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  • Russia casts doubt on Syria ceasefire deal as army gains ground

    A general view shows the besieged city of Douma from Wafideen Camp, which is controlled by Syrian government forces, in Damascus suburbs, SyriaBy Paul Carrel, Shadia Nasralla and Tom Perry MUNICH/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday a Syria ceasefire plan was more likely to fail than succeed, as Syrian government forces backed by Russian air strikes took rebel ground near Aleppo and set their sights on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa province. International divisions over Syria surfaced anew at a Munich conference where Russia rejected French charges that it was bombing civilians, just a day after world powers agreed on the "cessation of hostilities" due to begin in a week's time.

  • Pope presses Mexico president, bishops on corruption and drugs

    Pope Francis wears a sombrero hat as he meets Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera after his arrival in Mexico CityBy Philip Pullella and David Alire Garcia MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis launched a broadside against endemic corruption on Saturday on his first visit to Mexico as pontiff, calling on President Enrique Pena Nieto and his government to combat it. Corruption is deeply ingrained in Mexico, and Pena Nieto, his wife and finance minister have all been embroiled in conflict of interest scandals involving homes purchased from government contractors. The pope also exhorted Mexico's bishops to take a more active stand against the drug trade, which he said "devours like a metastasis." He told them to make it clear to drug dealers that they could not consider themselves good Catholics if their hands were "drenched in blood, but pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened." Drug-trafficking gangs have infiltrated police forces across the country and more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the last decade.

  • French PM rejects permanent quota system for refugees

    Migrant child looks out of a train window at a train station in the town of SidBy Andreas Rinke and Tatiana Jancarikova MUNICH/BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls rejected on Saturday the idea of a permanent quota system for distributing refugees across Europe, putting Paris at odds with Germany ahead of a summit to discuss the EU crisis over migration. Speaking to reporters at a security conference in Munich, Valls said France would stick to its pledge to take on 30,000 of the 160,000 refugees European countries have agreed to divide among themselves, but would not accept additional numbers. "We won't take any more," Valls said.

  • U.S. Defence Secretary says UK needs nuclear weapons for 'outsized' world role

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter gestures during a news conference during a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in BrusselsBritain must renew its submarine-borne Trident nuclear weapons system if it is to maintain its "outsized" role in world affairs, U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter said in comments published on Saturday. A decision on replacing the ageing fleet of four submarines which carry nuclear warheads is due to be made this year and while Prime Minister David Cameron is committed to renewal, the issue has caused deep divisions in the opposition Labour Party. Carter said the submarine fleet helped the "special relationship" Britain enjoyed with the United States, the BBC said on its website.

  • Death toll at collapsed building in Taiwanese city reaches 114 as rescue efforts end

    Soldiers stand guard in front of 17-storey apartment building collapsed after an earthquake, on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Tainan, southern TaiwanThe death toll at a building that collapsed from a strong earthquake in southern Taiwan reached 114 as rescue efforts came to an end on Saturday, a week after the temblor hit. "The search and rescue has come to an end," said Tainan Mayor William Lai, in remarks carried live on local television, identifying the last individual to be pulled out from the rubble as Hsieh Chen-yu, who was part of the fallen building's management committee. All of those believed missing in the building have now been accounted for, city officials said.

  • Outgoing U.S. commander says mission in Afghanistan not changing

    U.S. Army General John Campbell, the commander of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks during a news conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul“That's where you see Apache helicopters, bombs, drones, those kind of things.”     Afghan forces, which took over combat operations when NATO's fighting mission ended in 2014, have struggled and are expected to need international assistance for years to come.     Around 9,800 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. Under current plans that number is due to fall to 5,500 by the end of 2016.     In addition to training Afghan forces, the U.S. military has stepped up operations against Islamic State fighters, mainly in the east of the country.

  • Hull down Blackburn to regain pole position

    Young Hull City fans cheer before the start of the English FA Cup final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembly Stadium in London on May 17, 2014Hull City's bid for a quick return to the Premier League gathered pace as they swept back to the top of the Championship with a 2-0 win against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Steve Bruce's side dominated at Ewood Park and eventually secured their seventh win in their last eight matches thanks to goals from Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame. Diame found Hernandez who rounded Jason Steele before stroking home his 17th goal of the season.

