• Ebola crisis puts pressure on human rights

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Some doctors in countries hit hardest by the deadly Ebola disease decline to operate on pregnant women for fear the virus could spread. Governments face calls from frightened citizens to bar travel to and from afflicted nations. Meanwhile, the stakes get higher as more people get sick, highlighting a tricky balance between protecting people and preserving their rights in a global crisis. The world could impose more restrictions to ward off a disease that has overwhelmed several West African countries, and exposed shortcomings in medical procedures in Texas and also Spain, where Ebola cases have been diagnosed.

  • Egypt warplanes hit Libya militias, officials say

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Egypt deepened its involvement in the fight against Islamist militias who have taken over key parts of Libya on Wednesday, with officials saying Egyptian warplanes have bombed their positions in the eastern city of Benghazi. The two officials, who have firsthand knowledge of the operation, said the use of the aircraft was part of an Egyptian-led campaign against the militiamen that will eventually involve Libyan ground troops recently trained by Egyptian forces. The operation, they said, was requested by the internationally recognized Libyan administration based in the eastern city of Tobruk. That elected administration was thrown out of the capital, Tripoli, by rival militias allied with Islamic poli

  • UN refugee chief says Europe must open borders

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The head of the United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday urged countries, particularly in Europe, to review their laws to allow entry to more Syrians fleeing their country's civil war. Antonio Guterres said on the sidelines of a conference in the United Arab Emirates that a refugee crisis across the Middle East is a global security threat. He urged more legal avenues for Syrian refugees to resettle in Europe, and avoid risking their lives with smugglers. "This is not only the worst humanitarian crisis in the last decades, it is also the biggest threat to regional peace and security," he said. "It's a global threat." The U.N. estimates that nearly 2.

  • Iran tips hand about structure of secret services

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran drew back the veil — if slightly — over its intelligence services on Wednesday, with its top nuclear security official crediting them for helping protect the Islamic Republic's atomic program from attempts at sabotage. In a first, Iran provided public information about the structure of its secret services in an Intelligence Ministry magazine published for the 30th anniversary of the creation of the ministry. According to the magazine, entitled "30 years of Silent Devotion," Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi heads a coordination council overseeing 16 different agencies. The Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, separately operates two other intelligence agencies.

  • France will keep sending arms to Syrian fighters

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — France will keep delivering arms to Kurds fighting the Islamic State group in Syria, said President Francois Hollande as battles were raging between the two groups in Kobani, near Turkey. The French government will "do everything to help" those fighting against the Islamic State group, especially the Kurds, by delivering "adapted weaponry," Hollande said Wednesday, according to government spokesman Stephane Le Foll. He didn't specify which arms France will deliver. France was the first country to join the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq, but it doesn't take part in Syrian airstrikes.

  • Egyptian officials say country's warplanes are bombing positions of Islamist militias in Libya

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian officials say country's warplanes are bombing positions of Islamist militias in Libya.

  • Syrian Kurds press hundreds of young men into army

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Police in Syria's beleaguered self-ruled Kurdish areas have rounded up hundreds of young men to press them into military service recently made compulsory, activists and Kurdish officials say. The unprecedented move, criticized by human rights groups, underlines the desperation of Syria's Kurds as they fight off an onslaught by the Islamic State extremist group in Kobani, a town near the Turkish border. More than 550 people have been killed since the group began its offensive on the Kurdish town in mid-September, and the fighting has forced more than 200,000 people to flee into Turkey. The extremists have now seized a third of Kobani, closing in on positions held by the main Kurdish militia — the People

  • Correction: Iraq story

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — In a story Oct. 14 about violence in Iraq, The Associated Press reported erroneously the year of a series of lethal attacks by two Iraqi Shiite groups and the peak years of Iraq's sectarian strife. The years are 2011, and 2006-2007, respectively. A corrected version of the story is below: Rights group: Iraq Shiite militias killing Sunnis Rights group: Iraqi Shiite militias killing Sunnis with 'impunity' in reprisal attacks By VIVIAN SALAMA and SAMEER N.

  • Al-Qaida and Shiite rebels clash in south Yemen

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's Shiite rebels pushing to seize more territory across the country were locked in fierce battles with al-Qaida militants on Wednesday in a province south of the capital, Sanaa, security officials said. The clashes add another layer to the turmoil gripping this impoverished Arab nation struggling in the face of an ongoing blitz by the Shiite Houthi rebels, relentless political upheavals and a rampant al-Qaida-led insurgency by Islamic militants. The fighting between the Houthis and al-Qaida militants erupted late on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday in the town of Raad in Baydah province, the security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

  • Israel police clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police in riot gear have fired stun grenades to break up a group of Palestinians throwing rocks near sensitive holy sites in Jerusalem's old city ahead of a Jewish festival. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Palestinians injured three officers in the clashes, which began after Muslim prayers Wednesday at a gate to the Old City, where tensions have been high in recent months. The main flashpoint is the hilltop compound that is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, in the eastern sector of the city that Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 and which Palestinians demand for their future capital. The Palestinians were protesting against recent visits by Jews to the site.

