• World Cup entangled with Mideast conflicts

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — With the World Cup in faraway Brazil coming at a time of unprecedented sectarian violence and soaring tension in the Middle East, some Arab football fans have been reduced to watching matches in secret or even — and this is where it gets complicated — on a TV channel owned by Israel. Since the World Cup kicked off three weeks ago, Sunni Muslim extremists have seized territory in Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic state. Lebanon has been hit by a spate of suicide bombings. Israelis and Palestinians were pushed to full conflict after the murders of four teenagers.

  • Rockets hit Israeli heartland as offensive begins

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Tuesday launched its largest offensive in the Gaza Strip in nearly two years, carrying out a blistering aerial assault on scores of targets and killing 25 people in what officials called an open-ended operation aimed at ending weeks of heavy rocket fire. As Gaza militants unleashed salvos on cities including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel mobilized forces along the border for a possible ground invasion. The offensive set off the heaviest fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas since an eight-day battle in November 2012. The militants fired about 160 rockets at Israel, including a strike that reached the northern city of Hadera for the first time, while Israel said it attacked more t

  • Iraq: 'Terrorists' seize ex-chemical weapons site

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where remnants of 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with the deadly nerve agent sarin are stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq said in a letter circulated Tuesday at the United Nations. The U.S. government played down the threat from the takeover, saying there are no intact chemical weapons and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to use the material for military purposes. Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N.

  • UN pushes for migrants to be called refugees

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — United Nations officials are pushing for many of the Central Americans fleeing to the U.S. to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict, a designation meant to increase pressure on the United States and Mexico to accept tens of thousands of people currently ineligible for asylum. Officials with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees say they hope to see movement toward a regional agreement on that status Thursday when migration and interior department representatives from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America meet in Nicaragua. The group will discuss updating a 30-year-old declaration regarding the obligations that nations have to aid refugees. While such a resolution would lack any leg

  • Iraqi parliament to meet early next week

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament Tuesday officially rescheduled its next session for early next week after criticism over initial plans for a five-week break, amid pressure for political leaders to agree on a new government that can confront militants who have overrun much of the country's north and west. Acting parliament speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh said in a statement that after considering the "national interests," the next session will be on Sunday instead of Aug. 12. He warned that any delay in forming a new government "will jeopardize Iraq's security and democracy and will increase the suffering of Iraqis.

  • US diplomat says Bahrain expulsion 'not about me'

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A senior U.S. diplomat who was ordered to leave the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain after meeting with a leading Shiite opposition group said Tuesday that the American ally's move appears aimed at undermining reconciliation efforts between the government and the opposition. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski made the comments on his Twitter feed a day after Bahrain's Foreign Ministry said he is not welcome in the strategic island nation, which has long hosted the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Bahrain alleged he intervened in the country's domestic affairs by holding meetings with some groups at the expense of others.

  • Troops retake stormed Somali presidential palace

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali troops retook the presidential palace in the capital of Mogadishu after militants forced their way in and exchanged heavy gunfire with troops and guards Tuesday, the latest attack underscoring the threat posed by Islamic extremist group al-Shabab in east Africa. Smoke billowed from inside the heavily-fortified presidential compound, and loud explosions and gunfire could be heard as troops tried to repel the intruders. After more than two hours of fighting, Somalia's presidency said in a Twitter update that "the shameful attack" had been foiled by Somalia's armed forces fighting alongside African Union peacekeepers. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • World Cup entangled with Mideast soaring conflicts

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — With the World Cup in faraway Brazil coming at a time of unprecedented sectarian violence and soaring tensions in the Middle East, some Arab football fans have been reduced to watching matches in secret or even — and this is where it gets convoluted — on a channel owned by Israel. Since the World Cup kicked off three weeks ago, Sunni Muslim extremists have seized territory in Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic state. Lebanon has been hit by a spate of suicide bombings. Israelis and Palestinians were pushed on the edge of full conflict after the murders of four teenagers.

  • Afghan candidate rejects election results

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah defiantly told thousands of supporters Tuesday that he will declare victory in the country's election, claiming massive fraud was responsible for preliminary results that put his rival in the lead. The United States warned both camps against trying to seize power, saying international financial and security support was at stake. The turmoil came as violence escalated around the country. A suicide bomber struck Afghan and foreign forces near a clinic in the eastern province of Parwan, killing at least 16 people, including four Czech soldiers. Abdullah said he received calls from President Barack Obama and U.S.

