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IAEA chief heads to Iran as nuclear talks reach last stretch

By Louis Charbonneau and John Irish VIENNA (Reuters) - The global nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday its boss would fly to Tehran to discuss some of the last big issues that need to be resolved so that Iran and world powers can reach a breakthrough final nuclear deal by a new deadline of next week. Iran and six world powers gave themselves an extra week on Tuesday to reach an accord that would c

U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

By Daniel Trotta and Jeff Mason HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba on Wednesday formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties that had been severed for 54 years, fulfilling a pledge made six months ago by the former Cold War enemies. U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, with the Cub

Syrian Kurds say thwart big Islamic State attack on border town

By Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian Kurdish militia said it had recovered full control of the border town of Tel Abyad on Wednesday after Islamic State fighters raided its outskirts the day before in preparation for a larger assault. Backed by U.S.-led air strikes, the Kurdish YPG militia and smaller Syrian rebel groups captured Tel Abyad from Islamic State on June 15, severing an important

Thousands march for Hong Kong democracy

By Yimou Lee and Viola Zhou HONG KONG (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters marched for full democracy on Wednesday and called on the Chinese-controlled city's leader to resign, just weeks after lawmakers voted down an electoral reform package backed by China. The turnout, estimated by organizers at 48,000, was one of the lowest for the march marking the anniversary of Hong Kong'

Death toll in North Sinai militant attacks rises to 70: sources

CAIRO (Reuters) - The death toll in militant attacks in North Sinai on Wednesday has risen to 70, many of them soldiers, security and medical sources said. The toll included soldiers and civilians, the sources said. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Talk of Syria action may be Erdogan's latest gambit to pressure the West

By Orhan Coskun and Ercan Gurses ANKARA (Reuters) - Alarmed by Syrian Kurds' advances against Islamic State, and irked by Western reluctance to tackle Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Tayyip Erdogan has once again raised the prospect of a Turkish military intervention in Syria. Such a move would risk alienating the West when confidence in Turkey has been already shaken by Erdogan's au

Suez eyes China waste, Asia expansion with Chonqqing deal

By Geert De Clercq PARIS (Reuters) - French environmental services company Suez said on Wednesday it aims to enlarge its Chinese water and waste business and is looking for opportunities outside China through a new partnership with the city of Chongqing. Suez and its longtime Chinese partner NWS Holdings have agreed with Chongqing Water Assets, owned by the western Chinese municipality of Chongqin

Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 50

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Islamic militants on Wednesday unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks, including suicide car bombings, on Egyptian army checkpoints in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 50 soldiers, security and military officials said.

Iran, powers make progress but very tough issues remain: Kerry

Major powers and Iran are making progress in their talks on a nuclear agreement but some very difficult issues remain, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Wednesday. "We have some very difficult issues, but we believe we are making progress and we are going to continue to work because of that," Kerry told reporters in response to a shouted question.

The Latest: Banner against austerity in Athens taken down

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest news on Greece's financial woes (all times local):

Obama formally opens U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba

By Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States had agreed to the historic step of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and will raise its flag over a U.S. Embassy in Havana later this summer. "This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new cha

Greek pensioners besiege banks to grab cash

"Let them go to hell!" shouted one pensioner, after failed talks between Athens and international creditors sparked a week-long banking shutdown. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's government ordered the banks to close on Monday for one week and imposed strict capital controls to head off a banking collapse after panicking Greeks emptied the nation's cash machines. Athens has now reopened almost 1,

Top Asian News at 4:00 p.m. GMT

TUAL, Indonesia (AP) — All he did was ask to go home. The last time the Burmese slave made the same request, he was beaten almost to death. But after being gone eight years and forced to work on a boat in faraway Indonesia, Myint Naing was willing to risk everything to see his mother again.

US, Cuba agree on restoration of ties, embassies to reopen

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba will re-establish full diplomatic relations, severed 54 years ago in the angry heat of the Cold War. Under the deal, embassies in Washington and Havana will be reopened as soon as July 20, in what Obama described as a "historic step forward," and a "new chapter" in US relations with Latin America. "Later this summer, Secr

News of the World ex-deputy cleared over phone-hacking

The former deputy editor of Britain's News of the World tabloid, which media tycoon Rupert Murdoch closed down four years ago over phone-hacking, was on Wednesday cleared of involvement in the practice. A jury at London's Old Bailey court found Neil Wallis, 64, not guilty of conspiring to hack phones while working alongside former editor Andy Coulson, who was jailed for hacking last year. As he

US stocks gain as Greece appears to be willing to negotiate

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are moving higher as investors hope Greece can find a way to remain in the eurozone.

