April, 2014

04/24

South Korean school full of mourning after ferry disaster
Students in the city hit hardest by the South Korean ferry disaster returned to classes Thursday, their school campus a tragic landscape of yellow ribbons, chrysanthemums and photos of classmates and teachers who are feared dead.

Obama tells Russia more sanctions are standing by
President Obama is accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments, and warning Moscow that the United States has another round of economic sanctions "teed up." 

Taliban may finally be ready for deal on captive US soldier
The captors of an American soldier held for nearly five years in Afghanistan have signaled a willingness to release him but are unclear which U.S. government officials have the authority to make a deal.

04/23

US Defense chief seeks to deepen US-Mexico ties
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that he is exploring ways to strengthen U.S.-Mexican defense ties, including the possibility of training exercises with Mexican forces.

US man held in Cuba seeks to go home soon, lawyer says
The lawyer for Alan Gross, a U.S. man jailed for nearly five years in Cuba, said Wednesday that he is determined to go home in the next year -- whether it be alive or dead.

Russian social media CEO quits, flees country
The founder of Russia's leading social media network has left his post as CEO and fled the country, as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.

US, Israel denounce Palestinian unity plan
It could be a historic step toward ending a split that has left Palestinians divided between two sets of rulers for the past seven years. Rival factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed to form a unity government and hold new elections.

UN denies South Sudan government statement
The U.N. mission on Wednesday said South Sudan's Minister of Information incorrectly told a news conference that residents seeking protection were turned away from a U.N. base and were directed to houses of worship where killings later took place.

American arrested in Venezuela on murder charges
Venezuelan police have arrested an American on attempted murder and weapons charges. Venezuela's Supreme Court said Todd Michael Leininger was arrested after a raid on his house in the Western border state of Tachira.

UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria
The U.N. Security Council says it is gravely concerned at reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, which caused deaths and injuries, and is calling for an investigation.

Sherpas leave Everest, some expeditions scrap climbs
Dozens of Sherpa guides have packed up their tents today and left Mount Everest's base camp. And the walkout -- which follows the deaths of 16 other Sherpas in an avalanche -- has left the entire Everest climbing season in doubt.

Mexico steps back from telecom, Internet limits
Mexico's ruling party appears to have stepped back from proposals to block Internet and telecom signals, following protests that ended in physical confrontations in Mexico City.

Tunisia divided over Jews' use of Israel passports
Tunisian lawmakers say they plan to question the country's tourism chief over his decision to permit Jewish religious pilgrims to visit the country using Israeli passports.

Dutch scramble jets after Russian bombers approach
Several NATO member countries scrambled fighter jets on Wednesday afternoon after a pair of Russian bomber planes approached their airspace over the North Sea, the Dutch defense department said.

Snowden installed as students' rep at University of Glasgow
Former National Security Agency contractor, and infamous WikiLeaks contributor, Edward Snowden has formally been installed as the official representative of students at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Yemen's president says strikes killed 60 suspected militants
The president of Yemen said Wednesday that this week's military campaign against al-Qaida has killed more than 60 suspected militants -- including several of the group's leaders.

Amsterdam may ban marijuana shops in Red Light district
The Dutch city of Amsterdam has won legal permission to ban marijuana cafes in its famous Red Light district -- going even further with a crackdown on the city's well-publicized and indulgent lifestyle.

Camilla's brother dies after suffering head injury in NYC
Royal officials in Britain said Wednesday that the brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died in the United States -- after sustaining a serious head injury that he received in a fall in New York City.

Ebola virus death toll in West Africa approaches 150-mark
The U.N.'s World Health Organization on Wednesday updated its tally from the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, saying now that nearly 150 people have died from the affliction.

Russia pledges response if Russians attacked in Ukraine
Russia's foreign minister on Wednesday promised a strong response if any of his nation's citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine, after its government announced a resumption of an "anti-terror" campaign against pro-Russian insurgents there.

Activists accuse Syrian government of new gas attacks
Syrian opposition activists and other witnesses have told The Associated Press that Syrian government forces have launched new attacks on rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent months.

Convicted Berlusconi to begin community service next week
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said that beginning next week, he will start carrying out a court order to help the elderly for four hours per week, as part of his punishment for a tax fraud conviction.

Suspected mass grave excavated in Serbia
Experts have started excavation on a mass grave in Serbia believed to contain at least 250 bodies of ethnic Albanians who were killed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

04/22

Egypt cleared for some US military aid, source says
A congressional aide said the Obama administration has certified that Egypt is upholding its 35-year-old peace treaty with Israel -- and therefore qualifies for some military and counterterrorism assistance.

Kerry says Russia lacks positive steps in Ukraine
Secretary of State John Kerry is telling the Russian foreign minister that he is deeply concerned over what he describes as the lack of positive steps by the Russians, to de-escalate the situation on the ground in eastern Ukraine.

US troops head to exercises in Eastern Europe
U.S. Army troops are arriving in Poland to begin what will be a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe -- in a move to bolster allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.

Globe had fourth hottest March on record, US cooler than usual
Federal forecasters have calculated that for most of the Earth, last month was one of the hottest Marchs on record — except in the United States, where the month was about one degree cooler than normal.

At least 500 Bolivian soldiers on strike over dead end jobs
Approximately 500 Bolivian soldiers have gone on strike to demand they be given the option of rising to the rank of officer, and to protest the recent dismissal of four of their leaders.

Palestinian leader Abbas warns against failure of talks
The Palestinian president on Tuesday warned that if peace talks with Israel grind to a halt, he may dismantle the Palestinian Authority and hand over responsibility for 2.5 million of his people to Israel.

Mexico arrests nearly 50 suspects posing as vigilantes
Mexican police have arrested 46 people who worked for criminal gangs but posed as members of vigilante "self-defense" groups, which sprang up last year in the western state of Michoacan to fight the Knights Templar drug cartel.

Brazil investigators say former president's death accidental
Brazil's National Truth Commission said Tuesday that its probe into the 1976 death of former President Juscelino Kubitschek has shown no evidence to support claims that his fatal car crash was the work of the country's then-military dictatorship.

UN committee takes no action on Iran envoy dispute
After hearing from both sides, a U.N. committee has decided to take no action regarding the United States' refusal to grant a visa to an Iranian diplomat -- who was chosen by Tehran to be its new U.N. ambassador.

Activity at North Korea nuke site hints at test preparations
A U.S. research institute said Tuesday that commercial satellite imagery has discovered increased activity at North Korea's nuclear test site, but not enough to indicate an underground atomic explosion is imminent.

US military deaths in Afghanistan at nearly 2,200
As of Tuesday, nearly 2,200 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of 2001, according to an Associated Press count -- which differs from the official tally by just one.

Plea change set for 1984 US-to-Cuba hijacker
A change of plea hearing has been set for an American man who previously pleaded not guilty to air piracy, and returned from Cuba three decades after hijacking a jetliner to the communist island.

Ebola death toll in West Africa now over 140, UN says
The United Nations' World Health Organization said Tuesday that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has so far killed more than 140 people -- with most of the cases in the small nation of Guinea.

Ex-news editor denies hearing hacked Daniel Craig message
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson on Tuesday denied a claim that he listened to a hacked voicemail left by actress Sienna Miller for James Bond star Daniel Craig back in 2005.

Colombia arrests multiple cocaine smugglers at Bogota airport
Colombia's anti-narcotics police force said Tuesday that it has arrested five foreigners and five native Colombians, who were allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine through Bogota's international airport during Holy Week.

African mining company says it used mysterious plane in Iran
A mining company in Ghana said Tuesday that it has been the party responsible for using the plane in Iran, that is registered to a bank in Utah, which became the subject of international intrigue after it was spotted.

Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript, editor says
A book editor has said that late novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has left behind an unpublished manuscript that he chose not to print while he was alive.

Two teenagers killed in Paraguay juvenile prison riot
Two teenage inmates are dead after a riot broke out at a juvenile prison in Paraguay, and two guards have been arrested for allegedly using lethal force, authorities said Tuesday.

Israeli army "invites" Arab Christians to enlist
The minority historically views itself as part of the Palestinian people and considers service in the army as taboo. But a recent push by a Greek Orthodox priest to persuade more Christians to enlist has set off an emotional debate.

In Ukraine's east, mayor held hostage by insurgent
When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction.

Syria has dumped 86 percent of stockpile, expert says
Syria's government has disposed of more than 85 percent of its total chemical weapons stockpile, according to the watchdog agency charged with overseeing its removal.

Ukraine orders 'anti-terror' operation to resume
Ukraine's acting president is ordering security forces to resume operations in the country's east, and the Defense Ministry says a military aircraft was struck by gunfire over one of the tensest cities in the region.

04/21

Probe urged over missing Thai environment activist
Thai authorities were urged Monday to investigate the disappearance of an environmental activist, who has worked to help ethnic Karen villagers report on illegal activity around Thailand's largest national park.

One dead, three US citizens hurt after Greek Easter celebration
Greek police said Monday that one person has died and several have been seriously injured -- including three American citizens -- in separate incidents during Easter celebrations.

Missing Malaysia jetliner still fascinates in US
There's just something about a good mystery that Americans find too tantalizing to resist. Perhaps that's why the saga of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has continued to rivet the country, long after people elsewhere have moved on.

Underwater search for missing Malaysia jet nearly complete
As the search continued off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet on Monday, the airline announced another plane bound for India was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its tires burst on takeoff.

Pope John Paul's legacy tainted by sex abuse scandal
Pope John Paul II is rightly credited with having helped bring down communism, by inspiring a new generation of Catholics. But the sexual abuse scandal that festered under his watch remains a stain on his legacy.

Uganda suspends athletics coach over sex abuse
An official with Uganda's athletics body on Monday said that a coach who faces charges of sexual harassment has been suspended, and is under investigation by Ugandan police.

New drone strike in Yemen kills al-Qaida militants
Yemeni security officials and tribal chiefs said Monday that a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed several al-Qaida militants in the country's south, including a local militant commander.

Syria to hold presidential election on June 3
The Syrian government will hold presidential elections on June 3. President Bashar Assad is likely to seek another seven-year term in office despite an uprising against his rule that is now in its fourth year.

Five dead after mortar shells hit near Syrian parliament
Syrian media on Monday said a pair of mortar shells hit near the nation's parliament building, killing five people. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Syrian rebels often fire mortar shells into areas of Damascus.

Troubled history fuel Japan-China tension
The Tokyo shrine and the memorial hall in Nanjing, as Nanking is now called, are physical embodiments of divergent views of history that still strain China-Japan relations, 70 years after the war.

US says Russia has 'days, not weeks' to follow accord
Russia has "days, not weeks" to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev warned Monday -- as Vice President Joe Biden launched a high-profile show of support for the Ukrainian government.

US rules against Mexico, Turkey in steel dispute
President Obama's administration has sided with American steel producers in an international trade dispute, ruling imported steel reinforcing bar from Mexico and Turkey unfairly undercuts U.S. prices.

South Korean president says ferry crew's actions 'murderous'
As divers continue to search the interior of a sunken South Korean ferry, which went down last week with hundreds of people on board, the number of confirmed deaths has now risen to 86 -- with about 220 other people still missing. 

Journalists detained by gunmen, released in Ukraine
One Belarusian and two Italian journalists were detained Monday by gunmen as they reported in the city of Slovyansk, which has been occupied by pro-Russia forces for more than a week.

Parents say 234 girls were kidnapped from Nigeria school
Parents in Nigeria said Monday that more than 230 girls are missing from their northeastern school, which was attacked last week by Islamic extremists -- a number significantly higher than the 85 reported by education officials.

Celebrities gather for private funeral for Peaches Geldof
Celebrities on Monday joined the family of Peaches Geldof for the funeral of the British model and TV personality, who suddenly died at age 25 earlier this month -- and whose death still remains unexplained.

Finnish sky diver crash probe could take weeks, police say
Finnish authorities say the investigation into a plane crash that killed eight skydivers -- all of whom were experienced parachutists -- could take several weeks or longer to complete.

Saudi sentences five to death for 2003 Riyadh attack
A Saudi court has sentenced five people to death and 37 others to prison on charges related to attacks against expatriate residential compounds in the country's capital more than a decade ago.

