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Consumed by Islamic State, Iraq's Anbar province a key battleground again

Police vehicles are parked next to debris in the Anbar province town of HitBy Ahmed Rasheed, Saif Hameed and Ned Parker BAGHDAD (Reuters) - In recent weeks, the world has watched the battle to save Syria’s border town of Kobani from Islamic State. But the radical jihadists have for longer been engulfing another strategically more vital target - Iraq’s western Anbar province and its road to Baghdad. The vast desert region - where Sunni tribes rose up in 2006 and 2007 to drive out al-Qaeda with the Americans - has throughout 2014 been parcelled up, city by military camp, before the Iraqi government and U.S. forces could act. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:57:49 -0400
Special Report: Traffickers use abductions, prison ships to feed Asian slave trade

A suspected victim of human trafficking prays at a government shelter in Takua PaBy Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Andrew R.C. Marshall PHANG NGA Thailand (Reuters) - When Afsar Miae left his home near Teknaf in southern Bangladesh to look for work last month, he told his mother, "I'll see you soon." He said he expected to return that evening. Prayoon Rattanasenee, the acting governor of Phang Nga province, said that interviews conducted by police, rights groups and his own people revealed that the victims were “brought by force.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:44:34 -0400
Brazil's Rousseff pulls ahead of Neves before Sunday's election: poll

Brazil's President and Workers' Party (PT) presidential candidate Rousseff takes part in a TV debate in Sao PauloBy Anthony Boadle BRASILIA (Reuters) - Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff pulled ahead again in a new poll ahead of Brazil's presidential election and she appears to be the favorite to win Sunday's runoff although the vote is still too close to call. The Datafolha poll, released on Wednesday, was the fourth in three days to show that Rousseff is numerically in front of her rival Aecio Neves, the financial markets' favorite who has promised business-friendly policies to revive a sluggish economy. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 02:58:19 -0400
Hong Kong protesters march after fruitless talks with government

Pro-democracy protesters watch formal talks between student protest leaders and city officials on a video screen near the government headquarters in Hong KongBy Donny Kwok and Diana Chan HONG KONG (Reuters) - About 200 Hong Kong protesters marched to the home of the city's Beijing-backed leader on Wednesday to push their case for greater democracy a day after talks between student leaders and senior officials failed to break the deadlock. Others continued to occupy main streets in the Chinese-controlled city, where they have camped for nearly a month in protest against a central government plan that would give Hong Kong people the chance to vote for their own leader in 2017 but tightly restrict the candidates to Beijing loyalists. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:45:08 -0400
Japan team heading to North Korea to pressure it on abductees, PM says

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga attends a news conference at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in TokyoBy Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is sending officials to reclusive North Korea to keep up pressure for an investigation into the fate of its citizens kidnapped decades ago to train spies, the prime minister said on Wednesday. Japan eased some sanctions on North Korea in July in return for the North reopening its probe into the status of the abduction victims and had expected an initial report by now. But Pyongyang said last month there were no details to report and invited Japanese officials to visit for an update. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:18:01 -0400
Sax and the City: Kenny G hits sour note in China with Hong Kong visit

U.S. jazz musician and saxophonist also know as Kenny G performs during a concert in Hong KongBEIJING (Reuters) - Best-selling U.S. jazz musician Kenny G struck a bum note in China on Wednesday when he appeared among Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters, prompting the country's foreign ministry to warn foreigners once again to keep their noses out. The saxophonist, whose real name is Kenny Gorelick, confirmed he had visited after pictures of him appeared on Twitter. "In Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation," he wrote on his official account. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:55:36 -0400
Tribes in tense Abu Ghraib vow to keep IS out

In this Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, Sheik Khalil Ibrahim Haidan, a local tribal elder, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib suburb, Iraq. The city of Abu Ghraib will never fall to the Islamic State group, Haidan said at his family farm. After the revelation of prisoner abuse at the hands of U.S. troops following the 2003 invasion, Abu Ghraib became the scene of brutal insurgent attacks. Al-Qaida in Iraq, which eventually would morph into the group now known as Islamic State, targeted tribal leaders opposed to its ideology throughout Iraq’s Sunni heartland in the years that followed. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (AP) — The Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, best known for its infamous prison, sits close enough to Baghdad's airport that you can see the control tower in the distance. It's an enticing potential prize for Islamic State militants.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:19:47 -0400
US Marine accused of murder moved to Philippine military HQ

