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Updated: 4 years 2 days ago

NATO chief says helping partners' armed forces is crucial

July 8, 2016 - 5:33am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The NATO military alliance doesn't only need to reinforce its own armed forces, it also must also come to the aid of partner nations in the Middle East and North Africa that are threatened by extremist violence, NATO's chief said Friday.

Obama calls on European Leaders to stand firm

July 8, 2016 - 4:02am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday called European leaders to firm against Russia, Islamic State terrorism and other challenges facing NATO — even as a Britain is poised to retrench from Europe.

Brexit, Russia dominate NATO summit

July 7, 2016 - 10:22pm

NATO leaders met Friday for a crucial summit in Warsaw to send a clear message to a resurgent Russia while trying to contain the fallout from Britain's dramatic divorce from the European Union. Britain's future will dominate talks between US President Barack Obama, attending his last NATO summit, EU President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. "This may be the most important moment for our transatlantic alliance since the end of the Cold War," Obama wrote in the Financial Times as the two-day summit got under way.

Brexit on his mind, Obama arrives in Poland for NATO summit

July 7, 2016 - 7:01pm

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Barack Obama opened a five-day, two-country mission early Friday to buck up a beleaguered Europe and brush back an aggressive Moscow.

U.S. asks other nations to curb use of North Korean workers

July 7, 2016 - 6:40pm
By Arshad Mohammed and David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The administration of President Barack Obama is asking other nations to cut the employment of North Korean workers as a way to reduce Pyongyang’s access to foreign currency, a U.S. official said on Thursday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke a day after the United States sanctioned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time, citing "notorious abuses of human rights" in a move that infuriated the nuclear-armed country. The effort aims to increase economic pressure on the North, which angered the United States this year by conducting its fourth nuclear test and by carrying out a rocket launch that Washington said used banned ballistic missile technology.

The Latest: Obama arrives in Poland for NATO summit

July 7, 2016 - 2:30pm

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the NATO summit on Friday and Saturday (all times local):

Amnesty, EU parliament urge Bahrain to release human rights defender

July 7, 2016 - 11:30am

Amnesty International and the European Parliament on Thursday urged Bahrain to release a prominent human rights defender and denounced repression against freedom of expression in the tiny Gulf kingdom. The London-based rights watchdog called on Manama to drop charges against Nabeel Rajab, who is being tried for "Twitter posts criticising the war in Yemen and allegations of torture in Bahrain's main prison". It slammed what it called a "farcical trial", in which the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights faces up to 13 years in jail over the tweets.

Hungary, Austria squabble about border controls causing traffic jams

July 7, 2016 - 9:06am

BUDAPEST/VIENNA (Reuters) - Border checks by Austria that have caused long queues on the Hungarian side of the frontier in recent days are unjustified, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday. Szijjarto said controls were needed on Hungary's Serbian and Croatian borders but not where it meets Austria. Austrian police said an uptick in illegal crossings from Hungary had caused them to intensify checks on vehicles at the border starting on July 4.

Call for Iraq transparency over Fallujah abuses probe

July 7, 2016 - 5:49am

Human Rights Watch called Thursday for transparency from Iraq over its promised investigation of alleged abuses, including executions of civilians, by its forces during the recapture of Fallujah from the Islamic State group. "Failing to hold fighters and commanders accountable for grave abuses bodes very badly for the looming battle for Mosul," HRW's deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said in a statement, referring to the last IS-held city in Iraq. "Serious investigations and prosecutions are essential to provide justice to victims and their families, and to deter atrocities by government forces," Stork said.

Two years after war, Gaza reconstruction lacking: NGOs

July 7, 2016 - 2:24am

Two years after Gaza's last devastating conflict with Israel, rights groups vented frustration Thursday over the slow pace of reconstruction in the Palestinian territory and lack of war crimes prosecutions. A coalition of leading NGOs urged Israel to lift its blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip, while Amnesty International said it was "indefensible" that no criminal cases had been brought for alleged war crimes.

