• Pope visits Turkey amid Christian-Muslim tensions

    Yesterday

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — When a pope last visited Turkey — Benedict XVI in 2006 — Muslim-Catholic tensions were so high that the Vatican added a stop at Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque at the last minute in hopes of showing Benedict's respect for Islam. Pope Francis travels to Turkey this weekend amid new Muslim-Christian tensions and war next door, with Islamic State militants seizing chunks of Iraq and Syria and sending 1.6 million refugees across the border into Turkey. Francis is expected to tread lightly during his three-day visit, sensitive to the delicate diplomatic tensions at play between Turkey and the international coalition fighting the Islamic State.

  • Syrian troops kill 30 rebels near Damascus

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — State media and activists say government forces have killed at least 30 rebels in an ambush in the suburbs of Damascus. State news agency SANA said Thursday that 50 "terrorists" were killed in an ambush as they tried to flee the eastern suburb of Maydaa toward the nearby area of Dumair. State media refers to rebels as terrorists. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 30 men were killed in the Wednesday night ambush. Another activist said more than 30 rebels were killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution. Syrian troops have been on the offensive in areas near the capital in a bid to secure President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

  • With incentives and brute force, IS subdues tribes

    Yesterday

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Islamic State group is employing multiple tactics to subdue the Sunni Muslim tribes in Syria and Iraq under its rule, wooing some with gifts — everything from cars to feed for their animals — while brutally suppressing those that resist with mass killings. The result is that the extremists face little immediate threat of an uprising by the tribes, which are traditionally the most powerful social institution in the large areas of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq controlled by the group. Any U.S. drive to try to turn tribesmen against the militants, as the Americans did with Sunnis during the Iraq war, faces an uphill battle. Some tribes in Syria and Iraq already oppose the Islamic State group

  • Hong Kong police arrest protesters, 7 officers

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police arrested 11 more people in a second night of scuffles with demonstrators angry at having their 2-month-old pro-democracy protest camp in a volatile neighborhood shut down, officials said Thursday. Police also said they arrested seven of their own officers for assault in connection with the Oct. 15 beating of a handcuffed protester during a violent nighttime clash. None of the seven officers were identified. There was public anger when they were caught on camera apparently kicking and punching the protester in a dark corner of an underpass where hundreds of police were battling activists. In a statement, police denied accusations that their failure to immediately arrest them meant they

  • Brazen, beloved Lebanese singer Sabah dies at 87

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Beloved for her powerful voice and brazen in the conservative Arab world for her multiple marriages, Lebanese singer, actress and entertainer Sabah never seemed far from the limelight during her six-decade career. And even while playfully mocked in her later years for clinging to youth through plastic surgeries, flings with far-younger men and garish outfits, Sabah remained cherished for her love of life and positive outlook even into old age. "I'm proud that I'm a village girl but I had a lot of ambition," Sabah once said in 2008. Sabah, whose real name was Jeanette Feghali, died Wednesday morning at age 87, the Lebanese National News Agency reported, without offering a cause of death. Her health had be

  • American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — U.S operation forces took part in a rescue mission that freed eight hostages in a remote corner of Yemen, but a Yemeni official said Wednesday that it did not liberate five others, including an American journalist and a Briton who were moved elsewhere by their al-Qaida captors days before the raid. Eight hostages — including a Saudi— were liberated in the joint U.S.-Yemeni operation, a rare instance of American forces intervening on the ground in Yemen.

  • Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, which has been surging in recent weeks, may have reached its peak and could be on the verge of slowing down, Sierra Leone's information minister said Wednesday. But in a reminder of how serious the situation is in Sierra Leone, a ninth doctor became infected Wednesday and the World Health Organization said the country accounted for more than half of the new cases in the hardest-hit countries in the past week. By contrast, infections appear to be either stabilizing or declining in Guinea and Liberia, where vigorous campaigning for a Senate election this week suggests the disease might be loosening its grip.

  • Russian suspected of spying resists leaving Poland

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Russian journalist suspected of spying in Poland said Wednesday that he is fighting an attempt by Polish authorities to deport him. Leonid Sviridov, a journalist for Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, demanded to know details of the allegations against him, which authorities have so far kept secret. Sviridov was stripped of his right to work as a journalist in Poland last month by the Foreign Ministry less than two weeks after Poland detained a top Polish army official and a Polish-Russian lawyer on suspicion of spying for Moscow. Sviridov said he believes the case against him is political and related to those developments. He also said Polish authorities have refused to tell him speci

  • Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police are watching from above in their attempts to keep control in Jerusalem in the face of the city's worst wave of violence in nearly a decade. Police have been flying surveillance balloons over the city's eastern sector and Old City — the location of its most sensitive holy sites — to monitor protests and move in on them quickly. They say the puffy white balloons, which carry a rotating spherical camera pod, have greatly helped quell the unrest. But the eyes in the sky are unnerving Palestinians. "They want to discover everything that's going on. (They see) who is going, who is coming, who is that person," said Imad Muna, who works at a local bookstore.

  • Passengers in Russia's Arctic give airliner a push

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — In other countries, you may be asked to give a push to a car stuck in the mud. In Russia, passengers in the Arctic came out of an airliner to the bitter cold to help it move to the runway. A Russian-made Tu-134 with 74 oil workers and seven crew members onboard was due to fly from the town of Igarka on Tuesday to Krasnoyarsk 800 miles (nearly 1,300 kilometers) to the south when the plane couldn't move onto the runway. It was -52 C (-61 F) outside and the passengers seemed desperate to get home. The plane belonged to a regional division of the major Russia airline UTair, which said ice on the runway surface caused the plane's pushback tractor to begin slipping, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti.

