• Report: 25 more police officers detained in Turkey

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's state-run news agency says 25 more police officers have been detained across Turkey as authorities press ahead with a crackdown on officers suspected of illegally wiretapping Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials. The Anadolu Agency said the officers were detained in raids carried out in 13 provinces on Tuesday. Since July, dozens of officers have been jailed pending trial over illegal wiretaps. The government says the officers are associated with a moderate Islamic movement led by a U.S.-based cleric, which it accuses of attempting to topple the government. Critics say the crackdown aims to silence those who brought corruption charges against government officials, incl

  • Germany: Looted painting belongs to Jewish family

    Yesterday

    BERLIN (AP) — Investigators say they have determined a second painting that was part of a massive trove of art found in the Munich apartment of late collector Cornelius Gurlitt was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owner. Experts said in a release late Monday that Max Liebermann's "Two Riders on the Beach" was "with high probability" seized from businessman David Friedmann and rightfully belongs to his descendants. Authorities disclosed in November they had seized 1,280 works from Gurlitt's apartment while investigating him for tax evasion. He had inherited the collection from his art-dealer father, who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis.

  • Syria strikes militants as US targets them in Iraq

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — As the U.S. military strikes the Islamic State group in Iraq, Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces have significantly stepped up their own campaign against militant strongholds in Syria, carrying out dozens of airstrikes against the group's headquarters in the past two days. While the government in Damascus has long turned a blind eye to the Islamic State's expansion in Syria — in some cases even facilitating its offensive against mainstream rebels — the group's rapid march on towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria is now threatening to overturn recent gains by government forces.

  • Thailand's military ruler dons a suit and tie

    Yesterday

    BANGKOK (AP) — When Thailand's military ruler appears in public, he usually is seen in full military regalia. On Monday, addressing the nation's junta-appointed legislature to propose the upcoming fiscal year's budget, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha showed up in markedly different attire — a business-like dark blue suit with a sky blue tie. The civilian garb is symbolic of an impending change for Thailand's powerful leader, who is due to retire from the armed forces in September. Later this week, the legislature is expected to name Prayuth the country's new prime minister, its first since a democratically elected government was overthrown in a May 22 coup.

  • Pope wants China dialogue, freedom for church

    Yesterday

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis says he wants dialogue with China and the only thing he asks in return is for the Catholic Church to be able to operate freely. The pope told reporters the church "only asks to have freedom to do its work. No other conditions." "The Holy See is open to all contacts," he said. "Because it has true esteem for the Chinese people." In remarks to reporters returning to Rome from South Korea Monday, Francis recounted how he had a front-row seat to history when his Alitalia charter flew through Chinese airspace en route to South Korea. Traditionally, popes send telegrams of greetings to heads of state when they enter their airspace.

  • Ukraine: Dozens killed in shelling of convoy

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine accused pro-Russia separatists of killing dozens of civilians in an attack early Monday on a convoy fleeing a besieged rebel-held city. The rebels denied any attack took place, while the U.S. confirmed the shelling of the convoy but said it did not know who was responsible. The refugees were attacked with Grad rockets and other weapons imported from Russia as their convoy traveled on the main road leading from Russia to the rebel-held city of Luhansk, Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council, told reporters. "Many people were killed, among them women and children," Lysenko said of the attack, which occurred between the towns of Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka.

  • UN says Gaza requires unprecedented reconstruction

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.N. official in the Mideast said Monday that Gaza will require massive reconstruction and proposed expanding a U.N.-Israeli system to import construction materials into the Palestinian territory. Robert Serry told the U.N. Security Council that ending the blockade of Gaza and addressing Israel's legitimate security needs have become even more urgent given "the unprecedented amount of destruction ... and the corresponding unprecedented level of humanitarian needs" suffered during the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas. He said there are indications that "the volume of reconstruction will be about three times" what it was after the 2009 Hamas-Israel conflict.

  • Obama to host UN summit on foreign fighters threat

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama will host a summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council next month to focus on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters like the ones now taking part in combat in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. administration announced Monday. The United States holds the Security Council presidency in September and the Obama administration said the president is inviting leaders of the 14 other council nations to attend the summit during the week of Sept. 22 when they gather for the annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly. The U.S.

  • Obama: Iraq forces retake Mosul Dam from militants

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq's largest dam from Islamic militants Monday following dozens of U.S. airstrikes, President Barack Obama said, in the first major defeat for the extremists since they swept across the country this summer. Militants from the Islamic State group had seized the Mosul Dam on Aug. 7, giving them access and control of enormous power and water reserves and threatening to deny those resources to much of Iraq. Iraqi forces suffered a string of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Islamic State as the extremists took over large parts of northern and western Iraq and sent religious minorities fleeing. The militants' battlefield victories brought U.S.

  • Egypt: No deal yet on Gaza cease-fire, more talks

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt late Monday announced a 24-hour extension in talks between Israel and the Hamas militant group aimed at salvaging a long-term arrangement that would allow reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following a monthlong war that killed more than 2,000 people. The announcement came just minutes before a temporary truce was set to expire at midnight, averting a resumption of the fighting that has caused devastating damage across Gaza and disrupted life throughout southern Israel. "Palestinians and Israelis agreed on extending the cease-fire by 24 hours to continue current negotiations," the Egyptian government said in a statement. Palestinian and Israeli officials confirmed they had accepted Egypt's request for an ex

  • Pope OKs protecting Iraq minorities, wants UN OK

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday said efforts to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq are legitimate but said the international community — and not just one country — should decide how to intervene. Francis was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State group, who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes. "In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' j

  • McDonald's confronts its junk food image

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — At a dinner McDonald's hosted for reporters and bloggers, waiters served cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs using ingredients from the chain's menu. A Kung Pao chicken appetizer was made with Chicken McNuggets doused in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with parsley. Slow-cooked beef was served with gnocchi fashioned out of McDonald's french fries and a fruit sauce from its smoothie mix. For dessert, its biscuit mix was used to make a pumpkin spice "biznut," a biscuit-doughnut hybrid. The event, held in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, was billed "A transforming dining experience of 'fast food' to 'good food served fast.'" Attendees tweeted out photos and the night was written up on various websites.

  • Egypt says Gaza cease-fire talks extended 24 hours to continue negotiations

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt says Gaza cease-fire talks extended 24 hours to continue negotiations.

  • 100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent's death rate of the world's largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published Monday found. Warnings about massive elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday's study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

  • Iceland warns of possible volcanic eruption

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland has raised its alert level for the risk of a possible volcanic eruption to orange —the second-most severe level. The warning comes amid swarms of earthquakes that have taken place since Saturday in Bardabunga — a subglacial stratovolcano located under Iceland's largest glacier. Roads nearby have been closed amid fears an eruption could lead to massive flooding. Scientists said Monday there are two scenarios: one is an explosion outside the Vatnajokull glacier, leading to minor ash emissions and troubles locally. The second possibility is an eruption occurring inside the glacier. Seismologist Martin Hensch says the latter could lead to ash being sent high into the atmosphere.

  • Grief, relief as ravaged Ukrainian town rebuilds

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Weeks after Ukrainian government forces recaptured Lysychansk from the rebels, the residents of this shell-shocked town near the Russian border say they hope simply to rebuild their former lives — but fear that war could return to their doorstep. Many homes and entire neighborhoods bear scars from the two-day fight for Lysychansk, a down-on-its-luck industrial town on the western bank of eastern Ukraine's largest river. Three weeks after the fighting ended in a rebel defeat, residents still are waiting to regain access to essential utilities in their homes, if they still have any. Hundreds of houses and apartments were gutted, or blown to smithereens, by tank and mortar shells while their inhabitants

  • A buyer's market at gun bazaar in Kurdish town

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — There suddenly are deep discounts available at the once-thriving gun bazaar in Irbil. The price of an Austrian Glock pistol fell $500 to $3,000. An AK-47 is now $2,000, also down $500. And then there's another version of an AK-47 named "the Osama" after the late al-Qaida leader who famously preferred the model, now being sold for the bargain price of $2,700, down from $3,500. Dealers say that sales of weapons at the market have slowed ever since the United States vowed to help Kurdish forces defend the largely autonomous region of northern Iraq from Islamic militants. It's a rare vote of confidence in President Barack Obama in a region that has had a troubled relationship with Washington.

  • UN urges exit screening for Ebola at some airports

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    GENEVA (AP) — Ebola-affected countries should immediately begin exit screening all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports and major ground crossings, the U.N. health agency said on Monday. The agency didn't spell out which countries should start screening passengers, but noted that the Ebola outbreak involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leona and a "small number of people in Nigeria." All countries, even those unaffected by the outbreak in West Africa, need to strengthen their ability to detect and immediately contain new cases without doing anything that unnecessarily interferes with international travel or trade, the agency said.

  • Growing unrest sets back Liberia's Ebola fight

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Authorities in Liberia urgently searched on Monday for 17 people who fled an Ebola medical center over the weekend when it was attacked by looters who stole blood-stained sheets and mattresses and took them into an enormous slum. Health officials were combing Monrovia's West Point area that is home to at least 50,000 people to try to stop the virus from spreading further in a country where more than 400 people already have died. The World Health Organization on Monday urged Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries to screen all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports and major ground crossings. Those with symptoms of the virus also were urged not to travel.

  • Pope confirms hopes for 3-city US trip in 2015

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has confirmed he wants to go to the United States next year and is considering a three-city trip in September 2015: Philadelphia for a family rally, Washington to address Congress and New York to speak at the United Nations. Francis said there was a proposal to tag Mexico onto the trip so he could visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine beloved by Mexican Catholics, "but it's not sure." Francis made the comments Monday while returning from South Korea. Asked about his 2015 travel plans, he said: "Next year I'd like to go to Philadelphia for the family meeting. I was invited by the president of the United States, by the American parliament and the secretary-general of the United Nations." H