Nepal mulling Sherpa demands after Mount Everest avalanche
The government of Nepal has said it will consider the demands from the Sherpas who serve as guides for climbers on Mount Everest. After an avalanche that killed at least 13 Sherpas last week, some are calling for a climbing boycott.

UNICEF staff members freed in Pakistan after abduction
The United Nations said Monday that two staff members of the organization's children's agency UNICEF, who were abducted in Pakistan, have now been freed.

Rwandan singer pleads guilty to terrorism charges
Kizito Mihigo, a genocide survivor and composer of songs about genocide and reconciliation, appeared in a courtroom in Rwanda, accused of plotting terrorist attacks and planning to harm government officials.

Mexico food labeling rules draw fire on sugar
Mexico's new food labeling rules are supposed to help fight an obesity epidemic, but activists say they may actually encourage the public to consume high levels of sugar.

04/20

Survivors recall chaos, fear in Mount Everest avalanche
Survivors of Mount Everest's deadliest avalanche recalled scenes of panic and chaos, describing Sunday how they dug through snow with their hands and ice axes in hopes of finding their friends alive.

Construction frenzy in Beirut alters city skyline
One by one, the old traditional houses of Beirut are vanishing, as luxury towers sprout up on every corner -- altering the city's skyline during an ongoing construction boom, amid the tensions from the civil war raging next door.

Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at age 76
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76. His death was confirmed Sunday by John Artis, a caregiver and associate.

Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after gear fails
Malaysia Airlines have said that a flight heading to India made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, after it was forced to turn back when its right landing gear malfunctioned.

Ukraine, Russia trade blame for deadly shootout
The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents.

Kuwait orders two newspapers shut over coup articles
Kuwait's state news agency says the government has temporarily suspended the publication of two independent newspapers over articles about a secret probe into allegations of a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy's government.

Airstrike targets al-Qaida training camps in Yemen
A high-level government security committee in Yemen says an airstrike against training camps operated by suspected al-Qaida militants in a rugged southern mountain region has killed a number of fighters.

Mexico plane crash kills eight after crashing in fog
A private plane has crashed in a northern Mexico city, killing all eight people on board -- including two pilots, two married couples, the 10-year-old son of one of the couples and another woman, authorities said Sunday.

Eight killed in Finland parachutist plane accident
Finnish officials say eight people died Sunday when a small plane carrying parachutists crashed to the ground and caught fire, saying that apparently some parts fell off the plane before it crashed.

Dominican mob lynches Haitian father for stabbing daughter
Police in the Dominican Republic say a Haitian man has died after being attacked by a mob, for allegedly stabbing his four-month-old infant daughter following a fight with the girl's mother.

04/19

Death toll climbs in South Korea ferry disaster, over 200 still missing
The number of confirmed dead in the South Korean ferry disaster has risen to nearly 50, with more than 250 still missing. More than a dozen bodies were found Saturday in the murky waters near the sunken vessel.

Iran general urges Tehran to choose new UN diplomat
A senior Iranian military official has urged the foreign ministry to choose a new envoy to the U.N., after the U.S. blocked its chosen ambassador over his reported ties to the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Iran's vice president says dispute over nuclear reactor resolved
Iranian state television reported Saturday that that the Islamic Republic's vice president is saying a dispute between world powers and the country over its heavy water reactor at Arak has been "virtually resolved."

Mt. Everest avalanche a reminder of risks Sherpas face
For the Sherpas, the once-obscure mountain people whose name has become synonymous with Mount Everest, this week's avalanche was a brutal reminder of the risks they face.

Egypt's censorship board head resigns over film dispute
The head of Egypt's censorship board said Saturday that he has resigned from his post, after the country's prime minister overruled his decision to allow a film starring a sultry Lebanese singer be shown.

Islamic militants take credit for deadly Nigerian blast
Nigeria's Islamic extremists have claimed responsibility for the massive explosion at a busy bus station that killed at least 75 people in Nigeria's capital of Abuja this past week.

Deadline lapses in Peru for illegal gold miners
The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000 illegal gold miners in Peru. They had until Saturday to legalize their status in a region where fortune-seekers have ravaged rainforests and contaminated rivers.

Colombia hopes to share Garcia Marquez remains
The final resting place for the ashes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez remains unclear. It could be Mexico, where he lived for decades, or his native Colombia. Or perhaps even both.

Pope Francis to baptize 10 people in weekend Easter Vigil
The vigil is among the most solemn and dramatic on the church calendar, with Francis entering the darkened basilica with a lone candle, which he then shares with others to slowly illuminate the church.

European Union official against cutting off Russia gas ties
A European Union official has opposed cutting back gas ties with Russia in the next few years -- as Russia is a major European gas supplier, and mounting tensions over Ukraine have raised concerns about possible disruption.

04/18

Britain's opposition party hires former top Obama adviser
Britain's opposition Labour Party has recruited a former top adviser to U.S. President Obama, who was a key figure behind his two presidential victories, to help with its leader's election bid next year.

Chinese relatives pray over missing Malaysian jetliner
Six weeks into the search for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane, without so much as a piece of debris yet found, several Chinese relatives met Friday to pray for spouses who never came home -- and begged for answers that could end their misery.

Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land
Christians in the Holy Land on Friday marked the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions through Jerusalem's Old City, as thousands of pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City.

Pakistani madrassa names library after Osama bin Laden
A spokesman for a controversial Pakistani cleric who runs an Islamic seminary for girls in the capital, Islamabad, said Friday that he has named the school's new library in honor of slain terror leader Osama bin Laden.

Iran's president talks peace, outreach at army parade
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday underscored his moderate policies and outreach to the West, during a military parade marking the country's National Army Day.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake hits near Acapulco, shakes Mexico City
A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Explosion in busy Egyptian square kills police officer
An Egyptian security official said an explosion Friday rocked a busy square in central Cairo, killing one police officer and causing panic -- leading security forces to seal off the area and search for more bombs.

North Korea criticizes 'human rights racket' of US
A North Korean spokesman is blaming the United States and its allies for a "human rights racket" a day after the U.N. Security Council met to discuss a new report that accuses the reclusive communist regime of crimes against humanity.

Pope leads torch-lit Good Friday procession
Pope Francis is presiding over a torch-lit Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum marking Good Friday in Rome. The pope's resolve to focus the Catholic church's attention on those who suffer was reflected in meditations read aloud.

Belfast IRA figure killed in splinter-group feud
A senior Irish Republican Army hard-liner has been shot to death in Belfast -- three years after former comrades in his splinter group threatened to kill him.

Officials seek arrest warrant for South Korean ferry captain
Authorities are closely reviewing the actions of the captain of a South Korean ferry, which sank on Wednesday -- leaving nearly 300 people presumed dead, and sending shockwaves of grief across the Asian nation.

Crews still hoping for survivors of sunken South Korean ferry
Searchers have now put markers on the surface of the water where a South Korean ferry went down, leaving more than 250 people feared dead. Part of the ship had remained above the surface until Friday, but now the entire vessel is submerged.

Nearly 60 killed in mob attack on UN base in South Sudan
A U.N. official said that nearly 60 people have been killed in an attack on a base in South Sudan on Friday, and about 100 were injured, when an angry mob of youths attacked the U.N. peacekeeping mission's camp there.

Guides killed, several hurt, four missing after Everest avalanche
At least a dozen mountain guides are dead, several people are injured, and four others are reported missing in what is being called the deadliest disaster ever to occur on the world's highest peak, Mount Everest.

Peaches Geldof funeral to be held on Easter Monday
The family of Peaches Geldof said Friday that the socialite's funeral will take place on Easter Monday -- at the same British church where her mother's funeral was held nearly 15 years ago.

French President Hollande's top aide resigns
The top adviser to French President Francois Hollande on Friday submitted his resignation, following allegations of a past conflict of interest -- striking a new blow to the already unpopular French leader.

Britain looking into death of teenager in Syria
British officials say they are looking into the death of a British teenager in Syria. British media identified the teen as 18-year-old Abdullah Deghayes, who was due to go to university but had run away from his home in January.

Powerful magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday. The quake was so strong that it rattled the Pacific resort of Acapulco -- and could even be felt in Mexico City, more than 150 miles away.

Ukraine pledges reforms as insurgents reject call to quit buildings
Ukraine's acting president and prime minister said Friday that the Ukrainian government is ready to carry out "comprehensive constitutional reform" giving Ukraine's regions a greater say in local governance.

Survivor's guilt was too much for South Korea principal
A high school vice principal in South Korea has apparently taken his own life, police said Friday -- leaving behind a note saying he couldn't bear the guilt of surviving the disaster while so many of his students were lost. 

04/17

Meet between families, attorneys at Guantanamo stirs frustration
Lawyers defending five accused terrorists at the Guantanamo naval prison hoped meeting with victims' families would give an understanding of their difficult role. Instead, it has stoked anger and frustration as legal delays mount in the case.

Divers pumping air into sunken South Korean ship, officials say
Coast guard officials said late Thursday that divers have started pumping air into a sunken South Korean ship, 48 hours after it went down. But it wasn't immediately clear if the air was for survivors or for a salvage operation.

Vietnam pulls out of Asian Games due to lack of funds
The nation of Vietnam has formally withdrawn as the host of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked funds and the country's reputation could be at risk if things don't go smoothly.

Toronto mayor promises to fight harder than ever for re-election
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is acknowledging "some rocky moments over the past year," but on Thursday promised to fight harder than ever to win re-election in October.

Obama sends condolences on South Korea ferry disaster
President Obama is sending condolences to victims of a South Korean ferry disaster, saying that the U.S. has an "unwavering commitment" to its ally South Korea in good times and bad -- and will pay tribute during a visit to the country next week.

Obama says no US military involvement in Ukraine
President Obama is repeating his position that involving the U.S. military in Ukraine is not an option he is considering, because what's happening in Eastern Europe is not a situation that would be amenable to a military solution.

Iran cuts stockpile of near nuclear-arms grade uranium, UN says
The U.N. nuclear agency on Thursday said that Iran has neutralized half of its stockpile of higher-enriched uranium that could be turned quickly into the core of a nuclear weapon.

All sides reach deal on calming Ukraine tensions
Ukraine's foreign minister said Thursday that the agreement reached in Switzerland -- which doesn't spell out any specific directions for Ukraine's future -- will be a "test" to see if Russia really wants to see stability in the region.

Ash from Peru volcano prompts evacuation of 4,000 residents
Peruvian authorities have ordered the preventative evacuation of at least 4,000 people living near the Ubinas volcano, which has been spouting ash clouds up to two miles high for weeks.

Hail wreaks Easter travel havoc in Mexico City
A freak spring hailstorm has caused havoc for thousands of people trying to leaving Mexico City for Easter weekend. The heavy storm hit Wednesday evening on the mountain pass west of Mexico City.

Associated Press skewing Russian coverage, state media say
Russian-controlled television channels have criticized The Associated Press' international television service, for cutting into its live feed of President Vladimir Putin's call-in show Thursday to send footage from other developing news stories.

Croatian government extradites former spy to Germany
A former top spy in Yugoslavia's feared secret service has been extradited to Germany, where he is wanted in connection with murder of a political dissident more than three decades ago.

Captain may have been among first to ditch sinking ferry
A coast guard official in South Korea said investigators are looking into whether the captain of the sunken ferry boarded the first rescue boat at the scene, since he was among the crew members who survived the sinking.

UN Security Council meets on rights in North Korea
The U.N. Security Council is discussing an unprecedented U.N. report that accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity, as members of the U.N. commission of inquiry push for its findings to be formally referred to the International Criminal Court.

Argentina considers crackdown on street protests
Argentina's populist government is proposing a radical change in how it deals with street protests, after a decade of permissive policing. Officials want to require all protesters to notify police two days in advance and give details of the protest. 

Ukraine talks bring parties together, raise hope
The talks on Ukraine in Switzerland brought together four parties that had seemed extremely far apart on some issues, but within a few hours they produced a broad agreement that holds out substantial hope for a crisis on the verge of spinning out of control.

Astronomers detail most Earth-like planet found to date
Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet ever detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our planet, and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot or too cold for life.

Evacuation came too late for many on South Korea ferry
A crew member on the ferry that sank off the South Korean coast Wednesday said an immediate evacuation order was not issued -- because officers were still trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to sink.

