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Diplomats and U.N. staff flee Yemen as Houthis target Aden

An army tank moves on a street in AdenBy Sami Aboudi and Mohammed Mukhashaf ADEN (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's navy evacuated dozens of diplomats from Yemen and the United Nations pulled out international staff on Saturday after a third night of Saudi-led air strikes trying to stem advances by Iranian-allied Houthi fighters. Residents reported heavy clashes between the Houthis and mainly Sunni tribal fighters in the south of the country, while the Saudi-led air campaign sought to stall a fresh offensive by the Shi'ite Muslim group on Aden from the east. Dozens of diplomats were shipped out of Aden to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi television said, escaping the city where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had taken refuge until Thursday, when he left for Egypt to shore up Arab support for his crumbling authority. The director general of Yemen's Health Ministry, al-Khadher Laswar, said more than 62 people had been killed and 452 wounded in the city since Wednesday.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:12:57 -0400
Gunmen kill 15 in Nigeria during tense election

Supporters of presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari gesture in front of his election posters in KanoBy Tim Cocks and Bate Felix ABUJA (Reuters) - Gunmen killed at least 15 people including an opposition politician near polling stations in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, casting an ominous shadow over the closest electoral contest since the end of military rule in 1999. The poll is seen as the first election in which an opposition candidate has a serious chance of unseating the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, but widespread fears it could trigger violence are already becoming reality. With 56.7 million eligible voters, it could drag well into Sunday. Islamist Boko Haram insurgents launched several attacks on voters in the northeast, killing three voters in Yobe state and three more in Gombe state, police said.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:31:26 -0400
Iran and powers close in on 2-3 page nuclear deal, success uncertain

US Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials wait for a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in LausanneBy John Irish, Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Iran and major powers are close to agreeing a two- or three-page accord with specific numbers as the basis of a resolution of a 12-year standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, officials have told Reuters. As the French and German foreign ministers arrived in Switzerland on Saturday to join talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Western and Iranian officials familiar with the negotiations cautioned that they could still fail. Kerry and Zarif have been in Lausanne for days to try to reach an outline agreement by a self-imposed deadline of March 31 between Iran on the one hand and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China on the other. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters on arrival: "I hope we can get a robust agreement.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:44:07 -0400
Islamist fighters control Syrian city of Idlib: monitor

Residents fearing air strikes by the forces of Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad, flee Idlib city after rebel fighters took control of the areaBEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist groups including al Qaeda's Nusra Front have seized the Syrian city of Idlib for the first time since the conflict in the country began, fighters and a monitoring group said on Saturday. By taking Idlib, the capital of a northwestern province of the same name, the insurgents now control a second province after Raqqa, a stronghold of the Islamic State group and target of U.S.-led air strikes. Syrian officials could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:14:30 -0400
Torn-up sick notes show crash pilot should have been grounded

Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in HamburgBy Tom Käckenhoff DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German authorities said on Friday they had found torn-up sick notes showing that the pilot who crashed a plane into the French Alps was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him on the day of the tragedy. French prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus A320 on Tuesday and deliberately steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board. "Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors," said the prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf, where the co-pilot lived and where the doomed flight from Barcelona was heading. Germanwings said Lubitz had not submitted any sick note that would have grounded him on Tuesday, March 24, the day of the crash.

Date Posted : Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:56:11 -0400
Greek energy minister to visit Moscow, hits out at Germany
Greece's Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis will meet his Russian counterpart and the CEO of energy giant Gazprom in Moscow on Monday, as he hit out at the EU and Germany for tightening a 'noose' around the Greek economy. Outspoken Lafazanis, on the left wing of Greece's co-ruling Syriza party, will meet Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller as well as other senior government officials, the energy ministry said on Saturday. "The Germanized European Union is literally choking our country and tightening week by week the noose around the economy," he said. The previous center-right government had planned to accelerate the sale of a 65 percent stake in gas utility DEPA, after an initial attempt to sell to Gazprom in 2013 failed.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:35:35 -0400
Spanish star Xavi signs with Qatari side

