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  • Alleged spy Gross felt abandoned by US in Cuba 

    Alan Gross was sentenced by Cuba in 2011 to 15 years for committing "acts against the independence and territorial integrity"US contractor Alan Gross says he was mistreated by his captors and felt abandoned by his own government after Cuba arrested him and accused him of spying. In his first major interview since his release last year, Gross said exercise, family memories and humor kept him going though his five-year ordeal. Gross was contracted by the US Agency for International Development to deliver electronics to Jewish groups when he was arrested in Havana in December 2009.

  • The Latest: Greece sees rebound in migrant crossings 

    An Iranian migrant and his son sit in no man's land demanding to be allowed to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Macedonia toughened rules for crossings earlier this month, in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The latest on the mass movement of asylum-seekers and others seeking refuge in Europe. All times local:

  • Iran says tests will show how diplomat died in Saudi Arabia 

    The Iranian honour guard carries the coffin of Iran's former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, who was killed in Saudi Arabia, during a repatriation ceremony at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on November 27, 2015Iran expects medical tests to establish within 48 hours if a high-ranking diplomat died on pilgrimage in the stampede at the hajj in Saudi Arabia, following contrasting accounts about his demise. Ghazanfar Roknabadi, 49, a former ambassador to Lebanon, was initially reported as being among 464 Iranian pilgrims killed in the hajj's worst-ever tragedy in September. Iran finally confirmed Thursday that Roknabadi's corpse had been identified in Saudi Arabia.

  • Dijsselbloem: Refugee crisis could trigger 'mini-Schengen' 

    Dijsselbloem arrives at a euro zone finance ministers meeting in BrusselsDutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem warned that countries which fail to adequately guard Europe's borders and do not take in a fair share of refugees could find themselves outside the borders of a future "mini-Schengen" zone. In an interview in Belgian business dailies De Tijd and L'Echo on Friday, Dijsselbloem, who is also the chair of the euro zone group of finance ministers, said the EU's passport-free Schengen zone could not work if only a few countries gave shelter to refugees. "There are a few countries that are carrying the heaviest burden in the asylum crisis, taking in the most refugees," he told the papers, naming Sweden, Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

  • Israel to open representative office in Abu Dhabi Israel plans to open a diplomatic-level mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi, the first openly established representative office in the United Arab Emirates, Israeli diplomats said on Friday. The office will not be a full mission, but will consist of a diplomat assigned to the renewable energy agency. Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed details first reported in Israeli daily Haaretz and three diplomatic officials told Reuters the move was underway.
  • President starts talks on new PM in deadlocked Croatia 

    Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, pictured on October 9, 2015, opened talks with parliamentary parties to try and name a prime minister-designate and end a political stalemateCroatia's president opened talks with parliamentary parties Thursday to try and name a prime minister-designate and end a political stalemate after an election 18 days ago failed to produce an outright winner. The lack of a decisive outcome has caused concerns among analysts, coming as a huge influx of migrants passes through the European Union's newest member, which is slowly emerging from six years of recession and in need of economic reforms. The centre-left alliance, led by the Social Democrats and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, won 56 seats but has since secured the support of 10 deputies from smaller parties and minority groups, increasing its chances of staying in power.

  • Many players, divergent interests in anti-IS fight 

    Countries carrying out strikes against IS in Syria and IraqThe battle against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq has become an international priority, but it faces a patchwork of conflicting agendas and strategies from a wide array of actors. The Russians and Iranians, meanwhile, have maintained their firm support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, thus complicating efforts to reach a diplomatic solution. The US has been bombing the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria since mid-2015, accounting for the vast majority of the coalition's air strikes.

  • Tunisia leaders urged to rethink anti-jihad strategy 

    Tunisia police stand guard in front of the country's closed border with Libya on November 26, 2015 in Ras JdirTunisia's leaders faced calls Thursday to rethink their strategy in the fight against extremism, following a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group that killed a dozen presidential guards. The struggle against Islamist violence has taken on added urgency for North African nation following three major attacks there this year by IS, which has made Tunisia one of its main targets. Authorities closed the border with strife-wracked Libya for 15 days, imposing a nationwide state of emergency and a night-time curfew in Tunis after 12 presidential guards were killed in Tuesday's blast.

