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  • Kerry in Indonesia seeking Asian support against Islamic state 

    United States Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the airport in JakartaBy David Brunnstrom JAKARTA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Indonesia for Joko Widodo's presidential inauguration on Monday, seeking more help from Southeast Asian leaders in the U.S.-led effort against Islamic State in the Middle East. In a one-day stop in Jakarta, capital of a country with the world's largest Muslim population, Kerry plans bilateral meetings with Widodo, the prime ministers of neighboring Malaysia and Singapore, the Sultan of Brunei, Australia's prime minister and the foreign minister of the Philippines. Senior officials of the U.S. ...


  • Australia to deploy 200 special forces in Iraq CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia will soon deploy 200 special forces troops in Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi security forces a month after the Australians were sent to the Middle East, the foreign minister said Monday.
  • Rights group says Kuwait strips 33 of nationality KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The Kuwaiti Cabinet stripped citizenship from 33 people this year, including at least three who were vocal critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.
  • Roadside bomb kills six soldiers in Egypt's Sinai CAIRO (Reuters) - Six Egyptian soldiers were killed by a remotely-detonated roadside bomb in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday, the army said in a statement. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded five soldiers. The bomb exploded as a patrol responsible for protecting a natural gas pipeline passed by, security sources said. The blast occurred southwest of provincial capital Al-Arish, where two policemen were killed when their patrol car was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade three days ago. ...
  • Half-mumbled prayers and friction at Jerusalem's holiest site By Luke Baker JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli and Palestinian police kept a tight watch over the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday amid high tension between Muslims and Jewish visitors to the holy site and calls from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to defend it by "all means". Clashes have flared repeatedly in the past few weeks as increasing numbers of Jews have visited the sacred area during the Jewish holidays, angering Palestinians who see this as part of an Israeli agenda to alter a long-preserved status quo. ...
  • 5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI 

    Copies of the Osservatore Romano Vatican newspaper with a photo of Pope Paul VI on the front page are seen over empty chairs prior to the arrival of Pope Francis to celebrate his beatification ceremony and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI on Sunday at the end of a remarkable meeting of Catholic bishops discussing family life, marriage, divorce, sex and gay unions. Paul VI oversaw the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 world-wide church meetings which brought the Catholic Church into modern times. The parallels between Francis and Paul, and the divisive issues both men confronted, are significant. Here are 5 Things to Know about Paul VI.


  • Israel's Yaalon in US after spat over Kerry remarks 

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, at a press conference in Jerusalem, on August 27, 2014Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon sought to calm fresh tensions with Washington on Sunday as he began a five-day trip to the United States.


  • HRW urges Polisario to respect Sahrawi refugee rights 

    Refugees from Western Sahara walk through a school in a refugee camp in the Tindouf reigon of south-western Algeria on October 18, 2005Algiers (AFP) - Human Rights Watch has urged the Western Sahara's Polisario Front to make more of an effort to ensure respect for human rights in refugee camps the pro-independence group runs in the Algerian desert.


  • Frustrating West, Turkey maintains cautious stance on jihadists 

    A Syrian Kurdish woman walks in a refugee camp in the town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on October 17, 2014Istanbul (AFP) - Turkey is turning a deaf ear to insistent pressure to take a more pro-active stance in the fight against Islamic State (IS) jihadists, adding to existing strains with the West under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


  • Activists: Islamic State group may have warplanes 

    FILE - This undated image posted on Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters of the Islamic State group waving the group's flag from a damaged display of a government fighter jet following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State group is test flying, with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots, several fighter jets captured earlier from air bases belonging to the Syrian military, a Syrian activist group said Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. The report by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could not be independently confirmed, and U.S. official said they had no reports of Islamic State group militants flying jets in support of their forces on the ground.(AP Photo/ Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group)BAGHDAD (AP) — Syrian activists say the Islamic State militant group has captured some MiG fighter jets and is test-flying the warplanes in Syria with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots.


  • U.N. Security Council urges stronger campaign against Islamic State UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Friday pushed for a bombing campaign in Iraq against Islamic State militants and associated extremist groups to be strengthened and expanded. A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold a large swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria, two countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake. U.S. ...
  • Kobani key to US strategy against Islamic State 

    Kobani mapWASHINGTON (AP) — Dusty and remote, the Syrian city of Kobani has become an unlikely spoil in the war against Islamic State militants — and far more of a strategic prize than the United States wants to admit.