Xavi's signing is one of the biggest coups for Qatari domestic football in a country set to host the 2022 World CupBarcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has signed for Qatari side, Al Sadd for next season, it was confirmed by club officials on Saturday. Pictures posted on social media by Al Sadd first team manager Abdullah Al-Berik said the 35-year-old 2010 World Cup winner had signed for one of Qatar's top league sides. "Al Sadd have just managed to sign Barcelona captain Xavi and this is a picture of him with sporting director Muhammed Ghoulam," Berik wrote on Instagram. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said if the transfer is confirmed, the club will not stand in the way of what would be a surprise move for the iconic playmaker.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:45:05 -0400
Voting suspended in some places in Nigeria: electoral commission

Voters wait to cast their ballots at a polling station on the outskirt of Kano on March 28, 2015Nigeria's electoral commission on Saturday said polling in the country's presidential and parliamentary election had been suspended in some places because of glitches with new voter ID card readers. The Independent National Electoral Commission said there had been "challenges" with the technology in "many" places, without specifying a number, forcing accreditation to be suspended. "In polling units where accreditation was suspended to the following day in accordance with the existing guidelines, arrangement will be made for voters to vote tomorrow (Sunday)," information commissioner Chris Yimoga told reporters in Abuja. The most high-profile victim was President Goodluck Jonathan, who was forced to abandon his accreditation in his home town of Otuoke when the device repeatedly failed to recognise his details.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:42:15 -0400
Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

Somali soldiers take position after a bomb that was detonated at the gate of one of Mogadishu's most popular hotel. Friday, March, 27, 2015, A Somali police official says a suicide bomber has detonated his explosives-laden car at the gate of a hotel popular with government officials in Mogadishu. Capt. Mohamed Hussein says gunfire could be heard inside the Maka-Mukarramah Hotel, but it was not clear if any gunmen had managed to penetrate the hotel's gate( AP P hoto/Farah Abdi Warsameh)MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:41:41 -0400
Kamworor, Tirop lead Kenya cross country domination

Agnes Tirop (centre) became the youngest senior women's winner of the World Cross Country championships for 30 yearsKenyan athletes dominated the World Cross-Country Championships in China on Saturday, with Geoffrey Kamworor taking the men's crown, while Agnes Tirop became the youngest senior women's winner for 30 years. Kamworor completed the 12 kilometre course in Guiyang, in China's southwestern province of Guizhou, in 34 minutes 52 seconds - eight seconds ahead of Kenyan 5,000m specialist Bedan Karoki, while Ethiopia's Muktar Edris finished third on 35 minutes six seconds. Kamworor, who took the world half-marathon title in Copenhagen last year, emerged at the front of the pack 400 metres into the race and remained in the top two for much of its duration. The victory cemented his position as the man for the big occasion, with him also winning the world cross country junior title from four years ago.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:41:03 -0400
Liberia's first Ebola patient in over a month dies: official

Sierra Leone health officials check passengers at the border crossing with Liberia in Jendema on March 28, 2015A Liberian woman who last week became the country's first Ebola patient in more than a month has died, a senior official said Saturday, adding that two new suspected cases had been identified. The case was a setback to hopes that Liberia, once the worst-hit country, would be free of the epidemic soon. "The last Ebola case died yesterday. She did not make it," Francis Karteh, the head of Ebola Incident Management Team in Liberia told AFP.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:33:20 -0400
Top Asian News at 3:30 p.m. GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Ear tugs. A flying banana peel. Sarcastic remarks about getting smacked, or punched — or even executed. Such is life for the press corps covering Thailand's notoriously testy military ruler. Since leading a putsch that ousted Thailand's elected government last May, general-turned-prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has been thrust from the relative privacy of army life into the public arena of the politician. He has pounded on the podium during news conferences, lambasted his questioners, and simply stomped away. In one case, he summoned two journalists for asking "inappropriate" questions about when and whether elections would be held. His government, meanwhile, has engaged in censorship and leaned on media outlets to censor themselves.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:32:53 -0400
Fernandez clinches first world figure skating gold

