Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, prominent Jewish educator who survived a Soviet Gulag, dies at 84
Jun 20, 2013 2:03 AM CDT
Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, a religious educator who survived a brutal Gulag in Siberia and secretly taught Judaism under an oppressive Soviet regime, has died in Israel. He was 84. The Hasidic Chabad Lubavitch movement in which Greenberg was a member says he died on Tuesday. Chabad said on Thursday that Greenberg was born in Moldova. At the age of 14 he went to Uzbekistan to study Judaism at a secret seminary. The Soviets prohibited teaching Judaism. He was caught trying to escape the Soviet Union...
Prosecutors raid South Korea's nuclear operator as probe widens into fabricated test results
Jun 20, 2013 1:51 AM CDT
South Korea's sole nuclear operator says investigators raided its offices as part of a probe into nuclear plant cables. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. spokesman Lee Yoon-dong said Thursday prosecutors seized documents and computer hard drives from offices including its headquarters in southeastern Korea. Prosecutors could not be reached for comment. South Korea shut down two nuclear power plants last month after discovering that a company contracted to conduct tests on control cables had...
AP PHOTOS: For amputees, wounds from Bangladesh garment factory collapse will never fade
Jun 20, 2013 1:47 AM CDT
It was the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry. When the Rana Plaza factory building crashed down in April, 1,129 people were killed. But many others had to sacrifice their limbs to survive. Arms and legs were trapped under the building rubble, forcing rescuers with no medical training to perform amputations on the spot to free the victims. No anesthesia was available. Some of the rescuers used butchers knives or hacksaws to cut through the flesh and save the trapped workers....
Singapore pollution hits new high, Malaysia shuts 200 schools amid haze from Indonesia fires
Jun 20, 2013 1:29 AM CDT
Singapore urged people to remain indoors amid unprecedented levels of air pollution Thursday as a smoky haze wrought by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia worsened dramatically. Nearby Malaysia closed 200 schools and banned open burning in some areas. The Pollutant Standards Index, Singapore's main measure for air pollution, surged to a record reading of 371, breaching the "hazardous" classification that can aggravate respiratory ailments. The previous all-time high before this week was in...
Spreading shakedowns and distrust of authorities embolden al-Qaida in Iraq's restive Mosul
Jun 20, 2013 1:23 AM CDT
Al-Qaida's Iraq arm is gathering strength in the restive northern city of Mosul, ramping up its fundraising through gangland-style shakedowns and feeding off anti-government anger as it increasingly carries out attacks with impunity, according to residents and officials. It is a disturbing development for Iraq's third-largest city, one of the country's main gateways to Syria, as al-Qaida in Iraq makes a push to establish itself as a dominant force among the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian...
SKorea adopts tougher penalties for sex offenders, removes need for victim to press charges
Jun 20, 2013 1:16 AM CDT
South Korea says it's taking tougher action against sex offenders by allowing plaintiffs other than the direct targets of sexual violence to press charges of rape or sexual harassment. The Justice Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that it has removed a clause in the criminal code that allowed sexual violence cases to go forward only if the victim took legal action. Attorney Lee Kyung-hwan says the law will help victims who sometimes had their cases revoked because shame led them to not press...
Iraqis cast ballots in 2 Sunni-dominated provinces amid tight security measures
Jun 20, 2013 12:46 AM CDT
Iraqi state TV says voters have begun casting ballots in two Sunni-dominated provinces amid tight security aimed at thwarting insurgent attempts to disrupt the elections. The balloting comes amid rising sectarian tensions and deteriorating security in Iraq. The two provinces _ Anbar and Ninevah _ have been the scene of rallies against the Shiite-led government. A vehicle ban was implemented in major cities in the provinces as voting got underway for candidates who will serve on provincial-level...
Asian stock markets fall after Ben Bernanke says Fed could scale back its bond purchases
Jun 20, 2013 12:26 AM CDT
Asian stock markets plummeted Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it could start scaling back its huge economic stimulus program later this year. The announcement Wednesday in Washington drew sharp reaction in financial markets, showing just how dependent investors have become on the Fed's easy money policies. The Fed has been buying $85 billion worth of bonds each month to keep long-term interest rates low to boost borrowing and spending. On Wednesday, however, the Fed said the U.S....
China jails 11 for inciting extremism, related crimes in Muslim region before riot anniversary
Jun 19, 2013 11:02 PM CDT
Chinese courts have sentenced 11 people for inciting religious extremism and related crimes in the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang, just weeks ahead of the anniversary of bloody ethnic rioting that spread through the region four years ago. The Justice Ministry's official newspaper Legal Daily said Thursday that Aihetaimu Heli was given the harshest sentence of six years in jail for uploading to the Internet materials promoting jihad and ethnic hatred. The sentence on charges of inciting...
Asian shares down as Bernanke says Fed could scale back its bond purchases
Jun 19, 2013 10:36 PM CDT
Most Asian markets slid Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it could start scaling back its huge economic stimulus program later this year. The announcement Wednesday in Washington drew sharp reaction in financial markets, showing just how dependent investors have become on the Fed's easy money policies. The Fed has been buying $85 billion worth of bonds each month to keep long-term interest rates low to boost borrowing and spending. On Wednesday, however, the Fed said the U.S. economy...
Children taken from Canadian Mennonite community as abuse charges are laid
Jun 19, 2013 10:24 PM CDT
Children have been removed from an orthodox Mennonite community in Canada where adults have been charged with assaulting youngsters using items such as cattle prods and leather straps. Manitoba Family Services would not say Wednesday how many children had been taken into its care and would not reveal any other details about the case. The department said child protection professionals were working with the families as police investigate. Few in the close-knit community are saying anything, but...
Sao Paulo, Rio officials reverse subway, bus fare hike that sparked nationwide protests
Jun 19, 2013 9:53 PM CDT
Leaders in Brazil's two biggest cities said Wednesday that they reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited anti-government protests that have spread across the nation in the past week. Many people doubted the move would quiet the demonstrations, which have moved well beyond outrage over the fare hikes into communal cries against poor public services in Latin America's biggest nation. "It's not really about the price anymore," said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student...