Relatives and supporters of murdered Filipino transgender Jeffrey Laude, also known as Jennifer, rally in front of the USS Peleliu at Subic port in Olongapo City, north of Manila on October 18, 2014. A US Marine is accused of the murderManila (AFP) - A US Marine accused of murdering a transgender woman was moved to the Philippines' military headquarters Wednesday, authorities said, following huge public pressure for him to be taken off an American warship.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:18:45 -0400
Lawyers: Suspects retract claims they killed Brits
BANGKOK (AP) — Lawyers for two Myanmar migrant workers accused of killing two British travelers on a southern Thai resort island say the two have retracted their confessions and now claim to have neither raped the female victim nor slain the pair.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:16:47 -0400
North Korea frees detained American, two still held

File photo obtained on June 10, 2014 courtesy of The City of Moraine, Ohio, shows Jeffrey Fowle, the US tourist who was released in North Korea on October 21, 2014Washington (AFP) - North Korea has freed one of three Americans detained in the isolated country, and in a surprise move allowed a Pentagon plane to land in Pyongyang to fly him home.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:08:48 -0400
Smooth jazz star Kenny G visit Hong Kong protests
HONG KONG (AP) — Smooth jazz star Kenny G has paid a surprise visit to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, causing bemusement among Chinese authorities who had warned about the influence of foreign forces.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:08:14 -0400
Top Asian News at 9:00 a.m. GMT
CINCINNATI (AP) — News that an Ohio man had been freed from North Korea after being detained there for nearly six months triggered the same response in his wife and former co-workers: Delight. Jeffrey Fowle's wife cried out with joy, the family's attorney said Tuesday. And a manager in the suburban Dayton city where Fowle formerly worked said they were "delighted to hear the news."
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:03:05 -0400
North Korea detainee release positive, but no game-changer

File photo obtained on June 10, 2014 from the City of Moraine, Ohio shows Jeffrey Fowle who was unexpectedly released by North Korea on Tuesday. Two other Americans are still detainedSeoul (AFP) - North Korea's unexpected release of a US detainee may be aimed at prising open the door to direct talks with Washington, but the road to a genuine dialogue remains long and strewn with obstacles, analysts said Wednesday.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:58:12 -0400
Bank of England keeps rates steady
LONDON (AP) — Bank of England policymakers remain split on raising interest rates, voting 7-2 at their last meeting to maintain a record low rate of 0.5 percent amid increasing pessimism about the global economy.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:57:45 -0400
Asia stocks gain on US rally, Europe stimulus talk

In this Oct. 8, 2014 photo, a man walks to work on Wall Street, near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Stocks are opening higher Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 after several big companies reported results that pleased investors. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Hopes for fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank and China's steady growth bolstered Asian stocks Wednesday after the S&P 500 had its best day of the year. European markets drifted lower.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:53:45 -0400
Russia has no major racism problem, says minister

Manchester City players and CSKA players play in front of empty stands during the Champions League Group E soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Manchester City at Arena Khimki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday Oct. 21, 2014. CSKA have to play 3 matches behind closed doors after as punishment for the bad behaviour of their fans last season. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has no particular problem with racism in football as it prepares to host the 2018 World Cup— despite a series of recent incidents, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Wednesday.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:49:39 -0400
Two cured in US, Spain, as Ebola crisis widens

Barbara Smith from Mount Sinai Health Systems demonstrates the proper technique for donning protective gear during an Ebola educational session for healthcare workers at the Jacob Javits Center in New York on October 21, 2014Washington (AFP) - A US photojournalist has joined a Spanish nurse in being declared free of Ebola, as the United States tightened restrictions on travelers from the West African countries at the epicenter of the outbreak.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:49:34 -0400
EU's Juncker pledges investment plan for jobs

Jean-Claude Juncker, the incoming president of the European Commission, delivers his speech as he attends the presentation of the college of Commissioners and their program during a plenary session at the EU Parliament in StrasbourgBy Gilbert Reilhac STRASBOURG France (Reuters) - The incoming head of the EU executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, told the European Parliament on Wednesday that he would present his 300-billion-euro plan for investment to bolster growth and jobs by the end of this year. Switching significantly to German during a keynote address ahead of a parliamentary vote to endorse his new European Commission, Juncker said investment was vital to restoring growth and creating jobs. Germany, Europe's dominant economy, is resisting calls for it to spend more to kick-start growth. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:47:25 -0400
Russia says Ukraine should find money to pay for gas within a week
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that Ukraine should find ways to pay for Russian gas with the European Union's help within a week. Citing unpaid bills worth more than $5 billion, Russia cut off gas flows to Kiev in mid-June after a long-running dispute over pricing. Kiev and Moscow recently agreed on a price for Russian gas supplies during the winter, however other issues, such as how Ukraine would pay for Russian gas, remain unresolved. The next round of talks brokered by the European Commission is scheduled for next week in Brussels. ...
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:43:33 -0400
Marine suspect guarded by US in Philippine camp

U.S. Marines Pfc Joseph Scott Pemberton, a suspect in the gruesome killing of a transgender Filipino woman, wears a helmet as he arrives inside the compound of the Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. The Philippine military chief says Pemberton has been flown to the main Philippine military camp in the capital, easing a looming irritant with Washington over his custody, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A U.S. Marine suspected in the gruesome killing of a transgender Filipino was transferred Wednesday from his warship to the Philippine military's main camp, where he will continue to be guarded by fellow Marines, in a compromise that eased a looming irritant over his custody.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:43:01 -0400
Indonesia president to make new cabinet picks after eight rejected

New Indonesian President Joko Widodo walks inside the presidential palace in JakartaJAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who won election on a vow of clean government, said on Wednesday he would have to find new people to fill some of his cabinet posts after the anti-graft agency rejected eight of the people he picked. Widodo has tried to steer clear of the traditional trading of cabinet posts for political support and has said he wants a ministerial team dominated by professional technocrats. He took the unprecedented step as president of submitting his list of candidates to anti-corruption agencies for vetting before announcing the team. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:42:32 -0400
Australia restricts Pakistan to 50-2
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle dismissed Pakistan openers cheaply on Wednesday and pinned down the opposition to 50-2 at lunch in the first test.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:39:29 -0400
Germany's Lufthansa to sell IT division to IBM
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's biggest airline, Lufthansa, says it plans to sell its information technology infrastructure division to IBM as part of a deal aimed at reducing the company's IT costs.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:18:15 -0400
London stocks open slightly higher

The benchmark FTSE 100 index edged up 0.05 percent to 6,375.35 pointsLondon (AFP) - Shares in London rose slightly at the start of trade on Wednesday, with investor sentiment bolstered by positive data and rumours of fresh European monetary stimulus.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:04:24 -0400
Call me Jokowi, says Indonesia's president

A painting of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo is displayed at his street-side kiosk in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Widodo, popularly known as 'Jokowi' was inaugurated as the country's seventh president on Oct. 20.(AP Photo/Tatan syuflana)JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's new president says he wants to be called by his nickname, and has revealed who first gave it to him: a French furniture buyer.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:04:13 -0400
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic welcomes baby boy
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the proud father of a baby boy.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:00:18 -0400
U.S. transfers Marine murder suspect to Philippine base

Members of the Gabriela Women's Party shout slogans during a protest outside the Justice Hall in Olongapo cityMANILA (Reuters) - The United States has transferred a Marine suspected of the murder of a transgender Filipino to a Philippine military base under U.S. guard, the head of the Philippine armed forces said, in line with a legal agreement between the two countries. U.S. Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton is accused of murdering Jeffrey Laude, who also goes by the name Jennifer, in Olongapo City, about 50 km north of Manila. General Gregorio Catapang told reporters Pemberton was flown to Camp Aguinaldo, the main military base in Manila. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:56:28 -0400
Pyongyang races to complete new airport