FBI probe dims outlook for 9/11 case at Guantanamo
A pretrial hearing in the Sept. 11 war crimes case has ended at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, amid uncertainty over an apparent FBI investigation of a member of the defense's legal team.

Steps have been taken to ease Ukraine tensions, Kerry says
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that diplomats from Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine have all agreed on a series of steps aimed at de-escalating violence in strife-ridden Ukraine.

Grief in town of students missing in South Korea ferry sinking
More than 300 South Korean students, mostly 16 and 17-year-olds, left Tuesday for what was supposed to be one of the highlights of the year -- a 14-hour overnight ferry trip. But that trip has turned into a nightmare for relatives of the victims.

Ukraine approves international court, may probe Kiev deaths
Ukraine on Thursday accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, opening the way for a possible investigation of the violent crackdown by former President Viktor Yanukovych's government on demonstrators.

Snowden questions Putin on Russian surveillance policies
Several hours into Vladimir Putin's televised call-in show Thursday, one of the TV anchors interrupted viewers' questions to air what she said was a "sensational video" for the Russian president -- a message from Edward Snowden.

Romanian premier co-pilots US F-16 fighter jet
Romania's prime minister on Thursday suited-up and co-piloted an American-made F-16 Fighting Falcon jet -- at the end of week-long Romanian and U.S. military air exercises.

Threat of deadly Mideast virus infection raises concerns
A recent run of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combating its spread.

West Africa's Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 150, UN says
The World Health Organization on Thursday said the death toll from an Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa -- mostly in Guinea -- has so far killed nearly 150 people and sickened roughly 100 more.

A dozen dead after mob attacks UN base in South Sudan
A military officer in South Sudan said about 12 people were killed and dozens more were injured when an angry mob of armed youths stormed a U.N. compound and attacked civilians from a minority ethnic group.

04/16

Lawyers in 9/11 at Gitmo case seek to question FBI
Lawyers for five men at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, who are charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, are seeking to question the FBI about an apparent investigation of defense team personnel in the case.

Nigerian military says 121 kidnapped students freed
Nigeria's military on Wednesday said that all but eight of 129 female students who were kidnapped from a northeastern school by Islamic militants have been released.

Sub makes another dive to search for Malaysian plane
The Bluefin 21 sub surfaced early for the second time in as many missions, this time after experiencing technical difficulties. It was sent back into the water after its data were downloaded but there's been no sign of the plane so far.

If filed, Malaysia Airlines lawsuits may not get heard in US
Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, some lawyers have claimed they can get millions of dollars in damages for each lost passenger -- by taking the cases to U.S. courts. But past suits show that federal courts are more likely to throw the cases out.

Judge sets two-week adjournment in Pistorius murder trial
The judge in the murder trial of former Olympic gold-medalist Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday ruled that proceedings will adjourn for more than two weeks after Thursday, and resume early next month.

Iran says it won't discuss missile program as part of deal
Iran's defense minister said Wednesday that Tehran will not discuss its ballistic missile program -- as part of ongoing talks with world powers on a final agreement to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

US working on non-lethal aid package for Ukraine
U.S. officials say the Obama administration is working on a package of non-lethal aid for Ukraine that could include medical supplies and clothing, but would stop short of providing body armor and other military-style equipment.

Police nab second-in-command in Mexico drug cartel
Mexican authorities said Wednesday that they have captured a man identified as the second highest-ranking figure in the once-powerful Beltran Leyva drug cartel.

Mexico probes death of pregnant woman at clinic
Mexico's latest case of denial of medical care for poor and Indian women has resulted in the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, investigative officials said Wednesday.

US says Russia faces diplomacy or new sanctions
A senior U.S. official said high-stakes diplomatic meetings in Switzerland on Thursday, to try to ease burgeoning violence in eastern Ukraine, will mark Kiev's final attempt to engage with Russia before the West hits Moscow with more sanctions.

Switzerland talks about Ukraine face steep hurdles
Thursday's high-level talks in Switzerland regarding Ukraine come as the country's eastern regions are awash in turmoil, and pro-Russian insurgents have seized police stations and government buildings in at least nine cities.

Six confirmed dead from sunken South Korea ferry, officials say
Six people are now confirmed dead, but there are fears that many more victims will be found in the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean ferry carrying nearly 500 people -- many of them high school students on a class trip.

NATO boosts military ground, air presence amid Russian threat
The head of NATO said Wednesday that the alliance is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border, in response to Russia's renewed aggression in Ukraine.

Ex-British editor admits hearing hacked voicemails in 2004
The former editor of Britain's tabloid News of the World on Wednesday acknowledged that he listened to hacked voicemail messages while he was the paper's editor in 2004, and said he worried that it was an invasion of privacy.

Pakistan Taliban says cease-fire over, but talks continue
The Pakistani Taliban said Wednesday that it will not renew a ceasefire it initially called to facilitate peace negotiations with the government, but the group said talks will still continue.

Ex-UN official sorry for doing nothing during Rwanda genocide
The man who was president of the U.N. Security Council 20 years ago, during the Rwanda genocide, apologized Wednesday for the council's refusal to recognize that the extermination against the Tutsi minority was taking place.

Ukraine insurgents seize armored vehicles, crews amid unrest
Efforts by Ukraine's government to re-establish control over the eastern part of the country appeared to have been dealt a setback on Wednesday, as Pro-Russian insurgents were able to commandeer six Ukrainian armored vehicles, along with their crews.

Mexico arrests mayor for helping drug cartel extort money
Prosecutors in western Mexico have arrested the mayor of a city -- that once served as a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug cartel -- on charges that he helped the gang extort money from city council members.

Syria lands on watch group's list of places risky for journalists
A spike in targeted murders of journalists in Syria has landed the war-scarred country, for the first time, on the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual Impunity Index -- joining a list of countries where journalists' killings are most likely to go unpunished.

Survivors describe escape from sinking South Korea ferry
Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea on Wednesday described how they made their escape -- by jumping into the frigid water wearing life jackets, and then swimming to a nearby rescue boat.

Prominent human rights lawyer detained in Saudi Arabia
Saudi activists say authorities have detained a prominent human rights lawyer in the capital. Activists say he was arrested on Tuesday after attending a court hearing in Riyadh where he faces charges that include inciting public opinion.

Bosnians see families excavated from mass grave
Family members of victims from Bosnia's devastating war during the 1990s are beginning to travel north to view the remains of corpses which have been meticulously pulled from the earth and identified through DNA analysis.

04/15

Iran eliminates half of proliferation-prone uranium stock
Diplomats say the U.N. will certify this week that Iran's ability to make a nuclear bomb has been reduced, because it has neutralized half of its material that can be turned quickly into weapons-grade uranium.

US government report finds faults in Haiti housing effort
A U.S. government report said a $50 million effort by Washington to build 4,000 houses for Haitians in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake has fallen short -- and just over 800 were built.

Russia tests Obama's ability to stop its advances
Obama has vowed to enact biting sanctions against Russia's vital economic sectors if the Kremlin tries to replicate its actions in Crimea elsewhere in Ukraine. But despite those warnings, Russia appears to be testing Obama's limits.

Death toll from Ebola outbreak climbs to more than 120
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has now been linked to the deaths of more than 120 people -- the bulk of which are located in Guinea.

UN report cites human rights violations in Ukraine
The United Nations said in a report Tuesday that corruption, a lack of independence of the judiciary, and a lack of free elections were among the root causes of popular protests that took place in Ukraine from November to February.

Ukraine's security forces say they have secured airport
Ukraine's government said it secured a small airport in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, after clashing with gunmen there. The clash came hours after Ukraine's acting president announced an "anti-terrorist operation" against the armed, pro-Russian insurgents.

Germany's Merkel calls Putin to discuss Ukraine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine, and said that she and Putin had "different assessments of events" in Ukraine during their telephone conversation.

Experts say Pistorius prosecutors still have work to do
Five days on the witness stand -- and a withering cross-examination from a prosecutor -- have finally ended for former Olympian and accused killer Oscar Pistorius, at his murder trial in South Africa.

Greek court jails two for life for migrant's murder
An Athens court on Tuesday convicted two Greek men to life imprisonment for stabbing a Pakistani immigrant worker to death last year, during a spike in racist attacks in the recession-ravaged country.

Puerto Rico boxer Felix Trinidad reaches debt deal
Puerto Rico boxing star Felix Trinidad has reached a debt deal with a local bank following alleged losses of $63 million, that he blames on a former financial adviser.

Venezuela opposition resumes talks with government
Venezuela's opposition is resuming negotiations with the government amid rising doubts the talks will produce a breakthrough. Tuesday's closed-door meeting is aimed at designing a framework for future talks.

US eyes more action against Russia if talks fail
The State Department said the U.S. is eyeing a new round of sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, but any new move is unlikely until after a diplomatic meeting later this week in Switzerland.

Djibouti president to visit White House next month
President Obama will meet with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh at the White House next month, which formally recognizes the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Djibouti.

Iran protests UN ambassador ban to United Nations
Iran has formally protested Washington's refusal to grant a visa to its new U.N. ambassador. Tehran's U.N. Mission sent a letter to the Committee on Relations with the Host Country and released a copy of it Monday night. 

Diplomat appointed to head UK eavesdropping agency
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday that Robert Hannigan will take over the organization, whose covert activities were exposed by leaks from former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Suspected extremists kidnap 100 girls in Nigeria
Officials say suspected Islamic extremists have abducted about 100 female students from a school in northeast Nigeria — but some of the teens managed to escape from the back of an open truck.

FBI leak probe shuts down 9/11 case at Guantanamo
An apparent FBI investigation has at least temporarily shut down the effort to try five Guantanamo Bay prisoners by military commission for the 9/11 terror attack.

Saudi king replaces intelligence chief Bandar
Saudi Arabia's king has appointed a new intelligence chief, Youssef al-Idrisi, replacing Bandar bin Sultan in the key post, which oversees the kingdom's support for Syrian rebels.

Pet boom in Mexico amid rising middle class
The growth of Mexico's middle class is creating a new market for fancy goods and services for dogs. Those include clothing and accessory boutiques, spas and restaurants with doggie snacks cooked by a pastry chef.

Robotic sub returns to water to search for missing jet
A robotic submarine looking for the missing Malaysian jet has returned to the water for its second mission. Monday's planned 16-hour search lasted just six hours after tt was cut short by a built-in safety feature.

British salon's Kim Jong Un poster riles North Korean embassy
Staff at a London hair salon say they had a close shave with North Korean officials after using the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, to promote discount haircuts.

04/14

Two charged with migrant smuggling in US Virgin Islands
Two Haitian nationals have been arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle migrants into the United States, authorities said Monday.

American Samoa schools reopen after pink eye woes
Schools in the U.S. territory's main island of Tutuila reopened Monday for the first time since April 4, when 28 facilities shut their doors after a pink eye outbreak affected approximately 3,000 students and teachers.

European Union officials still hopeful for peaceful Ukraine exit
European Union foreign ministers are deploring what they say is more Russian interference in Ukraine -- but hoping, at the same time, that an end to the crisis can still be peacefully negotiated.

Iran official concerned about nuclear power plant
Iran's nuclear chief expressed concern on Monday for the fate of the country's only nuclear power plant, amid talks with the West about a final deal to curb the country's nuclear program.

Syrian forces take rebel town near Lebanon border
Syrian state media said Monday that pro-government troops have seized a rebel-held town near the border with Lebanon, continuing a march to dislodge opposition strongholds from along the rugged frontier.

US says proof shows Russia is driving Ukraine unrest
The White House said Monday that there is "overwhelming evidence" that Russia is driving the unrest in eastern Ukraine -- but President Obama has not yet concluded that the actions warrant more sanctions.

Obama plans to host Uruguay's president next month
The White House said Monday that Uruguay's president is planning to visit next month -- that the May 12 visit will highlight the Obama administration's support for President Jose Mujica's record on human rights and global security.

Biden to attend Brazil's World Cup soccer tournament
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is planning to be among the attendees at this summer's World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, and see the U.S. national team play, the White House announced on Monday.

Prosecutor suggests Pistorius is faking his emotions
A South African prosecutor suggested Monday that the former Olympian is staging his emotional outbursts in an effort to hide his inability to answer questions about the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Israeli ambassador upset by UN's tacit 'Nazi' remark
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor on Monday called on the United Nations chief to suspend a U.N. agency head for tacitly comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany.