Jordan's newest mall debuts large-scale green technology

July 7, 2016 - 1:08am

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — In Jordan's newest retail and leisure hub, the typical high-end boutiques, cinemas and gourmet coffee shops are tucked into an intricate ecosystem of natural heating and cooling, water recycling and hundreds of solar panels soaking up the sun's rays.

British inquiry slams ex-PM Blair for catalog of failures over Iraq war

July 6, 2016 - 3:44pm

By Michael Holden and William James LONDON (Reuters) - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's justification, planning and handling of the Iraq War involved a catalog of failures, a seven-year inquiry concluded on Wednesday in a scathing verdict on Britain's role in the conflict. Eight months before the 2003 invasion, Blair told U.S. President George W. Bush "I will be with you, whatever", eventually sending 45,000 British troops into battle when peace options had not been exhausted, the long-awaited British public inquiry said. More than 13 years since the invasion, Iraq remains in chaos, with large areas under the control of Islamic State militants who have claimed responsibility for attacks on Western cities.

Syria declares 72-hour ceasefire during Eid

July 6, 2016 - 2:48pm

The Syrian army said Wednesday it was observing a 72-hour ceasefire across the country for the holidays marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The announcement did not say if the truce extends to jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group or Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, but a security source said they were apparently excluded. As fighting continued on the ground, especially in second city Aleppo, some rebel groups said they would respect the truce although they doubted the seriousness of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Islamic State tightens grip on captives held as sex slaves

July 6, 2016 - 2:33pm

KHANKE, Iraq (AP) — The advertisement on the Telegram app is as chilling as it is incongruous: A girl for sale is "Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old.... Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon."

The Latest: Bush hasn't read UK Iraq report yet

July 6, 2016 - 12:02pm

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain's inquiry into its role in the Iraq war (all times local):

Chef at Bangladesh cafe probably working with attackers: police

July 6, 2016 - 11:10am

By Ruma Paul and Aditya Kalra DHAKA (Reuters) - A pizza chef killed during a militant attack on a cafe where he worked in Bangladesh's capital city last week was probably in league with the assailants, police said on Wednesday. Saiful Islam Chowkidar carried no arms but was seen "moving and running" with the five gunmen during the 12-hour stand-off, Monirul Islam, the chief of counter-terrorism police, said. On Friday, at least five Bangladeshi men had stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, a cafe popular with foreigners, businessmen and diplomats and killed 20 customers, including Italians, Japanese, Indians and Americans.

AP PHOTOS: Muslims celebrate Eid, marking Ramadan's end

July 6, 2016 - 10:56am

BEIRUT (AP) — Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, a time for family and feasting, to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan and its daytime fasting.

Islamic State pressured after Turkey tightens jihadi highway

July 6, 2016 - 10:42am

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AP) — Along the border near the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, a wall of giant concrete blocks is going up as Turkey tries to seal off a region that for years was a jihadi highway through which thousands of extremist fighters flowed to join the Islamic State group in neighboring Syria.

Tony Blair: leader who could never get past Iraq

July 6, 2016 - 8:44am

Tony Blair rode a wave of "Cool Britannia" optimism in his first heady years in office but is now reviled by many Britons who accuse him of leading the country into an unnecessary war in Iraq that shattered his legacy. Published 13 years after the 2003 US-led invasion, Wednesday's Iraq War Inquiry report pointed the finger squarely at the former prime minister for catastrophic planning failures. "I will be with you, whatever," Blair wrote in a note to then US president George W. Bush in July 2002, eight months before the invasion was launched.

In Greece, Muslims mark end of Ramadan with promise of formal mosque

July 6, 2016 - 7:15am

By Karolina Tagaris ATHENS (Reuters) - Men wailed in prayer in a drab Athens basement on Wednesday, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in one of the Greek capital's many makeshift mosques set up in garages or abandoned warehouses. More than 200,000 Muslims from countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan are estimated to be living in Athens, a city of nearly 4 million, but it has not had a formal mosque since Greece - an overwhelmingly Christian Orthodox country - won independence from occupying Ottomans in 1832. In June, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to build the city's first mosque, as well as a Muslim cemetery.