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Dozens of planes grounded in German pilot strike

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 02:37 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of passengers are feeling the impact of a pilots strike in Germany after negotiations between the country's biggest airline Lufthansa and the union representing pilots collapsed over a long-running dispute regarding wages and early retirement benefits.

Germanwings, a subsidiary of Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa, said up to 15,000 passengers were affected by Friday's strike which started at 6 a.m. and was to last until noon local time (0400-1000 GMT).


Democracy battle: Beijing set to dismay Hong Kong

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 02:28 AM

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's simmering summer of discontent gets even hotter Sunday when Beijing is expected to recommend restricting the first direct elections for the Chinese-controlled financial hub's leader, stepping up chances of a showdown with democracy groups.

The former British colony, which was handed back to China in 1997, has been the scene of escalating tension for the past year after activists threatened a mass sit-in paralyzing the financial district if Beijing rules out genuine democratic reforms.


Dethroned Myanmar beauty queen takes crown

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:55 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — The first Myanmar national to win an international pageant has been stripped of her title for being rude and dishonest, and has allegedly run off with the expensive crown and breast implants.

Her picture was blacked out on the organization's website and replaced with the word "dethroned"

Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of military rule, started participating in international beauty pageants again in 2012.

Two years later, May Myat Noe was crowned Miss Asia Pacific World.


Israel identifies body as missing American student

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:52 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say a recently found body has been identified after a forensic investigation as that of a U.S. religious student who disappeared while hiking in Jerusalem last week.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says the body was confirmed early on Friday morning to be that of seminary student Aharon Sofer. She says "there is no suspicion of foul play," meaning Sofer's death was not a militant attack or a criminal attack.

Samri had no further details on how Sofer died.


Papua New Guinea volcano erupts, locals evacuate

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:48 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted Friday after a volcanic eruption on Papua New Guinea.

Authorities in the South Pacific nation had evacuated communities close to Mount Tavurvur which erupted early Friday in Rabaul district on New Britain Island, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

Residents of Rabaul town, the provincial capital, had been advised to remain indoors to avoid falling ash, the statement said.


With a splat, paintball fires into Afghanistan

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:37 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The hidden gunman, dressed in long green coveralls and a SWAT-team-style vest and helmet, looks ominous as he takes aim and fires off a short burst.

But this isn't a Taliban attack in the heart of Afghanistan's capital — it's just a friendly game of paintball.


Russia's Putin urges release of Ukrainian soldiers

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:29 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops, and Western powers accused Moscow of lying about its role and dangerously escalating the conflict.


UN says Syria refugees top 3 million mark

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 01:14 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The civil war in Syria has forced a record 3 million people out of the country as more than a million people fled in the past year alone and the increasingly complex and bloody conflict has shown no sign of letting up, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday.

The tragic milestone means that about one of every eight Syrians is now fleeing across the border, and 6.5 million others have been displaced with the country's borders, the Geneva-based agency, which also noted that over half of all those uprooted are children.


Actor arrested with Jackie Chan's son released

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 12:33 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A Taiwanese actor arrested on drug charges along with the son of Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan was released Friday after two weeks in detention, amid a broad anti-drug crackdown in China's capital that has ensnared several celebrities.

Kai Ko emerged from a Beijing detention center before dawn and into a scrum of reporters from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Followed to his hotel by the press pack, a visibly agitated Ko challenged one reporter to a fight before retreating inside an elevator.


Quake rattles southern Greece, capital city

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 12:30 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An earthquake has rattled southern Greece and was widely felt in the capital, Athens. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warnings.

The U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 5.6, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Center gave it as 5.8. It is common for different seismology centers to give varying magnitudes.


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