Nation & World


Armenian protesters to renew efforts to stop capital traffic

The leader of large protests that have roiled the capital of Armenia for a week is calling on supporters to renew efforts to paralyze traffic. The protests, which began last Friday, are against former President Serzh Sargsyan's assumption of the prime minister's post. The move came as Armenia changed its government structure to reduce the power of the president and give more authority to the premier...

Russia says US visa delays could halt direct flights

The Russian Foreign Ministry says increasing delays by the United States in issuing visas could result in flagship airline Aeroflot ending flights to the U.S. State-owned Aeroflot is the only airline with scheduled year-round U.S. flights. A ministry statement Thursday complained that the waiting time for interviews for U.S. visa applicants has stretched to 250 days. "In other words, it's senseless...
Women take fall in Nobel scandal for man's alleged misdeeds

Women take fall in Nobel scandal for man's alleged misdeeds

Thousands of protesters called Thursday for the resignation of the secretive board that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature after a sex-abuse scandal linked to the prestigious Swedish academy forced the ouster of its first-ever woman head and tarnished the reputation of the coveted prize. The ugly internal feud has already reached the top levels of public life in the Scandinavian nation known for...
EU foreign policy hails Western Balkan efforts at membership

EU foreign policy hails Western Balkan efforts at membership

The European Union foreign policy chief on Thursday hailed efforts by nations in Western Balkans to advance toward membership in the bloc, ending a tour of the volatile region where Russia is also vying for influence. Federica Mogherini spoke in Serbian capital Belgrade, the last stop of her trip that also included Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. The region remains tense following the wars of the...
India hopes to host 3 sports events, including 2032 Olympics

India hopes to host 3 sports events, including 2032 Olympics

The Indian Olympic Association says it will bid for three major sporting events — the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2030 Asian Games and the 2032 Summer Olympics. The bidding process for the 2026 Youth Olympics is likely to start in 2020. Thailand has also expressed interest in hosting the event. Addressing a press conference Thursday with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, IOA...

Russia, NATO military chiefs meet in Azerbaijan

Russia's top military officer has met with his NATO counterpart, the first such encounter since relations between Moscow and the alliance have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis. Russia's Defense Ministry said the chief of the military's General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, met Thursday in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, with U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO's top military officer...
Queen tips Prince Charles to follow her as Commonwealth head

Queen tips Prince Charles to follow her as Commonwealth head

Queen Elizabeth II opened a summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth on Thursday, and backed her son Prince Charles to be the next leader of the association of Britain and its former colonies. In a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the queen said she hoped Charles would "carry on the important work" of leading the Commonwealth, a loose alliance of countries large and small that has struggled to...

Police: 2 die in light airplane crash in Northern Ireland

Police say two people have died in the crash of a light airplane in Northern Ireland. Police said Thursday the airplane crashed near Belfast International Airport. The Air Accident Investigation Branch is sending a team to investigate. The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said the plane was on fire after the crash. Airport officials said the plane was not flying to or from the airport at the...
Pentagon: Sarin likely at Syria sites, but questions remain

Pentagon: Sarin likely at Syria sites, but questions remain

The Pentagon said Thursday a "preponderance of the evidence" indicates there were chemical weapons, including "elements" of sarin nerve gas, at the three Syrian sites bombed by the U.S. and its allies last week. Any definitive conclusion probably will remain an open question for some time. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at a Pentagon briefing that the United States believes...
Pentagon: Sarin likely at Syria sites, but questions remain

Pentagon: Sarin likely at Syria sites, but questions remain

The Pentagon said Thursday a "preponderance of the evidence" indicates there were chemical weapons, including "elements" of sarin nerve gas, at the three Syrian sites bombed by the U.S. and its allies last week. Any definitive conclusion probably will remain an open question for some time. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at a Pentagon briefing that the United States believes...
After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

The drama of U.S. and allied missile strikes on Syria has obscured a sobering fact: The U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled. The U.S. has 2,000 troops in Syria assisting local Arab and Kurdish fighters against IS, even as President Donald Trump resists deeper U.S. involvement and is eager to withdraw completely in coming months. Trump wants "other people"...