Monsoon flooding strands pilgrims in north India; PM says death toll could rise substantially
Jun 19, 2013 8:09 PM CDT
Monsoon flooding that has stranded thousands of people and caused landslides in northern India has killed almost 120 people, and the prime minister said the toll could rise substantially. The torrential rain and landslides since Sunday have stranded pilgrims at four revered Hindu shrines, washed away bridges and roads and caused other damage in Uttrakhand state. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said after returning from an aerial survey Wednesday that the death toll there was 102. "It is feared...
Armed, masked invaders torch buses, building at Venezuela university amid funding protests
Jun 19, 2013 7:15 PM CDT
A group of masked assailants has attacked a leading university in the Venezuelan capital, torching two buses and seriously damaging its rectory building. Amalio Belmonte is secretary-general of the Central University of Venezuela. He says about 20 people invaded the campus and shot firearms into the air Wednesday afternoon. Belmonte says they set one bus on fire near the entrance to a study center and another outside the ground floor of the offices of the rectory. The fire from the second vehicle...
Voices of Brazilians joining in protests across South America's biggest country
Jun 19, 2013 6:38 PM CDT
Some comments by Brazilians participating in protests across South America's biggest country: ___ "I'm here because I depend on public transportation which is terrible. Public transportation should not be for profit. I'm here to say we need better buses and better service." _ Maira Zenon, graphic designer, 27, attending protest in Brasilia. ___ "We're out of medicine, out of materials; there are patients lying in the halls. Hospital staff hasn't gotten a raise in 11 years. Considering what...
Few options for Brazil leader Rousseff in facing down protesters' demands
Jun 19, 2013 6:35 PM CDT
With massive protests by middle-class Brazilians demanding wholesale government reforms, people all over this continent-sized country have reached a verdict on the streets and online: "The giant has awakened." President Dilma Rousseff has tried to placate the crowds by supporting their right to protest, and the Sao Paulo municipal government has rescinded the 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares that sparked the demonstrations in the first place. But as the protests grow even bigger, with two...
John Paul II moves a step closer to sainthood; canonization possible in autumn
Jun 19, 2013 5:37 PM CDT
Pope John Paul II has moved a step closer to sainthood. A Vatican official says a commission of theologians approved a miracle attributed to his intercession, clearing a key hurdle. The case now goes to a commission of cardinals and then Pope Francis. John Paul's canonization is possible in autumn to coincide with the 35th anniversary of his election, though the official said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to reveal details about the case that it may be too soon....
Cold War enemies US and Cuba agree to resume talks on migration issues in latest sign of thaw
Jun 19, 2013 5:28 PM CDT
The United States and Cuba have agreed to resume bilateral talks on migration issues next month, a State Department official said Wednesday, the latest evidence of a thaw in chilly relations between the Cold War enemies. Havana and Washington just wrapped up a round of separate negotiations aimed at restarting direct mail service, which has been suspended since 1963. Both sets of talks have been on hold in recent years in a dispute over the fate of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross, who...
US scrambles to save talks with Taliban after angry complaints from Karzai
Jun 19, 2013 5:14 PM CDT
Hopes dimmed for talks aimed at ending the Afghan war when an angry President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday suspended security negotiations with the U.S. and scuttled a peace delegation to the Taliban, sending American officials scrambling to preserve the possibility of dialogue with the militants. What provoked the mercurial Karzai and infuriated many other Afghans was a move by the Taliban to cast their new office in the Gulf nation of Qatar as a rival embassy. The Taliban held a ribbon-cutting...
Bus veers off road and falls into river in central Peru, leaving 30 people dead, 9 missing
Jun 19, 2013 5:00 PM CDT
Police in central Peru say a bus veered off a highway and fell into a river, leaving at least 30 people dead and nine missing. Highway Police chief Col. Rodorico Cubas says the bus was believed to be carrying 54 passengers when it went off the road on a curve and fell into the Tarma river in Junin province. Cubas says emergency crews have recovered 30 bodies and rescued 14 or 15 injured survivors. He says nine people are unaccounted for and rescue efforts are continuing because there could be...
Britain's Supreme Court quashes sanctions against Iranian Bank Mellat
Jun 19, 2013 4:32 PM CDT
Britain's Supreme Court quashed sanctions against an Iranian bank penalized over its alleged links to Iran's nuclear weapons program, saying Wednesday that Bank Mellat had been arbitrarily singled out. The U.S. Treasury Department slammed the ruling as mistaken and warned that Bank Mellat remains under American sanctions. Bank Mellat, a privately owned commercial bank, was seeking to overturn a 2009 order by the British Treasury barring it from operating in the country. That order, made under...
Militants storm into UN's headquarters in Somali capital in an attack that kills 20
Jun 19, 2013 4:22 PM CDT
Seven al-Qaida-linked militants on a suicide mission attacked the U.N. compound Wednesday with a truck bomb and then poured inside, killing at least 13 people before dying in the assault. At least three foreigners were slain during the raid in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where the United Nations expanded its presence this year, about 18 months after Islamic insurgents were pushed from the seaside city. The militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the U.N. "a...
WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama beats German heat wave by going casual at the Brandenburg Gate
Jun 19, 2013 4:19 PM CDT
President Barack Obama invoked President John F. Kennedy's famous Cold War speech in Berlin 50 years ago in his Brandenburg Gate speech Wednesday. But he was not trying to best him. Not when his crowd of 4,500 was one one-hundredth the size of Kennedy's. In a toast at dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama made light of his speech earlier in the day. "Fifty years ago, as this city prepared to welcome President Kennedy, Berliners were ecstatic. Mayor Willy Brandt tried to calm everybody...
AP PHOTOS: 3 little liligers _ father lion, mother liger _ explore their home at Russian zoo
Jun 19, 2013 4:03 PM CDT
The zoo in Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city, is home to a unique animal _ the liliger. That's a big cat breed where the father is a lion and the mother is a lion-tiger hybrid, called a liger. The first liliger was born in the zoo last year and now there's a second litter of three, all of them females. They were born in May, and now have grown up enough to start exploring their surroundings, showing an endearing clumsy energy. Their mother, Zita, was born in the zoo in 2004. Their father,...
Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah fight rebels in Damascus suburb housing major Shiite shrine
Jun 19, 2013 3:40 PM CDT
Hezbollah fighters joined Syrian forces in battling rebels in a Damascus suburb that is home to a revered Shiite Muslim shrine, in a push to secure the area around the ornate, golden domed mosque. Protection of the Sayida Zeinab shrine has become a rallying cry for Shiite fighters backing President Bashar Assad, raising the stakes in a conflict that is increasingly being fought along sectarian lines. The fighting in the area south of the capital is part of a wider military offensive by Assad's...
Accounts and accountability: UK committee says bankers must take more responsibility
Jun 19, 2013 3:23 PM CDT
British bankers could soon be facing harsher penalties for behaving badly. After a year which has seen major scandals involving rate-rigging, money-laundering and rogue-trading rock the UK's financial industry, an influential parliamentary committee recommended Wednesday that senior bankers should be held more accountable for their bank's actions. One measure, it said, should be a new criminal offense of "reckless misconduct" _ one that could carry a prison sentence. "The health and reputation...
Summoning Berlin's history, Obama calls for bold action by US, Europe, including nuclear cuts
Jun 19, 2013 3:18 PM CDT
Summoning the harsh history of this once-divided city, President Barack Obama on Wednesday cautioned the U.S. and Europe against "complacency" brought on by peace, pledging to cut America's deployed nuclear weapons by one-third if Cold War foe Russia does the same. The president also declared that his far-reaching surveillance programs had saved lives on both sides of the Atlantic, as he sought to defend the controversial data-mining to skeptical Europeans. Speaking against the soaring backdrop...
Driven by war, a beloved Syrian tradition _ ice cream _ sets up shop in Jordan, to exiles' joy
Jun 19, 2013 3:10 PM CDT
For Syrians, no visit to Damascus' Old City is complete without a stop at a more than century-old ice cream parlor in its main souq where you can watch them make their distinctive desert by pounding it into shape with giant wooden mallets, then enjoy a bowl of it sprinkled with pistachios. Now those who fled their country's bloody civil war can savor a nostalgic taste from back home. Damascus' most famed ice cream shop, Bakdash, has opened a branch in the Jordanian capital, and both Jordanians...
Gyula Horn, former Hungarian prime minister who had role in opening Iron Curtain, dies at 80
Jun 19, 2013 3:09 PM CDT
Gyula Horn, a former Hungarian prime minister who played a key role in opening the Iron Curtain, has died at the age of 80. He was best known internationally for his announcement as foreign minister in 1989 that Hungary would allow East German refugees to leave the country for West Germany, one of the key events that helped bring an end to communism in Eastern Europe. Horn's death on Wednesday was announced by the Hungarian government and confirmed by the Socialist Party, which he led to victory...
Infiltrators from Syria clash with Jordanian soldiers at border post, 1 killed
Jun 19, 2013 3:07 PM CDT
Jordan's military says infiltrators from Syria have clashed with Jordanian soldiers near the border. One infiltrator was killed and two wounded. The attackers opened fire on a border post on Wednesday, according to a Jordanian military spokesman. Soldiers returned the fire. The spokesman would not say how many infiltrators were involved or disclose other details. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. Jordan is concerned about reports that fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah...
Militants attack military convoy with RPGs in northwest Pakistan, killing 6 soldiers
Jun 19, 2013 2:48 PM CDT
A senior police official says militants attacked a military convoy with rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weapons in northwest Pakistan, killing six soldiers. Shafiullah Khan says two soldiers were wounded in the attack Wednesday, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the main northwest city of Peshawar. Two vehicles were destroyed. Khan says the soldiers retaliated, killing four militants. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will likely fall on the Pakistani...
UN says wars push number of refugees and displaced people to 18-year high of 45.2 million
Jun 19, 2013 2:42 PM CDT
The Syrian civil war contributed to pushing the numbers of refugees and those displaced by conflict within their own nation to an 18-year high of 45.2 million worldwide by the end of 2012, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday. Those are the highest numbers since 1994, when people fled genocide in Rwanda and bloodshed in former Yugoslavia. By the end of last year, the world had 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers and 28.8 million people who had been forced to flee within the borders...
China, North Korea holding strategic talks following tensions, North's offer of talks with US
Jun 19, 2013 2:39 PM CDT
Negotiators from North Korea and China held strategic talks in Beijing on Wednesday as they work to repair strained relations, but offered little indication they will lead to a resumption of nuclear disarmament talks any time soon. Neither Pyongyang or Beijing offered details of the meeting between North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui. They were expected to focus on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The...
World Bank zooms in on link between climate change, poverty
Jun 19, 2013 2:34 PM CDT
The World Bank says it will increasingly view its efforts to help developing countries fight poverty through a "climate lens." In a report released Wednesday, the international lending institution warned that heat waves, rising seas, more severe storms and other impacts of climate change will trap millions of people in poverty. As a result, the Washington-based bank said it is stepping up support for efforts to curb climate change and to help the world adapt to it. "Urgent action is needed to...
US seeks right to exclude 9/11 defendants from some pretrial hearings at Guantanamo
Jun 19, 2013 2:30 PM CDT
Prosecutors in the Sept. 11 war crimes case at Guantanamo are asking a judge to allow secret pretrial hearings that would exclude even the defendants. Justice Department attorney Joanna Baltes says U.S. law would allow hearings without the defendants to protect national security. But lawyers for the five defendants say there is no legal basis to keep them out. Defense attorney David Nevin said defendants in death penalty cases must be allowed to attend all proceedings. Both sides agree they could...
Don't use the 'd' word: Unmanned aircraft struggle to improve image, move into civil sphere
Jun 19, 2013 2:25 PM CDT
Unmanned aircraft have helped rescue stranded hikers, worked to contain wildfires and gathered data at nuclear accidents. One helped a Russian tanker find its way through Arctic ice to bring oil to a stranded Alaskan community. These remote-controlled planes have many more potential peacetime uses. But unmanned aircraft have an image problem: They're also known as drones. That word conjures up pilotless planes dropping bombs or spying in war zones. But industry officials and regulators say the...