  • Former Iraqi pilots train IS fighters on MiG jets 

    FILE - This undated image posted on Aug. 27, 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters of the Islamic State group waving the group's flag from a damaged display of a government fighter jet following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State group is test flying, with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots, several fighter jets captured earlier from air bases belonging to the Syrian military, a Syrian activist group said Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. The report by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could not be independently confirmed, and U.S. official said they had no reports of Islamic State group militants flying jets in support of their forces on the ground.(AP Photo/ Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group)BEIRUT (AP) — The Islamic State group is test flying, with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots, several fighter jets captured earlier from air bases belonging to the Syrian military, a Syrian activist group said Friday.


  • Arabs from Israel risk arrest for 'Arab Idol' show 

    CAPTION CORRECTION, CORRECTS IDENTITY FROM MANAL MOUSA TO SABREN MOUSA - In this image made from AP video filmed on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, Sabren Mousa, sister of Manal Mousa, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at her family home in the Galilee village of Deir Al-Assad, northern Israel. Her sister Manal Mousa's goal is to win Arab Idol, the Arab world's premiere television song competition. The journey Manal Mousa and another singer Haitham Khalaily, 24, have taken from their villages in Israel to the competition in Lebanon could comprise a television drama of its own - featuring travel to an enemy country, Israeli security interrogations, and the complicated identity crisis of Israel's Arabs. (AP Photo/AP video)MAJD AL-KRUM, Israel (AP) — Their goal is to win Arab Idol, the Arab world's premiere television song competition.


  • U.S. general says Iraq retaking some ground from Islamic State WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of U.S. troops in the Middle East said on Friday Iraqi forces are "incrementally" recapturing ground from Islamic State militants who seized much of the country's northwest this year, but he added that major Iraq advances will take time. "They are doing some things now to incrementally recapture ground that's been lost," General Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, said in his first news conference about the conflict. He cited the Kurdish operation around Mosul Dam and their recapture of the border post of Rabia. Austin said U.S. ...
  • Correction: Turkey-Islamic State-Istanbul story 

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, a student puts the finishing touches on an anti-Islamic State poster at Istanbul University's Department of Literature, Istanbul, Turkey. The student was one of several critical of the militant group, whose supporters clashed with left-wing students on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. The violence was one of the clearest signs that the radical Islamic State group has found sympathizers in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)ISTANBUL (AP) — In a story Oct. 14 about Islamic State group supporters in Istanbul, The Associated Press erroneously referred to the city as the capital. Ankara is Turkey's capital. Istanbul is its largest city.


  • Yemen's al Qaeda expresses support for Islamic State against 'crusade' DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's wing in Yemen expressed support on Friday for Islamic State against what it described as a "crusade alliance", referring to U.S.-led air strikes on the insurgents in Iraq and Syria, and called for attacks to damage the United States. U.S. and Arab forces have bombed Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since the militants declared a caliphate in the territory under their control. Islamic State is an offshoot of al Qaeda but now challenges that group for influence among jihadists. ...
  • Egypt's foray into Libya underlines its concerns 

    A fire truck drives towards smoke caused by an attack by Islamist militias during clashes with forces led by renegade Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Islamist militias fought Wednesday with forces loyal to Hifter, who vows to seize the eastern city of Benghazi, as a top militia commander accused Egypt of bombing his positions with warplanes. (AP Photo/Mohammed el-Sheikhy)BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Egypt's military involvement in Libya underlines Cairo's concerns about the threat posed by Islamic militant groups operating near the two nations' porous border, as well as home-grown jihadis who rely on their Libyan comrades for weapons. Above all, Egypt aims to prevent these groups from linking up.


  • US still searching for credible allies in Syria 

    FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate Syrian rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria as it bombs the Islamic State group there, exposing a gaping hole in the Obama administration’s strategy to ultimately defeat the militants. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria as it bombs the Islamic State group. That's a potentially serious flaw in its strategy to ultimately defeat the militants.


  • Bahrain activist detained for 'insulting' the king 

    FILE - In this file photo taken Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, Bahraini opposition activist Zainab al-Khawaja checks her cellphone as she waits to hear about her detained sister, Maryam al-Khawaja, outside the court in Manama, Bahrain. Human rights organizations said Thursday, Oct. 16, that the Bahraini activist who is eight months pregnant has been detained for "insulting" the king after she tore up his photograph in court. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Bahraini activist who is eight months pregnant was detained for "insulting" the king after she tore up his photograph in court, a human rights organization said Thursday.


