• World Cup over, but some Argentines won't go home

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Lucas Bazan Pontoni rifled through his pockets for the 45-cent lunch fee as he stood in line at a downtown soup kitchen. When he came up short, an acquaintance sprang for the government-subsidized meal. One of about 160,000 Argentines who flooded into Brazil for the World Cup, Pontoni hardly fits the image of deep-pocketed foreigners who dropped around $3 billion in Brazil during the monthlong tournament. The 23-year-old actor is broke, and he has no immediate plans to return home almost two weeks after Germany beat Argentina in the July 13 final.

  • Malaysia to send officer to face NZ sex charges

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Malaysian officials said Friday they still plan to send a military officer back to New Zealand to face sexual assault charges despite not returning him in early July as they had promised. However, the officials also expressed concerns about media coverage of the case in New Zealand and the decision of the alleged victim to speak out. Muhammad Rizalman Ismail was working at the Malaysian Embassy in Wellington when he was arrested May 9 for allegedly following a 21-year-old woman home and assaulting her. He was charged with burglary and assault with the intent to rape, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. He claimed diplomatic immunity and returned home May 22.

  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Human remains continue to be found a full week after the plane went down — underlining concerns about the halting and chaotic recovery effort at the sprawling site spread across farmland in eastern Ukraine. Armed separatists control the area and have hindered access by investigators. All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — most of them Dutch citizens — were killed when the plane was shot down on July 17. U.

  • Australian reporter imprisoned in Egypt to appeal

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian Al-Jazeera journalist will appeal his conviction on charges that he aided Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, his brother said Friday. Journalist Peter Greste's brother Mike Greste said a Cairo legal firm had been appointed and was in the process of lodging the Al-Jazeera-funded appeal. Family spokeswoman Heidi Ross said she could not say whether the journalist's two Al-Jazeera colleagues would also appeal their convictions. "We have to have faith in the Egyptian system," Mike Greste told reporters in the family hometown of Brisbane, Australia. "We have to exhaust all legal channels prior to ... taking other strategies," he added, referring to options including appealing to Pr

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children's clothing scattered in the courtyard. Palestinian officials blamed Israel for the shelling, which wounded dozens and came on the deadliest day so far of the current round of fighting. However, the Israeli military said the school "was not a target in any way" and raised the possibility the compound was hit by Hamas rockets.

  • 3 charged in Nicaragua bus attacks that killed 5

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Three men have been charged with murder and organized crime in the weekend attacks on two buses carrying supporters of Nicaragua's governing party that left five people dead and 28 wounded, the country's top prosecutor said Thursday. Attorney General Ana Julia Guido alleged that the two brothers and another man accepted money to throw rocks at the buses and slow them down so gunmen could open fire. The buses were carrying members of the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front returning home from a celebration of Nicaragua's 1979 revolution. Guido said the attacks in northern Nicaragua had been planned two days earlier by suspects she didn't identified. The worst attack happened on the

  • Nolan, McConaughey surprise with 'Interstellar'

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey came to Comic-Con unannounced and surprised attendees with a first look at "Interstellar," but neither offered many details about the highly anticipated space adventure. "I can tell you a lot, but I'm not going to," McConaughey said at Thursday's Paramount Pictures panel. The Oscar winner plays a pilot and engineer grounded in a dystopian land where all space exploration has ceased. His character is a widowed father of two who is given an opportunity to travel into the stars long after he gave up his dreams of flight. "It's by far the most ambitious film Mr.

  • Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities in Aruba announced Thursday that they arrested a close confidant of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was sent as that country's consul to the Caribbean island despite being sanctioned by the U.S. government on charges of drug trafficking. Hugo Carvajal, the former head of military intelligence under Chavez, was arrested at the request of the U.S. prosecutors and is expected to appear in an Aruban court Friday. Carvajal was one of a number of high-ranking Venezuelan military officials blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury in 2008 for allegedly providing weapons to Marxist rebels in neighboring Colombia and helping them smuggle cocaine to fund their insurgency.

  • 6 to stand trial in group home case in Mexico

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican judge has ordered six employees of a group home raided amid charges of abuse and filthy conditions to stand trial, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The five men and one woman have been charged with kidnapping for allegedly refusing to release residents and with human trafficking for purportedly forcing them to beg for money. The six also face organized crime charges, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement. The office has also ordered the property that housed the Great Family group home to be seized, it said. Federal prosecutors said this week that they wouldn't charge the home's owner and founder, Rosa Verduzco, known as "Mama Rosa," with any wrongdoing because she is not ment

  • UN: 9 aid trucks enter Syria without government OK

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nine trucks carrying food and other supplies crossed into Syria through a Turkish checkpoint Thursday — the first to do so under a U.N. resolution authorizing cross-border aid deliveries without Syrian government approval. Amanda Pitt, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the trucks contained desperately needed food, water purification tablets, and sanitation and shelter materials. The convoy went through the Bab al-Salam crossing toward rebel-held areas but its destination was not known, she said. "It is, I believe, the first convoy going into Syria through one of the four border crossings under the U.N. Security Council resolution," Pitt said.