  • The Latest: Pope cruises across Mexico City in tiny Fiat

    Pope Francis kisses a child in a wheelchair, at Mexico City's main sqaure, the Zocalo, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Pope Francis kicks off his first trip to Mexico on Saturday with speeches to the country's political and ecclesial elites. The pontiff's five-day visit will include a very personal prayer at the Virgin of Guadalupe shrine. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis' visit to Mexico (all times local):

  • Puerto Rican judge nominated as 1st gay chief justice
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rican judge Maite Oronoz Rodriguez has been nominated to head the U.S. territory's Supreme Court as the first openly gay chief justice in the United States.

  • 'No time to lose' to install Libya unity government: ministers

    Newly appointed French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at his desk at the Foreign Ministry, on February 12, 2016 in ParisForeign ministers put pressure on Libya Saturday to finalise its unity government and head off the growing threat from the Islamic State group. "There is no time to lose for the national unity government to assume its functions and securely establish itself in Tripoli," said the newly appointed French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, following a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. The meeting was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, Egypt, Germany and Italy, as well as EU and UN representatives.

  • Protesters in Spain urge puppeteers' acquittal on charges

    People, one of them holding a puppet, gather outside Madrid city hall in support of two puppeteers who were detained without bail last Friday for using a sign saying, "Long Live Alka ETA," in a word-play reference to Spain's armed Basque group ETA and al-Qaida, in Madrid, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. A Spanish court on Wednesday ordered the release of two puppeteers jailed since last week for allegedly praising terrorism in a controversial Carnival show funded with public money. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)MADRID (AP) — Protesters marched through Madrid and the southern Spanish city of Granada on Saturday calling for charges to be dropped against two puppeteers jailed for allegedly praising terrorism.

  • Deeney double strike as Watford beats Palace

    Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace during the English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park, London, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. (Paul Harding/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUTLONDON (AP) — Watford moved up to eighth place in the Premier League after beating a combative but ineffective Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday.

  • Wales beats Scotland 27-23 to get back on track in 6N

    Wales' Jamie Roberts, left, is tackled by Scotland's Duncan Taylor and Ross Ford during a Six Nations tournament Rugby match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. (David Davies / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUTCARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Wales got its Six Nations title ambitions back on track in an entertaining ninth straight win over Scotland by 27-23 on Saturday.

  • Russian PM: West is rekindling the Cold War with NATO moves

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends a breakfast with members of a German Economic delegation at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)MUNICH (AP) — Russia's prime minister accused NATO on Saturday of restarting the Cold War amid increased military maneuvers and troop deployments to countries neighboring Russia, moves the alliance's top official defended as a necessary response to aggression from Moscow.

  • Leader PSG held to a 0-0 draw at home against Lille

    Lille's goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, center, punches the ball during his League One soccer match against Paris Saint Germain, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)PARIS (AP) — Runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain dropped points for only the fourth time in the league this season when it was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Lille on Saturday.

  • Pope gives tough love to Mexico's political, church elite

    Pope Francis is welcomed by Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera, upon his arrival at the Presidential palace in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Francis kicked off his first trip to Mexico on Saturday with a long popemobile ride past cheering crowds on a day that will see him meet with the country’s political and church elite, and end with a silent prayer before the Virgin of Guadalupe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)MEXICO CITY (AP) — Pope Francis issued a tough-love message to Mexico's political and church elites Saturday, telling them they have a duty to provide their people with security, justice and courageous pastoral care to confront the drug-inspired violence and corruption that are tormenting the country.

  • Documentary "Fire at Sea" opens at Berlin Film Festival

    Director Gianfranco Rosi attends a press conference for the competition film 'Fire At Sea' at the 2016 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)BERLIN (AP) — The director of "Fire at Sea" — a documentary about the Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of asylum-seekers have been arriving from lawless Libya — says he wanted "to show the tragedy that's playing out in front of our eyes ... We're all responsible."

  • Head of BAFTA: Film industry not diverse enough

    Head of BAFTA: Film industry not diverse enoughThe head of the British Academy Film and Television Awards says its annual ceremony does not feature more ethnic minority nominees because the film industry itself is not diverse enough. Amanda Berry says ...

  • Church lifts ban of Indian priest convicted of sex assault
    NEW DELHI (AP) — The Roman Catholic church in southern India has lifted the suspension of a priest convicted last year of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the United States more than a decade ago, a spokesman said Saturday.

  • Ronaldo scores twice to lead Madrid to 4-2 win over Bilbao

    Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Athtletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals to lead Real Madrid to a 4-2 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, provisionally lifting it into second place in the Spanish league.

