• Indian court orders release of fasting activist

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    GAUHATI, India (AP) — A court on Thursday ordered the release of a frail Indian activist who has been on a hunger strike for nearly 15 years to protest alleged military brutality in India's remote northeast. The court dropped the charge of attempted suicide against Irom Sharmila, weeks after the Indian government decriminalized suicide attempts, which earlier were punishable by up to a year in prison, said Monika, a rights activist who attended the court proceedings. She uses one name. Sharmila is likely to be freed later Thursday from a hospital in Imphal, the Manipur state capital, where she has been kept in custody and fed forcibly by a tube since 2000.

  • Afghans protest against French magazine in Kabul

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Around 100 people, many carrying banners emblazoned with a red heart and letters reading the Prophet Muhammad, demonstrated in the Afghan capital against the publishers of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Thursday, accusing them of blasphemy. There have been small, sporadic protests in Afghanistan since two gunmen attacked Charlie Hebdo's office on Jan. 7 for ridiculing the prophet in the magazine's cartoons. But Thursday's rally near the French Embassy in Kabul is the believed to be the first in the capital since the shootings in Paris.

  • Malaysia confident ASEAN will be economic community in 2015

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, will be able to declare itself an economic community by the end of the year even though some thorny issues mostly about services are unlikely to be resolved, a top Malaysian minister said Thursday. Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed conceded that the countries, which include Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam, won't agree to every proposal to make the region more integrated economically. However, in an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, he said he expects the current 85 percent or so agreement to rise toward the 95 percent level by the end of the year.

  • Myanmar's monk stands by offensive language against UN envoy

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Following a stinging rebuke by the United Nations' human rights chief, Myanmar's ultranationalist Buddhist monk fired back Thursday, saying he didn't regret calling a U.N. special envoy a "whore" and a "bitch" after she criticized a bill opposed to interfaith marriage and religious conversions. U.N. Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee visited Rakhine state last week, where hundreds of people, most of them minority Muslims, have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since 2012 in violence which the monk Wirathu has been accused of inciting.

  • Myanmar says Kachin rebels trying to scuttle peace deal

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's government has accused ethnic rebels of trying to scuttle a nationwide peace deal, as tensions soar in the northern state of Kachin, where an activist said sporadic clashes between the army and insurgents have trapped more than 1,800 villagers. Meanwhile, emotions were running high in the state capital, Myitkyina, where a funeral is planned Friday for two ethnic Kachin volunteer teachers, said Tin Soe, an official with the opposition National League for Democracy party. The United States has called on authorities to investigate allegations by activists that the women were raped and killed by army soldiers.

  • Dad charged over sick child prompts Aussie marijuana debate

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The case of an Australian father who is facing prison for allegedly giving his cancer-stricken 2-year-old daughter cannabis to relieve her pain has triggered a groundswell of momentum for a campaign to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in the country. The 30-year-old father, who cannot be named under Australian law, was arrested outside his daughter's hospital in Brisbane on Jan. 2 for allegedly putting cannabis oil in her food. He was charged with supplying a dangerous drug to a minor and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. An online petition calling on the Queensland state Premier Campbell Newman to intervene on the father's behalf had more than 155,000 supporters on Thursday.

  • Aiming to emulate Serena, Azarenka advances at Aussie Open

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Just like Serena Williams eight years ago, Victoria Azarenka entered the Australian Open as an unseeded player after an injury-plagued season. Williams had won the Australian title twice before then — Azarenka can match that, too, after back-to-back triumphs here in 2012 and 2013. All the dance moves and fashion distractions can't disguise the fact Azarenka wants to go where Williams has been — by being an unseeded winner of the season-opening Grand Slam event. Both players advanced to the third round with straight sets wins on Thursday: Azarenka beat No. 8-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, 6-4, 6-2; top-ranked Williams had to save three set points, then won the l

  • Indonesian divers recover 6 more bodies from AirAsia crash

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian divers have retrieved six more bodies from waters around the fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed in December in seas near western Indonesia. Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, operational director of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said the bodies were being flown to Pangkalan Bun, the nearest city to the crash site. So far 59 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501, which plunged into the Java Sea with 162 people while en route from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore. Rescuers are still struggling to lift the fuselage and what appears to be the plane's cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 30 meters (100 feet).

  • Strikes, attacks bring turbulent politics back to Bangladesh

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A 2½-year-old victim of a homemade bomb lies in an intensive care unit with burns to his face, head and other body parts. In another hospital, 17 people, including students and a teacher, are being treated for similar injuries. Another victim, a schoolboy, lost both his eyes. That is just part of the toll from more than two weeks of attacks sparked by the latest clash between Bangladesh's two main, long-feuding political factions. Since Jan. 5 — the one-year anniversary of the last election — at least 28 people have been killed, nearly 700 vehicles have been smashed or torched and much of the country's transportation system has been at a standstill.

  • AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCENE: Forget tennis, let's talk twirling

    Updated: Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — To twirl or not to twirl? This is now a question at the Australian Open. Social media erupted overnight with reaction to Eugenie Bouchard being asked by an on-court interviewer to "give us a twirl" and show off her tennis dress after winning her second-round match. Some called the request by a male presenter sexist. Many on Twitter wondered if a man would be asked to twirl after winning a match. Serena Williams suspects not. "I wouldn't ask Rafa or Roger to twirl," Williams said Thursday, referring to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Williams was asked to twirl, too, by the same presenter a day earlier. "I didn't really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don

  • Nepal steps up security fearing more trouble in parliament

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal stepped up security in the capital and put police on alert Thursday, anticipating trouble both inside parliament and on the streets because of planned protests by the opposition against governing coalition plans to push through a draft of a new constitution. Chief government administrator of Kathmandu Ek Narayan Aryal said thousands of police in riot gear and armed with bamboo batons were guarding the area around the Constitution Assembly and areas of the capital Kathmandu. Protests have been banned in the assembly hall area and police warned that violators would be arrested.