  • Satellites show major Southwest groundwater loss

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Groundwater losses from the Colorado River basin appear massive enough to challenge long-term water supplies for the seven states and parts of Mexico that it serves, according to a new study released Thursday that used NASA satellites. Researchers from NASA and the University of California, Irvine say their study is the first to quantify how much groundwater people in the West are using during the region's current drought. Stephanie Castle, the study's lead author and a water resource specialist at the University of California, Irvine, called the extent of the groundwater depletion "shocking." "We didn't realize the magnitude of how much water we actually depleted" in the West, Castle said.

  • Dutch sending unarmed police to Ukraine crash site

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the wreckage site, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced late Thursday. He also is sending forensic investigators to the site to try to piece together exactly what happened when the plane was shot down a week ago, killing all 298 people on board. U.S. officials say the Boeing 777 was probably shot down by a missile from territory held by pro-Russian rebels, likely by accident. Rutte said the military police will help the investigators. "They are really looking like the forensic experts," he said.

  • Uruguay leader thirsty for Paraguay's yerba mate

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Paraguayan yerba mate producers say Uruguay's president is thirsty for more of the traditional tea for his country and is asking them to fill the need at a lower price. The farmers say President Jose Mujica, a regular mate drinker, met with them during a recent visit and complained about the high prices that other regional countries charge for the commodity. Farmer Nestor Goralewski said Thursday that Mujica told them the $10 that Brazil charges for about 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of the herb makes it too expensive for most Uruguayans. The same amount is sold in Paraguay for half the price. Local growers say they have more than enough mate to satisfy Paraguayans and can increase exports to Urugua

  • Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician on Thursday to replace long-serving Jalal Talabani as the country's new president in the latest step toward forming a new government. But a series of attacks killed dozens of people and Islamic militants destroyed a Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah, underscoring the overwhelming challenges facing the divided nation. The 76-year-old Fouad Massoum, one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party led by the previous president, Talabani, accepted the position after winning two-thirds of the votes in parliament, noting the "huge security, political and economic tasks" facing the next government.

  • Busy Gaza morgue performs Muslim burial rituals

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) — In the morgue at a small Gaza hospital, the anguished cries of those who lost loved ones in Israeli airstrikes fell silent Thursday when Ahmed Jadallah began attending to the corpses, one by one, on his wooden work table. With swift, steady movements, Jadallah swaddled a toddler in a white burial shroud and later gently cleaned the soot-stained face of the child's father — Islamic rituals that momentarily reassured the grieving. Father and son had been killed earlier in the day, along with the child's grandparents and uncle, when an airstrike on an adjacent house sent debris flying into the family's living room.

  • Ukraine accused of targeting civilians in east

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — War literally came to Alexander Litvinenko's living room, when a missile punched a gaping hole into the wall of his ninth-floor apartment. The 53-year-old college philosophy teacher had just stepped into his study to check the news online, barely escaping death. Others in the residential neighborhood in northwest Donetsk were less fortunate. Five civilians were killed and 12 injured in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels on Monday, according to the mayor's office. Residents in the rebel-held city are blaming Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to stamp out the uprising in the eastern part of the country.

  • Woody Allen back in spotlight, promoting new film

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    Throughout his long career, Woody Allen has been fascinated by magic, a theme he's explored frequently onscreen: playing a magician in "Scoop," sending Owen Wilson on time travel in "Midnight in Paris," or pulling Jeff Daniels out of a movie screen in "The Purple Rose of Cairo." And though one might think, with the wave of terrible publicity he went through earlier this year, that a bit of magician-like escape into a bygone era or a movie screen is just what he might prefer, Allen is doing anything but disappear. He's not only making movies on the same famously ambitious, one-per-year schedule he's adhered to for almost half a century.

  • Court: Poland violated human rights in CIA case

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Europe's top human rights court ruled Thursday that Poland violated the rights of two terror suspects by allowing the CIA to secretly imprison them on Polish soil from 2002-2003 and facilitating the conditions under which they were subjected to torture. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights marked the first time any court has passed judgment on the so-called "renditions program" that U.S. President George W. Bush launched after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Even though the rendition program has been abolished, lawyers for the suspects believe that the U.S.

  • Fukushima study: Think about unthinkable disasters

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. science advisory report says Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident offers a key lesson to the nation's nuclear industry: Focus more on the highly unlikely but worst case scenarios. That means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual, according to Thursday's National Academy of Sciences report. Those kinds of things triggered the world's three major nuclear accidents. "We need to do a soul searching when it comes to the assumptions" of how to deal with worst case events, said University of Southern California engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati, the panel's technical adviser.

  • Jewish group wants Turkish PM to return award

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Jewish American group is asking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to return an award it gave him in 2004, accusing the Turkish leader of "dangerous rhetoric" and "inciting violence against the Jewish people." In an open letter to Erdogan Thursday, Jack Rosen, the president of the Jewish American Congress, said Erdogan had become "arguably the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world." Erdogan, who is campaigning to be elected president next month, has spoken out strongly against Israel's operations in Gaza, accusing it of committing genocide and "barbarism surpassing Hitler.