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  • Aleppo battle kills dozens, air strikes force rebel retreat

    People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen districtDozens of people were killed in a day-long battle between Syrian rebels and government forces in western Aleppo that was still going on intermittently on Wednesday, with rebels saying they were forced to retreat by heavy aerial bombing. A rebel attack in and around the Jamiyat al-Zahraa area of western Aleppo had threatened the army's defensive lines around government-held areas of a city at the epicenter of a recent escalation in the five-year-old civil war. In Geneva, a senior United Nations humanitarian official said the Syrian government was refusing U.N. demands to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped by the fighting, including many in Aleppo.

  • U.S., allies to do more to combat Islamic State: Carter

    A F/A-18E/F Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VFA-211) lands on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) aircraft carrier in the GulfBy Phil Stewart STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday that Washington and its allies had agreed to do more in their campaign to defeat Islamic State, but that more risks lay ahead. Carter made the comment following talks in Germany with defense ministers and representatives from 11 other countries participating in the alliance.

  • EU proposes scheme to share out asylum seekers

    Migrants line up to receive personal hygiene goods distributed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), outside the main building of the disused Hellenikon airportBy Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed a system to distribute asylum seekers across the EU on Wednesday that aims to ease the load on states like Greece and Italy but drew immediate condemnation from governments in Eastern Europe. The European Union executive published legislative proposals to reform the so-called Dublin system of EU asylum rules that includes a "fairness mechanism" under which each of the 28 states would be assigned a percentage quota of all asylum seekers in the bloc that it would be expected to handle. "This is a way to be able to show solidarity in a situation where ... you are not able to take the refugees which were allocated to you." But at a meeting in Prague, ministers from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic all repeated their opposition to the idea of relocation: "It makes no sense, it violates EU member states' rights," Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters.

  • Saudi prince makes bold challenges to kingdom's old ways

    Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reacts upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in ParisBy Samia Nakhoul, William Maclean and Angus McDowall RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman got a standing ovation when he visited a gathering of Saudi youth last month. Prince Mohammed works 16-hour days -- unlike the more sluggish schedules of his older predecessors -- and has appointed business people and economic experts instead of other royals to top jobs.     Many younger Saudis see the rise of a man who is usually referred to as "MbS" as evidence their generation is at last playing a role in a country whose patriarchal traditions had made power the province of the old.     "I'm so excited! I want him to be our king now.

  • Russia warns of retaliation as NATO plans more deployments in Eastern Europe

    Russian servicemen march during Victory Day parade at Red Square in MoscowBy Dmitry Solovyov and Lidia Kelly MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia will reinforce its western and southern flanks with three new divisions by the year-end, officials said on Wednesday, threatening retaliation to NATO's plans to boost its military presence in eastern members Poland and the Baltic States. While Moscow accuses the Western alliance of threatening its Russia's security, NATO says intensified military drills and its plans for increased deployments on its eastern flank are purely defensive after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 and backed separatist rebels in Ukraine. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday NATO was weighing up rotating four battalions of troops through eastern member states amid rising tension in the Baltic.

  • Russia's FSB says arrests group planning attack in Moscow region - agencies
    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had arrested a group of central Asian citizens who were planning an attack in the Moscow region during May holiday celebrations, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday. The FSB said the attack was ordered by leaders of terrorist groups operating in Syria and Turkey. (Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Janet Lawrence; Editing by)

  • Joshua signs multi-fight Showtime deal

    British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates beating US boxer Charles Martin (not pictured) following their IBF World Heavyweight title boxing match at the O2 arena in London on April 9, 2016Britain's IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has signed a multi-fight deal with American cable network Showtime, it was announced on Wednesday. Showtime, which showed Floyd Mayweather's last six fights, will broadcast Joshua's first title defence against unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale (17-0) at London's O2 Arena on June 25. Highly rated Joshua (16-0), the reigning Olympic champion, scored a second-round knockout of American Charles Martin last month to take the IBF crown in only his 16th professional fight.

  • 400,000 refugees could head for Turkey if no Aleppo truce: UN envoy

    A Syrian family runs for cover amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike in Aleppo, on April 29, 2016The UN's envoy for Syria on Wednesday made a plea for a halt in fighting in the second city of Aleppo, warning that failure to do so could lead to a "catastrophic" outcome. "The alternative is truly quite catastrophic, because we could see 400,000 people moving towards the Turkish border," Staffan de Mistura said after talks in Berlin with France and Germany's foreign ministers. The Berlin talks, which also included Syria's main opposition leader Riad Hijab, is part of a week of whirlwind diplomacy as negotiators battle to salvage a collapsing truce.

