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  • Syrian rebels seize border crossing with Israel

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels, including fighters from an al-Qaida-linked group, seized control of a frontier crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights on Wednesday after heavy clashes with President Bashar Assad's forces, activists and rebels said. The capture of the post along Syria's de facto border in the Golan held more symbolic value than strategic, but rebels said it would provide relief to nearby villages that were under siege by government troops. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an array of rebel fighters, including from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, took the crossing after heavy fighting that left at least 20 Syrian soldiers and an unknown number

  • Report: Iran redesigning reactor as part of deal

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's nuclear chief said Wednesday that workers have begun redesigning its nearly completed Arak heavy water reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it can make as part of the country's interim deal over its nuclear program with world powers. A video posted on Iranian state television's website showed nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi saying the work had begun as part of routine maintenance at the reactor in Arak in the country's northwest. Officials have said redesigning the reactor will delay its launch by about three years. As originally designed, the reactor at Arak could have produced substantial amounts of plutonium, material that can be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon.

  • Libya ministers resign over militia fighting

    Updated: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The official Libyan news agency says six ministers have resigned after accusing the government of taking sides in escalating battles among rival militias. LANA, quoting TV network al-Nabaa, on Wednesday said the ministers of industry, labor, planning, education and water resources, and the state minister for the affairs of the wounded, have submitted their resignation. It quoted Industry Minister Suleiman al-Taif as saying the government was taking sides in the conflict, with the prime minister acting "without their knowledge." The North African country has been convulsed by fighting between mainly Islamist militias and their opponents, including a renegade general who is battling Islamic extremists in the east

  • Australia and US to share information on travelers

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian and U.S. governments signed an information-sharing agreement Wednesday to bolster each country's ability to confirm identities of foreign travelers. The agreement for the sharing of visa and immigration information, which was signed at Parliament House, will enable two-way information sharing between the countries, the Australian government said in a statement. The agreement comes as Australia tightens its border security to prevent Australian jihadists from joining Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. A Sydney man slipped out of the country using his brother's passport this month, but was detained on arrival in the United Arab Emirates and deported. A notorious terrorist left Sydney in

  • No sign of quick end to Ukraine conflict

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Ukraine's president said Wednesday that Vladimir Putin accepts the principles of a peace plan for Ukraine but the Russian leader insisted that only Kiev can reach a cease-fire deal with the pro-Moscow separatists. Following meetings between Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that included a one-on-one session that stretched into the night, there was no indication of a quick end to the fighting that has engulfed eastern Ukraine. "This is not our business," Putin said of any cease-fire plan. "This is Ukraine's business." Russia "can only help to create an atmosphere of trust for this important and necessary process," Putin said.

  • US transfers 2 Yemenis held in Bagram prison

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Two prisoners held at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan were handed over to Yemen on Tuesday, Yemeni security officials said. The officials said the two Yemeni prisoners were transferred to Yemen from Bagram prison, north of Kabul. They didn't elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Yemen's Hood human rights organization identified the two prisoners as Amin al-Bakri and Fadi al-Maqaleh, who have been detained since 2002 when they were arrested in Pakistan. It called on the government to set them free. U.S. forces are due to hand over control of the Bagram prison to Afghan forces when they pull out of the country in December.

  • Report finds 1,400 children exploited in UK town

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in a northern England town, a report concluded Tuesday in a damning account of "collective failures" by authorities to prevent victims as young as 11 from being beaten, raped and trafficked over a 16-year period. Report author Alexis Jay cited appalling acts of violence between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, a town of some 250,000. The independent report came after a series of convictions of sexual predators in the region and ground-breaking reports in the Times of London. Reading descriptions of the abuse make it hard to imagine that nothing was done for so long.

  • Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a "terrorist army." Further complicating the plans, any military action against Islamic State militants in Syria would also have the effect of putting the U.S. on the same side as Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose ouster the Obama administration has sought for years. The Islamic State group is headquartered in the Syrian city of Raqqah and has been fighting the Assad government, though it is also at war with moderate rebels who have rec

  • Gaza truce open-ended, but puts off tough issues

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas agreed Tuesday to an open-ended cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting — an uneasy deal that halts the deadliest war the sides have fought in years, with more than 2,200 killed, but puts off the most difficult issues. In the end, both sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will continue to control access to blockaded Gaza, despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border closures imposed in 2007 be lifted.

  • Afghan candidate threatens boycott of vote audit

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the two men vying to become Afghanistan's next president is threatening to boycott a ballot audit from the country's disputed presidential runoff, his adviser said Tuesday, a development that could further disrupt the already troubled process. The complicated, U.N.-supervised audit of the 8 million votes from the June presidential runoff was brokered by the U.S. in July as a way to end the fractious debate over who won the election. The process followed allegations of vote fraud on both sides and is meant to decide whether Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, or former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will replace President Hamid Karzai.

