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U.S. general says cannot rule out larger ground role in Iraq

Hagel and Dempsey testify at a hearing about the IS on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The most senior U.S. military officer raised the possibility on Tuesday that U.S. troops might need to take on a larger ground role as they fend off Islamic State militants in Iraq, but the White House stressed there would be no combat mission for U.S. ground forces. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was no intention of placing American military advisers on the ground for direct combat. The U.S. plan relies on other contributions, including air strikes. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:30:20 -0400
Ahead of independence vote, Britain pledges state funding to Scotland

Union flag fairy lights are pictured outside a cottage supporting the "No" campaign on North Uist in the Outer HebridesBy Guy Faulconbridge and Alistair Smout EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Britain promised to guarantee Scotland high levels of state funding, granting Scots greater control over healthcare spending in a last-ditch attempt to shore up support for the United Kingdom before Thursday's vote on independence. With polls showing the decision on the fate of the United Kingdom is too close to call, welfare spending and the future of the revered National Health System have formed a central part of nationalist Alex Salmond's case for secession. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:11:28 -0400
Ukraine ratifies EU deal, offers special status to rebels

Ukraine's President Poroshenko clasps hands with Prime Minister Yatseniuk after a ratification of a landmark association agreement with the European Union during a parliament session in KievBy Richard Balmforth and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine ratified a sweeping agreement with the European Union on Tuesday - an issue at the heart of the Russia-West crisis over its future - and sought to blunt the independence drive of Russian-backed separatists by offering them temporary and limited self-rule. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:08:09 -0400
U.S. pledges 3,000 troops to fight Ebola; experts say more needed

Health workers bring woman suspected of having contracted Ebola virus to an ambulance in front of a crowd in MonroviaBy James Harding Giahyue and Jeff Mason MONROVIA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has pledged to send 3,000 troops West Africa, using its military muscle to battle the biggest ever outbreak of Ebola by building treatment clinics and training health workers to halt the spread of the deadly virus. President Barack Obama is expected to outline the action later on Tuesday, his second announcement of a major military operation in two weeks after his declaration that Washington would bomb Islamic State fighters in the Middle East. The U.S. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:13:27 -0400
Israel says mortar fired from Gaza in first since August 26 truce
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) - Israel said a mortar bomb was fired at it from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in the first such attack since a seven-week war in the enclave ended on Aug 26, but Hamas said Palestinians remained committed to the truce. There were no casualties or damage from the incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman said after authorities located remnants of the shell near a village close to Gaza's border. The attack was not immediately claimed by any armed faction in Gaza. ...
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:24:13 -0400
U.S. Congress pushes ahead with bid to arm Syrian rebels

Rebel fighters make improvised mortar shells inside a weapons factory in IdlibBy Patricia Zengerle and Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives began debating legislation on Tuesday to authorize President Barack Obama's plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants, and lawmakers said the measure would likely pass the full Congress by the end of this week. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:12:53 -0400
Netherlands ups defence spending in wake of downed MH17

Dutch King Willem-Alexander addresses the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives from the throne in the Hall of Knights next to Queen Maxima, on September 16, 2014 in The Hague, the NetherlandsThe Hague (AFP) - The Netherlands is to increase defence spending after being hard hit by global conflicts including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, King Willem-Alexander said on Tuesday.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:59:31 -0400
Gaza mortar fire on Israel for first time since truce: army

Jerusalem (AFP) - Palestinians fired a mortar round into southern Israel Tuesday in the first attack since an August 26 ceasefire, without causing any casualties, the Israeli army said.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:58:36 -0400
Iraq parliament rejects interior, defense nominees

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 file photo, Iraqi lawmakers attend a session to approve the new government in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's parliament rejected defense and interior nominees on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, leaving the crucial ministerial posts unfilled as a U.S.-led coalition intensifies its air campaign against Islamic extremists who have seized a third of the country. The two powerful security portfolios have long been a source of tension among Iraq's feuding political factions, and the failure to agree on the nominees marked the latest in a series of delays in forming a unified government that can confront the Islamic State extremist group. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's nominees Tuesday to lead the defense and interior ministries, leaving the crucial Cabinet posts unfilled as an emerging U.S.-led coalition intensifies its air campaign against Islamic State extremists who have seized a third of the country.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:57:00 -0400
IMF begins aid talks with Ghana

