• UK Iraq war inquiry chair defends decision to move slowly

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — The chair of Britain's inquiry into the Iraq war defended the time spent on the investigation Wednesday, arguing that while he understands the anguish of bereaved family members, being fair to decision makers was critical to the process. John Chilcot's remarks came amid rising pressure and threats of lawsuits from families of slain British soldiers to release the findings. The inquiry into decisions and mistakes in Britain's planning and execution of the war began in 2009, but Chilcot made no apology for being methodical. "It is critically important that the report should be fair to all who participated in the conflict and to those who bore the responsibility of taking decisions," he said.

  • Shell hits petrol station in Syria's Homs, killing 5

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's state-run news agency says an artillery shell hit a petrol station in the central city of Homs, killing at least five people. SANA says more than 30 others were wounded in the attack in the Inshaat neighborhood Wednesday as a fuel truck was delivering a shipment. It says the shell was fired from the rebel-held town of Talbiseh north of Homs. Homs governor Talal Barazi says the explosion also caused significant material damage in the area. Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad frequently fire shells and mortar rounds on government-held areas.

  • Official: Syrian opposition figure dies in attack in Turkey

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Syrian opposition commander has died in a bomb attack in the Turkish city of Antakya, near the border with Syria, an official said Wednesday. Jamil Raadoun died of his wounds in a hospital, hours after a bomb exploded as he entered his car, Hatay province governor Ercan Topaca told Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. Topaca said the 44-year old Raadoun was a commander of the Suqour al-Ghab brigade, a group affiliated with the opposition Free Syrian Army. He was based in Antakya. He said an investigation has been launched into the attack, but added it appeared to be the result of "conflict between Syrian opposition groups." Suqour al-Ghab confirmed in a statement that its commander was assa

  • Egypt turns to Russia to combat terrorism

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday called for a coalition to combat terrorism in the Middle East. Opening a meeting with Putin in Moscow, el-Sissi said "the Egyptian people" are hoping for broader ties with Russia in all areas, particularly in fighting terrorism in the Middle East. El-Sissi's Russian visit, his second in the past three months, highlights Moscow's attempts to expand its influence in Egypt at a time when Egyptian-U.S. relations have soured in the aftermath of the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Putin told reporters after the talks that regional powers should join their efforts to combat the Islamic State group.

  • UN's Cambodian soldiers clear land mines in divided Cyprus

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    MAMMARI, Cyprus (AP) — Cambodian army Lt. Sovannara Leang says helping clear ethnically-divided Cyprus of land mines has hit home with him. "This has affected my country as well," said the 32-year-old officer who's been in the army since 2002. "It's a humanitarian issue. It affects people's lives." Land mines remain a scourge for Cambodia where millions of undetected mines left over from three decades of conflict continue to injure, maim and kill. Leang and his 20-man team where seconded from Lebanon's U.N. peacekeeping force to help clear a parcel of farmland inside a no-man's land that separates breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the north from internationally recognized Greek Cypriots in the south. U.N. Peacekeepi

  • Arab League delays meeting on creating joint military force

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — The Arab League has postponed a meeting of member state defense ministers who were scheduled to ratify a protocol for a new joint military force to intervene in troubled areas in the region, the organization said in a statement Wednesday. Arab League countries will decide later on a new date for the meeting, which had been scheduled for Thursday, the statement said. Members had formally announced the agreement in March, and drafted a protocol for it in May. The delay comes as the idea of an Arab joint force is already being tested in Yemen, where an ad hoc Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition has been targeting Iran-backed Shiite rebels and their allies.

  • Egypt gunmen kill 2 police in restive Sinai

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Three gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed two policemen in the restive northeastern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, Egyptian officials said, in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group. The security officials said the gunmen opened fire on the two, who had been guarding a post office, with automatic weapons before speeding away. Later, a claim of responsibility by the Sinai Province of the Islamic State group circulated on social media accounts of supporters, with photos purporting to show the shooting. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. Reporting in the area is highly restricted, with both mobile phone signal and land li

  • Saudi Arabia executes 4 people, bringing 2015's total to 113

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia has executed four more prisoners, bringing the number of people put to death since January to 113. The Interior Ministry says the four executions took place Wednesday. Three were Saudi men convicted of murder while the fourth was a Syrian national found guilty of smuggling large quantities of amphetamines. The kingdom has executed more people so far this year than all of 2014, which saw 83 people beheaded or executed by firing squad. A report issued by the human rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday found that between January 1985 and June 2015, at least 2,208 people were executed in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty to a number of crimes includi

  • Iran again calls on US to release 19 detained Iranians

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has again raised the issue of 19 Iranians held in the U.S., calling for them to be released amid the trial of a detained Washington Post reporter. Marzieh Afkham did not specifically mention journalist Jason Rezaian by name in her comments Wednesday at a news conference. However, it comes as speculation is rising that Iran could seek to swap Rezaian or other Americans for the Iranians. Rezaian awaits a verdict in his closed-door espionage trial in a case widely criticized by the U.S., press freedom organizations and the Post. He reportedly faces up to 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted.