  • Israeli leader seeks to revoke rights of inciters

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister says he will work to revoke residency rights and social benefits of people who commit politically motivated violence and those who support them. Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal, made in parliament Wednesday, appeared to be aimed at Palestinians in east Jerusalem. East Jerusalem Palestinians have carried out a number of deadly attacks in recent weeks. Arab residents of east Jerusalem are not Israeli citizens, but hold residency rights that grant them governmental health and other social benefits. Netanyahu said that people involved in violence, as well as those who support them, cannot receive Israeli social benefits. "There is nothing more absurd," he said.

  • Syrian FM: Russia to boost relations with Assad

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin wants closer ties with Syria's beleaguered president and tighter cooperation between Moscow and Damascus, Syria's foreign minister said Wednesday after meeting the Russian leader. Walid al-Moallem said that during the talks in the city of Sochi, Putin "confirmed the determination of Russia to develop relations with Syrian President Bashar Assad" and "strengthening the strategic partnership between our countries." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia supports the proposal floated by the UN envoy to Syria for local cease-fires, which Assad has said is worth studying.

  • UK brothers jailed for attending Syria terror camp

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Two British brothers were sent to prison Wednesday for conspiring to attend a terrorist training camp in Syria, becoming the first Britons jailed after returning from the war-torn country. Hamza and Mohommod Nawaz, from London, were arrested in September 2013 after arriving in England by ferry from France. Police say they were carrying AK-47 ammunition brought home as a trophy as well as photos and videos from their time in Syria. The brothers pleaded guilty, and on Wednesday 23-year-old Hamza Nawaz was sentenced to three years in prison. His 31-year-old brother, described as the instigator of the plan, received four-and-a-half years. Judge Christopher Moss told the brothers they had been training "to su

  • Europeans debate common stand on Palestine

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    BRUSSELS (AP) — Frustrated by deadlock in the Middle East peace process, a growing number of European leaders and lawmakers are calling for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. That movement took a step forward Wednesday as members of the European Parliament began debating whether they can agree on a common approach for the European Union's 28 member states. Recognition of a country is a decision for national governments. But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg, France that the bloc needs to forge "a united and strong message" to influence events. The ultimate goal, Mogherini said, is creation of an independent Palestinian state and securing Israel's right to live

  • Spanish judge rules no crime in killing Ebola dog

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    MADRID (AP) — A Spanish judge has ruled health authorities didn't commit a crime when they euthanized Excalibur, a dog that belonged to a nursing assistant who contracted Ebola last month. An animal rights group had filed a complaint against a Madrid health official, citing a violation of an animal protection law. A judge issued a seven-page ruling Wednesday. Excalibur belonged to Teresa Romero, the first known person to contract Ebola outside West Africa in the latest outbreak. She had treated two Spanish missionaries who died from Ebola after they were flown back from West Africa. Romero later recovered. Spanish health authorities ordered the killing of the dog Oct. 8, fearing a risk of transmission. In the U.S.

  • Egypt court sentences 78 minors over protests

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian judicial official says a court has sentenced 78 minors to up to five years in prison over their participation in Islamist demonstrations. Alexandria Misdemeanor Juvenile Court issued its ruling Wednesday. A court official says the minors, between 13 and 17, faced several charges including blocking traffic, setting tires ablaze and sabotaging private properties. The sentences can be appealed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists. Supporters of Egypt's now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group staged near-daily demonstrations in the months that followed the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Demonstrations often

  • Rare Shakespeare Folio discovered in French town

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — The accidental discovery in a small library in northern France of an original first folio of Shakespeare's plays has sent a jolt of excitement around the world of Shakespeare scholars. The find brings the total of known folios in the world to 233, and is significant as each first folio can contain variations that shed light on the bard's intentions. Among the 900 pages of the most recent discovery are rare annotations that suggest it was used for performance. The annotations "might tell us something about Shakespeare's reception at the time, how they were thought of as text for performance," said Stanley Wells, honorary president Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

  • AP Interview: Jordan prince calls for tolerance

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Moderate Muslims must take a stand against religious extremists who violate the core values of Islam, a brother of Jordan's king said Wednesday. Prince Feisal al-Hussein also said that Jordan is trying to defuse religious tensions at a major Jerusalem shrine that is sacred to Muslims and Jews. Jordan serves as custodian of the Muslim-run shrine, which sits on the fault line of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Jordan is also part of a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, which holds territory across Syria and Iraq. The prince is chairman of "Generations for Peace," a group promoting peaceful conflict resolution. He said the organization he founded in 2007 has reached more than 200

  • 2 bombings kill 10 people in Iraq

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi authorities say two bombings at a market and a commercial street have killed 10 people in Baghdad. Police officials say a car bomb exploded Wednesday night at a commercial street in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr city, killing seven people and wounding 15 others. Earlier, police said a bomb blast near an outdoor market in southern Baghdad killed three people and wounded seven others. Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops, as the Islamic State group is in control of about a third of the country. U.S.

  • Activists raise Raqqa strikes' death toll to 95

    Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — The death toll from a series of Syrian government airstrikes on the Islamic State group's stronghold in northeastern Syria has risen to at least 95, making it one of the deadliest attacks on the city of Raqqa in the past three years, activists said Wednesday. Some of the Tuesday airstrikes hit a popular market near a museum and an industrial neighborhood, causing many civilian casualties. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights raised its death toll Wednesday to 95. Its director, Rami Abdurrahman, said the dead include 52 civilians whose names the group was able to document. They include three women and four children, he said. At least 120 others were wounded in the strikes, according to the grou