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Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base: social media

Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Taqba city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, in nearby Raqqa cityBy Sylvia Westall BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have executed Syrian army soldiers and are holding a group hostage after capturing an air base in northeast Syria at the weekend, pictures posted on social media by supporters showed on Wednesday. Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda, stormed Tabqa air base near Raqqa city on Sunday after days of fighting with the army that cost more than 500 lives, according to monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Tabqa was the army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by the militants, who have seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. The United States has carried out air strikes on the group in Iraq and is considering its options in Syria.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:53:37 -0400
Talks optimism fades as Ukraine says Russia makes new incursion

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in MinskBy Richard Balmforth and Anton Zverev KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukraine accused Russian forces of launching a new military incursion across its border on Wednesday, a day after the leaders of both countries agreed to work towards ending a separatist war in the east of the country. The accusation, which could not be immediately verified, quickly dented any sense of cautious optimism from Tuesday's late-night talks between presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko on resolving the five-month conflict. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a group of Russian soldiers had crossed the border in armored infantry carriers and a truck and entered the eastern town of Amvrosiyivka, not far from where Ukraine detained 10 Russian soldiers on Monday. No comment was immediately available from the Russian defense ministry on the alleged incursion.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:18:51 -0400
Gaza truce holding but Israel's Netanyahu under fire at home

Palestinians leave a United Nations-run school sheltering displaced Palestinians, as they make their way home after a ceasefire was declared, in Khan Younis in Gaza StripBy Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war held on Wednesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian militants in which no clear victor emerged. In Israel, sirens warning of incoming rocket fire from the Gaza Strip fell silent, but media commentators, echoing attacks by members of Netanyahu's governing coalition, voiced deep disappointment over his leadership during the most prolonged bout of Israeli-Palestinian violence in a decade. "After 50 days of warfare in which a terror organization killed dozens of soldiers and civilians, destroyed the daily routine (and) placed the country in a state of economic distress ... we could have expected much more than an announcement of a ceasefire," analyst Shimon Shiffer wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's biggest-selling newspaper. "We could have expected the prime minister to go to the President’s Residence and inform him of his decision to resign his post." Netanyahu, who has faced constant sniping in his cabinet from right-wing ministers demanding military action to topple Hamas, made no immediate comment on the Egyptian-mediated truce deal that took effect on Tuesday evening.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:36:12 -0400
Afghan election audit disrupted as candidate threatens to walk out

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah arrives for a news conference in KabulBy Hamid Shalizi and Jessica Donati KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's deadlocked presidential election veered further off course on Wednesday after both candidates withdrew their observers from a U.N.-supervised audit of votes that was meant to resolve the crisis. The audit was part of a U.S.-brokered deal to defuse escalating tension between rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, who have both claimed victory in the ballot intended to mark the country's first democratic transfer of power. A few hours later, the United Nations asked Ghani's team to withdraw its observers in the interests of fairness and it had agreed, according to a team member, who said the withdrawal was unfair but prudent. A spokesman for the United Nations was not available for comment although it had confirmed earlier a "temporary disruption" of the vote count.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:55:32 -0400
Pakistan's prime minister resolved to ride out protests crisis

File photo of Pakistan's PM Sharif speaking with the media during a news conference in New DelhiBy Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told parliament on Wednesday he would not be cowed by thousands of demonstrators camped outside the assembly demanding his resignation. Protesters led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir ul-Qadri have rallied in Islamabad for almost two weeks and vowed to occupy the capital until Sharif resigns - a demand the premier has firmly rejected.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:20:07 -0400
Deadline passed, no sign of breakthrough in Iran nuclear probe

IAEA Director General Amano talks to the media as he arrives at Vienna's airportBy Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran may have failed to meet a deadline for addressing U.N. concerns about suspected nuclear bomb research, but it could still act to influence a key report due next week, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday. The sources, who follow the nuclear issue but declined to be identified, said they had seen no indications so far that Tehran had replied in substance to questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by the agreed August 25 date. They suggested, however, that there was still time for Iran to provide information in the coming days in order to avoid any negative impression in the IAEA's closely-watched quarterly report on Tehran's nuclear program, expected around September 3. "They only give as much as they have to." There was no comment from the IAEA, the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear agency, nor Iran.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:02:49 -0400
Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal
U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a better tax deal.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:39:51 -0400
3rd doctor dies from Ebola in Sierra Leone

During a training session participants listen as they stand over a mannequin on a stretcher during a training course to instruct non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers and doctors on how to deal with the Ebola virus in Brussels on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. The course, provided by Doctors Without Borders, trains volunteer and medical personnel on precautions to take when entering a zone that contains the Ebola virus.(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A senior adviser to Sierra Leone's president says a third doctor has died from Ebola, marking a setback in the country's fight against the virulent disease.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:37:17 -0400
Colombian kingpin's former hit man leaves prison

