World News World News en-us Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:11:00 GMT Synapse CMS 10 144 25 Iran Nuclear Talks Face Obstacles Even With More Time World News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:32:58 PM Associated Press Iran Nuclear Talks Face Obstacles Even With More Time

VIENNA (AP) - The United States and Iran say a new deadline in nuclear talks could allow them to finally reach a deal. But Tehran's apparent reluctance to compromise may soon leave U.S. negotiators running out of ideas on how to reduce Iran's capacity to make nuclear arms.

Western diplomats familiar with the talks said Tuesday they have agreed on little more than to keep talking until June 30, after failing to substantially narrow differences by Monday's deadline in Vienna.

Based on information from the diplomats, progress made so far has mostly stemmed from the U.S. and its allies revising positions closer to the minimum of what they may be able to accept. Iran's demands, in contrast, have changed less - and the country may be digging in as the next round approaches.

While Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has backed the nuclear negotiations, he signaled on Tuesday that his country would stand firm, saying Washington and its European allies will be unable "to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees."

Washington's mantra has long been "no deal is better than a bad deal," and extending the talks has put off a decision on whether to walk away from them rather than give up too much.

But while the U.S. administration may opt for more wiggle room on the size and capacity of Iran's nuclear program, that may not be the case for powerful sceptics of too much U.S. compromise.

Members of the new Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to be sworn in early next year have threatened to impose additional sanctions on Iran and may well have enough votes to overturn an expected veto by President Barack Obama. That would almost surely push Tehran away from the table.

Shortly after the extension announcement, Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican whose work with Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on oil sanctions helped drive Iran to the negotiating table, pledged to come forward with a new bipartisan sanctions package.

Menendez suggested similar action, saying he'd work "to ensure that Iran comprehends that we will not ever permit it to become a threshold nuclear state."

Key to an agreement for the U.S. is capping Iran's uranium enrichment program.

Iran denies any interest in atomic arms and says it needs to enrich to make reactor fuel and for other peaceful uses. But the West fears that Tehran could ramp up the program and enrich to levels used for the fissile core of nuclear weapons.

Iran now has nearly 10,000 centrifuges enriching uranium.

Washington came to the negotiating table 10 months ago demanding that Tehran pare down that number to less than 2,000 in attempts to increase the time Iran would need to make enough weapons-grade uranium from a few months to a year or more.

The U.S. is now ready to accept just over 4,000, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the confidential talks. Iran also has moved - but not nearly as much. It is now floating around 8,000 centrifuges as acceptable.

Washington also has compromised on the timeline for the enrichment restrictions. Originally it wanted the caps in place for 20 years or more. Now, it may be ready to accept 15 years.

Iran, however, wants limits substantially below 10 years, while continuing to insist on expanding the program immediately after constraints are lifted. It is aiming for enriched uranium output at that point that would equal nearly 200 percent more than that the centrifuges it now has.

That is unacceptable to the Americans.

With centrifuge numbers in dispute, the U.S. and its six partners at the negotiating table, including Russia and China, have proposed other ways to push Iran's "breakout" time for making enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb to a year or more.

One way would be to persuade Tehran to ship out much of its stockpile of uranium gas, reducing it from about seven tons to no more than half a ton. Iran appeared interested at least until Wednesday, said the diplomats, negotiating with Russia as the possible recipient.

But in a potential complication last week, Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi said: "There is no reason to send our fuel to Russia."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Israeli Police Chief Criticizes Jewish Activities World News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:50:46 AM Israeli Police Chief Criticizes Jewish Activities

JERUSALEM (AP) - Jewish activists bent on gaining greater access to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site should not visit there, Israel's police chief said Tuesday.

The sacred shrine known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary has been the focal point of deadly violence between Jews and Arabs in recent weeks.

Under a longstanding agreement at the site, Jews are permitted to visit but are not allowed to pray. In recent months, a growing number of Jewish worshippers have visited, many of whom seek greater access and the right to pray.

Palestinians see visits by Jews to the site as provocative and a sign of Israeli encroachment, and violent riots have broken out in Jerusalem over the tensions.

"People from the extreme right took the issue of the Temple Mount and turned it into an agenda and said, 'We need to change the status quo,'" police chief Yohanan Danino told a conference in the southern town of Sderot. "We've always warned: ... 'Leave the Temple Mount alone. You don't know what you are inflaming.'"

A series of attacks by Arab-Israelis and Palestinians have killed 11 Israelis in recent weeks, with some of the assailants believed to have been inspired by what they perceived as a need to defend the holy site. A Palestinian attacker recently shot and wounded Yehuda Glick, a leader of the Temple Mount activists.

Tensions between Arabs and Jews have soared over the violence and on Tuesday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin canceled the appearance of a local pop star at a high-profile public event following the singer's release of a new song about a fictional Arab who stabs Jews.

The song by Amir Benayoun reflects the recent tensions. Rivlin's office said the sentiments expressed by Benayoun in the song "Ahmed Loves Israel" are "inconsistent with the responsibility required of the president's residence."

Palestinian artists also have released a song calling for attacks on West Bank Jewish settlers.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Pope Francis Arrives For European Parliament World News Tue, 25 Nov 2014 5:19:24 AM Pope Francis Arrives For European Parliament

FRANCE - The Pope has arrived in France.

In Strasbourg, Pope Francis plans to make remarks before to a session of the European Parliament.

