• Brazilian archbishop robbed at gunpoint in Rio

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro escaped injury during a robbery by three gunmen, the city's archdiocese said Tuesday. Rio archdiocese spokesman Adionel Carlos da Cunha said the robbery occurred Monday night when Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta was being driven to a local radio station to participate in a debate. The archdiocese's photographer, a seminarian and the cardinal's driver were also held up. None was hurt. Cunha said the assailants blocked the cardinal's car less than one mile from his residence in the neighborhood of Sumare. "They recognized the cardinal, apologized, but went ahead with the robbery anyway," Cunha said.

  • UN brokers agreement to start Gaza rebuilding

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has brokered an agreement to enable the reconstruction the Gaza Strip, giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority while involving the private sector, the U.N.'s top Mideast envoy said Tuesday. The agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations includes U.N. monitoring to ensure that construction materials will not be diverted from civilian to military uses, Robert Serry told the U.N. Security Council. The brutal Gaza war left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, the majority of them civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. Israel says the number of militants killed was much higher and accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields.

  • Landmark fracking study finds no water pollution

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The final report from a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, found no evidence that chemicals or brine water from the gas drilling process moved upward to contaminate drinking water at a site in western Pennsylvania. The Department of Energy report, released Monday, was the first time an energy company allowed independent monitoring of a drilling site during the fracking process and for 18 months afterward. After those months of monitoring, researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas stayed about 5,000 feet below drinking water supplies.

  • Kurds in Europe take up arms against IS group

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    KOEGE, Denmark (AP) — Shaho Pirani says he's just a phone call away from leaving his quiet life in Denmark and joining Kurdish forces battling against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The 30-year-old Kurd, who fled from Iran with his older brother in 1991, says he feels a moral duty to help the peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdish regional government, to fight the "psychopaths" of the Islamic State group. "I feel so helpless here," Pirani told The Associated Press in an interview in his home in Koege, a tranquil Copenhagen suburb with neatly trimmed lawns and hedges. "I am ready to die for the Kurdish cause.

  • Ukraine legislators ratify landmark EU deal

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's parliament ratified a landmark association agreement with the European Union on Tuesday, firmly pivoting the country toward the West and drawing a line under the issue that last year sparked massive protests and led to the ex-president's ouster. In stark contrast to the patriotic fanfare of that vote, parliament earlier in the day went behind closed doors to approve laws granting greater autonomy for rebellious, pro-Russian regions in the east, as well as amnesty for many of those involved in the fighting. The laws are part of a peace deal between Kiev and the Russia-backed separatists, which includes a cease-fire that has been repeatedly violated since it was imposed on Sept. 5.

  • World Bank: Palestinian economy to shrink in 2014

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian economy is expected to contract for the first time in seven years in 2014, the result of the recent Gaza war, continued Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on Palestinian trade and a drop in foreign aid, the World Bank said Tuesday. The bank issued the report ahead of a meeting next week of donor nations to the Palestinians on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The bleak forecast is a "wake-up call to everyone" that the status quo, particularly in Gaza, cannot continue, Steen Lau Jorgensen, the bank's top official in the West Bank and Gaza, told The Associated Press.

  • Scotland took long road to independence vote

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — On Calton Hill, overlooking Edinburgh, stands Scotland's National Monument. A colonnade of classical stone pillars modeled on the Parthenon in Athens, it's grand, inspiring — and unfinished, ever since the money to build it ran out two centuries ago. It's a fitting image for the country as seen by independence campaigners, who hope voters will finish Scotland's incomplete journey to statehood by backing separation from Britain in a referendum on Thursday. Polls suggest the outcome will be close. For many people south of the Scottish-English border, the idea that Scotland might leave the United Kingdom has come as a recent shock. But it has been decades, even centuries, in the making. "I've

  • Belfast officer who oversaw Adams arrest promoted

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Rival factions in Northern Ireland's unity government are accusing each other of bias after a policeman who oversaw the arrest of Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams was promoted to the force's second-highest post. Adams spent five days in custody in May over his alleged role in the 1972 Irish Republican Army abduction, killing and secret burial of a widowed 38-year-old mother of 10 children. IRA veterans on audiotapes accused Adams of ordering the killing. Adams, who denied involvement, was released without charge. Sinn Fein, the main Catholic-backed party, resigned from the selection committee after others supported Tuesday's promotion of Drew Harris to deputy chief constable.

  • 1 dead, 1 injured in Danish courthouse shooting

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A 67-year-old gunman opened fire in a Copenhagen courthouse Tuesday, killing a lawyer and seriously wounding the father of his 3-year-old grandchild in connection with a custody dispute, authorities said. The victims were a 57-year-old lawyer and his client, a 31-year-old man who was in a custody battle with the gunman's daughter, police and court officials said. The gunman was arrested nearby and police seized a rifle used in the shooting, officials said. "It is a family tragedy, not an attack on the court or the legal system," said Soeren Axelsen, head of the Copenhagen City Court. Authorities didn't release any names. The shooting happened in the Bailiff's court, which is part of th

  • Afghan suicide bomber kills 3 foreign troops

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban attacker detonated his car bomb next to an international military convoy on Tuesday, killing three members of the NATO-led force and wounding nearly 20 troops and civilians, officials said. Security forces in full battle gear administered CPR to wounded comrades shortly after the early morning blast that rattled nearby neighborhoods and sent a plume of smoke high into the sky. The attack happened only a couple hundred yards from the U.S. Embassy, on a main Kabul road that leads to the airport. The statement from the military coalition known as ISAF said five troops were wounded in addition to the three killed, but did not disclose their nationalities. The Polish Defense Ministry said one

  • Stagnant floodwater raising health risk in Kashmir

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Health workers were scrambling Tuesday to manage a mounting health crisis nearly two weeks after massive flooding engulfed much of Kashmir, and were treating cases of diarrhea, skin allergies and fungus while hoping the stagnant waters do not create conditions for more serious disease outbreaks. Countless bloated livestock carcasses were floating across the waterlogged Himalayan region. Many residents, warned to avoid the floodwaters, were rationing water bottles brought by aid workers every few days. "The chance of cholera, jaundice and leptospirosis spreading are high," said Dr. Swati Jha with the aid group Americares. "The most essential need right now is that of clean water.