  • Malaysia detains 14 suspected Muslim militants

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police said Wednesday they have detained 14 Muslims, including two women and a student, suspected of being linked to the militant Islamic State group. The detentions bring the number of people held for suspected militant links to 36 since April. National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the group was detained over the last three days in an operation in central Selangor state. They included a student, a chef, an engineer, a graphic designer and a housewife, he said. Khalid said in a statement that three were believed to be leaders of a cell responsible for recruiting, sponsoring and sending Malaysians to fight in Syria.

  • Higher views for tourists to Dubai's tallest tower

    Updated: Wed, Oct 15, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Visitors to the world's tallest building in Dubai can now get an even more elevated view of the Middle Eastern city. The owner of the 2,717 foot-tall (828 meter) Burj Khalifa skyscraper says that starting on Wednesday, visitors can pay to ride up to a new observation deck on the 148th floor. That is 1,821 feet (555 meters) above street level, making it the world's highest observation deck, according to Guinness World Records. To get there, they have to change elevators on level 125. Earlier, tourists could only go to a still operational observation deck on the 124th floor. Nearly 1.9 million visitors did so last year. The higher views come with steeper prices.

  • Hong Kong police drag activists away, clear tunnel

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    HONG KONG (AP) — Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers drove protesters from an underpass in the dead of night in the worst violence since the street demonstrations for greater democracy began more than two weeks ago. Officers, many with riot shields and wielding pepper spray, dragged away dozens of protesters, tore down barricades and removed concrete slabs the protesters used as road blocks around the underpass. Beijing issued its harshest condemnations yet of the protests on Wednesday, calling them illegal, bad for business and against Hong Kong's best interests.

  • New Zealand, Spain, Turkey vie for UN council

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Venezuela has taken the spotlight in this year's campaign for coveted seats on the U.N. Security Council but the hottest race is between New Zealand, Spain and Turkey whose foreign ministers are in New York this week lobbying for votes. The U.N. General Assembly's 193 member states will vote Thursday to elect five new members to the U.N.'s most powerful body and Venezuela's socialist government is virtually certain to win because it is unopposed for the single seat allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Angola is the only candidate for an African seat and Malaysia has no opposition for a single seat for Asia, so their victories are also virtually assured.

  • After long absence, Kim reappears with cane

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — After vanishing from the public eye for nearly six weeks, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back, ending rumors that he was gravely ill, deposed or worse. Now, a new, albeit smaller, mystery has emerged: Why the cane? Kim, who was last seen publicly at a Sept. 3 concert, appeared in images released by state media Tuesday smiling broadly and supporting himself with a walking stick while touring the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District and another new institute in Pyongyang, part of his regular "field guidance" tours. The North didn't say when the visit happened, nor did it address the leader's health.

  • Australian troops to Iraq held up by legal matters

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister said on Wednesday that Australian special forces sent to Iraq haven't been able to enter the country yet because the Iraqi government has not provided the necessary legal guarantees. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wanted the same indemnity from prosecution under Iraqi law for 200 Australian special operations troops as American troops already had in Iraq. Abbott said that he was confident that the situation would be resolved in the next few days. The soldiers are being sent to advise and assist Iraqi security forces. They were sent a month ago to the United Arab Emirates at the request of the United States. At the same time, Australia also sent six F/A-18

  • Mexico prosecutor: Students not in 1st mass graves

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    CHILPANCINGO, Mexico (AP) — Authorities testing remains found in nine mass graves in southern Mexico have yet to find any of 43 teachers college students who disappeared after a confrontation with police, security officials said Tuesday. None were among 28 bodies, some badly burned, that were unearthed a week after the Sept. 26 attack, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said. Forensic investigators continued to test other remains and announced the discovery of 10th mass grave Tuesday. An additional 14 police officers have been arrested and confessed to participating in the disappearance, Murillo Karam said, bringing the total number of detainees to 50.

  • UN rights chief: Libyan civil society under threat

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief warned Tuesday that civil society, bloggers and professionals in Libya face a "climate of fear" created by warring militias whose clashes left 17 dead in western region. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says his agency has received numerous reports of assaults targeting rights advocates in Libya including murder, abduction and death threats. Many have fled or suspended their work. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement that the attacks amount to "war crimes." He said perpetrators benefit from "total impunity" for such attacks and threaten Libya's few independent voices. In one incident last month, two well-known activists were among 10 people killed in eastern Ben

  • Australia's Flanagan wins Booker fiction prize

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Australian writer Richard Flanagan won the Booker Prize on Tuesday with a visceral book about wartime brutality and its aftermath - a novel the head of the judging team said was as powerful as a kick in the stomach. Flanagan drew on his father's experiences as a World War II prisoner of the Japanese for "The Narrow Road to the Deep North," which centers on the Burma Death Railway, built with forced labor at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. Named after a classic work of Japanese literature, the book is dedicated to Flanagan's father - referred to by his prisoner number, 335 - who died at the age of 98 shortly after his son finished the manuscript.

  • Strong explosion hits Cairo, leaving 12 injured

    Updated: Tue, Oct 14, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A strong blast hit a busy district in central Cairo on Tuesday night, leaving 12 injured, Egypt's official news agency reported, as a court sentenced seven Islamic militants to death over earlier terror attacks. MENA quoted a senior security official as saying that the explosion was caused by a home-made bomb placed in the vicinity of a court house. The site of the attack is a busy district and near a subway station. The agency quoted Mohammed Sultan, a health minister official as saying that the blast caused no deaths and that 12 people were injured. No further details were immediately available.