  • Mkhitaryan helps Dortmund cut Bundesliga gap

    Hannover's goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler passes Dortmund's players who celebrate their opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Hannover 96 in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)BERLIN (AP) — Henrikh Mkhitaryan broke the deadlock as Borussia Dortmund labored to a 1-0 win over bottom-side Hannover, provisionally cutting Bayern Munich's Bundesliga lead to five points Saturday.

  • Turkish military shelled Kurdish militia in Syria: government source
    By Orhan Coskun and Daren Butler ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's military shelled Kurdish militia targets in northern Syria on Saturday, a Turkish government source said, hours after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that Ankara would act if it faced a threat from across the border. It was not clear why it launched the shelling, which took place after the Kurdish fighters, backed by Russian bombing raids, drove Syrian rebels from a former military air base near the Turkish border.

  • France KOs Ireland 6 Nations hopes with gritty 10-9 win

    France's Virmi Vakatawa, left, is tackled by Ireland's Conor Murray during a Six Nations tournament Rugby match, France against Ireland at Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS (AP) — France likely ended Ireland's chances of winning a third consecutive Six Nations by taking their gritty match 10-9 and becoming a title contender on Saturday.

  • Magnitude 5.1 and 3.9 earthquakes strike Oklahoma: USGS
    (Reuters) - Two earthquakes, one with a magnitude 5.1 and the other of 3.9, struck northern Oklahoma on Saturday morning and were felt through much of the state but no damages were immediately reported, the U.S. Geological Survey and local media said. Both quakes were centered about 95 miles (153 km) northwest of Oklahoma City. The first quake hit at 11:07 local time (1707 GMT), and the second one came about 10 minutes later, the USGS said.

  • Northeast U.S. in deep freeze, could break Valentine's Day records

    A woman is seen bundled up from the cold in NewYorkBy Scott Malone and Valerie Vande Panne BOSTON, Mass (Reuters) - A dangerous cold snap gripped the northeastern United States on Saturday, with temperatures in some areas set to fall below zero and Boston facing its coldest Valentine's Day in almost four decades. Officials warned people to stay indoors away from what the National Weather Service described as "life threatening" cold. Wind chill advisories were in effect over parts of nine states extending from northern Pennsylvania to western Maine, with forecasters expecting gusts up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph).

  • Irish government parties' support falls two weeks from election: poll

    Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny addresses Fine Gael candidates and supporters in DublinSupport for the two parties that make up Ireland's coalition government fell by a combined five percentage points in a poll published on Saturday, in the latest sign a general election in two week's time may produce an inconclusive outcome. Support for prime minister Enda Kenny's center-right Fine Gael party fell by 3 percentage points to 28 percent in the Sunday Business Post/Red C poll, its weakest result in the poll since September. Its center-left junior coalition partner Labour fell 2 percentage points to 8 percent, leaving the two parties on a combined 36 percent, significantly short of support needed to come close to a majority of seats.

  • Brazil troops battle Zika mosquitoes

    An army soldier explain how to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, at the Central station, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. More than 200,000 army, navy and air force troops are fanning out across Brazil to show people how to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, which many health officials believe is linked to severe birth defects. The nationwide offensive is part of President Dilma Rousseff's declared war on the virus that has quickly spread across the Americas.(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)SAO PAULO (AP) — More than 200,000 army, navy and air force troops fanned out across Brazil on Saturday to teach people how to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus that many health officials believe is linked to severe birth defects.

  • State officials blocked Flint Legionnaires' probe: CNN

    File photo of the Flint River is seen flowing thru downtown in Flint, MichiganFrom June 2014 to November 2015 Michigan's Genesee County, which includes Flint, had 87 cases of Legionnaires', 10 of them fatal. The outbreak began weeks after a switch in Flint's water supply that also led to lead contamination.

  • Leader Prevc soars to ski jump win in Vikersund

    Peter Prevc from Slovenia in the air during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Flying Hill competition in Vikersund, Norway, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Vegard Wivestad Grott / NTB scanpix via AP) NORWAY OUTVIKERSUND, Norway (AP) — The leader of the ski jumping World Cup, Peter Prevc, soared to another victory in Vikersund on Saturday.

  • West Brom snatches win against Everton in Premier League

    West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon, center right, celebrates scoring against Everton during the English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUTLIVERPOOL, England (AP) — West Bromwich Albion scored from its sole shot on target to beat Everton 1-0 Saturday for only its 2nd Premier League win this year.