Putin tells US that Russia not behind Ukraine protests
President Vladimir Putin has urged President Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters in the country's east, the Kremlin said Monday.

Robotic sub deployed to search for missing airliner's wreckage
For the first time, search crews on Monday sent a robotic submarine into the Indian Ocean to start searching the seabed for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet that disappeared more than a month ago.

White House says CIA director traveled to Ukraine
The White House on Monday confirmed that CIA Director John Brennan traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the weekend, amid the ongoing tensions that nation has with the Russian government.

Canada prime minister says Russia trying to turn back clock
Canada's prime minister on Monday said that Russia's actions against Ukraine are "aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic" -- and that it's time everyone recognizes the depth and seriousness of Moscow's actions.

Canada says tax ID numbers stolen after 'Heartbleed' breach
Canada's tax agency on Monday said that the ID numbers of nearly 1,000 people have been stolen from its computer systems, which were left vulnerable by the sophisticated "Heartbleed" computer bug.

FBI reportedly questioned legal team member at Guantanamo
A lawyer for one of five men on trial at the Guantanamo Bay naval prison in the government's 9/11 case said Monday that the FBI has questioned a member of his defense team.

UN expert urges Iran to suspend woman's execution
A United Nations human rights investigator is urging Iran to stop the scheduled execution of a woman, who is said to be the victim of a sexual assault, over concerns that she did not receive a fair trial.

Ex-editor says affair was 'wrong,' but didn't lead to wrongdoing
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson said Monday that his affair with fellow executive Rebekah Brooks was wrong, but that it did not lead him to break editorial standards.

Pakistan police arrest man suspected of cannibalism
Authorities in central Pakistan said Monday that they have arrested a man suspected of cannibalism -- after finding body parts, including a skull, that may have belonged to a child in his house.

Dutch arrest girl for threatening tweet to American Airlines
The tweet said it came from an al-Qaida member in Afghanistan, and threatened to "do something really big on June 1." But the account's profile included the nickname "Sarah," and a profile image of a young woman.

Gambia won't take passengers from Ebola-hit areas
Gambian authorities have written a letter to all airlines flying into the West African country, saying they cannot pick up passengers from countries where there have been suspected cases of Ebola.

More evacuations may come for fire-ravaged area in Chile
Sailors in riot gear have been preparing to evacuate hundreds of additional families from their homes in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso on Monday, where wildfires have destroyed more than 2,000 homes so far.

04/13

Batteries for Malaysian plane's black boxes may be dead
The hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner is focusing on a search for weakening radio signals from deep beneath the waves, despite mounting evidence that the batteries in the plane's black boxes may finally have died.

Russia boosts military as global arms spending falls
For the first time in 10 years, Russia last year spent a bigger share of its overall economy on arms investments than the U.S. -- as it seeks to bolster its military capability, a Swedish arms watchdog said Monday.

Alleged chemical attack in Syria raises new questions
Both sides in Syria's civil war are blaming each other for the alleged attack that reportedly injured scores of people on Friday. The reports come amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.

Six Flags theme park planned for Dubai
Dubai could soon have some new roller coasters to go with its man-made islands and the world's tallest skyscraper.

Iran calls off plan to send warships to Atlantic
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that the country has temporarily called off a plan to dispatch warships to the Atlantic Ocean.

Council of elders elected in eastern Libya
State television in eastern Libya has announced the results of elections for a council of elders, a significant step toward establishing a federal system in the country.

Over 200 referred to prosecutor for mass trial in Egypt
The defendants, referred to trial Sunday, were arrested on the third anniversary of the January 2011 uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. They face charges of attempted murder, firearm possession and other charges.

Uganda nurse accused of spreading HIV
The Ugandan press has dubbed her "the killer nurse," after the HIV-infected medical worker was accused of deliberately injecting her blood into a two-year-old patient.

Bus hits parked truck, at least 36 dead
State officials in Mexico now say at least 36 people are dead after a passenger bus slammed into a broken-down truck and burst into flames.

Eleven confirmed dead in Chilean fire
Authorities in Chile have lowered the death toll from a raging fire that is leaping from hilltop to hilltop in the port city of Valparaiso, saying they now have eleven confirmed dead.

04/12

Ex-Marine gets 10-year sentence in Iran, report says
An Iranian news agency is reporting that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

Several hurt derailment in northeast China, officials say
A total of 15 people have been hospitalized after a train derailed in China. Rail officials said on an official blog that the cause of the pre-dawn accident is under investigation.

Catholic diocese says late bishop guilty of abuse
A former Dutch Catholic bishop, who died last year, was guilty of sexual abuse decades ago when he was a chaplain and teacher in the southern Netherlands, his diocese has acknowledged, in the latest abuse scandal to hit the church.

Tsunami warning follows strong quake near Solomons
A tsunami warning was issued Saturday for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, following a powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake near the Solomon Islands.

Pakistan judge frees baby in attempted murder case
A Pakistani lawyer says a judge has freed a nine-month old boy accused of attempting to murder police in the eastern city of Lahore after police withdrew charges.

Japan Cabinet minister visits war shrine
A Japanese Cabinet minister has visited a Tokyo war shrine that honors the dead, including executed war criminals in a move that could reignite tensions with Japan's neighbors.

Cathay Pacific jet stranded for 16 hours in China
A Cathay Pacific flight from New York to Hong Kong was stranded for more than 16 hours in a Chinese city late last month because of bad weather and limits on the crew's work hours.

Kuwait opposition figure promises new protests
A Kuwaiti opposition group led by a former lawmaker convicted of making comments considered insulting to the ruling emir says it plans to launch a series of street protests to press for reform in the Gulf state.

Iraq: Official disputes assassination allegation
The head of the military command in Iraq's western province of Anbar is disputing claims that the country's deputy prime minister faced an assassination attempt Friday.

French minister in Cuba as Europe seeks opening
A French foreign minister is visiting Cuba for the first time in 30 years at a time when the communist-led Caribbean nation is seeking to draw more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

04/11

Wake held in Puerto Rico for Fort Hood gunman
A wake is being held in Puerto Rico for the Fort Hood gunman, Ivan Lopez, who recently killed three people and injured 16 others at a Texas military base before committing suicide.

US, China to hold talks on North Korea next week
The U.S. and China will hold talks next week about North Korea, which recently threatened to conduct another nuclear test. The State Department announced Friday that the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy will host his Chinese counterpart.

Brazil struggles with its World Cup preparations
Although expectations are high for Brazil's football team at the World Cup this summer, it's already clear that the country didn't do a very good job preparing for the global soccer tournament.

Ukraine PM says regions should have more authority
Ukraine's prime minister told leaders in the country's restive east on Friday that he is committed to allowing regions to have more powers. But it was unclear how much authority he envisioned.

American imprisoned in Cuba ends hunger strike
An American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than four years, after illegally setting up Internet access on the island, has suspended his hunger strike after more than a week.

Australia PM confident that sounds are from Flight 370
Australia's prime minister said Friday that officials have narrowed the search zone for the missing Malaysian jetliner -- and that they are "very confident" the underwater signals they have heard are from the plane's black box recorders.

Syria war deepens fears for Lebanon's missing
Hundreds of Lebanese have been detained by the Syrians, and their relatives are convinced they are still alive. But now they fear they will be lost in Syria's labyrinth of overcrowded jails and detention facilities, or be killed in the ongoing mayhem.

Details of homicide scene the focus of Pistorius trial
Did Reeva Steenkamp scream before she was killed by Oscar Pistorius, or was she silent? Was bedding thrown on the floor by lovers fighting or by the police? Those are critical questions surrounding the athlete's ongoing murder trial.

Protests in Libya's capital trigger fuel crisis
The Libyan government has blamed a fuel crisis in the country's capital on protests that have blocked the roads to the main western oil terminal, leaving gas stations without new supplies.

Pope Francis takes responsibility for priest sex abuses
The pontiff said that he took personal responsibility for what he described as the "evil" of priests who raped and molested children. Francis asked forgiveness from victims, and said the church must do more to protect the young.

UN conference provokes heated gay rights debate
Many countries at this week's U.N. population conference are objecting to the idea of enshrining the right of women to make their own sexual decisions, fearing it would condone same-sex relationships, the U.N. population chief said.

US levies more sanctions over Crimea takeover
The Treasury Department is sanctioning the former vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, six Crimean separatist leaders and a Crimea-based gas company over Russia's takeover of the Crimean Peninsula.

White House says no visa for Iran's UN ambassador pick
The White House on Friday said it has informed the Iranian government that it will not issue a visa to its pick for ambassador to the United Nations -- a man who was involved in the group who took 52 Americans hostage during the crisis in 1979.

NATO chief warns Russia, says actions are 'illegitimate'
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday said his agency is taking steps to deal with the continuing instability in Europe that has been created by Russia's "illegitimate" actions.

Ukraine, Westinghouse reach deal over nuclear fuel
Nuclear technology firm Westinghouse said Friday that it has reached a deal with Ukraine's government to deliver fuel for its nuclear reactors through 2020, a move that helps the country reduce its reliance on Russia.

China the world's biggest polluter; US second, UN report says
The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change is preparing a new report this weekend -- which seeks to outline the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases required in coming decades to keep global warming in check.

French dating website involved in prostitution probe
French prosecutors are examining whether an online dating site called "sugardaddy", which seeks to connect older men with younger women, is actually an online prostitution operation.

Nicaragua on highest alert as aftershocks rattle nation
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega is placing his government on the highest alert level possible, as aftershocks continue to rattle the country following a strong magnitude-6.1 earthquake.

French forces find weapons cache in northern Mali
French security forces said Friday that they have found a cache of weapons buried in the desert of northern Mali, which was overrun with jihadi extremists until a French intervention last year.

Donetsk Republic is Ukraine's one-building autonomy
The self-styled autonomous territory of the People's Republic of Donetsk — really just an 11-story government building and its surroundings — insists it is the true voice of the 4.3 million people living in the region.

Ukraine's immense natural gas debt to Russia growing fast
The amount Russia says it is owed by Ukraine's cash-strapped government for natural gas has ballooned, almost magically -- from $1.7 billion at the beginning of April to a staggering $35.4 billion, according to President Vladimir Putin.

Nicaragua police investigate serial arrow killings of dogs
Residents of an upscale neighborhood in Nicaragua's capital of Managua say that someone is shooting pet dogs in the area with arrows -- killing several inside their own yards.

04/10

Bus accident kills eight kids on school trip in China
China's official news agency said eight schoolchildren were killed and more than 10 injured after a bus carrying them overturned in southern China.

Child bride forced to marry poisons groom in Nigeria
Police said a child bride forced into marriage in Nigeria prepared a poisoned meal that has killed her groom and three of his friends. They quote 14-year-old Wasila Umaru as saying she used rat poison in the food because she was forced to marry a man she did not love.

Dozens arrested in credit card fraud crackdown
Law enforcement authorities have arrested 70 people at airports around the world in a meticulously coordinated crackdown targeting criminals using fake or stolen credit cards to buy airline tickets.

Officials say car bomb in Iraq's capital kills five
Authorities in Iraq said a car bombing in a neighborhood of Iraq's capital, Baghdad, has killed five people. The blast Thursday night happened in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City wounded 14 people and struck a commercial area of the neighborhood.

6.1-magnitude earthquake shake Nicaragua
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has rattled Nicaragua, but no major damages or injuries have been reported so far.

Russia condemns NATO for 'Cold War-era rhetoric'
Russia has condemned the secretary general of NATO for "zealously reproducing Cold War-era rhetoric," as tensions between the 28-nation alliance and Moscow simmer over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Obama calls Merkel to check in on Ukraine crisis
As he flew back to Washington, D.C. on Thursday aboard Air Force One, President Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

Iranians oppose burying American scholar, report says
An Iranian news agency said Thursday that dozens of people have protested against the expected burial of an American scholar in the country's historic city of Isfahan, saying Iran should not allow "Western garbage" to be buried there.

Longtime Canadian finance minister dies at 64
Former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, a fixture on the world financial stage who stepped down last month, has died at the age of 64, authorities said Thursday.