  • Norway accused of unfairly taking away immigrant children

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — One August day, Airida Pettersen received the news many immigrant mothers have come to dread: School representatives told the Lithuanian that child welfare officials removed her two children from the classroom and placed them in a foster home. She pleaded to know why — but she said nobody would give her a straight answer. Pettersen, who moved to Norway in 2008 after marrying a Norwegian, is one of hundreds of immigrant parents whose children were taken away by Norway's Child Protection Service, or Barnevernet, ostensibly to protect them from mistreatment.

  • In Jerusalem's culture war, secular residents make gains

    Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Crowds of angry ultra-Orthodox Jewish men, wearing long beards, black and white garb and large black hats, protested in the streets of Jerusalem earlier this month against a new cinema opening its doors on the Sabbath. The demonstration was meant to be a show of strength in a long-running dispute over the role of strict Jewish law in the cultural life of Jerusalem. But in many ways, it was also a sign of desperation after a series of gains by the city's secular community in recent years. "No one's saying we're giving up," said Shmuel Poppenheim, an unofficial spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox community. But, he conceded, "We know it's a lost cause. ... We know that we can't stage a war" over every new establ

  • France train suspect watched jihadi video, prosecutor says

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — Minutes before he slung an assault rifle across his chest and walked through a high-speed train, the Moroccan suspect in the foiled attack watched a jihadi video on his cellphone, the French prosecutor said in formally opening a terrorism investigation Tuesday. The actions by Ayoub El-Khazzani on the Amsterdam-to-Paris train Friday night and information from other European authorities on his travels and apparent links to radical Islam prompted the investigation, said prosecutor Francois Molins. El-Khazzani, 26, was tackled and tied up by five passengers, including three Americans and a Briton, averting what President Francois Hollande said "could have degenerated into monstrous carnage.

  • Hezbollah throws weight behind protests, deepening crisis

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah threw its weight Tuesday behind mass protests calling for the government's resignation, deepening a crisis that started over piles of uncollected garbage in the streets of the capital but has tapped into a much deeper malaise. The explosion of anger targets the endemic corruption, hapless government and sectarian divisions of a brittle country once torn by civil war and now struggling with a wave of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. A grassroots youth movement calling itself "You Stink" mobilized thousands of people in two rallies over the weekend, and has called for another large protest on Saturday.

  • Palestinians, Vatican could raise UN flags before pope visit

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters — just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month. Supporters of the idea hope the U.N. General Assembly will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives. They're betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis' first U.S. visit. The Palestinians' proposal has been tabled, and a draft of the resolution set to be made public Wednesday has been seen by The Associated Press. It would allow non-member observer states — there are only two — to display their flags with

  • In Islamic State war, like others, heritage always a target

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. The group has destroyed ancient buildings and artifacts, as well as shrines to Shiite and Sunni Muslim saints — looting some sites for profit — all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of idolatry to create a society dedicated solely to its extreme and violent interpretation of Islam. The IS campaign has horrified many around the world with a scope of destruction that hasn't been seen for decades. Still, it isn't unprecedented.

  • Turkey, US conclude talks on anti-IS operation plan

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish and U.S. officials have concluded "technical talks" over their cooperation on operations against the Islamic State group, Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday. Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that Turkish and U.S. military officials had sealed an agreement concerning "the procedures and technical details" of their operations. He didn't provide details, but he has said an extensive, coordinated operation against the militant group would start soon. "The military authorities have signed off," Cavusoglu said. Ending months of reluctance, Turkey last month took on a more front line role in the fight against IS.

  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman to visit US next month

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi officials say King Salman will visit the United States early next month for the first time since ascending the throne and will meet with President Barack Obama. The diplomats told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Salman is expected in Washington on Sept. 5 for a visit that could last two to three days. Salman, who ascended the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, is expected to then visit Egypt before returning to Saudi Arabia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. The trip comes amid Saudi concerns about a nuclear deal reached with regional rival Iran.

  • Official: S. Sudan president may sign peace deal Wednesday

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan President Salva Kiir may sign a peace deal with rebels on Wednesday, more than a week after refusing to do so, a presidential spokesman said Tuesday. The U.N. Security Council threatened to "act immediately" if he doesn't. Kiir will first express "reservations" about the agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar at a summit with regional leaders in the nation's capital, Juba, Ateny Wek Ateny said. He said Kiir is unhappy about the demands that Juba be demilitarized, the rebels will appoint two state governors, and a foreigner will head a monitoring commission. Machar last week signed the deal, but Kiir said he needed more consultations.

  • A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — Record numbers of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea are trying to reach Europe, despite the risks of perilous sea crossings and the inability of countries to provide adequate humanitarian assistance. Here are the latest developments Tuesday: ___ HUNGARY: Thousands of migrants, many from Syria, poured into Hungary as soldiers frantically tried to finish a border fence to keep them out. Government officials said a record 2,093 migrants reached Hungary a day earlier — roughly 40 percent higher than the daily average influx in the previous week. Most quickly leave for richer European Union countries like Germany or the Netherlands.

  • Grand Egyptian Museum to be managed internationally

    Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's antiquities minister said Tuesday that the long-planned Grand Egyptian Museum will have an independent, international directorship in an effort to overcome bureaucracy. Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said the awaited museum near the Pyramids of Giza will be run "independent" of the government, similar to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, an elaborate piece of architecture which opened in 2002 under a special act of parliament guaranteeing its administrative independence. "We have a plan for it to have independence and an international board of trustees like the Library of Alexandria," he told reporters at a news conference near the museum's 120-acre construction site.




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