Algerian politics in limbo as president marks 40 days convalescing in Paris
Jun 7, 2013 3:55 AM CDT
Forty days after Algeria's president was hospitalized, the country is stuck in limbo with its normally predictable politics thrown into disarray. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's absence during a key visit by the powerful Turkish premier has reignited questions over his health and the future of Africa's largest nation. Laws remain unpassed, important reforms unimplemented and succession murky as he convalesces in a French hospital. The rampant speculation over the condition of Bouteflika, who...
Japan and France agree to increase cooperation on nuclear technology and military equipment
Jun 7, 2013 3:49 AM CDT
Japan and France agreed Friday to deepen their cooperation on nuclear technology and to discuss joint development of military equipment, vowing to raise the tenor of their partnership. Visiting French President Francois Hollande and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a joint statement pledging to prevent nuclear proliferation while raising safety standards for nuclear energy. The two sides also agreed to establish a regular dialogue between their foreign ministers and defense ministers,...
Correction: Ethiopia-Nile Dam story
Jun 7, 2013 3:34 AM CDT
In a story May 31 about the detention of an Ethiopian journalist, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the writer was "near" the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam when he was reporting on the return of evicted farmers from land. The Committee to Protect Journalists had said he was reporting "in a region" in which the dam is being constructed but Mohamed Keita, CPJ's Africa advocacy coordinator, says at least 100 kilometers (62 miles) separate the site of the dam construction from the site...
Israeli police say Tel Aviv gay killings 4 years ago were not a hate crime
Jun 7, 2013 3:33 AM CDT
Israeli police say the killing of two people at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv four years ago is no longer being treated as a hate crime. Police arrested four suspects this week in connection with the killing, originally seen as the most serious homophobic attack in a country that is fairly gay-friendly. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Friday that the motive behind the killing was of a personal nature. He said the suspects intended to shoot someone else at the center. Instead, they opened...
French president urges release of 2 journalists believed at risk in Syria
Jun 7, 2013 3:21 AM CDT
French President Francois Hollande called Friday for the release of two French journalists missing in Syria, saying their lives were at risk. Hollande, who is visiting Tokyo on a state visit, told reporters he could not give details about the two. "Their lives are at risk, so I cannot say anything more," he said. "I want them released as soon as possible." The French radio broadcaster Europe 1 said in a statement on its website that it was unable to get in touch with reporter Didier Fran??ois...
Police say bus rolls nearly 500 feet down gorge in northern India, killing 18
Jun 7, 2013 2:51 AM CDT
Police say a bus in northern India has rolled nearly 150 meters (500 feet) down a gorge, killing 18 people and injuring 14. The accident occurred Friday nearly 310 kilometers (190 miles) north of New Delhi. The cause was not immediately known. Police officer Khajana Ram says seven injured people have been hospitalized at Solan, a town in Himachal Pradesh state, and some were seriously hurt. Many of the victims were students of local colleges. India has the world's deadliest roads, with more...
Marriage of Israeli minister, TV anchor draws attention to ties between politics and press
Jun 7, 2013 2:16 AM CDT
He's a powerful Cabinet minister and a potential heir to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She's an influential anchor for Israel's state-run TV channel who led its recent election night coverage. Together they have emerged as the country's most high-profile power couple, with every step of their budding romance chronicled by paparazzi and gossip columnists. Beyond the headlines, though, newlyweds Gideon Saar and Geula Even have also generated a debate over what some critics say is already an...
Macau's casinos thrive on Chinese gamblers' taste for baccarat
Jun 7, 2013 2:16 AM CDT
In the nearly three dozen casinos in Macau, the world's biggest gambling market, there's only one game that matters: baccarat. Almost all of Macau's $38 billion in gambling revenue last year _ six times more than the Las Vegas Strip _ came from card game, much of it from Chinese high-rollers betting borrowed money and dwarfing the takings from slots, blackjack or roulette. Wherever you go in the former Portuguese colony, you'll see chain-smoking Chinese gamblers crowded around baccarat tables...
France, readying to arm Syrian rebels, studies ways to track missiles sent to Assad's enemies
Jun 7, 2013 1:05 AM CDT
France's government is investigating high-tech methods to prevent terrorists from using any weapons that Western governments send to Syrian rebels, such as gadgetry that tracks the movement of anti-aircraft missiles or shuts them down from a distance, officials say. Such controls could be crucial to overcoming fears about arming the rebels _ and to shifting the balance in Syria's civil war, which has left tens of thousands of people dead. A major fear of the U.S. and its allies is that terrorists...
NKorea proposes talks with rival South on Sunday, agrees to reopen communications line
Jun 6, 2013 11:56 PM CDT
North Korea on Friday proposed holding low-level government talks with South Korea this weekend as the rivals look to mend ties that have plunged during recent years amid hardline stances by both countries. Pyongyang, which wants to meet Sunday in its border city of Kaesong, also said it would reopen a Red Cross communication line with South Korea in their truce village later Friday. During a weeks-long period of animosity marked by a string of North Korean threats of war and South Korean vows...
China poultry plant 'extremely chaotic' ahead of deadly fire; both managers, inspectors blamed
Jun 6, 2013 10:55 PM CDT
China's workplace safety agency blamed both factory managers and government inspectors Friday for the `'extremely chaotic" neglect of safety at a poultry plant where a deadly fire killed 120 workers this week. Safety exits were blocked at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co. plant and managers neglected to hold required safety drills or educate workers, State Administration of Work Safety head Yang Dongliang was quoted as saying, confirming workers' accounts. No one at the plant took responsibility...
Bolivian villagers bury man alive in grave of woman he allegedly raped and murdered
Jun 6, 2013 10:52 PM CDT
Villagers in Bolivia's southern highlands buried a man alive in the grave of the woman he is suspected of having raped and murdered, an official said Thursday. Police had identified 17-year-old Santos Ramos as the possible culprit in the attack on 35-year-old Leandra Arias Janco Sunday in a Quechua community near the municipality of Colquechaca, said Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province where the community is located. Enraged, more than 200 community members seized Ramos...
3 shot dead in tough Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito
Jun 6, 2013 10:47 PM CDT
A city prosecutor says three people were shot dead in a tough Mexico City neighborhood that is home to the area's biggest black market. Prosecutor Alberto Ramos says one person was also injured. He did not give more details about the shooting late Thursday night. Mexican media said the shooting happened inside a gym in Tepito, one of Mexico City's most dangerous neighborhoods. Tepito is home to 12 people who were kidnapped nearly two weeks ago from an after-hours bar in the city center. Three...