  • Britain's Cameron says time to bomb militants in Syria By Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday it was time to join air strikes against Islamic State in Syria because Britain cannot "subcontract its security to other countries". Many Britons are wary of entering into another war in the Middle East after Western intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya failed to bring stability to the region and some believe led to the rise of militants groups such as Islamic State. Cameron lost a vote on air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in 2013 and must persuade some wary members of his own Conservative Party and in the opposition Labour Party to back him if he is to win parliament's support for military action.
  • Kenya says ready to leave global court over case against VP 

    Kenya's Deputy President Ruto welcomes the national athletics team at the Jomo Kenyatta airport in NairobiBy Thomas Escritt BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Kenya said on Thursday it was ready to quit the International Criminal Court if it did not get assurances about the handling of the trial of its vice president, hardening a rift between African powers and the tribunal. Vice President William Ruto is facing charges of crimes against humanity including murder, deportation and persecution linked to an outburst of ethnic killings after the 2007 presidential election. Two senior Kenyan government lawyers told Reuters that Nairobi wanted promises that a new rule allowing the court to use testimony from witnesses who had since decided to withdraw could not be applied retrospectively to cases like Ruto's. “Withdrawal (from the global court) is one of the options available to us if we can’t secure what we have asked for,” one of the legal advisers said.

  • Yemeni city battered by siege in pivotal battle of civil war 

    In this Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 photo, wounded people gather during a protest demanding they receive treatment and an end to the blockade imposed by Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, on the city of Taiz, Yemen. In the country's third largest city, residents are battling back against a months-long siege by Shiite rebels, armed by airdrops of weapons by Saudi planes, with hundreds killed and food, water and medicines running short in a potentially pivotal battle in the country’s protracted civil war. (AP Photo/Abdulnasser Alseddik)SANAA, Yemen (AP) — In Yemen's third largest city, residents are battling back against a months-long siege by Shiite rebels, armed by airdrops of weapons by planes from the Saudi-led coalition, with hundreds killed and food, water and medicines running short in a potentially pivotal battle in the country's protracted civil war.

  • Stranded migrants try to storm into Macedonia, tear down fence 

    A migrant tries to escape from Macedonian police officers as he tries to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of IdomeniHundreds of Moroccans, Algerians and Pakistanis tried to storm the border between Greece and Macedonia on Thursday, tearing down part of the barbed wire fence at the crossing and demanding to be allowed to carry on into northern Europe. Some threw stones at police while others fell to their knees shouting, "We want to go to Germany!" A few ran across into Macedonia but were quickly detained by police. Police in riot gear guarded a gap where migrants had torn down about 30-40 meters of fence, and a Reuters photographer saw riot police armed with assault rifles.

  • France, Italy see need to stop Islamic State in Libya World powers need to step up efforts to stop Islamic State gaining ground in Libya while keeping up the fight against the militant group in Syria and Iraq, France and Italy said on Thursday. French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who met in Paris, expressed concern that instability in the North African country was providing fertile soil for IS to flourish, with Renzi warning that Libya risked becoming "the next emergency". France is pushing for a grand coalition of world powers to destroy the militant group following the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and Hollande, after meeting Renzi, spoke of the need for a Libyan government of national unity to end anarchy.
  • Turkey expected to open new EU accession chapter next month - minister By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's EU minister said on Thursday the latest chapter in his country's long-stalled EU membership bid would be opened in mid-December, following a summit this weekend at which Europe aims to finalize a deal with Turkey on migration. The European Union is seeking Turkey's help in handling its worst migrant crisis since World War Two, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa traveling to Europe, many through Turkey. Speaking in Ankara, Volkan Bozkir said that Chapter 17 -- on economy and monetary policy -- would be opened on December 14-15.
  • Britain's Labour Party says considering 'free vote' for lawmakers on Syria airstrikes Britain's opposition Labour Party is considering allowing its lawmakers to vote as they wish on whether to approve Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to extend airstrikes to Syria, its finance spokesman said on Thursday. Britain is already bombing Islamic State in Iraq but Cameron wants to get Parliament's support to strike militants in Syria.
  • Biden calls for greater cooperation at Europe's borders 

