• EU court scraps sanctions on Iran bank, shipping concerns

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    BRUSSELS (AP) — A European Union high court has annulled sanctions that the 28-nation bloc imposed on an Iranian bank and a shipping line and companies linked to it, over Tehran's nuclear program. The General Court ruled Thursday that the EU had not justified its decision to impose a freeze on the assets and economic resources of Bank Tejarat, an Iranian commercial bank. It said the EU did not establish that the bank had been supporting nuclear proliferation or helping others to avoid sanctions. In a second ruling, the court said the EU had not proved that Ocean Capital Administration and other applicants linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping lines (IRISL) had supported nuclear proliferation.

  • Iran gives ex-vice president 5-year prison term

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's supreme court has sentenced a former vice president to five years in prison and ordered him to pay a 10 billion rial ($300,000) fine, the country's official news agency said. The IRNA report late Wednesday did not specify what Mohammad Reza Rahimi, a top aide to ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was convicted of but said the verdict was binding. It also said the court ordered Rahimi to pay compensation equivalent to some $800,000. Rahimi, who served as the head of an anti-corruption agency and received the medal of honor from Ahmadinejad, is the first Iranian vice president to see jail time. A local court had initially sentenced him to 15 years prison, but the supreme court reduced the term

  • Bombings kill 14 soldiers, militiamen in Iraq

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bomb and an explosive device hidden in a booby-trapped house killed 14 soldiers and Shiite militiamen north of Baghdad on Thursday, Iraqi officials said. The suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into the gate of a military base in Taji, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad, killing at least eight soldiers, police officials said. The attack took place as dozens of soldiers were departing the facility for weekend leave. The officials said 21 troops were wounded in the bombing. In a separate incident, an explosion in a booby-trapped house in a village recently retaken from Islamic State militants killed four soldiers and two Shiite militiamen.

  • 2 Japanese hostages: How their lives got intertwined

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — One is a freelance journalist respected for his reporting on refugees and children in war zones. The other is a man who seems obsessed with guns and went to Syria to train with fighters. Despite their differing backgrounds and passions, their paths had crossed before. Now, in a chilling video released this week, the two Japanese men were seen kneeling on the ground in orange jumpsuits with a masked, knife-wielding figure threatening to kill them if their government failed to pay a $200 million ransom by Friday. Kenji Goto, the journalist, and Haruna Yukawa are in some ways outliers in Japan, a relatively risk-averse society.

  • Japan says looking at all possible ways to free hostages

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan said Thursday it was considering all possible ways to gain the release of two hostages held by the Islamic State group, as two people with contacts there offered to try to negotiate. The Islamic State group, in a video message seen Tuesday, said it would kill the hostages within 72 hours unless it receives $200 million. Based on the video's release time, that deadline would come sometime Friday. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan was trying to reach those holding the hostages, 47-year-old freelance journalist Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security company. Suga said Japan had not received any message from IS since the release of the vide

  • Hillary Clinton declines to take position on Keystone

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday declined again to take a position on the Keystone XL pipeline, telling an audience in Canada that she would not express her views because of an ongoing review by the State Department. "We have differences and you won't get me to talk about Keystone because I have steadily made clear that I'm not going to express an opinion," said Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. "It is in our process and that's where it belongs." Clinton was asked about U.S.-Canadian relations during a wide-ranging question-and-answer session in Winnipeg as Congress considers approving construction of the contentious, Canada-backed project.

  • New questions about death of prosecutor in Argentina

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Mystery deepened in the gunshot death of a prosecutor who had accused Argentina's president of covering up a terror attack with Wednesday's revelation that a door to his apartment barely locked and the discovery of a previously unknown entry. The locksmith who opened the back door to give investigators access to the home where Alberto Nisman was found dead said it was barely closed, raising questions about whether a killer might have entered or exited what was earlier described as a 13th-story apartment locked from the inside. After testifying to investigators, the man who gave his name only as Walter said he was able to quickly open the door with a hook. He added, "If someone entered or not,

  • Beard of Egypt's King Tut hastily glued back on with epoxy

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — The blue and gold braided beard on the burial mask of famed pharaoh Tutankhamun was hastily glued back on with epoxy, damaging the relic after it was knocked during cleaning, conservators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo said Wednesday. The museum is one of the city's main tourist sites, but in some areas, ancient wooden sarcophagi lay unprotected from the public, while pharaonic burial shrouds, mounted on walls, crumble from behind open panels of glass. Tutankhamun's mask, over 3,300 years old, and other contents of his tomb are its top exhibits.

  • Shiite rebels, Yemen's president reach deal to end standoff

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Shiite rebels holding Yemen's president captive in his home reached a deal with the U.S.-backed leader Wednesday to end a violent standoff in the capital, fueling fears that a key ally in the battle against al-Qaida has been sidelined. The late-night agreement, which gives the rebels greater say in running the Arab world's poorest nation in exchange for removing its fighters from President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's residence, left unanswered who really controls the country. In the deal, announced by the official SABA news agency, the Houthi rebels also agreed to release a top aide to Hadi that they had kidnapped in recent days.

  • France anti-terror plan calls for hiring more intel agents

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — Reeling from the Paris terror attacks, France announced broad new measures to fight homegrown terrorism like giving police better equipment and hiring more intelligence agents, as European officials sought to strike the right balance between rushing through tough counterterrorism laws and protecting treasured democratic rights. Prime Minister Manuel Valls laid out the counterterrorism initiatives just as the Paris prosecutor announced preliminary charges against four men for allegedly providing logistical support to one of the attackers behind a three-day spree of violence this month that killed 17 people before the three gunmen were shot dead by police. France plans to spend 425 million euros ($490 million) ov

  • Questions, answers on Yemen as rebels, president strike deal

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Shiite rebels holding Yemen's embattled president captive in his own home reached a deal Wednesday night to end a violent confrontation in the capital. However, even with the deal, many questions remain about who is actually in charge of this country targeted in a U.S. drone-strike campaign against al-Qaida fighters. Here are some questions and answers regarding Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country beset by political chaos and violence, and how it affects the great war against its local al-Qaida franchise, which has claimed several failed attacks in America and the assault on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Q: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AL-QAIDA IN YEMEN AND THE U.S.