He'll then meet with the Presidents of the EU's institutions, including the heads of the European Council and the European Commission.


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Afghan Bombings Kill 2 NATO Troops, Dozens of Civilians World News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:56:19 PM Associated Press Afghan Bombings Kill 2 NATO Troops, Dozens of Civilians

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Bombings across Afghanistan killed two NATO troops and six civilians Monday, authorities said, as the death toll in the country's deadliest insurgent attack this year rose to at least 50.

The attacks, including Sunday's mass killing by a suicide bomber at a volleyball tournament, come amid a renewed Taliban offensive as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country.

In a statement, NATO said the troops had been killed by an "enemy attack in eastern Afghanistan." It did not identify the nationalities of dead, as the coalition waits for their home countries to make the announcement.

A spokesman for Kabul's police chief, Hashmat Stanekzai, said the troops were killed when a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded near a foreign military convoy in the eastern part of the capital Monday morning. He said the blast wounded one Afghan civilian.

A total of 63 NATO troops have been killed this year, 46 of them Americans.

Another bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded later Monday in a crowded market in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province, killing six people and wounding at least five, police spokesman Sarwar Hussaini said.

No group claimed responsibility for either attack Monday. Insurgents have stepped up their assaults against Afghan security forces in a bid to undermine the Western-backed Kabul government of President Ashraf Ghani.

The insurgents' deadliest attack this year, the volleyball tournament bombing Sunday in Paktika province bordering Pakistan, killed at least 50 people, said Mokhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the provincial governor. He said authorities were still trying to determine an accurate death toll Monday.

The suicide bomber detonated explosives as he mingled with the large crowd there, causing the many casualties. Interior Ministry spokesman Seddiq Sediqqi said the dead included 10 members of a local police force, including a police commander.

Abdullah Abdullah, the country's chief executive, visited a hospital in Paktika province Monday to see the wounded. He said locals believed the Taliban carried out the attack as they opposed the insurgents.

"They were saying that the local police should be strengthened," Abdullah said. "I promised them I'd make it a priority."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Activist Marries a Tree World News Mon, 24 Nov 2014 4:43:01 AM Activist Marries a Tree

SOUTH AMERICA - We've all heard of tree-huggers but one activist in Colombia, South America, took it to the next level.

People gathered in Bogota's National Park yesterday to witness Peruvian actor and activist Richard Torres tie the knot, with a tree.

Torres said he hoped the wedding ceremony would bring attention to the man-made environmental problems in the world.


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Iraq, Turkey Vow to Work Together Against Islamic State World News Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:56:42 PM Associated Press Iraq, Turkey Vow to Work Together Against Islamic State

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday that his country and neighboring Turkey have agreed on closer security and intelligence cooperation in the face of the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

"We have a key agreement to exchange information and have full security cooperation," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told a news conference after talks with his visiting Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu. "The Turkish prime minister also wants us to have military cooperation in the face of terrorism and Daesh and we welcome that," said al-Abadi, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Davutoglu confirmed the two sides' agreement on closer security cooperation.

"I can say that Daesh threatens both Iraq and Turkey, but we will cooperate and do everything we can to stand up to terrorism," he said. "There is a new page in relations between Turkey and Iraq and that is why I hope that there will be close cooperation between our security and intelligence agencies to defeat terrorism."

The Turkish prime minister also rejected charges that his country facilitated the transit of militants through its territory to Syria.

"Turkey receives 35 million tourists a year and we cannot stop people from entering unless we have a case against them," he said in reply to a question. "There is no evidence or proof any Daesh leader transited through Turkey and if anyone has one he should come forward."

About a third of Iraq, which shares a porous border with Turkey, is held by the Islamic State group. Earlier this year, the group declared a caliphate on the large swaths of territory under its control in both Iraq and Syria.

Relations recently soured between Turkey and Iraq over what Baghdad sees as illegal oil exports through Turkey by its Kurdish self-ruled northern region. Al-Abadi said on Thursday the two countries have reached an agreement on the issue but did not elaborate.

He said Davutoglu has made clear to him that Turkey was keen to have "transparent and clear" relations on the oil issue and that Baghdad would be informed of any Iraqi oil exports going through Turkish territory.

Baghdad moved to withhold the 17-percent share of the national budget normally earmarked for the Kurdish region - an estimated $20 billion - after the Kurds independently shipped oil to Turkey in January. In May, the Kurdish government sold 1.05 million barrels - worth more than $100 million at the time - in Turkey.

Negotiations between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government yielded some progress last week after Baghdad agreed to release $500 million in frozen budget payments. In return, the Kurds will provide 150,000 barrels of oil per day for Baghdad to sell.

In Paris, the prosecutor's office said investigators on Thursday formally opened a terrorism investigation into three French Islamic State recruits calling for attacks back home in a propaganda video.

The three men, who appear under Arabic pseudonyms, appear in a montage that also shows multiple French passports being burned in a campfire. They call on fellow French citizens to join them or carry out attacks in France.

Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office, said the anti-terrorism investigation would seek to identify the men. A former French fighter linked to the Islamic State group is accused in a deadly shooting at a Brussels Jewish museum, and European officials fear that newly radicalized and trained militant recruits will return from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq to cause havoc at home.