Chile protesters throw eggs at conservative presidential candidate after Zumba dance
Jun 19, 2013 2:11 PM CDT
Chilean protesters have thrown eggs at a conservative presidential candidate after he performed a Zumba dance. It seems they objected more to Pablo Longueira's politics than his dancing ability. Local radio Bio Bio reports that construction workers threw eggs at Longueira Wednesday after his performance at a campaign event in the capital of Santiago. Longueira, of the conservative Alianza coalition, is a former economy minister who was close to ex-dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. He's running...
Egypt's top cleric says peaceful protests against Islamist president are permissible
Jun 19, 2013 2:10 PM CDT
Egypt's top Muslim cleric declared Wednesday that peaceful protests against the president are permitted, in a snub to hard-line Islamist backers of Mohammed Morsi who declared that those behind opposition protests planned for June 30 are heretics. In a statement, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, stuck strictly to the question of whether Islam allows the protests _ while underlining that they must remain peaceful _ without weighing in one way or another on their political...
IMF says Spain making progress but calls for urgent action to slash unemployment
Jun 19, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Spain faces the prospect of high unemployment and sluggish growth lasting years unless the country and Europe take "urgent action" to slash the nation's crippling 27 percent unemployment rate and free frozen credit to businesses so they can expand, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday. A report issued by the IMF praised Spain's reforms for stabilizing an economy that almost imploded last year, particularly by propping up public finances, but said the jobless rate is "unacceptably high...
UN experts say top Charles Taylor associate living freely in Sierra Leone
Jun 19, 2013 1:04 PM CDT
A notorious arms supplier and top associate of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been living freely in Sierra Leone's capital city, according to United Nations experts. A Sierra Leone police official said Wednesday that a man going by the same name as the suspect, Ibrahim Bah, was detained after the U.N. experts' allegations were published on May 31. But the official, Morie Lengor, said the man was released on bail after denying he was the same man fingered in the report. Human Rights...
Italy's first black minister receives death threats before visit to Northern League heartland
Jun 19, 2013 12:59 PM CDT
Italy's first black Cabinet minister is facing Internet death threats before a visit to a region known for its anti-immigrant political base. But Cecile Kyenge says she's not afraid and challenged Italians to respond to such intimidation themselves to prove that Italy isn't racist. Kyenge, a Congolese-born doctor who has lived in Italy since 1983, has been the target of racist diatribes ever since she was named integration minister in April. She has been called "Congolese monkey," and a member...
Obama renews calls for reductions to US, Russian nuclear stockpiles, action on climate change
Jun 19, 2013 12:56 PM CDT
Appealing for a new citizen activism in the free world, President Barack Obama renewed his call Wednesday to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles and to confront climate change, a danger he called "the global threat of our time." In a wide-ranging speech that enumerated a litany of challenges facing the world, Obama said he wanted to reignite the spirit that Berlin displayed when it fought to reunite itself during the Cold War. "Today's threats are not as stark as they were half a century...
Iran's electoral watchdog approves presidential election result, moderate Rowhani's victory
Jun 19, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
Iran's state TV is reporting the country's election overseer, the Guardian Council, has approved Friday's presidential election result, affirming a first-round victory by a relative moderate. The report Wednesday said Hasan Rowhani won the election by taking nearly 51 percent of votes. Since he won more than half, that eliminated the need for a runoff. Rowhani takes office in August, succeeding President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rowhani has vowed to work for better ties with the world and aims to...
Palestinian president's Fatah group takes hard line on returning to talks with Israel
Jun 19, 2013 11:47 AM CDT
The Palestinian president and his Fatah movement on Wednesday signaled a tough line on talks with Israel, casting new doubt on U.S. efforts to revive long-stalled negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to the region next week, his fifth attempt this year to bridge wide gaps between the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the ground rules for talks. Abbas has said he won't negotiate unless Israel stops building in settlements...
China, Vietnam agree to set up hotline to resolve fishing incidents in South China Sea
Jun 19, 2013 11:44 AM CDT
China and Vietnam agreed on Wednesday to set up a hotline to resolve fishing incidents in disputed South China Sea waters that have been a frequent source of tensions between the two ideological allies. The two countries' agriculture ministers signed the agreement in Beijing. No details were immediately available. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and its island groups, while Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries claim some areas. The islands sit amid some of the world's...
Turkey's deputy PM gives 'standing man' protest nod of approval
Jun 19, 2013 11:32 AM CDT
Turkey's deputy prime minister gave a nod of approval on Wednesday to a new form of peaceful resistance that is spreading through Turkey. Although police dispersed pockets of protesters who set up barricades in two Turkish cities overnight, the sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations have largely given way to a passive form of resistance, with people standing motionless. Hundreds of demonstrators stood still for hours in squares on main streets in several cities, mimicking a lone protester...
Swiss lawmakers reject government plan on banking secrecy to ease deals with US authorities
Jun 19, 2013 11:28 AM CDT
Switzerland's lower house of parliament has for the second time rejected a government proposal on relaxing Swiss banking secrecy laws, a move that would have helped the country's banks avoid facing U.S. criminal charges for shielding tax cheats. Switzerland's National Council, by a vote of 123-63 with four abstentions, Wednesday put to rest the proposal from Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and the rest of the Swiss Cabinet. The government had presented the proposal as a way for Swiss...
Lourdes sanctuary closed, pilgrims evacuated amid heavy floods in southwest France
Jun 19, 2013 11:10 AM CDT
Heavy floods in southwest France have left two dead and forced the closure of the Catholic pilgrimage site in Lourdes and the evacuation of pilgrims from nearby hotels. Muddy floodwaters swirled Wednesday in the grotto where nearly 6 million believers from around the world, many gravely ill, come every year seeking miracles and healing. It has been a major pilgrimage site since a French girl's vision of the Virgin Mary there in 1858. Heavy rains around the region inundated town centers and swelled...
Military bans Thurayas in northeast Nigerian state of Borno; says Islamic militants use them
Jun 19, 2013 11:05 AM CDT
Soldiers fighting to halt an insurgency by Islamic militants are banning the use of Thuraya satellite telephones by civilians in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, throttling communications already made difficult by cut cell phone service. Spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa says extremists used Thurayas to plan and coordinate attacks that killed 16 high school students in recent days. Musa said in a statement Wednesday that Thurayas also were used in the shooting deaths of Muslim religious leaders....
