• Britain might learn from split of Czechoslovakia

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    PRAGUE (AP) — If Scotland says yes to independence in Thursday's referendum, there might be a lesson to learn from the amicable split of Czechoslovakia on Jan. 1, 1993. Known as a "velvet divorce," the breakup was nothing like the secessionist wars that raged in Yugoslavia. It was as peaceful and smooth as the 1989 Velvet Revolution that threw off oppressive communist rule in Czechoslovakia, and is considered a success even by its opponents. HISTORY Czechoslovakia was formed from two parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which died in the flames of World War I in 1918. It was a stable democracy between the two world wars, then fell victim to Hitler and turned communist after World War II.

  • Iraqi prime minister: Iran's absence from Paris meeting on fighting IS group 'puzzling'

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi prime minister: Iran's absence from Paris meeting on fighting IS group 'puzzling'

  • Iraqi prime minister: Foreign ground troops not necessary or wanted in fight against IS group

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi prime minister: Foreign ground troops not necessary or wanted in fight against IS group.

  • Iraqi prime minister: International community must stop IS group in Syria, not just Iraq

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi prime minister: International community must stop IS group in Syria, not just Iraq.

  • Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former wartime commander of U.S. training programs in Iraq, said a renewed U.S. training effort might revive the issue of gaining legal immunity from Iraqi prosecution for those U.S. troops who are training the Iraqis. The previous Iraqi government refused to grant immunity for U.S. troops who might have remained as trainers after the U.S. military miss

  • Michigan woman holds off thief, then gives birth

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Police in Flint, Michigan, say a woman gave birth after she and her family captured a purse snatcher in a grocery store parking lot. The Flint Police Department says the woman was putting groceries in her car Tuesday on the city's east side when an unarmed man grabbed her purse. Police say she ran after him, and he pushed her down. The Flint Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1qZscjE ) two bystanders stopped the man and retrieved the woman's purse. The man tried to keep running but the woman's family held him until police arrived. They arrested 30-year-old Mark Newton. He was arraigned on one count of unarmed robbery and ordered held on $8,000 bond. It wasn't immediately available if he has an attorney

  • Milestones of Scots' journey to independence vote

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    DUBLIN (AP) — These are the milestones of Scotland's journey from Great Britain to the United Kingdom and, following Thursday's vote, a possible return to independence. ___ March 24, 1603: James VI, King of Scots, is proclaimed king of England and Ireland upon the death of the childless Queen Elizabeth. James' accession unites all three kingdoms under one monarch and common foreign policy. In April 1604 a new Union Flag combines the red and white St. George's Cross of England with the blue and white St. Andrew's Saltire of Scotland. May 1, 1707: A treaty binds the kingdoms of England and Scotland together in a new island-wide Kingdom of Great Britain governed from London. Scotland's Parliament in Edinburgh is abolishe

  • Trade, investment hopes as China's Xi visits India

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in the Indian prime minister's home state of Gujarat on Wednesday for a three-day visit expected to focus on India's need to improve worn out infrastructure and reduce its trade deficit. Xi was greeted on the tarmac by state officials carrying fringed umbrellas to guard him from the sun in Gujarat's main financial city of Ahmedabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to court Chinese business and seek investment to upgrade creaky infrastructure, banking on China's track record at building highways, railways, and industrial zones. India is also eager to address the imbalance in their annual trade, which now totals around $65 billion but is skewed toward import

  • Bangladesh court reduces sentence of Islamist

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's Supreme Court commuted on Wednesday the death sentence of an Islamist political leader whose conviction last year for war crimes during the nation's 1971 war for independence sparked deadly protests. Delwar Hossain Sayedee, one of the top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, must remain in prison "for the rest of his natural life," Chief Justice Muzammel Hossain said. The judge did not explain his reason for reducing the sentence. Jamaat-e-Islami called for a daylong general strike for Thursday to denounce the verdict, saying Sayedee was innocent. A war crimes tribunal convicted Sayedee in February 2013 on eight counts involving mass killings, rape and atrocities committed during the

  • Qatar emir: No support for extremists

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — The emir of Qatar says his oil-rich Gulf nation has provided no support for the Islamic State extremist group. Following meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told reporters that "Qatar has never, and will never support terrorist organizations." The comments came after Tamim was asked about a German politician's comments last month suggesting that Qatar has played a role in funding the Islamic State group, which is fighting in Iraq and Syria. Merkel said she was happy the emir could answer the question in an open forum to "correct faulty assessments." She said Tamim had also assured her personally that "the fight against Islamic State is as much

  • New IS video warns US over Iraq deployment

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — The militant Islamic State group released a video warning the United States that its fighters are waiting for it in Iraq if President Barack Obama sends troops there, as his top general said may happen if the current strategy of airstrikes fails. The slick 52-second video entitled "Flames of War" shows militants blowing up tanks and images of wounded U.S. soldiers. It then shows a clip of Obama saying that combat troops will not be returning to Iraq, ending with a text overlay that reads "fighting has just begun." The video's timing, released late Tuesday, suggested it was a response to Gen.

