• IS attacks undermine Iraqi state in war weary capital

    IS attacks undermine Iraqi state in war weary...

    Updated: Tue, May 24, 2016

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Even as Iraq slowly claws back territory from the Islamic State group, faith in the government is crumbling among many, particularly the country's Shiites, angered by political disarray and the continual pounding of the capital, Baghdad, by militants' bombings. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi triumphantly announced the beginning of operations to retake the IS-held city Fallujah, promising over the weekend that "the Iraqi flag will rise high" once more over the city. On Monday, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. warplanes battled the militants on the outskirts of Fallujah, a major prize that has been held for more than two years by the Islamic State group.

  • New report says health facilities attacked in 19 countries

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Deliberate or indiscriminate attacks have decimated health facilities, killed medical workers and patients, and deprived countless civilians of care in 19 countries during 2015 and the first three months of 2016, a coalition of more than 30 health and humanitarian organizations said in a new report released Monday. The Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition said the attacks took place from Colombia across Africa and the Middle East to Asia, including Pakistan, Myanmar and Thailand. "The report shows both the pervasiveness and variety of attacks on health facilities, staff and patients globally," coalition co-chair Leonard Rubenstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said in a st

  • Investigators search wreckage of EgyptAir plane, test DNA

    Investigators search wreckage of EgyptAir...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — A French ship joined the international effort to hunt for the black boxes and other wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804 Monday, searching for clues to what brought the plane down, as Greek and Egyptian authorities diverged on what happened to the plane during the crucial final minutes before it crashed into the Mediterranean, killing all 66 people on board. Five days after the air disaster, questions remain over what happened to the doomed jet before it disappeared off radar at around 2.45 a.m. local time Thursday. Egyptian authorities said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight reported by the Greek defense minister suggest

  • Iran and India sign port deal, other economic agreements

    Iran and India sign port deal, other economic...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — India said Monday it will invest up to $500 million in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran and both countries planned a number of projects they say are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The deal and plans were announced during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first such trip in more than a decade. In a ceremony marking the agreements, Modi said the bilateral agreement to develop Chabahar, in southern Iran, and the "availability of about $500 million from India for this purpose is an important milestone," in relations between the two countries. President Hassan Rouhani said working on the port can be a "great symbol" of cooperation between Iran and India.

  • Iraqi leader cites early success in push to retake Fallujah

    Iraqi leader cites early success in push to...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister hailed "big successes" Monday by government troops after launching an offensive to retake Fallujah from Islamic State militants, but the operation promises to be one of the toughest challenges yet for the country's struggling security forces. Troops recaptured some agricultural areas in Garma, a district along the northeastern edge of Fallujah, under intensified Iraqi airstrikes and heavy artillery, said Col. Mahmoud al-Mardhi, who leads Shiite militia forces in the operation. The U.S.-led coalition carried out two airstrikes, the Pentagon said, part of an aerial campaign that has seen an average of two bombings a day over the past week in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of

  • Scores killed as IS bombs hit Syrian government strongholds

    Scores killed as IS bombs hit Syrian government...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    BEIRUT (AP) — A series of coordinated blasts hit bus stations, an electricity plant and a hospital across two Syrian cities Monday, killing at least 80 people in the first major security breach of President Bashar Assad's coastal strongholds in the country's five-year war. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on social media. The militants are not known to maintain a presence in the surrounding countryside, an area in which mainstream rebels and al-Qaida affiliated insurgents form the predominant opposition to Assad's forces. The seven closely-coordinated morning blasts in the pro-government cities of Tartus and Jableh targeted civilians in large numbers, and seemed intended to send a message that n

  • The Latest: UN says 50,000 civilians in Fallujah at risk

    The Latest: UN says 50,000 civilians in...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on a violent day in the Middle East, with deadly bombings in Syria and Yemen and the start of an Iraqi government offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group (all times local): 10:00 p.m. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says there is "a great risk" to about 50,000 civilians the U.N. estimates are still in Fallujah, especially for those trying to flee the Iraqi government offensive to retake the city from the Islamic State extremist group. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday "it's important that they have some safe corridors that they could use." He called the situation in and around Fallujah "very fluid.

  • Correction: Cyprus-Parliament-Elections story

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — In one version of a story May 22 about parliamentary elections in Cyprus, The Associated Press erroneously switched the descriptions of northern and southern Cyprus.

  • US military trains eclectic group of anti-IS fighters

    US military trains eclectic group of anti-IS...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    NORTHERN SYRIA (AP) — The U.S. military is trying to turn an eclectic group of Kurdish women and Arab men into a coherent and competent force to defeat the Islamic State. Advisers describe many of the fighters as civilians who see the battle as a personal moral imperative. Many of the fighters see the extremist group as a scourge on their country and a threat to their families. One called the Islamic State "darkness," while another called it an "illness." The U.S. advisers say the number of Arab volunteers surged this spring, following a series of battlefield gains against the Islamic State, including the retaking of al-Shaddadeh in Syria's Hassakeh province.

  • Egypt's former top auditor summoned for questioning

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian security official says Egypt's former top auditor, who was dismissed in March, has been summoned for questioning by the country's national security prosecutors over statements he made estimating the cost of corruption. Hesham Genena will be questioned on Tuesday on allegations of spreading false news after a newspaper quoted him in December as saying corruption cost the country 600 billion Egyptian pounds ($67.6 billion) in 2015. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi dismissed Genena from his position as head of the Central Auditing Organization after a commission investigated his report, concluding that Genena had misled the public. Critics say the moves intend to silence dissent.