Javier Fernandez nailed a quadruple toeloop before falling on a quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop combinationEuropean figure skating champion Javier Fernandez became the first Spanish man to win the world singles title Saturday, overcoming last year's winner Yuzuru Hanyu in dramatic style in Shanghai. Fernandez, who has twice won the bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships, scored 181.16 in the final free skate to give him 273.90 overall, edging Japan's Olympic champion who scored 175.88 and finished second overall with 271.08. Fernandez finished second at Saturday's skate, while Hanyu settled for third. Fernandez nailed a quadruple toeloop before falling on a quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop combination, but continued his performance in assured fashion to clinch his biggest title.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:27:58 -0400
Alps crash pilot told ex 'everyone will know my name'

German and Spanish police officers pay tribute to the victims of the Germanwings plane crash at a memorial in Le Vernet on March 27, 2015The co-pilot who crashed a passenger jet into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, worried "health problems" would dash his dreams and vowed one day to do something to "change the whole system", an ex-girlfriend told a German newspaper. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has said that Lubitz had suspended his pilot training, which began in 2008, "for a certain period", before restarting and qualifying for the Airbus A320 in 2013.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:27:01 -0400
Heavy blasts at Aden arms depot kill at least 9

Residents of Aden run towards a weapons depot to take up arms in preparation for a potential advance on the southern Yemeni city by Huthi Shiite militia and their allies on March 25, 2015A series of explosions rocked an arms depot in Yemen's second city of Aden Saturday, killing at least nine people as looters swarmed the facility, witnesses and an official said. The blasts were heard across the city and pillars of smoke rose from the depot, where looting had broken out a day earlier, an AFP correspondent reported. The depot is at the foot of Jabal Hadid mountain overlooking the port, and a large amount of weapons dating back to the Soviet era were stored in a cave there. Many people were inside or on Jabal Hadid when the explosions took place, witnesses said, reporting that several had died in the looting even before the blasts.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:24:13 -0400
Guinea deploys police as Sierra Leoneans flee Ebola lockdown

A team of Sierra Leone health workers walk as they look for people suffering from Ebola virus symptoms or people they can educate about the virus as their country enters a three day country wide lockdown on movement of people due to the Ebola virus in the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Friday, March. 27, 2015. Sierra Leone's 6 million people were told to stay home for three days, except for religious services, beginning Friday as the West African nation attempted a final push to rid itself of Ebola. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Guinea has deployed security forces to the country's southwest in response to reports that Sierra Leoneans are crossing the border to flee an Ebola lockdown intended to stamp out the deadly disease, an official said Saturday.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:21:42 -0400
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kill seven as Nigerians vote

Policemen patrol on streets in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on February 14, 2015At least seven people were killed in separate attacks in the northeast Nigerian state of Gombe on Saturday as the country held presidential elections, with suspected Boko Haram gunmen opening fire on voters at polling stations. The first attacks happened in the neighbouring villages of Birin Bolawa and Birin Fulani in the Nafada district of Gombe, which has been repeatedly targeted by the Islamists. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video message last month that the militants would disrupt Saturday's general election, which they see as "un-Islamic". The threat and a spate of suicide attacks and bombings against "soft" targets in restive northern Nigeria have prompted the authorities to impose tight security across the country.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:11:00 -0400
Bomb near Cairo University wounds 8

An ambulance drives near the main gate of Cairo University on October 22, 2014A bomb wounded four civilians and four policemen outside Cairo University Saturday, Egyptian police and health officials said. Several explosions outside the university have taken place since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the last of which wounded five policemen in November.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:07:57 -0400
Italian coach de Biasi gets Albanian citizenship
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania's national team coach, Italian Giovanni de Biasi, has received Albanian citizenship a day before the European championship qualifier against Armenia.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:07:16 -0400
Millions of Nigerians turn out to vote in presidential poll

People displaced following attacks by Islamist militants lineup for accreditation before casting their votes, in Yola, Nigeria, Saturday March 28, 2015. Nigerians went to the polls Saturday in presidential elections which analysts say will be the most tightly contested in the history of Africa's richest nation and its largest democracy. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Millions of Nigerians turned out Saturday to vote in a presidential election that analysts say is too close to call between President Goodluck Jonathan and former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:58:39 -0400
Iran talks go into top gear in battle of wills

Top US and Iranian diplomats try to hammer out a nuclear deal as the deadline loomsTortuous negotiations aimed at laying to rest fears that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons shifted into top gear Saturday with each side demanding the other give ground ahead of a looming deadline. "We're at that point in the negotiations where we really need to see decisions being made," a senior US State Department official said late Friday at the talks in Switzerland. The other side needs to choose between pressure and a political accord," countered Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran since late 2013, was the first European minister to fly in for the crucial talks saying he wanted to reach a "robust deal".

