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Jordan still holding prisoner demanded by Islamic State as deadline passes

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Linda Sieg AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) - Jordan said on Thursday it was still holding an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber as a deadline passed for her release set by Islamic State militants who threatened to kill a Jordanian pilot unless she was handed over by sunset. An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist also captured by the insurgents said the pilot would be

EU extends existing Russia sanctions but Greece brings doubt over new measures

By Robin Emmott and Pavel Polityuk BRUSSELS/KIEV (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to extend existing sanctions against Russia by six months but were still debating whether to impose new measures, with the new government in Greece sowing uncertainty that exasperated its allies. The worst fighting for five months raged on in eastern Ukraine, with pro-Russian rebels w

Israel, Hezbollah signal their flare-up is over

By Dan Williams and Laila Bassam JERUSALEM/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel and Hezbollah signaled on Thursday their rare flare-up in fighting across the Israel-Lebanon border was over, after the Lebanese guerrillas killed two Israeli troops in retaliation for a deadly air strike in Syria last week. Israel said it had received a message from UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, that Hezbolla

Hopes of return muted in devastated Syrian Kurdish town

By Osman Orsal KOBANI, Syria (Reuters) - Sheets meant to hide residents from snipers' sights still hang over streets in the Syrian border town of Kobani, and its shattered buildings and cratered roads suggest those who fled are unlikely to return soon. Kurdish forces said this week they had taken full control of Kobani, a mainly Kurdish town near the Turkish border, after months of bombardment b

Mexico revises hospital gas blast death toll, says two dead not seven

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - One woman and a child were killed when a gas explosion tore through a maternity hospital on the western edge of Mexico City on Thursday, the capital's mayor said, revising down an earlier toll of seven announced by national emergency services. Officials said there had been confusion around the number of dead, and that another person believed to have died was in fact in a

Wife of flogged Saudi blogger says his health is worsening

By David Ljunggren OTTAWA (Reuters) - The wife of a Saudi rights activist, sentenced last year to 1,000 lashes for criticizing the Kingdom's clerics in his blog, said on Thursday her husband's health had worsened after the first round of flogging and that he could not survive the full punishment. Raif Badawi, 31, a blogger and founder of the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, received 50 lashes on J

Militant attacks in Egypt's Sinai kills six

Cairo (AFP) - Militants fired rockets and set off a car bomb in Egypt's North Sinai Thursday, killing at least six military personnel, in the deadliest assault on security forces in recent weeks, officials said.

Mexico maternity blast kills two, injures dozens

A gas truck blew up outside a maternity hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens and trapping others after the building crumbled. Officials gave various death tolls during the day, at one point reporting that four babies were killed, but Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said only two people were confirmed dead for now.

Three US contractors killed in 'insider attack' in Kabul

Washington (AFP) - Three American contractors were killed in an "insider attack" at Kabul airport on Thursday, a US defense official told AFP.

France defends police questioning of boy, 8, over jihadist comments

France's education minister on Thursday defended school staff in the southern town of Nice for calling in police to talk to an eight-year-old boy who voiced sympathy for the Paris attackers. "I say forcefully: not only did they act correctly, but their monitoring, teaching and social work is useful and I thank them," Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said. Their lawyer, Sefen Guez Guez, said he wa

Venezuelan hedge fund manager gets 13 years in prison

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP) — A Venezuelan-American hedge fund manager was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for running a Connecticut fraud scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars from Venezuela's state oil company.

Shell to revive plans to drill in Arctic

LONDON (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to resume drilling in Alaska this year even as it plans to cut spending by $15 billion over the next three years because of the drop in oil prices.

Armed man overpowered at Dutch national broadcaster: report

The Hague (AFP) - An armed man was overpowered at the Dutch national broadcaster on Thursday after earlier entering the building and demanding airtime, local reports said.

Report: Armed man enters Dutch national broadcaster

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The director of Dutch national broadcaster NOS says an armed man entered the building of the broadcaster and demanded airtime on television.

