• Obama urges immediate access to Ukraine crash site

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sternly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Kremlin-backed separatists to stop hampering the probe at the Ukraine site of a downed passenger jet and allow international investigators unfettered access. "What exactly are they trying to hide?" Obama said Monday from the South Lawn of the White House. Obama also warned Putin that he could face additional economic costs if he fails to take steps to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, but officials said new American sanctions were not imminent. Instead, much of the White House's focus was on gaining access to the crash site and shoring up European Union sanctions, which have lagged behind U.S. penalties.

  • Britain, UN host 1st summit to end child marriages

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — More than 700 million women alive today were married before they turned 18, the United Nations' children agency said Tuesday, as it co-hosts a London summit calling for more progress to end child marriages and the practice of female genital mutilation. Figures released by UNICEF say child brides are most common in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and about one in three — or some 250 million — were married before they turned 15. India alone accounts for a third of all the world's child brides, the agency said. Poorer girls are much more vulnerable: While the wealthiest girls in India marry at around 20 years old, the poorest do so at an average age of 15.

  • US urges global push for Israeli, Hamas cease-fire

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — With high hopes but low expectations, the U.S. stepped up calls Monday for an international push to end fighting in the Gaza Strip as President Barack Obama sent his top envoy to the Mideast to help broker a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants — the third since 2009. Voicing fresh concern about civilian casualties, Obama reaffirmed his belief that Israel has the right to defend itself against a barrage of more than 1,500 rockets being launched by Hamas. Yet he said Israel's military assault of Gaza had already done "significant damage" to Hamas' network of tunnels, safe havens and other infrastructure, and said he doesn't want to see more civilians getting killed.

  • Israeli mood turns dark with mounting casualties

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — For almost two weeks, Israel practically bristled with confidence and pride: The Iron Dome air defense system was dependably zapping incoming Hamas rockets from the skies, the military was successfully repelling infiltration attempts on the ground and from the sea, and the conflict with Hamas was causing almost no casualties in Israel. That has changed in what seems like a flash, after at least 25 soldiers were killed and scores injured — a predictable yet still stunning outcome of the fateful decision, announced late Thursday, to send troops and tanks by land into Hamas-ruled Gaza.

  • Official: Turkish soldier killed in clash

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An official says Turkish soldiers have clashed with a group of suspected smugglers on the Turkish-Syrian border. One soldier was killed and two others were wounded. Izzettin Kucuk, the governor for Sanliurfa province, told the private Dogan news agency that the firefight broke out late Monday near the town of Ceylanpinar, which borders Syria. The agency said the suspected smugglers ignored warnings for them to stop and fired on the soldiers. There was no further detail on the incident — the latest on the shared 910-kilometer (566-mile) border. Since 2012, Turkish security forces have been retaliating to stray fire from Syria landing on Turkey's territory or to attacks from smugglers or ot

  • Islamic militants kill 2 tribal leaders in Egypt

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Security officials in Egypt say suspected Islamic militants have gunned down two tribal leaders in the restive northern region of the Sinai Peninsula over their alleged connection to authorities. The officials said that Sheik Ashtewi Maraheel and Hassan al-Baiera, both from the well-known Sawarka Bedouin tribe of the northern Sinai, were killed in two separate incidents in the town of Rafah after sunset Monday. The officials say that masked militants opened fire on each of them near their homes before fleeing. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

  • Kuwait strips citizenship of ex-lawmaker, others

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait's government stripped five people of their citizenship Monday, including the owner of an independent newspaper and television station as well as a former opposition lawmaker. The official Kuwait News Agency announced the decision by Kuwait's Cabinet, which approved a draft decree to revoke the five's citizenship. The state news agency did not give a reason for the Cabinet's decision. A human rights lawyer in Kuwait said it was the first time he had heard of the government revoking citizenships without a court order. Among those named in the decision is former Islamist opposition lawmaker Abdullah al-Barghash, including two of his brothers and a sister.

  • Dutch anger swells at treatment of Ukraine bodies

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The families and friends of Dutch citizens blown out of the sky above Ukraine poured out their grief and anger Monday at a meeting with their monarch and political leaders. "This terrible disaster has left a deep wound in our society," a somber King Willem-Alexander said after meeting the next of kin at a private meeting. "The scar will be visible and tangible for years to come." The Dutch have widely condemned the way the bodies of the victims have been treated in Ukraine and the fact they have not yet been returned home, four days after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killed 298 passengers and crew, including 193 Dutch citizens.

  • Protesters denounce Israel at embassy in Cyprus

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters have demanded a halt to military action in Gaza during a peaceful protest near the Israeli embassy in the Cypriot capital. Monday's protest was organized by left-wing trade unions and peace groups and included Turkish Cypriot activists from the ethnically divided island's breakaway north. Riot police standing behind a cordon of barbed wire-topped fences prevented marching protesters from approaching the embassy's entrance. Some protesters burned a hand-painted Israeli flag. Organizers condemned the bloodshed in Gaza and urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop the fighting.

