• Egypt president gives army control of arms imports

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian president has amended a law, giving the country's army control over weapons and ammunition imports. Tuesday's statement from the presidency says Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi changed articles stipulating that a permit for weapons' imports has to be granted by the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police. El-Sissi's amendments state that the Defense Ministry must give its approval first. The motive for the amendments was not immediately clear but they give the military more power to control the country's weapons market. Egypt has been awash with weapons since 2011, the year Hosni Mubarak was ousted as president and when the police force collapsed for a period of time.

  • UK Conservatives seek TV, online ban on extremists

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — Britain's interior minister on Tuesday proposed new powers to bar people with extremist views from appearing on television or publishing on social media, even if they are not breaking any laws. Home Secretary Theresa May told a conference of the governing Conservatives that if re-elected next year, the party will introduce civil powers to disrupt people who "spread poisonous hatred" even within the law. Under the proposal, police could apply for a court order to disrupt "harmful activity" by restricting an individual's movements, preventing them from speaking in public or stopping them publishing articles online. May said that only a minority of extremists are violent, but "the damage that extremists cau

  • Film academy hosts 1st exhibit in new museum site

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is holding its first exhibit in the space that will become Hollywood's premier museum devoted to the movies. "Hollywood Costume" opens Thursday inside the historic May Co. building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, which is set to reopen as the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in 2017. "This exhibition is... a launching point for the new museum," said museum director Kerry Brougher. "It's really marking our territory here as the place where fabulous exhibitions will happen about the history of the motion picture." The high-tech exhibit includes more than 150 costumes and dozens of digital monitors.

  • Mexican's 'Harry Potter' hoard is world's biggest

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexico City man is in Hogwarts heaven after his collection of "Harry Potter" memorabilia was named the world's largest. Menahem Asher Silva Vargas has spent nearly 15 years hoarding all things related to British author J.K. Rowling's young-adult wizard-fantasy series, which spawned eight blockbuster films. His collection fills two rooms and counts everything from magic wands and toy figurines to Gryffindor scarves and replica Quidditch brooms. Guinness World Records officially recognized it Monday as the world No. 1, at 3,097 pieces. The old mark was 807. Silva Vargas said he began with no intent to amass a huge collection. But soon it was like being under a spell.

  • EU keeps Russia sanctions in place for now

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union ambassadors have decided to keep Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia in place for the time being. EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said ambassadors from the 28 EU countries agreed Tuesday that although there has been encouraging progress in bringing about an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, not enough has been done to justify rolling back sanctions. Kiev and the West have asserted that Moscow is fueling the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine by providing arms and personnel, something Russia denies. The EU sanctions target sectors of the Russian economy, Russian and pro-Russian Ukrainian officials, businesses and organizations.

  • Putin visits Kazakhstan after remarks cause alarm

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Kazakhstan on Tuesday to stress the need for close ties between the two countries, a month after he caused alarm in the former Soviet republic by seeming to question its future as an independent state. During a meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Putin said Russia and Kazakhstan were "connected historically and today by a thousand threads, which unite us and help us develop, supporting each other." Speaking to young Russians in late August, Putin said Kazakhstan had only become a state under Nazarbayev. "The Kazakhs had never had statehood," Putin said at the time. "He created it. In this sense he is a unique person for the former Soviet space and for Kaz

  • Spain's Catalonia halts independence vote campaign

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MADRID (AP) — The regional government of Catalonia says it will heed a decision by Spain's top court suspending its plans to hold an independence referendum but vows to continue efforts to hold a vote. Regional government spokesman Frances Homs said Tuesday the Catalan government would present arguments in defense of the Nov. 9 referendum and seek to have the suspension lifted. The Constitutional Court agreed Monday to study appeals challenging the legality of the referendum that were filed by the Spanish government. The decision automatically suspended the vote and campaigning until the court makes a ruling. Pro-secession supporters have called for demonstrations outside town halls later Tuesday to protest the suspen

  • Germany vows better checks on refugee guards

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany's most populous state is tightening checks on security personnel at asylum centers following allegations that private guards repeatedly abused refugees, a senior official said Tuesday. Authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state raided an asylum center in the town of Burbach last week after a local journalist received a DVD showing guards abusing an asylum seeker. Evidence included a picture found on a guard's cellphone showing another guard pushing his foot against the neck of a handcuffed refugee lying on the floor. Allegations have since surfaced of abuse at two other facilities.

  • Falcon has cataract surgery, gets new lenses

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A falcon in New Hampshire has undergone eye surgery to remove cataracts and has received new synthetic lenses. Banner, a 4-year-old falcon, lost its sight and hasn't been able to fly or hunt for the past two years. On Monday, a team at Capital Veterinary Emergency Services in Concord removed the cataracts and put in artificial lenses in the hour-long procedure. The Concord Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1DUMvpn) I-Med, a Canadian ophthalmology supply manufacturer, donated the 6-milimeter-wide lenses. Dozens of people in Montreal, California, Ohio, Germany and Abu Dhabi were involved in their design. A surgeon and veterinary ophthalmologist donated their time for the operation.

  • Survivors of Lampedusa shipwreck to meet pope

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    MILAN (AP) — Survivors of the Lampedusa shipwreck that killed 368 migrants, mostly Eritreans, will visit the island and meet with Pope Francis to mark the tragedy's anniversary. Organizer Tareke Brhane said Tuesday that about 50 survivors, mostly living in northern Europe, will travel to Lampedusa for the Thursday event as they press for an international day of memorial for the thousands who perish at sea each year trying to reach Europe. The Italian bishops' conference TV2000 reported that survivors will also meet privately with Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday. The U.N. refugee agency says roughly 3,600 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea in the year since the Lampedusa shipwreck.

  • Wildlife populations plummet for 3,000 species

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — About 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have seen their numbers plummet far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world's biggest environmental groups. The study Tuesday from the Swiss-based WWF largely blamed human threats to nature for a 52 percent decline in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010. It says improved methods of measuring populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles explain the huge difference from the 28-percent decline between 1970 and 2008 that the group reported in 2012. Most of the new losses were found in tropical regions, particularly Latin America. WWF describes the study it has carried out every two years since 19

  • 25th anniversary of East German exodus to the West

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    PRAGUE (AP) — A former foreign minister of West Germany has arrived in Prague to meet former refugees from the East and commemorate events that led to communism's collapse in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany. Hans-Dietrich Genscher struck a deal with East German authorities to allow thousands of East German citizens who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague to go West. Genscher told them the news from the embassy's balcony on Sept. 30, 1989. Genscher greeted some of the refugees Tuesday at the embassy's garden, which thousands packed in 1989. One of them, 46-year-old Franka John, says it was "highly emotional" to come back after her life changed for the better.

  • Car crash damages Poland's famous Solidarity wall

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish police say a car crash has knocked down a historic wall that unemployed electrician Lech Walesa jumped over in 1980 to lead a Gdansk shipyard strike that grew into the country's massive Solidarity freedom movement. Part of the Gdansk Shipyard wall was placed in downtown Gdansk as a symbol of the drive for freedom in the 1980s that eventually toppled communism in Central and Eastern Europe. A spokeswoman for the Gdansk police, Aleksandra Siewert, said Tuesday that section of the wall was destroyed when a car crashed into it after colliding Monday with another car. It was not immediately clear if or when the wall could be repaired. Walesa won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize for leading Solidarit

  • Iran to help Lebanon army fight extremists

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — Iran will supply the Lebanese army with military equipment to be used in fighting Muslim extremist groups, a visiting senior Iranian official said on Tuesday. The announcement marks the first time that Iran has said it would give Lebanon military assistance. Tehran has offered help in the past but such offers did not materialize because of sharp divisions among Lebanese political groups over Iran. Iran is the main backer of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, which has a force more powerful than the Lebanese national army. The group has thousands of rockets and missiles — many of them from Iran. Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, did not say what type of military equi

  • Albania borrows $150 million to improve power grid

    Yesterday

    TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The World Bank is lending Albania $150 million (€118 million) to help overhaul its dysfunctional state-run power sector and pay for electricity imports from other Balkan states. The Energy Ministry said Tuesday the loan will also be used to boost the efficiency of bill collection from power consumers — some 400,000 of whom have been cut off over the past year for outstanding debts. The two state companies responsible for electricity generation — mostly through hydroelectric plants — and distribution lost $550 million (€433 million) this year, largely due to unpaid bills. Because of poor infrastructure maintenance and widespread electricity theft, only about 58 percent of all power ente

  • Nicole Kidman reveals heartbreak at father's death

    Yesterday

    SYDNEY (AP) — Nicole Kidman revealed she was heartbroken over the death of her father this month and thanked well-wishers for their comforting thoughts and prayers. "We would just like to thank everyone for their love and prayers over these past couple of weeks," the actress and her singer husband Keith Urban said in a joint statement posted Tuesday on Facebook. "We are all heartbroken, but knowing we are in the hearts and thoughts of others is so comforting," they added. They signed off: "Sending love, Nic and Keith xx." The Australian star of this year's "Grace of Monaco" returned to her home of Sydney after her psychologist father Tony Kidman died during a vacation in Singapore on Sept. 12.

  • More and more French joining Mideast jihad

    Yesterday

    PARIS (AP) — France's interior minister says the number of French radicals joining extremists in Syria and Iraq has soared this year, saying that justifies a tough new anti-terrorist law adopted this month. Bernard Cazeneuve said on RTL radio Tuesday that the number of French radicals in the region has grown 74 percent this year, to about 1,000 people. That figure includes those who traveled there or back and 200 people who hope to go. Cazeneuve said authorities are monitoring a French member of the Islamic State group identified by the U.S. State Department last week as one of 10 "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" targeted by new sanctions. France was the first country to join U.S.

  • Thai man gets death penalty for train rape, murder

    Yesterday

    BANGKOK (AP) — A former railway worker in Thailand was sentenced to death Tuesday for raping a 13-year-old girl on an overnight train, then killing her and throwing her body out the window, an attack that sparked outrage in the Southeast Asian nation and prompted calls for the execution of rapists. The case also raised questions about the safety of Thailand's long-distance trains, which are popular with tourists who visit the country's southern beaches and enjoy jungle treks in the north. As a result of the girl's murder in July, the State Railway of Thailand introduced a women's-only carriage on main routes for overnight trains. The attacker, 22-year-old Wanchai Saengkhao, was a temporary train employee whose job it was to

  • Chinese patriotism fuels cruises to disputed isles

    Yesterday

    ABOARD THE COCONUT PRINCESS (AP) — On a cruise more about politics than pleasure, Zhang Jing watched the gray shells of the Paracel Islands emerge from the purple, pre-dawn South China Sea. Cheers erupted on board at the sight of the distant land, and Zhang and the other passengers scurried to take pictures of each other at the railing holding China's bright red flag. A few miles away, a Chinese navy frigate cruised by silently, part of the country's continuing watch over the tiny islands it has long claimed as part of its territory. "This is the southern frontier of China," Zhang, a policeman, said when he had reached one of the islands. "As a Chinese, I feel proud to come here and declare sovereignty.

  • Australian police arrest 1 in counterterror raids

    Yesterday

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — One man was arrested in counterterrorism raids in the Australian city of Melbourne on Tuesday after police said he provided money to a U.S. citizen fighting alongside extremists in Syria. Hassan El Sabsabi, 23, appeared briefly in a Melbourne court on six counts of intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organization. He did not enter a plea or apply for bail. Sabsabi's arrest comes a week after Melbourne police fatally shot a terror suspect who had stabbed two officers. Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said Tuesday's arrest was not connected to that incident. Police say the raids came after an eight-month investigation that began with a tip from the FBI. El Sa