FILE - In this June 27, 2006, file photo, John Jairo Velasquez, a former hit man for Pablo Escobar, gives his testimony while holding a book titled "The True Pablo, Blood, Treason, and Death," during the trial against Alberto Santofimio Botero in Bogota, Colombia. Velasquez, better known by his nickname “Popeye,” was released Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014, under heavy police surveillance from a maximum security prison northeast of Bogota after 23 years behind bars for plotting the murder of a former presidential candidate. (AP Photo/ William Fernando Martinez, File)BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A man who confessed to hundreds of murders as head of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's army of assassins has been freed from a maximum security prison under heavy police guard.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:36:10 -0400
Islamist fighters seize Syria crossing near Israel: monitor
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra Front and other Islamist fighters have taken control of a border crossing on the line dividing Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a group monitoring the Syrian conflict said on Wednesday. The fighters, who have vowed to "liberate" the area, captured the Quneitra post on the Syrian side from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad after fierce clashes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. ...
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:35:24 -0400
Top Asian News at 12:30 p.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Century-old shop houses, twisting alleyways and temples scented with incense still pulsate with the pursuit of old trades and time-honored rituals of families who have lived in Bangkok's Chinatown for generations. But probably not for much longer. Jackhammers and cranes are closing in on one of the last historic quarters of Thailand's capital as developers and city authorities pursue plans to build subways and high-rises — with little thought to preserving heritage.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:32:52 -0400
Earthquakes rock Iceland volcano
LONDON (AP) — Earthquakes are rocking Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano, adding to concerns that magma movements may trigger an eruption that could hinder air traffic.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:29:47 -0400
Champions League draw wide open

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal celebrates his goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Cordoba at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 . (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)MONACO (AP) — Real Madrid's Champions League title defense takes shape Thursday at one of the most open draws in years.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:29:08 -0400
Turkey's incoming prime minister says country needs new constitution
ANKARA (Reuters) - Incoming Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday that the country needed a new constitution with a liberal character as he set out his vision for Turkey ahead of his expected appointment on Thursday. In a speech to the ruling AK Party of president-elect Tayyip Erdogan, whom he was set to replace as party leader later on Wednesday, Davutoglu said the two of them would serve together without discord. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Daren Butler, Editing by Humeyra Pamuk)
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:28:32 -0400
3 playful lion cubs debut at Johannesburg Zoo
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Three playful lion cubs made their public debut Wednesday, pouncing their way into a large enclosure at the Johannesburg Zoo.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:28:03 -0400
Germany says Russia must stop flow of weapons into Ukraine
The flow of Russian forces and weapons into Ukraine is a major problem and Moscow must ensure that it stops, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Wednesday. Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference that a meeting in Minsk on Tuesday between Russia President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko was a good first step towards resolving the crisis but that concrete steps must follow. "The pre-condition for an effective two-way ceasefire is that Russia has to make its contribution to de-escalate and that there is an agreement to secure the border," Seibert said.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:27:05 -0400
Libya ministers resign over militia fighting
CAIRO (AP) — The official Libyan news agency says six ministers have resigned after accusing the government of taking sides in escalating battles among rival militias.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:24:21 -0400
Palace hires Warnock for 2nd spell as manager
LONDON (AP) — Neil Warnock has been hired by Crystal Palace for his second spell as the manager of the Premier League club.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:20:58 -0400
Syrian rebels seize border crossing with Israel
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian rebels have captured a border crossing with Israel in the Golan Heights after deadly clashes with President Bashar Assad's forces.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:20:47 -0400
Europe shares ease, Asia higher after S&P record