  • Russia foils attacks ordered by 'terrorists' in Turkey and Syria: spy agency

    A helicopter lands at the headquarters of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in downtown Moscow on February 25, 2016Moscow (AFP) - Russia has foiled a string of plots ordered by "international terrorist organisations" active in Syria and Turkey, the FSB intelligence agency said Wednesday, adding that several suspects had been arrested.

  • Researchers say they're closing in on Captain Cook's ship

    FILE - In this April 17, 2005, file photo, the replica of the ship, the Endeavour, lies at anchor after it was removed from a sandbar in Botany Bay, Sydney. Researchers are set to announce on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 that they believe the original Endeavour is submerged somewhere in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Researchers say they believe the ship that 18th century explorer Capt. James Cook used to sail around the world is still submerged somewhere in Rhode Island's Newport Harbor, but it'll take a lot of work and money to identify it.

  • 'Nasty' wildfire spurs evacuation of 88,000 in Canadian city
    By Topher Seguin ANZAC, Alberta (Reuters) - A massive wildfire in the western Canadian city of Fort McMurray that forced the evacuation of 88,000 residents has resisted efforts to bring it under control, officials said on Wednesday, with more hot, dry winds forecast for later in the day. Fuel shortages and heavy traffic snarled the departure of residents from Fort McMurray, located in the northeastern part of the province of Alberta in the heart of Canada's oil sands region, as the fire destroyed much of one neighborhood and badly damaged others. While major oil sands facilities were not in the fire's path, the blaze disrupted some operations.

  • Poverty, despair, hunger for revenge drive young Syrians to extremist groups: research

    People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen districtBy Astrid Zweynert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The need to earn a basic living, a desire for a sense of purpose and revenge are key factors that push young Syrians into joining extremist groups, a peacebuilding group said on Wednesday. Males between 12 and 24 are most at risk of joining jihadist organizations like the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Nusra Front, International Alert said in a report. The London-based group also found that children and young adults who were not in education as well as refugees and people forced from their homes were vulnerable to being recruited.

  • Gaza sewage spill floods farmland
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza rescue crews tried to salvage livestock and produce on Wednesday after a sewage reservoir collapsed, flooding about 25 acres (10 hectares) of farmland in a new sign of the worsening water and sewage crisis in the Hamas-run territory.

  • Colombia to get U.S. support to fight crime gangs: Santos

    Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos addresses a United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem at U.N. headquarters in New YorkThe United States will provide intelligence to support Colombia in its fight against crime gangs, considered the biggest threat to the Andean nation's security, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday. There are about 3,000 members spread across three gangs earning millions of dollars from drug trafficking and illegal mining, the national police have said. "The U.S. will help with intelligence.

  • Europe's air safety agency to study aircraft-drone collision risk

    As private use of drones grows, authorities are anxious to avoid any risk of accidentsEurope's air safety watchdog Wednesday said it would examine the risk of collision between drones and aircraft, as the use of such unmanned flying devices grows. A task force of aircraft and engine manufacturers will look into the "vulnerabilities of aircraft" including their windshields, engines and airframes, said the European Aviation Safety Agency in a statement. The group will also "review all relevant occurrences" and analyse existing studies on impact between drones and aircraft.

  • Battles rage in Aleppo as diplomats scramble to save truce

    A coalition of opposition groups fighting under the name "Fatah Halab," or Aleppo Conquest, launched an assault on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces with a tunnel bombFierce fighting raged in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo and air strikes pounded rebels east of the capital Damascus on Wednesday as diplomats scrambled to salvage a collapsing truce. Intense international efforts to bring a halt to the latest surge in Syrian fighting continued, with talks between senior diplomats in Berlin and the UN Security Council set for an urgent meeting later Wednesday. The renewed violence has threatened the complete breakdown of a landmark ceasefire between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and non-jihadist rebels brokered by Moscow and Washington in late February.

  • UK's Cameron: EU exit would lead to 'decade of uncertainty'

    UK's Cameron: EU exit would lead to 'decade of uncertainty'LONDON (AP) — Advocates of leaving the European Union have not thought through its economic impact, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday, warning that an exit would spark "a decade of uncertainty."

  • The Latest: UN says 400,000 could flee without Aleppo truce

    Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and Riad Hijab, head of the Higher Negotiations Committee, the Syrian opposition coalition negotiating in Geneva, chat during a joint stroll prior to a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France with the Staffan de Mistura, U.N. special envoy for Syria, and Riad Hijab, head of the Higher Negotiations Committee, the Syrian opposition coalition negotiating in Geneva at the guest house of the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on Syria's civil war (all times local):

  • Afghan film star in miserable French exile after death threats over veil

    Afghan actress Marina Golbahari and her husband Noor pose for a picture in Paris on April 14, 2016The feted star of an internationally-acclaimed film, Afghan actress Marina Golbahari, and her husband have been chased from their home to the brink of suicide in a filthy French asylum shelter after she was photographed without a veil. Fearing for their lives, the couple has kept a low profile since they arrived five months ago for a film festival. "We never thought of staying," said her husband Noorullah Azizi.