In the embattled northern Syrian town of Kobani along the Turkish border, the U.S.-led coalition carried out at least four airstrikes against Islamic State positions on Thursday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Islamic State militants launched their offensive against Kobani in mid-September. After an initial rapid advance, the campaign has slowed to a grind as they faced stout resistance from the town's Kurdish defenders backed by international airstrikes.

Amnesty International has meanwhile called on the Turkish government to ensure safe passage for Syrian refugees seeking a safe haven in Turkey. In a new report, the London-based human rights watchdog said it has recorded at least 17 refugee deaths by border guards who used live ammunition at unofficial crossings between December 2013 and August this year.

Turkey is currently home to at least 1.6 million refugees from Syria, of which over 220,000 are accommodated in government-run refugee camps, Amnesty said. While Turkey maintains an open-border policy for Syrian refugees at official crossings, there are only two fully open crossing points along a 900-kilometer (559-mile) stretch of the border.


Associated Press reporters Lori Hinnant in Paris and Ryan Lucas in Beirut contributed to this report from Paris.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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NATO: Russian Activity in Baltic Region Poses Risk World News Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:44:14 AM NATO: Russian Activity in Baltic Region Poses Risk

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) - NATO's chief said Thursday that Russia's growing military presence in the skies above the Baltic region is unjustified and that its aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers, and fly with their transponders off, posing a risk to civil aviation.

At the Amari air base in Estonia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said alliance fighters have intercepted planes more than 100 times in the region so far this year, a threefold increase on 2013. But he didn't say how many of them were Russian.

Stoltenberg said the alliance "should stay vigilant" because Russia has increased its military air activity in the Black Sea and Norwegian Sea, as well as the Baltic area, even though most of the flights occurred in international airspace.

He said NATO aircraft have conducted 400 intercepts to protect the airspace of European alliance members - an increase of 50 percent from last year.

"It's a pattern we haven't seen for many years and which should remind us of the way they (Russians) conducted this kind of military air activity in the time of the Cold War," Stoltenberg said.

At a joint news conference with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas, Stoltenberg said NATO is "ready to react when needed."

Roivas said, "Russia's actions in and around Ukraine have been very aggressive. They act as a very powerful wake-up call."

After being forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, then again from 1944 to 1991, Estonia and the other two Baltic countries - Latvia and Lithuania - have viewed Russia's annexing of Crimea and backing of rebels fighting in nearby eastern Ukraine with trepidation. These countries also have voiced concern about Russia's military presence in their region.

NATO has stepped up its air, land and sea rotations in the Baltic countries and raised the number of fighter jets patrolling the region from four to 16.

In September, President Barack Obama said during a visit to Tallinn that he would send more air force units and aircraft to the Baltics, including the Amari Air Base.

NATO says it regularly launches jets to identify "unknown or potentially hostile aircraft" in the proximity of national airspace in the region.

In March, a Scandinavian Airlines passenger jet taking off from Copenhagen Airport nearly collided with a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance aircraft. Swedish investigators said the incident occurred in international airspace but that the Russian plane came within 100 meters (300 feet) of the SAS passenger plane and was flying without transponders.

Stoltenberg said Russian aircraft are posing " a risk to normal air traffic."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Bomb Derails Train in Pakistan, Wounding 8 World News Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:42:02 AM Associated Press Bomb Derails Train in Pakistan, Wounding 8

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - A powerful bomb planted by a small separatist group derailed a train in southwest Pakistan on Thursday, wounding at least eight people, a railway official said.

The official, Suhail Ahmed, said the attack took place as the train was en route from the garrison city of Rawalpindi to Quetta, the capital of impoverished Baluchistan province. He said the explosion heavily damaged the train tracks, derailing several cars near the town of Dasht, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Quetta.

Shortly after the attack, the separatist United Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility - saying it was in retaliation for the recent abduction of their activists by government security forces. The group warned of more such attacks in the future.

Pakistan's Railways Minister Saad Rafiq condemned the attack, calling it a "cowardly act."

He told state television that the authorities transported passengers to Quetta through buses instead.

Baluchistan has long been the center of a low-level insurgency by nationalist groups that demand more autonomy and a greater share in the region's natural resources.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Israeli Troops Demolish Palestinian Attacker's Home World News Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:04:56 PM Associated Press Israeli Troops Demolish Palestinian Attacker's Home

JERUSALEM (AP) - The east Jerusalem home of a Palestinian who carried out a deadly attack last month was demolished Wednesday, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised strict security measures in the wake of a grisly synagogue assault.

Tuesday's synagogue attack, which left five people dead, was the deadliest in Jerusalem since 2008 and came amid weeks of violence linked to the city's holiest site for Jews and Muslims.

The home destroyed in the Silwan neighborhood near the Old City belonged to Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed two people last month when he drove his car into a crowd at a light rail stop in Jerusalem.

Israeli troops blasted the interior of the third-floor apartment located in a four-story apartment building, leaving piles of cinderblocks and holes in the exterior walls. The blast caused minor damage to neighboring apartments and flattened a car parked below.

In recent weeks, Palestinian attackers using guns, knives and vehicles have killed 11 people - most in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. At least five Palestinians involved in the attacks were killed.

On Tuesday two Palestinian cousins wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun stormed a synagogue in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, killing four worshippers and a policeman. The two assailants were shot to death by police.

Responding to Tuesday's attack, Netanyahu said he had ordered security forces to hit back hard at Palestinians involved in violence against Israelis and to resume the policy of home demolitions, a punitive tactic that has caused much controversy.