  • Burundi government has nationwide protests against Rwanda
    BUJUMBURA, Burundi' (AP) — Thousands of Burundians on Saturday participated in government-sanctioned demonstrations against neighboring Rwanda whom it accuses of supporting a rebellion to topple Burundi's president.

  • Italian student showed signs of electrocution - Egypt forensic source

    The coffin of Italian student Giulio Regeni is carried during his funeral in Fiumicello, ItalyEgypt's forensics authority handed over to the prosecutor general's office on Saturday its final autopsy report on the Italian student who was tortured and found dead in Cairo last week. Giulio Regeni, 28, had been researching independent trade unions in Egypt and had written articles critical of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government - prompting speculation that he was killed at the hands of Egypt's security forces. Egypt's interior and foreign ministers both dismissed the notion of security forces being behind Regeni's murder.

  • Bohonnon, Gridneva win aerials World Cup
    MOSCOW (AP) — American Mac Bohonnon and Alina Gridneva of Russia won the men's and women's rounds of the aerials World Cup in Moscow on Saturday.

  • Syrian troops capture village near northern city of Aleppo

    In this Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 photo, a building is seen with heavy damage in Aleppo, Syria. The fighting around Syria's largest city of Aleppo has brought government forces closer to the Turkish border than at any point in recent years, routing rebels from key areas and creating a humanitarian disaster as tens of thousands of people flee. (Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda via AP)BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces on Saturday captured another village near Aleppo, tightening the noose around rebel-held parts of the northern city, Syrian state TV and an opposition activist group said.

  • Man Utd top-four hopes fade, Long lifts Saints

    Manchester United's striker Wayne Rooney reacts during the English Premier League match against Sunderland on February 13, 2016Louis van Gaal conceded that Manchester United may need to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League after their 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday. Bidding to close the six-point gap separating them from the Champions League places, United fell behind in the third minute when Wahbi Khazri's free-kick from wide on the Sunderland left crept in. Anthony Martial levelled before half-time, but an unfortunate 82nd-minute own goal by United goalkeeper David de Gea gifted Sunderland the points and increased the pressure on embattled United manager Van Gaal.

  • Russia warns of new Cold War as east Ukraine violence surges

    Member of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic forces walks on top of self-propelled artillery gun during tactical training exercises in Donetsk regionBy Robin Emmott and Shadia Nasralla MUNICH (Reuters) - Violence in eastern Ukraine is intensifying and Russian-backed rebels have moved heavy weaponry back to the front line, international monitors warned on Saturday as Moscow responded by accusing the West of dragging the world back 50 years. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described East-West relations as having "fallen into a new Cold War" and said NATO was "hostile and closed" toward Russia, in the latest sign that peace efforts have made scant progress almost two years since Moscow annexed Crimea. "I sometimes wonder - are we in 2016 or 1962?," Medvedev asked in a speech to the Munich Security Conference.

  • Long's header sends Swansea closer to drop zone

    Swansea City's Neil Taylor, right, and Southampton's Shane Long battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. (Simon Galloway/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUTSWANSEA, Wales (AP) — Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was unable to stop a 69th-minute header from Shane Long as Southampton won 1-0 on Saturday, pushing the Welsh club closer to the drop zone.

  • Pope tells Mexico leaders nation needs 'true justice'
    Pope Francis called on Mexico's leaders Saturday to provide "true justice" and security to citizens hit by drug violence as he addressed a National Palace packed with politicians. With President Enrique Pena Nieto by his side, Francis invoked the country's struggles against corruption and crime, one day after arriving on a five-day, cross-country tour of Mexico.

  • South Sudan rebel leader says he is will take up VP position

    South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a press conference in his private residence in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. South Sudan’s rebel leader says he has accepted his appointment by President Salva Kiir as vice president and will return to the country to take up the position when adequate security arrangements are made. Riek Machar on Saturday called for the demilitarization of the capital, Juba, adding that government and rebel forces should be integrated before his return. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — South Sudan's rebel leader said Saturday that he has accepted his appointment by President Salva Kiir as vice president and will return to the country to take up the position when adequate security arrangements are made.

  • Turkey strikes Kurds in Syria, mulls ground attack with Saudi

    Tornado warplanes fly over Saudi capital Riyadh during an airforce military exerciseTurkish artillery on Saturday shelled areas of Aleppo province in northern Syria held by Kurdish forces, a monitor said, as Ankara said it could launch a ground assault alongside Saudi troops. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish artillery struck areas of Aleppo, including Minnigh airbase recently taken by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from Islamist rebels. Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia to be branches of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

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