  • AP Interview: Iraq premier says ground troops need more aid

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister on Wednesday appealed for more aid for the country's beleaguered ground forces, which have yet to score a decisive victory against the Islamic State group despite five months of U.S.-led coalition air raids. In an interview with The Associated Press, Haider al-Abadi praised the coalition's air campaign but said the international community has stalled on commitments to train and equip the ground forces needed to retake major cities. "We are in this almost on our own," he said. "There is a lot being said and spoken, but very little on the ground." He spoke as he was leaving for London to take part in a meeting Thursday on the war effort with foreign ministers from about 20 countries,

  • Russian FM says Moscow hopes for success of Syria talks

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister says he hopes the prospective Syria peace talks in Moscow will be broad enough and help advance a settlement. Sergey Lavrov told Wednesday's press conference that Russian diplomats wouldn't try to mediate the talks expected later this month between the Syrian government and the opposition. Lavrov said that excessive publicity stymied earlier talks, and Moscow will try to create a more informal atmosphere to help make the negotiations more frank and business-like. He wouldn't say who will attend. Russia, which has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation's civil war, hopes the talks could raise its international profile amid tensions with the West over

  • White House: Boehner invite to Netanyahu breach of protocol

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — The White House says House Speaker John Boehner's invitation for Israel's prime minister to come to Washington is a breach of normal diplomatic protocol. President Barack Obama's press secretary, Josh Earnest, says the White House has not heard from Israelis about whether Benjamin Netanyahu plans to speak to Congress Feb. 11. Earnest says they are reserving judgment about the invitation until they've had a chance to speak to the Israelis about what Netanyahu might say. Earnest says typical protocol is that a country's leader would contact the White House before planning to visit the United States. But Earnest says they didn't hear about Boehner's invitation until Wednesday morning, shortly before

  • Egypt currency falls to historic low, could spur investment

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's currency fell for the fourth time in a week on Wednesday, hitting its lowest point ever against the dollar, in a development that could help boost foreign investment after four years of unrest. The central bank set a cutoff rate of 7.34 Egyptian pounds per dollar in an auction that sold $38.4 million, compared to a rate of 7.29 a day earlier. Before this week, the exchange rate had not changed for six months. Investors and economists see the currency as overvalued and local demand for dollars has fueled a thriving black market. On Wednesday, traders were buying dollars at rates of 7.80 to 7.94 pounds.

  • 11 wounded by Palestinian in Israeli bus attack in Tel Aviv

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A knife-wielding Palestinian stabbed 11 morning commuters on and near a bus Wednesday, striking in the heart of Tel Aviv and reigniting fears of continued violence ahead of Israeli elections in March. The attack was the latest in a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis over recent months, which has been largely reserved to Jerusalem but also has spilled over to the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Tuesday's stabbing took place near a busy intersection during morning rush hour. Police identified the attacker as Hamza Mohammed Matrouk, 23, from the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

  • Car bomb explodes in central Syria's Homs, killing 6 people

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A car bomb exploded Wednesday in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least six people in a neighborhood frequently targeted by rebels because it is seen as a home of loyalists of the President Bashar Assad. The rigged vehicle exploded among residential buildings and shops in the Akrama neighborhood, an area dominated by Alawites, the same sect as Assad. The explosion killed mostly women and children, Homs Governor Talal Barrazi said. Barrazi said the blast killed at least six people and wounded 30. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast killed 10 people, basing its figure from a network of activists on the ground. Conflicting death tolls are routine after such att

  • Turkish officers sentenced to 10 years for activist's death

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A court has sentenced two police officers to 10 years in prison each for their involvement in the beating death of a 19-year-old student during anti-government protests that swept Turkey in 2013. The victim's supporters said the verdict was too lenient and staged immediate protests outside and inside the courthouse. Ali Ismail Korkmaz was beaten by a group of people as he tried to flee from tear gas during protests in the city of Eskisehir. He slipped into a coma and died a month later. Four other civilian defendants were also sentenced to up to six years Wednesday. Anadolu Agency said some supporters sobbed while others threw projectiles at the judges' bench. Police fired tear gas to dispe

  • A look at the suspects in the Paris terror investigation

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — A French anti-terror judge has charged the first suspects in connection with the Jan. 7-9 Paris terror attacks in which brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and their friend Amedy Coulibaly slaughtered 17 people before being killed by police. Here is a summary of what is known about these four suspects and others wanted in connection with France's bloodiest terror attacks in decades. THE SUSPECTS The four suspects charged Wednesday were: Willy P., Christophe R., Tonino G. and Mickael A. The first three were charged with procuring weapons, a car and other gear for Coulibaly, who killed a policewoman and four hostages at a kosher grocery. Mickael A., was charged with possession and transport of a weapon in connection

  • Iraq war inquiry report delayed until after election

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — The report of an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq war will be delayed until after a national election in May, its chairman said, provoking dismay from politicians of all parties Wednesday. Sir John Chilcot, a former senior civil servant who is heading an inquiry that began in 2009, wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron saying that the report was being delayed because individuals mentioned in it need a chance to respond. "Until we have received and evaluated responses from all those who have been given the opportunity to respond, I cannot give an accurate estimate for how long it will then take to complete our work, but it is still clear that will take some further months," Chilcot said in the letter, re




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