On Wednesday, he called the demolition "a significant and important step," and said there would be more.

"We have nothing against the residents of east Jerusalem, but we will not tolerate attacks against our citizens," Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office. "With a determined and firm hand we will restore security to Jerusalem."

Sitting amid the rubble of the demolished family home, al-Shaludi's grandmother said she was proud of him.

"No one should feel sorry for us, for our demolished home," she said, refusing to give her full name for fear of reprisals.

Worshippers returned Wednesday to the scene of the attack, the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue, seeking comfort in prayer. One of them, Gavriel Cohen, said the killings showed "that our future in this world is dependent on God."

All four of the congregants killed in the attack immigrated to Israel from English-speaking countries - three from the United States, and one from Britain.

Zidan Saif, a police officer from Israel's Druse minority, was also among the dead, killed in a shootout with the attackers. Police said thousands of people attended his funeral Wednesday in the northern town of Jatt.

Jerusalem is witnessing its worst sustained bout of violence since a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. Al-Shaludi's attack killed a 3-month-old girl and a 22-year-old woman as he rammed his car into the crowd waiting for the train before he was shot and killed by police.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told parliament that in response to the violence, Israel would freeze a planned easing of restrictions on movement for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Much of the violence stems from tensions surrounding the holy site on a hilltop in Jerusalem's Old City. It is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the home of the ancient Hebrew temples. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the iconic gold-topped Dome of the Rock are located.

Palestinians have been angered over stepped-up Israeli visits to the site, which many of them see as a provocation.

Pope Francis condemned the "unacceptable" attack on the synagogue and called on Israelis and Palestinians to take "courageous" steps to forge peace. He told his weekly General Audience at the Vatican that he was greatly concerned by the "alarming increase in tensions" in the Holy Land.

Punitive demolition was a tactic frequently used by Israeli security forces before defense chiefs decided to suspend it in 2005 after concluding it was not an effective deterrent.

Since then, it has been used occasionally - three times in east Jerusalem in 2009, and three times over the summer in response to the killing of an Israeli policeman and the killing of three Israeli teenagers.


Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield in Vatican City contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Miss Honduras and Sister Found Dead World News Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:40:52 AM Miss Honduras and Sister Found Dead

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) - Two bodies believed to belong to Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister have been found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago, the Honduras National Police director said Wednesday.

Authorities were awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the victims are Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23, said Gen. Ramon Sabillon.

Sabillon said Sofia's boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed to killing the sisters and led authorities to the bodies buried in a river bank in a mountainous area of Santa Barbara, about 240 miles (400 kilometers) west of Tegucigalpa.

They were found near La Aguagua spa, where they had gone Thursday to celebrate Ruiz's birthday.

Both women, who grew up in the area, were shot to death and appeared to have been killed the night they disappeared, Sabillon said.

"They were not very astute about assessing the people around them. They were just friendly," the sisters' mother, Teresa Munoz, told Televicentro. "They were taken out by people they hadn't known very long."

An alleged accomplice, Aris Maldonado, was also being held. Sabillon said the two men buried the bodies near the river in hopes that they would decompose quickly.

He said Ruiz apparently shot his girlfriend, Sofia, because she was dancing with another man. After a fierce argument, he pulled out a pistol and fired at Sofia first, then at Maria Jose as she tried to flee. The beauty queen was shot at least twice in the back, Sabillon said.

Munoz said Ruiz called her the following morning, acting nervous and claiming the young women had left the party in a car with some other people.

Maria Jose Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras in April and was expected to compete in the Miss World Pageant in London next month. She was supposed to have left for London this week. A pageant representative said Honduras would not compete in the contest this year, given the tragedy.

Honduras, overrun with streets gangs and drug trafficking, has the highest murder rate in the world for a country not at war, with an estimated 90 to 95 killings per 100,000 people. It is one of Latin America's poorest countries and earlier this year was the main source of a surge in unaccompanied minors migrating to the United States, many to escape the violence.

Women and girls are increasingly fleeing Honduras and other Central American nations after being kidnapped or raped, with many of them seeking asylum in the United States.

Alvarado had also worked as a model on the game program "El Show X O da Dinero" of television personality and former presidential candidate Salvador Nasrallah. He said he was very saddened by the news.

"A lot of girls die this way, but because they're not famous, it doesn't get the attention and the crimes go unpunished," Nasrallah said. "She was a girl of good principles who fell into a trap, a game with guns, and ended up a victim of a violent system."

In the South American nation of Venezuela, which also suffers from high crime, a former Miss Venezuela and popular soap-opera actress, Monica Spear, was killed along with her husband during a robbery in January while she was visiting her homeland.

Beauty queens are very popular in many parts of Latin America, where they are viewed as celebrities and often go on to become entertainers.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Putin Says US Wants to Subdue Russia World News Tue, 18 Nov 2014 1:02:23 PM Putin Says US Wants to Subdue Russia

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States Tuesday of trying to make Russia submissive; an effort he said won't succeed.

Speaking at a televised meeting with pro-Kremlin activists Tuesday, Putin said that Washington "wants to subdue us, wants to solve its problems at our expense."

"No one has succeeded in doing so in the history of Russia, and no one will," he added.

He said the sanctions against Russia imposed by the U.S. and the European Union run contrary to their own interests. He said U.S. allies in Europe were trying to "protect others' national interests" for reasons that were unclear.

