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Egyptian Christian students stand trial for insulting Islam

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 07:40 AM

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian lawyer says three Coptic Christian students face charges of insulting Islam and will stand trial this week after appearing in a video mocking Muslim prayers.

Maher Naguib, a lawyer from the southern city of Minya, told The Associated Press Monday that the students, all in high school, will stand trial on Thursday. The students' teacher, also a Christian, was tried separately over the same charges. He fled the town and was sentenced to three-years imprisonment in absentia last year. Naguib said he will appeal.

Cologne pledges tight security for Carnival celebrations

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 07:26 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Cologne authorities say it's impossible to guarantee 100 percent security for the German city's famous Carnival celebrations starting this week, but security forces will be out in force to try to ensure people can enjoy the events without fear.

In the wake of a string of robberies and sexual assaults in the city on New Year's Eve blamed largely on foreigners, police chief Juergen Matheis said Monday he's doubling the number of officers on hand compared with last year to more than 2,000, and also bringing in 350 cadets.

In South Africa, armed robbers target paramedics

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 07:25 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Paramedics on duty were robbed at gunpoint in two major cities in South Africa in recent days, raising concerns about the safety of emergency responders in a country with high crime.

ER24, a medical care group, says two of its paramedics were robbed Friday night in the Khayelitsha area of Cape Town after going to a home to help a person reported to be ill. It says a man jumped into the back of the ambulance, threatened a paramedic and took his cellular telephone.

UN chief urges compromise, realism between Saudis and Iran

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 07:15 AM

MUSCAT, Oman (AP) — United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon used a stopover in the Middle East to urge Saudi Arabia and Iran to compromise and interact responsibly, seeking to calm a flare-up in tensions between the two regional rivals.

Speaking Monday during a visit to Oman's National Defense College, Ban called on the two countries to bring "realism, responsibility and compromise" to their interactions and to the region.

US official visits northern Syrian town of Kobani

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 07:00 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — President Barack Obama's envoy to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group visited northern Syria over the weekend, according to a coalition official.

Brett McGurk's visit to the town of Kobani was the first known visit by a senior U.S. official to Syrian territory since the beginning of the U.S.-led campaign against IS in August 2014.

China sets up new military regions under reorganization

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 06:34 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China has created five new military regions covering the country as part of a continuing drive to reorganize and streamline the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army.

The north, south, east, west and central regions replace the seven previous regions. The new districts are being touted as better suited to command joint operations while further indicating President Xi Jinping's firm hold over the armed forces.

UN envoy declares 'official beginning' to Syria peace talks

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 06:26 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria has announced the official start of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition leaders.

Staffan di Mistura made the comments on Monday after hosting envoys from the main Syrian opposition group at the U.N. offices in Geneva. He had previously met with a government delegation on Friday.

British woman who took toddler to join IS jailed for 6 years

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 06:23 AM

LONDON (AP) — A judge has sentenced a British woman to six years in prison for going to Syria to live under the rule of the Islamic State group.

Tareena Shakil was convicted last week of being a member of the group and encouraging acts of terrorism.

In October 2014 she and her 1-year-old son boarded a plane to Turkey and then traveled to Syria. After three months Shakil fled, taking a taxi to the Turkish border and returning to Britain.

The Latest: Finnish prime minister still plans to open house

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 06:11 AM

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the huge influx of asylum-seekers to Europe (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

The Finnish prime minister says his offer last year to open his house to asylum-seekers is still valid but has been postponed due to security concerns.

Juha Sipila told national radio on Sunday that his September offer has become "too public" for any migrant family to stay there safely.

Sipila and his family no longer use their house in the central Finnish county of Kempele after moving to Helsinki.

Suicide car bombing in Afghan capital kills 1, wounds 16

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 06:10 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bombing aimed at a police base in Afghanistan's capital has killed at least one person and wounded another 16.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says the attack Monday afternoon took place in a busy part of the city, near the Kabul Zoo.

It was aimed at the headquarters of the civil order police, a militarized force that patrols urban areas and fights on the front lines.

Ismail Kawasi, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, confirmed the number of dead and wounded.

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