IS attacks kill at least 70 in Egypt's Sinai

Islamic State group jihadists launched an unprecedented wave of attacks Wednesday on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 70 people, in a major challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. F-16 warplanes bombarded the militants as they fought police and soldiers on the streets of the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid after striking military checkpoints in a surprise atta

Nicholas Winton, the 'British Schindler,' dies aged 106

Nicholas Winton died on Wednesday with his daughter Barbara and two grandchildren at his side, according to a statement from the Rotary Club of Maidenhead in southern England, of which he was a former president. Winton managed to bring 669 mostly Jewish children on eight trains to Britain through Germany in 1939 but the ninth train with 250 children never left Prague because the war broke out. W

NATO navies should beef up against Russia: commanders

NATO should beef up its maritime arm in response to the rising threat from an increasingly "bold" and "aggressive" Russia, commanders said on Wednesday. The 28-member defence alliance's naval forces have in recent years focused on issues such as counter-terrorism and piracy, but speakers at a London conference said the group needed to prepare more to counter Russian military ambitions. "Russian

Kerry says Iran nuclear talks 'making progress'

Talks between Iran and major powers towards a historic nuclear deal are facing tough issues but are making progress, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday during a break from talks in Vienna. The foreign ministers of France and China, Laurent Fabius and Wang Yi, were expected to join the negotiations in Vienna Thursday along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Ruling party nominee wins Turkish house speaker post

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament has elected the ruling party's candidate as its new speaker with the tacit support of a right-wing nationalist party, a move that represents a serious gesture to the ruling party as Turkey heads toward coalition-building talks.

Ukraine leader lays out vision of new war-time constitution

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday proposed constitutional changes designed to give broader powers to the regions, but failed to address the demands of pro-Russian fighters in the separatist east. Poroshenko's new vision of the ex-Soviet state's basic law would trim presidential power over the provinces and extend to local towns and councils the right to oversee how their tax reve

The Latest: Egypt raid kills 9 Brotherhood members in Cairo

CAIRO (AP) — The latest news on the coordinated militant attacks in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula that killed 50 soldiers (all times local):

Senior Brotherhood member among dead in Egypt police raid: lawyer

Cairo (AFP) - Senior Muslim Brotherhood member Nasser al-Houfi was among nine men killed on Wednesday in an Egyptian police raid on an apartment in Cairo, a lawyer for the group told AFP.

Uber hits roadblocks in Brazil's biggest city and capital

SAO PAULO (AP) — The Uber ride sharing service is facing roadblocks in Brazil's biggest city and in Brasilia, the country's capital.

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after IS bombing

Kuwait's parliament, reacting to a suicide bombing last week that killed 26 people, adopted a law Wednesday requiring mandatory DNA testing on all the country's citizens and foreign residents. The legislation, requested by the government to help security agencies make quicker arrests in criminal cases, calls on the interior ministry to establish a database on all 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 mil

Romania hikes natural gas prices 12 percent

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's government has hiked natural gas prices by 12 percent as part of a deregulation of energy prices it agreed with lenders and the European Union.

Djokovic, Sharapova breeze as Wimbledon endures record heat

Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova breezed through at a sweltering Wimbledon on Wednesday where temperatures soared to a record 35.7 degrees while injury-plagued Japanese star Kei Nishikori was forced to withdraw. Defending champion and top seed Djokovic reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen which brought down the curtain on the Finn's All England Club career.

The Latest: John Isner back in 3rd round at Wimbledon

LONDON (AP) — The Latest from Wimbledon (all times local):

Bookkeeper of Auschwitz says he can only ask God for forgiveness

A former bookkeeper at Auschwitz who is accused of assisting in the mass murder of at least 300,000 people told a German court on Wednesday he could only ask God to forgive him as he was not entitled to ask this of victims of the Holocaust. Oskar Groening, 94, did not kill anyone himself while working as a clerk at the notorious Nazi death camp but prosecutors say his role made him a part of the


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