  • Relief in Yemen's Mukalla after year of Qaeda rule

    A street in the Yemeni port of Mukalla, in Hadramawt province, 480 km (300 mi) east of Aden on May 3, 2016 with banners hung by Al-Qaeda militants announcing Islamist ordersTen days after Gulf-backed forces drove Al-Qaeda out of the Yemeni port city of Mukalla, the signs of their harsh year-long rule are still everywhere for relieved residents to see. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took advantage of the chaos of fighting between pro-government forces and Iran-backed rebels to expand its control in southern Yemen, seizing Mukalla in April last year. AQAP ruled with an iron fist over the city of 200,000 people, capital of the vast desert province of Hadramawt.

  • The battle for Aleppo

    Syrian security forces evacuate medical staff after rockets reportedly fired by rebels hit Al-Dabbeet hospital in the government-controlled neighbourhood of Muhafaza in the northern city of Aleppo on May 3, 2016Following are key moments in the battle for Aleppo, the former commercial capital of Syria, since civil war broke out in March 2011. - April-May 2011: Thousands of students demonstrate in Aleppo, a northern city that had been spared the sort of violent protests that erupted elsewhere in the country.

  • Celebrities jam Havana streets for Chanel's Cuban takeover

    Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, left, poses with the models who participated in the presentation of his "cruise" line for fashion house Chanel, at the Paseo del Prado street in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. With the heart of the Cuban capital effectively privatized by an international corporation under the watchful eye of the Cuban state, the premiere of Chanel 2016/2017 "cruise" line offered a startling sight in a country officially dedicated to social equality and the rejection of material wealth. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)HAVANA (AP) — The afternoon sun was still baking central Havana when Mabel Fernandez and her 14-year daughter took their spot facing the Prado, a grand colonial boulevard hung with lights and loudspeakers for a fashion show by French luxury label Chanel.

  • Malta likely to be first in EU to open Libya mission: PM

    Malta's Prime minister Joseph Muscat (L) holds a press conference with Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister of the UN-backed unity government, on May 4, 2016, at a naval base in the Libyan capital Tripoli where the GNA established its headquartersMalta will likely become the first EU member to open an embassy in Libya, its premier said Wednesday as he visited Tripoli in a show of support for the UN-backed unity government. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is the first head of a European government to travel to Libya since the UN-backed Government of National Accord arrived in Tripoli five weeks ago. "We'll probably become the first (EU) country to return," Muscat said after meeting GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj.

  • Western countries urge Kenya to take steps for smooth polls
    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan voters must have confidence that the electoral commission and judiciary are impartial and efficient ahead of polls next year, 11 diplomats from western countries said Wednesday.

  • Rousseff's woes mount as Brazil's top prosecutor requests probe

    Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends the launching of the new Family Agriculture plan at Planalto Palace in BrasiliaBy Anthony Boadle BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff faced a new threat to her tenuous hold on power on Wednesday after the country's top prosecutor requested that she be investigated for alleged obstruction of justice. Rousseff, a leftist who will likely be suspended from office next week pending an impeachment trial by the Senate on charges of breaking budget laws, said the latest accusation was based on outright lies by a former senator in her ruling Workers Party. "If an investigation is opened I am sure it will show that Senator Delcidio do Amaral was lying once again," Rousseff told reporters after launching an annual financial subsidy plan for farmers.

  • Syria withholds aid to thousands, risks new siege in Aleppo: U.N.
    By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Syria's government is refusing U.N. demands to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of people including many in Aleppo, the city at the center of an eruption of fighting in the past two weeks, U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Wednesday. "We seem to be having new possible besieged areas on our watch, we are having hundreds of relief workers unable to move in Aleppo," he told reporters after chairing a weekly meeting of nations supporting the Syria peace process. "It is a disgrace to see that while the population of Aleppo is bleeding, their options to flee have never been more difficult than now." A partial ceasefire, sponsored by the United States and Russia, was struck in February but has virtually collapsed in recent weeks, with Aleppo bearing the brunt of the renewed bloodshed.