  • Police: Drunk prowler stole only couple's candy

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Police say a central Pennsylvania couple saw a man urinating with his pants down around his ankles moments before he broke into their home and grabbed a handful of Chick-O-Sticks from their candy bowl. Online court records don't list an attorney for 29-year-old Earl Munoz who remained jailed Tuesday. The Johnstown man faces a preliminary hearing Sept. 24 for the burglary Altoona police say occurred shortly after 4:25 a.m. Saturday. The Altoona Mirror (http://bit.ly/1s4YT2S ) reports the couple first saw Munoz as the husband was leaving to drive his wife to work. When the husband returned 20 minutes later, he found an open window and a shoeprint on a bucket beneath the window. The husband repo

  • UN panel emphasizes Assad role in Syria war crimes

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — As nations mount an offensive against the Islamic State militants that have gained a stronghold in Iraq and Syria, a U.N. human rights commission emphasized Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has committed the bulk of atrocities in the civil war. The head of the commission, Brazilian diplomat and scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, told the U.N.'s top human rights body that the government's killing of civilians — often through the use of ubiquitous checkpoints — exceeds the crimes against civilians perpetrated by the militants and other anti-government armed groups.

  • Scientists' colossal squid exam a kraken good show

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — It was a calm morning in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea, during the season when the sun never sets, when Capt. John Bennett and his crew hauled up a creature with tentacles like fire hoses and eyes like dinner plates from a mile below the surface. A colossal squid: 350 kilograms (770 pounds), as long as a minibus and one of the sea's most elusive species. It had been frozen for eight months until Tuesday, when scientists in New Zealand got a long-anticipated chance to thaw out the animal and inspect it — once they used a forklift to maneuver it into a tank. The squid is a female, and its eight arms are each well over a meter (3.3 feet) long. Its two tentacles would have been perhaps double tha

  • Fijians go to polls after 8 years of military rule

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Thousands of Fijians are awaiting their first chance to vote in eight years Wednesday in an election that promises to finally restore democracy to the South Pacific nation of 900,000. Yet plenty of questions remain about how far military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama has tilted the outcome in his favor. Bainimarama is running as a candidate and polls indicate his party is by far the most popular of the seven contesting the election. The question appears to be not whether his Fiji First party will receive the most votes, but whether it will gain an outright majority of Parliament's 50 seats under Fiji's new proportional system. Anything less could force Bainimarama to share power, not something he's

  • Syrian aircraft crashes in city held by IS group

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian military plane crashed into the de facto capital of the Islamic State group on Tuesday, killing at least eight people, as thousands of its residents fled to nearby villages in anticipation of expected U.S. airstrikes against the militants, activists said There were conflicting reports about what caused the aircraft to slam into the northeastern city of Raqqa. The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire, while an activist based in the city said it may have experienced a technical failure. A militant website published pictures of the purported wreckage of what it said was a Syrian warplane shot down by the Islamic State group in Raqqa.

  • History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As Texas mulls new social studies books for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers. Some conservative activists, meanwhile, complain about what they see as liberal biases in the same books. It's the latest ideological battle over what gets taught in the classrooms of America's second-largest state. But this time activists from the right and left are united in criticizing the proposed books, though for very different reasons. The state Board of Education won't vote to approve new books until its November meeting. They won't go into classrooms until the next academic year.

  • AP names Maya Alleruzzo Mideast photo editor

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Maya Alleruzzo, a photographer who has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 12-year stint in the region, has been named regional photo editor for the Middle East by The Associated Press. The appointment was announced on Tuesday by Ian Phillips, AP's Middle East news director. Alleruzzo succeeds Manoocher Deghati and will oversee a team of more than 30 staff photographers and editors, as well as a network of freelancers. Her region also includes parts of North Africa as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Maya has an eye for human stories and she works tirelessly to tell the tumultuous story of the Middle East through its people," said Phillips, who leads AP's overall coverage in the Middle East.

  • AP names Lynne O'Donnell Kabul bureau chief

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Lynne O'Donnell, a foreign correspondent who has covered major stories throughout the Middle East and Asia for two decades, has been named Kabul bureau chief for The Associated Press, leading the agency's coverage of Afghanistan at a time of transition and turmoil. The appointment was announced on Tuesday by Ian Phillips, AP's Middle East news director, and Dan Perry, the regional editor for text. O'Donnell succeeds Patrick Quinn, who is now based in Cairo as a supervisor and planner for the Middle East regional editing desk. She will be the senior reporter and will lead a team of reporters, photographers, video journalists and support staff covering Afghanistan.

  • Exploring 'graveyard of ships' near San Francisco

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    GULF OF THE FARALLONES NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY (AP) — Federal researchers are exploring several underwater sites where ships sank while navigating in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. Over the past week, a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used a remote-controlled underwater vehicle, equipped with sonar and video cameras, to examine and record the historic shipwrecks. The five-day expedition was part of a long-term archaeological survey of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which covers about 1,300 square miles of the Pacific Ocean off the Northern California coast.