Asian stock markets fall ahead of key US jobs report; Nikkei plunges as yen strengthens
Jun 6, 2013 10:17 PM CDT
Asian stock markets fell Friday, ignoring a rebound on Wall Street, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a key U.S. jobs report later in the day. Investors were also registering disappointment with the European Central Bank after it failed to fulfill hopes for a dramatic step to spark economic activity in the recession-mired region. Confusion about which direction the U.S. Federal Reserve might go with its bond-buying stimulus also kept investors edgy. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 1.3...
2 men indicted over failed cyanide bombings of high-speed train, lawmaker's office in Taiwan
Jun 6, 2013 10:13 PM CDT
Prosecutors in Taiwan have indicted two men on charges of planting cyanide-tainted bombs on a high-speed train and at a lawmaker's office. The devices failed to explode. The Xinbei Prosecutors' Office said late Thursday that Hu Tsung-hsien arranged for Chu Ya-dong to place two pieces of luggage at each location. Each had a timer meant to set off an attached gas can and release toxic cyanide into the air. It said Hu had placed short sell orders on the local stock exchange before the April 12...
Honduras police officers protest over suspension of 1,400, reach deal to return to work
Jun 6, 2013 9:57 PM CDT
Police officers protesting Thursday over the suspension of 1,400 investigators said they reached an agreement with Honduras' government that will let them keep working while authorities conduct polygraph tests looking for organized crime ties. One officer said the approximately 100 demonstrators had negotiated with Security Ministry officials to resume their work schedules and only take two days off when they have to take polygraph tests. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he...
After a night at the ballet, Putins calmly announce their divorce _ on state television
Jun 6, 2013 8:42 PM CDT
Vladimir Putin pulled off one of his most audacious pieces of stagecraft, attending a ballet with his rarely seen wife, then emerging smiling and announcing their marriage is over. The end of the marriage of the Russian president and Lyudmila Putina less than two months shy of their 30th anniversary came on state television after a Thursday evening that started out like a model of domestic contentment _ a devoted husband taking his wife out for an artsy interlude. After the performance of "Esmeralda"...
Erdogan calls for immediate end to Turkey protests
Jun 6, 2013 8:38 PM CDT
Turkey's prime minister took a combative stance on his closely watched return to the country early Friday, telling supporters who thronged to greet him that the protests that have swept the country must come to an end. In the first extensive public show of support since anti-government protests erupted last week, more than 10,000 supporters cheered Recep Tayyip Erdogan with rapturous applause outside Istanbul's international airport. Despite earlier comments that suggested he could be softening...
Mexico's tourism industry hopes Xi's visit will spark big increase of Chinese tourists
Jun 6, 2013 6:41 PM CDT
Mexico hopes the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to this country's most emblematic Mayan ruins Thursday will spark a mass influx of tourists from China, the world's largest tourism spender. But officials and industry insiders said it's still a long way before Mexico can capitalize on the opportunity. Xi and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the archaeological site of Chichen Itza in Yucatan and spoke about expanding their commercial ties. The Chinese leader said he trusts that...
Syrian rebel offensive in Golan jolts Israel, sends UN peacekeepers fleeing
Jun 6, 2013 6:23 PM CDT
Syrian rebels briefly seized control of a border crossing along the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights on Thursday, prompting the withdrawal of a major Austrian peacekeeping contingent and heightening fears in Israel that it could soon be dragged into the neighboring country's civil war. From the Israeli side of the Golan, Syrian tanks and armored vehicles could be seen across the border. Large explosions could be heard throughout the day, and thick smoke and flames rose from the area. Israeli TV...
Ring around the Parliament: Bosnians demand politicians stop bickering and sort out ID numbers
Jun 6, 2013 6:14 PM CDT
Nearly 3,000 people formed a chain around Bosnia's Parliament on Thursday, trapping hundreds of politicians and civil service workers inside in a demonstration of anger over what protesters say is a government paralyzed by ethnic bickering. What started as a small demonstration the day before has grown into a blockade of the building, with more people joining every hour and the protest stretching into the night. They are demanding a new law on personal ID numbers after the old one lapsed in February,...
With fresh momentum, Syrian regime turns sights on retaking densely populated heartland
Jun 6, 2013 4:28 PM CDT
With fresh momentum from the capture of a strategic town in western Syria, President Bashar Assad's forces have turned their sights to driving rebel fighters from the country's densely populated heartland, including the cities of Homs and Aleppo. The latest battlefield success, due in large part to Lebanese Hezbollah fighters' increasing role and the West's continued reluctance to arm the rebels, raises the possibility that Assad can cling to power for years, even if he won't be able to recapture...
Italian journalist for La Stampa daily missing in Syria for 2 months contacts family
Jun 6, 2013 3:49 PM CDT
Italy's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a war reporter for the Turin daily La Stampa has been in touch with his family for the first time since disappearing in Syria in April. La Stampa's editor-in-chief Mario Calabrese broke the news with a message on Twitter on Thursday evening that 62-year-old Domenico Quirico was still alive and had spoken briefly by phone with his wife. Calabrese said that Quirico remained in Syria, and that the situation has not yet been resolved. The Foreign Ministry...
Separate car bomb attacks kill 14, wound 45 in Iraq, officials say
Jun 6, 2013 3:44 PM CDT
A series of car bomb explosions in and around Baghdad killed 14 people including seven policemen on Thursday, police officials said, adding that dozens were also wounded. The officials said the deadliest attacks took place late at night when a suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into the headquarters of a police commando unit in the Taji area, killing seven policemen and wounding 12 others. Taji is 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad. Violence has spiked in Iraq in recent...
Brazilian teenage girl arrested on charges of killing mother in dispute over boyfriend
Jun 6, 2013 3:44 PM CDT
Brazilian police have arrested a teenage girl on charges of killing her mother for trying to stop her from dating her boyfriend. The Rio de Janeiro police department says in a Thursday statement that officers believe the 17-year-old girl struck her mother on the head before asphyxiating her with a plastic bag on May 25. Officers also arrested the girl's 21-year-old boyfriend on suspicion of helping her take the mother's body to a barren plot of land and burn it. Police say the couple confessed...