  • Germany, France say ceasefire in Aleppo key to Syria peace talks
    BERLIN (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of France and Germany said on Wednesday that achieving a ceasefire in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was critical to renewing peace talks on ending Syria's civil war. "I believe everyone knows and can conclude that there could be no return to the political talks in Geneva if a ceasefire in and around Aleppo is not observed," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Berlin. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

  • Kenya: 2 men challenge constitutionality of anal probe
    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A lawyer said Wednesday she has submitted the arguments during the first day of a hearing where two men are seeking a Kenyan court ruling to stop enforced anal examinations of men accused of being gay.

  • Reutersward, Swedish sculptor of twisted gun barrel, dies

    FILE - In this 1992 file photo, Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward smiles in front of his iconic sculpture of a revolver with a knotted barrel displayed, as it was unveiled in Malmo, Sweden. Carl Fredrik Reutersward, one of Sweden’s best-known modern artists and the creator of the iconic statue of a revolver barrel tied in a knot, has died. He was 81. Thomas Millroth, from the Carl Fredrik Reutersward Art Foundation, said the artist died in a hospital in Helsingborg, southwestern Sweden on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. No cause of death was given. (Drago Prvulovic/TT News Agency via AP, file) SWEDEN OUTHELSINKI (AP) — Carl Fredrik Reutersward, one of Sweden's best-known modern artists and the creator of the iconic statue of a revolver barrel tied in a knot, has died at the age of 81.

  • DR Congo announces probe into opposition use of US mercenaries

    DR Congo's ordered an investigation into the alleged use of foreign mercenaries by opposition politician Moise Katumbi, a likely contender in presidential elections due this yearDR Congo's justice minister said on Wednesday he had ordered an investigation into the alleged use of foreign mercenaries by opposition politician Moise Katumbi, a likely contender in a presidential poll due this year. Alexis Thambwe Mwamba said Katumbi's camp was recruiting mercenaries specialised in "training and the use of weapons, as security guards or bodyguards", using a "network with a company based in Virginia in the United States". The minister told journalists he had given orders to the general prosecutor to open a judicial case in the southeastern former province of Katanga.

  • Djokovic beats Coric, advances to Madrid Open 3rd round
    MADRID (AP) — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the Madrid Open by beating Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday.

  • Rebels kill at least 17 civilians in eastern Congo
    KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A Congo rights group that tracks rebel violence says that at least 17 civilians have been killed in the country's east.

  • Massachusetts delegation questions Swedish lobster ban push
    BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts congressional delegation is joining its Maine counterparts in questioning a push by the Swedish government to declare American lobsters an invasive species.

  • Stanley Cup to visit Kentucky Derby contender Nyquist

    Kentucky Derby hopeful Nyquist, ridden by Jonny Garcia, gallops at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The 142nd Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Stanley Cup is coming to the Kentucky Derby.

  • AP names Fernando Gonzalez deputy news director for LatAm

    Fernando Gonzalez poses for a portrait in the newsroom of The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Gonzalez, a veteran videojournalist who has spent more than 30 years covering Latin America and the Caribbean, has been named to a new role as The Associated Press’ deputy news director for the region. Gonzalez has been the AP’s regional video editor for Latin America and the Caribbean based in D.C. since 2014 and will help lead the cooperative’s newsgathering operation in all formats from its regional hub in Mexico City. (AP Photo)MEXICO CITY (AP) — Fernando Gonzalez, a veteran video journalist who has spent more than 30 years covering Latin America and the Caribbean, has been named to a new role as The Associated Press' deputy news director for the region.

  • Portuguese police bust Russian gang in football club swoop

    Europol rounded up a Russian mafia gang as part of an investigation into money-laundering via four football clubs in PortugalPortuguese police have rounded up a Russian mafia gang suspected of buying cash-strapped football clubs and using them for major money-laundering operations, law officials said Wednesday. More than 70 police swooped on four clubs including Uniao de Leiria, as well as 22 homes and businesses in "Operation Matrioskas" on Tuesday, Europol and Portuguese law officials said. Police also raided First Division clubs Benfica, Sporting and Braga although they are not directly part of the probe, named after the traditional Russian multi-layered nesting dolls.

  • Libyan crude output at risk as east and west tussle for control
    BENGHAZI/LONDON (Reuters) - Libya's crippled oil production appeared at risk of further decline on Wednesday after an escalating stand-off between rival eastern and western political factions prevented a cargo belonging to trading giant Glencore from loading. A Tripoli oil official warned the country's oil output could fall by 120,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) if the Benghazi-based National Oil Corporation (NOC), set up by the eastern government, continues to block tankers loading for Tripoli from the eastern Marsa el-Hariga port. The Seachance tanker left the port on Wednesday of its own accord and without loading any of its planned 600,000 barrel crude cargo for Glencore, a port official said.

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