    US Vice-President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference after the Brdo-Brijuni Process summit on November 25, 2015 in ZagrebUS Vice President Joe Biden called at a Western Balkans summit Wednesday for greater cooperation at European borders to deal with the flow of migrants and to fight terrorist threats. Biden's attendance at the meeting of presidents in Zagreb was seen as highlighting Washington's renewed interest in the fragile Western Balkans as the region deals with an unprecedented influx of refugees and other migrants. "It is clear there is a need to improve cross-border cooperation, information sharing and to deal with the flow of refugees while stepping up our ability to counter terrorist threats as well," Biden said afer the summit.

  • Biden meets Balkan leaders at summit on refugees, threats 

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, second from right, talks to Slovenian President Borut Pahor, third from right, in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Biden attends a conference of southern and eastern European leaders to discuss the surge of migration this year. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, Pool)ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Former Balkan rivals on Wednesday pledged joint efforts with the United States and the European Union in protecting European borders from a record surge of asylum-seekers amid fears that Islamic militants may have infiltrated the flow.

  • AP Interview: Mere force won't defeat IS, says Jordan prince 

    Prince Feisal al-Hussein, brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Amman, Jordan,Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Al-Hussein says extremist Islamic ideologies pose a global challenge, but can’t be eradicated by military force alone. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Extremist Islamic ideologies pose a global challenge, but can't be eradicated by military force alone, a brother of Jordan's king said Wednesday.

  • Reality check for Putin after Turkey shoots down plane 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin called the downing of a Russian war plane by Turkey a "stab in the back" that would have serious consequencesPresident Vladimir Putin has found himself in a bind after the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, which highlights the risks of his gung-ho Syria campaign and the difficulty of forging consensus on the war-torn country's future. The dramatic escalation in tensions between Russia and NATO member Turkey comes as Putin prepares for talks Thursday in Moscow with France's Francois Hollande on building a broad coalition to fight Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

  • Days before summit, Turkey, EU face big hurdles to migration deal 

    A Turkish Gendarme asks a refugee woman to leave from the shore as a group a refugees try to sail off for the Greek island of Chios by dinghies, in the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme, in Izmir province, TurkeyBy Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prospects for a grand bargain between Europe and Turkey to stem a flow of migrants into the continent are uncertain days before a summit on Sunday meant to seal a deal and put fraying relations back on a firm footing, EU and Turkish officials say. How much money Turkey will receive for settling more Syrian migrants, the pace at which Turkey's long-stalled EU membership bid can be accelerated and whether Brussels can deliver on its promise of easier travel for Turks are all unresolved. "We are not there yet," said a senior European Union official.

  • French PM says Europe can't take in more refugees: Sueddeutsche Zeitung 

    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls speaks during a debate to extend a state of emergency at the National Assembly in ParisEuropean countries are stretched to their limits in the refugee crisis and cannot take in any more new arrivals, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was quoted as saying in a German newspaper on Wednesday. Europe is grappling with its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Germany so far has taken in the bulk of some 1 million people expected to arrive this year.

  • Under junta rule, Thailand pivots towards China 

    A Chinese J-10 aircraft from the People's Liberation Army Air Force flies upside down during the combined excercise "Falcon Strike 2015" at the Wing 1 Korat air base in Korat, ThailandFor the last two weeks Thai and Chinese planes have been taking part in the inaugural joint air force drill, an exercise culminating later this week with a performance by Beijing's acrobatic air team. For Group Captain Chanon Mungthanya, a Royal Thai Air Force spokesman involved in the drill at Korat, it is a valuable opportunity to interact with his Chinese counterparts. Historically, Thailand has been one of Washington's staunchest military allies in Southeast Asia and could have expected to see that relationship blossom under US President Barack Obama's "pivot" to Asia.

