• Gucci opens fashion week with hippy chic looks

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    MILAN (AP) — Milan rang in its fashion week with something old, and something new, and some still on the cusp. Tried-and-true designers like Gucci opened up five days of womenswear previews for next spring and summer, alongside some hot, young talent -- Stella Jean and Fausto Puglesi, to name two -- who have gotten a firm leg up in recent seasons as Italy's fashion city has sought to energize the moda Milanese with new names. Vogue Italia dug deeper into the talent pool, showcasing a new generation of designers from their "Who's on Next" competition, showing off the creations during a cocktail hour. Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue US, toured each stand greeting the young designers.

  • Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — For Scots, Wednesday was a day of excitement, apprehension, and a flood of final appeals before a big decision. In a matter of hours, they will determine whether Scotland leaves the United Kingdom and becomes an independent state. A full 97 percent of those eligible have registered to vote — including, for the first time, 16- and 17-year-olds — in a referendum that polls suggest is too close to call. A phone poll of 1,373 people by Ipsos MORI, released Wednesday, put opposition to independence at 51 percent and support at 49 percent, with 5 percent of voters undecided. That means neither side can feel confident, given the margin of error of about plus or minus three percentage points.

  • 1st UK volunteer gets experimental Ebola vaccine

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — British scientists say a former nurse has become the first person in the country to receive an experimental Ebola vaccine in an early trial to test its safety. Ruth Atkins, 48, got the injection on Wednesday in Oxford, the first of 60 healthy volunteers in the U.K. who will receive the vaccine. It was developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline and targets the Zaire strain of Ebola, the cause of the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. A trial of the same vaccine has already begun in the U.S. The vaccine is meant to spark the immune system's production of Ebola antibodies. It does not contain any infectious material and shouldn't trigger an Ebola infection, researchers said.

  • Libya, neighbor nations snub military intervention

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    MADRID (AP) — Libya's struggling elected government and representatives of 15 neighboring nations on Wednesday unanimously rejected the idea of military intervention as a way to restore stability in the oil-rich nation, which some say is on the brink of civil war. Meeting in Madrid, officials from countries surrounding Libya and to its north across the Mediterranean concluded "there is no military solution to the current crisis." But Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo warned that the status quo puts Libya in a position where it could slide into a Syria-style civil war. Libya currently has two rival parliaments and governments.

  • Japan seeks backing for whaling despite UN ruling

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    PORTOROZ, Slovenia (AP) — Japan sought international backing Wednesday for its highly criticized plan to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic next year, despite a ruling against it by the top U.N. court. Japan negotiated at the International Whaling Commission conference in Portoroz, Slovenia, to amend a resolution about global whaling criteria so that it would allow Japan to engage in "scientific whaling." That plan, which would lead to the killing of hundreds of whales, triggered a clash between pro- and anti-whaling countries at the meeting. Whaling for research purposes is exempt from the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling, and Japan wants to conduct additional hunts on that basis. But in March the U.N.

  • East Ukraine casualties rise as rebels reject deal

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Shelling in rebel-held parts of east Ukraine killed at least 12 civilians on Wednesday, as a top leader of pro-Russian rebels rejected Ukrainian legislation meant to end the unrest by granting self-rule to large swaths of the east. The city council of Donetsk, the largest rebel stronghold, said that shelling killed two people in the city Wednesday and wounded three others. In a separate statement published online, the press center for Kiev's military campaign in the east said that at least 10 civilians in the town of Nyzhnya Krynka, 20 kilometers east of Donetsk, had been killed by shelling. Since a cease-fire imposed on Sept.

  • Is Scotland and France's 'Auld Alliance' back?

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — As the Scottish decide whether to break from the union with England, the embers of an even older Scottish alliance are being revived: "The Auld Alliance" with the French. Recently, there has been a flurry of behind-the-scenes agreements between the two former kingdoms, who for centuries allied over shared hostility toward England. Delegations and ministers have travelled between Edinburgh and Paris to sign pacts in cooperation in energy, education, culture and the arts.

  • Polish fears of Russia run high on war anniversary

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — It was an unexpected question from a woman hoping to sell me her Warsaw apartment: "Are you sure you want to buy now, when war could be coming?" Though she was half joking, her comment revealed an anxiety Poles express frequently these days — that Russian aggression in Ukraine could spread, upending this NATO and European Union member's most peaceful and prosperous era in centuries. The woman was the third Pole in the past couple weeks to advise me to think twice about investing in Polish real estate, forcing me to start wondering if it really is wise for me, an American, to risk my savings here.

