• Pope OKs protecting Iraq minorities, wants UN OK

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday said efforts to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq are legitimate but said the international community — and not just one country — should decide how to intervene. Francis was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State group, who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes. "In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' j

  • McDonald's confronts its junk food image

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — At a dinner McDonald's hosted for reporters and bloggers, waiters served cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs using ingredients from the chain's menu. A Kung Pao chicken appetizer was made with Chicken McNuggets doused in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with parsley. Slow-cooked beef was served with gnocchi fashioned out of McDonald's french fries and a fruit sauce from its smoothie mix. For dessert, its biscuit mix was used to make a pumpkin spice "biznut," a biscuit-doughnut hybrid. The event, held in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, was billed "A transforming dining experience of 'fast food' to 'good food served fast.'" Attendees tweeted out photos and the night was written up on various websites.

  • Egypt says Gaza cease-fire talks extended 24 hours to continue negotiations

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt says Gaza cease-fire talks extended 24 hours to continue negotiations.

  • 100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent's death rate of the world's largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published Monday found. Warnings about massive elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday's study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

  • Iceland warns of possible volcanic eruption

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland has raised its alert level for the risk of a possible volcanic eruption to orange —the second-most severe level. The warning comes amid swarms of earthquakes that have taken place since Saturday in Bardabunga — a subglacial stratovolcano located under Iceland's largest glacier. Roads nearby have been closed amid fears an eruption could lead to massive flooding. Scientists said Monday there are two scenarios: one is an explosion outside the Vatnajokull glacier, leading to minor ash emissions and troubles locally. The second possibility is an eruption occurring inside the glacier. Seismologist Martin Hensch says the latter could lead to ash being sent high into the atmosphere.

  • Grief, relief as ravaged Ukrainian town rebuilds

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Weeks after Ukrainian government forces recaptured Lysychansk from the rebels, the residents of this shell-shocked town near the Russian border say they hope simply to rebuild their former lives — but fear that war could return to their doorstep. Many homes and entire neighborhoods bear scars from the two-day fight for Lysychansk, a down-on-its-luck industrial town on the western bank of eastern Ukraine's largest river. Three weeks after the fighting ended in a rebel defeat, residents still are waiting to regain access to essential utilities in their homes, if they still have any. Hundreds of houses and apartments were gutted, or blown to smithereens, by tank and mortar shells while their inhabitants

  • A buyer's market at gun bazaar in Kurdish town

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — There suddenly are deep discounts available at the once-thriving gun bazaar in Irbil. The price of an Austrian Glock pistol fell $500 to $3,000. An AK-47 is now $2,000, also down $500. And then there's another version of an AK-47 named "the Osama" after the late al-Qaida leader who famously preferred the model, now being sold for the bargain price of $2,700, down from $3,500. Dealers say that sales of weapons at the market have slowed ever since the United States vowed to help Kurdish forces defend the largely autonomous region of northern Iraq from Islamic militants. It's a rare vote of confidence in President Barack Obama in a region that has had a troubled relationship with Washington.

  • UN urges exit screening for Ebola at some airports

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    GENEVA (AP) — Ebola-affected countries should immediately begin exit screening all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports and major ground crossings, the U.N. health agency said on Monday. The agency didn't spell out which countries should start screening passengers, but noted that the Ebola outbreak involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leona and a "small number of people in Nigeria." All countries, even those unaffected by the outbreak in West Africa, need to strengthen their ability to detect and immediately contain new cases without doing anything that unnecessarily interferes with international travel or trade, the agency said.

  • Growing unrest sets back Liberia's Ebola fight

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Authorities in Liberia urgently searched on Monday for 17 people who fled an Ebola medical center over the weekend when it was attacked by looters who stole blood-stained sheets and mattresses and took them into an enormous slum. Health officials were combing Monrovia's West Point area that is home to at least 50,000 people to try to stop the virus from spreading further in a country where more than 400 people already have died. The World Health Organization on Monday urged Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries to screen all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports and major ground crossings. Those with symptoms of the virus also were urged not to travel.

  • Pope confirms hopes for 3-city US trip in 2015

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has confirmed he wants to go to the United States next year and is considering a three-city trip in September 2015: Philadelphia for a family rally, Washington to address Congress and New York to speak at the United Nations. Francis said there was a proposal to tag Mexico onto the trip so he could visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine beloved by Mexican Catholics, "but it's not sure." Francis made the comments Monday while returning from South Korea. Asked about his 2015 travel plans, he said: "Next year I'd like to go to Philadelphia for the family meeting. I was invited by the president of the United States, by the American parliament and the secretary-general of the United Nations." H

  • Thousands rally in Yemen over ended fuel subsidies

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Tens of thousands rallied in Yemen's capital and across the country on Monday, answering a Shiite rebel call for protests over authorities ending fuel subsidies while threatening to stage prolonged sit-ins to challenge the government. Abdel al-Malek al-Hawthi, a top leader of Yemen's Hawthi tribe, had urged people to rise up against what he described as the country's "corrupt" government. Thousands streamed into Change Square in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. "Oh Yemeni people, we call upon you to rally in the streets against the corrupt government which failed in carrying any reforms," al-Hawthi said, vowing to hold sit-ins while giving the government a Friday ultimatum to review its policies. He urged the mil

  • Pope endorses use of force in Iraq to protect minorities; says UN should approve intervention

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope endorses use of force in Iraq to protect minorities; says UN should approve intervention.