US easing rules on sales of armed drones, other weaponry

The Trump administration moved Thursday to make it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell armed drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments. In policy changes aimed at boosting American firms' ability to compete in the increasingly lucrative global arms market, the administration said it is removing restrictions that barred U.S. manufacturers from directly marketing and selling...
After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

The drama of U.S. and allied missile strikes on Syria has obscured a sobering fact: The U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled. The U.S. has 2,000 troops in Syria assisting local Arab and Kurdish fighters against IS, even as President Donald Trump resists deeper U.S. involvement and is eager to withdraw completely in coming months. Trump wants "other people"...

US easing rules on sales of armed drones, other weaponry

The Trump administration moved Thursday to make it easier for U.S. defense contractors to sell armed drones and other conventional weapons to foreign governments. In policy changes aimed at boosting American firms' ability to compete in the increasingly lucrative global arms market, the administration said it is removing restrictions that barred U.S. manufacturers from directly marketing and selling...
Far-right cancels bid to shut Berlin's Berghain techno club

Far-right cancels bid to shut Berlin's Berghain techno club

A far-right party has withdrawn its proposal to close down one of Berlin's most famous techno clubs after the plan drew widespread ridicule in the laissez-faire German capital. Sibylle Schmidt, a district councilor for the Alternative for Germany party, had demanded that the Berghain club lose its license to operate over partygoers' drug consumption and lascivious behavior on the dance floor. Schmidt...
Gaza protest camps moved closer to Israel border fence

Gaza protest camps moved closer to Israel border fence

Gaza protest organizers moved sit-in tents closer to the Israeli border fence Thursday, a day before a fourth planned mass demonstration, raising fears of more bloodshed. The protests, largely led by Gaza's Hamas rulers, began March 30. Organizers said they'll gradually move the camps toward the fence until May 15, but made conflicting comments about a possible breach. Hamas says the protests are...
FBI offers $1M for info on US reporter missing in Syria

FBI offers $1M for info on US reporter missing in Syria

Federal authorities for the first time are offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to an American journalist who has been missing in Syria for more than five years. Austin Tice, of Houston, Texas, disappeared in August 2012 while covering Syria's civil war. A video released a month later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men saying "Oh, Jesus." He has not been...
UK mulls plan to ban plastic straws and cut waste

UK mulls plan to ban plastic straws and cut waste

Britain's government wants to take action to ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds — and is urging other Commonwealth nations to follow suit. Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday that "plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world." She told Commonwealth leaders meeting in London Thursday that protecting the ocean environment is "...

Fate of US citizen with ties to IS in hands of judge

A federal judge on Thursday weighed the fate of a U.S. citizen who has been accused of working with Islamic State militants in Syria, but never charged. The Trump administration has been holding the unidentified citizen at a U.S. military facility in Iraq since he surrendered on the Syrian battlefield more than seven months ago. The man, who once lived in Louisiana, is being held as an enemy combatant...

Fate of US citizen with ties to IS in hands of judge

A federal judge on Thursday weighed the fate of a U.S. citizen who has been accused of working with Islamic State militants in Syria, but never charged. The Trump administration has been holding the unidentified citizen at a U.S. military facility in Iraq since he surrendered on the Syrian battlefield more than seven months ago. The man, who once lived in Louisiana, is being held as an enemy combatant...
Turkey's weak opposition scrambles to challenge Erdogan

Turkey's weak opposition scrambles to challenge Erdogan

One party leader is in jail. Another doesn't have a candidate. A third might face eligibility issues for her party. Turkey's weak opposition is scrambling to mount a meaningful challenge against strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with just nine weeks to prepare for snap elections. Erdogan set the presidential and parliamentary elections for June 24, in a move that will usher in a new system...
UN health agency: Dengue vaccine shouldn't be used widely

UN health agency: Dengue vaccine shouldn't be used widely

The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. In November, the vaccine's manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said people who had never been sickened by dengue before were at risk of developing a more serious disease after...
Germany's Merkel appears open to compromise on EU reforms

Germany's Merkel appears open to compromise on EU reforms

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled her willingness to find compromises with France when it comes to reforming the European Union, as she hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for talks Thursday in Berlin. Macron has outlined ambitious plans for greater economic integration across the 28-nation bloc, but his proposals have met resistance in some member countries, including among conservatives...
Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that his rival, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, isn't asking for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, this would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential nuclear disarmament deal. North Korea, a small, authoritarian nation surrounded by bigger and richer neighbors...