The sanctions over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine have exacerbated Russia's economic problems and contributed to a sharp devaluation of the Russian ruble.

Putin sought to project an optimistic image Tuesday, downplaying the ruble's nosedive and saying that a ban on Western food introduced in response to Western sanctions would boost local industries.

He also voiced confidence that the current Russia-West tensions would abate, saying that "no one wants to exacerbate the situation in the world."

Responding to an activist's proposal to impose quotas on U.S. movies in Russian theaters, Putin rejected it, saying that the public should be given the right to choose.

The Russian leader downplayed his quick departure from the weekend's summit of the Group of 20 in Brisbane, Australia, rejecting media allegations that he left early because of a chilly treatment given to him by Western leaders. He insisted that he held "constructive" discussions in Brisbane.

Putin was the first leader to fly out of Brisbane on Sunday afternoon as his fellow leaders in the G-20 shared a lunch and before they released the communique to cap off their annual summit. He departed shortly before President Barack Obama and European leaders opened their talks on Ukraine.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Israeli Prime Minister: Destroy Synagogue Attackers' Homes World News Tue, 18 Nov 2014 9:59:57 AM Associated Press Israeli Prime Minister: Destroy Synagogue Attackers' Homes

JERUSALEM (AP) - Two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers Tuesday, killing four people in the city's bloodiest attack in years. Police killed the attackers in a shootout.

The attack ratcheted up fears of sustained violence in a city already on edge amid soaring tensions over its most contested holy site.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "respond harshly," describing the attack as a "cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers." He immediately ordered the demolition of the attackers' homes, as well as homes of Palestinians who carried out several other recent attacks.

Police said the dead worshippers were three Americans and a Briton, and that all held dual Israeli citizenship. The attack occurred in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood that has a large population of English-speaking immigrants.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem identified the Americans as Aryeh Kupinsky, Cary William Levine and Mosheh Twersky.

Twersky, the grandson of a renowned rabbi from Boston, Joseph Soloveichik, was the head of Yeshivas Toras Moshe, a religious seminary for English-speaking students.

Israeli authorities identified the British man as Avraham Goldberg.

Thousands of people attended a joint funeral for Kupinsky, Levine and Goldberg before sundown- held outside the synagogue where the attack occurred. Earlier, blood was streaked across the floors, soaked prayer books and shawls there.

One Canadian was wounded in the attack, said Francois Lasalle, a spokesman for Canada's Foreign Affairs Department. He declined to provide further details.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to Netanyahu after the assault and denounced it as an "act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, the first time he has done so since a recent spike in deadly violence against Israelis. He also called for an end to Israeli "provocations" surrounding a sacred shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims.

The attack was the deadliest in Jerusalem since a Palestinian assailant killed eight students at a Jewish seminar in March 2008.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri identified the assailants as Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal from the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a small militant group, said the cousins were among its members, though it did not say whether it had instructed them to carry out the attack.

Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that runs the Gaza Strip, praised the attack. In Gaza, dozens took to the streets to celebrate, with some offering trays full of candy.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said six people were wounded in the attack, including two police officers. Four were in serious condition.

Yosef Posternak, who was at the synagogue during the attack, told Israel Radio that about 25 worshippers were inside at the time.

"I saw people lying on the floor, blood everywhere. People were trying to fight with (the attackers) but they didn't have much of a chance," Posternak said.

Clashes later broke out outside the assailants' home, where dozens of police officers had converged. Residents hurled stones at police, who responded using riot dispersal weapons.

Neighborhood residents, speaking on condition of anonymity for fears for their own safety, said 14 members of the Abu Jamal family were arrested.

Mohammed Zahaikeh, a social activist in Jabal Mukaber, said a relative of the cousins had been released in a 2011 prisoner swap and re-arrested recently by Israeli police. He did not say why.

Israel has been on edge with a spate of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, killing at least six people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Tel Aviv in recent weeks before Tuesday's casualties.

The violence has created a special security challenge for Israel, since most of the attackers come from east Jerusalem. More than 200,000 Arab residents there hold residency rights that, in contrast to Palestinians in the neighboring West Bank, allow them to move freely throughout Israel.

Israel's police chief said Tuesday's attack was likely not organized by militant groups, making it more difficult for security forces to prevent the violence.

"These are individuals who decide to do horrible acts. It's very hard to know ahead of time about every such incident," Yohanan Danino said.

Kerry blamed the attack on Palestinian calls for "days of rage," and said Palestinian leaders must take serious steps to refrain from such incitement. He also urged Palestinian leaders to condemn the attack "in the most powerful terms."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also condemned the violence.

On Monday, several dozen Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in east Jerusalem after rumors surfaced that a Palestinian man had been hanged by Jewish assailants. Police denied the rumors, saying forensic experts determined the death was a suicide.

Late Tuesday, police said they were investigating a Palestinians' claim that he was stabbed in the leg by three Jewish assailants in downtown Jerusalem. The youth was taken to a hospital.

Much of the recent violence stems from tensions surrounding the Jerusalem holy site referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount because of the Jewish temples that stood there in biblical times. It is the most sacred place in Judaism; Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and it is their third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The site is so holy that Jews have traditionally refrained from going there, instead praying at the adjacent Western Wall. Israel's chief rabbis have urged people not to ascend to the area, but in recent years, a small but growing number of Jews, including ultranationalist lawmakers, have begun regularly visiting the site, a move seen as a provocation.