Myanmar court sentences 2 Muslim women over sectarian violence
Jun 19, 2013 10:51 AM CDT
A court in Myanmar has found two Muslim women guilty of sparking a recent outbreak of sectarian violence, one of them by bumping into a Buddhist novice monk. Myint Thein of the pro-government National Unity Party, who attended their trial, said Wednesday the two women in the central township of Okkan were convicted of "insulting religion." Both were sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor. A police officer in Okkan, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to...
Airbus rakes in orders for new wide-body A350, clocking 59 in 1 day
Jun 19, 2013 10:41 AM CDT
Airbus raked in orders Wednesday for its new A350, announcing 59 sales of the wide-body jet that flew for the first time last week. Singapore Airlines ordered 30 A350-900s, with an option to buy another 20 of the 900s or the larger 1000 model. The airline had already ordered 20 of the A350. Air France-KLM also put in an order for 25 A350 jets, saying the plane will be central to its plan to expand long-haul flights after years of struggling against discount carriers in Europe. Airbus also announced...
Iceland says WikiLeaks spokesman, government officials in 'informal talks' over Snowden asylum
Jun 19, 2013 10:19 AM CDT
A WikiLeaks spokesman who claims to represent Edward Snowden has reached out to government officials in Iceland about the potential of the NSA leaker applying for asylum in the Nordic country, officials there said Wednesday. Johannes Skulason, an Icelandic government official, told The Associated Press that WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson had held informal talks with assistants at the Interior Ministry and the prime minister's office. Skulason said Hrafnsson "presented his case that he...
Turkey's 'standing man' to join ranks of history's iconic symbols of human drama?
Jun 19, 2013 9:33 AM CDT
The image was stark: a silent, solitary figure standing in passive defiance to the Turkish prime minister's demand for protesters to clear Taksim Square in central Istanbul. The challenge by performance artist Erdem Gunduz is catching on with other protesters in Turkey, encouraged by social media into imitating his gesture across the country. It's too early to tell whether the "standing man" protests will make a difference in the weeks-long challenge to the authority of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip...
UK Supreme Court says some families of soldiers killed in Iraq can sue government
Jun 19, 2013 9:07 AM CDT
The families of several British soldiers killed or injured in Iraq can sue the government for failing to protect them, the country's highest court ruled Wednesday. The cases have been brought by relatives of soldiers including Cpl. Stephen Allbutt, who died in a "friendly fire" incident involving two Challenger tanks in March 2003; and Pvt. Phillip Hewett, killed in July 2005 when his Snatch Land Rover was blown up. The Supreme Court ruled that damages claims could be launched under legislation...
In Berlin speech, Obama says today's challenges require same fighting spirit as Cold War-era
Jun 19, 2013 8:49 AM CDT
President Barack Obama is challenging Americans and Europeans not to become complacent even though the Cold War is over. Obama is speaking at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate nearly 50 years after John F. Kennedy's famous speech in the once-divided city. Obama says there's a temptation to turn inward now that barbed wire and concrete walls no longer separate East and West in Berlin. He says he's returned to Berlin because the tests of our time require the same fighting spirit. He's pointing to...
Changing Times: UK Girl Guides remove reference to God in pledge
Jun 19, 2013 8:41 AM CDT
Britain's Girl Guides have dropped a reference to God in their pledge. Gone is the reference to loving God, replaced by a call to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs." The new pledge unveiled Wednesday does retain a reference to serving the queen. The long established British scouting organization _ officially named Girlguiding _ says some 44,000 people responded to a call for consultations on the new pledge. Chief Guide Gill Slocombe says she hopes the change will encourage more girls...
Flood damages Hallstatt, Austrian UNESCO heritage site
Jun 19, 2013 8:37 AM CDT
A flash flood unleashed by a major thunderstorm has inundated the Austrian village of Hallstatt, which has been awarded special status by the U.N. because of its unique beauty. The storm late Tuesday turned the placid village creek into a torrent that flooded the village square, tearing up cobble stones in its wake. Houses and a hotel are partially under water. State-run broadcaster ORF says 30 people had to be evacuated by ladder from the first floor of a building. "Mud came from all sides,"...
Pope invites teen with Down Syndrome up to car for a spin; dad calls Francis "a great pope"
Jun 19, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
Pope Francis has given a 17-year-old boy with Down Syndrome the ride of his life _ sort of. Francis invited Alberto di Tullio up onto his open-top Mercedes at the end of his general audience Wednesday, letting him spin around on the pontiff's white chair while tens of thousands of people looked on. The boy's father, Celestino di Tullio, told The Associated Press he choked up when Francis approached his son: "The pope saw him, embraced him. Then Alberto pointed to the car, and so he brought him...
Bulgaria's parliament revokes security chief appointment after major protests
Jun 19, 2013 7:42 AM CDT
Bulgaria's parliament has revoked the controversial appointment of a legislator and media mogul to head the country's security service, which led to several days of large protests. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski apologized Wednesday for last week's appointment of Delyan Peevski to the powerful post and asked legislators to reverse the decision. The motion to cancel Peevski's appointment was backed by all 128 legislators present. Oresharski said he made a political mistake, and apologized to...
Zimbabwe's president goes back to court to delay July 31 polls for at least 2 weeks
Jun 19, 2013 7:08 AM CDT
Zimbabwe's highest court said Wednesday it has received an application from longtime President Robert Mugabe's party to delay crucial elections by at least two weeks following pressure from regional leaders. Mugabe has insisted he is merely abiding by a previous court order in holding general elections on July 31. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a longtime Mugabe foe and opposition leader, wants the vote to be held in September. Zimbabwe's last elections in 2008 were plagued by violence and...
Police: Armed robbers kill 48 in northwest Nigeria in revenge attack on villagers
Jun 19, 2013 6:57 AM CDT
Police say armed robbers have shot and killed 48 people in a revenge attack on villagers in northwest Nigeria who have formed vigilante groups to try to end a spree of violent thefts. Police Commissioner Akila Usman of Zamfara state said the gunmen arrived on motorbikes Tuesday night and went from house to house in Kizara village. The gunmen searched for suspected vigilantes and shot them and their families. Usman said among the dead were the chief imam, or religious leader, as well as a man...