  • Asian shares lower on jitters over strife in Middle East 

    Trader Kenneth Polcari works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Stocks are opening modestly lower, following declines in Europe. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday as investors kept a wary eye on developments in the Middle East after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

  • Australia-led group wins $7 bn electricity deal over China bid 

    TransGrid is a critical piece of national infrastructure underpinning the NSW economy and a key part of Australia's electricity marketAn Australia-led consortium of investment funds from Canada and the Middle East won the bid for electricity transmission network TransGrid Wednesday, beating a Chinese challenger in a deal worth Aus$10 billion (US$7.3 billion). China's State Grid was considered a frontrunner but the New South Wales state government said the strongest bid belonged to the locally led NSW Electricity Networks consortium. "The transaction will deliver gross proceeds of Aus$10.258 billion which will help fund a raft of infrastructure projects across the state," NSW Premier Mike Baird said in a statement.

  • Gulf braces for austerity as oil income slump bites 

    Falling world oil prices will result in a $275 billion drop in revenues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states this year, the IMF predictsFaced with heavy losses from low oil prices, Gulf states have embarked on belt-tightening measures to cut spending and boost non-crude revenues, but analysts warn much more needs to be done. After more than a decade of abundant surpluses thanks to high oil prices, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are projected to post a combined record budgetary shortfall of $180 billion in 2015 and the drought is expected to continue for years. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told GCC finance ministers in Qatar this month that "global energy prices could remain low for years" and urged them to adjust their budgets.

  • U.S., France agree to scale up fight against Islamic State 

    U.S. President Barack meets with France's President Hollande at the Oval Office of the White House in WashingtonBy John Irish and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and France agreed on Tuesday to ramp up military operations against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and coordinate intelligence on domestic threats following the worst attacks to hit France since World War Two. Relations between the two allies over Syrian policy have been strained since August 2013 when U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a plan to strike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces over the use of chemical weapons. French warplanes were ready on the runway when the word came from Washington that Obama had decided against action.

  • Gambian president calls halt to female genital mutilation 

    The president of Gambia, Yayah Jammeh (L, with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade in Dakar in October 2005), has banned the practice of female genital mutilation "with immediate effect" in the Gambia, an official wrote on Facebook November 23, 2015Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has banned female genital mutilation, branding the practice as outdated and not a requirement of Islam, the information ministry announced Tuesday. Female genital mutilation, or FGM, remains highly common in the Gambia, along with a number of other African countries and parts of the Middle East. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 125 million women worldwide have undergone the practice, which involves cutting off the labia and clitoris, often when girls are young.

  • U.N. decries Balkans border curbs on refugees; arrivals in Greece fall 

    Austrian soldier fixes the fence as migrants wait to cross the border into Spielfeld in Austria from the village of Sentilj, SloveniaBy Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations on Tuesday condemned new restrictions on refugees that have left around 1,000 migrants stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece, denied entry due to their nationalities in violation of international law. "Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued by his press office. "Talk about a sharp drop in the number of refugee arrivals to Greece may be premature.

  • How the Dow Jones industrial average fared on Tuesday Stocks overcame an early stumble Tuesday and finished modestly higher as investors shook off concerns about heightened tensions in the Middle East and a drop in consumer confidence.
  • New settlement spat emerges as Kerry visits Israel 

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes impromptu remarks to members of the media after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)JERUSALEM (AP) — A new spat emerged between the Israeli government and Washington over Jewish settlements on Tuesday, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel and the West Bank for the first time in more than a year.

  • New stars to give Kapalua its strongest field in a decade 

    American golfer Jordan Spieth, center, answers a few questions as he runs a clinic for young golfers at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Spieth will defend his Australian Open title starting Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The start of a new year on the PGA Tour at Kapalua lost some sizzle when Tiger Woods stopped going after 2005, which was four years after Phil Mickelson decided to go to Hawaii only for a vacation.

  • Swiss region set to ban full-face veil 

    Switzerland's Italian-speaking canton of Ticino is set to become the first region in the country to introduce a ban on the full-face Muslim veilSwitzerland’s Italian-speaking region has moved a step closer to banning the full-face Muslim veil, after its parliament gave the proposed law the thumbs-up this week. The canton of Ticino thus looks set to become the first region in Switzerland to introduce such a ban. Following the green light from the regional parliament on Monday, the bill, which was backed by 65 percent of the electorate in a 2013 referendum, could take effect in April, a parliamentary spokeswoman told AFP.