Associated Press writers Mohammed Daraghmeh and Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Eric Tucker in Washington and Matthew Lee in London contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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American Aid Worker Murdered by ISIS World News Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:41:46 PM American Aid Worker Murdered by ISIS

PARIS (AP) - A 22-year-old French convert to radical Islam appears in a propaganda video showing a beheaded American aid worker and the deaths of Syrian soldiers, a Paris prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecutor Francois Molins identified the man as Maxime Hauchard, one of at least three young Europeans believed among the cold-eyed fighters on the video as the extremist Islamic State group tries to portray itself as an international movement.

Molins said Hauchard has been on the radar of French authorities since he left for Syria in 2013 and another Frenchman could also be among the fighters in the video but it was too early to tell.

President Barack Obama confirmed the slaying of American aid worker Peter Kassig after a U.S. review of the video, which also showed the mass beheadings of more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.

The overwhelming majority of Islamic State fighters are from the Mideast, but the extremist group is trying to cement its claim on an Islamic empire straddling Iraq and Syria. Europe appears to be a fertile ground to find Islamic State supporters, with officials saying thousands of young Europeans have headed off to jihad.

The latest video lingered on the faces of Frenchman Maxime Hauchard and other knife-wielding extremists lined up behind their kneeling victims. Some had distinctly Asian features, while another whose face was hooded had the familiar London accent of the jihadi who also appeared in beheading videos with American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and with British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning. There were also indications that a Welsh medical student may be the man standing next to Hauchard.

"It's quite transparent that IS is trying to exaggerate its base of support," said Charlie Winter, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation in London. "They are trying to show that Muslims from all over the world are protecting their Syrian brethren and their Iraqi brethren."

European officials are trying just as furiously to counter that message.

"I call solemnly and seriously on all our citizens, and notably our young people who are the primary target of the terrorist propaganda, to open your eyes to the terrible reality of the actions of Daesh," said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. "These are criminals that are building a system of barbarity."

Hauchard, who is around 22 and from west of Paris, gave an interview to France's BFM television in July, telling the network he had helped capture Mosul, the Iraqi city whose fall eventually prompted the United States to resume military operations in Iraq.

One father from Wales, Ahmed Muthana, said he thinks he saw his son, 20-year-old Nasser Muthana, in the latest video, and a British researcher confirmed the likeness of the jihadi with the Cardiff medical student.

"It resembles him. I was shown a picture of the video. I cannot confirm it is him, but I think it might be," Ahmed Muthana told Britain's Press Association.

Obama denounced the extremist group, which he said "revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction."

The 26-year-old Kassig, who founded an aid group to help Syrians caught up in their country's brutal civil war, "was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity," Obama said in a statement.

"(Our son) lost his life as a result of his love for the Syrian people and his desire to ease their suffering," the slain hostage's parents, Ed and Paula Kassig, said in a statement.

With Kassig's death, the Islamic State group has killed five Westerners it was holding. Unlike previous videos of slain Western hostages, the footage released Sunday did not show the decapitation of Kassig, the moments leading up to his death or threaten to kill any other Western hostages.

The footage released Sunday identified the militants' location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the Islamic State group uses as the title of its English-language propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will occur.

The high-definition video also showed the beheadings of about a dozen men identified as Syrian military officers and pilots, all dressed in blue jumpsuits. The black-clad militant warns that U.S. soldiers will meet a similar fate.

"We say to you, Obama: You claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago," the militant said. "Here you are: You have not withdrawn. Rather, you hid some of your forces behind your proxies."

A U.S.-led coalition is targeting the Islamic State group in airstrikes in northern Syria, supporting Western-backed Syrian rebels, Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi military. The U.S. announced that 31 airstrikes had been carried out from Nov. 14-17 against Islamic State group targets.

Kassig, who served in the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, a special operations unit, deployed to Iraq in 2007. After being medically discharged, he returned to the Middle East in 2012 and formed a relief group, Special Emergency Response and Assistance, to aid Syrian refugees.

The terror group still holds other captives, including British photojournalist John Cantlie, who has appeared in several videos delivering statements for the IS, likely under duress, and a 26-year-old American woman captured last year in Syria while working for aid groups. U.S. officials have asked that the woman not be identified out of fears for her safety.

The group's militants have beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives, mostly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos.

The Islamic State group has declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in areas under its control, which it governs according to its violent interpretation of Shariah law, including massacring rebellious tribes and selling women and children of religious minorities into slavery.


Associated Press writers Gregory Katz in London, Diaa Hadid in Beirut, Julie Pace in Brisbane, Australia, David Aguilar in Detroit, Jon Gambrell in Cairo, Vivian Salama in Baghdad and Josh Lederman aboard Air Force One contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Three Packages of Body Parts Sent to Be Shipped World News Mon, 17 Nov 2014 7:02:08 AM Three Packages of Body Parts Sent to Be Shipped

THAILAND - A parcel shipping company discovered a number of body parts including an infant's head before shipping three packages to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company, DHL, alerted police who tracked down the sender, a 31 year-old American tourist.

He said he found the items at a market in Bangkok.

The man was questioned for several hours and then released.

The three packages that included a baby's foot and an adult heart were labeled as toys.

At a news conference today a police commander said they had received information that the human body parts had been stolen from a hospital.


