• The Latest: Attackers torch refugee center in Prague

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Latest on the flow of thousands of would-be refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere to Europe (all times local): 9:10 p.m. Czech police say unknown attackers have set a refugee center on fire in the Czech capital of Prague, injuring one person. Spokeswoman Iveta Martinkova says about 20 people attacked the Klinika center in Prague's No. 3 district with Molotov cocktails Saturday about 7:30 p.m. She says it's not clear who was behind the attack and police are investigating. The attack took place just hours after thousands of people rallied in Prague against Muslims and immigration. ___ 7:50 p.m.

  • Turkey under pressure as Syrians mass at border

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey came under mounting pressure to open its border Saturday as tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing a government onslaught sought entry and the European Union called on Ankara to grant them refuge. As many as 35,000 Syrians have massed along the closed border, according to Suleyman Tapsiz, governor of the Turkish border province of Kilis. He said Turkey would provide aid to the displaced within Syria, but would only open the gates in the event of an "extraordinary crisis." The Norwegian Refugee Council said thousands of Syrians have arrived at seven of the main informal camps close to the Turkish border.

  • Italy demands answers as student's body flown in from Cairo

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    ROME (AP) — Italy demanded Saturday that Egyptian authorities swiftly determine who was responsible for the torture and slaying of an Italian doctoral student researching Egyptian labor movements and other social issues in Cairo. Justice Minister Andrea Orlando spoke Saturday at a Rome airport as the plane carrying the body of Giulio Regeni and his grieving parents from Cairo landed. The body was taken to a Rome university for a second autopsy, following one done in Cairo after Regeni's body was discovered in a suburb of the Egyptian capital. Regeni, 28, disappeared on Jan. 25, the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, a day when security forces were on high alert and on the streets in force to prevent any demonstrations.

  • Egypt arrests 3 for selling stones from Giza Pyramids

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities have arrested three people after they appeared in a video selling stones from the 4,500-year-old Giza Pyramids to undercover journalists. The Interior Ministry announced the arrests Saturday, after journalists from dotmsr, a local website, used a hidden camera to capture horse carriage drivers selling two stones for 250 Egyptian pounds ($32). One of the men, whose face was blurred in the video, bragged about selling stones to foreign tourists for up to 500 euros. The pyramids, which were used as sacred burial structures, were built in the fourth Pharaonic dynasty. The Great Pyramid is the oldest and only surviving monument of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

  • EU foreign affairs chief announces visit to Iran

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says she is preparing to visit Iran following the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran with world powers. Mogherini said Saturday there was no set date had been set, but that preparations with Tehran were well underway. She insisted all 28 EU nations were backing the opening with Iran. Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, she said: "It was very important to see the unity of the member states in the direction, intentions and preparations of this work we are doing with Iran." Mogherini said she would also host her Iranian counterpart in Brussels around the middle of the month.

  • EU ministers want to buttress borders to stem refugee flow

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — European Union nations anxious to stem the flow of asylum-seekers coming through the Balkans are increasingly considering sending more help to non-member Macedonia as a better way to protect European borders instead of relying on EU member Greece. With Athens unable to halt the tens of thousands of people making the sea crossing from Turkey, EU nations fear that Europe's Schengen border-free travel zone could collapse, taking with it one of the cornerstones on which the 28-nation bloc is built.

  • The Latest: Iran holds funeral for troops killed in Syria

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the fighting in Syria, where government forces are waging a massive offensive around the northern city of Aleppo, once the country's largest. (all times local): 4 p.m. Iran has held a funeral for six soldiers, including a senior Revolutionary Guard commander, who were killed while fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces in Syria. State TV says Gen. Mohsen Ghajarian and five others were killed in northern Syria while battling the Islamic State group and Syrian rebels. A major Syrian government offensive is underway near the northern city of Aleppo. Iran says it has sent military advisers to help Assad's forces but denies sending any combat troops into Syria.

  • Egypt's el-Sissi directs $127.7 million for housing units

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's state-run news agency says President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has ordered that one billion Egyptian pounds ($127 million dollars) worth of funds donated by government supporters be used to build 100,000 housing units. MENA said Saturday the financing would come from Tahya Misr, a fund launched by el-Sissi in 2014 to collect donations in order to support the Egyptian economy. Since overthrowing an elected Islamist leader in 2013, el-Sissi has vowed to revive an economy battered by years of turmoil. Egypt's outlook has grown bleaker in recent months, however, as Gulf aid has dried up and militant attacks have dealt a further blow to tourism and foreign investment.

  • Iran body reverses ban on 1,500 election candidate

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's constitutional watchdog, the hard-line Guardian Council, reversed a ban on 1,500 candidates who had registered to run in Feb. 26 parliamentary elections, state media reported on Saturday. The report on Iranian state TV on said a list of approved candidates has been conveyed to the Interior Ministry. It said over 6,200 candidates have been approved to run for the 290-seat parliament. The council, which is responsible for vetting candidates, had disqualified a large number of moderates, but it's not clear how many of the approved candidates are considered to be reformists. Over 12,000 hopefuls had initially registered for the election. While some hard-liners and conservatives had also been bar

  • Rough seas, harsh winter, border limits add to migrant woes

    Updated: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    PRESEVO, Serbia (AP) — Rasul Orwani thought he had faced the worst after braving cold, rough seas in a rickety wooden boat to travel from Turkey to Greece, then came the Balkans. After arriving in Macedonia with dozens of other migrants, the group crossed into Serbia on foot in the middle of the night, icy snow stinging their eyes and lacing the children's faces with tears. Their heads bent low to protect from the cold, the migrants trudged slowly through the snow, carrying babies, small children and belongings along the 2-kilometer (1.2 mile) stretch of the road over the so-called green boundary between the two Balkan nations. A 10-year-old boy took a blanket from his shoulders to wrap it around his younger sister as they

  • UN chief: 34 groups now allied to Islamic State extremists

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Thirty-four militant groups from around the world had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group as of mid-December — and that number will only grow in 2016, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report Friday. Ban said IS poses "an unprecedented threat," because of its ability to persuade groups from countries like the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Libya and Nigeria to pledge their allegiance. He said U.N. member states should also prepare for an increase in attacks by IS associated groups traveling to other countries to launch attacks and develop networks.