UN, US warn of `maximum volatility' in Golan Heights if Philippine peacekeepers withdraw
Jun 19, 2013 6:56 AM CDT
The United Nations and the U.S. have separately asked the Philippines not to withdraw its more than 300 peacekeepers from the Golan Heights, warning of "maximum volatility" in the region after several other countries decided to pull out their peacekeeping forces amid escalating violence, the Philippines' top diplomat said Wednesday. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appealed to him in recent talks. He said he told...
Obama silent on US arms to Syria, praises G-8 plan for transition to Syrian peace
Jun 19, 2013 6:51 AM CDT
President Barack Obama is refusing to describe the type of military support the U.S. will give to Syrian rebels even as he praises a decision by world leaders at a just-completed summit to seek a negotiated peace. Obama says even though leaders could not agree on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad must go, he has decided it is not possible for Assad to regain legitimacy. Obama spoke at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl). Obama, Russian...
Obama says he anticipated Afghanistan reconciliation talks would have friction, difficulties
Jun 19, 2013 6:33 AM CDT
President Barack Obama says it's no surprise that there's friction in early efforts to launch peace talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government. But Obama says even though the war is still ongoing, there must be a parallel track to political reconciliation. Prospects for reconciliation talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government were dampened Wednesday when Afghan President Hamid Karzai suspended security talks with the U.S. and the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack...
Obama says NSA surveillance programs have saved lives, at least 50 threats averted
Jun 19, 2013 6:13 AM CDT
President Barack Obama says lives have been saved by sweeping surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. Obama says at least 50 threats have been averted because of phone records and Internet information the agency was able to access. He says those threats were not just in the U.S. but also in other countries like Germany. Obama says both programs are subject to strict court oversight and are limited in scope. He says he believes the U.S. is striking the right balance between...
UN chief warns of new threats to peacekeeping operations from suicide bombers, homemade bombs
Jun 19, 2013 5:56 AM CDT
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday the world body's peacekeeping efforts face growing dangers from non-traditional threats such as suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices. Ban told reporters on a visit to a peacekeeping training base near the Chinese capital that the U.N. must ensure that peacekeepers have the necessary training and specialized skills to face the threats. These threats "are not new to the U.N., but they are more intense," Ban said. Ban's comments came...
Trial opens against former Finmeccanica CEO in corruption case involving helicopter deal
Jun 19, 2013 5:41 AM CDT
The former head of Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica , accused by prosecutors of making bribery part of the company culture, went on trial Wednesday for his alleged role in the payment of bribes to secure a crucial 560 million euro ($670 million) helicopter contract in India. Giuseppe Orsi, who resigned in February, faces charges of fraud and corruption in a case that has tarnished the international image of the state-controlled company and jeopardized the defense contractor's...
Malaysia's new low-cost airport launch delayed to May 2014 amid construction setback
Jun 19, 2013 5:26 AM CDT
The opening of a new airport to accommodate budget carriers has been delayed until next year because of design changes and other construction setbacks, Malaysia's airport operator says. Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad said late Tuesday that the contractors for the terminal building of the new airport, who previously said the facility would be completed this month, need additional time and set late April 2014 as a new target date for completion. Operations are to start on May 2, 2014. The 4...
Rights groups criticize proposed media code in Sri Lanka, saying it threatens free speech
Jun 19, 2013 4:58 AM CDT
Rights groups are criticizing a code of media ethics proposed by Sri Lanka's government, saying Wednesday that the code could have a chilling effect on free speech in the Indian Ocean island nation. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the code is "unnecessary" and infringes on the right to free expression, while Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement said it would "drastically affect the media freedom and the country's democratic set up." The proposed code of ethics for print and electronic media...
Trial opens against former Finmeccanica CEO in corruption case involving helicopter deal
Jun 19, 2013 3:30 AM CDT
The former head of the Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica goes on trial in a case involving alleged bribes to win a 560 million euro ($670 million) helicopter contract in India. Giuseppe Orsi, who resigned in February, faces corruption charges in a case that has tarnished the state-controlled company. Also on trial is Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland, the defense contractor's helicopter division. The accelerated trial opened Wednesday in Busto Arsizio north of Milan after...
Fashion retailer H&M's Q2 profit down 11 percent amid challenging markets and krona strength
Jun 19, 2013 3:25 AM CDT
Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB on Wednesday said profits fell by 11 percent in the second quarter due to the strong Swedish krona and increased markdowns as it tried to shift its products. The company said its net profit for the March-May period dropped to 4.66 billion kronor ($720 million) from 5.22 billion a year earlier. Sales for the quarter slipped marginally to 31.64 billion kronor from 31.66 billion. H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said the krona's strength weighed on...
One of US FBI's most wanted nabbed at Mexico beach resort
Jun 18, 2013 11:59 PM CDT
A state prosecutor says one of the U.S. FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives has been arrested in the resort city of Playa del Carmen. Prosecutor Gaspar Armando Garcia Torres says Walter Lee Williams, 65, is wanted on charges of sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children. Garcia said Williams was captured late Tuesday while drinking coffee near a park in the Caribbean beach town. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Williams in...
Asia markets mostly down as investors await Fed meeting's results
Jun 18, 2013 11:59 PM CDT
Asian markets were mostly lower Wednesday as investors waited for an update on the U.S. economy from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The results of a two-day Fed policy meeting will likely ripple through stock markets once investors learn whether there will be changes in the U.S. central bank's strategy for shoring up the world's No. 1 economy. The meeting is set to wrap up on Wednesday in Washington. Stocks in Hong Kong, mainland China and Seoul went south. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1.2...
China, North Korea holding strategic talks following tensions, North's offer of talks with US
Jun 18, 2013 11:19 PM CDT
A top North Korean negotiator has arrived at China's Foreign Ministry for strategic talks following a rough patch in relations between the communist allies and Pyongyang's surprise weekend call for dialogue with the U.S. North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan was expected to discuss bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui on Wednesday. Beijing hopes the discussions will lead to a resumption of long-stalled six-nation...
Australian serial sex offender jailed for life for rape, murder of Irish woman
Jun 18, 2013 11:01 PM CDT
A serial sex offender was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for raping and murdering an Irish woman while he was free on parole after previous convictions for raping five women. Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, was sentenced by the Victoria state Supreme Court in Melbourne, and cannot be considered for parole for 35 years. He pleaded guilty to raping and strangling Jill Meagher as she walked home from a bar after an evening out with work colleagues on Sept. 22 last year in Melbourne. The court...