The International Monetary Fund said it was holding talks with government officials in Ghana, who formally requested IMF assistance on August 8Washington (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday it was holding talks with government officials in Ghana on possible aid to surmount the African nation's fiscal and economic challenges.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:56:01 -0400
Death toll from Lagos church collapse rises to 62
LAGOS (Reuters) - The collapse of a guest house under construction at the compound of a popular Lagos Pentecostal church last week killed 62 people, emergency services said on Tuesday. The building in the compound belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, headed by "Prophet" T.B. Joshua, collapsed on Friday while three extra stories were being added to its initial two in the Ikotun neighborhood of Lagos. ...
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:55:35 -0400
Mexico to airlift tourists after Hurricane Odile

Maria Ramirez, left, puts the shoes on her one-year-old niece Maritza next to the remains of their home that was destroyed by Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Hundreds for impoverished houses were destroyed in the Unidad Real squatter's settlement and other equally poor neighborhoods. Hurricane Odile continued to lash the peninsula as it marched northward with strong winds and heavy rains. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — The Mexican government prepared to begin airlifting tens of thousands of stranded tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort area of Los Cabos on Tuesday, as residents picked up the pieces of shattered, flooded homes.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:54:50 -0400
Mourinho confident of Hazard deal

Eden Hazard has three years to run on his current deal but Mourinho (pictured) believes Chelsea will want him to commit to a longer contract in a bid to ward off interest from rival clubsLondon (AFP) - Jose Mourinho expects Eden Hazard to sign a long-term deal with Chelsea after announcing the Belgium playmaker is discussing a contract extension.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:52:15 -0400
Scotland's 'Yes' campaign winning Facebook battle

'Referendum cupcakes' are pictured in a bakery in Edinburgh on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independenceLondon (AFP) - Scotland's "Yes" campaign appears to have the edge online, figures released by Facebook on Tuesday showed, even though it is still trailing slightly in the polls despite a late surge.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:50:42 -0400
South Africa says 67 citizens dead in Lagos building collapse

Photo taken and released by Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on September 12, 2014 shows emergency workers transporting a man after he was pulled out from the rubble of The Synagogue Church of All NationsJohannesburg (AFP) - South African President Jacob Zuma announced Tuesday that 67 South Africans died in a building collapse in Nigeria's financial capital Lagos.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:50:11 -0400
Future of Olympic golf course in hands of court
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian court is set to decide the future of the golf course for the 2016 Olympics, a layout that is being carved out of a nature reserve with luxury high-rise apartments planned around the edges.
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:49:22 -0400
Qaeda branches urge unity against US-led 'war on Islam'

Islamic fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra FrontDubai (AFP) - Powerful Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen and North Africa issued an unprecedented joint statement Tuesday calling for jihadists in Iraq and Syria to unite against the common threat from a US-led coalition.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:48:48 -0400
U.N. Security Council eyes action to heighten Ebola response

The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New YorkBy Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council could adopt a resolution later this week to expand the global response to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa by calling on countries to lift travel restrictions and provide urgent assistance, including field hospitals and staff. The draft U.N. resolution on Ebola, circulated to council members and obtained by Reuters, calls on U.N. member states, particularly in the region, "to lift general travel and border restrictions ... ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:47:07 -0400
Bangladesh on 114-2 at tea in test vs West Indies
CASTRIES, St. Lucia (AP) — Tamim Iqbal hit an unbeaten 43 and Mominul Haque added 31 not out on Tuesday in an unbroken stand of 66 as Bangladesh battled to avoid defeat on the fourth day of the second test against the West Indies.
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:44:38 -0400
Pints with politics as Scottish pubs debate independence