People walk past an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after the latest record close for the Standard & Poor's 500, though gains were modest and Japan and Hong Kong lost ground after early advances. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed Wednesday after the latest record close for the Standard & Poor's 500, with Europe off to a shaky start despite a strong day in Asia.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:19:05 -0400
Group of Russian soldiers cross into Ukraine town: Ukraine military
The Ukrainian military said on Wednesday that more Russian soldiers had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, entering the small town of Amvrosiyivka in five armored infantry carriers and a truck. The report of a further cross-border incursion by Russian troops followed the capture by Ukrainian government forces of a group of Russian paratroopers in roughly the same area. Moscow said the captured troops had strayed into Ukraine by mistake but Kiev said they had been on a "special mission" linked to the pro-Russian separatist rebellions in the east. "Five armored infantry carriers and one Kamaz truck entered Amvrosiyivka with men in them," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:18:51 -0400
Report: Iran redesigning reactor as part of deal
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state television is reporting that the Islamic Republic has begun redesigning its Arak heavy water reactor to limit the amount of plutonium it can make as part of the country's temporary deal over its nuclear program with world powers.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:16:40 -0400
Bulgarian poet Valeri Petrov dies
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Valeri Petrov, Bulgaria's most prominent contemporary poet and a former Nobel Prize nominee who translated the complete works of Shakespeare, has died at age 94.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:15:33 -0400
Experts find 283 DNA samples from MH17 site
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Experts working to identify the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have gathered DNA samples from 283 people and have positively identified 173.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:09:35 -0400
Klitschko-Pulev fight rescheduled for Nov. 15
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Wladimir Klitschko's management says his heavyweight title defense against mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev has been rescheduled for Nov. 15 in Hamburg.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:07:28 -0400
Berlin won't join any military action in Syria: foreign ministry
Germany is in discussions with the United States and other international partners about possible military action against Islamic State in Syria but Berlin will not take part in any military engagement there, a foreign office spokesman said on Wednesday. Asked about Germany's views on a possible operation against Islamic State in Syria the spokesman said: "of course we are discussing this subject with our allies including Washington... but the chancellor said a few days ago that Germany would not consider taking part in any military action in Syria." "However, we will continue efforts to strengthen the democratic opposition in Syria," he added.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:05:24 -0400
Top Asian News at 12:00 p.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Century-old shop houses, twisting alleyways and temples scented with incense still pulsate with the pursuit of old trades and time-honored rituals of families who have lived in Bangkok's Chinatown for generations. But probably not for much longer. Jackhammers and cranes are closing in on one of the last historic quarters of Thailand's capital as developers and city authorities pursue plans to build subways and high-rises — with little thought to preserving heritage.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 08:02:52 -0400
Erdogan rules out obedient role for successor
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday rejected claims that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is set to replace him as prime minister, would merely do his bidding as he continues to rule Turkey from behind the scenes.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:59:42 -0400
UN panel: Crimes against humanity spread in Syria

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem speaks during a press conference, giving the first public comments by a senior Assad official on the threat posed by the Islamic State group, in Damascus, Syria on Monday, August 25, 2014. Al-Moallem warned the U.S. not to conduct airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State group without Damascus’ consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression. Al-Moallem also said that Syria is ready to work with regional states and the international community amid the onslaught of Islamic militants there and in Iraq, adding that the Syrian government is a crucial partner in the war on terror. (AP Photo/SANA)GENEVA (AP) — The Syrian government has likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians while the Islamic State group has committed crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians in two provinces in the country, an independent U.N. commission said Wednesday.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:59:28 -0400
Drop in disaster payouts strengthens case for reinsurance price cut
Payouts by insurers for disaster claims in the first six months of the year were below the average for the past 10 years, a study showed on Wednesday, which is likely to bolster insurers' calls for cheaper reinsurance. The global insurance industry covered $21 billion in losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in the first half of the year, preliminary estimates from a study by reinsurer Swiss Re showed. Second-quarter figures showed that lower claims from natural disasters boosted reinsures' earnings. The Swiss Re study showed that insurers covered nearly half of the $44 billion in estimated economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in the first half of 2014.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:58:41 -0400
China, Vietnam say they'll negotiate sea disputes
BEIJING (AP) — China and Vietnam say they're committed to negotiating maritime disputes to avoid a recurrence of tensions that spiked when China deployed an oil rig in waters claimed by Hanoi.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:58:21 -0400
UEFA postpones Israel's Euro 2016 home opener
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has postponed Israel's opening 2016 European Championship qualifying match against Belgium for security reasons.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:55:57 -0400
Govt-held Ukraine town hit by rebel shells
NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Heavy shelling hit a town in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, the third day of an assault that has forced government troops to spread their ranks thinner along the Russian border. Ukraine claimed the shelling was coming both from pro-Russian separatists and from Russia itself.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:52:59 -0400
Rotherham police commissioner vows to stay after abuse scandal

Authorities were blamed for failing to act after it emerged that 1,400 minors were sexually abusedSouth Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) rejected calls for his resignation Wednesday following a shocking report into the abuse of hundreds of young people in Rotherham. The report, commissioned by Rotherham Council and published Tuesday, revealed that some 1,400 minors were sexually abused in the Yorkshire town over a 16-year period. It detailed "utterly appalling" incidents of gang rape, kidnapping and trafficking of girls as young as 11, and blamed local authorities for a "blatant" failure to act over child exploitation, the full scale of which is still not known. Rotherham Borough Council leader Roger Stone resigned immediately after the report's publication and PCC Shaun Wright, who was head of children's services at the council from 2005 to 2010, faced mounting calls Wednesday to follow his lead.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:48:53 -0400
Pakistan minister urges opposition to ease demands

A supporter of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan uses her cell phone to take picture of Khan during a protest near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri are besieging parliament in the capital to pressure Sharif to resign over alleged election fraud. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Cabinet minister on Wednesday urged Pakistan's two key opposition figures leading mass rallies outside parliament to back off their demand for the prime minister's resignation in ongoing talks with the government.

Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:42:09 -0400
Germany plans to tighten EU migration rules
BERLIN (AP) — The German government says it's proposing measures to tighten migration regulations for citizens from elsewhere in the European Union amid accusations of welfare abuse by poor immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania.
Date Posted : Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:40:15 -0400

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