• Hezbollah member pleads guilty to 8 charges in Cyprus

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — A Cyprus criminal court on Tuesday sentenced a member of the militant group Hezbollah to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to all eight charges against him in connection with the seizure of 9 tons of a chemical compound that can be converted into an explosive. A state prosecutor said Lebanese-Canadian Hussein Bassam Abdallah admitted that Hezbollah aimed to mount terrorist attacks against Israeli interests in Cyprus using the ammonium nitrate that he had been ordered to guard at the Larnaca home of another official of the Iranian-backed group. The three-judge bench said it took into account the 26-year-old's limited role in the operation as only the guardian of the chemical compound, his swi

  • Putin urges all to fight IS group, backs Syria's Assad

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — In a surprise meeting with Syria's foreign minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged his support Monday for Syrian President Bashar Assad and called on all Middle East nations to join forces to fight Islamic State militants. The war in Syria, which began with protests in March 2011, has killed more than 220,000 people. Russia, which has traditionally strong ties to Syria, has been seen as a key to a peaceful solution and has previously rebuffed suggestions that Assad's resignation could help end the war. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday then was whisked to the Kremlin to meet with Putin.

  • Dubai developer Limitless to repay $564 million in debt

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An indebted Dubai real estate developer says it will repay more than half a billion dollars in money owed to banks and trade creditors as part of its financial restructuring. The state-controlled company, Limitless, said Monday that more than 90 percent of the $564 million it will repay will go toward its bank debt, which represents 42 percent of the company's total debt of $1.2 billion. The company says it sold land in Saudi Arabia to help fund repayment. Limitless says it is negotiating with banks to agree on new terms for the remaining debt payment, including an extension until December 2018. Limitless says that nearly all the banks have agreed to the revised terms.

  • Egypt sets July 30 to issue verdict in Al-Jazeera trial

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court will issue its final verdict on July 30 in the re-trial of three Al-Jazeera English journalists on terrorism-related charges. Judge Hassan Farid made the announcement on Monday after defense lawyers wrapped up their arguments in a case that has captured international attention. Canadian national Mohammed Fahmy, who was Al-Jazeera's Cairo acting bureau chief, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed are being tried on charges of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security. The three were detained in December 2013 and later sentenced to up to 10 years in prison each, before Egypt's highest court ordered th

  • Putin and Russian political elite bid farewell to Primakov

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's president and political elite joined thousands of mourners on Monday in bidding farewell to Yevgeny Primakov, a former prime minister who also served as Russia's top diplomat and foreign intelligence chief during a long and distinguished career. Primakov, who died last week at 85, lay in state in the House of the Unions, a columned building near the Kremlin where the state funerals of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and other Soviet leaders also were held. Among the mourners was 84-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union. State television covered the nearly six-hour funeral service live, with commentators and political figures commending Primakov for standing up to the West.

  • Iraq: Attacks inside, around Baghdad kill at least 7 people

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials say attacks inside and around Baghdad have killed at least seven people. A police officer says drive-by shooters killed a pro-government Sunni tribal sheikh along with his three guards in the town of Tarmiyah, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad. Another officer said three civilians were killed and nine wounded in a bomb explosion at an outdoor marker in Baghdad's western Ghazaliyah neighborhood. The attacks come as authorities found the bodies for four men and two women dumped in different areas in and around Baghdad, all shot in the chest and head with their hands and legs tied. None had identification cards. Medical officials confirmed the causality figures.