Saudi king reshuffles cabinet but keeps oil, finance posts

Saudi Arabia's new King Salman ordered a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday but kept in place veteran Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf and Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. He appointed new ministers of justice, Islamic affairs, agriculture and information and a new head of the intelligence services, and replaced two of the late King Abdullah's sons who had held roles

Pay-TV giant Sky says to enter UK mobile market

British pay-TV broadcaster Sky revealed plans Thursday to launch mobile phone services next year in a tie-up with Spain's Telefonica, in the latest mega-deal shaking up the telecoms sector. Under the multi-year agreement, Telefonica UK will give the group wholesale access to 2G, 3G and 4G services over its popular nationwide phone network, Sky said in a statement that disclosed no financial term

EU expands Russia sanctions as new Ukraine talks loom

The EU agreed Thursday to expand its sanctions against Russia as Ukraine's warring parties announced fresh truce talks to end a surge in fighting between Kiev and Kremlin-backed rebels. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned meanwhile that the threat of further sanctions risked turning the new Cold War atmosphere into a globally destabilising "hot" armed conflict between Moscow and the We

Several simultaneous attacks in Egypt's Sinai kill 6

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Militants struck more than a dozen army and police targets in the restive Sinai Peninsula with simultaneous attacks involving a car bomb and mortar rounds on Thursday, killing at least six people and wounding 30 others, officials said.

Dutch news agencies: man wielding gun at national broadcaster

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch news agencies reported on Thursday that a man with a gun had entered the offices of the national broadcaster NOS and was demanding to go on air. The RTL press agency reported that a building belonging to NOS was being cleared. An 8 p.m. (2.00 p.m. EST) NOS broadcast displayed a message reading "In connection with circumstances, no broadcast is available at this time". .

Russia to cut budget for 2018 World Cup amid economic woes

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will cut the budget for hosting the 2018 World Cup as part of plans to slash state expenditure while recession looms, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday.

Argentine investigator into Jewish center bombing buried

By Eliana Raszewski BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The Argentine prosecutor who died under mysterious circumstances the day before he was to testify in Congress about allegations against the president regarding an investigation into a 1994 bombing was buried on Thursday amid calls for justice. Well-wishers threw red roses onto the hearse carrying the body of the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, as a long m

Balloon crew shifting course toward Mexico due to weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The pilots of a helium balloon attempting a record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean were aiming for Canada, but now the weather has forced them to make a sweeping right turn toward Mexico.

Senate panel approves Iran sanctions bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill that would levy tough new sanctions on Iran if it fails to sign an agreement to curb its nuclear program cleared a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday. But lawmakers are holding off on a full Senate vote to see whether diplomatic negotiations yield a deal.

EU to extend existing Russia sanctions over Ukraine

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union extended by six months an existing set of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia separatist officials because of the continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and was planning further action, officials said Thursday.

Japan's Otomo first manga artist to win top French prize

Angoulême (France) (AFP) - Japan's Katsuhiro Otomo on Thursday became the first manga cartoonist to win a lifetime achievement award at France's renowned international Angouleme comics festival. The 60-year-old is known the world over for the cult manga series Akira, set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo built on the ashes of a city that was destroyed by a blast that triggered World War III. The award

Iraq cuts budget due to falling oil prices

Iraq cut its 2015 budget Thursday by nearly $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) due to the falling price of oil, on which its government is almost entirely dependent for revenue. MPs approved a budget of $99.6 billion, down from the $102.5 billion the cabinet proposed last month. The projected oil price was also lowered from $60 to $56 a barrel, while the expected deficit rose from $19.1 billion to $

Guantanamo trial for 9/11 accused may lose 1 of 5 defendants

MIAMI (AP) — One of five men facing trial by military commission for the Sept. 11 terrorist attack may get dropped from the case so proceedings can resume at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Top Asian News at 7:30 p.m. GMT

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan on Thursday demanded proof from Islamic State militants that a Jordanian pilot they are holding is still alive, despite purported threats by the group to kill the airman at sunset unless an al-Qaida prisoner is freed from death row in Jordan. The militants' deadline passed without word on the fate of the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, and a fellow hostage, Japanese jour

Russian woman arrested after giving information to Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has arrested a mother of seven on treason charges for providing Ukraine with information on Russian troop movements.

New chief of CIA Clandestine Service is spying veteran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA officer credited with saving former President Hamid Karzai's life during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 has been named director of the National Clandestine Service, the agency's spying arm.


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