  • Gaza widow offers insight into world of spies

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The 48-year-old Palestinian woman's husband was shot to death in 2012 by militants in the Gaza Strip for spying for Israel. A mother of seven, she herself was jailed by Gaza's Hamas rulers for aiding and abetting a spy — her husband. The widow's account to The Associated Press gave a rare look into the secret espionage side of the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group. According to her, Israeli security agents took advantage of her late husband's financial troubles a decade ago, luring him into collaborating by offering him a permit to work in Israel. She was later recruited when she was allowed to take one of their children to Israel for medical treatment. "Our life was hell.

  • Florida woman flies plane on 90th birthday

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    PALM COAST, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida woman celebrated her 90th birthday by flying a four-seat Cessna. Billy Jones had to sit on a pillow to see out the windshield Tuesday, but she took off with flight instructor Kurt Schneider by her side and landed some 30 minutes later at Flagler County Airport. The Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/1yfTmt5) reports the flight wasn't out of the ordinary for the 5-foot-tall Jones. For her 80th birthday, she went skydiving. When she turned 85, she flew a glider. Jones has been taking flying lessons with Schneider for months "just for the fun of flying." She has also snorkeled with seals in the Galapagos Islands and gone on safari in Africa. And she always takes the

  • UN envoy says Cyprus peace talks enter new phase

    Yesterday

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A United Nations envoy says talks to reunify the ethnically divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus have moved up a gear with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders looking to bridge gaps on core issues. Following a meeting with both leaders, Espen Barth Eide said Wednesday that negotiations "are really beginning now" as the earlier preparatory phases where both sides spelled out their positions have ended. Cyprus was split into an internationally recognized, Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Peace talks resumed in February after the two sides agreed on an outline of key principles underpinning an envi

  • Pope OKs canonization for Sri Lanka's 1st saint

    Yesterday

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis signed off Wednesday on Sri Lanka's first saint, bending the Vatican's rules once again to bypass the usual requirement that a second miracle be confirmed. Francis is expected to canonize the Rev. Giuseppe Baz, a 17th-century missionary, during his January visit to Sri Lanka. Vaz was born in Goa, India, in 1651, but chose to work in Sri Lanka amid persecution of Catholics by Dutch colonial rulers, who were Calvinists. He is credited with having revived the Catholic faith in the country. The Vatican said Wednesday that Francis approved a decision by the Vatican's saint-making office to canonize Vaz. Usually, the Vatican must approve one miracle for beatification, and a second one for ca

  • Swedish king involved in car crash, unhurt

    Yesterday

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden's royal palace says King Carl XVI Gustaf was involved in a car crash on his way to an airport in Stockholm but was unhurt. Palace spokeswoman Annika Sonnerberg says the 68-year-old king was in the back seat Wednesday when his car collided with an oncoming vehicle making a left turn. Tabloid Aftonbladet published a photo on its website showing the palace's dark-colored Mercedes with damage to the front and the driver's side air bag deployed. The palace said the king, his driver and an aide were all fine. Sonnerberg said she didn't know whether anyone was injured in the other car or whether there would be any legal aftermath. Sonnerberg said the king was taken in another car to Bromma

  • Doctors: Foul floodwaters sicken people in Kashmir

    Yesterday

    SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Doctors in the flood-ravaged Himalayan region of Kashmir said Wednesday that they were seeing outbreaks of gastroenteritis among people crowded into shelters after their homes were inundated two weeks ago. Patients were also dying due to a lack of basic medical equipment, Dr. Tariq Ahmed Tramboo said. Many hospitals were engulfed when the floods swamped more than 80 percent of Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city of Srinagar. "As I was examining a 1-year-old child who could barely breathe, he died right there in my lap because there was no oxygen to give him," Tramboo said. He still doesn't know the cause of the child's illness, with many of the region's diagnostic facilities having been destroyed.

  • A guide to Scotland as independence vote nears

    Yesterday

    GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The people of Scotland will decide on Thursday whether to end a partnership with the rest of the United Kingdom that has lasted more than 300 years. Here is a guide to Scotland as the historic vote nears. ___ WHAT IS SCOTLAND? Scotland, with little more than 5 million people, is one of the oldest countries in the world, having been united as a single nation by King Kenneth MacAlpin in the year 843. It remained an independent state for more than 800 years until the formation of Great Britain in 1707.

  • Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

    Yesterday

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — People from New Mexico to Montana saw the bright object break apart as it moved slowly northward across the night sky. Witnesses described it as three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks. But the fireball that blazed over the Rockies earlier this month wasn't a meteor or other celestial body, experts said. Instead, it likely was part of a Russian spy satellite that fell from orbit and burned up over Colorado and Wyoming. More than three dozen witnesses filed reports about the unusual sighting, which happened around 10:30 p.m. MDT on Sept. 2.

  • Fijians go to polls after 8 years of military rule

    Yesterday

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Thousands of Fijians got 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 as polls opened Wednesday morning, 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.