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Israel pummels Gaza; Kerry steps up diplomatic push

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Israel ceasefire talks had made some progress. In a blow to Israel's economy and a public relations coup for Hamas, U.S. and European air carri

Plane with first coffins of Malaysian airliner victims leaves Ukraine

A Dutch air force transport plane carrying the first 16 coffins with the remains of victims of the downed Malaysian airliner took off on Wednesday from an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for the Netherlands. Honorary guards placed wooden coffins on the plane after a short and somber ceremony held on the tarmac before it took off. All 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines Boe

Islamic State says carried out Baghdad suicide bombing

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an overnight suicide bombing in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad which killed 33 people, one of the deadliest recent attacks in the Iraqi capital. The hardline Sunni Islamist group which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq said the explosion in Kadhimiya, site of a major Sh'ite shrine, was carried out by a fighter it

TransAsia Airways plane crashes in typhoon-hit Taiwan, killing 47

A domestic TransAsia Airways plane crashed on landing on an island off the west coast of typhoon-hit Taiwan on Wednesday, killing 47 people, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said. "It’s chaotic on the scene," director Jean Shen told Reuters. Typhoon Matmo slammed into Taiwan on Wednesday with heavy rains and strong winds, shutting financial markets and schools. TransAsia Airways is a Taiwan-

South Korea ferry fugitive found dead with bags of cash at hand

By Ju-min Park and Sohee Kim SUNCHEON/INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's most wanted man, whose heavily decomposed body was found in an orchard last month, had evaded arrest by hiding behind an upstairs wall of a wooden cabin, with suitcases of cash at hand, prosecutors said on Wednesday. The body of Yoo Byung-un, 73, wanted in connection with the sinking of a ferry in April, was only i

Seleka to sign ceasefire, drops call for Central African Republic split

BRAZZAVILLE/DAKAR (Reuters) - The mainly Muslim Seleka rebels in Central African Republic will sign a ceasefire with 'anti-balaka' Christian rebels on Wednesday, having dropped demands for the country to be split in two, Seleka officials told Reuters. "We will be signing the cessation of hostilities agreement this afternoon," Colonel Youssouf Ben Moussa, a senior Seleka official, said by telephone

Young MH17 victim has eerie premonition of crash

In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. "Mama, may I hug you?"

Dutch mourn as first MH17 bodies arrive in Netherlands

By Harro Ten Wolde EINDHOVEN Netherlands (Reuters) - The bodies of the first victims from a Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine last week arrived back in the Netherlands on Wednesday amid dignified grief tinged with anger. Bells pealed and flags flew at half mast in memory of the 298 people killed when flight MH17 crashed in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists, in t

Famed Somali singer and lawmaker assassinated

Somali lawmaker and prominent singer-songwriter Saado Ali Warsame was shot dead Wednesday in the capital Mogadishu in the latest attack against the government, police and witnesses said. The shooting, with gunmen spraying her car with bullets before escaping, is the latest in a string of shootings or bombings targeting government officials. "Lawmaker Saado Ali Warsame was killed with her driver

Top Asian News at 3:00 p.m. GMT

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) — Two military transport planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east as fighting flared in the region. Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first

A kiss, a prayer: The last hours of MH17's victims

In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. "Mama, may I hug you?"

Kosovo court suspends vote on parliament speaker, crisis deepens

By Fatos Bytyci PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo's constitutional court suspended the appointment of the speaker of parliament on Wednesday, deepening a political crisis over who gets to rule the impoverished Balkan country for the next four years. Kosovo is locked in a battle between political parties over who should form the next government following an election six weeks ago. Prime Minister Hashim

Owner of Mexican shelter defends tough love

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The owner of a group home raided last week because of abuse and filthy conditions defended her 'tough love' approach, but acknowledged that things got out of control.