  • Thousands more Syrians rush toward Turkey to flee fighting

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    BEIRUT (AP) — Thousands of Syrians rushed toward the Turkish border Friday, fleeing a fierce government offensive and intense Russian airstrikes near Syria's largest city of Aleppo. Turkey, an ally of the Syrian opposition, promised humanitarian help for the displaced civilians, including food and shelter, but it did not say whether it would let them cross into the country, already burdened with hundreds of thousands of refugees. "The attacks and bombings by the Russian planes and the Syrian regime have left our brothers with nowhere else to go," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu said in a televised speech. The U.N.

  • Canada eases certain sanctions against Iran

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    TORONTO (AP) — Canada has dropped many of the sanctions it imposed on Iran over that country's nuclear ambitions. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said Friday that he wants to re-open a dialogue with Iran. The dialogue effectively ended in 2012 when the previous Conservative government severed relations, closed Canada's embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats. Dion says the easing of sanctions on financial services, imports and exports reflects Iran's compliance with an international agreement to curtail its nuclear research programs. Dion says the changes do not mean a wide-open market. Some exports or services that could assist in the development of ballistic missiles will still be restricted.

  • Russia says it will offer new ideas to restart Syria talks

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Facing Western criticism over the halt to Syria peace talks, Russia said Friday it plans to present new ideas on how to restart peace efforts at a meeting of nearly 20 key nations on Feb. 11. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow hopes other members of the International Syria Support Group meeting in Munich will also "shoulder responsibility" in restarting talks between the government and opposition. Tensions were high during and after a closed Security Council briefing by Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. envoy for Syria, over who was to blame for this week's suspension of the Syria talks. Britain and France blamed the halt on the government's current offensive, backed by Russian airstr

  • The Latest: Kerry says Russia, Assad not complying with UN

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Syria (all times Syria local): 23.00 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad and the supporters of Assad are not in compliance with the U.N. resolution passed in December that called for immediate access to all areas of Syria and an end to aerial and artillery bombardments of civilians. Kerry is also accusing Russia of using imprecise "free-fall" or "dumb bombs" that have killed large numbers of civilians. Kerry told reporters Friday at the State Department: "This has to stop. Nobody has any question about that. " But he adds that it "is not going to stop just by whining about it. It is not going to stop by walking away from the table o

  • The Latest: France says Turkey must fight trafficking groups

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local): 9:15 p.m. The French interior minister says Turkey must reinforce its fight against trafficking networks who "are at the root of the tragedies" suffered by migrants who risk the perilous sea crossings to Greece. Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday that Turkey has a key role to play to decrease the flow of migrants by preventing people from departing for Greece. He spoke to reporters following talks with his Turkish counterpart, Efkan Ala, who said Turkey has cracked down on some 4,500 smugglers since 2012. He added that policing Turkey's "difficult" and "indented" coastline was an onerous task. Turkey agreed in November to fight sm

  • Memorial service held for Italian student killed in Egypt

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Friends, family and diplomats held a memorial ceremony Friday at a Cairo church for an Italian student whose body was found this week, nine days after he disappeared from the streets of the Egyptian capital. The circumstances of the killing of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni remained murky. He disappeared on Jan. 25, the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, a day when security forces were on high alert and out on the streets in force to prevent any demonstrations by activists to commemorate the occasion. He was found this week with multiple stab wounds, cigarette burns and other signs of torture on a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo, Egyptian officials said.

  • Historic step: Pope, Russia patriarch meet in Cuba Feb. 12

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — In an historic step to heal the 1,000-year schism that split Christianity, Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in an attempt to begin bridging the church's East-West divide. The Feb. 12 meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill was announced Friday by both churches. It will be the first-ever meeting between the leaders of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the largest in Orthodoxy. Francis is due to travel to Mexico Feb. 12-18. He will stop in Cuba on the way and meet with Kirill at the Havana airport, where they will speak privately for about two hours and then sign a joint declaration, the Vatican said.

  • African confederation backs Sheikh Salman in FIFA election

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — Sheikh Salman's bid to succeed Sepp Blatter got a major boost Friday when the African soccer confederation announced it was backing the Bahraini royal for FIFA president. Following a meeting of its executive committee in Rwanda, the Confederation of African Football said that it would "fully support" the Asian soccer confederation president, and urged its 54 member countries to vote for him. The decision significantly improved Salman's hopes of replacing Blatter as the head of the scandal-scarred soccer body. Salman and UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino are seen as the strongest candidates to win the Feb. 26 election. The biggest continental grouping among the 209 voting members is Africa.

  • NATO chief meets EU defense ministers to discuss cooperation

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — European Union defense ministers huddled Friday with NATO's secretary general to discuss closer cooperation between the military alliance and the 28-nation bloc to tackle looming threats to the region. The EU and NATO are working to beef up their responses to threats such as Russia's increased military activity to the east and the Islamic State group's threat amid violent conflicts in the Middle East and Libya. "It is clear that no member state will be able to face" these challenges on its own, Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said after the meeting. "There is war out there," Hennis-Plasschaert added. "Nobody can deny it, and we cannot continue writing papers, we have to act.




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