  • Red Cross delivers first medical aid in a year to Palestinians in Syria GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday it had delivered its first medical supplies in a year to Palestinian refugees living in a camp in the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria. Around 20,000 people are believed to be living in Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, where food and water supplies are now scarce. The camp is caught between Syrian government forces and opposition forces including al-Nusra. ...
  • Philip Morris Int'l 3Q profit falls 8 percent 

    FILE - This Jan. 17, 2008 file photo shows a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in Bremen, Germany. Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc., which sells Marlboros and other U.S. brands abroad, on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 said its third-quarter profit dropped 8 percent as cigarette sales fell in the overseas markets that it serves and it was hurt by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar. (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Philip Morris International's third-quarter profit dropped 8 percent as cigarette sales fell in the overseas markets that it serves and it was hurt by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar.


  • Britain to re-deploy drones from Afghanistan to Iraq 

    Britain will shortly begin re-deploying its unmanned armed drones from Afghanistan to counter Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliamentLondon (AFP) - Britain will shortly begin re-deploying its unmanned armed drones from Afghanistan to counter Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament on Thursday.


  • 'Sporadic' MERS cases in Saudi: health ministry 

    Egyptian medical workers wear masks as they leave the emergency section in King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, 370 kms East of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on June 16, 2013Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia is seeing "sporadic" cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has killed 324 people in the country, the health ministry said Thursday.


  • Exxon Mobil votes with feet to stay in EU as energy laws loom 

    A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, TexasBy Barbara Lewis ANTWERP Belgium (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil is pouring $1 billion into a refinery in the European Union, setting aside concerns ranging from poor margins to EU green energy rules due to be agreed next week that will cut demand for oil. The company, which believes all its oil and gas reserves will be ultimately be needed to meet future demand, despite efforts to curb climate change, says the Antwerp refinery upgrade is one of its highly strategic long-term investments. ...


  • Australian naval base in lockdown, bomb squad called SYDNEY (Reuters) - A naval base in the Australian state of Victoria went into lockdown and a police bomb squad was sent to the scene to investigate unspecified "hazardous material", security officials said on Thursday. An exclusion zone of 400 meters was declared around a residential apartment at HMAS Cerberus, a naval training base on the Mornington Peninsula, 75 km (45 miles) southeast of Melbourne, Victorian police said. The incident occurred after a routine inspection at the base found the material in the apartment, the Australian Defence Force said in a statement. ...
  • Trinidad says 'several' citizens aid Islamic group PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — At least "several" citizens of Trinidad & Tobago have traveled overseas to aid militants including the group known as the Islamic State, the national security minister of the Caribbean nation said Wednesday.
  • What's at stake in Iran nuclear talks? 

    From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are photographed as they participate in a trilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. The three will try and advance nuclear talks and meet the target date of Nov. 24. But with less than six weeks left until Nov. 24, there may be no alternative than to prolonging them. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)VIENNA (AP) — An Iranian nuclear agreement is the Obama administration's grandest foreign policy objective, a legacy-defining endeavor that holds the prospect of ending the gravest potential threat to Israel and the Middle East and reintegrating Iran into the world community.


  • Yemeni man sues German gov't over US drone strikes 

    FILE - In this July 30, 2014 file photo the flags of the United States and Germany fly behind a sign at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. A Yemeni man is suing the German government for allegedly letting the United States use the air base in Germany for lethal drone strikes. Faisal bin Ali Jaber claims his brother-in-law Salim bin Ahmed Ali Jaber and nephew Waleed were killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2012. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, Pool, File)BERLIN (AP) — A Yemeni man filed a suit against the German government Wednesday for allegedly letting the United States use an air base in Germany for lethal drone strikes.


  • Saudi court convicts outspoken Shiite cleric 

    A Bahraini anti-government protester holds up a picture of jailed Saudi Sheik Nimr al-Nimr during clashes with riot police in Sanabis, Bahrain, a suburb of the capital Manama, Wednesday night, Oct. 15, 2014. The well-known Shiite cleric was sentenced to death Wednesday by a court in Saudi Arabia, sparking fears of renewed unrest from his supporters in the kingdom and neighboring Bahrain. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A widely revered Shiite Muslim cleric was convicted Wednesday in Saudi Arabia of sedition and other charges and sentenced to death, raising fears of renewed unrest from his supporters in the kingdom and neighboring Bahrain.