  • 5 spring trends from London Fashion Week

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — They came, they saw, and now they've jetted off to Milan for another round of catwalk shows. Fashion insiders got a taste of spring style trends at London Fashion Week. Here's a round-up of some of the hottest looks, from girly ballerina skirts to sporty sandals: ___ FLAT IS FAB Comfort is no longer the enemy of style. London designers have collectively rebelled against the high heel. Sensible flat shoes — be they sneakers, sandals, rubber boots or brogues — were everywhere on the London catwalks. Burberry Prorsum favored lace-up sneakers and flat, Birkenstock-like sandals in colorful leather. Christopher Raeburn models sported similar sandals with Velcro straps.

  • French case against Iran opposition group dropped

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — French judges have thrown out terrorism-linked charges against nine members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, closing the last part of a case that began 11 years ago with mass arrests that provoked several deaths by protesters setting themselves afire. The Paris prosecutor's office confirmed Wednesday the case against the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq was closed. The co-leader of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, Maryam Rajavi said the decision was a "victory of justice and resistance over collaboration" between France and Iran. Rajavi was among more than 150 detained in a sweep in 2003 around the group's headquarters in Auvers-Sur-Oise, outside Paris. She and 16 others were charged on suspicion of planning terrorist act

  • Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said Wednesday. The findings seem to corroborate Chopin's 1849 death certificate, which said the Polish-born musician died at the age of 39 in Paris from TB. He rests in Paris, but in keeping with a Romanticism-era practice his heart was brought to Warsaw, where he grew up, and is kept as a national relic inside a pillar at The Holy Cross Church. Held in two cases and a sealed crystal glass jar, it was inspected in April by forensic and genetic experts to check the state of the preservation.

  • Laments, long lines amid Air France pilots' strike

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — "I'm going to cry!" groaned Stephanie Leon, parking a palm on her forehead in distress as she walked into Charles de Gaulle airport and saw the departures board: Her Air France flight to the Dominican Republic had been cancelled. Hers was but one of the untold thousands of travails of passengers who have faced long lines, slept overnight on couches, and hawked over e-mail for flight updates because of an Air France pilots' strike now in its third day. The French government on Wednesday urged an end to the strike that has grounded at least half of the airline's flights this week. The pilots are angry about company plans to shift many operations to low-cost affiliate Transavia and transfer some jobs to countries

  • Rise in extremists recruiting French women, girls

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    PARIS (AP) — Recruiters for Islamic extremist groups are increasingly targeting French women and girls, with nearly 100 either in Syria or on their way and 175 being monitored at home, security officials say. The number of those that security officials believe are preparing their trip has climbed exponentially — from just four being monitored in France at the beginning of 2013, to 74 at the beginning of this year, according to a French official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss security matters. French recruits make up about 900 of the approximately 2,000 Europeans who have fought in Iraq and Syria.

  • Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto." If Scotland splits from Britain after a referendum this week, it can stake a claim to inventions that transformed modern life, from surgical anesthetic and penicillin to TV, the telephone and even the flush toilet. No wonder pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond has approvingly quoted the title of a book by American historian Arthur Herman: "How the Scots Invented the Modern World." But, experts caution, scientific discovery and invention are rarely solo acts.

  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's then-richest man and expropriating his companies. The criminal case against 65-year-old Vladimir Yevtushenkov marks the first attack on a billionaire businessman since the arrest in 2003 of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos, which was the country's largest oil company at the time. He spent the next decade in prison on tax evasion and misappropriation charges and saw his company taken over by the state and sold in pieces.

  • Czechs to train Iraqi helicopter pilots

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Defense Ministry says it has signed a deal with Iraq to provide training to 31 helicopter pilots from the Iraqi air force. The ministry says the training in the Czech city of Pardubice will take 12 months and is scheduled to start early next year. Iraqi is facing a militant uprising and needs international military help. The ministry has already agreed to sell to Iraq 15 Czech-made L-159 light combat planes, and the Czech government has approved a plan to provide the Kurdish military with 500 metric tons of ammunition to fight Islamic State militants. The delivery of the ammunition begins Thursday. Next week, the Czech Interior ministry is expected to announce details of another plan to send Cz

  • Britain might learn from split of Czechoslovakia

    Updated: 12 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.

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

    Updated: 12 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

  • Milestones of Scots' journey to independence vote

    Updated: 12 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

  • Qatar emir: No support for extremists

    Updated: 13 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