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  • US Coast Guard fires at Iranian boat in Gulf

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard vessel fired in self-defense on an Iranian boat in the Persian Gulf, the Navy said Wednesday, an encounter that could exacerbate tensions between the two countries as they work to hammer out a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program. Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said personnel on a small boat dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat Monomoy fired a single shot when it saw crew on a nearby Iranian dhow training one of its two .50-caliber machine guns on them and preparing to fire. "This action by the dhow's crew demonstrated hostile intent which resulted in the defensive fire by the Coast Guardsmen," he said.

  • Israeli prime minister: 'Hamas was hit hard,' won few concessions in Gaza war cease-fire

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli prime minister: 'Hamas was hit hard,' won few concessions in Gaza war cease-fire.

  • Pioneering Egyptian civil rights lawyer dies at 63

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Ahmed Seif, one of Egypt's most prominent civil rights lawyer and campaigner, died Wednesday from complications following heart surgery. He was 63. Seif died in a Cairo hospital after spending nearly two weeks in an intensive care unit. He was one of Egypt's leading rights campaigners, imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s for his activism against government policies. He spent at least five years in prison, during which he was tortured. After his release, Seif spoke out about his experience and campaigned against torture, which rights groups came to recognize as systematic in Egyptian prisons. Seif also took up hundreds of court cases of activists and Islamists, and was a trainer for many of Egypt's new gener

  • Yemen's president warns rebels over show of force

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president on Wednesday warned armed Shiite rebels leading mass protests in the country's capital that the United States and other world powers oppose the "rebellion" and the show of force by the group. The official SABA news agency quoted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi as saying that that "the tribal armed masses ... imposed a status quo that is rejected by people, politically, nationally, regionally and internationally." He added that he received phone calls from officials in the United States, the U.N. Security Council and a number of Arab capitals who all expressed their opposition to "any rebellion against national consensus.

  • A look at the Gaza war and cease-fire halting it

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A seven-week war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. Here is a look at the results of the war, the terms of the cease-fire and unresolved issues that are to be tackled in a future round of indirect negotiations expected to begin next month: BY THE NUMBERS: — 2,143 Palestinians killed, according to Palestinian health officials. The United Nations says that includes hundreds of civilians and at least 494 children. — 70 Israelis killed, all but six soldiers. — 17,200 homes destroyed or severely damaged, with 100,000 Palestinians homeless, according to U.N. figures. —4,591 rockets and mortars fired at Israel, accord

  • Egypt's president will head to US in September

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi will visit the United States in September to attend a meeting of the United Nations general assembly, his first trip there as the country's head of state, the country's official news agency reported Wednesday. MENA said el-Sissi also will attend a United Nations environmental summit on Sept. 25 and deliver a speech. It added that he is expected to hold meetings with other world leaders — but it did not say if he'll meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. Egypt's relations with U.S. have been strained since the downfall of one-time ally Hosni Mubarak in the country's 2011 uprising. U.S. has refused to fund all of the $1.

  • Iran says purported Israeli drone came from north

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian general said Wednesday that a purported Israeli drone shot down near a nuclear facility in the Islamic Republic flew in from a northern country that once was part of the Soviet Union. The semi-official Fars news agency, close to the Revolutionary Guard, quoted Gen. Masoud Jazayeri making the allegation. It reported that Jazayeri, the deputy chief of staff in Iran's armed forces, said the country must make "compensatory actions" or else be publicly named. There are three former Soviet republics immediately north of Iran: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Iran in the past had criticized Azerbaijan for its close ties with Israel and the country does operate drones like the one Iran said it sh

  • Erdogan rules out obedient role for successor

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday rejected claims that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is set to replace him as prime minister, would merely do his bidding as he continues to rule Turkey from behind the scenes. His comments during a farewell speech to delegates of his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, come amid widespread expectations that Davutoglu would take more of a backseat role and that Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for over a decade, would maintain his grip on government. Although the office of president is mainly ceremonial, Erdogan has indicated he wants to transform the position to an executive one.

  • Syrian rebels seize border crossing with Israel

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels, including fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group, seized control of a frontier crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights on Wednesday after heavy clashes with President Bashar Assad's forces, activists and rebels said. The capture of the post along Syria's de facto border in the Golan held more symbolic value than strategic, but rebels said it would provide relief to nearby villages that were under siege by government troops. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an array of rebel fighters, including from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, took the crossing after heavy fighting that left at least 20 Syrian soldiers and an unknown number

  • Report: Iran redesigning reactor as part of deal

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's nuclear chief said Wednesday that workers have begun redesigning its nearly completed Arak heavy water reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it can make as part of the country's interim deal over its nuclear program with world powers. A video posted on Iranian state television's website showed nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi saying the work had begun as part of routine maintenance at the reactor in Arak in the country's northwest. Officials have said redesigning the reactor will delay its launch by about three years. As originally designed, the reactor at Arak could have produced substantial amounts of plutonium, material that can be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon.