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:55:55 -0400
When SWU met LEU: The Iran nuclear talks jargon A-to-Z

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) chat before a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel March 28, 2015 in LausanneUntil 2014, Iran was building a heavy water reactor at Arak. In theory, once operational, it could give Iran plutonium, the alternative to uranium for a nuclear weapon. The time Iran would need, in theory, to make a worth of nuclear material. Under a November 2013 interim deal (see JPOA below), Iran "downblended" its stock of converted uranium enriched to medium purities to low.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:54:53 -0400
Wiggins set for Gent-Wevelgem

Bradley Wiggins will be joined by fellow British Olympic champion Geraint Thomas in Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem sprint classic in BelgiumLondon (AFP) - Bradley Wiggins will compete for Team Sky in Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem sprint classic in Belgium, the team announced.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:54:01 -0400
Pope under pressure to roll back on abuse case bishop

Pope Francis kisses a child during a meeting with members of the Italian union of Catholic teachers, managers, educators and trainers (UCIM) at Paul VI audience hall on March 14, 2015 at the VaticanPope Francis's decision to appoint a Chilean bishop suspected of protecting a paedophile priest has alarmed the Vatican's own child protection watchdog, its members told AFP. Several members of the new commission set up by the pope to stamp out child abuse in the Catholic Church expressed their shock at the decision, with pressure building up for the decision to be overturned. Juan Barros, who took up his post as Bishop of Osorno last Saturday, has denied that he knew about the abuse committed by Fernando Karadima, once an influential figure within the Chilean church. Commission member French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet told AFP Friday that speaking personally she was "worried" by the appointment.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:48:57 -0400
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kill five in NE Nigeria: witnesses

Policemen patrol on streets in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on February 14, 2015Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on Saturday attacked the town of Dukku and nearby Tilen village in Gombe state, northeast Nigeria, killing five people as the country voted in presidential elections, witnesses and residents said.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:47:56 -0400
Turkey PM denies rift with Erdogan, calls for presidential system

A handout image made available by the Turkish Presidential Press Office on January 29, 2015, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at Presidential PalaceTurkey should adopt a presidential system, the country's Prime Minister has declared, refuting claims that he and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were at loggerheads over the idea. The statement comes after a major rift between Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the run up to the June 7 parliamentary election where the AKP will seek to change the constitution to give Erdogan's office more executive powers. "If the president was elected by a public vote, it would be correct for this system to switch to a presidential one," Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with private Haberturk television late Friday. "A presidential system is the right thing for Turkey," he said.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:37:51 -0400
Amanda Knox grateful to 'have my life back' after court saga

Amanda Knox talks to members of the media outside her mother's home, Friday, March 27, 2015, in Seattle. Italy's highest court overturned the murder conviction against Knox and her ex-boyfriend Friday over the 2007 slaying of Knox's roommate, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)SEATTLE (AP) — Amanda Knox says she's "so grateful to have my life back" after Italy's highest court overturned her murder conviction in the slaying of her roommate.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:34:02 -0400
Mubtaahij romps in UAE Derby, trainer says on to Kentucky
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mubtaahij took charge in the stretch and easily won the $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in one of Saturday's undercard races at the Dubai World Cup.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:31:49 -0400
61 dead in 3 days of clashes in Yemen's Aden: health official

Members of the Yemeni security forces and tribal gunmen, both loyal to the Huthi movement, brandish their weapons on March 26, 2015Aden (AFP) - At least 61 people have been killed in three days of fighting between Shiite rebels and loyalist militia in Yemen's main southern city Aden, a senior health official said Saturday.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:30:49 -0400
Yemen's president calls Shiite rebels 'puppets of Iran'

Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, walk on the tarmac of the Sanaa International Airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Yemen's President Abed Raboo Mansour Hadi, speaking at the opening session of an Arab summit in Egypt on Saturday, called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "stooges of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Yemen's embattled president on Saturday called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "puppets of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:26:45 -0400
UK's Cameron launches re-election campaign with health vow