  • Israel to build fence along part of border with Jordan

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Cabinet has approved funding for a fence to be built along part of the country's eastern border with Jordan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the future fence will run for 30 kilometers from Israel's southern tip toward the site of a new airport that is under construction. He says the entire route of the fence will be on Israeli territory and will not infringe upon Jordanian sovereignty. The plan was coordinated with Jordanian authorities. Israel and Jordan signed a peace deal in 1994 and have maintained cordial relations since. In recent years Israel has constructed fortified fences with Egypt to stem the flow of African migrants and in the Golan Heights to prevent infiltra

  • Syrian media: Mortars fall on central Damascus for 2nd day

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's official news agency says a mortar round has hit a central Damascus square, wounding three people in the second such attack in the Syrian capital in as many days. It is not uncommon for Damascus to be shelled, but Monday's attack targeted the Ummayad Square, home to the headquarters of Syria's state TV and radio, and the opera house. It's also close to the Defense Ministry. The agency says the shell caused damage, but gave no details. On Sunday, two mortar rounds hit a crowded outdoor market and al-Amarra district, also in central Damascus, killing three people and wounding 12, including a child and two women.

  • AP PHOTOS: Cairo's dervishes spin for their supper

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Many visitors to Cairo are familiar with the whirling dervishes — the stylized spinning dancers who perform across the city at cultural centers, cruise ships, hotels and weddings. The art form draws its roots from the ecstatic movements of Sufi Muslim mystics seeking a state of delirious oneness with God. But Amr el-Toney, founder of the Mawlawiyah dervish dance troupe, says there are also parallels to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. El-Toney says there is evidence painted on the walls of temples and tombs that ancient Egyptian mystics would also whirl in circles as a form of meditation.

  • Amid Iran nuclear talks, non-diplomats compete for attention

    Updated: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    VIENNA (AP) — Ah, Vienna... City of music. Crown jewel of the Holy Roman Empire. Birthplace of psychoanalysis. Home of the Lipizzaner stallions. And this week, host of the Iran nuclear negotiations. But along with the foreign ministers, their delegations and a horde of accompanying journalists, another type has decamped to the Austrian capital for the talks: special interest groups with a stake in the outcome. Amid the Viennese chocolate, churches and chamber music, advocates and opponents of the emerging deal are out in force, as are some of the families of Americans detained or missing in Iran, all hoping to take advantage of the convergence of world-power officialdom and media to press their points. "We want the I

  • Turkish police use water cannons to clear gay pride rally

    Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish police used water cannons and tear gas against gay pride marchers trying to rally in Istanbul's central square on Sunday, forcing the thousands of demonstrators to gather several blocks away. Two people were injured, according to the Dogan news agency. Between 100 and 200 protesters were chased away from Taksim Square as they began gathering in the late afternoon. Police hemmed the demonstrators into a small corner of the square and then fired several jets of water to force them down a side street. Within minutes, the noisy but otherwise peaceful rally restarted a few blocks away and grew to several thousand people as the day wore on.

  • Nuke talks to miss target; Iran foreign minister heads home

    Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    VIENNA (AP) — A senior U.S. official acknowledged Sunday that Iran nuclear talks will go past their June 30 target date, as Iran's foreign minister prepared to head home for consultations before returning to push for a breakthrough. Iranian media said Mohammed Javad Zarif's trip was planned in advance. Still, the fact that he was leaving the talks so close to what had been the Tuesday deadline reflected both that the talks had a ways to go and his need to get instructions on how to proceed on issues where the sides remain apart — among them how much access Tehran should give to U.N. experts monitoring his country's compliance to any deal. The United States insists on more intrusive monitoring than Iran is ready to give.

  • Report: World Jewish population nears pre-Holocaust level

    Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The world's Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli think tank said in its annual report Sunday. The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world. When factoring in individuals with one Jewish parent and others who identify as partially Jewish, the figure approaches 16.5 million — the Jewish population on the eve of World War II. The Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. The report said the rise has been due in part to natural growth, mainly in Israel, which has about 6.1 million Jews and one of the Western world's highest fertility rates. But it also linked the growth

  • Egypt sentences 3 to year in prison over racy video

    Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has sentenced three people involved in a racy music video to one year in prison with labor for "inciting debauchery." The music video, titled "Hands Off," contains scantily-clad dancing and shaking but no nudity. Reda al-Fouly, the woman dancing in the low-budget video, was arrested last month along with the clip's cameraman after it went viral on social media. Wael el-Sekedi, the third person sentenced in the case, is believed to have fled the country after some social media users called the video scandalous, according to the prosecutor. The three were sentenced on Sunday. The original clip on YouTube has been viewed nearly 1.9 million times.