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Ukrainian Government Fears Russian Attack Imminent World News Thu, 13 Nov 2014 3:16:22 PM Ukrainian Government Fears Russian Attack Imminent

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine warned Thursday that the security situation is steadily worsening in the country's rebel-held east as separatist fighters move closer to government forces. One official said he feared an attack soon by Russian forces.

A cease-fire agreed upon in September between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine's government in Kiev has been violated daily, especially around areas coveted by both sides like the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk.

National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the Russian army is massing troops, including air defense units, near the border. Ukraine for months has accused Russia of directly supplying the separatist forces.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich denied the Ukrainian charge.

"There have been and are no military movements across the border or, all the more, any presence of our troops in the southeast of Ukraine," he said Thursday in Moscow.

Ukraine's warnings of possible renewed hostilities follow multiple recent observations of large military convoys on the move around the country's eastern separatist-controlled areas. Trucks transporting troops, ammunition, fuel and large-caliber artillery systems have been seen traveling primarily in the direction of Donetsk, the main rebel-held city.

Ukraine and NATO have said they believe the equipment has been delivered from Russia, although they have yet to provide conclusive evidence for that.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe watching two Russian-Ukrainian border crossings have noted an increase in military-clad people traveling across the border in the past week.

"The (observer teams saw) 665 men and women in military-style dress crossing the border in both directions. This is the highest number observed so far," the OSCE said in a report Wednesday.

Its observer team saw a van Tuesday marked "Cargo 200" - the Russian military code for soldiers killed in action - crossing from Russia into Ukraine and returning later that same day.

Lysenko, the Ukrainian spokesman, said hostilities have surged in Luhansk, one of two regions bordering Russia where separatists have been waging battle for six months. Government positions in the area have come under repeated rebel rocket and artillery attacks in the last day, he said.

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency cited Zoryan Shkiryak, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, as saying Thursday that he anticipated an imminent attack by Russian forces.

"We can indubitably confirm that the probability of another incursion remains quite high and we should be ready for this," Shkiryak was quoted as saying.

Speculation about a planned separatist assault has been swirling in Ukrainian media following a news report citing unnamed rebel commanders as saying an offensive would begin Sunday.

Ukrainian authorities say residential areas are being increasingly targeted by rebel attacks. Two residents in Zolote, a village in the Luhansk region, were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds Wednesday, Lysenko said.

Officials in Kiev are particularly worried about Debaltseve, an eastern town on the main road linking Donetsk and Luhansk that is almost entirely surrounded by separatists. It has come under sustained shelling in the past few weeks.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has pinned hopes for enforcing the truce on the OSCE monitors, handed over 10 armored vehicles to the group Thursday.

In addition to battling the rebels, Ukraine is struggling to spur its flagging economy and fight galloping inflation. The central bank said inflation has reached 19.8 percent this year and the national currency, the hryvnia, has lost 59 percent of its value against the dollar over the same period.


Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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US Sailors Roughed Up During Protest in Turkey World News Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:38:18 PM US Sailors Roughed Up During Protest in Turkey

ISTANBUL (AP) - Anti-American protesters shouting "Yankee, go home!" roughed up three U.S. Navy sailors Wednesday in Istanbul near where their warship was docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.

A dozen or more protesters shouted at them, calling them killers and said they should leave Turkey. The protesters, who carried a banner of the left-leaning Youth Association of Turkey, threw red paint at the sailors and briefly succeeded in putting white sacks over their heads.

"Soldiers from the occupying country think they can walk around freely in Eminonu," association spokesman Melik Dibek said, referring to the neighborhood where the incident occurred. "It's obvious why they've anchored here -because of their ambitions in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. American imperialism is the reason why the Middle East has turned into a chamber of fire."

The servicemen, who were not in uniform, were from the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer docked nearby, according to Capt. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for the U.S. European Command. He said they were not hurt and were safely back aboard the ship, but that shore leave for its sailors was canceled for the remainder of the day.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara condemned the attack on Twitter and said it had no doubt that most Turks would reject such an action.

Anti-American sentiment in Turkey is not widespread, but some Turks accuse the United States of meddling in regional affairs.

In Washington, Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, called the attack "ugly and disturbing." He said the attackers, whom he called street thugs, "bring great discredit upon the Turks and the Turkish reputation for hospitality."

He said the assault "appears to be a one-off incident" and that he doesn't believe it will disrupt U.S.-Turkish relations.

The Navy said in a statement that it was working with the Turkish National Police and embassy staff to investigate this incident and would continue to coordinate with Turkish authorities to review security procedures for future ship visits.

Dogan news agency said Turkish police have detained 12 people, including one woman, in connection with the incident.

One sailor tried to ignore the protesters to no avail. Another worked unsuccessfully to push off the protesters. When the sailors couldn't get away, they began to walk and then run away down a sidewalk.

A video of the incident shot by the association and posted online showed the protesters chasing them, shouting "Yankee, go home!"


AP Military Writer Bob Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Iraq: 15 Killed in Bombings in and Around Baghdad World News Wed, 12 Nov 2014 5:22:47 AM Iraq: 15 Killed in Bombings in and Around Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) - Police and hospital officials say three attacks in and around Baghdad have killed 15 people, including 10 soldiers and policemen, and injured nearly 40.

The largest of Wednesday's attacks was in the Youssifiyah district south of Baghdad where a suicide car bomber hit an army checkpoint, killing six soldiers and injuring 16, including 10 civilians and six soldiers.