Kremlin says nationalizing sanction-hit Rusal is an option

The Kremlin says a temporary nationalization of aluminum producer Rusal is being discussed after the company was hit by United States sanctions. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov says nationalization is "one of the viewpoints which is being actively discussed" as the government mulls how to support Rusal. Peskov adds that "it is important here to understand the opinion...
Better than a beach photo: Christie spends $85K on portrait

Better than a beach photo: Christie spends $85K on portrait

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's official portrait will cost $85,000, which is more than taxpayers shelled out for paintings of his three predecessors combined. The Record reports that Australian artist Paul Newton will paint the portrait of the Republican who left office after eight years in January. The cost detail was obtained through an open records request. Democrats Jon Corzine, Richard...

Egypt exhibiting previously unseen Ptolemaic artifacts

Egypt is exhibiting artifacts from the Ptolemaic period for the first time in The Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said Wednesday the exhibit displays around 300 artifacts that show the life of the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years — from around 320 B.C. to about 30 B.C. A Dominican archaeological mission unearthed the artifacts in the Taposiris...

Attacker in Berlin skullcap case turns himself in to police

A 19-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker turned himself in to police Thursday after his violent attack on a man wearing a Jewish skullcap in Berlin caused outrage across Germany. The young Syrian showed up with his lawyer at a police precinct, police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel said. The 21-year-old victim, an Arab Israeli, caught Tuesday's assault on video. It quickly went viral and reopened a debate about...
The Latest: Cuban-Americans in Miami expect little change

The Latest: Cuban-Americans in Miami expect little change

The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Cuban-Americans in Miami aren't expecting much change as President Miguel Diaz-Canel takes over from Raul Castro. Many in South Florida who either fled the Cuban Revolution themselves or are related to people who did, have long been hostile to the government. But this latest development isn't the kind of change...
The Latest: Cuban-Americans in Miami expect little change

The Latest: Cuban-Americans in Miami expect little change

The Latest on Raul Castro's handover of Cuba's presidency (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Cuban-Americans in Miami aren't expecting much change as President Miguel Diaz-Canel takes over from Raul Castro. Many in South Florida who either fled the Cuban Revolution themselves or are related to people who did, have long been hostile to the government. But this latest development isn't the kind of change...
Israel celebrates its 70th birthday with parties and BBQ's

Israel celebrates its 70th birthday with parties and BBQ's

Israel is celebrating 70 years since the modern Jewish state was established. Parks and beaches were packed Thursday with people celebrating the country's Independence Day with barbecue and parties or by watching air force fly-bys or hiking in nature. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the country's annual Bible Quiz, in which young Jewish scholars from around the world compete. Festivities...
Ancient coins, bracelets looted from Romania return home

Ancient coins, bracelets looted from Romania return home

Coins and bracelets from the 1st century that were looted from western Romania years ago and smuggled out of the country were put on display Thursday after a joint investigation with Austria brought them back home. The treasure trove of gold and silver artifacts, stolen between 2000 and 2001, was presented at Romania's National History Museum. The items were found in Austria in 2015 and returned following...
Poland marks 75th anniversary of uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

Poland marks 75th anniversary of uprising in Warsaw Ghetto

Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion. Polish President Andrzej Duda and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the hundreds of young Jews who took up arms in Warsaw in 1943...
Greek court backs release of Turkish officer seeking asylum

Greek court backs release of Turkish officer seeking asylum

Greece's highest court on Thursday approved the release from custody of one of eight Turkish servicemen who have applied for asylum in Greece after fleeing Turkey following a failed 2016 coup in the neighboring country. The ruling is likely to anger NATO-ally and regional rival Turkey, which has repeatedly demanded their extradition. It was not clear when the release order would be carried out. The...
Russia joins bid to win compensation over US metals tariffs