People drink in a pro-independence bar re-named as the 'Yes Bar' in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 15, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independenceGlasgow (AFP) - Talking politics in British pubs can be a tricky subject but Scotland's independence referendum has prompted two Glasgow bars to pin their "Yes" and "No" colours to the counter.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:43:48 -0400
Scottish 'don't knows' hold key to historic vote
By Alistair Smout and Angus MacSwan EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland's independence campaign has stoked strong passions on both sides but with just two days until Thursday's historic referendum, it is the quiet waverers who may hold the balance of power.     Scotland decides on Sept 18. whether to sever centuries-old ties with the rest of the United Kingdom. Recent polls have narrowed dramatically and show the vote is too close to call.     The United Kingdom's fate may rest on a group of undecideds which could constitute as few as 500,000 people out of an electorate of more than four million. ...
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:42:58 -0400
Australian mosquito appears in California
MONTEREY PARK, California (AP) — Officials say an Australian mosquito has made what is believed to be its first U.S. appearance in the Los Angeles area.
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:39:26 -0400
Damascus, opposition must 'compromise' to beat jihadists: UN

Rebels stand on the back of a pick-up truck driving through the eastern Syrian town of Deir Ezzor on March 10, 2014Geneva (AFP) - The Syrian government and mainstream opposition must seek a compromise to end three and half years of bloody civil war and block the rise of murderous jihadists, UN investigators said Tuesday.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:39:03 -0400
Germany unveils Europe's biggest battery plant

German Chancellor Merkel, Economy Minister Gabriel and chief of staff Altmaier talk at the Chancellery in BerlinBy Helen Cahill BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany switched on Europe's largest commercial battery plant on Tuesday, an installation powered by 25,600 lithium-ion batteries that will help stabilize the region's growing supply of renewable energy. The 6-million-euro plant, the size of a school gymnasium, is designed to help even out short-term fluctuations that sometimes accompany power from renewable sources as Germany continues to raises its share of renewable energy from about 25 percent currently to 40-45 percent by 2025 and 55-60 percent by 2035. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:38:16 -0400
US to assign 3,000 from US military to fight Ebola

President Barack Obama chats with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed after arriving at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta for a scheduled visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a briefing on West Africa's Ebola out break, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)ATLANTA (AP) — Under pressure to ramp up the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa amid worries that the financial and human cost of the outbreak is growing exponentially in a region overwhelmed by the deadly virus.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:37:44 -0400
Egypt minister projects 6% growth in 3 years
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's finance minister on Tuesday predicted growth rates of up to 6 percent within three years, which would mark a major turnaround following three years of political turmoil that has crippled the economy.
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:37:37 -0400
Russia to deploy reinforcements to Crimea area

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu makes the military salute in Moscow's Red Square, on May 9, 2014Moscow (AFP) - Russia is to reinforce its troop deployments in annexed Crimea and southern Russia because of the worsening crisis in Ukraine and the buildup of foreign forces nearby, the country's defence minister said on Tuesday.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:36:09 -0400
Sturgeon: Workaholic driving Scotland's independence campaign

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon talks during a meeting in Renfrew, Scotland on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independenceLondon (AFP) - Her bob haircut and political style have invited comparisons with Angela Merkel, and Nicola Sturgeon, the brains behind Scotland's independence campaign, is hoping that she also shares the German chancellor's flair for winning elections.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:34:32 -0400
Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Thousands of Fijians are awaiting their first chance to vote in eight years Wednesday in an election that promises to finally restore democracy to the South Pacific nation of 900,000. Yet plenty of questions remain about how far military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama has tilted the outcome in his favor. Bainimarama is running as a candidate and polls indicate his party is by far the most popular of the seven contesting the election.
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:33:17 -0400
Arizona braces for possible repeat of powerful storms

Hurricane Odile is pictured off the west coast of the United States as it approaches the Baja Peninsula in this September 14, 2014 NASA handout satellite imageBy David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona residents braced for another wave of heavy rains and flooding on Tuesday as the remnants of Hurricane Odile began to sweep into the desert state. With cloudy skies above, locals began filling sandbags at fire stations and trying to shore up their homes, just eight days after powerful storms battered the southwestern state and dumped record rainfall on the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Last week's downpour turned sections of major freeways into lakes, overflowed from creeks and canals and killed two women swept away by floodwaters. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:32:40 -0400
Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the first in a series of high-profile Capitol Hill hearings that will measure the president's ability to rally congressional support for President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Obama last week outlined his military plan to destroy the extremists, authorizing U.S. airstrikes inside Syria, stepping up attacks in Iraq and deploying additional American troops, with more than 1,000 now advising and assisting Iraqi security forces to counter the terrorism threat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — American combat troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Barack Obama's current strategy fails, the nation's top military officer said Tuesday as Congress began debating Obama's plan to expand airstrikes and train Syrian rebels.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:29:55 -0400
West Bank settler group boasts rapid growth