David Cameron and his wife Samantha speak with a patient on a visit to Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester on March 28, 2015British Prime Minister David Cameron kicked off his re-election campaign Saturday for May's tight poll by echoing his main rival with a new promise to improve the state-run National Health Service (NHS). Cameron's centre-right Conservatives are neck-and-neck in opinion polls with the main opposition centre-left Labour, led by Ed Miliband, who says May 7's vote will be the tightest for a generation. In a rallying call to activists at his Conservative party's spring conference in Manchester, northwest England, Cameron vowed to deliver a "truly seven-day NHS" providing a service as easy to access in the evenings and at weekends as on weekdays. The British Medical Association, the trade union for doctors, warned that the NHS was already at "breaking point" and that Cameron had not outlined how he would fund the plan.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:25:27 -0400
5 police officers in Dominica charged in death of inmate
ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — A police sergeant and four officers in the tiny eastern Caribbean island of Dominica have been charged with murder.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:22:12 -0400
Crash co-pilot's personality 'serious lead' but not only one: French investigator

The co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525 Andreas Lubitz taking part in the Airport Hamburg 10-mile run on September 13, 2009 in Hamburg"We have a certain number of elements which allow us to make progress on this lead, which is a serious lead but which can't be the only one," police chief Jean-Pierre Michel told AFP in the western German city of Duesseldorf. The investigation so far has not turned up a "particular element" in the life of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz which could explain his alleged action in the ill-fated Airbus plane, he added.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:18:57 -0400
Brazil joining Beijing-backed infrastructure investment bank
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil says it has accepted China's invitation to join a Beijing-backed international infrastructure bank.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:15:12 -0400
Move over 'Phantom,' Coldplay getting air time at worlds

Alexander Majorov of Sweden performs during the Men Free Skating event in the ISU World Figure Skating Championship 2015 held at the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China, Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)SHANGHAI (AP) — It wouldn't be figure skating without Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:14:58 -0400
Scientists to explore USVI reefs as part of 12-year project
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — U.S. scientists are launching an expedition to study the underwater habitat around the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a 12-year effort to map and help conserve Caribbean coral reefs.
Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:11:29 -0400
Fernandez, Tuktamysheva take golds at figure skating worlds

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia performs during the Ladies Free Skating event in the ISU World Figure Skating Championship 2015 held at the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Tuktamysheva finished in first place in the event. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)SHANGHAI (AP) — Javier Fernandez cleanly landed two quad jumps in his free skate to edge defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu and become the first Spanish men's champion at the figure skating world championships on Saturday.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:59:12 -0400
UK prime minister rallies party before 'knife edge' election

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron during a visit to the Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester, England, before speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum, Saturday March 28, 2015. Cameron told a party conference Saturday that "this isn't any election. This is a high-stakes, high-risk election." He continued, "this is a knife-edge election and can only be cut two ways: Conservative or Labour." The campaign officially kicks off Monday, when Parliament is dissolved ahead of the May 7 vote. (AP Photo/PA, Ben Birchall) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVELONDON (AP) — Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday that Britain's election campaign is on a knife edge, as he rallied the Conservative party with a personal attack on his main rival.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:57:27 -0400
'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit: Iraq officer

Iraqi government forces hold a position on the western outskirts of Tikrit, on March 27, 2015Retaking the city of Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require "major sacrifices" on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said Saturday. Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have been fighting to retake the city since March 2, but halted ground operations for more than a week in what officials described as a bid to curb human and material losses before pushing forward again. "The task of liberating Tikrit requires major sacrifices and street fighting, and our forces are ready for these sacrifices," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, indicating that the pause in operations only deferred the inevitable cost. IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad's largest to date against the militants.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:54:18 -0400
German pilot visited glider field near crash site as a child

Spanish police officers pay tribute next to a stele and flowers laid in memory of the victims in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in Le Vernet, France, Friday, March 27, 2015. Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers, including having been excused by a doctor from work on Tuesday, the day authorities say he crashed a passenger plane into a mountain, prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)SISTERON, France (AP) — The German co-pilot accused of crashing a passenger plane in the French Alps frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents, according to a member of the club.

Date Posted : Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:53:28 -0400
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