• Instead of mushrooms, Austrian finds grenade

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    VIENNA (AP) — An Austrian on a woodland search for mushrooms came home with a more dangerous find — a grenade that police say could have been set off by the slightest movement. Police were called by the son of the unidentified 66-year old man who found the grenade and took it home. Explosives experts subsequently evacuated neighboring houses and exploded the device early Tuesday. The experts say that the grenade already had been fired from a launcher. Although it did not explode on impact, its fuse was damaged, meaning even a slight movement could have led to a blast. Police are investigating how the grenade ended up in the patch of forest about 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Vienna.

  • Syrian rebels issue demands for captive UN troops

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels holding 45 Fijian peacekeepers hostage have issued a set of demands for their release, including the extremist group's removal from a U.N. terrorist list and compensation for the killing of three of its fighters in a shootout with international troops, an official said Tuesday. The Nusra Front seized the Fijians on Thursday in the Golan Heights, where a 1,200-strong U.N. force monitors the buffer zone between Syria and Israel. The rebels also surrounded two Filipino units, but those U.N. troops escaped over the weekend. Speaking in the Fijian capital of Suva, military commander Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the Nusra Front has made three demands for the peacekeepers' release: t

  • National corn body to open Fargo research center

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The National Corn Growers Association has selected Fargo as the site for a national research center aimed at enhancing food production and safety. The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will open in October at the federal Biosciences Research Laboratory on the North Dakota State University campus. Its main goal will be to develop on-site tests for diseases in corn and other crops. "This is a first-time-ever, huge step for a farmer-led association that gives growers more influence on research agendas," said Richard Vierling, director of research for the corn group. "This can help growers increase production and lower costs.

  • Austrian police arrest suspected Mideast fighter

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    VIENNA (AP) — Austrian police say they have detained a man suspected of having fought with Islamic extremists in Syria as he was planning to leave the country. They say the 29-year-old Chechen was arrested in the village of Haidenreichstein near the Czech border on suspicion of participation in a terrorist organization. The man wasn't identified in keeping with Austrian confidentiality rules. The arrest Saturday came less than two weeks after the detentions of nine other Chechens suspected of seeking to join Islamic extremists fighting in Syria. Participation in a terrorist organization can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

  • Officials: Egypt bombing kills 11 police officers

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — A roadside bomb exploded Tuesday near an armored police vehicle traveling in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, killing 11 police officers, including a senior official, security and medical officials said. The bomb appeared to have been detonated by remote control and it went off as the police vehicle was driving through the village of el-Wefaq near the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip, security officials said. A medical official said the explosion also wounded two officers. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

  • Thai junta forces rights group to nix presentation

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's ruling military junta forced a human rights group on Tuesday to cancel a presentation on the precarious rights situation in the Southeast Asian country three months after the army staged a coup. The military told Bangkok-based Thai Lawyers for Human Rights in a written letter that if it has concerns about lack of freedom of expression or access to the justice system it should report them instead via a government hotline at the Interior Ministry. The group condemned the army pressure, saying in a statement that it "creates the atmosphere of fear in society" and deprives people of their rights.

  • Court halts ridesharing service Uber in Germany

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — A court has barred ridesharing service Uber from operating in Germany, the latest shot in the popular app's fight with taxi drivers worldwide. Frankfurt state court spokesman Arne Hasse said Tuesday the decision that Uber can't offer its services without a specific permit under German transport laws applies nationwide. The injunction applies pending a full hearing of a suit brought against Uber by Taxi Deutschland, a German cab association that also offers its own taxi-ordering app. The suit is being heard in Frankfurt because it is one of the several German cities in which Uber operates. San Francisco-based Uber said in a statement it would use "all legal means" to fight the case. "It's never a go

  • Anti-China group nabbed for planned Manila attacks

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities said Tuesday that they arrested three men linked to a group that was planning to set off firebombs at Manila's international airport and a major mall in the city to protest the government's alleged "soft" stance in its territorial dispute with China. The military, however, downplayed the planned attacks, saying the men were just seeking attention. The leader of the group and two other men were arrested Monday with four homemade incendiary devices found inside their car at one of the airport's parking lots, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

  • Fiji says Syrian rebels issue demands for captives

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days. Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers. Tikoitoga didn't say if the demands would be seriously considered. He said the U.N. had sent hostage negotiators to Syria to take over discussions from military leaders. "Negotiations have moved up to another level with the professional negotiators now in pl

  • Commission rejects London mayor's plan for airport

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — Britain's Airport Commission has rejected a plan to build a four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary, describing it as more problematic and more expensive than other options. The commission said Tuesday it rejected the estuary proposal pushed by London Mayor Boris Johnson because it would cause economic disruption and because environmental hurdles may make it impossible to deliver. The commission, headed by Howard Davies, is examining how to best expand Britain's airport capacity amid growing international competition. Heathrow, once the world's biggest hub airport, has argued it needs to add at least one runway to be competitive.

  • Modi promises red carpet for Japan firms in India

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    TOKYO (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is wooing Japanese businesses with a promise of "red carpet" treatment rather than the bureaucratic red tape that India is notorious for. India is the best possible investment destination, offering "democracy, demography and demand" in its market of nearly 1.3 billion people, Modi told Japanese business leaders Tuesday. "I have come to assure you that there is no red tape but red carpet in India. We have eased off lot of regulations," he said. Modi will wrap up his five-day visit to Japan on Wednesday, bringing home pledges of billions of dollars in aid and investment after the two governments agreed to beef up their economic and security ties.