Nigeria's fight against Islamic extremists remains in shadows as details elusive in northeast
Jun 6, 2013 3:41 PM CDT
Military commanders promised a tour of this northeast Nigeria city, the birthplace of the nation's Islamic extremist insurgency, to show the busy streets and people selling fruits from wheelbarrows pressed right up against the road. But the scars of the almost three-year insurgency still could be seen from shops burnt by soldiers, a major hotel firebombed and the sandbagged embankments hiding soldiers pointing heavy machine guns at passing traffic. These two visions of Maiduguri, a bustling state...
Russian president Putin and wife divorce, say it was joint decision
Jun 6, 2013 3:36 PM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila said Thursday they are divorcing after nearly 30 years of marriage, making the announcement on state television after attending a ballet performance at the Kremlin. "It was our joint decision," Putin said. Lyudmila Putin, a former Aeroflot flight attendant, was rarely seen in public during her husband's long tenure at the top of Russian politics and implied that she didn't like to travel with him on his frequent trips. "I don't like publicity...
Mexican soldiers rescue 165 kidnapped people at border; most migrants from Central America
Jun 6, 2013 2:50 PM CDT
Mexican soldiers have rescued 165 people kidnapped by a drug cartel and held for as long as three weeks in a one-story home alongside the U.S. border. National security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez says 150 victims were U.S.-bound migrants from Central America. Fourteen were Mexicans and one was from India. He said Thursday at a news conference that a 20-year-old man found guarding the house was detained. Sanchez said the army rescued the group on Tuesday in Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, a town across the...
Israeli military plans new restrictions for soldiers using social media
Jun 6, 2013 2:26 PM CDT
Some Israeli soldiers will soon be unfriending Facebook following a new crackdown on social media use, a move that will limit or ban outright use of the networks by soldiers in classified units. The move comes days after a group of female Israeli soldiers posing for photos wearing nothing but underwear and combat gear surfaced on Facebook, prompting widespread media coverage. It was the latest in a number of embarrassing social media incidents that the Israeli military has endured over the past...
Tax authorities seize office of Bolivian newspaper, which vows to continue publishing
Jun 6, 2013 2:15 PM CDT
Bolivian tax authorities have seized the office and printing press of the country's oldest newspaper, El Diario. The tax agency's legal director Carlos Herrera says the paper owes $18 million dating back to 2006. He says its assets don't cover 10 percent of that. The paper's offices, printing press, furniture and computers have been taken over until it pays the taxes. But Herrera says the paper can still circulate and El Diario director Jorge Carrasco says it will do so. He says the seizure...
Ethiopia summons Egypt's ambassador over Nile dam attack proposals
Jun 6, 2013 2:07 PM CDT
Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday it is demanding an official explanation from Egypt after comments from politicians suggesting Egypt attack or sabotage a Nile River dam Ethiopia is building. Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the ministry, said that Egypt's ambassador to Ethiopia has been summoned to explain the "hostile remarks." The spokesman said Ethiopia is awaiting a response. Ethiopia a week ago started diverting the flow of the Nile River to make way for its $4.2 billion hydroelectric...
Commemorations marking 69th anniversary of Allied invasion of France begin with flag-raising
Jun 6, 2013 2:04 PM CDT
Veterans of the 1944 Normandy landings gathered Thursday at the site of history's largest amphibious invasion for a day of ceremonies marking D-Day's 69th anniversary. Around two dozen US vets, some in their old uniforms pinned with medals, stood and saluted during a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial overlooking Omaha Beach, where a U.S. cemetery holds the remains of over 9,000 Americans who died during the vicious battle to storm the French beach under withering Nazi fire. Commemorations...
Iran's supreme leader backs no candidate, but throws clout behind `small office' presidency
Jun 6, 2013 1:37 PM CDT
At the height of Iran's internal political clashes in late 2011, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became so exasperated that he warned the Islamic Republic could someday drop the office of an elected president. The threat was quickly dismissed as a show of force. But it remains an instructive moment to help explain next week's election to pick the successor to Khamenei's ally-turned-outcast Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Khamenei, the pinnacle of Iran's Islamic power structure, has come to both fear...
Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's selection for National Journalism Prize stirs debate
Jun 6, 2013 1:34 PM CDT
The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been awarded the country's National Journalism Prize even though he was accused of persecuting the press during his 14 years in power. The National Journalism Prize Foundation says in a Thursday statement that its jury voted unanimously to give Chavez the prize because he gave voice to "the oppressed of the world" and fought a "constant battle against media lies." Chavez died from cancer on March 5. His selection for a journalism award has stirred...
Academic, political newcomer sworn in as Palestinian PM as Abbas consolidates power
Jun 6, 2013 1:14 PM CDT
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday swore in a new government headed by a politically inexperienced university dean, in an apparent attempt to consolidate power. The outgoing prime minister, political independent Salam Fayyad, had often clashed with Abbas but enjoyed the backing of the West because of his successful cleanup of public finances in the West Bank. Fayyad resigned in April, after months of labor unrest triggered by a deepening financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority,...
US archaeologist: Biomolecular study backs up Etruscan origin of early winemaking in France
Jun 6, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
Scrapings from the bottoms of 2,500-year-old pottery containers have shed new light on the origins of French winemaking. A team of archaeologists led by the University of Pennsylvania's Patrick McGovern used biomolecular analysis to confirm that fifth-century B.C. Etruscan amphorae found near Montpellier in southern France once contained a type of wine flavored with thyme, rosemary and basil. Archaeological evidence and ancient texts have long provided reasonable certainty that seafaring Etruscans...
EU Commission, IMF clash over report criticizing handling of Greece's debt crisis
Jun 6, 2013 12:58 PM CDT
Two of the main institutions in charge of managing Europe's debt crisis have clashed over whether mistakes were made in the handling of Greece's debt woes. The European Commission, executive arm of the 27-country European Union, Thursday firmly rejected a report from the International Monetary Fund on the Greek bailout, adding that it "fundamentally disagrees" with some of its findings. The EU Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank form the so-called troika of creditors that manages...
Son of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista convicted of manslaughter charges in cyclist's death
Jun 6, 2013 12:38 PM CDT
The son of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a cyclist, the Rio de Janeiro state judiciary said Thursday. Batista's 21-year-old son Thor hit the cyclist last year while driving his Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren at night through a low-income suburb in Rio de Janeiro. Wanderson dos Santos was riding his bike home from work and died instantly. Judge Daniela Barbosa Assumpcao de Souza sentenced Batista to two years of community service, the...
Defendant in German far-right murder trial apologizes to victims' families
Jun 6, 2013 12:34 PM CDT
One of the five defendants in Germany's highest-profile neo-Nazi murder trial in decades has apologized to the victims' families. Holger Gerlach is accused of aiding the National Socialist Underground, whose members are alleged to have killed eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. The dpa news agency reported that Gerlach told a Munich regional court Thursday he supplied the group with identification papers, money and a gun, but didn't know of their plan to kill immigrants....
Snapshots of scenes from Turkey's protests
Jun 6, 2013 12:29 PM CDT
The protests in Turkey that began over government plans to uproot trees in Istanbul's main square to make way for a shopping mall have entered their seventh day. The protests have grown into something much bigger than protecting trees, drawing on a deep undercurrent of discontent against what many feel is the increasing arrogance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Though Erdogan insists he is a servant of the country, protests have spread nationwide. In the frequent, violent clashes that...
Italy's Letta following with attention China' European wine dumping probe
Jun 6, 2013 12:26 PM CDT
Italian Premier Enrico Letta says he will follow China's decision to launch a trade investigation into European wine `'with maximum attention" given the importance of the sector for the country's economy. China opened an anti-dumping probe into European wine this week after the European Union hit Chinese exporters of solar panels with anti-dumping duties. Italy last year exported 31 million liters (8.19 million gallons) of wine to China with a value of 89 million euros ($117 million). The Federvini...
A look at the latest developments in the Syrian conflict
Jun 6, 2013 12:20 PM CDT
Here are the latest developments in the Syria crisis: _ Austria announces it is withdrawing 377 U.N. peacekeepers from the Golan Heights after Syrian rebels briefly overran a crossing point near the border with Israel, deepening concerns the civil war is spreading to neighboring countries. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it regretted the decision and hoped that it would not lead to "further escalation in the region." Fighting between President Bashar Assad's forces and mainly Sunni rebels has...
Tunisia provides heavy security during visit by Turkey's leader
Jun 6, 2013 12:11 PM CDT
As Turkey's leader visited Tunisia on Thursday, two small demonstrations took place in Tunis in support of the anti-government protests taking place in Turkey. But no violence was reported as Tunisia's military protected the Turkish Embassy. Armored vehicles backed by squads of riot police surrounded the embassy and kept 100 protesters at a distance. The second protest involved dozens of people and took place in front of the Chamber of Commerce ahead of a scheduled meeting between Turkish Prime...
Roadside bomb kills 2 Tunisian soldiers during hunt for militants in mountain hideout
Jun 6, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
A roadside bomb killed two Tunisian soldiers who were hunting al-Qaida-linked militants Thursday in a mountainous region near the Algerian border _ the first military deaths from enemy fire in a campaign that began in December. The explosion struck a military vehicle as it passed through the village of Doghra in the Jebel Chaambi mountain region, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mokhtar Ben Nasr said. The blast killed a chief warrant officer and a corporal, and wounded two other soldiers. Tunisia has...
Floodwaters surge north in Germany; Elbe crests in Dresden but historic center is spared
Jun 6, 2013 11:59 AM CDT
The surging Elbe River crested Thursday in the eastern German city of Dresden, sparing the historic city center but engulfing wide areas of the Saxony capital. Residents and emergency crews had worked through the night to fight the floods in Dresden. The German military and the national disaster team sent more support in a frantic effort to sandbag levees and riverbanks as floodwaters that have claimed 16 lives since last week surged north. "Everybody's afraid but the people are simply fantastic...
Cambodian ruling party legislators say opposition MPs broke law, must give up seats
Jun 6, 2013 11:52 AM CDT
A committee controlled by Cambodia's ruling party has ruled that 28 opposition lawmakers should be expelled from the National Assembly ahead of elections next month because their parties merged into a new party. Ruling Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Thursday that 25 legislators from the former Sam Rainsy Party and three from the former Human Rights Party lost their legal right to sit in the assembly because they quit their old parties to join the new Cambodia National Rescue...
Over 100 Chinese miners arrested in Ghana
Jun 6, 2013 11:05 AM CDT
A spokesman for Ghana's immigration service said that 161 Chinese nationals, who were arrested for illegal gold mining this week, will be deported to China. Francis Palm-Deti, spokesman for Ghana's Immigration Service, said the miners were arrested between Saturday and Wednesday. It brings to 181 the total number of Chinese that the country's immigration office has arrested within the past month in this African nation. The Chinese gold-diggers are accused of forcibly taking over people's land...
Putin announces permanent navy presence in Mediterranean to protect Russia's security
Jun 6, 2013 11:03 AM CDT
Russia announced on Thursday that it will keep a fleet of about dozen navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea, a move President Vladimir Putin said is needed to protect his country's national security. Putin said the plan should not be seen as saber rattling, but it comes as Moscow is serving as a key ally and arms supplier to Syrian President Bashar Assad during that nation's civil war. The only naval base that Russia has in the Mediterranean and anywhere outside the former Soviet Union is located...
British regret, payment to elderly veterans of Kenya's colonial struggle brings day of smiles
Jun 6, 2013 10:53 AM CDT
The wrinkled faces of the elderly Kenyans who gathered in a downtown Nairobi hotel registered gratitude, relief and joy Thursday as Britain's high commissioner said what many waited decades to hear. Britain said it "sincerely regrets" the acts of torture a British colonial government carried out against Kenyans fighting for liberation from colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London insisted that an "expression of deep regret" was not the same thing as...
European Central Bank keeps rates unchanged, searches for ways to boost eurozone
Jun 6, 2013 10:53 AM CDT
The European Central Bank has cut its growth forecast for the troubled euro area this year, but said there were enough signs of improvement ahead that it did not need to cut interest rates further. The decision to hold off and wait for the economy to gather steam underscores the lack of quick fixes the ECB and Europe's institutions have to deal with region's stubborn recession and problems with too much debt. Bank President Mario Draghi said the economy of 17 European Union countries that use...
Key quotes from the press briefing of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
Jun 6, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
At his monthly news conference following the European Central Bank's policy-setting meeting, President Mario Draghi on Thursday answered questions from reporters. Here are some highlights of the things he said: _ INTEREST RATES The ECB's governing council kept its key refinancing rate at the record low of 0.5 percent. Draghi said some of the economic indicators had improved and others had worsened. "By and large the governing council agreed that there wasn't any directional change that would...
Roadside bomb kills 3 policemen in northwest Pakistan
Jun 6, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
Police say a roadside bomb targeting police has killed three officers and wounded another in northwestern Pakistan. Senior police officer Shafiullah Khan says the dead and injured officers were guarding a key road on the outskirts of Peshawar city when the bomb hit them Thursday evening. Militants routinely target police and security forces in Pakistan. This latest attack came a day after the country's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in. Sharif has called for holding peace talks with...
When it floods it roars: Mighty Danube River floods central Europe, highlights key waterway
Jun 6, 2013 10:02 AM CDT
The mighty Danube is not the only river in Europe bursting its banks this week, but it packs the biggest punch. Winding 2,850 kilometers (1,777 miles) across 10 nations, the Danube is the second-longest river on the continent, making its way from Germany's Black Forest to the Black Sea bordering Romania and Ukraine. Only the Volga in Russia is longer. In the last decade alone, the Danube has been at the center of two major floods, several devastating droughts and a winter cold snap that froze...
Radioactive leak from new tank at crippled Japan nuclear plant renews water storage concerns
Jun 6, 2013 9:47 AM CDT
Workers at a crippled Japanese nuclear plant are investigating why highly radioactive water leaked from a new storage tank, amid concerns that the problem could further hamper cleanup efforts. The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant suffered multiple meltdowns after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 knocked out power. It is currently using a fragile makeshift cooling system that creates large amounts of highly radioactive water. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that the...
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito says his wife, Masako, cheered by recent trip abroad
Jun 6, 2013 9:35 AM CDT
Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito said Thursday his wife, Masako, feels better about her health since making her first official overseas trip in more than a decade. The 49-year-old crown princess developed a stress-induced illness soon after giving birth to the couple's only daughter, Aiko, now 11. The couple visited the Netherlands on April 28-May 3 to attend King Willem-Alexander's inauguration, their first official overseas trip together since a 2002 visit to New Zealand and Australia. Naruhito...
German top court orders government to grant gay unions same tax benefits as married couples
Jun 6, 2013 9:06 AM CDT
Gay rights campaigners won a victory over the German government Thursday as the country's top court ruled that homosexual couples in civil unions should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples. The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that treating the two forms of partnership differently for tax purposes violates the country's guarantee of equal rights. Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government had long resisted granting the same tax benefits to gay...
Afghan governor says NATO airstrike kills 3 in the east; US-led coalition denies claim
Jun 6, 2013 8:09 AM CDT
The governor of an eastern province in Afghanistan alleged on Thursday that an overnight NATO airstrike killed three civilians and wounded seven there, a claim the US-led coalition flatly denied. Sayed Fazelullah Wahidi claimed the three civilians _ two women and a child _ died in the airstrike allegedly carried out by a drone in the Noorgaram area of the Dara-i Peach district. "This claim is not true," the U.S.-led International Assistance Force said. "ISAF takes allegations of civilian causalities...
Filipino peacekeeper wounded in fighting between Syrian and rebel forces in Golan Heights
Jun 6, 2013 7:42 AM CDT
A Filipino peacekeeper in the Golan Heights was wounded Thursday during fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces, a Philippine military spokesman said. The soldier suffered a leg injury from an artillery or mortar shell that landed at Camp Ziouni, a logistics base for the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala. The soldier, one of the more than 300 Filipino peacekeepers, was in stable condition, Zagala said. It was unclear whether the shell came from the government...
Photo Essay: Clogged rivers and waste symbolize Serbia's eco-nightmare as it seeks to join EU
Jun 6, 2013 7:09 AM CDT
Plastic bottles, old tires, cardboard boxes and other garbage block the flow of the Juzna Morava river _ so badly that men in rubber boats need to use paddles to clear the way. A reek of waste fills the air. Elsewhere, plastic bags hang over bushes and down tree branches. As Serbia seeks EU membership, it faces a major problem with environmental pollution _ one that has been left to fester since the 1990s Balkans wars caused Serbs to neglect their once pristine eco-system. Only one fourth of Serbian...
Russia urges more scrutiny on use of chemical weapons in Syria but says 'red line' not crossed
Jun 6, 2013 6:50 AM CDT
Russia's foreign minister says reports about possible chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime should not be used as a pretext for a foreign invasion, saying a more thorough probe is needed. Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that investigators must also look into claims of chemical weapons use by Syrian rebels. France and Britain this week pointed at evidence that the nerve gas sarin was used by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, signaling that Syria has crossed the "red line" set by President...
Sudanese army: Helicopter crashes in country's southeast, killing 2 crew members
Jun 6, 2013 6:48 AM CDT
A Sudanese military spokesman says a military training helicopter has crashed in the country's south, killing its two crew members. Col. Sawarmy Khalid was quoted on Thursday by SUNA, Sudan's official news agency, as saying that the crash was an accident. Khalid says the helicopter hit a high voltage electricity pole in Damzain in southeastern Sudan. Damzain is the capital of Blue Nile state. No further details were available. The government in Khartoum has been facing an insurgency in the Blue...
Myanmar's Suu Kyi tells business, political leaders she wants to become president
Jun 6, 2013 6:40 AM CDT
In her clearest statement yet of her political ambitions, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told international business and political leaders on Thursday that she hopes to become her country's next president. Delegates attending the Asian edition of the World Economic Forum in Myanmar's capital heard visions of the country's future from Suu Kyi and from the other key figure transforming it today, President Thein Sein. More than 900 people from 50 countries are attending the meetings....
UK's Topshop aims for Chinese shoppers as it opens first outlet in high-rent Hong Kong
Jun 6, 2013 6:03 AM CDT
British fashion chain Topshop opened its first Hong Kong outlet on Thursday, becoming the latest Western brand to brave the city's astronomical rents in a bid to crack the lucrative China market. Topshop boss Philip Green cut the ribbon to the 1,300-square-meter (14,000-square-foot) shop with the help of Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei. Green said he wants to use the store, located in the city's central business district, as a "stepping stone" to mainland China. He's looking for possible locations...
UK Prime Minister Cameron's ex spin doctor Andy Coulson pleads not guilty to phone hacking
Jun 6, 2013 5:15 AM CDT
British Prime Minister David Cameron's former spin doctor has formally denied charges of phone hacking and bribery. Andy Coulson entered pleas of not guilty Thursday at London's Southwark Crown Court to conspiring to intercept voice mail messages and conspiring to make illegal payments to public officials. Britain's phone hacking scandal erupted in 2011, after it was revealed that journalists at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid routinely hacked into voicemail messages of people in the...
Gambling tycoon Stanley Ho buys stake in Qantas-China Eastern budget airline in Hong Kong
Jun 6, 2013 5:05 AM CDT
Asian casino tycoon Stanley Ho's transport company is buying a stake in a budget airline that Qantas and China Eastern Airlines are setting up in Hong Kong, the companies said Thursday. Ho's Shun Tak Holdings Ltd. said Thursday it's paying $66 million for a third of the new venture that will fly under the Jetstar brand. Australia's Qantas Airways and Shanghai-based China Eastern said in March last year that the $198 million venture would serve swelling numbers of Chinese travelers. The venture...
Bear bile farming company in China withdraws plan to float IPO after public pressure
Jun 6, 2013 5:02 AM CDT
Animal-rights activists in China are claiming a rare victory after a company that raises bears to extract bile from their gall bladders withdrew its application for a public listing, although the company hasn't said why it pulled back. The plan for an initial public offering by Fujian Guizhentang Pharmaceutical, which uses the bile for traditional medicines, had caused outrage on social media and sparked online petitions from activists who say the practice is cruel and painful for the bears, and...
Ghana detains 124 Chinese suspected of illegally mining gold; embassy says it's negotiating
Jun 6, 2013 3:29 AM CDT
Police in Ghana have detained 124 Chinese workers suspected of illegally mining gold in the resource-rich West African country, the Chinese Embassy said. Authorities conducted raids in areas near mines where Chinese live, including at a hotel in Ghana's central region of Ashanti over the weekend, and by Wednesday had detained 124, the Chinese Embassy in Accra said on its website. Chinese diplomats were negotiating with Ghana over the detainees, who were being held at an immigration detention...
2 Papua New Guinea police officers charged over slashing, beating of 70 men
Jun 6, 2013 3:14 AM CDT
Two police officers in Papua New Guinea have been charged in connection with the beating and slashing of around 70 men in the South Pacific island nation's capital, officials said Thursday. The officers were arrested and charged this week with unlawful wounding in relation to last month's attack in Port Moresby, with more officers expected to face charges soon, Papua New Guinea national police spokesman Dominic Kakas said. Reports of police brutality are common in Papua New Guinea, an impoverished...
China's `chief butcher' sets out to sell Americans on allowing biggest corporate takeover
Jun 6, 2013 3:05 AM CDT
At an age when most Chinese executives are long retired, the country's top hog butcher is taking on a daunting new job persuading Americans to allow him to complete China's biggest takeover of a U.S. company. Shuanghui International's $4.7 billion bid for Smithfield Foods Ltd. has the endorsement of the American company's board. But facing anxiety over food safety scandals in China and complaints about Chinese cyber spying, 72-year-old chairman Wan Long has launched a charm offensive to reassure...
In print and on stage, the Bible makes surprise comeback in secular Norway
Jun 6, 2013 2:24 AM CDT
It may sound like an unlikely No. 1 best-seller for any country, but in Norway _ one of the most secular nations in an increasingly godless Europe _ the runaway popularity of the Bible has caught the country by surprise. The Scriptures, in a new Norwegian language version, even outpaced "Fifty Shades of Grey" to become Norway's best-selling book. The sudden burst of interest in God's word has also spread to the stage, with a six-hour play called "Bibelen," Norwegian for "the Bible," drawing 16,000...
UN food agency, OECD says global food prices to rise, investment needed to boost output
Jun 6, 2013 12:56 AM CDT
Rising global food demand will push up prices 10 to 40 percent over the coming decade and governments need to boost investment to increase farm production, a forecast by two international agencies said Thursday. Growth in food production has slowed over the past decade even as rising incomes in developing countries boosted consumption, said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. "We're observing slower growth in production and...
US filmmaker held by Venezuela on espionage allegations freed from jail and expelled to US
Jun 6, 2013 12:19 AM CDT
A U.S. filmmaker jailed for alleged espionage in Venezuela was expelled from the country and returned to the United States in a gesture that could signal a thaw in tense relations between the two countries. The release of Timothy Tracy, 35, occurred just hours before the top diplomats of both countries agreed during a meeting in Guatemala to discuss restoring ambassador-level relations. It was secured with the help of former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, who has long worked to improve often strained...
French President Hollande on Japan visit expected to firm up ties on nuclear cooperation
Jun 5, 2013 11:58 PM CDT
French President Francois Hollande is due in Japan for a visit expected to focus on closer cooperation in nuclear energy technologies and on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's strategies for tackling economic malaise. Hollande arrives Thursday and will hold summit talks with Abe that local media say may yield an agreement on cooperating in nuclear fuel cycle technology, next-generation reactors and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Japan is struggling with the cleanup from meltdowns at the Fukushima...
About 450 garment workers fall ill in Bangladesh; factory's water supply suspected
Jun 5, 2013 11:57 PM CDT
About 450 garment workers fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory near Bangladesh's capital, and authorities said Thursday the water supply was suspected. Investigators from the government's health ministry were testing the water at the Starlight Sweater Factory for possible contamination, area civil surgeon Syed Habibullah said. The sick workers suffered vomiting, nausea and upset stomachs starting about two hours into their shifts Wednesday. Habibullah said they were given mainly...
Koreas agree to hold talks on reopening jointly run complex after months of sinking relations
Jun 5, 2013 11:48 PM CDT
North and South Korea have agreed to hold talks on reopening a jointly run factory complex in the North and possibly other issues, a hopeful sign for relations that have deteriorated greatly in recent months. North Korea said Thursday it is open to holding talks with South Korea on reopening the Kaesong complex, which was shuttered in April. Pyongyang's statement was carried by state media and was its first public response to Seoul's proposal in April to discuss the factory complex. South Korea's...