This photograph taken on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, North Korean soldier-builders work on the new tarmac of Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. The new airport, which is now in its final stages, is the latest of North Korea's "speed campaigns," mass mobilizations of labor shock brigades aimed at finishing top-priority projects in record time. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Pyongyang isn't exactly an international travel hub. But attracting more tourists is one of North Korea's top agenda items, so thousands of soldier-builders are working feverishly these days to give the capital a fancy new airport.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:40:40 -0400
NKorea tries on the charm to avoid ICC referral

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 file photo, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters. International pressure on North Korea began to mount early this year, when a groundbreaking U.N. report by a commission of inquiry laid out widespread abuses, including a harsh system of political prison camps of up to 120,000 people. The commission head, Michael Kirby, said the country's human rights situation "exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror." Now the European Union and Japan have teamed up on a demand for the Security Council, the U.N.'s most powerful body, to follow the commission of inquiry's advice and refer North Korea's situation to the International Criminal Court. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — For an envoy of the North Korean government, which virtually bans the average citizen's contact with the outside world, Kim Ju Song looks breezily connected. A tablet computer is propped on his table in the United Nations' bustling delegates lounge. He hands out his name card with a Gmail address and mobile number and suggests a "coffee meeting to exchange views."

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:38:32 -0400
FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis
DENVER (AP) — Authorities are investigating whether three teenage girls from suburban Denver who may have been trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria have friends or associates with similar intentions.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:37:26 -0400
Boeing and Chinese partner to make jet fuel from 'gutter oil'

A flight test engineer holds an Airbus Group flag after the first flight of the Airbus A320neo in Colomiers near ToulouseBEIJING (Reuters) - Aircraft makers Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp of China have launched a joint pilot project to turn used cooking oil into jet fuel. Their plant, based in the southeastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, will be able to convert just under 240,000 litres a year of used cooking oil into fuel, Boeing said in a statement. The project will allow the two aircraft makers to test the viability of producing biofuel using the cheap and widely available form of cooking waste, referred to in China as "gutter oil". Boeing and its Chinese state-owned partner estimate that 1. ...

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:36:53 -0400
Red Cross official: 6 months to contain Ebola
BEIJING (AP) — A top Red Cross official said Wednesday that he is confident the Ebola epidemic that has killed thousands of people in West Africa can be contained within four to six months.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:34:37 -0400
Saudi sentences two more to death for Shiite protests

Shiite cleric and goverment critic Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, seen wounded in the back of a police car, following his arrest on July 8, 2012Riyadh (AFP) - A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced two more people to death in connection with protests by minority Shiites that began three years ago, official media said.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:30:59 -0400
No end in sight to Hong Kong protests after talks

People listen to long-awaited talks between student leaders and senior government officials being broadcast live at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 21, 2014Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong student leaders Wednesday said they may not take part in further talks with the government after accusing city authorities of failing to make any meaningful offers to end weeks of mass rallies.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:30:34 -0400
Saudi jails 13 for plan to attack US forces

A general view of the al-Udeid US military air base, 35 km south of Doha, seen in this file photoRiyadh (AFP) - A Saudi court has sentenced 13 people, including an Afghan and a Qatari, to between 18 months and 30 years in prison for plotting an Al-Qaeda attack against US forces.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:25:52 -0400
Sweden closes probe into 2010 suicide bombing
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish prosecutors have closed the investigation into a suicide bombing four years ago, saying Taimour Abdulwahab had no accomplices when he blew himself up in downtown Stockholm.
Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:23:15 -0400
North Korea detainee due back in Ohio

What appears to be a United States Air Force passenger jet, right, is parked on the tarmac of Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. The State Department says Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans being held in North Korea, has been released. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Fowle was on his was home Tuesday after negotiators left Pyongyang. She said the U.S. is still trying to free Americans Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)CINCINNATI (AP) — News that an Ohio man had been freed from North Korea after being detained there for nearly six months triggered the same response in his wife and former co-workers: Delight.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:21:24 -0400
4 months after bite, Suarez to face Real Madrid

FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez, from Uruguay, right, attends a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in San Joan Despi, Spain, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. FC Barcelona will play against Ajax in a group F Champions League on Tuesday Oct. 21. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Few might remember his knee surgery just three weeks before the World Cup, or the two goals he scored in a 2-1 victory over England in his first match in the tournament.

Date Posted : Wed, 22 Oct 2014 03:20:34 -0400
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