Russia joins bid to win compensation over US metals tariffs

Russia on Thursday joined the European Union, India and China in appealing through the World Trade Organization to demand compensation from the United States for its tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. The WTO published a filing from Russia that, like other countries, argues that the U.S. tariffs that took effect March 23 amount to a "safeguard" measure aimed to protect U.S. domestic...
Syrian rebels give up Damascus area town to government

Syrian rebels give up Damascus area town to government

The Syrian government took control of a town northeast of Damascus on Thursday after rebels evacuated to north Syria — the latest in a string of handovers by rebels to the government. Residents in the town of Dumayr welcomed security forces into their town in a triumphant show for the cameras of the state-affiliated al-Ikhbariya TV station. Waving the national flag, they lifted al-Ikhbariya...

Quake, at least 5.5 in magnitude, strikes southern Iran

An earthquake of at least magnitude 5.5 struck in southern Iran near the country's sole nuclear power plant on Thursday morning, shaking countries across the Persian Gulf. There was no immediate report of damage or injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 0634 GMT some 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Bushehr. That's home to the Bushehr Nuclear Power, the only operating nuclear...
California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California has reached an agreement with the federal government that the state's National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov. Jerry Brown said. The announcement Wednesday came after a week of uncertainty in which President Donald Trump bashed the governor's insistence that troops avoid immigration-related work. Homeland...
California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California has reached an agreement with the federal government that the state's National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov. Jerry Brown said. The announcement Wednesday came after a week of uncertainty in which President Donald Trump bashed the governor's insistence that troops avoid immigration-related work. Homeland...
California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California has reached an agreement with the federal government that the state's National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov. Jerry Brown said. The announcement Wednesday came after a week of uncertainty in which President Donald Trump bashed the governor's insistence that troops avoid immigration-related work. Homeland...
California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California reaches deal on National Guard border mission

California has reached an agreement with the federal government that the state's National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov. Jerry Brown said. The announcement Wednesday came after a week of uncertainty in which President Donald Trump bashed the governor's insistence that troops avoid immigration-related work. Homeland...
2,000 Kachin trapped by Myanmar fighting lack food, medicine

2,000 Kachin trapped by Myanmar fighting lack food, medicine

Community leaders from the Christian ethnic Kachin community have called for urgent medical attention for about 2,000 civilians, including pregnant women and the elderly, trapped in the jungle where they fled to escape clashes between the Myanmar's army and the Kachin guerrillas in the country's north. The latest fighting in Kachin state's Tanai region — an area known for amber and gold mining...
First Saudi cinema opens with popcorn and 'Black Panther'

First Saudi cinema opens with popcorn and 'Black Panther'

The lights dimmed and the crowd of men and women erupted into applause and hoots as Hollywood's blockbuster "Black Panther" premiered in Saudi Arabia's first movie theater. Though it was a private, invitation-only screening on Wednesday evening, for many Saudis it marked one of the clearest moments of change to sweep the country in decades. It's seen as part of a new era in which women will...
Taiwan calls Chinese military drills a threat to region

Taiwan calls Chinese military drills a threat to region

Taiwan's government said Thursday that recent Chinese military drills are aimed at intimidating the island and are a threat to regional peace and stability. China is attempting to "pressure and harass Taiwan and seek to raise tensions between the sides and in the region," the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council said on its website. "Taiwan's people are very clear about this and will...
Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe courted the new American president with a golden driver not long after Donald Trump won the White House. He's met with the billionaire businessman more than any other world leader, and he is Trump's second-most frequent caller. Yet the "bromance" between Trump and Abe has its limits. Trump appeared to be successful Tuesday in reassuring Abe that he would...
Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

President Donald Trump said that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's "not going to be fruitful." Trump said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim "got along really well" in their recent secret meeting, and he declared, "We've never been in a position like this"...
Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

President Donald Trump said that although he's looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it's "not going to be fruitful." Trump said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim "got along really well" in their recent secret meeting, and he declared, "We've never been in a position like this"...
More Nation & World Stories