UK's Topshop aims for Chinese shoppers as it opens first outlet in high-rent Hong Kong
Jun 5, 2013 11:35 PM CDT
British fashion chain Topshop is opening its first Hong Kong outlet on Thursday, becoming the latest Western brand to brave the city's high rents in a bid to crack the lucrative China market. The retailer will open the doors on Thursday afternoon to a 1,300 square meter (14,000 square foot) shop in the city's central business district. Topshop boss Philip Green said he wants to use the store as a "stepping stone" to mainland China. He's looking for possible locations in Beijing and Shanghai to...
Nicaraguan official says government looking to give Chinese company concession to build canal
Jun 5, 2013 11:10 PM CDT
A concession to build a canal across Nicaragua linking the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea will be awarded to a Chinese company, the National Assembly president said Wednesday. Legislative leader Rene Nunez said the company will use funds from investors around the world to build the $40 billion project. Nunez talked to local media after two bills for streamlining the process of building the canal and assessing its environmental impact were presented to lawmakers. Opposition congressman Luis...
Ghana detains 124 Chinese suspected of illegally mining gold; embassy says it's negotiating
Jun 5, 2013 11:02 PM CDT
Ghanaian law enforcement officials have detained 124 Chinese workers suspected of illegally mining gold. The Chinese embassy said on its website that authorities in the resource-rich West African nation searched a hotel in the country's central region and captured a number of Chinese citizens on Sunday. The embassy says it is negotiating with the Ghanaian government and has expressed concern over raids of areas near mines where Chinese people have been living. The embassy says Ghana has said...
Syrian troops, Hezbollah capture strategic town, dealing severe blow to rebels
Jun 5, 2013 8:47 PM CDT
Syrian troops and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies captured a strategic border town Wednesday after a grueling three-week battle, dealing a severe blow to rebels and opening the door for President Bashar Assad's regime to seize back the country's central heartland. The regime triumph in Qusair, which Assad's forces had bombarded for months without success, demonstrates the potentially game-changing role of Hezbollah in Syria's civil war. The gain could also embolden Assad to push for all-out...
9 North Koreans repatriated last week are from nation's vagrant underclass, activist says
Jun 5, 2013 8:28 PM CDT
Before they were detained in Laos and sent home, a group of young North Korean defectors smiled and teased each other as they told an activist how some of them were beaten with sticks for trying to steal noodles in their homeland. They talked about a South Korean movie they saw, and wondered if prison cells there were really as clean as the film depicted. The South Korean activist said the encounter provided a glimpse into the lives of North Korea's "ggotjebi," an underclass of vagrants who stay...
At frontline of Nigeria's extremist fight, foes disappear while region's challenges remain
Jun 5, 2013 8:18 PM CDT
Islamist extremists raised their black flag over this village in the remote plains of northeast Nigeria, setting fire to a church, shutting down the schools and bombing the police station in a violent overthrow of government control. Just as quickly as they rose out of the desert scrub several months ago, however, they recently disappeared as Nigeria's military regained control of this area as part of a new offensive. As attack helicopters hovered overhead and tanks hid among the scrawny trees,...
A snapshot of protesters who have gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square
Jun 5, 2013 7:31 PM CDT
The central square and its leafy park in Turkey's largest city has been occupied by protesters from all walks of life and all ages for the past six days _ the strongest show of defiance to date against the country's popular prime minister, who many accuse of displaying increasing arrogance and attempting to meddle in his citizens' private lives. What started as a mostly environmental movement to protect the park in Taksim Square quickly spiraled into demonstrations across the country. But the...
Turkey protests unite disparate groups chafing at prime minister's policies
Jun 5, 2013 5:48 PM CDT
Office workers in business suits chant anti-government slogans alongside pious women wearing Muslim headscarves. Schoolchildren and bearded anarchists rub shoulders with football fans, well-heeled women in designer sunglasses and elderly couples donating food. These disparate groups are united by alarm at what they consider unwarranted meddling and increasingly autocratic behavior by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's most popular prime minister in decades. Even some of his supporters are joining...
Malian army takes town south of Kidal, 1st territorial gain without French help
Jun 5, 2013 5:28 PM CDT
The Malian military attacked Tuareg rebels early Wednesday and succeeded in taking the village of Anefis, marking the army's first victory and territorial gain without the help of French forces since they were routed from the country's north last year by the separatist fighters, officials on both sides said. Reached by telephone, the mayor of Anefis said that the confrontation began at 6:30 a.m. just west of the town. Anefis is 113 kilometers (70 miles) south of Kidal, and the last locality before...
British police charge man for disseminating terrorist material, including text, video lecture
Jun 5, 2013 4:55 PM CDT
British police say they have charged a 30-year-old man for disseminating terrorist material, including a publication and a filmed recording of a lecture. Scotland Yard said that Shah Jalal Hussain was charged Wednesday with providing the material to others with the intention of encouraging terrorism. The force said counter-terrorism police arrested Hussain at an east London address earlier Wednesday. Hussain was kept in custody and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday....
Photo exhibit shows Bergoglio's pastoral work in Argentina before he became Pope Francis
Jun 5, 2013 4:45 PM CDT
A photo exhibition in Argentina's capital features 25 images of Jorge Bergoglio doing pastoral work and conducting religious ceremonies before he became Pope Francis. Argentine photographer Enrique Cangas shot the images of Bergoglio between 2003 and 2012, and says many of them show the future pontiff's "simplicity and humility," as well as his tenacious pastoral work. The photographs are being shown at the Santa Catalina Monastery in Buenos Aires until June 28. Most are on display for the first...
Kerry: US, Venezuela ready to mend badly strained relations, want to exchange ambassadors
Jun 5, 2013 4:43 PM CDT
The United States and Venezuela have agreed to begin a high-level dialogue with the aim of restoring ambassador-level relations and ending more than a decade of steadily deteriorating ties, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. On his first trip to Latin America since taking office and after meeting Venezuela's foreign minister in the first cabinet-level discussion between the two nations in at least several years, Kerry said he was hopeful that a rapprochement could be achieved....
US filmmaker held by Venezuela on espionage allegations freed from jail and expelled to US
Jun 5, 2013 4:19 PM CDT
A U.S. filmmaker jailed for alleged espionage in Venezuela was expelled from the country and returned to the United States on Wednesday in a gesture that could signal a thaw in tense relations between the two countries. The release of Timothy Tracy, 35, occurred just hours before the top diplomats of both countries agreed during a meeting in Guatemala to discuss restoring ambassador-level relations. It was secured with the help of former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, who has long worked to improve...
