• Massive gas find promises to ease Egypt's fuel crisis

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — The discovery of a huge gas field off Egypt's coast promises to ease a long-running fuel crisis and boost the economy after years of unrest, but it will take years to develop and won't bring Gulf-style riches to the Arab world's most populous country, experts said Monday. The new "supergiant" offshore Zohr field, revealed a day earlier by Italy's Eni SpA and billed as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea, could alleviate Egypt's need for gas imports in the coming years, when a booming population will lead to a spike in domestic demand.

  • Yemen rebels raid dozens of homes of opponents in capital

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Shiite rebels in Yemen's capital have raided dozens of homes of political opponents and local NGO workers, claiming they are affiliated with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, security officials said Monday. The officials, who are neutral in a conflict that has splintered the security forces, said the raids began a day earlier. Pro-government forces backed by Saudi-led airstrikes have driven the rebels, known as Houthis, from much of the country's south in recent weeks, but the rebels still hold the capital, Sanaa, which they seized nearly a year ago. The officials said that last week the Houthis detained at least 20 people, one of whom works for the U.N., near the capital's presidential palace.

  • AP Interview: IOM chief slams Hungary over migrant policies

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — Countries like Hungary that have blocked desperate migrants from traveling by train in Europe "push them right into the hands of smugglers," with potentially deadly consequences, the head of the International Organization for Migration said Monday. IOM Director General William Lacy Swing spoke in an interview with The Associated Press just days after 71 migrants likely suffocated in the back of a truck in Austria and about 200 people were feared drowned off Libya trying to reach Europe. He lamented a "fear factor" espoused by some politicians, who he says overlook the benefits that migrants can bring. Swing, a longtime U.S. diplomat, said his 157-member intergovernmental body that often partners with U.N.

  • Canadians, Pakistani, Nigerian among dead in Saudi fire

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Three Canadians, a Pakistani and a Nigerian were among those killed in a fire that engulfed parts of a residential compound in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, a Saudi official said. The blaze began early Sunday in a sprawling, multistory housing complex in the city of Khobar that accommodates workers for state oil giant Saudi Aramco. Col. Ali bin Saad al-Qahtani, a civil defense spokesman for the kingdom's Eastern Province, provided the update in comments carried by the official Saudi Press Agency early Monday. He said a total of 10 people died and 259 were injured in the blaze. The civil defense directorate previously said 11 people were killed. Al-Qahtani did not provide the nationali

  • Islamic State group seizes 200 residents of Iraqi town

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The mayor of a remote, Islamic State-held town in western Iraq said on Monday that some 200 residents have been detained by the group at an unknown location following clashes there. Trouble in Rutbah, in Anbar province near the Jordanian border, started Saturday when Islamic State militants killed a local resident for killing a member of the group as part of a long-running clan blood feud. Hundreds of residents demonstrated later that day to protest the killing and clashes broke out when the militants attempted to disperse the protesters. A provincial Anbar official said Saturday some 70 residents were detained by the militants and more than 100 more were tied to streetlight poles for about 24 hours as a puni

  • Thai police seek 2 new suspects in Bangkok bombing probe

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police issued arrest warrants Monday for two more suspects, a Thai woman and a foreign man of unknown nationality, as part of a widening investigation that yielded its first arrest over the weekend in connection with a deadly bombing in Bangkok two weeks ago. National police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri said he was certain the two were part of a group responsible for the Aug. 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok that killed 20 people, more than half of them foreigners. In a televised announcement on Monday, Prawuth displayed a photograph of the woman's Thai identification card showing a young woman in a black headscarf, and a sketch of the man. He later said police were asking for additional

  • Alleged Facebook mention in prayer call sparks Egypt outcry

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptians in a Nile Delta province were outraged on Sunday after a cleric allegedly changed a line in the traditional Islamic call to prayer to mention Facebook. Instead of saying "prayer is better than sleep" twice during the dawn prayer, Sheikh Mahmoud Maghazi of Beheira province allegedly said: "Prayer is better than Facebook." The issue drew nationwide attention when he defended himself against shouted accusations on one of Egypt's most-watched television talk shows, called 10 PM. Talk show hosts play a major role in leading public opinion in Egypt, where a quarter of the population is illiterate. The Religious Endowments Ministry ordered an investigation after locals complained last week, senior mini

  • Egypt starts dig on Gaza border to stop smuggling tunnels

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Egyptian military bulldozers are digging through the sand along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip in recent days, pressing ahead with what appears to be a renewed campaign to pressure Gaza's Hamas rulers and stamp out militant activity along the border. The project, billed as an Egyptian military-operated fish farm, effectively would fill the border area with water and is designed to put an end to the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels, Egyptian military officials said. Hamas accuses Egypt of further isolating the beleaguered Palestinian territory. The new excavations seem to be "a tightening of the grip of siege on Gaza," Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said.

  • Thai police find bomb materials in 2nd apartment

    Updated: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police said Monday they discovered bomb-making materials during a raid of a second apartment on the outskirts of the capital, as authorities widened their search for suspects behind Bangkok's deadly bombing. National police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri said that police found fertilizer, gun powder, digital clocks and remote-controlled cars whose parts can be used for detonation, among other items, during a raid over the weekend at an apartment in Bangkok's Min Buri district. "These are bomb-making materials," Prawuth said. "Nobody would keep urea fertilizer and gunpowder unless they wanted to make a bomb.

  • Activists say IS damages ancient temple in Syria's Palmyra

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants in Syria severely damaged the Bel Temple, considered one of the greatest sites of the ancient world, in a massive explosion Sunday, activists said. The 2,000-year-old temple was part of the remains of the ancient caravan city of Palmyra in central Syria, seized by IS in May. The news of the latest destruction at Palmyra came just days after IS released propaganda images purportedly showing militants blowing up another Palmyra temple, the 2,000-year-old Baalshamin dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilizing rains. The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, which has designated Palmyra as a world heritage site, called the destruction of the Baalshamin temple a war crime.