  • Robbers ambush Saudi prince's convoy in Paris

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    PARIS (AP) — Armed robbers ambushed a car in a Saudi prince's diplomatic convoy on its way to a Paris airport commonly used for private jets, raiding the Mercedes for valuables then torching and abandoning the vehicle, police and prosecutors said Monday. Five to eight assailants flashed handguns but fired no shots in the Sunday night attack, the Paris prosecutor's office said. No injuries or arrests were reported. Rocco Contento of the SGP Paris police union said on BFM television that the car had 250,000 euros in cash and official embassy documents, and that the assailants were well-informed about the car's itinerary. The Paris prosecutor's office said the Mercedes carried "things of value," but would not confirm the

  • Reports: Islamic State group kills Syria tribesmen

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — The extremist Islamic State group shot and beheaded hundreds of tribesmen from eastern Syria over the past two weeks after crushing an uprising they led against the jihadi fighters, activists said Monday. The killing of members of the Shueitat tribe come as Islamic State group fighters close in on the last government-held army base in the region. Syrian warplanes bombed the extremists' positions Monday in an attempt to halt their advance. A Turkey-based activist who is originally from Deir el-Zour and is in contact with people in the province told The Associated Press that the Islamic State killed as many as 200 members of the Shueitat tribe. On Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights p

  • 6 killed in mystery airstrikes in Libyan capital

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Airstrikes launched by an unknown party targeting Islamist-led militias in Libya's capital killed six people Monday, authorities said, as the interim government vowed to investigate the strikes amid raging street battles. The confusion over who launched the two fighter jets shows the chaos still engulfing Libya after the 2011 civil war that toppled down longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. In a statement, the government demanded the chief of staff and military intelligence to investigate the predawn strikes Monday morning targeting positions of militias originally from the coastal city of Misrata and its Islamist allies.

  • Pope leaves South Korea after urging peace

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis wrapped up his first trip to Asia on Monday by challenging Koreans —from the North and the South — to reject the "mindset of suspicion and confrontation" that clouds their relations and find new ways to forge peace on the war-divided peninsula. Before boarding a plane back to Rome, the pope held a Mass of reconciliation at Seoul's main cathedral, attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye as well as some North Korean defectors. It was the final event of a five-day trip that confirmed the importance of Asia for this papacy and for the Catholic Church as a whole, given the church is young and growing here whereas it is withering in traditionally Christian lands in Europe.

  • Nigerian woman suspected of Ebola dies in UAE

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The national airline of the United Arab Emirates said Monday it has disinfected one of its planes after health authorities there announced that a Nigerian woman who died after flying in to the capital, Abu Dhabi, may have been infected with the Ebola virus. The health authority in Abu Dhabi said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM that the 35-year-old woman was traveling from Nigeria to India for treatment of advanced metastatic cancer. Her health deteriorated while in transit at Abu Dhabi International Airport. As medics were trying to resuscitate her, they found signs that suggested a possible Ebola virus infection.

  • Iran says journalists held over 'security issues'

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A Washington Post reporter and two other journalists detained last month are being held over "security issues," Iran's judiciary spokesman said Monday, offering the first official indication on why they are being held. Post reporter Jason Rezaian, his wife Yeganeh Salehi and two photojournalists were detained July 22 in Iran's capital, Tehran. One photojournalist was later released. Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi told reporters Monday that the case of the three journalists is still in the "initial stages of investigation." "The reason behind their detention is not financial but security issues," Ejehi said. He didn't elaborate. The Washington Post has said Rezaian, 38, holds both Amer

  • Ebola health workers battle death, heat, rumors

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Doctors and nurses fighting Ebola in West Africa are working 14-hour days, seven days a week, wearing head-to-toe gear in the heat of muddy clinics. Agonizing death is the norm. The hellish conditions aren't the only problem: Health workers struggle to convince patients they're trying to help them, not hurt them. Rumors are rife that Western aid workers are importing Ebola, stealing bodies or even deliberately infecting patients. Winning trust is made harder by a full suit of hood, goggles, mask and gown that hides their faces. "You want to say so much ... because they're in so much pain," said nurse Monia Sayah, of Doctors Without Borders. "They suffer so much, but they can only see your eyes.

  • Turkey calls German ambassador over spying claims

    Updated: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey on Monday summoned Germany's ambassador and demanded a "formal and satisfactory explanation" over a report that Germany's foreign intelligence agency targeted NATO ally Turkey in addition to eavesdropping on U.S. officials' conversations. German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl was also told that, if the reports were true, Turkey expected Germany to immediately stop any spying activity targeting Turkey, according to the Foreign Ministry. German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that the agency, known by its German acronym BND, had inadvertently listened to calls made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and predecessor Hillary Clinton.