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Jihadists closing in on Syrian rebel stronghold

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 10:58 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's Western-backed opposition called on Saturday for U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group as the jihadists captured three northern villages, putting them within striking distance of a mainstream rebel stronghold.

German-French reporting legend Scholl-Latour dies

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 10:13 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Peter Scholl-Latour, whose reporting from far-flung places made him one of post-war Germany's most famous foreign correspondents, has died at 90.

German news agency dpa cited Scholl-Latour's publisher Ullstein saying he died Saturday at his home in Rhoendorf, near Bonn.

Born to Franco-German parents in 1924, Scholl-Latour tried unsuccessfully to join the French and Yugoslav resistance against the Nazis during World War II.

US pair charged with Bali murder could face death

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 09:41 AM

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — An American couple arrested on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in connection with the slaying of the woman's mother could be charged with premeditated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death, police said Saturday.

Liberia expands Ebola treatment in capital

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 09:38 AM

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian authorities expanded Ebola treatment centers in the capital Saturday to cope with increasing numbers of patients, while two more airlines announced they were halting flights to the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the deepening crisis.

Kenya Airways and regional carrier Gambia Bird join a number of other airlines in temporarily cancelling flights to avoid transmitting the disease beyond the four countries already affected in West Africa.

Congo's Tshisekedi seeks treatment in Belgium

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 09:05 AM

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Officials say Congo's longtime opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is seeking medical treatment in Belgium.

The 81-year-old political figure reportedly has been suffering complications from diabetes in recent months.

In a statement Saturday, Tshisekedi's political party said he would be convalescing abroad but offered no further details.

Tshisekedi lost the 2011 presidential election to incumbent leader Joseph Kabila, and later contested the results.

Mayor: 34 killed in C. African Republic attacks

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 08:38 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — A local official says Muslim rebels in Central African Republic have killed at least 34 people over the last week in a series of attacks on remote villages.

The violence comes as the country wracked by conflict awaits the arrival of a U.N. peacekeeping mission next month.

Bienvenu Sarapata, mayor of the Mbres commune north of the capital, Bangui, said Saturday that the attacks were committed by former members of the Seleka alliance that ruled the country for 10 months.

Egypt PM blames saboteurs for rising power cuts

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 07:52 AM

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's premier on Saturday partially blamed the country's worsening energy shortage -- with rolling blackouts of up to six hours in some Cairo neighborhoods -- on saboteurs seeking to undermine the government, a veiled reference to Islamist opponents.

In recent weeks, rolling blackouts in Cairo and other cities have increased amid an energy crunch linked to shrinking revenues, depleted natural gas resources, lack of maintenance on debilitated power plants, and the government's inability to pay its debts to foreign oil companies.

Pope runs late, asks to skip prayers _ or else!

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 07:44 AM

KKOTTOGNAE, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis has long been a stickler for setting aside enough time to pray, getting up at 4:30 a.m. to ensure he isn't rushed through his daily meditations.

But he sheepishly asked to skip evening vespers on Saturday after he ran behind schedule during a busy day that saw him celebrate a Mass before about 800,000 people in Seoul and then travel 90 kilometers (55 miles) to a South Korean community that cares for disabled people.

Pope urges "fraternal" dialogue with China, others

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 07:23 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis made a new gesture of outreach to China and North Korea on Sunday, saying he "earnestly" hopes to improve relations and insisting that the Catholic Church isn't coming in as a "conquerer" trying to take away the identity of others.

Francis outlined his priorities for the Catholic Church in Asia during a meeting of the region's bishops Sunday, urging them to listen to people of different cultures but still remain true to their own Catholic identity.

5 aid workers abducted in western Afghanistan

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 06:18 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan is trying to secure the release of five of their staff members who were abducted in the western Herat province, a spokesman said Saturday.

The employees were traveling by road on Friday when they were detained by a local armed group, said Marek Resich, an ICRC spokesman.

"The ICRC is currently in contact at various levels to secure the safe release of its team," he said.

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