• Egypt in talks to import Cypriot natural gas

    Updated: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Egypt is speeding up talks with neighboring Cyprus to import natural gas for its domestic use and for possible re-export to other countries, the Egyptian petroleum minister said Tuesday. Sherif Ismail said gas can be piped directly to Egypt from the field off Cyprus' southern coast that is estimated to hold 3.6 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet of the fossil fuel. "We can accommodate whatever gas we receive in both local market consumption and (liquefied natural gas) exports," Ismail said after meeting Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis. Ismail said Egypt has a shortfall of about 700 million cubic feet of gas. A preliminary study into the possible Cyprus-Egypt gas link should wrap up by

  • AP PHOTOS: Top pictures from Europe and Africa

    Updated: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — The U.S.-led coalition was still bombing Islamic State positions in Kobani last week, blunting the extremists' drive to capture the town in northern Syria. Violence erupted in Kenya when extremists attacked a bus near the Somali border, killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed. Kenyan women also staged protests, demanding the right to wear whatever clothing they want. The foreign ministers of neighboring Russia and Germany met in Moscow, where top landmarks were shrouded in an evening haze. In the volatile Russian province of Chechnya, conscripts were being drafted for the first time since a separatist war.

  • Doubt grips Portugal after ex-premier is jailed

    Updated: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    LISBON, Portugal (AP) — After he left office three years ago, former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates' home address was a smart apartment in Paris' classy 16th arrondissement. On Tuesday, he spent his first day in prison after a Lisbon judge ordered him detained while the ex-leader fights accusations of corruption, money-laundering and tax fraud. Socrates was reportedly taken to a prison in Evora, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Lisbon, after a judge decided late Monday there was sufficient police evidence to keep him in custody on preliminary charges of wrongdoing, a court statement said. Socrates's lawyer, Joao Araujo, said his client denies the charges and would appeal the custody decision.

  • Iran nuclear talks stumble, extended until July

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    VIENNA (AP) — A yearlong effort to seal a nuclear deal with Iran fizzled Monday, leaving the U.S. and its allies little choice but to declare a seven-month extension in hopes that a new deadline will be enough to achieve what a decade of negotiations have failed to do — limit Tehran's ability to make a nuclear weapon. Pushback from critics in Congress followed almost immediately, with powerful Republicans saying that Iran is merely trying to buy time. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western foreign ministers defended the add-on time as the best way forward. "We would be fools to walk away," Kerry declared. But a week of tough maneuvering appeared to have achieved little more than agreement to keep on ta

  • UN chief: Palestinian recognition gains momentum

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday the international community's failure to advance a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spurring governments and parliaments to take action to recognize the state of Palestine — and "that momentum will grow." The U.N. chief said at the U.N. commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that the international community must assume "a collective failure" for not being able to get a peace deal. "Indeed — as we see around the world — governments and parliaments are taking action," Ban said.

  • Russia gets greater control over Black Sea region

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia tightened its control Monday over Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia with a new treaty envisaging closer military and economic ties with the lush sliver of land along the Black Sea. The move drew outrage and cries of "annexation" in Georgia and sent a chill through those in Abkhazia who fear that wealthy Russians will snap up their precious coastline. It also raised further suspicions in the West about Russian President Vladimir Putin's territorial aspirations after his annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March. Under the treaty signed by Putin and Abkhazia's leader in the nearby Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian and Abkhazian forces in the territory will turn into a joint fo

  • Egyptian leader meets pope, Italian premier

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis and the Egyptian president exchanged warm greetings during a private meeting Monday in which the pontiff emphasized Egypt's role in establishing peace in the Middle East. Francis and Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met for about 20 minutes at the Vatican on el-Sissi's first visit to Europe since taking office in June. Francis shook el-Sissi's hands, declaring his happiness at meeting the Egyptian leader, while el-Sissi expressed through a translator his pleasure at meeting "the great man that you are." The two men also exchanged gifts: A papal medallion and a papal document "The Joy of the Gospel" for el-Sissi and an inlaid silver box with a mirrored lid for Francis.

  • Syrian on hunger strike outside Greek parliament

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 200 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday in front of Greece's Parliament, urging the government to grant them temporary working and residence rights. The protesters began gathering last week at Athens' main square, complaining that refugees are being forced to pay exorbitant black-market rates to live in squalid apartments in Athens. "People are living in bad conditions. We get (temporary) travel documents, but we can't go anywhere. We can't work, or go to hospital, or rent a place to live," said Khaldoon Fadel, a 31-year-old former resident of Damascus, who joined the hunger strike. The hunger strikers said they were only eating sugar.

  • Israel resumes razing homes to punish attackers

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Enas Shalodi, a Palestinian mother of six, has been severely punished by Israel for something she didn't do. A wrecking crew gutted her family's apartment in Jerusalem last week, tearing down inner walls and leaving behind a thick layer of debris. The demolition came a month after her oldest son, 21-year-old Abdel Rahman, drove a car into a crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem, killing a 3-month-old girl and an Ecuadorean tourist before being shot and killed at the scene. Israel says it needs tougher tools to stop recent "lone wolf" attacks on Jews by Palestinians.