Peaches Geldof death 'drug-related'

Peaches Geldof, daughter of Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, was a heroin addict who died from a drug overdose, a coroner ruled on Wednesday. A police search of the rural family home found 6.9 grammes of "importation quality" heroin and drug paraphernalia hidden in a black bin bag in a cupboard over a bedroom door. Paul Fotheringham, the police officer in charge of the police investigation, estimate

Dutch Safety Board takes charge of MH17 crash investigation

The Dutch Safety Board said on Wednesday it had taken charge of an international investigation into the crash last week in Ukraine of a Malaysian airliner in which 298 people died, the majority from the Netherlands. In a statement, the authority said it would coordinate a team of 24 investigators from Ukraine, Malaysia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia and the Internationa

Typhoon rains hit China; plane crashes in Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — The second typhoon to hit China in a week quickly weakened to a tropical storm as it reached the country's heavily populated southeastern provinces on Wednesday after passing across Taiwan overnight.

Israel, Palestinians trade 'war crimes' accusations at U.N. debate

GENEVA (Reuters) - Israel and the Palestinians accused each other of war crimes at an emergency debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, and both said their actions during Israel's assault on Gaza were within the rules of international law. "Israel will destroy Hamas' military infrastructure," Israel's ambassador to the body, Eviatar Manor, told the debate, referring to the Palestinia

Germany condemns anti-Semitic protests, urges restraint from Israel

The German government reassured Jews living in Germany that they should feel safe in the face of anti-semitic chants and threats heard at some of the protests against Israel's conflict with Hamas in Gaza, and said such behavior would not be tolerated. Spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel Georg Streiter told a news conference on Wednesday: "The chancellor and the government are happy to see the r

Republicans: Send National Guard troops to border

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans want to slash President Barack Obama's emergency spending request for the U.S.-Mexican border, speed young migrants back home to Central America, and send in National Guard troops.

Kerry cites progress in Gaza cease-fire talks

JERUSALEM (AP) — Offering the first glimmer of hope for a Gaza cease-fire, the United States on Wednesday said negotiations to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas militants are making some progress even if an end to more than two weeks of bloodshed is nowhere near.

Costa Concordia wreck leaves Giglio on final voyage

Italy's once-luxurious Costa Concordia cruise liner embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday, as tug boats began towing it from island wreck site to scrapyard grave in one of the biggest salvage operations in maritime history. Sunshine streamed down on the Mediterranean bay where hundreds of onlookers watched as the final cable attaching ship to shore was cut, finally severing ties between the Tus

Second bomb in Nigeria's Kaduna kills 50: Red Cross worker

KADUNA Nigeria (Reuters) - A second bomb blast in Kaduna killed 50 in the north Nigerian city's crowded Kawo market on Wednesday, a local Red Cross worker on the scene told Reuters by telephone. The blast followed another targeting an Imam in the city center that killed 32 of his followers. [ID:L6N0PY3YQ] (Reporting by Garba Muhammed; Writing by Tim Cocks)

Iraq lawmakers postpone vote on new president

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament agreed to postpone a vote for a new president by a day on Wednesday as the extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Baghdad the night before that killed 31 people, mainly civilians.

Iraq to vote on president after deadly bombing

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament agreed to postpone a vote for a new president by a day on Wednesday as the extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Baghdad the night before that killed 31 people, mainly civilians.

US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to broker a truce in a war that has so far killed at least 684 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.

Planes carrying MH17 bodies arrive in the Netherlands

The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, with grieving relatives and the king and queen solemnly receiving the as yet unidentified victims. In a reminder of the ongoing war that is hampering recovery and investigation efforts, the Ukrainian military said that two of its fighter jets had been shot down Wednesday,

Brownlee brothers go head to head in Commonwealth medal push

The Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, are betting on an intense sibling rivalry in their drive for a top-of-the-podium finish in the triathlon at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday. The Leeds-based siblings, their own harshest critics who often work together in races, are the hot favourites over the Olympic distance course that begins with a 1.5km swim over two laps of Strathclyde Loch b

Plane crashes in Taiwan, 47 trapped, feared dead

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

Top Asian News at 2:30 p.m. GMT

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) — Two military transport planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east as fighting flared in the region. Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first

Despite sanctions call, UK approves arms to Russia

LONDON (AP) — Britain is still authorizing the export of arms and military equipment to Russia despite the government's call for tough sanctions over Moscow's arming of separatist rebels in Ukraine, a group of lawmakers said in a report Wednesday.


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