• France anti-terror plan calls for hiring more intel agents

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — Reeling from the Paris terror attacks, France announced broad new measures to fight homegrown terrorism like giving police better equipment and hiring more intelligence agents, as European officials sought to strike the right balance between rushing through tough counterterrorism laws and protecting treasured democratic rights. Prime Minister Manuel Valls laid out the counterterrorism initiatives just as the Paris prosecutor announced preliminary charges against four men for allegedly providing logistical support to one of the attackers behind a three-day spree of violence this month that killed 17 people before the three gunmen were shot dead by police. France plans to spend 425 million euros ($490 million) ov

  • Questions, answers on Yemen as rebels, president strike deal

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Shiite rebels holding Yemen's embattled president captive in his own home reached a deal Wednesday night to end a violent confrontation in the capital. However, even with the deal, many questions remain about who is actually in charge of this country targeted in a U.S. drone-strike campaign against al-Qaida fighters. Here are some questions and answers regarding Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country beset by political chaos and violence, and how it affects the great war against its local al-Qaida franchise, which has claimed several failed attacks in America and the assault on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Q: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AL-QAIDA IN YEMEN AND THE U.S.

  • AP Interview: Iraq premier says ground troops need more aid

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister on Wednesday appealed for more aid for the country's beleaguered ground forces, which have yet to score a decisive victory against the Islamic State group despite five months of U.S.-led coalition air raids. In an interview with The Associated Press, Haider al-Abadi praised the coalition's air campaign but said the international community has stalled on commitments to train and equip the ground forces needed to retake major cities. "We are in this almost on our own," he said. "There is a lot being said and spoken, but very little on the ground." He spoke as he was leaving for London to take part in a meeting Thursday on the war effort with foreign ministers from about 20 countries,

  • Russian FM says Moscow hopes for success of Syria talks

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister says he hopes the prospective Syria peace talks in Moscow will be broad enough and help advance a settlement. Sergey Lavrov told Wednesday's press conference that Russian diplomats wouldn't try to mediate the talks expected later this month between the Syrian government and the opposition. Lavrov said that excessive publicity stymied earlier talks, and Moscow will try to create a more informal atmosphere to help make the negotiations more frank and business-like. He wouldn't say who will attend. Russia, which has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation's civil war, hopes the talks could raise its international profile amid tensions with the West over

  • White House: Boehner invite to Netanyahu breach of protocol

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — The White House says House Speaker John Boehner's invitation for Israel's prime minister to come to Washington is a breach of normal diplomatic protocol. President Barack Obama's press secretary, Josh Earnest, says the White House has not heard from Israelis about whether Benjamin Netanyahu plans to speak to Congress Feb. 11. Earnest says they are reserving judgment about the invitation until they've had a chance to speak to the Israelis about what Netanyahu might say. Earnest says typical protocol is that a country's leader would contact the White House before planning to visit the United States. But Earnest says they didn't hear about Boehner's invitation until Wednesday morning, shortly before

  • Egypt currency falls to historic low, could spur investment

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's currency fell for the fourth time in a week on Wednesday, hitting its lowest point ever against the dollar, in a development that could help boost foreign investment after four years of unrest. The central bank set a cutoff rate of 7.34 Egyptian pounds per dollar in an auction that sold $38.4 million, compared to a rate of 7.29 a day earlier. Before this week, the exchange rate had not changed for six months. Investors and economists see the currency as overvalued and local demand for dollars has fueled a thriving black market. On Wednesday, traders were buying dollars at rates of 7.80 to 7.94 pounds.