  • Italy's Eni finds 'supergiant' natural gas field off Egypt

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    ROME (AP) — The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a "supergiant" natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea. The news came a day after Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi met in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian leader's office said. Eni said the discovery — made in its Zohr prospect "in the deep waters of Egypt" — could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet of gas over an area of 100 square kilometers (38.6 square miles). The discovery well is 190 kilometers (about 120 miles) from the Egyptian coast, and is at a depth of 1,450 meters ( 4,757 feet) in the Shorouk Block, the company said. The block is about 1

  • Video shows Palestinian women, Israeli soldier scuffling

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A video showing an Israeli soldier scuffling with Palestinian youths and women at a West Bank protest has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook, shining a light on Israeli military policies in the territory. In the edited video, the masked soldier is seen holding a 12-year-old boy, his arm in a cast, in a chokehold in an attempt to arrest him. The soldier is swarmed by the boy's female relatives, including his mother and sister, who pull at his skin and uniform and slap him. The boy's sister, a 15-year-old sporting a blonde braid, is seen biting the soldier's hand. Bystanders yell, "He is a little boy. His arm is broken.

  • Egypt summons British ambassador over Al-Jazeera comments

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Cairo on Sunday to protest comments he made after a judge sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years prison each for reporting "false news." The ministry said in a statement that John Casson's comments were "unacceptable interference" in the country's judiciary, and "incompatible with diplomatic norms and practices." In a post on Twitter, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Egypt "rejects any foreign criticism of judicial verdicts." The court sentenced the Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed on Saturday, reigniting international criticism over the long-running case and highlighting authorities' crac

  • Yemen factions gear up for key battle over central province

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's warring factions on Sunday braced for a key battle in a central province, where victory could allow pro-government forces to move rapidly north into the heartland of the country's Shiite rebels. Security officials from both sides said the focus was now on Marib, an oil-rich province that supplies the rebel-held capital of Sanaa with electricity and fuel, after months of combat and airstrikes that have killed some 2,000 civilians, according to the U.N.

  • Letter from Hungary: Migrants seek EU's field of dreams

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    ROSZKE, Hungary (AP) — On the edge of a Hungarian cornfield, the beam from a car's headlights reflects in their eyes: Europe's newest residents catching their breaths, fresh from evading border police. Emotions swing from forlorn to triumphant and back again on this migrant-besieged frontier, as thousands of exhausted trekkers achieve one goal only to face another daunting challenge. Before arriving here, many have already slipped through Syria's border into Turkey lugging children or elderly parents, crossed the choppy seas to Greece and navigated the Balkan nations of Macedonia and Serbia by foot, bus or train.

  • Egypt announces parliamentary vote for October, November

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Sunday announced that long-awaited parliamentary elections will take place in October and November, a hoped-for step toward democracy amid a harsh crackdown on dissent. Ayman Abbas, head of the Supreme Election Committee, said that half the country's 27 governorates will vote on Oct. 18-19. The second stage will take place for the remaining governorates on Nov. 22-23. Voters outside Egypt for the first stage will cast ballots on Oct. 17-18, and the rest on Nov. 21-22. The period for candidates to register opens Sept. 1 and lasts 12 days. Egypt has been without a legislature for three years. In its absence, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi holds legislative authority and has passed dozens of laws b

  • Iran sentences 2 people to jail for spying for US, Israel

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official IRNA news agency says two people have been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of spying for the United States and Israel. IRNA quotes judicial spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi as saying Sunday that the two were sentenced by a Revolutionary Court, which handles national security cases. He did not provide the names of those sentenced. The lawyer for Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was tried for espionage in a Revolutionary Court, said the case "has nothing to do with the case of my client." Leila Ahsan says the court has yet to issue its verdict on Rezaian. Rezaian was arrested in July 2014, and reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison if convicte

  • Lebanon parliament chief promises talks on political impasse

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's parliament speaker on Sunday promised high-level talks to try to find a way out of long-running political gridlock that sparked large anti-government protests, including this weekend. Speaker Nabih Berri told supporters that change should come from within the system, rebuffing calls by protesters for the resignation of the Cabinet or individual ministers. Several protest rallies this month were sparked by a summer trash crisis, with garbage piling up in Beirut after the government closed a main landfill without having prepared an alternative. Underlying the frustration is Lebanon's dysfunctional political system, based on sectarianism and patronage.

  • Fire at Saudi oil company residence kills 11

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A large fire broke out Sunday in the basement of a sprawling residential complex in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 200, officials in the kingdom said. The blaze began early in the morning in a multistory residential compound known as Radium in the eastern city of Khobar. The complex houses workers for state oil giant Saudi Aramco, which oversees petroleum production in the OPEC powerhouse. The company said an investigation has begun into the cause of the fire, which sent thick black smoke billowing from the pink-and-tan colored building. The Interior Ministry's General Directorate of Civil Defense said victims were of various nationali

  • Israel has failed to reform Jewish radicals, critics charge

    Updated: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    SHIR HADASH OUTPOST, West Bank (AP) — The Israeli government initiative has a soothing biblical name, the Hebrew Shepherd, and a serious aim: to keep ultranationalist Jewish settler youths from turning to violence and attacking Palestinians and their property. But the program — which included plans for a summer camp and carpentry courses to keep the kids out of trouble — has foundered. Many settler youths have refused to cooperate after rumors spread that Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, which snoops on Jewish extremists, was involved. It is but one example of Israel's failure to rein in youths suspected of carrying out ultranationalist attacks.




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