Palestinians laborers work at a construction site in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem. Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Israel's settler population in the West Bank increased by 2 percent in the first half of the year, an advocacy group announced Tuesday, signaling robust growth in the settlements even while Israel was conducting peace talks with the Palestinians. The new figures drew criticism from the Palestinians, who seek the West Bank as part of a future state. The Palestinians and most of the international community consider Israeli construction there to be illegal or illegitimate. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's settler population in the West Bank increased by 2 percent in the first half of the year, an advocacy group announced Tuesday, signaling robust growth in the settlements even while Israel was conducting peace talks with the Palestinians.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:26:45 -0400
U.S. extends comment period on power plant carbon rule to December

Smoke is released into the sky at an oil refinery in WilmingtonBy Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give the public until December to comment on its sweeping proposal to curb carbon emissions from the country's power plants for the first time, as some industry groups and state officials pressed for more time. Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA's office of Air and Radiation, told reporters Tuesday that the agency would give stakeholders another 45 days - and a total of six months - to give input on its plan to cut emissions from existing power plants. ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:26:25 -0400
Russian billionaire placed under house arrest

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, chairs a meeting in the Kremlin with Vladimir Yevtushenko, second left, in Moscow, Russia. Russia’s top investigative agency says it has filed money-laundering charges against a billionaire tycoon. The Investigative Committee said Tuesday Sept. 16, 2014, that Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the head of Sistema holding company, has been placed under house arrest. The committee said the 66-year old Yevtushenkov is suspected of involvement in a money-laundering scheme involving oil assets in the Russian province of Bashkiria. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Alexei Panov, Presidential Press Service, File)MOSCOW (AP) — A billionaire Russian tycoon was placed under house arrest Tuesday on money-laundering charges, the nation's top investigative agency said.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:21:37 -0400
Lawmakers to test EU's five billion euro carbon permit giveaway

Buildings in the financial district are obscured in a haze, as seen from Crystal Palace in south LondonBy Ben Garside LONDON (Reuters) - European lawmakers will vote next week on whether to force Brussels officials to rethink giving billions of euros worth of carbon allowances away for free to heavy industries, after a senior Green member lodged an objection. The European Commission, the EU's executive, in May proposed that the vast majority of industry sectors should keep getting most of their allowances for free over 2015-2019 to help meet their obligations under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). ...

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:21:35 -0400
Leaders pledge powers in final push before Scottish vote

Pro-Union 'No' supporters rally in Edinburgh on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independenceEdinburgh (AFP) - The leaders of Britain's three main parties on Tuesday issued a joint pledge to give the Scottish parliament more powers if voters reject independence, in a final drive to stop the United Kingdom from splitting.

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:20:44 -0400
Suicide car bomber kills three foreign troops in Afghan capital
By Mirwais Harooni and Kay Johnson KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed two U.S. troops and a Polish soldier in an attack on a convoy near the U.S. embassy in Kabul on Tuesday, the NATO-led coalition said, one of the worst attacks on international forces in the Afghan capital in months. The attack near the heavily fortified embassy wounded 13 Afghan civilians nearby. It came amid a months-long political stalemate and an emboldened insurgency, with a presidential election still unresolved as most foreign combat troops prepare to leave by the end of the year. ...
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:20:00 -0400
Tropical storm Polo could become hurricane off Mexico Pacific Coast
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical storm Polo could become a hurricane off Mexico's Pacific Coast on Thursday the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning Polo was about 275 miles (440km) south of Mexico's famous beach resort of Acapulco and moving in a northwest direction at 12 miles per hour (19 km per hour), the NHC said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), with some strengthening forecast as it moves almost parallel along the southwestern coast of Mexico through Thursday, the NHC said. ...
Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:48 -0400
Iraqi bishop laments 'too late' response to IS threat

Displaced Iraqi Christian women and children cook in the Mar Yousef church in the Christian village of Ankawa on September 11, 2014Vatican City (AFP) - A Roman Catholic bishop based in Iraq on Tuesday said international mobilisation against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq had come "too late".

Date Posted : Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:15:44 -0400
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