  • Syria-Iraq fight gets a name: 'Inherent Resolve' 

    FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2014 file photo, an armored vehicle belonging to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters rushes to a bombing site as smoke rises after airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil in northern Iraq. The airstrikes were launched outside the Kurdish regional capital Irbil, and marked the first time U.S. forces have directly targeted the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. It may be less punchy than previous nicknames for U.S. conflicts in the Middle East -- remember Operation Desert Storm and its thunderous attacks on Saddam Hussein’s occupation army -- but the Pentagon has finally named its fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria: Operation Inherent Resolve. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — It's less punchy than previous nicknames for U.S. conflicts in the Middle East -- remember Operation Desert Storm and its thunderous attacks against Saddam Hussein? -- but the Pentagon has finally named its fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria: Operation Inherent Resolve.


  • IS group has made 'substantial gains' in Iraq: US  

    Islamic State fighter said he was not afraid of deathWashington (AFP) - Islamic State jihadists have made important advances in Iraq despite US-led air strikes, Washington's envoy to the US-led coalition fighting the group warned Wednesday.


  • UN refugee chief says Europe must open borders 

    Syrian Kurdish refugee children that have fled fighting in Kobani, Syria with their families, peer from a window of a public warehouse building where families have found refuge, in Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. The onslaught has forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The head of the United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday urged countries, particularly in Europe, to review their laws to allow entry to more Syrians fleeing their country's civil war.


  • Turkish Airlines investigates Arabic engine inscriptions after staff scare ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines said it is investigating after Arabic inscriptions found on several of its plane engines sparked panic among staff who feared a security breach by Islamist militants - only to find the inscriptions were of a prayer for abundance. The incident has raised security fears at Istanbul's Ataturk airport as no security camera footage was available to find those responsible for the mysterious blessings, airport news website Airporthaber reported. ...
  • U.N. refugee chief says EU should let more Syrian refugees enter legally By Sami Aboudi SHARJAH United Arab Emirates (Reuters) - The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said on Wednesday he had asked the European Union to grant legal entry to more Syrian refugees who are risking their lives trying to reach Europe illegally by sea. Thousands of migrants, including many Syrians fleeing a three-year civil war, have drowned while crossing the Mediterranean on rickety boats operated by human traffickers. ...
  • Economic crisis, political strife drive Venezuela brain-drain 

    Natalie Pereira says goodbye to her friend before her move to the U.S. with her family, after winning the Green Card lottery, at their home in ValenciaBy Julia Symmes Cobb and Carlos Garcia Rawlins CARACAS (Reuters) - After three weeks trapped inside their home, Natalie Pereira and her family made a final decision: they must leave Venezuela. "I could see clashes from my apartment window, tear gas, every day," Pereira said, recounting violent confrontations between anti-government protesters and security forces earlier this year. Forty-three people died and hundreds were hurt in three months of confrontations in major urban centers. "The protests confirmed it - we had to go. ...


  • U.S.-led air strikes intensify as Syria conflict destabilizes Turkey 

    A U.S.-led coalition aircraft flying over Kobanii, as seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian borderBy Humeyra Pamuk and Daren Butler MURSITPINAR Turkey/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - American-led forces have sharply intensified air strikes in the past two days against Islamic State fighters threatening Kurds on Syria's Turkish border after the jihadists' advance began to destabilize Turkey. The coalition had conducted 21 attacks on the militants near the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani over Monday and Tuesday and appeared to have slowed Islamic State advances there, the U.S. military said, but cautioned the situation remained fluid. U.S. ...


  • Strong explosion hits Cairo, leaving 12 injured CAIRO (AP) — A strong blast hit a busy district in central Cairo on Tuesday night, leaving 12 injured, Egypt's official news agency reported, as a court sentenced seven Islamic militants to death over earlier terror attacks.
  • Factbox: Who's who on the new EU executive (Reuters) - The European Parliament is due to vote on Oct. 22 on whether to confirm in office the incoming European Commission, the EU executive to be led by Jean-Claude Juncker. EU government leaders must first approve Juncker's proposal to take a new Slovenian nominee, Violeta Bulc. She and Slovak Maros Sefcovic would then face confirmation hearings, a source close to Juncker said on Tuesday. Each of the 28 member states nominates a commissioner. The provisional line-up proposed by Juncker is as follows: PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER Luxembourg, center-right, 59. Prime minister for 19 years. ...
  • Qatar beats Australia 1-0 in friendly DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar notched its first victory over Australia on Tuesday after a 61st-minute goal by Khalfan Ibrahim sealed a 1-0 win in an international friendly.

 

 

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