Prosecutor looks to show that Pistorius is lying
A prosecutor in South Africa has been hammering away Thursday at the credibility of former Olympic gold-medalist Oscar Pistorius, during his murder trial in the death of his girlfriend last year.

IRA militant charged with 29 Omagh bomb murders
An Irish Republican Army veteran has been charged with nearly 30 murders of civilians in the 1998 car bomb attack on Omagh, the deadliest bombing of the entire Northern Ireland conflict.

Over 150 migrants rescued off Libyan coast
Authorities in Libya said that more than 150 sub-Saharan African migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast. Those aboard were Nigerian, Ghanaian, and Senegalese and are currently detained in Libyan.

Official says Israel to withhold Palestinian tax fees
An Israeli official said Thursday that the government has decided to stop transferring tax money to the Palestinians, putting at risk hundreds of millions of needed dollars.

Cash-strapped Hamas turns to e-bullets
At a military base, Hamas security forces hold target practice using assault rifles fitted with lasers — all without firing a bullet. For the cash-strapped Hamas government, the system is a much-needed money saver.

Mexican police issue 'ransom ware' virus warning
Police in Mexico City have issued a warning about a new type of "ransom ware" virus that can take over computers' cameras and make the user think they are under surveillance.

British lawmaker acquitted of rape, sex crime charges
The former deputy speaker of Britain's House of Commons on Thursday was cleared of rape and sexual assault charges, after a trial that threatened to end his high-flying political career.

Malaysia Airlines lost 'black box' data from 2012 flight incident
Malaysia Airlines, the carrier at the center of a global aviation mystery, failed to preserve flight recordings during an incident at London's Heathrow Airport in 2012, a report by Britain's air accidents investigator said Thursday.

Murder rate very high in Americas, UN global study says
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime report, released Thursday, shows homicide rates in southern Africa and Central America are more than four times higher than the global average of 6.2 victims per 100,000 people.

Artificial cooling method a tricky topic for climate change panel
Cooling the planet by artificial means to combat climate change is considered mad science by opponents. Supporters say it would be foolish to ignore it, since slashing carbon emissions from fossil fuels is moving so slowly.

Syria chemical destruction deadline still possible
If Syria can remove all its ingredients for making poison gas and nerve agent from the country by the end of the month, an ambitious June 30 deadline for destroying the chemicals should be met, an official said Thursday.

Brazil Olympic workers defy court order, stay on strike
Striking construction workers stayed off the job at Rio de Janiero's Olympic Park on Thursday, which is the main cluster of venues for the 2016 Summer Olympics — defying a court order for them to return.

Woman mugged on Brazil TV while discussing crime
Brazilian television is showing footage of a woman being robbed while she was being interviewed on television about the crime rates near Rio de Janeiro's main train station.

Iraq scrambles to fight polio surge amid conflict
Across parts of Iraq, medical teams in white coats and gloves again roam the streets giving children polio vaccines and marking the walls of their homes, fighting a resurgent virus once more taking advantage of the country's turmoil.

Former German minister gives up fight for doctorate degree
Germany's former education minister on Thursday said that she is ending a legal fight to regain her doctorate degree, which was revoked over allegations of plagiarism.

Colombia seizes seven tons of cocaine, authorities say
Colombian police intercepted seven tons of cocaine that was headed to the Dutch port of Rotterdam, in what authorities say is one of the biggest drug busts in years.

04/09

Lebanon: Gunman kills two soldiers, shoots himself
Lebanon's official news agency said a gunman killed two soldiers in an ambush in the country's north and later turned the gun on himself and took his own life. The attack was the latest in a recent string of shootings that have claimed the lives of Lebanese troops.

Italy rescues 4,000 migrants at sea in past two days
Italian authorities said about 4,000 migrants have been rescued at sea in the past 48 hours as the exodus from Libya continues unabated on Wednesday when around 15,000 migrants were rescued since the beginning of this year.

Cuba shows concern over American's hunger strike
The Cuban government is expressing concern over a hunger strike launched by a U.S. government subcontractor imprisoned on the island. Alan Gross is a 64-year-old from Maryland who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba and was convicted of crimes against the state after he was caught setting up illegal Internet access for the country's small Jewish community.

Kenya deports 82 Somalis in terror crackdown
Kenya's security minister said 82 Somali nationals have been deported in an ongoing security crackdown following recent terror attacks in Kenya's capital and the port city of Mombasa.

Italy court overturns ban on egg or sperm donation
Italy's constitutional court has struck down a ban on egg or sperm donation for infertile couples. Wednesday's ruling was a victory for couples challenging the ban on medically-assisted egg or sperm donation that is part of a 2004 law regulating procreation.

Argentine federal police stage 'mega' drug raids
Argentina's federal government is making a huge show of force against drug trafficking, sending more than 3,000 federal agents to raid more than 80 drug "bunkers" in the city of Rosario, where the death toll is soaring from a bloody turf war.

More 'pings' raise hopes that Flight 370 will be found
The head of the search effort for a missing Malaysian airliner said Wednesday that he believes searchers are closing in on the "final resting place" of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Russia says intelligence help prevented attacks at Sochi games
Russia's security service chief said Wednesday that intelligence agencies in Russia and other countries helped to prevent terrorist attacks on the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi two months ago.

Doctors Without Borders blasts UN in South Sudan
The aid group Doctors Without Borders says the United Nations South Sudan mission has refused to improve living conditions by moving to safer grounds 21,000 displaced people living at a U.N. base.

Russia rejects US warnings over oil deal with Iran
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Wednesday in remarks carried by the RIA Novosti news agency that his government has rejected U.S. warnings against striking an oil-for-goods contract with Iran.

Trinidad & Tobago ex-leader, coup target, dies
Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, a former Trinidad and Tobago prime minister who was held hostage for days and shot during a bloody 1990 coup attempt, died Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

Cuba probes mobile data leak in ZunZuneo case
Cuba says it has launched a probe into how hundreds of thousands of customer cell phone numbers fell into the hands of a U.S. government agency.

Pakistan toddler swept up in attempted murder case
A 9-month-old Pakistani boy has been swept up in an attempted murder investigation that highlights the country's dysfunctional criminal justice system where even children are not immune from questionable legal decisions.

Afghan probe begins in attack on AP journalists
Afghan central government authorities on Wednesday began questioning the police commander who killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded an AP reporter, a day after he was transferred by helicopter to the capital.

Pink eye extends school closures in American Samoa
American Samoa is keeping most schools closed for the rest of the week as the U.S. territory tries to contain a pink eye outbreak that has affected about 2,300 students, disrupted court hearings and kept some passengers from boarding flights.

Israel launches new spy satellite into orbit
Israel's Defense Ministry says it has launched a new observation satellite into orbit. Israel announced the launch of the "Ofek 10" late Wednesday. The launch was carried out with state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries.

US sanctions suspected Honduran drug trafficker
The U.S. Treasury Department is levying sanctions against suspected maritime drug trafficker Carlos Arnoldo Lobo, for moving multi-ton loads of cocaine for Mexican, Guatemalan and Honduran drug kingpins and their organizations.

Pistorius and his story under intense scrutiny
In a sometimes ruthless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius at his murder trial Wednesday, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel scrutinized the athlete's story that he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake on Feb. 14, 2013.

US government blacklists Egyptian extremist group
The Obama administration has imposed sanctions on an Egypt-based group that has claimed responsibility for attacks against Egyptian officials, Israeli interests and foreign tourists in Cairo and the Sinai peninsula.

Democrats call GOP-led Benghazi probe a 'witch hunt'
House Democrats on Wednesday said a Republican-led investigation into the deadly attack against the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya nearly two years ago is a partisan "witch hunt," and they are demanding that it be stopped.

Homeland secretary re-evaluating US deportation priorities
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that he is re-evaluating the Obama administration's deportation priorities -- to make sure they're focused on national security, public safety and border security.

Rare sarcophagus, Egyptian scarab found in Israel
Israel's Antiquities Authority said Wednesday that archaeologists have unearthed a rare sarcophagus, featuring a slender face and a scarab ring inscribed with the name of an Egyptian pharaoh.

NATO may send US troops to Eastern European allies
NATO's top military commander in Europe, drafting countermeasures to the Russian military's threat against Ukraine, said Wednesday that his agency might send American troops to alliance nations in Eastern Europe.

Man cleared of British policeman's murder in 1985 London riot
A nearly 30-year-old murder that shocked Great Britain in 1985 remains unsolved -- after a jury on Wednesday acquitted a man of killing a London police officer during a downtown riot.

Pope Francis blesses cross made from migrant boats
Pope Francis on Wednesday blessed a wooden cross, that is made from the boats of migrants who arrived on the shore at the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, that is scheduled to travel around Italy.

Bombing at Pakistan market kills more than 20 people
A separatist group from an ethnic Pakistani minority group is claiming responsibility for a bomb attack at a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Wednesday.

Ukraine threatens force to clear government buildings
Authorities in Ukraine's capital of Kiev are warning that they are prepared to use force in order to clear several government buildings, that have been seized by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Afghan officer who shot AP journalists said to be fanatic
Fellow officers say the Afghan police commander who killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded an AP reporter seemed a calm, religiously fanatical man who may have come under the influence of Islamic extremists.

04/08

Mexico: Sect had kids from 2008 disappearance
Mexican authorities have confirmed that members of a tiny, mysterious evangelical sect had "adopted" about a dozen children who vanished from a Mexico City children's shelter in 2008.

Swedish court orders Sony to pay $46,000
A Swedish district court has ordered Sony Mobile Communications to pay $46,000 worth of royalties to Swedish musicians following a dispute over the classification of a mobile phone.

Syria: Iran sends 30,000 tons of food supplies
Syrian state media said Iran has sent 30,000 tons of food supplies to help President Bashar Assad's government deal with shortages amid civil war. State TV said Tuesday that the massive shipment has arrived at a port on the Mediterranean Sea.

Germany approves law to allow more dual citizens
Germany's Cabinet has approved legislation under which immigrants' children will no longer be forced to choose between German nationality and that of their parents. Until now, German-born children of immigrants had to pick one nationality between ages 18 and 23 — a rule largely affecting Germany's Turkish community.

Norwegian police try to identify amnesia man
Police in Norway are trying to identify a man who understands five languages but claims he cannot remember his own name or where he comes from. Oslo police published a photo of the man on Tuesday, who they said was found in a bad condition in the snow in Oslo in December without any identification documents.

Puerto Rico diocese loses sex abuse probe lawsuit
A judge in Puerto Rico has ordered a diocese to provide state prosecutors with all confidential documents related to an ongoing sexual abuse probe. The ruling issued Monday resolves a lawsuit that the Diocese of Arecibo recently filed against the island's justice secretary arguing that it should not have to release additional information to prosecutors.

Gunmen attack Brazil army troops to improve security
The Brazilian army said gunmen have launched at least five attacks against troops in the Rio de Janeiro slum complex occupied on Saturday in a bid to improve security two months before the start of the World Cup soccer tournament.

Puerto Rico coastal town first to ban plastic bags
A popular tourist town in western Puerto Rico has become the island's first municipality to ban plastic bags. All businesses will have to eliminate plastic bags by February 2015 or face fines ranging from $100 to $500.

Albania: 2.2 tons of cannabis found inside sofas
The founder of Austrian firearms maker Glock has bought a prize-winning stallion for 1$15.15 million in one of the priciest purchases of its kind.

Austrian pays $15 million for prize-winning horse
The founder of Austrian firearms maker Glock has bought a prize-winning stallion for 1$15.15 million in one of the priciest purchases of its kind.

Intel eliminates 1,500 jobs in Costa Rica
Chipmaker Intel said it's eliminating 1,500 jobs from its assembly and test operation in Costa Rica. The company made the announcement Tuesday in a news release.

Ex-Olympian Johnson joins Toronto mayor's campaign
Disgraced former Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson and a member of the mockumentary series "Trailer Park Boys" on Tuesday joined the re-election team of controversial Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Hillary Clinton says "brave" Russian punk band won't be silenced
Hillary Clinton is praising the Russian punk music band Pussy Riot as "strong and brave young women" who refuse to let their voices be silenced.