  • 11 wounded by Palestinian in Israeli bus attack in Tel Aviv

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A knife-wielding Palestinian stabbed 11 morning commuters on and near a bus Wednesday, striking in the heart of Tel Aviv and reigniting fears of continued violence ahead of Israeli elections in March. The attack was the latest in a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis over recent months, which has been largely reserved to Jerusalem but also has spilled over to the West Bank and Tel Aviv. Tuesday's stabbing took place near a busy intersection during morning rush hour. Police identified the attacker as Hamza Mohammed Matrouk, 23, from the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

  • Car bomb explodes in central Syria's Homs, killing 6 people

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A car bomb exploded Wednesday in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least six people in a neighborhood frequently targeted by rebels because it is seen as a home of loyalists of the President Bashar Assad. The rigged vehicle exploded among residential buildings and shops in the Akrama neighborhood, an area dominated by Alawites, the same sect as Assad. The explosion killed mostly women and children, Homs Governor Talal Barrazi said. Barrazi said the blast killed at least six people and wounded 30. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast killed 10 people, basing its figure from a network of activists on the ground. Conflicting death tolls are routine after such att

  • Turkish officers sentenced to 10 years for activist's death

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A court has sentenced two police officers to 10 years in prison each for their involvement in the beating death of a 19-year-old student during anti-government protests that swept Turkey in 2013. The victim's supporters said the verdict was too lenient and staged immediate protests outside and inside the courthouse. Ali Ismail Korkmaz was beaten by a group of people as he tried to flee from tear gas during protests in the city of Eskisehir. He slipped into a coma and died a month later. Four other civilian defendants were also sentenced to up to six years Wednesday. Anadolu Agency said some supporters sobbed while others threw projectiles at the judges' bench. Police fired tear gas to dispe

  • A look at the suspects in the Paris terror investigation

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — A French anti-terror judge has charged the first suspects in connection with the Jan. 7-9 Paris terror attacks in which brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and their friend Amedy Coulibaly slaughtered 17 people before being killed by police. Here is a summary of what is known about these four suspects and others wanted in connection with France's bloodiest terror attacks in decades. THE SUSPECTS The four suspects charged Wednesday were: Willy P., Christophe R., Tonino G. and Mickael A. The first three were charged with procuring weapons, a car and other gear for Coulibaly, who killed a policewoman and four hostages at a kosher grocery. Mickael A., was charged with possession and transport of a weapon in connection

  • Iraq war inquiry report delayed until after election

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — The report of an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq war will be delayed until after a national election in May, its chairman said, provoking dismay from politicians of all parties Wednesday. Sir John Chilcot, a former senior civil servant who is heading an inquiry that began in 2009, wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron saying that the report was being delayed because individuals mentioned in it need a chance to respond. "Until we have received and evaluated responses from all those who have been given the opportunity to respond, I cannot give an accurate estimate for how long it will then take to complete our work, but it is still clear that will take some further months," Chilcot said in the letter, re

  • Emaar malls division posts higher revenues, profits

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The owner of the Middle East's largest mall says profits and revenues were up last year from the year before, with profits reaching $368 million and revenues at $737 million. Emaar Malls Group, which owns The Dubai Mall, says profits were 23 percent higher and revenues 13 percent higher last year than in 2013. The Dubai Mall accounted for about 82 percent, or $606 million, of EMG's total revenues last year. The mall draws tourists from around the world with various activities, including ice skating and aquarium diving. Total tenant sales reached $4.3 billion in 2014. EMG spun off from Emaar Properties in a $1.6 billion initial public offering last year, though Emaar Properties still

  • French ex-soldiers fighting with Syrian, Iraqi extremists

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — France's defense minister says about 10 former French soldiers are fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, among the hundreds of French radicals believed to be fighting in the region. Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed a report on French radio RFI that former French soldiers are in the region, insisting it remains an "extreme rarity." He spoke Wednesday as the government laid out sweeping new measures and money to counter terrorism after France's deadliest attacks in decades. One of the three gunmen in the Jan. 7-9 attacks on a kosher market and a satirical newspaper claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group. The other two claimed ties to al-Qaida in Yemen.

