ongoing probes into "Islamist-related terrorism.

  • Iran's top leader pardons controversial blogger

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's top leader has pardoned a controversial Iranian-Canadian blogger more than 11 years before the end of his prison term, the semi-official ISNA news reported on Thursday. The report said authorities informed Hossein Derakhshan about his amnesty late Wednesday when he returned to Tehran's Evin prison from one of his occasional leaves. The report did not elaborate on the reason for Derakhshan's pardon by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters. However in the past, Derakhshan's parents have reportedly sent letters to Khamenei seeking their son's pardon. Derakhshan, founder of one of the first Farsi-language blogs, was first detained in 2008.

  • FIFA to further review World Cup corruption probe, putting Russia, Qatar back in question

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    ZURICH (AP) — FIFA to further review World Cup corruption probe, putting Russia, Qatar back in question.