Ancient mummies damaged by Chilean earthquake
Some pre-Columbian mummies that have been buried in the northern Atacama desert for thousands of years have been damaged by a magnitude-8.2 earthquake and its aftershocks that hit last week, officials said Tuesday.

Pro-Russian uprisings continue in eastern Ukraine
Authorities in Ukraine are having mixed success in trying to put down pro-Russian uprisings in the eastern part of the country near the Russian border, which the U.S. says looks like a "pretext" for Russian military action.

Uruguay to give medicinal marijuana to prisoners
Uruguay's drug czar Julio Calzada told The Associated Press on Tuesday that any inmates with doctors' orders will be prescribed marijuana, to their improve physical or mental health.

Palestinians urges boycott of Israeli settlements
The Palestinian U.N. envoy is urging the world to boycott products from "illegal" Israeli settlements, as part of a stepped up campaign to help Palestine become independent.

Argentina court gives long terms for sex slavery
A court in Argentina has handed down tough sentences of up to 22 years in prison, to 10 defendants accused of kidnapping and forcing into prostitution a young woman whose disappearance raised global awareness about human trafficking.

Afghan presidential candidate says no clear winner yet
An Afghan presidential candidate said Tuesday that all indications are that nobody has won in the first round of voting over the weekend, and a runoff will need to be held to help determine the winner.

Venezuela's opposition to meet with government
Leaders of Venezuela's opposition have agreed to meet with President Nicolas Maduro's government to discuss ways to defuse the country's political crisis.

UN rights chief blames most crimes on Syrian gov't
The U.N. human rights chief said that atrocities by the Syrian government "far outweigh" crimes by the opposition fighters, and Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is "mostly responsible" for the human rights offenses there.

Lightning kills more than 60 cows in Chile
Ranchers in southern Chile said Tuesday that a series of lightning strikes has killed more than 60 of their dairy cows -- costing the cattle owners thousands of dollars in lost livestock.

Bipartisan critics slam Kerry on foreign policy
Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back Tuesday against withering criticism by Republicans and some fellow Democrats, defending the Obama administration's response to an emboldened Russia, nuclear talks with Iran and the Syrian civil war.

US trying to determine if Cuba Twitter should have been 'covert'
Senate lawmakers are going to be questioning the nation's international-aid agency about a secret, U.S.-backed social media network that was built to stir unrest in Cuba.

US says Iran's choice for UN envoy is 'not viable'
The United States has notified the Iranian government that its choice of a man -- who participated in the 1979 taking of American hostages -- to be Iran's new U.N. ambassador is not viable, the White House said Tuesday.

Russia facing tough new sanctions in Ukraine, US says
The Russian government now faces additional, even harsher economic sanctions if it doesn't back down from its involvement in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

US military strike would not have stopped Syria war, Kerry says
Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that a threatened U.S. military strike, that would have punished Syrian President Bashar Assad last summer, would not have stopped that nation's ongoing civil war.

Kerry says Israel missteps not helpful in Mideast peace talks
The United States' top diplomat said Tuesday that talks in the Mideast peace process faltered after Israel refused last month to release prisoners, as Palestinian leaders demanded, before moving forward with even more settlements in the West Bank.

Ebola-related deaths in West Africa rise to over 100
More than 100 people have now died in an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, where officials say the disease may have infected as many as 175 people.

Man who hacked British soldier to death appeals prison sentence
An al-Qaida-inspired extremist, who was convicted of butchering a British soldier in a frenzied street attack last summer, has filed an appeal against his punishment of life in prison without parole.

Kenya authorities say 3,000 arrested after terror attacks
A Kenyan official on Tuesday said that at least 3,000 people were arrested during four days of security operations, following a wave of terror attacks in the African nation.

Pele says Brazil airports a major concern ahead of World Cup
Brazil's World Cup ambassador, and former soccer legend Pele said Tuesday that he is concerned about the country's outdated airports -- less than 10 weeks before the global tournament begins.

With new look, 80-year-old Paris zoo set to re-open
A gray, man-made mountain still protrudes over treetops, but nearly everything else has changed as the 80-year-old Paris' zoo prepares to re-open after a multi-year, multimillion-euro makeover, officials said.

Americas get front-row seat for lunar eclipse
North and South America, get ready for the first eclipse of the year. Next Tuesday morning, the moon will be eclipsed by Earth's shadow -- an eclipse that will be visible across the Western Hemisphere.

04/07

Greek journalist union condemns columnist's arrest
A Greek journalists' union and the government have condemned the arrest of a journalist over an opinion column about a member of parliament.

Samsung's first quarter profit falls four percent
The Asian tech heavyweight said in its Tuesday earnings preview that its operating income for the first three months of this year reached 8.4 trillion won ($8 billion), compared with 8.8 trillion won a year earlier.

Royals arrive in New Zealand to rain, cheers
Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, have arrived in New Zealand's capital to cheers from locals who braved windy, rainy weather to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Athens mayor candidates split on mosque referendum
Athens' center-left mayor Giorgos Kamanis says Greece has an "international obligation" to build a mosque in the capital, criticizing a proposal by his main opponent in municipal elections next month to hold a city referendum on the project.

English soccer is now without a black coach
Norwich didn't fire Chris Hughton because he's black. The English soccer club fired him because it is petrified of dropping out of the Premier League and losing millions in revenue.

Canadian charged in webcam killing found guilty
A jury has found a Canadian man accused of killing a Chinese student in her Toronto apartment, attacked as her boyfriend watched via webcam in China, guilty of first-degree murder.

Promising lead in search for missing Malaysian jetliner
After four weeks of pursing false leads including ordinary flotsam, Australian authorities say they've detected the "most promising lead" yet in the search for the missing Malaysian airliner. 

Oscar Pistorius apologizes to victim's family at trial
The South African track star took the witness stand today at his murder trial and apologized to the family of the girlfriend he shot and killed last year. He said they are the first people he thinks of every morning.

Water woes endanger North Korea reactor, report says
A U.S. research institute said North Korea may have temporarily shut down a plutonium nuclear reactor earlier this year, as it grappled with water supply problems that could threaten the safety of its nuclear complex.

Iran ambassador dispute unites Dem, GOP senators
The congressional outcry over allowing a former hostage-taker involved in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran to serve as Iran's ambassador at the United Nations is uniting Democrats and Republicans.

John Kerry to meet with top diplomats on Ukraine
Secretary of State John Kerry is going to meet with top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. It's part of a new push to calm tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Salvadoran govt says gang truce hasn't worked
The government of El Salvador said Monday that the truce between the country's main Mara street gangs hasn't worked, and that killings and attacks against police have risen again.

Kuwait gives nearly $250M to Syrian relief aid
Kuwait is donating nearly $250 million to the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to help relieve the Syrian crisis, the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced Monday.

Liechtenstein manhunt seeks shooter at bank
Police in Liechtenstein said Monday that a manhunt is under way for a former fund manager who is suspected of shooting to death a 48-year-old CEO in a bank's underground parking garage.

Experts say it's too late to finish World Cup airports
Infrastructure experts say that Brazil has run out of time to meet its promise to fully expand and renovate airports that will serve hundreds of thousands of fans pouring into the country for the World Cup that starts in just two months.

Thousands of Jerusalem Arabs without water
Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in east Jerusalem have been without running water for more than a month, victims of a decrepit infrastructure and caught in a legal no-man's land caused by the divisions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Colombians outraged over new acid attack
Police are offering a nearly $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever was behind the latest in a rash of acid attacks disfiguring women in the Colombian capital.

US warns Russia not to intervene in eastern Ukraine
The White House on Monday issued a warning to the Russian government against intervening in eastern Ukraine, and threatened to impose even more economic sanctions if it ignored that warning.

Airline passenger attempts suicide during flight to India
Authorities and Emirates airlines on Monday said that a passenger disrupted a recent flight to India after he apparently tried to commit suicide aboard the flight, inside the plane's lavatory.

Global airlines group call for improved tracking method
The director of a global aviation group said Monday that he wants to see a globally-approved standard for airlines to track their planes in place by the end of this year, to avoid another disappearance like that of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Latvia, Lithuania ban Russian state TV broadcasts
Latvia is joining Lithuania in banning Russian state television broadcasts, because it found that several programs about the Ukraine crisis were tendentious and not in the Baltic nation's security interests.

Iran Guards say foreign-linked spy ring dismantled
Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Monday that its agents have dismantled an alleged espionage network -- with links to foreign intelligence agencies seeking to sabotage key industrial and military sites in the country.

Bulgaria claims Hezbollah was behind bus bombing
Bulgaria's interior minister has said that he is convinced that the Shiite militant group Hezbollah was behind a bus bombing that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver nearly two years ago.

Chile woman kills boyfriend, boils body parts, police say
A Chilean woman has been arrested and charged for shooting her boyfriend to death, dismembering him -- and then boiling his body parts for hours in a pot, authorities said Monday.

Egypt police arrest top aide to al-Qaida terror chief
Egyptian security officials on Monday said that authorities have arrested and are interrogating a top aide to al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri, who has allegedly been training militants in eastern Libya.

Egypt court gives men prison terms for homosexuality
A judicial official on Monday said that an Egyptian court has convicted four men of committing homosexual acts -- and sentenced them to serve as many as eight years in prison.

Venezuelan TV journalist kidnapped by armed men
The father of a Venezuelan TV journalist said that his daughter was kidnapped over the weekend by armed, masked men in the western section of the capital of Caracas.

04/06

Pakistani vessels arrive at Iranian naval drill, report says
Iran's official news agency is reporting that Pakistani naval vessels have arrived at the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for an upcoming naval maneuver.

Hagel to become the first foreign visitor aboard China ship
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to get a rare tour of China's first aircraft carrier on Monday, becoming the first foreign visitor to board the ship.

Obama pays tribute to victims of Rwanda genocide
President Obama on Sunday remembered the victims of the Rwandan genocide -- an event he said was "neither an accident nor unavoidable."

International community praises Afghan presidential vote
The international community has praised the Afghan government for its national elections this weekend, that saw a heavy turnout despite a shortage of ballots, reports of fraud and threats of violence.

Guinea airport passengers to be screened for Ebola
Health officials in Guinea say all passengers departing from the nation's largest airport must be screened as part of an effort to combat the spread of the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

Pistorius to finally answer questions on deadly shooting
More than a year after he killed his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius will finally answer questions about why he shot her through a toilet door when his murder trial resumes this week.

Ships investigate signals reported in jet search
A British navy ship has reached the area of the Indian Ocean where a Chinese ship reported picking up a pulse signal over the past two days.

Pro-Russians storm Ukraine government buildings
Crowds of pro-Russian demonstrators on Sunday stormed government buildings in several major cities in eastern Ukraine, officials said.

Hezbollah says no more danger to Syrian regime
The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group said Sunday that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is no longer in danger of collapsing.

Algerian army kills alleged female terrorist
Algeria's defense ministry says the army has fatally shot an alleged terrorist in northeast Algeria. The ministry said in a statement Sunday the woman was killed during a sweep by troops.

Morocco's unions unite to protest gov't austerity
Thousands of workers, teachers and civil servants are marching through downtown Casablanca to protest austerity plans put in place by the Moroccan government to control runaway spending.

Married couples critical of controversial German language test
The European Commission has criticized the law in Germany, saying it may violate European treaties. And a legal challenge to the European Court of Justice is expected to be heard this month.

Explosions in Thailand kill one, wound many others
Suspected Muslim insurgents have launched a wave of attacks in southern Thailand that killed one person -- the most serious of which was a car bomb that detonated in front of a furniture store, triggering a blaze that burned nearby homes.

South Africa judge talks about homosexuality at book event
A recent book launch event captured the ideal of openness in the South African court -- anchor of a constitution widely seen as one of the most progressive in the world because of its commitment to equality

Romania charges teen after woman swung by bathrobe
Romanian police have filed criminal charges against a teenager who allegedly grabbed a terrified middle-aged woman by her bathrobe collar and swung her around while his friends chronicled it on video.

Fire at Chile nursing home kills 10, police say
A fire tore through a nursing home in southern Chile, killing nine elders and their caretaker. Most of the 12 patients at the nursing home lived with disabilities and mental illnesses, officials said.

04/05

Spain suspends riot control exports to Venezuela
Spain has indefinitely suspended the export of riot control equipment to Venezuela's government following weeks of unrest there which have seen an increase in violence as police face sustained protests by the opposition.