  • Sudan effectively expels top UN humanitarian official

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations says the government of Sudan has effectively expelled a top U.N. official in charge of coordinating relief efforts there. U.N. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to renew the annual stay permit for Ivo Freijsen, who heads the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, without providing an official explanation. Dujarric said that while Freijsen was not declared a persona non grata, refusing to renew his visa represented "a de facto expulsion." He added that the U.N. was doing its best "to get the situation reversed." In 2015, the U.N.

  • The Latest: EgyptAir plane had overheated engine in 2013

    The Latest: EgyptAir plane had overheated...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the investigation into EgyptAir flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean Thursday, killing all 66 on board (all times local): 7:30 p.m. A report published by an organization affiliated with Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation notes that the Airbus A320 that crashed in the Mediterranean Thursday made an emergency landing in 2013 after one of its engines overheated. Aviation experts told The Associated Press Monday that an over-heated engine would be unlikely to cause a crash. The report published by the Egyptian Aircraft Accident Investigation Directorate says in 2013 pilots returned to Cairo airport shortly after take-off when they received a warning message indicating the engin

  • Humanitarian summit aims high amid refugee rights concerns

    Humanitarian summit aims high amid refugee...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    ISTANBUL (AP) — An ambitious summit to revamp humanitarian aid and global responses to modern-day crises opened in Turkey on Monday with lofty goals overshadowed by concerns that key participants are violating refugee rights and humanitarian law. The first World Humanitarian Summit was convened in Istanbul in an attempt to tackle what the United Nations has described as the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. An estimated 125 million people worldwide require humanitarian assistance, among them 60 million displaced from their homes by conflict, natural disasters and climate change. The two-day gathering was conceived four years ago by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In preparation, 23,000 people were consulted

  • Netanyahu proclaims support for peace, despite French rebuff

    Netanyahu proclaims support for peace, despite...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's leader on Monday reiterated his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, seeking to persuade critics that he remains committed to peace as he prepares to bring a polarizing hardliner into his Cabinet. Benjamin Netanyahu said he would seek peace with the Palestinians, even while giving a cool reception to a new French peace initiative. "The Palestinians will have the possibility to build a state of their own, but this state must be demilitarized and recognize Israel as the Jewish state," he told parliament. Since taking office in 2009, Netanyahu has repeatedly said he supports a "two-state solution" with the Palestinians. But U.S.

  • Turkey threatens to suspend agreements with EU

    Turkey threatens to suspend agreements with EU

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkey's president on Monday that Ankara must fulfill all the European Union's conditions to secure visa-free travel for its citizens, but Turkey responded that it would suspend agreements with the EU if the bloc does not keep its promises. The EU says Turkey must narrow its definition of "terrorist" and "terrorist act." The bloc is concerned that journalists and political dissenters could be targeted. But Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that is out of the question.

  • Newborns among residents of sprawling Idomeni refugee camp

    Newborns among residents of sprawling Idomeni...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    IDOMENI, Greece (AP) — The women walked across the Syrian border into Turkey heavily pregnant, crossed the Aegean Sea in perilous journeys that risked their own lives and those of the babies they carried, because they dreamed of their children being born in a better world — in a peaceful, prosperous country in central or northern Europe. But Balkan and European countries startled by the sheer number of people knocking at their doors shut their borders earlier this year, leaving pregnant women among about 54,000 people stranded in financially struggling Greece.

  • EU boosts Med naval mission for Libya coast guard training

    EU boosts Med naval mission for Libya coast...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union boosted the role of its naval operation in the Mediterranean on Monday after Libya granted permission for the EU to train its coastguard, as increasing numbers of desperate migrants leave the country in unseaworthy boats bound for Italy. At talks in Brussels, EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the mandate of Operation Sophia by a year and tasked it with building up the size and skills of Libya's coastguard and navy. The operation would also police a U.N. arms embargo off the coast of Libya once a new U.N. Security Council Resolution granting it permission is endorsed.

  • Turkey: plane searched over bomb threat

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Airlines says authorities at Istanbul's main airport have searched a plane bound for the central Turkish city of Kayseri over a bomb threat, the latest in a series of hoax scares targeting the company. The airline said flight TK2014 with 133 passengers on board was preparing for take-off on Monday but was forced to return to a parking area to be searched. It said: "The procedure has ended and it was understood that the warning was false." Several Turkish Airlines flights have been disrupted by bomb scares over the past year, including many cases of notes found in toilets, reportedly costing the company millions of dollars.

  • Greece to start evacuating Idomeni migrant camp within days

    Greece to start evacuating Idomeni migrant camp...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    IDOMENI, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities will start a gradual evacuation of the country's main informal camp for refugees and other migrants within the next 10 days, officials said Monday. Police and government officials said the estimated 8,400 people at Idomeni, on the closed northern border with Macedonia, will be sent to newly completed, organized camps. Riot police units were being moved Monday from other parts of Greece to Idomeni. Giorgos Kyritsis, a government spokesman for the refugee crisis, said the operation should start Tuesday or Wednesday, and insisted police would not use force. "I believe the (operation) will be completed in a week to 10 days," Kyritsis told private Star television.

  • GE announces deals worth over $1.4 billion with Saudi Arabia

    GE announces deals worth over $1.4 billion with...

    Updated: Mon, May 23, 2016

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — General Electric Co. said Monday it made a series of deals with Saudi Arabia worth more than $1.4 billion as part of the kingdom's ambitious plan to wean itself off crude oil. GE said $1 billion worth of projects would be implemented by 2017 with the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Co., which was formed in 2014 by royal order to boost the country's manufacturing industry. GE said its agreement with the organization would see it help develop industry and manufacturing in the kingdom, as well as create jobs for Saudi youth.