Tropical depression dumps heavy rain on Central America as it heads toward southern Mexico
Jun 18, 2013 10:28 PM CDT
Forecasters say a tropical depression is dumping heavy rains on Central America and could be near tropical storm-strength when it reaches the eastern coast of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Atlantic season's second tropical depression was expected to bring up to 10 inches of rain across parts of Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula and southern Mexico. The depression formed Monday off Belize. As of 11 p.m. EDT, the storm was about 60 miles (97 kilometers)west-northwest of...
4-year-old girl mauled by dog in Bolivia to fly to Boston for reconstructive surgery
Jun 18, 2013 8:58 PM CDT
A 4-year-old Bolivian girl who was unconscious for nearly three weeks after being mauled in the face and body by a Rottweiler is awake and ready to fly to Boston for reconstructive surgery, a doctor said Tuesday. The case of Rosalia, the fifth of seven children of a poor family in a slum outside La Paz, has been closely watched by Bolivians. It also drew the attention of the Boston Children's Hospital, which offered to send a plane and two specialists to pick up the girl, officials in Bolivia...
21 US senators urge State Department to review Honduras aid amid allegations of police abuse
Jun 18, 2013 7:26 PM CDT
A group of U.S. senators is urging Secretary of State John Kerry to order a review of aid for Honduras' police and military amid allegations of abuse and human rights violations. Twenty-one senators said in a letter sent to Kerry on Monday that they want the State Department to provide Congress with a detailed report on whether the Honduran government is protecting freedom of expression, implementing the rule of law and investigating abuses allegedly involving police and soldiers, as required...
US, Taliban agree to hold talks on ending war in Afghanistan; Obama says process won't be easy
Jun 18, 2013 6:17 PM CDT
The Taliban and the U.S. said Tuesday they will hold talks on finding a political solution to ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan, as the international coalition formally handed over control of the country's security to the Afghan army and police. The Taliban met a key U.S. demand by pledging not to use Afghanistan as a base to threaten other countries, although the Americans said they must also denounce al-Qaida. But President Barack Obama cautioned that the process won't...
Celebrities, world leaders celebrate Israeli president's upcoming 90th birthday
Jun 18, 2013 4:51 PM CDT
Israeli and global leaders, local celebrities and Hollywood superstars celebrated under one roof Tuesday to honor Israeli President Shimon Peres for his upcoming 90th birthday, reflecting world respect for one of the country's peace pioneers. Peres is hosting his annual Presidential Conference that brings together an array of artists, thinkers and leaders to discuss issues relevant to Israel and the world. Instrumental in building Israel's military in the first days of the state six decades ago,...
Argentina Supreme Court rejects law that would put judicial system control up for popular vote
Jun 18, 2013 4:40 PM CDT
Argentina's Supreme Court has struck down key elements of a judicial reform the government hoped would rapidly make the courts more responsive to majority rule. The court says it's unconstitutional to require direct popular elections for an expanded magistrates' council that hires and punishes judges. The law would have expanded the council from 13 to 19 members and make it so that whatever party wins congress would be able to name a majority on the body. But the high court said Tuesday that...
Opponents, supporters of Egypt's president clash over appointment of Islamist governors
Jun 18, 2013 4:23 PM CDT
Clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood Tuesday over his appointment of new Islamist governors, some in areas where opponents are strong. The protests signaled increasing tension in the deeply polarized nation ahead of mass protests demanding the ouster of the president, Mohammed Morsi, who marks his first year in power June 30. On Sunday, Morsi appointed 17 new governors, including seven members of the Brotherhood and one from an ex-militant...
AP EXCLUSIVE: US supervises war games in Jordan amid fears of spillover from Syrian conflict
Jun 18, 2013 4:18 PM CDT
Under the watchful eye of stern-faced American advisers, hundreds of U.S.-trained Jordanian commandos fanned across this dusty desert plain, holding war games that could eventually form the basis of an assault in Syria. With the recent deployment of Patriot missiles near the Syrian border, and the mock Syrian accents of those playing the enemy, the message was clear: There is fear of spillover from the Syrian war in this U.S.-allied kingdom, and the potential for a Jordanian role in securing Syria's...
Montreal's interim mayor resigns after arrest on fraud charges; city rocked by scandals
Jun 18, 2013 4:15 PM CDT
For the second time in less than a year, a Montreal mayor has stepped down amid corruption scandals ripping through Canada's second-largest city. Interim Mayor Michael Applebaum came into office vowing to clean up government. He resigned Tuesday, a day after his arrest on fraud charges. Applebaum denied the accusations and said he needs to focus on fighting them. Montreal's first Anglophone mayor in a century took over in November, after Gerald Tremblay resigned amid corruption allegations. Applebaum...
With massive protests planned against Islamist leader, Egypt's polarization risks violence
Jun 18, 2013 4:02 PM CDT
Massive nationwide protests that Egypt's opposition plans for June 30 are taking on a dangerous edge. Opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi are convinced that this is the best and perhaps the last opportunity to drive him from power. They say they have tapped into widespread public discontent over shortages, broken infrastructure, high prices and lack of security, and can bring that anger into the streets. Morsi's Islamist backers have vowed to defend the president with counter-demonstrations....
Syrian warplanes strike rebel posts in key northern city of Aleppo amid clashes
Jun 18, 2013 3:52 PM CDT
Syrian warplanes struck rebel positions near a besieged military air base and other rebel-held areas in the country's north Tuesday as regime forces stepped up attacks against opposition fighters in the key province of Aleppo, activists said. Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad have for months been trying to take Kweiras and two other military air bases nearby without success. The government has recently gone on the offensive in the province and in areas in the country's heartland...
Red Cross fights opposes effort by defense in 9/11 case to get private Guantanamo reports
Jun 18, 2013 3:44 PM CDT
The International Committee of the Red Cross urged a military judge Tuesday to refuse a request to open its confidential communications with U.S. officials about conditions at Guantanamo Bay to the lawyers for the prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 terror attack. The Red Cross prepared the confidential reports for the U.S. government to ensure humanitarian laws were being followed and allowing defense teams to view the documents would jeopardize the organization's work around the world, said Matthew...
G-8 NOTEBOOK: Cameron Tweets about WWII bomb at G-8 site, Obama girls lunch with Bono
Jun 18, 2013 3:41 PM CDT
Well, that was close. Or was it? Shortly after wrapping up one of the most peaceful Group of Eight summits in recent memory, Prime Minister David Cameron let a cat out of the bag. "Now (hash)G8UK is over I can reveal a bomb was found in Lough Erne," he posted on Twitter. "It was American from WW2. Apparently they had a practice mortar range here!" Not to worry, however. Northern Ireland police mounted a massive security operation to protect the Loch Erne resort west of Enniskillen involving thousands...
Italy's high court explains Amanda Knox reversal, says victim died in possible 'erotic game'
Jun 18, 2013 3:21 PM CDT
Italy's high court on Tuesday harshly faulted the appeals court that acquitted American student Amanda Knox of murdering her roommate, saying its ruling was full of "deficiencies, contradictions and illogical" conclusions. It ordered a new appeals court to consider all the evidence to determine whether Knox helped kill the young woman. In March, the Court of Cassation overturned Knox's acquittal in the 2007 murder of British flatmate Meredith Kercher, 21, and ordered a new trial. On Tuesday, the...
Syrian pound tumbles on US plans to arm the opposition, reflecting growing fears in Damascus
Jun 18, 2013 3:01 PM CDT
Many exchange shops closed in Damascus on Tuesday, fearing more chaos a day after the Syrian currency plunged to a new record low, reflecting growing fears in the capital following a U.S. decision to arm rebel groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime. The currency woes add to the embattled president's troubles, and government officials rushed to allay public fears by announcing Damacus' top ally Iran was extending a credit line to make up for market needs. Traders in the capital...
Greece's public TV signal still off despite court ruling against PM move to pull the plug
Jun 18, 2013 2:55 PM CDT
State TV channels in Greece remained off-air Tuesday as the political storm over the future of public broadcaster ERT raged on, despite a court ruling that the prime minister's decision to pull the plug was wrong. The threat of a snap general election was averted late Monday after a meeting between Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his center-left coalition partners, who strongly oppose his June 11 decision to close ERT and fire its staff of nearly 2,700. The three-party talks came...
Obama's influence and limitations both on display at G-8; trip continues in Germany
Jun 18, 2013 2:49 PM CDT
Now a veteran of the international summit scene, President Barack Obama wielded significant influence over the agenda at this week's Group of Eight meetings, but had only modest success in achieving the results he sought. It was Obama's recent move to arm Syria's rebel fighters that catapulted the two-year civil war to the top of the agenda as leaders gathered at a lakeside resort in Northern Ireland. But the president made little progress in pushing Russian President Vladimir Putin to drop...
Poland, Germany checking if enough evidence for charges against Nazi-led unit commander
Jun 18, 2013 2:48 PM CDT
Prosecutors in Poland and Germany said Tuesday they are reviewing files on a Minnesota man who was a commander of a Nazi-led unit to see if they have enough evidence to press charges and request his extradition from the United States. An Associated Press investigation revealed that Michael Karkoc, 94, entered the U.S. in 1949 by lying to American authorities about his leadership role in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of torching villages and killing civilians in Poland...
In Turkey, a defiant Erdogan says police will get more power to quell anti-government protests
Jun 18, 2013 2:46 PM CDT
Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday brushed aside international criticism over his government's crackdown on widespread demonstrations and vowed to increase the police's powers to deal with the unrest. Meanwhile, more than 90 people were detained in police raids linked to the protests. Recep Tayyip Erdogan's defiant stance appeared aimed at shoring up his conservative base in Turkey, where the rallies have exposed fissures between urban and largely secularist Turks and the more religious classes....
Mali and Tuareg rebels controlling northern city sign accord
Jun 18, 2013 2:38 PM CDT
Mali, which lost half its territory last year to a rebel invasion, signed an accord Tuesday with Tuareg separatists who still control the country's northernmost province, paving the way for the Malian military to return to the areas that remain under rebel control. The agreement, which was signed in front of reporters by two Tuareg representatives and an emissary of the Malian government in Ouagadougou, where the two sides have been holding talks, calls for a cease-fire to go into effect immediately....
Man inspires new form of protest in Turkey simply by standing
Jun 18, 2013 1:49 PM CDT
After weeks of sometimes violent confrontation with police, protesters in Turkey have found what could be a more potent form of resistance: standing still. The trend was launched by performance artist Erdem Gunduz, who stood silently for hours in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Monday night, in passive defiance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's violent crackdown on environmental protesters at a park adjacent to Taksim. The square has been sealed off from protesters since police cleared...
Wrongful death suit filed against Puerto Rico bankers in slaying of US executive
Jun 18, 2013 1:46 PM CDT
The widow of a U.S. banking executive slain in a drive-by shooting in Puerto Rico has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the bank's CEO and other high-ranking officials. The federal lawsuit marks the first time that a potential motive has been given for the high-profile killing. The suit comes two years after Maurice Spagnoletti, an executive vice president at Doral Bank, was repeatedly shot as he drove his Lexus on one of San Juan's busiest highways. New Jersey-based attorney Alan Zegas...
More sailors affected by piracy off West Africa than Somalia, report says
Jun 18, 2013 1:30 PM CDT
More ships and sailors fell prey to pirates off West Africa last year than off Somalia's coast, long the lair of pirates, according to a new report that highlights the risk posed by the rise in attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. The report drawing on data from the International Maritime Bureau said nearly 1,000 seafarers and fishermen were attacked by pirates armed with guns or knives in the Gulf of Guinea last year, and that 800 of them were aboard vessels that were overtaken by pirates....
Suicide bombers hit Shiite mosque in Baghdad, killing 34, latest in Iraq sectarian violence
Jun 18, 2013 1:25 PM CDT
Two suicide bombers targeted a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, one blowing himself up at a nearby checkpoint while the other slipped inside during prayers. The blasts killed 34 people, Iraqi officials said. The coordinated bombings were the latest in a string of attacks to hit Iraq, reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. Two police officers said the first bomber detonated his explosives...