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Ebola fears nix Sierra Leone troop trip to Somalia

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 05:13 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A military spokesman for the African Union mission in Somalia says the AU has canceled a planned troop rotation by Sierra Leonean forces because of the Ebola outbreak.

Col. Ali Aden Houmed told The Associated Press late Thursday that the Union decided to halt the deployment of a new battalion in an effort to prevent the disease from crossing into Somalia.

Brokering a truce in Gaza no easy deal for Kerry

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 05:10 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — Hours past midnight Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was still working the phones, trying to come up with a cease-fire plan to stop the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. He'd been pushing for a deal all day — in fact, for more than a week — and nailing down a final agreement was proving elusive.

South Africa: Giraffe's head hits highway overpass

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 04:56 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Those responsible for the death of a giraffe whose head struck a South African highway overpass while it was being transported in a truck will likely be prosecuted under animal protection laws, an official said Friday.

The accident on a highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg on Thursday was very unsettling because it could easily have been avoided, said Rick Allan, an animal welfare officer.

Iraq's top Shiite cleric urges peaceful transition

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 04:48 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric appealed to Iraqi politicians on Friday not to make themselves "an obstacle" in the country's transition as the deadline looms for selecting the next prime minister.

The remarks by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, delivered by his spokesman, were another indirect appeal by the cleric to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down.

Global trade deal goes back to drawing board

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 04:39 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization began regrouping Friday to see whether it is still possible to finalize a major deal to boost global trade after a deadline passed to formally adopt it.

The preliminary deal approved by the organization at a WTO summit last December in Bali was estimated to increase world trade by $1 trillion over time. The centerpiece of the eleventh-hour deal was an agreement on measures to ease barriers to trade by simplifying customs procedures and making them more transparent.

Europe in push to stop violence against women

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 03:50 AM

PARIS (AP) — The Council of Europe is taking new steps to combat violence against women under a newly ratified convention that comes into force Friday.

Fourteen European states are committing themselves to better fight violence against women following the signature of the so-called "Istanbul Convention."

The convention comes into force on Friday in 11 member states (Turkey, Albania, Italy, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Austria, Andorra, Spain, Denmark) and will be joined by France, Sweden and Malta in November.

More bodies found in Indonesia's 2 boat disasters

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 03:49 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers in Indonesia recovered more bodies after vessels carrying villagers to celebrations of a Muslim holiday capsized in two separate rivers, raising the death toll to 34, officials said Friday.

Seventeen bodies were pulled out from the Barombang River in North Sumatra province, where a boat carrying 48 villagers sank early Thursday after hitting a stump in the river, said Mujiono, an official of the local disaster agency. Among the dead were six children between the ages of 7 months and 11 years.

Ukraine: Body parts retrieved at jet crash site

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 03:34 AM

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — Wearing gloves and carrying blue plastic buckets, international investigators finally began gathering up body parts and victims' belongings Friday in the fields where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came down.

Artillery boomed in the distance as the 70-member team of Dutch and Australian experts painstakingly combed a patch of scrubland not far from the site of bloody clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian separatist rebels.

Syrian refugee women face sexual exploitation

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 03:12 AM

TEL EL-HAYAT, Lebanon (AP) — The Syrian refugee woman huddled in the latest room she calls home, a peeling, run-down place outside a north Lebanese village. The mother of six doesn't know how she'll pay the rent. She's gotten by over the past year by taking a series of lovers who would pay for her housing.

But then a few months ago she was arrested for prostitution. That put a scare in her — that and threatening mobile messages from a former lover — so she's trying to go it alone.

Ugandan court invalidates anti-gay law

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Friday, August 1, 2014 - 02:52 AM

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan court on Friday invalidated an anti-gay bill signed into law earlier this year, pleasing activists and watchdog groups who called the measure draconian and wanted it repealed.

The Constitutional Court declared the law illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

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