  • Migrants build society in French camp they call 'the jungle' 

    FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 photo customers stand in front of a makeshift Afghan shop inside the migrants camp in Calais, northern France. Dozens of wooden-framed shops and restaurants, mostly Afghan, stock shelves with supplies bought at Calais supermarkets. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)CALAIS, France (AP) — Outside, acrid smoke from wood fires stings the eye, the stench of uncollected garbage and neglected toilets assaults the nose, and an autumn wind chills the bone. But inside Mimi Amanuel's immaculate wood-framed shack, the nightmare life of Calais' migrant camp cannot overpower a woman's dreams.

  • France's miscalculations and impotence over Syria crisis 

    Syrian government forces walk on a heavily damaged street in the regime-controlled side of the northern city of Aleppo on November 9, 2015France has been one of the strongest voices pushing for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the past four years have seen its strategy fail and its diplomatic weakness exposed. "At its heart, it's a story of missed opportunities," said a government source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We knew from the start what would happen in Syria -- the refugees, the attacks -- and we took the right stance, but we lost," he said.

  • Bahrain jails photojournalist for 10 years: RSF 

    A freelance photographer who covered demonstrations, like the one pictured here on January 26, 2015 in Bilad al-Qadeem, is jailed for 10 yearsA Bahraini court has jailed for 10 years a freelance photographer who covered demonstrations and revoked his citizenship after convicting him of "terrorism", Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday. A criminal court convicted Sayed al-Mousawi on Sunday of having given mobile phone SIM cards to "terrorist" demonstrators and taking photos of protests, RSF said in a statement. Bahrain frequently uses the term "terrorists" to refer to mostly-Shiite protesters who still take to the streets in villages and clash with police after the kingdom's Sunni authorities crushed a month-long uprising in 2011.

  • Kerry in Israel for 1st time since 2014; no bold peace push 

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with members of the traveling press during his stop in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)JERUSALEM (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry made his first trip to Israel in more than a year, arriving on Tuesday in the midst of a new rash of deadly attacks that have dampened hopes for peace mediation between the Jewish state and Palestinians during the Obama administration's final year. The visit includes no such ambitious agenda, the chief U.S. diplomat conceded, and is primarily focused on ending the terror.

  • Parched Emirates relies on sea as groundwater runs out 

    A laborer walks past piping at a desalination test facility on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Authorities took journalists on a tour of the facility to show ways the United Arab Emirates, which relies heavily on desalinated seawater for its drinking water, is trying to make the process more environmentally friendly. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As skyscrapers and gleaming towers rose with lightning speed across the United Arab Emirates over the past two decades, the Gulf nation's thirst for water grew at an enormous rate — so much so that today, it threatens to dry up all of the country's groundwater in as little as 15 years, experts say.

  • Court orders French government to clean up Calais migrant camp 

    Migrants and refugees in the Calais migrant camp known as "the Jungle" observe a minute of silence on November 20, 2015, a week after jihadist attacks in Paris left 130 people dead and more than 350 injuredFrance's top administrative court Monday gave the government one week to start cleaning up the migrant camp known as "the Jungle" near the northern port of Calais where it said thousands are living in "inhuman" conditions. Conditions in the camp "expose the migrants... to inhuman or degrading treatment," said the Council of State. Local authorities estimate there are 4,500 people currently living in makeshift camps around Calais.

  • Iran leader hosts Putin, says U.S. policies threaten Tehran, Moscow 

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei receives a gift from Russia's President Vladimir Putin in TehranBy Bozorgmehr Sharafedin DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader, at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran, said on Monday U.S. policies in the Middle East region were a threat to both countries and called for closer ties between Tehran and Moscow. The civil war in Syria has evolved into a wider proxy struggle between global powers, with Russia and Iran supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Western powers, Turkey and Gulf Arab states want him out.

  • Low turnout continues to mar Egypt parliamentary elections 

    An Egyptian woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the second phase of the parliamentary election in Menoufiya, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)CAIRO (AP) — Despite a half-day off the Egyptian government granted its employees on Monday, a low voter turnout continued to plague the country's parliamentary elections on the final day of the second stage in the balloting.



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