Earlier in Baghdad's upscale Mansour district, a car bomb near a cluster of shops killed five civilians and wounded 12. Minutes later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a nearby police station as officers were rushing out to the site of the first attack, killing four and injuring 10, all policemen.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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North Korea Rescue Mission Delayed by Plane Trouble World News Mon, 10 Nov 2014 6:43:07 PM Associated Press North Korea Rescue Mission Delayed by Plane Trouble

WASHINGTON (AP) - Last week's high-stakes mission to retrieve two Americans jailed in North Korea was delayed by nearly two days because the aircraft carrying Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Pyongyang broke down, U.S. officials said Monday.

The problem is just the latest issue with the Air Force's fleet of Boeing jets. Similar incidents have plagued Secretary of State John Kerry in recent months, forcing him to fly commercially in at least two instances. But none of those delays have hampered such a sensitive diplomatic mission.

Clapper left Washington at 2 a.m. Tuesday on a C-40 aircraft and had expected to be in North Korea on Thursday, the officials said. But they said the breakdown forced him to spend a day and a half in Hawaii while the plane was repaired. He then flew to Guam and on to Pyongyang, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Clapper did not arrive in North Korea until late Friday. He left with Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller on Saturday, a day later than planned. An intelligence official said there was no indication that North Koreans had a problem with the unanticipated delay in Clapper's arrival.

Hawaii is home to Hickam Field, a U.S. Air Force base, making repairs relatively easy, if still time consuming.

If the plane had broken down in North Korea, however, it would have posed considerable logistics problems. The U.S. military maintains large bases nearby in South Korea and Japan.

The plane was delayed in Honolulu for about 20 hours on Wednesday for minor electrical maintenance, then when it flew to Guam it was delayed about 26 hours because of a minor navigation system problem. The departure from Guam was delayed until the aircraft was deemed fully operational.

"Due to the complexity and nature of this mission, the Air Force was committed to ensuring the aircraft used had 100 percent reliability prior to its departure into Pyongyang," Air Force Capt. Erika Yepsen said.

The C-40 that Clapper took to North Korea resembles a Boeing 737-700. The aircraft is part of the 89th Airlift Wing, based at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, and is one of 11 owned by the Air Force and used for VIP flights, including Cabinet members. The C-40s were first deployed in 2003.

According to the Air Force, the planes have problems or a breakdown that prevents flying 6 percent of the time they're used. That breakdown rate is a bit higher than in 2011 or 2012, when it was a just over 3 percent of the time.

The C-40s are a bit smaller than the military's C-32 aircraft, which is similar to the Boeing 757-200 and is more frequently used by Cabinet members, including Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Yepsen said the Air Force has four C-32s and they have 94.4 percent "mission capable" rate for this year.

But those jets have had a recent history of high-profile breakdowns.

In October, for the fourth time this year, Kerry's C-32 broke down in Vienna, forcing him to fly home commercially from a diplomatic mission for the second time in three months. In August, he flew home commercially from Hawaii at the end of a round-the-world trip due to a plane issue. Two earlier incidents, in Switzerland in January and in Britain in March, were resolved with minor delays to his schedule.

Last month, Hagel took off for South America only to have to turn around and return to Joint Base Andrews so a malfunction could be fixed before taking off again for Colombia.

"There's no question it presents technical logistical challenges," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said of the breakdowns. "But obviously we do the best we can to make adjustments where needed."

Problems with the Air Force fleet that ferry America's top officials aren't new, and secretaries of state have long complained about the aircraft they must fly for official business. Some have joked about being envious of foreign colleagues who have newer, more efficient and more luxurious planes.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encountered several aviation breakdowns when she was in office, including a tire that burst on landing in the United Arab Emirates, leading to an unscheduled overnight stay in Dubai. But she never had to resort to flying commercially.


Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.


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Suicide Bomber Kills 48 Students World News Mon, 10 Nov 2014 4:24:22 AM Suicide Bomber Kills 48 Students

POTISKUM, Nigeria (AP) - Survivors say a suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform has detonated explosives at a high school assembly in northeast Nigeria, and a morgue worker says 48 students have been killed.

Soldiers rushed to the grisly scene on Monday, but were chased away by people throwing stones, angry at the military's inability to halt a 5-year-old Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.

A suicide bomber last week killed 30 people in the same city, Potiskum, the Yobe state capital.

Survivors say about 2,000 students had gathered for Monday morning's weekly assembly at the Government Technical Science College when explosives apparently carried in a school-type rucksack blasted through the hall.

Hospital workers say dozens are being treated and amputations are likely.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Pistorius Appeal Hearing Set World News Mon, 10 Nov 2014 4:22:38 AM Pistorius Appeal Hearing Set

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Prosecutors say their application to appeal against Oscar Pistorius' manslaughter conviction and five-year prison sentence will be heard in a South African court on Dec. 9.

The National Prosecuting Authority also says it has been informed by Pistorius' defense lawyers that they will oppose the appeal.

The NPA said Monday it believes there are "reasonable prospects of a successful appeal based on a question of law."

Prosecutors say Judge Thokozile Masipa may have made an error when she found the double-amputee Olympic runner not guilty of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door in his home. Masipa instead convicted Pistorius of a lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter.

His five-year jail sentence means he could be released after 10 months to go under house arrest.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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