  • LRA rebel, set for war crimes trial, was a child soldier

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen, who arrived Wednesday in The Hague to stand trial at the International Criminal Court, is remembered by his grandmother as a victim himself, having been kidnapped as a boy by the LRA and turned into a child soldier. Ongwen's grandmother Anna Angeeyo, 80, told Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper that she last saw him in 1990 as "an innocent and quiet" boy "who liked digging." Ongwen was abducted by the LRA as he came back from a primary school in northern Uganda, she said. While in the custody of the Ugandan army last week, Ongwen was videotaped describing his experiences with the LRA and its top commander, Joseph Kony, a wanted war criminal.

  • Anti-graft watchdog slams Turkish corruption vote

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An anti-graft organization has criticized a vote in Turkey's parliament that rejected motions to send four former ministers implicated in a vast corruption scandal to trial by the country's highest court. The ruling Justice and Development Party used its parliamentary majority to sweep away a corruption investigation that had rocked Turkish politics in 2013 and forced the ministers to step down. The four votes, however, were closer than expected Tuesday. The Berlin-based Transparency International watchdog said Wednesday the votes had taken "the culture of political impunity to a dangerous new level" and raised questions about Turkey's willingness to tackle corruption.

  • Iran Guard vows to punish Israel for general killed in Syria

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that Israel will be punished for killing one of its generals in an airstrike in Syria that also killed six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters. Nasser Soltani, a senior Guard commander, said "Israel will certainly pay for what it did." He spoke during a ceremony Wednesday for Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, who will be buried in his hometown of Sirjan in southeastern Iran on Thursday. Iran has repeatedly vowed to retaliate against any attacks by Israel or Western powers in recent years. It is unlikely to respond militarily, but may step up the support it already provides to armed groups like the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah movements.

  • EU court upholds Syria sanctions against Assad relative

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    BRUSSELS (AP) — A top European Union court has upheld sanctions imposed on the uncle of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including an asset freeze and visa ban. The EU's General Court in Luxembourg on Wednesday dismissed the Syrian's appeal to have his name removed of a list of close associates against whom the 28-nation EU imposed sanctions in 2011. The court said the EU succeeded in proving that Mohammad Makhlouf "is a member of the ruling economic class in Syria" while it cannot be denied he "has a decisive influence, as a principal adviser, over all the primary circle of rulers of the Syrian regime." More than 200 people are subject to EU sanctions related to Syria.

  • Saudi Arabia's rights crackdown linked to war on terror

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A man is given 50 lashes in a public square for "insulting Islam" on a liberal blog. Another is arrested for filming and uploading a woman's public beheading. Two females are imprisoned and put on trial for writing on Twitter in support of women driving. These cases have thrust Saudi Arabia's record on human rights back into the spotlight, with international concern mounting over the limits of free speech in the Arab monarchy. Human rights activists and lawyers say the cases are part of a sweeping clampdown on dissent that has intensified in Saudi Arabia since the region's 2011 Arab Spring upheaval.

  • Saudi single women challenge tradition in love and marriage

    Updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Amna Fatani knows she wants a brilliant career and a life different from that of Saudi women of her mother's generation who married early, usually to a husband not of their own choosing. The 27-year-old, studying for her master's degree at Georgetown University in Washington and hoping to someday become Saudi Arabia's first female labor minister, is part of a growing number of Saudi women choosing to remain single through their 20s and into their 30s as they pursue other ambitions. The trend has ruffled ultraconservatives who see it as an affront to the very foundations of the kingdom, where strict interpretations of Islam and rigid tribal codes have long dictated the terms of marriage.

  • Japan weighs ransom in Islamic State threat to kill hostages

    Updated: Tue, Jan 20, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours, demanding a $200 million ransom in a video posted online Tuesday that showed a knife-brandishing masked militant standing over the two kneeling captives. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was traveling in the Middle East, vowed to save the men. But with his military only operating in a self-defense capacity at home, Abe faces a hard choice: openly pay the extremists or ask an ally like the United States to attempt a risky rescue inside Syria. Tuesday's video, released via militant websites associated with the Islamic State group, mirrored other hostage threats the extremists have made.




Advertisement