  • Iran, Saudi diplomats hold rare talks

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's state news agency says the kingdom's foreign minister has met with an Iranian deputy foreign minister in the highest-level bilateral talks between the two Mideast powers since moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election last year. Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran are tense. Tuesday's meeting provided an opportunity for the two oil-rich nations to begin to thaw those ties. The Saudi Press Agency said Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and the Iranian deputy foreign minister, Amir Abdollahian, discussed "a number of regional and international issues of common interest.

  • UN helicopter shot down in South Sudan

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A rebel commander who warned the U.N. not to fly over his territory shot down a U.N. helicopter Tuesday in rural South Sudan, charged a spokesman for a state governor. The U.N. confirmed that three people died and one survived — all Russian citizens — when one of its helicopters crashed. The U.N. said it is investigating the cause. The U.N. mission said that an Mi-8 cargo helicopter crashed near Bentiu, a hotly contested area between the government and rebel fighters. South Sudanese rebel commander Peter Gadet had warned the U.N. last week not to fly over his territory, said the spokesman for the governor of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state, Akol Ayom Wek. Gadet's forces shot down the helicopter

  • Nigeria soldiers who fled into Cameroon head home

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian government soldiers, who witnesses said fled into neighboring Cameroon during a clash with a large number of Islamic fighters of Boko Haram, handed over their weapons to Cameroonian authorities and were on their way back to Nigeria, the Nigerian defense headquarters said. Basuma Muhammed, a resident of Gamboru-Ngala, a town neighboring Cameroon where the clash took place Monday, said soldiers joined hundreds of civilians who fled into Cameroon. Cameroon army spokesman Didier Badjek, in an interview with the BBC, put the number of Nigerian soldiers who fled across the border at 480.

  • AP PHOTOS: Cubans trek to beach to cool off

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    HAVANA (AP) — In the long, sticky Cuban summer, keeping cool is serious business. Each day, and especially on weekends, thousands of Havana residents rise early to make the trek from rural hamlets and stuffy urban neighborhoods for the more forgiving atmosphere at the island's powdery beaches. Temperatures in the capital can reach as high as 31 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit) in July and August, with humidity hovering above 80 percent. When it's running, many people take a special summer train from Havana to Guanabo, east of the capital. Some families squeeze into classic American sedans from the 1950s. Neighbors pool their money and hire a bus to travel en masse.

  • Jerusalem police search for missing US student

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police said Tuesday they are searching for a U.S. religious student who disappeared while on a hike in a forest outside Jerusalem last week. Twenty-three-year-old Aharon Sofer of Lakewood, New Jersey, was last seen Friday, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. He said the police were pursuing all avenues in their investigation, including the possibility that Sofer may have fallen victim to an attack by Palestinian militants. Rosenfeld said that police have launched an extensive search for Sofer, who is an ultra-Orthodox student at a yeshiva — a Jewish religious school named for its founder, Rabbi Tzvi Kaplan. Sofer's parents have flown to Israel.

  • Israeli official confirms Israel's acceptance of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire in Gaza war

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli official confirms Israel's acceptance of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire in Gaza war.

  • Egypt state TV: Cease-fire reached between Hamas, Israel in war that killed over 2,200 people

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt state TV: Cease-fire reached between Hamas, Israel in war that killed over 2,200 people.

  • UN envoy opposes foreign intervention in Libya

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The newly appointed U.N. envoy to Libya said Tuesday he doesn't believe foreign intervention can halt the North African country's slide deeper into turmoil after mysterious airstrikes against Islamist militias prompted allegations that outside powers were trying to swing the fight. The diplomat, Bernardino Leon, said that only an inclusive political process with all Libyans represented in parliament, government and other state institutions will end the chaos gripping the country more than three years after the uprising that forced longtime strongman Muammar Gadhafi from power. "Foreign intervention whatsoever— because there are many types of intervention— any kind of intervention or foreign intervention won

  • Amid poverty, US surgeons saving lives in Uganda

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The American neurosurgeon leaned in to take a selfie with his patient, chuckling with excitement when she raised her hands. That was a good sign the day after Michael Haglund and his Duke University team opened the patient's skull to remove a tumor. The operation was one of many complex, life-saving surgeries the team performed for a week on Ugandan patients who otherwise had little hope of survival. The operations, which would cost up to $20,000 here, are free while a group of American doctors take part in a "surgery camp" during which they also train local doctors. Scores of hopeful patients crowded the hallways of Mulago Hospital in the Ugandan capital of Kampala this past week, forcing Haglund to

  • Car bombing kills at least 11 people in Baghdad

    Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A car bomb exploded on Tuesday in a busy Shiite area in eastern Baghdad, killing at least 11 people, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks to shake the Iraqi capital as the Shiite-led government struggles to dislodge Sunni militants from areas in the country's west and north. The explosives-laden car went off during the morning rush hour in the main commercial area of the New Baghdad district. It was parked close to outdoor pet and vegetable markets and a traffic police office, a police officer said. The attack also wounded 31, he added. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.