• China's Yan Lianke receives Franz Kafka prize

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    PRAGUE (AP) — Yan Lianke, a Chinese author who has seen some of his novels banned in his homeland, has received the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize in the Czech Republic. Yan said he was grateful as he accepted the annual $10,000 prize Wednesday at Prague's City Hall. Each spring, it's awarded to authors whose works "appeal to readers regardless of their origin, nationality and culture." Past winners have included American novelist Philip Roth, Nobel laureates Elfriede Jelinek of Austria and Harold Pinter of Britain, and Israeli author Amos Oz.

  • Albania PM seeks to ease tensions with Serbia

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania's prime minister said Wednesday that his nation and Serbia must try to end decades of hostility toward one another by focusing on major issues such as their mutual desire to join the European Union, not last week's dispute over a soccer match. Edi Rama had been expected to make a landmark visit to Serbia on Wednesday — the first by an Albanian leader in nearly 70 years — as part of an effort to ease tensions left over from wars fought following the breakup of Yugoslavia. But the trip was postponed until Nov. 10, after the two nations competed in a soccer match last week that descended into an on-field brawl after a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner flew over the stadium in the

  • Iraqis return to school after delay from unrest

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi students returned to school on Wednesday amid tightened security as the academic year began a month late because thousands of people displaced by last summer's onslaught by the Islamic State group had taken shelter in school buildings. But the day was marred by violence and after sunset, car bombings in Baghdad killed at least 29 people, police said. In the areas of northern and western Iraq captured by the extremist group earlier this year — including the country's second largest city of Mosul — students are not required to attend classes, but will be able to watch lectures on state-run TV to prepare for final exams, Education Ministry spokeswoman Salama al-Hassan said.

  • Iranians protest acid attacks in central city

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranians rallied on Wednesday in the central city of Isfahan and the capital, Tehran, to protest a string of acid attacks on women in Isfahan in recent months, the latest public outcry over the assaults that have shocked the nation. About 2,000 people gathered in front of Isfahan's judiciary building, demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice, reported the semiofficial Fars news agency. Later Wednesday, dozens of people also gathered in front of the parliament in Tehran to condemn the attacks and demand punishment for those behind such assaults. Acid attacks are very rare in Iran, but Isfahan has seen a string of eight cases of such assaults over the past few months, police chief Gen. Ismaeil

  • Bomb outside Cairo University wounds 10

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A bomb exploded outside Egypt's largest and most prominent university in the country's capital on Wednesday, wounding 10 people, including six policemen, the Interior Ministry said. The bomb, described as a rudimentary device, went off following clashes between police and Islamist students who were protesting outside the sprawling campus, security officials said. It was the second bombing outside Cairo University in the past six months. Egypt has faced regular militant attacks, mostly targeting security forces, since the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year. Militant groups say they are avenging a security crackdown on Islamists, while authorities blamed Morsi supporters for the vi

  • Kurdish fighters killed in Syria buried in Turkey

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    SURUC, Turkey (AP) — Hundreds of supporters chanting slogans turned out to accompany three Kurdish fighters — two men and a woman barely out of her teens — to their final resting place in a dusty cemetery on the edge of the Turkish town of Suruc, within view of the Syrian border and the besieged town of Kobani. But there was one notable absence: their families. The flag-draped coffin bearing the body of 20-year-old Hanim Dabaan was carried to her grave Tuesday by women who didn't know her, but wanted to show their support for those killed fighting the Islamic State group extremists. Idris Ahmad, 30, and Mohammed Mustafa, 25, were laid to rest beside her, also carried by volunteers.

  • UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — He might have got away with it if it hadn't been for his supermarket loyalty card. A British fraudster who pretended to be quadriplegic and sometimes comatose for two years to avoid prosecution has been convicted after police caught him on camera driving and strolling around supermarkets. Alan Knight of Swansea, Wales, stole more than 40,000 pounds ($64,000) from the bank account of an elderly neighbor with Alzheimer's disease, prosecutors said. When police began investigating, the 47-year-old Knight claimed to be quadriplegic and so sick he sometimes fell into a coma. He checked himself into a hospital to avoid court appearances, saying he was having seizures.

  • 10 men acquitted in Kurdish terror finance trial

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish court on Wednesday acquitted 10 men accused of terror financing for providing money to a Kurdish separatist group. The Copenhagen City Court said prosecutors did not prove that the at least 130 million kroner ($22 million) transferred to Kurdish organizations was actually channeled to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The group is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. The defendants of Kurdish origin said the money donated between 2009 and 2012 was to support a Kurdish satellite TV station and different humanitarian projects. Prosecutor Stig Fleischer says he has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling.

  • Pistorius spends first night in single jail cell

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius spent his first night of a five-year jail term in a single cell in the hospital wing of a prison in the capital, Pretoria, said a prison official. He seemed confused and tired when he entered the Kgosi Mampuru facility, prison commissioner Zebilon Monama told the South African Press Association. Monama said Pistorius was tense as wardens took his fingerprints and the prison chaplain met with him soon after his prison number was issued on Tuesday. "After he saw the chaplain our psychologist went to see him just to try to talk to him," said Monama.

  • At Berlin Wall, Kerry warns against Cold War redux

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    BERLIN (AP) — Surrounded by relics of the Cold War, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his German counterpart warned Wednesday against a return to the bitter divide between east and west over the current crisis in Ukraine. Under gloomy skies and a steady rain, Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. They emphasized that the West does not seek confrontation with Russia and implored Moscow to move quickly to fulfill the terms of an agreement to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine between the government and pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine accuses Moscow of aiding the separatists, a charge that Moscow denies.