Egypt: 12 activists to be tried for allegedly instigating violence during protest
Jun 5, 2013 4:14 PM CDT
Twelve of Egypt's best known bloggers and activists are headed for trial on charges of instigating violence during a March demonstration against the president's Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's state prosecutor announced Wednesday. This was the latest measure by President Mohammed Morsi's government against dissenters, moves that have drawn criticism from human rights groups and foreign governments, including the U.S. It coincided with an angry protest by writers, artists and intellectuals who stormed...
3 suspected cartel gunmen killed in battle with vigilantes, police in western Mexico state
Jun 5, 2013 4:12 PM CDT
Three suspected drug-gang gunmen were killed in a confrontation with community self-defense squads and federal police in the mountains of western Mexico, the local mayor said Wednesday. Mayor Justo Virgen Cerrillos in the town of Chinicuila said the suspects had been trying to steal residents' cars to flee the recent offensive by federal forces and died in a gunbattle that began when they were confronted by vigilantes and police Tuesday. Virgen Cerrillos said the suspects were among the cartel...
As WikiLeaks case has worn on, Manning has become less visible to photographers, media
Jun 5, 2013 4:06 PM CDT
In November 2012, after nearly a dozen times photographing the routine arrival and departure of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning for his pretrial hearings outside a courthouse on a Maryland military post, something caught me off-guard: He smiled. In the past, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of documents to WikiLeaks occasionally crooked his neck to glance toward me, sometimes even expressing something between a smirk and a smile. But on that morning as he climbed out of an SUV, he looked directly...
Libya moves state-run oil company to Benghazi after demands for attention from east region
Jun 5, 2013 3:46 PM CDT
Libya's premier on Wednesday ordered relocation of the headquarters of the state-run oil company to the eastern city of Benghazi, fulfilling a long-standing demand by residents of the region and comes days after tribal declared semi-independent region in the east. Prime Minister Ali Zidan told reporters that the decision was not taken under pressure, and that Libya's institutions must be present everywhere across the country. Benghazi was the birthplace of the uprising that ousted longtime dictator...
Netanyahu cool to Arab peace initiative, saying Israel rejects 'dictates'
Jun 5, 2013 3:39 PM CDT
Israel's prime minister on Wednesday gave a cool reception to a renewed peace offer from the Arab world, in a fresh sign of trouble for U.S. efforts to restart Mideast peace talks. With Secretary of State John Kerry expected to return to the region next week as part of his mission to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, neither side seems to be yielding ground. Kerry has indicated that his patience is wearing thin and that he may turn his focus elsewhere if his efforts do not yield results....
Puerto Rico camp counselor accused of blackmailing Colorado teen into posing for sexual videos
Jun 5, 2013 3:37 PM CDT
A 25-year-old camp counselor in Puerto Rico is facing child pornography charges for allegedly coercing a Colorado teen into posing for sexually explicit online videos. Jimmy Caraballo Colon was arrested at his home in the Puerto Rican town of Caguas by federal agents after an investigation launched by police in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Authorities say Caraballo met the 17-year-old victim in an online chat room and employed escalating threats to blackmail her into posing for sexually explicit...
Families rescued by helicopter as 2 levees break in Germany; tens of thousands evacuated
Jun 5, 2013 3:11 PM CDT
Desperate families were plucked from rooftops by helicopters, cars were swept away by raging torrents and levees failed without warning Wednesday as central Europe staggered under an inland ocean of flooding. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated in Germany and the Czech Republic and chemical plants along the mighty Danube and Elbe rivers were hastily shut down. City officials, federal troops and emergency workers across a vast region either raced to prepare or struggled to cope as flood...
Iran presidential candidates debate freedoms, women's rights ahead of June 14 vote
Jun 5, 2013 3:04 PM CDT
The eight candidates running in Iran's June 14 election for president took radically different stands on personal freedoms, women's rights and censorship in the country's second round of televised debates Wednesday. Moderates vowed to loosen restrictions and hard-liners backed strong state intervention in people' lives. The four-hour debate focused on cultural issues. A previous round covered the economy, and an upcoming debate will be devoted to foreign policy and security. The election is to...
UN's child welfare agency condemns 'unrelenting violence' against youngsters in Jamaica
Jun 5, 2013 2:57 PM CDT
The United Nations' child welfare agency said Wednesday that it is deeply concerned about what it describes as "unrelenting violence" against youngsters in Jamaica, including the recent beheading of a 4-year-old girl. Robert Fuderich, UNICEF's representative in Jamaica, said a recent spate of grisly crimes targeting schoolchildren has underscored a chronic and disturbing problem in the Caribbean country that has put authorities on alert and parents on edge. "The killing of several children, in...
French president awarded a peace prize, after leading a war in Mali
Jun 5, 2013 2:54 PM CDT
He has been praised as a war chief in Mali. Now, French President Francois Hollande has been awarded a U.N.-sponsored peace prize _ barely a year into his presidency and just months after launching his first war against Islamic extremists. The prize givers and African leaders attending Wednesday's awards ceremony, including Malian president Dioncounda Traore, say Hollande deserves UNESCO's Felix Houphouet-Boigny prize precisely because they say the Mali intervention is about long-term peace for...
With demand expected to grow, Israel becomes world's largest exporter of drones
Jun 5, 2013 2:44 PM CDT
In an expansive hangar in central Israel, workers toil on one of the world's most contentious aircraft, fitting dozens of drones with advanced sensors, cameras and lasers before they are shipped to militaries worldwide to perform highly sensitive tasks. Whereas drones are often criticized elsewhere for being morally and legally objectionable, in Israel they are a source of pride. Israel _ a pioneer of drone technology _ has emerged as the world's leading exporter of the aircraft and its accessories,...
Yemeni troops backed by tanks, warplanes launch major offensive against al-Qaida in the south
Jun 5, 2013 2:38 PM CDT
Thousands of Yemeni troops backed by tanks and warplanes launched an offensive on Wednesday in a southern province to drive al-Qaida militants from the area, killing at least seven suspected militants, the Defense Ministry said. The unusually large operation followed efforts by Yemen's new government to force remaining al-Qaida militants out of their former strongholds captured during a year of political turmoil in Yemen that ended with the replacement of its longtime president early last year....