  • Authorities plan salvage operation for Malaysian airliner

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Despite no firm clue to the whereabouts of a Malaysian airliner being discovered since it disappeared 10 months ago far off the Australian coast, authorities on Thursday invited expressions of interest from salvage operators in case the wreck is found. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is coordinating the search, said that expressions of interest were being sought to prepare for recovery operations in the event Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is located. The planning for the recovery of the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8 with 139 people aboard, comes as four ships continue a sonar and video search of a mountainous seabed, which ranges from 600 meters (2,000 feet) to 6.5 kilometers

  • US calls for Myanmar to probe killings of 2 Kachin women

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. called on Myanmar to investigate the killings of two ethnic Kachin teachers, amid allegations by activists the women were raped and murdered by government forces. The bloodied corpses were discovered earlier this week in a village in northern Shan state. A medical report indicated the volunteer teachers for the Kachin Baptist Convention died from penetration wounds to their liver, lungs and head, Zau Ra, secretary of the organization, told The Associated Press by telephone Thursday. Their private parts also had been violated, he said, adding he was "shocked and saddened' by the news.

  • Defending champion Wawrinka into Australian Open 3rd round

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Stan Wawrinka advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the seventh consecutive year with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil on Thursday. The fourth-seeded Wawrinka wasn't as consistent as he was in his opening-round win, compiling 39 unforced errors, including 19 on his backhand side. But he saved five of the six break points he faced to close out the match against the No. 194-ranked Copil in straight sets. Copil was playing in his first Grand Slam main draw. Wawrinka's route to the quarterfinals got easier with the losses of all the seeded players in his section — Fabio Fognini, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Pablo Cuevas.

  • UN criticizes sexist language used by Myanmar monk

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — The United Nations' human rights chief urged Myanmar's leaders to condemn an ultranationalist Buddhist monk who called a visiting U.N. envoy a "bitch" and a "whore" during a public rally last week. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said language used by Wirathu during Yanghee Lee's 10-day trip to the Southeast Asian country was "utterly unacceptable." "I call on religious and political leaders in Myanmar to unequivocally condemn all forms of incitement to hatred including this abhorrent public personal attack," Zeid said in a statement released from Geneva on Wednesday. "It's intolerable for U.N. Special Rapporteurs to be treated in this way," he said, calling t

  • Nishikori advances to 3rd round at Australian Open

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori stayed on track for another strong Grand Slam performance when he beat Ivan Dodig 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (0) on Thursday in the second round of the Australian Open. Dodig was serving for the fourth set at 5-4 when Nishikori broke the Croatian's serve, lashing a backhand past Dodig, who stood helpless at the net. Nishikori wasted a match point in the 12th game before shutting out Dodig in the tiebreaker to clinch the match in 2 hours, 47 minutes, delighting the hundreds of Japanese fans in the crowd. Nishikori lost in the final of the U.S. Open to Marin Cilic, who is not playing the Australian Open due to a right shoulder injury.

  • Australian capital's chance to shine at Asian Cup

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Challenged before the Asian Cup to prove it can be more than a footnote in Australia's crowded sporting calendar, the national capital Canberra has responded with good attendances and an impressive audition for more prominent roles in the future. In the leafy streets of the capital, quiet in January with the politicians on holiday, Asian football's biggest event has taken hold. It is a payoff for organizers who took a gamble by giving Canberra — a city of around 400,000 people — seven out of the 32 games, equal to Sydney and Melbourne, cities with populations ten times as large.

  • Greg LeMond rejects leniency for Lance Armstrong

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — U.S. cycling great Greg LeMond has rejected calls for Lance Armstrong's life ban to be reduced, saying "if there's anybody who deserves a ban, it's this guy." LeMond told a news conference in Adelaide, where he is attending the Tour Down Under cycle race, that Armstrong's doping activities "took a good 10 years out of my life." He said the seven-time Tour de France winner was punished not just for doping but for the way he treated people who accused him before he finally admitted his guilt. LeMond said "I believe everyone deserves a second chance, but it's not like he was positive one time and admitted it and said he's sorry. This is repeated cover up ... there's nothing like it in the history of

  • Radwanska advances to 3rd round at Australian Open

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska easily advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with a 44-minute, 6-0, 6-1 win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden on Thursday. The Polish player is now 7-1 in second-round matches at the Australian Open and has reached the third round here every year since 2010. Martina Navratilova, a new member of Radwanska's coaching team, watched from the players' box at Rod Laver Arena. Radwanska said she contacted Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles winner, in an effort to help her win a first major. Radwanska, who beat Japan's Kurumi Nara in the first round, and Larsson had only met once before Thursday — at last year's Fed Cup, when Radwanska won in str

  • Military, agencies to train in Guam against attack

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The Guam National Guard is gearing up for a massive training exercise next week that will simulate destructive real-world scenarios such as terrorist threats. The National Guard's 94th Civil Support Team is participating in the multi-government training event that kicks off Tuesday morning. The Guard unit specializes in responses to weapons of mass destruction, Pacific Daily News reported (http://is.gd/SFYDlF ). Next week's exercise is called Kontra I Piligru and will involve more than 40 government agencies. "We are in a very dynamic situation in the 21st century," Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said Wednesday at a news conference in Barrigada to announce the exercise.




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