  • Sweden scales back submarine hunt

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden's military has withdrawn some of the ships taking part in a submarine hunt in the Stockholm archipelago. Military spokesman Erik Lagersten said some of the naval assets, including the corvette HMS Visby, returned to a naval base Wednesday for "maintenance" as the search entered "a partially new phase." He rejected the move was a de-escalation, saying the operation continued with air, ground and some naval assets. The Swedish military launched its biggest anti-submarine operation since the twilight of the Soviet Union on Friday after receiving credible reports of foreign underwater activity in the archipelago that extends from the capital, Stockholm, into the Baltic Sea.

  • Kuwait sentences 13 over controversial speech

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A Kuwaiti defense lawyer says a court in the Gulf nation has convicted and sentenced 13 people to two years in prison each for reading aloud a speech by a leading opposition figure challenging the country's ruler. Attorney Mohammad al-Humaidi says his clients were convicted Wednesday for reciting the speech by former parliament member Musallam al-Barrack at rallies following his arrest in 2012. In October 2012, al-Barrak gave the speech during a large anti-government protest. He was convicted of insulting the ruler over that address, but he was allowed to remain free on bail and continues to fight legal charges against him. Al-Humaidi said his clients will appeal the ruling.

  • Bedouin Israeli doctor mysteriously turns jihadi

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    HURA, Israel (AP) — He was a quiet whiz kid at the top of his class in Israel, who overcame tough odds in this minority Arab village to become a star medical student and hospital intern. Could Othman Abu al-Qiyan have been radicalized by Israel's conflict with the Palestinians — or something else? No one can quite explain what happened and why, but in his community in Israel's southern Negev desert, where many even serve in the Israeli army, his sudden transformation into a jihadi killed in Syria fighting for the Islamic State group is treated as a dark and dangerous mystery.

  • Sweden raises estimate of foreign fighters

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden's security service says up to 150 people have left the country to join IS militants in the Middle East. Anders Kassman, chief operating officer of the SAPO security service, on Wednesday said the agency has confirmed at least 90 cases of people leaving Sweden to fight in Syria and Iraq. He said 23 of them have been killed fighting for the Islamic State group or similar organizations. But Kassman said SAPO agrees with Swedish terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp's estimate that the true number of Swedish foreign fighters is around 150 and increasing quickly. In August, SAPO reported about 80 confirmed cases. About 2,000 Europeans are estimated to have joined fighting in Iraq and Syria.

  • Tribes in tense Abu Ghraib vow to keep IS out

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (AP) — The Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, best known for its infamous prison, sits close enough to Baghdad's airport that you can see the control tower in the distance. It's an enticing potential prize for Islamic State militants. For now, this Sunni-dominated town remains beyond their grip, despite recent reports to the contrary. Markets buzz with shoppers and young women in colorful clothes and headscarves walk freely through the streets. That's thanks in large part to the support of local Sunni tribal leaders who fought against extremists in the past are vowing to do so again.

  • Australian officials deny elite troop shortage

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has recently deployed troops with diagnosed mental illnesses and on multiple tours of duty, but not because of any shortage of elite combat troops, senior officers said Wednesday. Vice Adm. Ray Griggs, who is acting chief of defense, told a Senate committee that he did not know if any of the 200 commandos and Special Air Service troops who will soon deploy from the United Arab Emirates into Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic State militants was taking anti-psychotic medicine. "There are some members of the ADF that deploy with antidepressants," Griggs said, referring to the Australian Defense Force.

  • Terrorist ideology blamed in Canada car attack

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Quebec (AP) — A young convert to Islam who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey, authorities said Tuesday. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the attack Monday was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology." Quebec Police spokesman Guy Lapointe said the act was deliberate and that one of the two soldiers was in uniform. Police said the suspect, Martin Couture-Rouleau, called 911 to report his hit-and-run as police chased him in the Quebec city of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. He later was shot dead by police after his car flipped over into a ditch and h

  • Egypt sets appeal hearing for Al-Jazeera staff

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A Cairo court has set an appeals hearing for three Al-Jazeera English journalists convicted of terrorism-related charges last June amid widespread international condemnation. Adel Fahmy, the brother of Mohammed Fahmy, acting Cairo bureau chief for Al-Jazeera English, said the scheduled court date is Jan. 1, 2015. He said the date is further away than the family had hoped for but the mere fact that it has been scheduled is a relief. Lawyer Negad Borai, who is representing Mohammed Fahmy, said he expects the Court of Cassation to take one or two sessions to either send the case back to criminal court or uphold the original verdict.

  • Australian runaway teenager reportedly in IS video

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian teenage runaway has reportedly appeared in an Islamic State propaganda video, warning that the movement won't stop fighting until the extremists' notorious black flag is flying above every nation. Australian media on Tuesday widely reported a video posted on YouTube in which a speaker believed to be 17-year-old Abdullah Elmir from Bankstown in Sydney's southwest warns western leaders of the terror group's resolve. Using the name Abu Khaled, holding a rifle and dressed in military garb, he is surrounded by dozens of other male jihadists as he addresses the camera. "To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott, I say this: These weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting," h

  • IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

    Updated: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State group fighters seized at least one cache of weapons airdropped by U.S.-led coalition forces that were meant to supply Kurdish militiamen battling the extremist group in a border town, activists said Tuesday. The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group. The video appeared authentic and corresponded to The Associated Press' reporting of the event. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which bases its information on a network of activists on the ground, said the militants had seized at least one cache.