  • Clashes between rival militias in Libya kill 47

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Clashes between rival Libyan militias fighting for control of the capital's international airport killed 47 people over the last week, Libya's Health Ministry said, as violence in an eastern city killed five. The weeklong battle in Tripoli began when Islamist-led militias — mostly from the western city of Misrata — launched a surprise assault on the airport, under control of rival militias from the western mountain town of Zintan. The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed. On Monday, the burned-out shell of an Airbus A330 sat on the tarmac, a $113 million passenger jet for Libya's state-owned Afriqiyah Airways destroyed in the fighting.

  • CORRECTS: Israel: 7 soldiers killed in fighting with Hamas, raising Israeli death toll to 27

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — CORRECTS: Israel: 7 soldiers killed in fighting with Hamas, raising Israeli death toll to 27.

  • Turkey declares 3-day mourning over Gaza

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's government announced a three-day period of national mourning, starting on Tuesday, in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting Monday, Deputy Bulent Arinc voiced concern over the increasing Palestinian civilian death toll and said Turkey was supporting efforts for a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Turkey has become one of the most outspoken critics of Israel over the war in Gaza, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Israel of "barbarism surpassing Hitler." Erdogan also said frayed ties with Israel would not improve under his watch.

  • EU extends Iran sanctions hold-off until November


    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has agreed to keep holding off on some sanctions against Iran as negotiations continue on a comprehensive deal restricting the Islamic republic's nuclear program. Tehran froze its atomic programs last year, and negotiations on a comprehensive deal on the nuclear program were supposed to finish this month. On Saturday, they were extended until Nov. 24. Before the negotiations began in January, the EU agreed to suspend for six months a ban on insuring and transporting Iranian oil, as well as a trade ban affecting Iranian petrochemicals, gold and other precious metals. On Monday, the EU extended its suspension of those sanctions, also until Nov. 24.

  • German Jewish leader condemns anti-Semitism


    BERLIN (AP) — The leader of Germany's Jewish community says he is shocked by an "explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews" shown by protesters at pro-Gaza demonstrations across the country. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said Monday that "we would have never in our lives have expected that anti-Semitic slogans of the worst and most primitive kind could be chanted on Germany's streets." Since the outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, there have been demonstrations both for and against Israel in Germany. During some of those protests, pro-Gaza protesters have chanted "gas the Jews" and other anti-Semitic slogans.

  • South African park considers rhino evacuation


    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's Kruger National Park is considering a plan to move some rhinos out of the flagship wildlife reserve in an attempt to protect them from poachers. The goal is to "spread the risk" by evacuating rhinos to other game reserves because Kruger park is heavily targeted by poachers, park spokesman William Mabasa said Monday. No decision has been made on the proposal and there is no guarantee that other parks are safe since "poachers are going everywhere," he said. Many poachers cross into Kruger from neighboring Mozambique, and they are often able to elude ranger teams that operate with limited aerial surveillance across the vast park of 19,485 square kilometers (7,500 square miles).

  • UN to vote on crash resolution; Russia has doubts


    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The U.N. Security Council will vote Monday on an Australia-proposed resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site and a cease-fire around the area, with diplomats pressuring a reluctant Russia to approve it. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his country would view a Russian veto of the resolution "very badly," adding that "no reasonable person" could object to its wording. "This is still an absolutely shambolic situation. It does look more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation," he told reporters.

  • Overnight attacks in Iraq kill at least 16 people


    BAGHDAD (AP) — Attacks overnight in two Iraqi cities killed at least 16 people, officials said Monday as authorities struggle to stop the Sunni militants' offensive that has left huge areas in northern and western Iraq outside of government control. In one of the attacks, mortar rounds rained down on Shiite neighborhoods in the town of Mahmoudiya on Sunday night, killing 11 civilians and wounding 31, a police official said. The mixed Shiite-Sunni town is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. And in Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, a roadside bomb struck an army patrol, killing two soldiers and three volunteers who took up arms following the Sunni militant push across Iraq in recent weeks.

  • AP PHOTOS: As Ramadan fast ends, the feasts begin


    For the millions of Muslims abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset every day during Islam's holiest month of Ramadan, that first sip of water after a grueling fast is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. In some corners of the world, Muslims are fasting for more than 20 hours a day, depending on when the sun rises and sets in their city. It is a physical and mental exercise meant to draw worshippers closer to God and increase empathy for the poor. But after a long day of fasting, the moment of pay-off finally comes in the form of "iftar," the evening meal that breaks the fast. For more than 1,400 years, many Muslims have been breaking fast in the same way the Prophet Muhammad did: with a handful of da

  • US working on case against Russia on downed plane


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site. "A buildup of extraordinary circumstantial evidence ... it's powerful here," said Secretary of State John Kerry, a former prosecutor, and it holds Russian-supported rebels in eastern Ukraine responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with the Kremlin complicit in the deaths of nearly 300 passengers and crew members. "This is the moment of truth for Russia," said Kerry, leveling some of Washington's harshest criticism of Moscow since the crisis in Ukraine began. "Russia i

  • UN Security Council holds urgent meeting on Gaza

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council emerged from an emergency session late Sunday on the worsening situation in Gaza expressing "serious concern" about the rising civilian death toll and demanding an immediate end to the fighting. The council met at the request of Jordan, which proposed a more strongly worded draft resolution for consideration. The resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, expressed "grave concern" at the high number of civilians killed in Gaza, including children, and called for an immediate cease-fire, "including the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip.