TV show disguises man as woman to understand sexual harassment experienced by Egyptian women
May 10, 2013 1:59 PM CDT
Waleed Hammad dressed conservatively for his secret mission into the world of sexual harassment and abuse on the streets of Cairo, donning a long tan skirt and sleeved shirt, and at times covering his head like many Egyptian women. The 24-year-old actor walked the sidewalks, hidden cameras in tow, for an investigative television report, hoping the broadcast would enlighten national debate about how to combat deep-rooted day-to-day sexual harassment and abuse in this patriarchal society. Initiatives...
4 prominent names join hundreds registered so far to run in Iran's presidential election
May 10, 2013 1:51 PM CDT
Four prominent Iranian politicians have joined hundreds of potential candidates who have applied to run in the June 14 presidential election. The race will pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, and offer a critical test for reformists battered after years of crackdowns. The four who submitted their candidacies on Friday are: liberal-leaning former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref; former Revolutionary Guard chief Mohsen...
Russia defends sales of anti-aircraft systems to Syria, despite new US-Russia diplomatic push
May 10, 2013 1:29 PM CDT
Russia defended its sales of anti-aircraft systems to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, just days after joining forces with the U.S. for a new push to end Syria's civil war through negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov avoided saying whether those sales included advanced S-300 batteries. Israel has asked Russia to cancel what it said was the imminent sale of the S-300 missiles, portrayed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as destabilizing to Israel's security. The...
Iran recalls its ambassador in Cyprus after the nation extradites an Iranian to the US
May 10, 2013 1:14 PM CDT
Iran has withdrawn its ambassador in Cyprus to protest the country's decision to extradite an Iranian to the United States for prosecution, officials said Friday. The Cyprus Foreign Ministry said Iran objected to last month's extradition of Iranian Saeid Mohabat to the U.S. to face charges of breaching United Nations sanctions against Iran, and that Iran responded by recalling its ambassador on Wednesday "for consultations" in Tehran. Cyprus acted after one of its courts ruled there was enough...
2 Indian ministers resign in political, financial scandals that further taint Singh government
May 10, 2013 1:02 PM CDT
Two key Indian ministers resigned late Friday in the latest political and financial scandals to tarnish Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's minority government less than a year before parliamentary elections. The opposition blocked proceedings in Parliament after the scandals came to light more than a week ago, demanding the resignations of the two ministers as well as the prime minister. Singh's government has been wracked by controversy in recent years, including troubles surrounding the hosting...
Suicide bombers carry out attacks in 2 northern Malian towns; 2 soldiers wounded
May 10, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
Five suicide bombers carried out two simultaneous attacks on soldiers in Mali on Friday in another indication of the growing coordination of operations by militants against African and French forces. The attacks only killed the bombers and wounded two Malian soldiers, but they highlighted the continued threat posed by the al-Qaida-linked militants, four months after France launched an offensive to oust them from urban centers in this West African nation. Four men entered the northern Malian town...
German court rejects defense motion claiming judicial bias in neo-Nazi trial
May 10, 2013 11:49 AM CDT
Lawyers for the main defendant in Germany's highest-profile neo-Nazi trial in decades have failed in a bid to replace the presiding judge. German news agency dpa reported Friday the Munich court has dismissed a motion which claimed Manfred Goetzl was biased. Prosecutors have accused 38-year-old Beate Zschaepe of murder for alleged complicity in the killing of eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. She is also accused of involvement in at least two bombings and 15 bank...
IAG, parent of BA, after tax losses at 630 million euros in 1Q as Iberia drags down profits
May 10, 2013 11:41 AM CDT
International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways and Iberia, says it is still struggling to integrate the Spanish airline into its operations as it reported a deepening first-quarter net loss of 630 million euros ($827 million) compared to a 129 million euros loss last year. CEO Willie Walsh says that despite 10 days of industrial action and the weak economic situation in Spain, IAG is adapting _ though he acknowledged much more needed to be done. The company, one of the world's largest...
Japan's Nikkei index jumps after dollar passes 100-yen mark for first time in 4 years
May 10, 2013 11:29 AM CDT
Japanese stocks outperformed all others by a wide margin Friday after the dollar finally broke through the 100 yen mark. Markets elsewhere remained solid at the end of the week that's sent many indexes around the world up to all-time highs. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.9 percent to close at 14,607.54, its highest level since January 2008, after the dollar traded above 100 yen for the first time in more than four years _ a lower currency potentially makes the country's exports cheaper....
Colombian investigative reporter keeps low profile, but still suffers attack
May 10, 2013 11:04 AM CDT
His exclusives have triggered some of Colombia's biggest scandals, leading to the dismissals, arrests and prosecutions of dozens of crooked, sometimes murderous public officials. Yet in this age of social media saturation and in-your-face journalistic ego, Ricardo Calderon continues to shun the limelight. To the public, this old-fashioned gumshoe reporter's face is unknown. Now, the prize-winning reporter fears, his cover has been blown. Gunmen surprised Calderon last week when he stopped to...
Flamboyant Nigeria newspaper publisher, known for bringing in celebrities, hit by strike
May 10, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
Known for bringing in celebrities and smiling in photographs next to former Western leaders, a flamboyant Nigerian newspaper publisher now faces a challenge from his most vocal critics _ his own employees. Workers have barricaded the front of ThisDay newspapers in Lagos, hoping to force publisher Nduka Obaigbena into paying them as much as four months' worth of back salaries due to them. Back pay disputes often hit industries in Nigeria, a country where steady paying jobs remain few, but this...
Death toll from Pakistan building fire rises to 22 after rescue workers recover 17 bodies
May 10, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
Police in Pakistan say the death toll from a building fire in the eastern city of Lahore has climbed to 22, after rescue workers recovered 17 bodies. Police officer Maruf Wahla says the bodies were found on Friday after firefighters struggled for 24 hours to extinguish the blaze that had engulfed the nine-story government building. On Thursday, five people plunged to their deaths trying to escape the blaze. Local TV stations broadcast dramatic footage of people jumping from the building and a...
In shift, growing NKorea nuke arsenal seen as a matter of when, not if; what to do less clear
May 10, 2013 10:01 AM CDT
For 20 years, fears about North Korea's headlong pursuit of nuclear bombs have been deflected by admonishments not to overestimate an impoverished dictatorship prone to bragging and tantrums. Not anymore. After three nuclear tests of apparently increasing power and a long-range rocket launch that puts it a big step closer to having a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead to American shores, many believe that in a matter of years _ as little as five, maybe, though the timeframe is debated _...
UNICEF: C. African Republic child soldier twice recruited by rebels killed by angry mob
May 10, 2013 9:24 AM CDT
An angry mob stoned to death a 17-year-old soldier in Central African Republic who had been freed from a rebel group and moved to the capital for his own safety only to be re-recruited by armed fighters, the U.N. children's agency said Friday. The killings came amid growing resentment against the fighters who seized the capital in March and took control of the government. They are roaming the streets and, human rights monitors say, killing people including a priest and a lady carrying a baby....
Search called off for Australian couple seen going overboard during South Pacific cruise
May 10, 2013 9:04 AM CDT
Two Australians plunged off a cruise ship into the ocean despite higher-than-required railings to prevent accidental falls, the cruise company said Friday as authorities called off the search for the couple missing for two days. Surveillance video showed the couple going over the railing about the same time with a brief pause between them, New South Wales Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said. It was not clear if the man or woman went overboard first, and investigators were having the video...
More than 3,000 Serb nationalists rally against deal normalizing ties with breakaway Kosovo
May 10, 2013 8:46 AM CDT
More than 3,000 Serbian nationalists have rallied against a deal normalizing relations with breakaway Kosovo, accusing the government of treason for accepting the agreement in order to advance Serbia's EU bid. Carrying banners "No EU" and "Kosovo is Serbia," the demonstrators on Friday pledged support to hardline Serbs in northern Kosovo who have also rejected the EU-brokered accord. The deal will give Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership authority over rebel Kosovo Serbs, who, in return, will...
2 popes meet and pray: Egyptian Coptic Orthodox pope and Pope Francis pledge greater unity
May 10, 2013 7:56 AM CDT
Two popes prayed together Friday at the Vatican, one Catholic and one Orthodox, in a sign of improving ties following the election of new leaders for both churches. Pope Francis welcomed the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, Pope Tawadros II, in the first such meeting at the Vatican in 40 years, saying his visit "strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood" between the two churches. The Coptic and Catholic churches split in the fifth century over theocratic differences. Christians...
Northern Ireland prison wing, defunct army base reserved for holding G-8 summit lawbreakers
May 10, 2013 7:29 AM CDT
Northern Ireland security chiefs say arrested troublemakers at the G-8 summit next month may be housed in a prison wing and in an abandoned British Army base. Justice Minister David Ford says one wing of Maghaberry Prison, which houses convicted members of outlawed paramilitary groups, will be reserved to house up to 200 arrested G-8 protesters. He says the empty military barracks in the town of Omagh could be used to hold approximately 300 more. "It would be very foolish if we did not plan for...
AP PHOTOS: Eerie ghost town comes up for air and tries to recover its tourism past
May 10, 2013 7:01 AM CDT
A strange ghost town that spent a quarter century under water is coming up for air again in the Argentine farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires. Epecuen was once a bustling little lakeside resort, where 1,500 people served 20,000 tourists a season. During Argentina's golden age, the same trains that carried grain to the outside world brought visitors from the capital to relax in Epecuen's saltwater baths and spas. The saltwater lake was particularly attractive because it has 10 times more salt...
Germany: Obama making 1st official state visit to Berlin in June, talk with Chancellor Merkel
May 10, 2013 6:16 AM CDT
President Barack Obama will visit Berlin next month for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on his first visit to the German capital since taking office, her spokesman said Friday. Obama will be in Berlin June 18-19, said Georg Streiter, a spokesman for Merkel. Details of the visit have yet to be worked out, but Merkel is looking forward to talks on "a wide spectrum of bilateral and global questions," he told reporters. Obama will be traveling in Europe at that time following a G-8 summit in...
Germany: Chancellor Merkel makes surprise visit to Afghanistan to visit German troops
May 10, 2013 6:07 AM CDT
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprise visit Friday to northern Afghanistan to visit her troops less than two weeks after insurgents killed a German special forces soldier and wounded a second, a military spokesman said. Germany is the only NATO nation that has so far committed troops to Afghanistan after the coalition completes its scheduled pullout of combat forces next year. The U.S. is likely to deploy several thousand troops if the Afghan government provides them legal protection....
Post-surgery body parts, medical waste buried in Poland, instead of being incinerated
May 10, 2013 5:39 AM CDT
Polish prosecutors say they are questioning a man suspected of burying body parts and other medical waste instead of delivering them for incineration. A prosecutor in Chorzow, in southern Poland, Marta Zawada-Dybek said Friday that the man, identified as Marek M., has confessed to burying body parts, syringes, bandages and other waste on a plot of land that he owns. His firm that has contracts with some 300 hospitals and private surgeries to professionally dispose of the waste. But he allegedly...
Liberian journalists protest security chief comments by printing black front pages
May 10, 2013 5:33 AM CDT
Newspapers in Liberia have printed black front pages after a government official was accused of threatening journalists. The director of the presidential security service reportedly told a journalist: "Be careful, because you have your pens and we have our guns." The security chief, Othello Warrick, later issued a statement saying he has no intention to endanger the lives of any journalists. The local journalist association known as the Press Union of Liberia says it is "outraged and alarmed."...
Dollar rises above 100 yen for 1st time in 4 years on US economy hopes, Japan monetary easing
May 10, 2013 5:31 AM CDT
The dollar soared above 100 yen for the first time in more than four years Friday, driven by aggressive credit-easing aimed at reviving Japan's sluggish economy and improved U.S. economic figures. The U.S. dollar rose as high as 101.30 yen, the first time since April 2009 that the greenback has traded above 100 yen. The move lifted Japanese stocks to their highest level in more than five years. The weaker yen is a boon to Japan's major auto and electronics exporters. The government said the yen's...
Shattered EU dreams at heart of Bulgarian election _ but voters see few solutions
May 10, 2013 5:18 AM CDT
The big theme of Bulgaria's parliamentary elections this weekend: mounting frustration over the widening gap between the giddy hopes linked to EU membership and today's sobering reality. But few expect things to get any better after the ballot _ and the same discredited center-right party is likely to come out on top as voters see no good alternative. Voter apathy is widespread in a campaign that has also been overshadowed by an illegal wiretapping scandal; turnout Sunday is expected to come under...
Lawyer: Radical cleric Abu Qatada willing to leave UK if Jordan's parliament ratifies treaty
May 10, 2013 4:38 AM CDT
The lawyer for Abu Qatada says he will voluntarily leave Britain, which has been trying to deport the radical Muslim preacher for more than a decade, and go to Jordan if a new treaty on torture is ratified there. The British government last month said it had signed a new treaty with Jordan in a bid to ease human rights concerns preventing the deportation of the cleric, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman. Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said Friday the cleric will go to Jordan voluntarily...
Indonesian police arrest 4 suspected militants accused of bank robbery to fund terrorism
May 10, 2013 4:16 AM CDT
Police say they have arrested four suspected militants on Indonesia's Sumatra island who are accused of robbing a bank to fund terrorist activities. Police spokesman Lt. Col. Sulistyaningsih says that two suspects were arrested late Thursday in Panjang subdistrict of Lampung province.Another man was caught early Friday in the province's Sukoharjo Pringsewu Tanggamus village. A fourth suspect was netted hours later in the neighboring village of Karang Anjar. Sulistyaningsih says the arrests were...
US tourist who picked up 'stones' on Turkish beach gets suspended sentence for smuggling
May 10, 2013 3:16 AM CDT
A lawyer says an American tourist who picked up stones during a beach holiday in Turkey has received a one-year suspended sentence for attempting to smuggle historical artifacts. Jason Dement from Purvis, Mississippi, was briefly detained in April at an airport near the Mediterranean coast because two pieces inside a bag of collected stones appeared to be artifacts. Experts later said the stones were from the Roman era. Lawyer Fatma Zuhre Akinci said Friday a court convicted Dement of attempted...
North Korea calls US-South Korea summit a prelude to war against the North
May 10, 2013 2:00 AM CDT
Ahead of a nuclear-powered U.S. carrier's visit to South Korea, North Korea on Friday called this week's summit between the U.S. and South Korean presidents a prelude to war against Pyongyang. Yet it also said it was waiting "with patience" to see if Seoul changes its policies. The North described South Korean President Park Geun-hye's visit to Washington as a "despicable sycophantic trip to please her master." The summit between the two allies is "a curtain-raiser to a dangerous war to invade"...
Death toll from factory collapse in Bangladesh passes 1,000 as recovery operation continues
May 9, 2013 11:39 PM CDT
The death toll from a garment factory building that collapsed more than two weeks ago outside the Bangladeshi capital soared past 1,000 on Friday, while the list of the dead from a fresh fire at a sweater manufacturer showed the entanglement of the industry and top Bangladeshi officials. Officials said 1,034 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the fallen factory building as of Friday morning. There was no sign of where the toll might finally settle as more bodies were being found, but...
Air and marine search continues after 2 cruise passengers fall overboard off Australian coast
May 9, 2013 11:36 PM CDT
No trace of an Australian couple believed to have fallen off a cruise ship has been found despite an intense, day-long search, officials said Friday. Paul Rossington, a 30-year-old paramedic, and his 26-year-old girlfriend Kristen Schroder, both from the town of Barraba in New South Wales state, were discovered missing Thursday morning after the Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney's Circular Quay at the end of a 10-day journey, said New South Wales Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings. Surveillance...
Japan's Nikkei index jumps after dollar passes 100-yen mark for first time since April 2009
May 9, 2013 10:55 PM CDT
Japan's benchmark stock index surged Friday after the dollar hit a four-year high against the yen. Gains were modest elsewhere as traders digested a positive U.S. jobs report. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.8 percent to 14,581.95 after the dollar traded above 100 yen for the first time since April 2009. Traders have been selling the Japanese currency in reaction to moves by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stimulate the economy by pursuing super-loose monetary policy. South...
Mexico's abusive well-heeled and well-connected suffer rare comeuppance after traffic accident
May 9, 2013 10:51 PM CDT
The arrogant among Mexico's well-heeled got a sharp rebuke Thursday, when two women who crashed in a Porsche and injured a pedestrian were hauled off to jail while threatening police and proclaiming their political connections after what authorities said appeared to be an all-night drinking spree. Federal authorities, meanwhile, suspended four officials in the country's consumer protection agency for allegedly punishing a restaurant that had angered the daughter of the agency's chief prosecutor...
North Korea calls US-South Korea summit a preparation for war against the North
May 9, 2013 10:27 PM CDT
North Korea says a summit between the U.S. and South Korean presidents is a prelude to war against the North. A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea on Friday called President Park Geun-hye's otherwise widely praised visit to Washington a "despicable sycophantic trip to please her master." President Barack Obama and Park warned Pyongyang on Tuesday against nuclear provocations. Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February and has since issued a string...
Ex-Haitian leader Aristide makes public showing for 2nd straight day, jabs at gov't on poverty
May 9, 2013 7:46 PM CDT
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide emerged from months of seclusion for a second straight day and took several swipes at the current government. Speaking to a small group of mostly Haitian reporters and The Associated Press at his home in the capital Thursday, Aristide covered topics ranging from his shock at seeing the devastation caused by the 2010 earthquake to his political party's strength as the country heads to legislative and local elections. He also thanked the thousands...
UK Parliament transport committee calls for Heathrow airport expansion
May 9, 2013 6:02 PM CDT
A British parliamentary committee recommended Friday that the government permit an expansion of Heathrow Airport, rather than allowing the construction of a new airport east of London. Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, and expanding it has long been a contentious political issue in Britain. The aviation industry has lobbied for a third runway for years, but opponents say the plan would damage the environment, worsen noise pollution in the city and lead to a loss of homes. Parliament's...
Pfizer executive in Puerto Rico faces federal charges of producing child pornography
May 9, 2013 5:23 PM CDT
Federal authorities in Puerto Rico have arrested an executive at Pfizer Pharmaceutical for allegedly producing child pornography. Officials say 48-year-old Reinaldo Diaz Camacho was charged after Puerto Rico police received information that he was having sexually explicit conversations with a 16-year-old boy on Facebook. U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Thursday that the boy's mother told authorities she had seen the conversations on her son's cellphone. Rodriguez says Diaz had sent...
Hezbollah chief: Syria will supply `game-changing' weapons to the Lebanese militia
May 9, 2013 5:17 PM CDT
Syria will supply "game-changing" weapons to Hezbollah, the chief of the Lebanese militant group said Thursday, less than a week after Israeli airstrikes on Damascus targeted alleged shipments of advanced Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah. Israel has signaled it will respond with airstrikes to any future weapons shipments, meaning it could quickly get drawn into Syria's civil war if the Hezbollah chief's declaration is more than an empty threat Tension has been rising in the region since Israel...
Yemen's leader warns of al-Qaida expansion in the country
May 9, 2013 4:53 PM CDT
The president of Yemen on Thursday warned that the al-Qaida branch in the country was expanding and using assassinations and abductions of foreigners as a way to challenge the central authority. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued his warning during a closed session of the National Dialogue, which brings political, religious and other leaders together to decide on the country's political system before writing a constitution. The official SABA news agency said Hadi held an "exceptional" meeting,...
Kuwait launches sports club for women, the latest boost for females in Persian Gulf
May 9, 2013 4:30 PM CDT
Muneera al-Shatti has loved playing basketball since she was a child but it wasn't until Thursday that she had chance to show off her skills at a public arena in Kuwait. As part of a new initiative launching sports leagues for women, al-Shatti and her teammates from Salwa Al-Sabah club downed Qadsiya club 63-13 in a game that attracted several hundred men and female fans. The initiative to launch basketball, table tennis and athletic leagues for the first time in Kuwait illustrates how the landscape...
Reigning chess world champion Anand and world No. 1 Carlsen draw in Norway
May 9, 2013 4:10 PM CDT
Chess world champion Viswanathan Anand of India halved a point with the Norwegian world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen to draw in Thursday's second round of the Norway Chess Tournament. Playing white, the 22-year-old Carlsen showed aggressive intent, turning down an early opportunity to force a draw. But the game slowed in mid-section after an exchange of queens before both players grinded out a draw with just a white pawn and the two kings left on the board. Anand said the psychological boost of a win...
Israeli ambassador to UK condemns contentious Church of Scotland report
May 9, 2013 4:01 PM CDT
Israel's ambassador to the U.K. has condemned a report by the Church of Scotland that questioned the divine right of Jews to the land of Israel. Daniel Taub says the document "negates and belittles the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which is truly hurtful." The 10-page discussion paper says that "promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally" and that the Bible should not be used to settle conflicts over land. It was due to be debated...
US officials are granted access to American detained in Venezuela
May 9, 2013 3:51 PM CDT
Venezuela's government has granted U.S. diplomats access to a California man who is being held while he awaits trial on charges of espionage and fomenting unrest. An Embassy spokesperson said Thursday that officials have been permitted to meet with Timothy Tracy, who was arrested by intelligence agents following Venezuela's April 14 presidential election. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because Embassy personnel are not authorized to discuss Tracy's case. Tracy's relatives...
Attacks mar last day of Pakistani election campaign as former PM's son is abducted from rally
May 9, 2013 3:37 PM CDT
An especially violent spate of killings, kidnappings and bombings marred the run-up to Pakistan's nationwide election, capped Thursday by the abduction of the son of a former prime minister as he was rallying supporters on the last day of campaigning before the historic vote. Saturday's election marks the first time in Pakistan's military coup-riddled history that a civilian government has finished its term and will hand over power to another. But the significance of the occasion has been overshadowed...
Chinese activist's brother says he was beaten in village, possibly linked to Taiwan visit
May 9, 2013 3:18 PM CDT
The oldest brother of a Chinese activist who fled house arrest and later settled in the U.S. said he was beaten up Thursday by unidentified men, part of an increase in harassment possibly linked to the activist's plans to visit Taiwan. Chen Guangfu said he was followed by a black car without a license plate while he was on a motor scooter visiting a relative in another village in Shandong province. The car overtook him and blocked his way before two men in their 20s got out and punched and kicked...
Karzai, uneasy about neighboring Pakistan's role, says US can keep 9 bases in Afghanistan
May 9, 2013 3:16 PM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has irked Washington with his frequent criticism of American military operations in his country, said Thursday that his government is now ready to let the U.S. have nine bases across Afghanistan after most foreign troops withdraw in 2014. A border spat with Pakistan and a desire to test public opinion led Karzai to break months of public silence on this issue, according to Afghan analysts. They said Karzai is concerned that Pakistan is using the Taliban to give...
Northern Ireland leaders say they want to tear down Belfast's dozens of 'peace lines' by 2023
May 9, 2013 3:01 PM CDT
Northern Ireland hopes to tear down the so-called "peace lines" of Belfast _ dozens of walls of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide Irish Catholic and British Protestant neighborhoods _ within a decade, officials said Thursday. But in setting a deadline of 2023, it's a sign of how difficult the task will be. The government unveiled the goal as part of wider plans to reduce divisions in what remains a profoundly polarized society 15 years after the Good Friday peace accord. First Minister...
Brazil's most populous state launches crack rehabilitation program
May 9, 2013 2:46 PM CDT
Brazil's most populous and wealthiest state expanded its attack on crack cocaine abuse on Thursday by unveiling a program that will provide about $650 a month in subsidies for the rehabilitation of addicts at private treatment centers. In announcing the program, Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin said 1 ,350 reals will be earmarked monthly for each crack user aged 18 or more who voluntarily enrolls in a rehabilitation program that is expected to get under way in two months in 11 cities....
A look at the political power structure in Iran
May 9, 2013 2:20 PM CDT
A look at the political power structure in Iran. SUPREME LEADER AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI: Wields control over every major decision either directly or through a network of hand-picked loyalists and institutions, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, the judiciary and intelligence services. GUARDIAN COUNCIL: Group of 12 experts in Islamic law who approve all candidates for high elected office and can veto parliamentary bills considered to be in violation of Iran's Islamic constitution. PRESIDENT:...
Iranian president's era nears its end but loyal political base hints at future clout
May 9, 2013 2:18 PM CDT
When many struggling families in this eastern Iranian city take stock of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's legacy, it's not about the oratory full of bluster and menace or his tussles with Iran's ruling clerics that are known to much of the world. What matters more here are the dusty rows of government-subsidized, two-story apartment buildings on the outskirts of the once-neglected outpost _ testament to an effective populist outreach that has won the president millions of loyal backers...
Finland says 2 Finnish hostages, 1 Austrian freed after kidnapping in Yemen in December
May 9, 2013 2:10 PM CDT
Finland says two Finnish and one Austrian hostage who were kidnapped in Yemen in December have been released. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says the Finnish couple, Leila and Atte Kaleva, and Austrian Dominik Neubauer have not been harmed and had flown to Austria where they were being examined at a hospital. Tuomioja said Thursday that Finland did not pay a ransom for the hostages' release. He thanked officials in Austria, Oman and Yemen for close cooperation during the 140-day ordeal....
Ottavio Missoni, co-founder of iconic zigzag-patterned knitwear brand, dies in Italy at 92
May 9, 2013 2:01 PM CDT
Ottavio Missoni, the patriarch of the iconic fashion brand of zigzag-patterned knitwear that helped launch Italian ready-to-wear and turn Milan into a fashion mecca, died Thursday just months after his eldest son disappeared without a trace. He was 92. Missoni "passed away serenely" in his home in the town of Sumirago, north of Milan, where Missoni SpA is also based, the company said in a statement. It was another sorrow for the family in a year that marks the 60th anniversary of their company's...
Report: Iran says it has built new, radar-evading drone
May 9, 2013 1:54 PM CDT
Iran's defense minister says Iran has built a new, radar-evading drone that can do surveillance and fire on enemy targets. The semi-official Fars news agency on Thursday quoted Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as saying that the new aircraft _ dubbed Epic, or Hemaseh in Farsi _ can fly at high altitudes. He did not elaborate on its capabilities. In recent years, Iran has been pursuing a drone program alongside its military program, which has aimed to produce missiles, jet fighters, destroyers, light submarines...
North Korea says Korean-American sentenced to labor had smuggled in anti-Pyongyang literature
May 9, 2013 1:15 PM CDT
North Korea delivered its most in-depth account yet of the case against a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years' hard labor, accusing him late Thursday of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-Pyongyang activities at a border city hotel. Still, the long list of allegations included no statement from Kenneth Bae, other than claims that he confessed and didn't want an attorney present during his sentencing last week for what Pyongyang called hostile acts against...
Eurozone Slovenia announces austerity measures to avoid international bailout
May 9, 2013 1:03 PM CDT
Slovenia's government announced Thursday an austerity plan designed to raise 540 million euros ($707 million) in new taxes as part of an effort to balance the budget and avoid seeking an international bailout. The small Alpine country, once a model of socialist economy, is racing to convince investors it has a credible strategy for raising the funds to stay solvent and avoid becoming the fifth euro country after Cyprus to ask for financial aid. In addition to the hike in the country's sales tax...
American stabbed by assailant outside US Embassy in Cairo
May 9, 2013 12:56 PM CDT
An assailant stabbed an American man on Thursday while they were standing outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, security officials said. The area around the U.S. Embassy has been the site of anti-American incidents and violence in the past, but stabbing attacks are uncommon despite political unrest that has roiled Egypt since the 2011 uprising. Embassy spokesman David Ranz confirmed that a U.S. citizen was stabbed near the embassy, and said he was immediately rushed to the hospital. His condition...
Venezuelan politics get personal, divide families as relatives fight over postelection dispute
May 9, 2013 12:49 PM CDT
A portrait of Hugo Chavez stared down from a black metal frame as Jose Pastano sipped coffee after dinner with his sons in the slum house he shares with 17 relatives on the western edge of the capital. Leaning forward in his chair, the retired bus mechanic chided his children for backing Venezuela's opposition, calling them ungrateful for all that the late president had done for the country during his 14 years in power. The ruling party's narrow win in last month's presidential vote, Pastano declared,...
Kerry: Russian sale of missile defense system to Syria would be 'destabilizing' for Israel
May 9, 2013 12:10 PM CDT
ROME (AP) _ Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the transfer of advanced missile defense systems from Russia to Syria would be a "destabilizing" factor for Israel's security. Kerry said the U.S. has expressed concerns about what such defensive systems in Syria would mean for Israel's security. He wouldn't address what the missiles might mean for Syria's civil war. He spoke to reporters in Rome after the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia was preparing to sell the weapons to President...
Save the Children, drug company GSK announce new partnership to save children's lives
May 9, 2013 11:17 AM CDT
One of the world's leading drug makers is partnering with Save the Children to save more lives in developing countries. GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children announced the move Thursday after the CEOs of the two organizations visited a remote health clinic in Kenya where they spoke to a mother who had lost three children to diarrhea. The collaboration will see the groups share expertise and resources. One new initiative is to transform an antiseptic used in mouthwash into a gel to fight infections...
Group: At least 10,000 opposition activists and other dissidents detained in Eritrea
May 9, 2013 11:07 AM CDT
Eritrea's government has jailed about 10,000 dissidents without charge or trial over the years, a rights group said in report Thursday, describing the Horn of Africa nation as one of the world's most repressive states. The new report by Amnesty International said those held in detention include suspected critics of the government, politicians, journalists, and "anyone who refuses to comply with the repressive system." In a statement Thursday, Eritea's governmnet called the report "unsubstantiated"...
Kerry says he'll answer lingering questions on Benghazi attack
May 9, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
Secretary of State John Kerry says he's determined to answer any questions related to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya. Kerry says anyone culpable of wrongdoing will be dealt with appropriately. But he's withholding judgment on testimony in Congress suggesting that senior State Department officials were pressured or demoted for objecting to the administration's official line. The attack killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. It occurred while Hillary Rodham...
Burkina Faso's foreign minister briefly passes out during live news conference in Turkey
May 9, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
The foreign minister of Burkina Faso on Thursday briefly passed out during a live televised news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, forcing him to delay a planned trip to Paris the next day. State media reported that he spoke of being tired and taking flu medication, while a doctor said he had low blood sugar. Djibril Yipene Bassole, 55, leaned toward the lectern in front of him before knocking it over and collapsing on the raised platform. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu...
In Uganda, role of the president's son in the military provokes questions about succession
May 9, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
Breaking ranks with the military high command, a general is accusing President Yoweri Museveni of trying to ensure his son replaces him, the first top official to raise concerns about the purported succession plan. David Sejusa, one of only six generals in the Ugandan military and a member of its high command, said in a recent letter to the head of the internal security service that he wants an investigation into allegations that those opposed to Museveni's son as a future leader could be targeted...
5 people plunge to their deaths trying to escape burning building in Pakistan
May 9, 2013 10:46 AM CDT
Police say five people have plunged to their deaths trying to escape a burning government building in eastern Pakistan. Police officer Maruf Wahla says the death toll could rise, since firefighters have not been able to enter all areas of the nine-story building in the city of Lahore. Local TV stations broadcast dramatic footage of people jumping from the Lahore Development Authority building Thursday as smoke poured from the windows. A crowd of horrified Pakistanis stood at the base of the building...
A year after Olympics debacle, G4S to provide security for G-8 conference in Northern Ireland
May 9, 2013 10:20 AM CDT
G4S, the security company that had a high-profile failure at the London Olympics, says it has been hired to support police at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland next month. The firm said Thursday it would supply 450 employees to the June 17-18 event at the Lough Erne golf resort. Thousands of soldiers and police officers from across Britain will also be brought in to help the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The annual meeting of leaders from the U.S., Britain, Russia, Japan, Germany, France,...
Israel asks Russia to cancel plan to provide Syria with advanced S-300 antiaircraft missiles
May 9, 2013 10:07 AM CDT
Israel has asked Russia to cancel an imminent sale of an advanced air defense system to Syria that could complicate further military intervention, Israeli security officials confirmed Thursday. The officials said Israel shared information with the United States in hopes of persuading Russia to halt the planned deal to provide S-300 antiaircraft missiles. Disclosing the deal, the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. Israel has largely stayed...
Influential Islamic cleric visiting Gaza declares Israel has no right to exist
May 9, 2013 10:04 AM CDT
A prominent Islamic scholar making a landmark visit to the Gaza Strip declared Thursday that Israel has no right to exist and voiced his support for rocket fire on Israel, giving a boost of legitimacy to the militant Islamist Hamas rulers of the Palestinian territory. Yusuf al-Qaradawi is the latest of a few high profile figures visit Gaza, boosting the Hamas effort to break its international isolation. The U.S., EU and Israel brand Hamas a terror group, while the rival Fatah, which rules in the...
Standard & Poor's cuts Egypt's credit ratings, citing lingering pressures on foreign reserves
May 9, 2013 10:01 AM CDT
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has pushed Egypt's sovereign credit ratings deeper into junk status, citing "continued pressure" on foreign reserves. In a setback to the already worsening economy, S&P said in a statement Thursday that it cut Egypt's long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings to CCC+ and C, from B- and B. The rating agency said it expected "financing pressures to remain elevated" and donor support "to remain elusive." That was a reference to stalled talks between...
Lithuania searches for missing lawmaker wanted for questioning in deadly pedophilia scandal
May 9, 2013 9:50 AM CDT
Lithuanian authorities have formally launched a search for a lawmaker wanted for questioning in relation to a deadly pedophilia scandal that has riveted the nation for the past three years. Neringa Venckiene, who was recently stripped of her legal immunity by fellow parliamentarians, has not been publicly seen in recent days. The scandal broke in October 2009, when Venckiene's brother, Drasius Kedys, is alleged to have killed two people whom he accused of molesting his daughter. Six months later,...
Lightning strike injures 39 at Father's Day party in eastern Germany
May 9, 2013 9:41 AM CDT
A lightning strike has injured 39 people, eight of them severely, at a Father's Day party in eastern Germany. More than 500 people were attending Thursday's event in a village near the city of Schwerin when lightning struck a group of trees and a nearby switch box on the village fairground around 1 p.m. Police spokesman Joerg Bruhn said many visitors at the fairground suffered burns and were treated for shock. Two rescue helicopters were called to the village of Dabel as well as several ambulances....
Pakistani prisoner dies from beating in Indian prison week after Indian's death in Pakistan
May 9, 2013 9:33 AM CDT
A Pakistani prisoner serving a life sentence in India died Thursday from a beating that occurred a day after a convicted Indian spy was killed inside a Pakistani prison, and the rival nations have accused each other of not doing enough to protect prisoners. Pakistani diplomat Sultan Hasan said the inmate, Sanaullah Ranjay, died in a hospital in northern India after slipping into a coma. He had been beaten up by a fellow inmate Friday in the prison in Jammu, the winter capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir....
Students, teachers in Spain stage country-wide strike against austerity measures, reform
May 9, 2013 9:25 AM CDT
Thousands of students and teachers staged a strike across Spain on Thursday to protest government austerity measures and a planned new education reforms. The stoppage affected all levels of education and union pickets were placed at many schools and universities across the country. Organizers claimed a 65 percent turnout by teachers for the strike, while the Education Ministry put the figure at 19 percent. The Platform for the Defense of Public Schools, which groups together students, teachers...
Iraq rejects sheltering Turkey's Kurdish fighters in north, key point in deal to end conflict
May 9, 2013 8:25 AM CDT
Iraq on Thursday rejected a key element of an accord to bring an end to a long Kurdish uprising in Turkey _ offering refuge to rebel fighters in country's north. In March, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, announced a deal to end a nearly three-decade conflict in turkey that has killed tens of thousands of people. The deal was reached in talks between imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish government. The refuge offer came from Iraq's Kurdish region, which enjoys limited independence...
Egypt's Coptic pope visiting Vatican for the 1st time in 40 years
May 9, 2013 8:21 AM CDT
Egyptian church officials say Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II has left for the Vatican, marking the first such visit in 40 years. Six priests and bishops accompanied Tawadros on his six-day visit, aimed at congratulating the new Catholic Pope, Francis I. The Coptic Church announced the pope's departure on Thursday. Tawadros is also relatively new to his post, taking office last year. His predecessor made the last visit by a Coptic pope to the Vatican in 1973. The Coptic and Catholic churches...
Nigeria military helicopter crashes in oil delta on training mission, days after jet crash
May 9, 2013 7:54 AM CDT
A Nigerian military helicopter has crashed in the country's oil-rich southern delta, just days after one of its jets crashed. A statement from Nigeria's Air Force said the crash happened Thursday morning at its base in Port Harcourt and that the crew escaped unharmed. Local witnesses described seeing a plume of smoke rise from the base. The air force identified the helicopter as a Russian-made Mi-24B attack helicopter. The statement said an investigation into the cause of the crash has started....
40 years since post-war exodus, Vietnamese take to sea again, now hoping to stay in Australia
May 9, 2013 7:41 AM CDT
Nearly 40 years after hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled the country's Communist regime by boat, a growing number are taking to the water again. This year alone, 460 Vietnamese men, women and children have arrived on Australian shores _ more than in the last five years combined. The unexpected spike is drawing fresh scrutiny of Hanoi's deteriorating human rights record, though Vietnam's flagging economy may also explain why migrants have been making the risky journey. The latest boat carrying...
Israel pressing ahead with new West Bank settlement houses despite US efforts to restart talks
May 9, 2013 7:32 AM CDT
Israel has given preliminary approval to build nearly 300 housing units in a West Bank settlement, a spokesman said Thursday, bringing a Palestinian rebuke and possibly complicating U.S. efforts to relaunch Mideast peace talks. The approval came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israel's chief negotiator in Rome. The negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni played down the new housing approval. Maj. Guy Inbar, a military spokesman, said 296 homes in the Beit El settlement were granted...
Berlusconi to lead political backers in Italy protest rally to protest tax fraud conviction
May 9, 2013 7:24 AM CDT
Silvio Berlusconi will lead his political party in a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction, which carries a prison sentence and a ban from public office. The four-year prison term for Italy's former premier and the five-year ban, which were handed down by a Milan appeals court Wednesday, will take effect only if another appeals tribunal _ Italy's highest Court of Cassation _ upholds the verdict. That decision could take months or more. Meanwhile, the media mogul is gearing up for a rally...
Police investigators confirm powerful blast in Czech capital caused by gas leak
May 9, 2013 7:05 AM CDT
Investigators have confirmed that the blast last week that ripped open a central Prague office building and injured some 40 people was caused by a gas leak. Police spokesman Jan Danek says the gas leaked from an underground pipeline located several meters from the damaged building. Danek didn't give further details Thursday. He says the investigation has not been concluded but authorities believe it was an accident. The April 29 explosion badly damaged the building, which belongs to the Air...
Bangladesh tribunal convicts Islamic party politician of war crimes, sentences him to death
May 9, 2013 6:33 AM CDT
A Bangladesh tribunal convicted a top Islamic party politician Thursday of atrocities stemming from the nation's 1971 independence war and sentenced him to death, triggering fears of another wave of deadly street violence between party supporters and security forces. The verdict against Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was the fourth verdict in Bangladesh's war crimes tribunals since January. Dozens of people have been killed in the riots that followed the earlier cases. There were clashes in at least two...
EU in Kosovo orders 1 month detention for suspected Balkan drug boss Kelmendi
May 9, 2013 6:25 AM CDT
The European Union law mission in Kosovo says it has ordered a suspected Balkan drug boss to be detained for one month while it gathers evidence in a suspected organized crime case. Naser Kelmendi is suspected of directing a criminal network stretching from Turkey into Western Europe. The EULEX mission said Thursday that Kelmendi is being investigated for "the same offences he has been accused of in Bosnia." Authorities in Bosnia want Kelmendi as part of an investigation into criminals linked...
BoE opts to keep interest rates steady and refrains from boosting stimulus programs
May 9, 2013 6:06 AM CDT
The Bank of England has opted against pumping more money into the British economy. The decision Thursday by the central bank's main policymaking body had been widely expected. The policymaking committee also opted to keep the main interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent. Recent figures showing that Britain avoided its third recession in four years reined in expectations the Bank would make more asset purchases. The Bank has splashed out 375 billion pounds ($583 billion) since 2009 buying government...
Greek finance minister says economic recovery, return to markets seen at end of 2014
May 9, 2013 5:08 AM CDT
Greece's recession-wracked economy should start recovering next year and its sky-high unemployment rate should edge lower from the end of 2014, the finance minister said in an interview broadcast Thursday. Speaking on state-run NET television, Yannis Stournaras said Greece could be in a position to return to the international bond markets at the end of 2014. Greece has been relying on billions of euros in international rescue loans since May 2010 after excessive debt and a huge budget deficit...
Fears rise that jihadi fighters have brought their battles to Tunisia
May 9, 2013 5:06 AM CDT
The hunt for al-Qaida-linked militants in a mountainous region near Tunisia's borders with Algeria in recent days has raised alarm that the birthplace of the Arab Spring has become the latest battleground for violent jihadis. With neighboring Algeria and Libya full of weapons and violent movements of their own, Tunisia is struggling to prevent the growth of armed groups while making its own tentative transition to democracy. The news out of Tunisia in the past week has been depressingly familiar...
UAE coup plot suspects seek independent probe into abuse claims
May 9, 2013 5:06 AM CDT
A group of 94 suspects charged with plotting against the United Arab Emirates is seeking an independent investigation into their claims of abuses in custody. Their letter to the UAE's president, released by activists on Thursday, comes after the prosecution wrapped up its case this week, claiming the Emirati suspects are linked to Islamist networks opposed to the country's Western-backed ruling system. The charges reflect wider crackdowns across the Gulf Arab states. The letter repeats claims...
Beijing police smother area after hundreds protest migrant worker's death
May 9, 2013 4:52 AM CDT
Police smothered a southern section of China's capital with officers and paramilitary forces for a second day Thursday after a rare protest by hundreds of migrant workers, underscoring Beijing's sensitivity over unrest fueled by anger over social inequality. Anti-riot vans and police forces deployed around a bustling wholesale clothing market in Beijing's Fengtai district, where protesters rallied Wednesday over the death of a 22-year-old woman from the central province of Anhui. The woman, Yuan...
7 militants killed, 13 arrested in Indonesia raids with possible links to Myanmar Embassy plot
May 9, 2013 4:35 AM CDT
Indonesia's elite anti-terrorism unit conducted several bloody operations to root out suspected Islamic militants, killing seven and arresting 13 others, police said Thursday as they continued to investigate an alleged plot to bomb the Myanmar Embassy. Investigators said the suspected militants robbed banks and committed other thefts to fund terrorism. Police were trying to determine whether any of the groups raided Wednesday and Thursday were connected to last week's alleged plot to retaliate...
Putin tells annual Red Square military parade Russia is a guarantor of world security
May 9, 2013 4:10 AM CDT
Russia will be a guarantor of world security, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday at the annual military parade on Red Square. Putin made his short speech at the culmination of Victory Day, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany 68 years ago. It is Russia's most important secular holiday, honoring the huge military and civilian losses of World War II and showing off the country's modern arsenal. Putin told 11,000 servicemen standing in tight formation on the square and the war veterans in the...
Hard-line Islamists with anti-US agenda set to benefit in Pakistan elections
May 9, 2013 3:18 AM CDT
The imposing, black-bearded politician in a striking white turban takes the stage at a campaign rally in northwest Pakistan as a song about Islamic holy war blares over loudspeakers. Before a chanting crowd, he praises the Afghan Taliban and blasts Pakistan's government for not protecting Osama bin Laden from U.S. commandos. Maulana Shujaul Mulk is one of hundreds of candidates from hard-line Islamist parties running for office in this Saturday's national elections. Many analysts expect the Islamists...
Indian police arrest New Delhi man on suspicion of raping 4-year-old neighbor girl
May 9, 2013 2:48 AM CDT
Indian police say they have arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of raping and sodomizing a 4-year-old girl, the latest incident of sexual violence to shock the country. Police officer B.S. Jaiswal says police arrested the suspect in New Delhi on Wednesday, the same day he is accused of assaulting the girl, who is his neighbor. The girl was hospitalized and in a stable condition Thursday. The girl was home alone at the time of the attack and was found crying outside her home by another neighbor....
Bangladesh officials say fire at building housing garment factory, residences kills 8
May 8, 2013 11:43 PM CDT
A fire broke out in an 11-story building housing a garment factory and apartments in Bangladesh's capital, killing at least eight people, officials said Thursday. The fire started Wednesday night, not long after the up to 300 workers at the Tung Hai Sweater Ltd. factory went home for the day, fire official Nazrul Islam said. It burned parts of the first and second floors, which housed the factory, and parts of the third, which housed apartments. By early Thursday, firefighters had found eight...
7 militants killed, 6 arrested in Indonesia raids with possible links to Myanmar Embassy plot
May 8, 2013 11:05 PM CDT
Indonesia's elite anti-terrorism unit went on a busy 24-hour spree to root out suspected Islamic militants, killing seven and arresting six others in three separate operations that may have links to a foiled plot to bomb the Myanmar Embassy. In the latest raid, police shot and killed three suspected militants early Thursday after an all-night standoff at a house in the Central Java town of Kebumen. Four others were arrested, said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar. He said the...
Vatican cardinal says Mexico's folk Death Saint is blasphemous, decries its worship by gangs
May 8, 2013 11:05 PM CDT
The Vatican's culture minister says Mexico's folk Death Saint is a blasphemous symbol that shouldn't be part of any religion. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi says worshipping such an icon is a degeneration of religion. The Santa Muerte is a skeletal figure of a cloaked woman with a scythe in her bony hand. It is worshipped both by drug dealers in Mexico and by the terrified people who live in drug-torn neighborhoods. Ravasi spoke Wednesday at a dialogue among believers and nonbelievers in Mexico...
Asian stock markets higher after Dow hits a new record; Chinese shares fall on inflation data
May 8, 2013 10:03 PM CDT
Asian stock markets rose Thursday on the heels of another record high on Wall Street and an interest rate cut in South Korea to boost economic growth. South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.8 percent to 1,972.70 after the Bank of Korea lowered its benchmark interest rate for the first time in seven months. In announcing that it was lowering the rate by a quarter percentage point to 2.5 percent, the Bank of Korea became the latest central bank, following those in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan,...
China urges Israeli prime minister to remove obstacles to restarting talks with Palestinians
May 8, 2013 9:08 PM CDT
China's premier has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove obstacles to restarting talks with the Palestinians, as Beijing seeks to bring its growing international influence to bear on the Middle East peace process. Greeting the Israeli leader at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made no direct mention of his meeting two days earlier with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads his people's efforts to achieve statehood. Talks...
Mexico officials say 3 police working for Interpol, 1 federal investigator missing in north
May 8, 2013 7:49 PM CDT
Authorities in northern Mexico say three police officers working for Interpol in Mexico and a federal investigator have been missing since Monday. Chihuahua state Gov. Cesar Duarte says state and federal police are searching for the four men, all Mexican citizens. The officers were last seen in Chihuahua city, where they were assigned to special operations. Authorities say they disappeared while driving from Chihuahua city to Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Duarte didn't...
Push to promote coca-based food by Bolivia's president fails to win over palates
May 8, 2013 7:42 PM CDT
Since taking office seven years ago, President Evo Morales has tried to persuade the world that he has no tolerance for cocaine and that Bolivia's thousands of acres of coca plants can be dedicated to such traditional uses as fighting fatigue as well as whipping up wholesome treats like sweet breads and coca puffed snacks. The longtime leader of Bolivia's biggest coca growers union, Morales has a personal stake in seeing the destigmatization of the crop. He and his fellow growers say they want...
Venezuelan president, rivals tour South America seeking allies after contested election
May 8, 2013 7:21 PM CDT
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and his Argentine counterpart and ally, Cristina Fernandez, announced new energy and food agreements Wednesday, then Maduro cheered supporters of Argentina's president with a rousing speech at a soccer-stadium rally. Maduro said their two countries are more closely aligned than ever despite the deaths of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and of Nestor Kirchner, Fernandez's husband who preceded her in the presidency. "Hugo Chavez Frias and Nestor Kirchner! I feel...
Catholics in Puerto Rico rally around archbishop amid reports Vatican pressuring him to resign
May 8, 2013 6:29 PM CDT
Roman Catholics in Puerto Rico rallied Wednesday around an archbishop who is apparently under pressure from the Vatican to resign for allegedly covering up for sexually abusive priests and other misdeeds. Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves has not confirmed that he is being asked to step down as leader of the Catholic Church in the U.S. island territory. However, he has asked parishioners to pray for him. "I beg of you, please, do not send letters to the Holy See with expressions of solidarity....
Dominican Republic's government and Canadian mining venture alter disputed gold mine contract
May 8, 2013 6:24 PM CDT
A Canadian joint venture and the government of the Dominican Republic announced an agreement Wednesday on new terms for the operation of a big gold mine, resolving an acrimonious dispute over whether the Caribbean country had gotten a fair royalty deal for its natural resources. The new terms eliminate one of the most controversial provisions of the old contract, a requirement that the venture majority owned by Barrick Gold Corp. would not have to begin paying a net profit tax until it made a...