  • Libya ministers resign over militia fighting

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The official Libyan news agency says six ministers have resigned after accusing the government of taking sides in escalating battles among rival militias. LANA, quoting TV network al-Nabaa, on Wednesday said the ministers of industry, labor, planning, education and water resources, and the state minister for the affairs of the wounded, have submitted their resignation. It quoted Industry Minister Suleiman al-Taif as saying the government was taking sides in the conflict, with the prime minister acting "without their knowledge." The North African country has been convulsed by fighting between mainly Islamist militias and their opponents, including a renegade general who is battling Islamic extremists in the east

  • Australia and US to share information on travelers

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian and U.S. governments signed an information-sharing agreement Wednesday to bolster each country's ability to confirm identities of foreign travelers. The agreement for the sharing of visa and immigration information, which was signed at Parliament House, will enable two-way information sharing between the countries, the Australian government said in a statement. The agreement comes as Australia tightens its border security to prevent Australian jihadists from joining Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. A Sydney man slipped out of the country using his brother's passport this month, but was detained on arrival in the United Arab Emirates and deported. A notorious terrorist left Sydney in

  • No sign of quick end to Ukraine conflict

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Ukraine's president said Wednesday that Vladimir Putin accepts the principles of a peace plan for Ukraine but the Russian leader insisted that only Kiev can reach a cease-fire deal with the pro-Moscow separatists. Following meetings between Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that included a one-on-one session that stretched into the night, there was no indication of a quick end to the fighting that has engulfed eastern Ukraine. "This is not our business," Putin said of any cease-fire plan. "This is Ukraine's business." Russia "can only help to create an atmosphere of trust for this important and necessary process," Putin said.

  • US transfers 2 Yemenis held in Bagram prison

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Two prisoners held at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan were handed over to Yemen on Tuesday, Yemeni security officials said. The officials said the two Yemeni prisoners were transferred to Yemen from Bagram prison, north of Kabul. They didn't elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Yemen's Hood human rights organization identified the two prisoners as Amin al-Bakri and Fadi al-Maqaleh, who have been detained since 2002 when they were arrested in Pakistan. It called on the government to set them free. U.S. forces are due to hand over control of the Bagram prison to Afghan forces when they pull out of the country in December.

  • Report finds 1,400 children exploited in UK town

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in a northern England town, a report concluded Tuesday in a damning account of "collective failures" by authorities to prevent victims as young as 11 from being beaten, raped and trafficked over a 16-year period. Report author Alexis Jay cited appalling acts of violence between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, a town of some 250,000. The independent report came after a series of convictions of sexual predators in the region and ground-breaking reports in the Times of London. Reading descriptions of the abuse make it hard to imagine that nothing was done for so long.

  • Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a "terrorist army." Further complicating the plans, any military action against Islamic State militants in Syria would also have the effect of putting the U.S. on the same side as Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose ouster the Obama administration has sought for years. The Islamic State group is headquartered in the Syrian city of Raqqah and has been fighting the Assad government, though it is also at war with moderate rebels who have rec

  • Gaza truce open-ended, but puts off tough issues

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas agreed Tuesday to an open-ended cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting — an uneasy deal that halts the deadliest war the sides have fought in years, with more than 2,200 killed, but puts off the most difficult issues. In the end, both sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will continue to control access to blockaded Gaza, despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border closures imposed in 2007 be lifted.

  • Afghan candidate threatens boycott of vote audit

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the two men vying to become Afghanistan's next president is threatening to boycott a ballot audit from the country's disputed presidential runoff, his adviser said Tuesday, a development that could further disrupt the already troubled process. The complicated, U.N.-supervised audit of the 8 million votes from the June presidential runoff was brokered by the U.S. in July as a way to end the fractious debate over who won the election. The process followed allegations of vote fraud on both sides and is meant to decide whether Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, or former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will replace President Hamid Karzai.

  • Iran, Saudi diplomats hold rare talks

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's state news agency says the kingdom's foreign minister has met with an Iranian deputy foreign minister in the highest-level bilateral talks between the two Mideast powers since moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election last year. Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran are tense. Tuesday's meeting provided an opportunity for the two oil-rich nations to begin to thaw those ties. The Saudi Press Agency said Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and the Iranian deputy foreign minister, Amir Abdollahian, discussed "a number of regional and international issues of common interest.

  • UN helicopter shot down in South Sudan

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A rebel commander who warned the U.N. not to fly over his territory shot down a U.N. helicopter Tuesday in rural South Sudan, charged a spokesman for a state governor. The U.N. confirmed that three people died and one survived — all Russian citizens — when one of its helicopters crashed. The U.N. said it is investigating the cause. The U.N. mission said that an Mi-8 cargo helicopter crashed near Bentiu, a hotly contested area between the government and rebel fighters. South Sudanese rebel commander Peter Gadet had warned the U.N. last week not to fly over his territory, said the spokesman for the governor of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, Akol Ayom Wek. Gadet's forces shot down the helicopter