  • Australian dad accused of abusing Thai-born twins

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian man has been charged with sexually abusing twin girls he fathered several years ago to a Thai surrogate mother in another case that casts a harsh light on Thailand's beleaguered surrogacy industry. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was charged in a New South Wales state court last year with committing acts of indecency with a victim under 10 years old, court documents showed Tuesday. The girls were around 4 and 5 years old, Nine Network television reported. The charges are the latest blow to the credibility to the commercial surrogacy industry in Thailand, which the Southeast Asian country's military junta has vowed to shut down.

  • 9 steps a Japanese man took to 16 surrogate babies

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — Police say Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta followed nine key steps on his path to fathering 16 surrogate babies in Thailand, born starting in June 2013. It's unclear whether he went through all of the steps for every baby; four are in Cambodia and the rest remain in Thailand. Here's how he did it: 1. Shigeta hired surrogacy scouts and a fertility doctor in Bangkok. 2. The doctor's fertility clinic handled implantation of the embryos. 3. The clinic handled prenatal care and deliveries of the babies spread out at nine Bangkok hospitals. The babies, all born via cesarean section, include four sets of twins. 4. Newborns were taken to a Bangkok condominium owned by Shigeta, where nannies cared f

  • Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive. Wassana, a lifetime resident of the slums, viewed it as a nine-month solution to her family's debt. She didn't ask many questions. In reality, there was no couple. There was instead a young man from Japan named Mitsutoki Shigeta, whom she met twice but who never spoke a word to her. This same man — reportedly the son of a Japanese billionaire — would go on to make surrogate babies with 10 other women in Thailand, police say, spending more than half a million dollars to father at least 16 children for reasons still unclear.

  • Iran unveils new surface-to-air missile, radars

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has unveiled a new surface-to-air missile and two radar systems it claims will boost the country's defense capabilities. Air defense chief Gen. Farzad Esmaili says the missile will enable Iranian forces to "shoot down any hostile target," even at high altitudes. He says the Talash-3, or Endeavor-3 missile was successfully test-fired recently. Esmaili's speech was broadcast on state TV Tuesday. The general also inaugurated two radar systems — Arash-2, tasked with detecting miniature drones at a distance of 150 kilometers (93 miles), and also Kayhan, said to be capable of detecting cruise missiles and drones. Tehran regularly announces military advances that cannot be independently veri

  • Buyer's remorse on Common Core for policymakers?

    Yesterday

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Millions of students will sit down at computers this year to take new tests rooted in the Common Core standards for math and reading, but policymakers in many states are having buyer's remorse. The fight to repeal the standards has heated up in Ohio, with state Rep. Andy Thompson, a Republican, saying it's kind of "creepy the way this whole thing landed in Ohio with all the things prepackaged." It's playing out in Louisiana, where GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal is in a nasty feud involving his former ally, Education Superintendent John White. Jindal has sued the Obama administration, accusing Washington of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core educat

  • 50-state look at how Common Core playing out in US

    Yesterday

    A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards: ___ ALABAMA The state school board folded Common Core into the state's College and Career Ready Standards for public schools and has been defending the decision ever since. Legislators introduced bills in 2013 and 2014 to repeal the standards. The repeal movement drew support from tea party groups, but Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, blocked the bills with the support of one of the state's most powerful business groups, the Business Council of Alabama. By Phillip Rawls. ___ ALASKA The state did not adopt Common Core, although several Alaska school districts did.

  • UK: Passports could be seized to fight terrorism

    Yesterday

    LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday proposed new laws that would give police the power to seize the passports of Britons suspected of having traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups. Speaking to Parliament, Cameron said his government is also working on plans to block such suspected British jihadi fighters from re-entering the U.K. The power to monitor such suspects who are already in Britain would also be strengthened. The plans to widen Britain's anti-terror laws, which are likely to be approved by parliament, are aimed at preventing attacks by Islamist militants returning from terror training in trouble spots in the Middle East. Like other Western countries such as the U.S.

  • British migrant rights activist faces Thai trial

    Updated: Mon, Sep 1, 2014

    BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A British human rights activist who investigated alleged abuses at a Thai fruit processing factory went on trial Tuesday in the first of a series of criminal lawsuits filed against him by the company. Natural Fruit Co. Ltd. is accusing activist Andy Hall of defamation in the wake of a report he helped author last year for the Finland-based watchdog group Finnwatch that detailed poor labor conditions in seafood and pineapple export companies in Thailand. The report investigated a factory owned by Natural Fruit that employs hundreds of migrants from neighboring Myanmar, and found the company illegally confiscated passports, paid below minimum wage and overworked staff in sweltering conditions so hot t

  • Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues dies at 86

    Updated: Mon, Sep 1, 2014

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Celebrated Brazilian designer Sergio Rodrigues, whose "Mole" armchair is among the most iconic pieces of Brazilian mid-century design, has died. He was 86 years old. Rodrigues' secretary, Carla Claro, says Rodrigues died of liver failure Monday at his home in Rio de Janeiro. A Rio native, Rodrigues studied architecture before turning to furniture design. According to his official biography, he designed more than 1,200 different pieces of furniture, though none would prove as enduring a hit as his "Mole" armchair, the name of which means "soft" in Portuguese. Created in 1957, the award-winning chair has a squat wooden frame topped by interlocking leather pillows fitted with thick straps.