  • Ukraine takes aggressive stance toward separatists

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's government took an increasingly aggressive stance Tuesday toward the pro-Russia separatists, vowing to expunge them from their reduced area of control and imposing new conditions before peace talks can restart. But as the military moves to encircle the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, the government also said it would stop using the air and artillery strikes that drove the rebels from other towns so as to avoid terrorizing civilians. Ukraine has displayed growing confidence in recent days after driving the insurgents from Slovyansk, a city that had been the heart of the armed resistance since mid-April. Security officials said Tuesday the area held by the rebels has now been reduced

  • Yemen Shiite rebels capture northern city

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Fighters from a Yemeni Shiite rebel group took control Tuesday of a northwestern city where they have been fighting for weeks with conservative Sunnis from one of the country's largest tribes, government and military officials said. The officials said the rebels seized control of the city of Amran, about 45 miles north of the capital Sanaa, deploying fighters and vehicles at government offices, banks and shops. Witnesses said fighters from the Hashid tribal confederation, one of Yemen's largest, allied with the country's Muslim Brotherhood group, the Islah party, were nowhere to be seen in the city. In weeks of fighting, the tribesmen were backed by a local army unit.

  • Air raid sirens wail in Jerusalem, signaling rocket attack

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Air raid sirens wail in Jerusalem, signaling rocket attack.

  • Saudi says its own citizens behind border assault

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi citizens belonging to al-Qaida were behind an attack near Yemen last week that killed five soldiers and left five Saudi militants dead, the kingdom said Tuesday. Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said an investigation revealed that six Saudi men who were on a wanted list took part in Friday's attack on a Saudi border post. Al-Turki said in a statement released late Monday that one of the men was arrested and the others killed. Another, unidentified militant died in a suicide blast on the Yemeni side of the border that killed a soldier, Yemen's state news agency has reported. Yemen is home to one of the most active branches of al-Qaida, and many of its members are Saudi

  • Turkey seeks to boost peace talks with Kurds

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish lawmakers debated legislation Tuesday to restart a stalled peace process with the Kurdish rebels — a development that could also help Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan win Kurdish votes as he seeks election as president next month. Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, declared last week that he's running for president. Votes from Kurds — who make up an estimated 20 percent of Turkey's 76 million people — would be key to achieving his ambition of becoming Turkey's first directly elected head of state. The Turkish government began talking with the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in 2012 with the aim of ending a three-decade long con

  • Air raid sirens heard in Tel Aviv, signaling possible rocket strike

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Air raid sirens heard in Tel Aviv, signaling possible rocket strike.

  • British men admit preparing terrorist attacks

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Two British men who joined anti-government militants in Syria pleaded guilty Tuesday to preparing acts of terrorism. Friends Mohammed Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Zubair Sarwar, who are both 22, spent eight months in the war-torn country last year after contacting jihadi militants over the Internet. They were arrested at Heathrow Airport when they returned in January. Police found photos of the pair with guns on a digital camera, as well as traces of military explosives on their clothing and shoes. Judge Michael Topolski said the men "carefully planned a journey from the U.K. to Turkey and on to Syria to join Islamist rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad." They will be sentenced at a later date.

  • Expedience, pragmatism shape new Asian alliances

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — Moscow is cozying up to its old rival China. China is holding hands with Seoul. Tokyo is striking deals with Pyongyang. In the ever-shifting game of Asian alliances, where just about everybody has a dispute over something or can actually remember a shooting war with their neighbors, past grudges run deep. But expedience and pragmatism often run deeper. While U.S. President Barack Obama tries to develop his pivot to Asia policy, the region is rapidly spinning ahead in its own direction, energized by dynamic economies, expanding trade relations and a plethora of longstanding disputes and rivalries. For sure, the world's mightiest countries, themselves Pacific powers, still throw a lot of weight around.

  • 3 hurt, 1 seriously, in Pamplona bull run

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — Three people were injured, one seriously, as thousands of daredevils raced alongside six fighting bulls in the second running of the bulls at Spain's world-famous San Fermin festival Tuesday. No one was gored but a Navarra regional government statement said a 23-year-old man from Nottingham, England, was in serious condition with chest injuries and rib fractures sustained during the frenzied dash through the narrow winding streets of this northern city. He was identified only by his initials, T. H. The government said a Japanese man and a Spaniard were also treated in hospital for light injuries. One person was gored in the opening run Monday. Dozens of people are injured each year in the

  • Japanese pro-wrestler plans Pyongyang extravaganza

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have found a new friend for life. Hot on the heels of former NBA star Dennis Rodman's basketball antics in Pyongyang on the young leader's birthday, a Japanese pro wrestling legend turned politician is planning to entertain the North Korean capital with a martial arts extravaganza next month — and hopefully meet some senior leaders while he is there. Kanji "Antonio" Inoki was to leave for Pyongyang on Wednesday to set the final details for the Aug. 30-31 event, which organizers say will feature pro wrestling, taekwondo, the Japanese martial art aikido and a traditional Korean style of wrestling.

  • UN: Lone woman heads 1 in 4 Syria refugee families

    Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    GENEVA (AP) — More than 145,000 Syrian refugee families in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan are headed by women who are the sole caregivers and face daily threats of violence while often lacking the means to put food on the table, the United Nations said Tuesday in a report meant to galvanize more support for those suffering from Syria's civil war. The women's struggles as the lone breadwinner for one of every four refugee family households in those nations often includes coping with the threat of violence or exploitation and grappling with their children's mounting trauma and distress, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, known as UNHCR. "Syrian refugee women are the glue holding together a br