  • Islamic State group recruits, exploits children

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police. In Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists' headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods. Across the vast region under IS control, the group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age, according to a growing body of evidence assembled from residents, activists, independent experts an

  • Saudi Arabia: Islamic State group linked to attack

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Militants linked to the Islamic State group were behind a surprise attack this month that killed seven people in Saudi Arabia's eastern region, the kingdom's Interior Ministry said Monday. Interior Minister spokesman Mansour al-Turki said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that an investigation found that a 77-person terrorist cell helped with financing, planning and carrying out the Nov. 3 attack. He said some members of the cell had been in touch with Islamic State militants and received orders from abroad. Thirteen people were wounded in the attack, which saw gunmen shoot the victims with pistols and machine guns inside a commemoration hall as worshippers marked a major

  • Israel leader vows to pass nationality law

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister vowed Monday to pass a contentious nationality law that has threatened the stability of his fragile coalition government, but he left the door open for negotiations to soften it. The bill formally would identify Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. But language favored by hard-liners has drawn racism accusations, been questioned by Israel's attorney general and prompted the justice minister to warn that the coalition could fall apart. Addressing his Likud Party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was determined to pass it.

  • Iran president: 'Negotiations will lead to a deal'

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — As talks over Iran's contested nuclear program wrap up, President Hassan Rouhani has told his nation that it "has achieved a significant victory" and "negotiations will lead to a deal, sooner or later." In a nationwide broadcast Monday night, Rouhani also said many gaps in the talks "have been eliminated." He added: "One phase is about the behind-the-curtain issues, where ideas are made closer and talks happen. In this phase there has been good progress. The other phase is when those agreements are put on paper and turn into a final, ultimate deal in writing. We still have some distance from this second phase." Negotiators agreed Monday to decide by March 1 what needs to be done and by when. A fina

  • Iraqi troops take 2 towns from Islamic State group

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi troops backed by Shiite militiamen and Kurdish security forces recaptured two eastern towns from Islamic State group militants after fierce clashes, officials said Monday. Police in Diyala province said Iraqi forces entered the towns of Saadiya and Jalula late Sunday after heavy fighting with the Sunni extremist group, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria. The fighting continued Monday, with some pockets of resistance outside the two towns, police officials said, adding that teams were defusing roadside bombs. Some families that fled the area have started to return, they said. Diyala saw heavy fighting between Sunni and Shiite militants at the height of Iraq's sectarian bloodletting in 2006 and 20

  • Erdogan: women are not equal to men

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off a new controversy on Monday, declaring that women are not equal to men and accusing feminists of not understanding the special status that Islam attributes to mothers. Addressing a meeting in Istanbul on women and justice, Erdogan said men and women are created differently, that women cannot be expected to undertake the same work as men, and that mothers enjoy a high position that only they can reach. "You cannot put women and men on an equal footing," Erdogan said. "It is against nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different." Erdogan added: "Motherhood is the highest position ... You cannot expla

  • Lawyers of al-Jazeera reporter urge his release

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The lawyers of an imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera journalist called Monday for his release, saying he should benefit from a recently passed law in Egypt that allows the country's president to deport foreign defendants, or be freed for health reasons. Amal Clooney and Mark Wassouf of British firm Doughty Street Chambers said in a statement that Mohammed Fahmy is in prison for over 300 days on the basis of a "fundamentally unfair" trial. Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste, and Egyptian Baher Mohammed were charged with helping the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Egypt's government has declared a terrorist organization. Fahmy and Greste were sentenced in June to seven years and Mohammed to ten in a trial described

  • Swiss museum gets huge, priceless art trove

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    BERLIN (AP) — A Swiss museum accepted a massive, priceless trove of long-hidden art from the late German collector Cornelius Gurlitt on Monday, promising to work with Germany to make sure that any Nazi-looted pieces in it are returned to Jewish heirs. Three works in the collection donated to Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern will be returned immediately because they have already been identified as looted art, German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said at a joint news conference with the museum. The pieces are by Henri Matisse, Max Liebermann and Carl Spitzweg. Germany, meanwhile, published online the business ledgers of Gurlitt's father Hildebrand, an art dealer who had worked closely with the Nazi regime.

  • Forces backing elected Libyan government take town

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Forces allied to Libya's elected government seized a western mountain town after heavy airstrikes drove back rival militias on Monday, as warplanes also bombed Tripoli's only functioning airport, killing two people, officials said. The bombings of Matiga air base — under control of Islamist-allied militias — appear to be part of efforts by the elected government to retake the capital. The combat is part of an ongoing power struggle between the elected government that was forced to leave the capital and convene in Libya's far east, and a rival alliance of Islamists and militias from the city of Misrata who have controlled Tripoli since August.

  • In Iran, Muslim clerics vow to combat extremists

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    QOM, Iran (AP) — Muslim clerics meeting in Iran have vowed to counter extremists like the Islamic State group through mosques and Islamic teaching centers. The announcement Monday came at the end of a two-day conference of Sunni and Shiite clerics in Iran's holy city of Qom. Their pledge also comes after a request made by the U.S. for Middle Eastern countries to counter the slick propaganda of the Islamic State group, which now holds territory across Syria and Iraq. Shiite-majority Iran has been helping battle the Islamic State group in Iraq while a U.S.-led coalition has been bombing it from the air. The Islamic State group views Shiites as apostates deserving of death and has massacred hundreds of captured Syr

  • Mom charged with trying to kill baby left in drain

    Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — A 30-year-old Australian has been charged with trying to kill her newborn son by abandoning him in a roadside drain for five days before passers-by heard his cries, police said Monday. The week-old baby was in serious but stable condition in Westmead Children's Hospital a day after cyclists found him in a 2.5-meter (8-foot) deep drain beside the M7 Motorway in the Sydney suburb of Quakers Hill, police said in a statement. He was malnourished and dehydrated but had no apparent physical injury, police have said. His mother, Saifale Nai, did not appear in court to answer the attempted murder charge. Her lawyer did not enter a plea and the magistrate formally refused her bail. Nai will remain in custod