  • Kuwait names Saudi man as suicide bomber in mosque attack

    Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwaiti authorities on Sunday identified the suicide bomber behind an attack on a Shiite mosque that killed 27 people as a Saudi citizen who flew into the Gulf nation just hours before blowing himself up. Police have begun making arrests in connection with Friday's bombing, which took place at one of Kuwait's oldest Shiite mosques during midday prayers. An affiliate of the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the blast in the normally peaceful oil-rich nation. The Interior Ministry named the bomber as Fahad Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Gabbaa and said he was born in 1992, making him 22 or 23 years old. It said in a statement carried by the official Kuwait News Agency that he arrived on a flight t

  • Police arrest Kuwaiti national, others for mosque bombing

    Updated: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Police have arrested a number of people, among them a Kuwaiti citizen, suspected of being behind a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque that killed 27 people, Kuwait's Interior Ministry said early Sunday. The announcement came just hours after thousands of people took part in a mass funeral procession on Saturday for those killed in the country's first terror attack in more than two decades. An upstart local affiliate of the Islamic State group, calling itself the Najd Province, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which took place during midday Friday prayers inside one of Kuwait's oldest Shiite mosques. The IS group views Shiites as heretics and is fighting Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq and Sy

  • US same-sex marriage ruling likely to impact other countries

    Updated: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — The landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages has no legal force outside the United States, but gay rights activists in many parts of the world believe the court ruling will help their cause. In the Philippines, in India, in Australia and elsewhere, gay rights advocates think the U.S. ruling may help change attitudes, just as American activists — and judges, educators and legislators — had earlier been influenced by the easy acceptance of same-sex marriage in some European countries, where the laws were changed smoothly without much fuss.

  • Activists: IS fighters kill 200 civilians in Syrian town

    Updated: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State fighters who launched a surprise attack on a Syrian border town massacred more than 200 civilians, including women and children, before they were killed or driven out by Kurdish forces, activists said on Saturday. Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish official Idris Naasan put at 40-50 the number of elite IS fighters killed in the two days of fighting since the militants sneaked into the town of Kobani before dawn on Thursday. Clashes, however, continued to the south and west of the predominantly Kurdish town on the Turkish border on Saturday, they said, although the fighting in the south quietened down by nightfall.

  • Egypt sees sandstorm and earthquake on the same day

    Updated: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt faced treacherous weather conditions Saturday as a sandstorm blanketed the north of the country and a magnitude-5.2 earthquake centered in the Sinai peninsula shook buildings more than 200 miles away in the capital, Cairo. The epicenter of the quake was 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) southeast of the beachside town of Nuweiba in the Sinai, and about 75 kilometers (46 miles) south of Egypt's border with Israel, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Airports near Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh, along the Mediterranean coast, closed and diverted flights to Cairo due to poor visibility from the day's sandstorm, Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said in a statement. Visibility reached as low as 500 meters at th

  • Diplomats: Iran considers shipping, selling enriched uranium

    Updated: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    VIENNA (AP) — Nuclear negotiators for Iran, obligated to dispose tons of enriched uranium under an approaching deal, are focusing on a U.S.-backed plan for Iran to send the material to another country for sale as reactor fuel, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. While Iran says it does not want nuclear arms, it has more than 8 tons that could be turned into the fissile core of a dozen or more atomic bombs if the material was further enriched to weapons-grade levels. The export-and-sell option has been floated before, and the diplomats emphasized that the sides have not agreed on that solution in the search for what to do with the low-enriched uranium stockpile.




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