18 killed in feud between families in south Egypt
Government officials and local witnesses in Egypt say at least 18 people have been killed in a bloody feud between an Arab clan and a Nubian family in the country's southern Aswan province.

German chancellor says EU united on Russia sanctions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Europe Union won't waver if the time comes to hit Russia with tougher sanctions over Ukraine.

Panama's president unveiling subway ahead of vote
Counting down his final weeks in office, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Saturday is inaugurating the most-emblematic project of a five-year term marked by fast economic growth and more than a hint of hubris — Central America's first subway system.

Pakistan to release Taliban prisoners to aid peace talks
Pakistan's interior minister says the government will release more than a dozen Taliban prisoners to aid ongoing peace talks with militants -- and are hopeful the Taliban will release some of its own prisoners as well.

Fuel shortages dog Africa's biggest oil producer
The man in the large SUV forces his way to the front of the line at the gas station, ignoring the blaring horns and threats of fisticuffs from drivers who have slept in their cars and waited for more than 12 hours for the scarce fuel.

Israeli negotiator says peace talks are in crisis
Israel's chief negotiator in peace talks says the discussions are in "crisis" but must continue -- and advised that the Palestinian president and Israeli prime minister should talk directly.

Explosion, clashes kill over two dozen soldiers in Iraq
Officials in Iraq say an explosion at a booby-trapped house and ensuing clashes with militants have killed 15 soldiers and wounded many others just west of Baghdad.

Signal found by Chinese ship similar to airline black boxes
The Australian-led joint agency coordinating the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner says electronic signals detected by a Chinese ship in the Indian Ocean are consistent with those of an aircraft's "black box."

Afghans vote in droves, defying Taliban threats, violence
Afghans have defied Taliban threats as well as rain to vote in presidential and provincial elections today.

04/04

Ecuador volcano spews six-mile ash column
Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has spewed a 6-mile column of ash after a powerful, five-minute explosion that shot pyroclastic material onto its northern and northwestern flanks.

Lithuania woman acquitted of suicide bombing plot
An appeals court has acquitted a Lithuanian woman who was convicted by a lower court of plotting a suicide bombing against an undetermined Russian military target.

Egypt deports anti-death sentences activist
An organization said one of its employees has been deported from Egypt, where he had come to present a petition asking for the lifting of death sentences against supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Mali reports three suspected cases of Ebola fever
Health officials in Mali said they are investigating three suspected cases of Ebola amid an outbreak in two other West African countries. Malian officials said they were awaiting test results from samples sent to the United States.

Germany investigates large-scale password theft
German authorities are investigating the suspected theft of passwords for some 18 million email addresses. The Interior Ministry said an analysis by determined that about 3 million of the affected addresses were German.

Chad soldiers begin leaving Central African Republic
A spokesman for the African peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic says hundreds of Chadian soldiers are packing up to leave the country. The move comes a day after the Chadian government announced it was pulling out of the peacekeeping mission.

Pink eye outbreak shuts down schools in American Samoa
American Samoa officials have ordered all public schools in the U.S. island territory closed after nearly 2,300 students contracted pink eye. The outbreak prompted the Friday closure of 28 schools from preschool through high school.

Argentine president becomes godmother to lesbians' baby
Argentina's president has agreed to godmother a lesbian couple's baby, who will be baptized Saturday in a Roman Catholic Cathedral. Umma Azul is the first such baby known to receive this church blessing in Argentina.

Strict adoption regulations provide assurance in Haiti
The Hague Adoption Convention took effect in Haiti this week, while foreigners seeking to adopt a child from Haiti will now have better assurances that the new family member wasn't trafficked.

Mosquito-borne virus arrives in Dominican Republic
Health authorities in the Dominican Republic have reported the first outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus that has spread quickly in the Caribbean in the weeks since it was first detected in the region.

US envoy to focus on genocide prevention in Africa
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said she is going to Africa not just to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide but to spotlight ethnic killings in Central African Republic and the potential for violence in Burundi.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over US drone strikes
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Obama administration officials, over the 2011 drone-strike killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen -- one of them an al-Qaida cleric.

US official says Iran nuke deal to be drafted in May
A U.S. official said Friday that world powers and Iran will begin drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement next month, as the sides are apparently making progress in talks.

SpaceX reschedules space station resupply launch
A delayed supply run to the International Space Station is now set to launch April 14. The private company SpaceX will be making its fourth trip to the space station from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

US seizes $43M worth of cocaine near Puerto Rico
U.S. authorities in Puerto Rico on Friday said they have seized more than $40 million worth of cocaine off the island's southeastern coast, which was found aboard a wooden boat traveling toward the coastal town of Patillas. 

Father of Fort Hood gunman says family in shock
In a statement from his native Puerto Rico, the elder Ivan Lopez calls for prayers for the three people killed and 16 wounded in the attack. His brief statement Friday was his first since the shooting at the Army base.

Magnitude 5.7 earthquake rattles southern Greece
Seismologists say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 rattled southern Greece and was widely felt in the capital, Athens -- although there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Mexico judge ends bid to revive Mexicana airline
A Mexican judge has ordered an end to efforts to revive moribund Mexicana airlines through bankruptcy proceedings, saying no credible new investor has expressed interest in the carrier.

Egyptian journalists demand protection amid risky climate
Journalists in Egypt held a one-day strike Friday, demanding that security forces protect reporters covering protests and demanding that their employers provide protection as their job grows increasingly dangerous.

Taliban promises to disrupt Afghan presidential election
Although the Taliban have denied responsibility for an attack in Afghanistan Friday that killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded a correspondent, the militants have vowed to disrupt tomorrow's nationwide elections with violence.

Obama says US to provide loan guarantees for Tunisia
President Obama on Friday said the U.S. is providing new loan guarantees to help Tunisia revive its faltering economy. He made the announcement at the start of an Oval Office meeting Friday with Mehdi Jomaa, Tunisia's interim prime minister.

European Union planning tribunal for Kosovo war crimes
The European Union plans to set up an international tribunal focusing exclusively on crimes allegedly committed by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian rebels during their war with Serbia during the late 1990s, The Associated Press has learned.

Syrian troops attack Damascus suburb, activists say
Syrian activists on Friday said President Bashar Assad's government forces have bombarded some suburbs of the capital of Damascus, killing several people.

Polish priest says LEGO toys lead children to 'dark side'
A Roman Catholic priest has touched off a controversy in Poland after news media quoted him describing toys like LEGO's Monster Fighters as tools of Satan that lead children to the "dark side."

North Korea says US 'hell-bent' on overthrowing government
The North Korean government on Friday warned the United States that any maneuver intended to change its reclusive communist regime will be viewed as a red line that will result in countermeasures.

AP photographer killed, reporter wounded in Afghan attack
An Associated Press reporter in Afghanistan is being treated for injuries that she suffered in a shooting attack on Friday, that left one of the news agency's photographers dead.

Cuba's official media abuzz over 'secret Twitter' account
News of a secret U.S. government program to set up a cell phone-based social network in Cuba are being trumpeted in the island's official media as proof of Havana's repeated allegations that Washington is waging a cyber-war to stir up unrest.

Human rights groups urge nations to stop selling spyware
A coalition of human rights groups is launching a campaign to curb the international trade in surveillance software, saying exports of sophisticated espionage programs are chilling free speech across the globe.

Maltese government swears-in its youngest president
The small Mediterranean nation of Malta on Friday swore-in its youngest-ever president -- a 55-year-old former social policy minister, whose aim is to give a voice to the disadvantaged.

Some services restored after Chilean earthquake
Chilean officials said Friday that water, fuel, electricity and other essential services are being re-established -- three days after a powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks that have rattled the country.

Britain asks EU to prepare more Russia sanctions options
The British government is calling on its European Union partners to develop possible additional sanctions against Russia, in the event that they become necessary, officials said Friday.

04/03

Shark kills woman off Australian east coast
A shark has killed a woman as she swam with a group of swimmers off a popular Australian east coast beach.

Troops kill 40 gunmen near Iraqi capital, says officials
Officials in Iraq said fighting between government troops and al-Qaida-inspired militants has killed 40 gunmen and an army officer near the capital, Baghdad.

Afghans say Pakistani Taliban border attacks rise
A senior Afghan official said the Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks on border posts between the two countries despite starting peace talks with Islamabad earlier this month.

Chad to pull peacekeepers from Central African Republic
Chadian officials said they are withdrawing their peacekeepers from the regional mission in Central African Republic just days after Chadian troops were accused of killing 32 civilians when they opened fire on a crowd.

Nigeria court rewards damages to top banker
A Federal High Court has ordered Nigeria's government to pay damages of about $300,000 to the ex-Central Bank governor who was suspended after revealing an estimated $20 billion in missing oil revenues.

Amnesty International criticizes Greek police
The rights group Amnesty International said it has found a culture of impunity and abuse within the Greek police, which it also criticizes for inadequately responding to hate crimes and attacks by far-right groups on migrants and protesters.

Vybz Kartel gets life for murder in Jamaica
Dancehall reggae star Vybz Kartel and three other Jamaican men been sentenced to life in prison for a 2011 murder, when a Jamaican judge ruled Thursday that he must serve 35 years behind bars before he can be eligible for parole.

Mali starts process to confine armed rebels
The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali said officials will soon begin the process of looking for barracks where armed rebels can be confined.

18 wounded in clash over wildcat mining in Peru
Doctors in Peru said at least 15 wildcat gold miners and three police officers suffered gunshot wounds when police moved to reopen the highway that connects Brazil with the Pacific coast.

13 North Korean ship crew members missing
South Korea's coast guard said a Mongolian-flagged cargo ship carrying more than a dozen North Korean crew members is missing off its southern coast, after sending a distress signal early Friday in waters about 80 miles south of southern port city of Yeosu.

Obama signs law providing Ukraine loan guarantees
President Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill providing $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, and also punishes Russia for its bold annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Afghan election could reset US-Kabul relations
While many Americans have given up hope that Afghanistan can ever prosper in peace, tens of thousands of Afghans are flocking to campaign rallies ahead of Saturday's presidential election.

Obama clears way for South Sudan sanctions
President Obama on Thursday signed an executive order allowing the U.S. to sanction individuals and entities involved in stoking the ongoing violence in South Sudan, the White House said.

Senators urge US to deny visa to Iran ambassador
Nearly 30 Republican senators have written to President Obama urging him to deny a visa to a former hostage-taker, who has become Iran's choice for ambassador to the United Nations.

Fort Hood gunman's attack baffles Puerto Rico hometown
A day after Lopez went on a shooting rampage at the Army's Fort Hood in Texas, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide, some of those who knew him were baffled by the explosion of violence.

Ford now votes 'yes' to congratulating Olympians
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford got a second chance to vote on congratulating Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes. And this time, he voted yes -- whereas before he said no.

Servicemen killed by bomb in Russia's Chechnya region
Four servicemen in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya have been killed after the armored infantry vehicle in which they were traveling hit a hidden explosive device, officials said.

Syria can meet chemical weapons target, diplomats say
The head of the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that Syria can still meet the April 27 deadline to remove all chemical agents from the country.

Russian envoy urges US officials to 'do yoga'
A senior Russian diplomat said Thursday that U.S. officials should do yoga and watch TV comedy series to ease what he calls their irrational fixation on punishing Russia over Ukraine.

US, Algeria to strengthen counterterrorism ties
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday said the United States wants to strengthen its cooperation with Algeria to fight terrorism in the unstable Sahel region.

Even with some answers, mystery of Malaysian flight remains
When officials said Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed deep in the Indian Ocean, it seemed like the answer the world was waiting for. However, not a single piece of wreckage has yet been found -- not even after a new analysis led investigators to change the focus of their search.

European aviation officials suggest avoiding Crimea airspace
The European Aviation Safety Agency has advised aircraft to avoid the airspace over Crimea, because of possible risks posed by two countries seeking to control the sky in the region.

Aftershocks rattle Chile as power outages remain
There are no reports of significant new damage on Thursday from the aftershocks that continue to rattle northern Chile, where residents spent a second sleepless night outside of their homes.

Russia angry over German minister's comparison to Hitler
Russia's Foreign Ministry has summoned the German ambassador to protest a German minister's statement comparing Russia's annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler's Nazi policies during the 1930s.

Celebrity chef Lawson stopped from boarding plane to US
The United States Embassy said Thursday that celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson was denied permission to board a flight to the United States last weekend, although the reason was not given.

Ebola patients await death in Guinea medical wards
The Zaire strain of Ebola that was recently detected in Guinea kills up to 90 percent of its victims -- and with no cure, all that can be done is to make patients comfortable as their organs begin failing.

Israel cancelling prisoner release after Palestinian UN push
Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians said Thursday that the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners will not be released, because of the Palestinians' new push for recognition at the United Nations.

Russia arrests 25 Ukrainians for sabotage, report says
A government-controlled Russian TV station on Thursday reported that more than two dozen Ukrainian citizens have been arrested in Russia by the country's security agency, on suspicion of planning sabotage.

US will stand by allies in disputes with China, official says
The United States on Thursday said that the Chinese government should not doubt the U.S. resolve in meeting its defense commitments to its allies, amid China's efforts to interdict Philippine vessels in the South China Sea.

White House says 'Cuban Twitter' not a covert program
The White House said Thursday that a "Cuban Twitter" communications network created by the U.S. government was a development program and not a covert operation.

04/02

Obama to meet with top lawmakers on Ukraine crisis
The White House on Wednesday said that President Obama will meet with top lawmakers on Thursday about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which includes possibly sending more aid to the region amid the takeover by Russia.

Kerry denounces use of energy as weapon
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday denounced the use of energy as a weapon, one day after Russia sharply hiked the price for natural gas to Ukraine.

Seven dead after WWII-era bomb explodes in Bangkok shop
Workers at a scrap shop in Thailand's capital accidentally detonated a large bomb on Wednesday, which is believed to have been dropped during World War II, killing at least seven people and injuring 19 others, officials said.

Adultery site big in Japan where marriage reigns
Ashley Madison, the world's biggest online hookup site for married people, works only when monogamy is the rule on the surface but, deep inside, couples want to cheat. That's why it is scoring big in Japan.

Gunmen kill local election candidate in Afghanistan
An Afghan official said Wednesday that Taliban gunmen have killed nine people, including a candidate running for a seat in the provincial council, who had been abducted in northern Afghanistan.

Rob Ford votes 'no' on congratulating Olympians
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has turned an apparent no-brainer into a head-scratcher Wednesday, when he cast the sole "no" vote on a City Council motion to offer the athletes kudos. 

Brazilian police officers convicted in 1992 prison killings
More than a dozen Brazilian police officers were found guilty on Wednesday of killing four inmates during a riot at Sao Paulo's Carandiru prison two decades ago.

Bishops say Venezuela seeks totalitarian rule
Venezuela's organization of Catholic bishops is accusing the government of seeking totalitarian-style rule, comments that potentially could complicate the Vatican's offer to facilitate talks between the socialist government and its opposition.

Mexico political boss denies secretary sex claims
A local political chief from Mexico's ruling party is denying local press reports that his office hired women to have sex with him by placing them on party payrolls as secretaries or receptionists.

John Kerry in Algeria for reform, security talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Algeria Wednesday for talks on economic and political reforms and strategic security cooperation, including counterterrorism.

Minor damage, six deaths after powerful Chile quake
Authorities in northern Chile are finding surprisingly light damage after a powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck there on Wednesday -- resulting in the deaths of six people.

Defense in 9/11 case at Guantanamo seek CIA report
A lawyer for one of the Guantanamo prisoners accused of orchestrating the 9/11 terror attack is trying to get a copy of the secret Senate report on CIA interrogations that has caused a bitter rift between the agency and Congress.

NATO general warns that Russia capable of quick strike
The American general who commands all NATO forces in Europe said Wednesday that Russia has 40,000 troops along the border with neighboring Ukraine -- and that they are capable of attacking by land and air on just 12 hours' notice.

Former CIA official says no politics in Benghazi memo
A former CIA official has been defending the changes he made to the talking points that were put together in the aftermath of the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya in 2012.

US unhappy with choice of former hostage-taker as Iran diplomat
The Obama administration on Wednesday said it is troubled by Iran's choice for its ambassador to the United Nations, and it has raised those concerns to Tehran about the nomination.

EU, US help Ukraine cut energy independence from Russia
The United States and the European Union on Wednesday promised to help Ukraine reduce its dependence on Russia for energy supplies, by opening routes from other European nations and Asia.

Former president hopes Crimea will return to Ukraine
Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's ousted president, believes that Russia's annexation of Crimea is a tragedy -- and said that he hopes the Black Sea peninsula can return to Ukraine someday.

Police brutality, excessive force rampant in Malaysia, report says
Police brutality is a serious human rights problem in Malaysia -- with unjustified shootings, mistreatment, and deaths in custody occurring on a large scale because officers lack accountability, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Top UN officials see severe hunger problem in Africa
Top U.N. officials said Wednesday that many desperate South Sudan residents who are trying to escape the fighting across the country are resorting to eating grass and roots to survive, because food is in such short supply.

White House disappointed in ruling on campaign contributions
The White House on Wednesday said it is disappointed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down overall financial limits for political campaign contributions.

Swiss refuses EU sanctions over Ukraine, but cuts bank access
The Swiss government has decided to reject European Union sanctions against 33 people in connection with Russia's annexation of Crimea, but will prevent them from using Switzerland to get around the visa bans and asset freezes.

Shipment of $50M worth of cocaine seized near Puerto Rico
Federal authorities have seized approximately $50 million worth of cocaine -- weighing almost 4,000 pounds -- after intercepting a boat off Puerto Rico's north coast, authorities said Wednesday.

Turkish high court rules to strike down Twitter ban
Turkey's highest court on Wednesday ruled that the country's Twitter ban violates the right to free expression and has demanded that access be restored.

Nearly 20 nations ratify treaty regulating global arms trade
Nearly 20 countries, including five of the world's leading arms exporters, have officially ratified a landmark treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade -- on the first anniversary of its adoption by the U.N. General Assembly.

New Palestinian recognition bid largely symbolic
A decision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek international recognition of a state of Palestine has thrown into disarray the troubled U.S. mediation efforts on a peace deal. 

Syrian media report says mortar shells kill five in Damascus
Syria's state-run news agency said Wednesday that indiscriminate mortar attacks by rebels have killed five civilians and wounded dozens in the nation's capital of Damascus.

04/01

Two freed of gay charges in Nigerian Shariah court
A Nigerian Shariah court has freed two men accused of gay sex and belonging to a homosexual club, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

South Korea suspects crashed drone from North Korea
South Korea suspects that an unmanned drone that crashed on a frontline South Korean island was flown by rival North Korea on Baengnyeong island on Monday. Hundreds of artillery shells were fired into each other's waters in a flare-up of animosity over a long disputed sea boundary between the countries.

Greek prison guards charged with torture death
A Greek prosecutor has charged eight prison guards with torturing to death an Albanian convict accused of fatally stabbing a prison guard after being refused furlough to visit his critically ill mother.

Lebanese parliament approves domestic violence law
Lebanon's parliament has approved a much-anticipated law that protects women against domestic violence after a years-long campaign by women's rights activists and the recent slaying of four women.

Brazil president defends threatened journalist
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is issuing a defense of a Brazilian journalist who said she has received rape threats after launching a campaign against rape on her Facebook page.

Puerto Rico man faces 49 sexual abuse charges
Authorities in Puerto Rico have filed 49 counts of sex crime charges against a man accused of sexually abusing his two stepdaughters and two of their friends for more than a decade.

Argentina: Violent attacks grow after lynching
A mob's killing of a man who stole a purse in Argentina has been followed by a string of similar attacks as people take justice into their own hands, while President Cristina Fernandez called on Monday a halt to such violence.

Magnitude-8.0 quake strikes northern Chile
A powerful earthquake has struck in the Pacific off Chile's northern region, and authorities have ordered an evacuation of coastal areas in case of a tsunami. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Iran names former hostage-taker as its new UN ambassador
A Republican senator sais on Tuesday that the Iranian government has named a former hostage-taker, who was involved in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, as its ambassador to the United Nations.

American spy's release in play for Mideast peace
Every president since Ronald Reagan has refused to release American spy Jonathan Pollard from prison. A CIA director once threatened to resign if Pollard was freed as part of peace talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders.

Airlines call for more security, passenger checks
The International Air Transport Association said Tuesday that the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane highlights the need for security improvements -- both in tracking aircraft and screening passengers before they board them.

US drug agent says new synthetics emerging in Asia
International drug enforcement officials say methamphetamine is the drug of choice in Asia, but new synthetic drugs have found their way in the region, with authorities constantly playing catch up with traffickers.

No troop deaths in Afghanistan in March, Pentagon says
The Pentagon said Tuesday that there were no U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan in March, the first zero-fatality month there since January 2007 -- more than seven years ago.

Congress to pass aid Ukraine, sanction Russia
Congress was near passage on Tuesday of a bill to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to cash-poor Ukraine, and take punitive measures against Russia for its brazen annexation of part of the former Soviet satellite nation.

US may move warship into Black Sea, officials say
The U.S. is likely to move a warship into the Black Sea and send a small team of soldiers to Europe, as part of NATO's effort to bolster allies in Eastern Europe who are worried about Russia's military annexation of Crimea.

American spy's ex-wife pleads for his release
The ex-wife of imprisoned Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard has implored the Israeli government to secure his release. U.S. officials say they are considering that as part of a package to extend Mideast peace talks.

Mexican state blames railways in migrant crimes
Prosecutors in southern Mexico have filed a criminal complaint that alleges railway companies or their employees were complicit in crimes against migrants who ride their trains.

Outgunned Ukraine strives for military overhaul
Tanks headed north into Ukraine this week from Russian-controlled Crimea. Not at the head of an invading army, but on a trainload of military equipment in such poor shape that Moscow had no use for it.

Ancient monastery, large mosaics, found in Israel
Israel's Antiquities Authority has unveiled a monastery dating back some 1,400 years in the south of the country with impressive mosaic floors that shed light on life in the region during the Byzantine period.

Radical Muslim leader shot dead in Kenya
The lawyer for a radical Islamic leader, who had been sanctioned by the United States and the United Nations for supporting the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab, says his client has been assassinated.

Pathologist will testify first for defense in Pistorius trial
Oscar Pistorius' lawyer said Tuesday that a pathologist will likely testify first when the former Olympic gold-medalist's defense team starts calling witnesses when his murder trial resumes next week.

Deal emerging on Mideast talks extension, official says
An official close to the Mideast peace talks said Tuesday that a deal is emerging to extend the troubled negotiations -- including the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for 400 Palestinian prisoners.

Malaysian credibility in missing flight again called into question
Malaysian authorities have been forced on the defensive by public criticism, the most forceful of which has come from a group of Chinese relatives who accuse them of lying about — or even involvement in — the plane's disappearance.

US wants more troops at Black Sea base, Romania says
The president of Romania, who has heavily criticized the Russian government recently, said Tuesday that the United States has asked to increase the number of troops and aircraft it has stationed at a Black Sea air base there.

Man threatens Lufthansa flight crew with razor blade
A Lufthansa Airlines flight was diverted on Tuesday after authorities say a passenger, who was being deported from Germany, suddenly pulled a broken razor blade and threatened the flight crew.

Activists say Syria conflict death toll passes 150,000
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday said that it has documented more than 150,000 deaths so far, in the conflict that started three years ago.

Major terror attack possible in Kenya, officials fear
Officials in Kenya said Tuesday that they fear a recent wave of explosions in the central African nation might be an indication that another large-scale attack is looming.

Troops blow up suicide bombers in northern Nigeria
Multiple explosions went off near an oil depot outside the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Tuesday, and the military said soldiers also blew up three vehicles that were laden with explosives.

JetBlue flight returned to Jamaica after crew smelled smoke
Maintenance teams are evaluating a JetBlue Airways plane that was forced to return to Jamaica after the flight crew smelled smoke onboard the jetliner, officials said Tuesday.

Kim Kardashian wades into Syria war debate
Kim Kardashian has waded into Syria's conflict, calling on fans through Twitter to save the ancient Armenian Christian village of Kassab -- whose residents fled as rebels seized control of the hamlet in late March.

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