1 October 2014

Britain carries out first air strikes against IS in Iraq

A Ministry of Defence picture shows a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4 as it returns to Akrotiri British airbase in Cyprus on September 30, 2014London (AFP) - British fighter jets have bombed an artillery post and an armed truck used by the Islamic State group in Iraq in the Royal Air Force's first strikes in the US-led air campaign.


1 October 2014

Hong Kong protests hit China's National Day: Live Report

A couple take wedding photogtaphs in front of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong on October 1, 2014Hong Kong (AFP) - 07:38 GMT - 'We are not Tibet or Xinjiang' - Edward Chin, a financier and prominent Occupy organiser, is in bullish mood today. He's been speaking to AFP reporter Annabel Symington and believes the police know violence would lead to a backlash from the Hong Kong public.


1 October 2014

Tim Gunn sizes up first lady fashions do's, don'ts

Fashion guru Tim Gunn joins design experts for a forum on first ladies and fashion, looking at the first ladies’ style and their influence in the fashion world, at the National Archives in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. With Gunn are (L-R) designer Tracy Reese, who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama, Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Deputy Chair and Chief Curator of Political History and the First Ladies Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of American History. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama has gone under Tim Gunn's fashion microscope and gotten an approving nod, but not all first ladies fared as well — Hillary Rodham Clinton among them.


1 October 2014

What if high court rejects gay marriage cases?

FILE - In this July 31, 2014 file photo, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen in her chambers in at the Supreme Court in Washington. The fastest and surest path to marriage for same-sex couples in some parts of the United States would be for the Supreme Court to surprise everyone and decline to get involved in the issue right now. A decision by the justices to reject calls from all quarters to take up same-sex marriage would allow gay and lesbian couples in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin to begin getting married almost immediately. Rulings in their favor have been put on hold while the Supreme Court considers their cases. Ginsburg appeared to be addressing that concern when she said in July that the court would not duck the issue as it did for years with bans on interracial marriage. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The fastest and surest path to marriage for same-sex couples in some parts of the United States would be for the Supreme Court to surprise everyone and decline to get involved in the issue right now.


1 October 2014

Obama seeks traction on economy amid foreign tests

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. President Barack Obama’s escalating military campaign in Iraq and Syria has drowned out the economic pitch he hoped would help salvage a midterm election that has been favoring Republicans. But the airstrikes against Islamic State extremists have also introduced a new complicating factor into the fall campaign, forcing both sides to reassess their closing political messages. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, file)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's escalating military campaign in Iraq and Syria has drowned out the economic pitch he hoped would help salvage a midterm election that has been favoring Republicans. But the airstrikes against Islamic State extremists have also introduced a new complicating factor into the fall campaign, forcing both sides to reassess their closing political messages.


1 October 2014

Airstrikes launched amid intelligence gaps

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, file photo, Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., Director of Operations J3, speaks about the operations in Syria during a news conference at the Pentagon. According to current and former U.S. officials, the Pentagon is grappling with significant intelligence gaps as it bombs Iraq and Syria, and it is operating under less restrictive targeting rules than those President Barack Obama imposed on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is grappling with significant intelligence gaps as it bombs Iraq and Syria, and it is operating under less restrictive targeting rules than those President Barack Obama imposed on the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen, according to current and former U.S. officials.


1 October 2014

Details of presidential security breaches evolve

Secret Service Director Julia PiersonWASHINGTON (AP) — The embarrassing disclosures about lapses in presidential security just keep coming for the Secret Service.


30 September 2014

Philippines' Aquino criticises UN for mission 'impossible'

Filipino peacekeeper trainees march past a national flag during a drill simulating a hostile environment in a peacekeeping mission in Capas town, Tarlac province on September 11, 2014Manila (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday criticised the United Nations for refusing to better arm Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, saying this made their mission "impossible".


30 September 2014

Amid differences, Israel's Netanyahu to seek reassurances from Obama on Iran

Israel's PM Netanyahu addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New YorkBy Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu meet for a new round in their often-tense relationship on Wednesday, facing differences over Iran diplomacy and Middle East peace efforts as well as complications from the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State militants. Hosting the Israeli prime minister in a brief visit to Washington, Obama is expected to try to find common ground with Israel, a traditionally close ally, on the most pressing issues but may have a difficult time narrowing the gap. ...


30 September 2014

U.S., British strikes seek to reverse jihadist advances

Syrian Kurds stand on a hill looking down on clashes between Islamic State jihadists and Kurdish fighters, near the Turkey-Syria border, on September 28, 2014U.S. warplanes launched multiple strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, seeking to turn up the heat on jihadists as Britain carried out its first air raids against the group.


30 September 2014

U.S. lawmakers rebuke Secret Service over White House breach

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson testifies on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Secret Service faced scathing criticism on Tuesday for the agency allowing an intruder with a knife to run into the White House, while details emerged of a separate security lapse involving an armed contractor who rode an elevator with President Barack Obama. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson acknowledged the agency charged with protecting Obama had failed on Sept. ...


30 September 2014

Hong Kong protesters renew fight on China's National Day

Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong protesters who braved thunderstorms to stage their third night of pro-democracy rallies began massing Wednesday at the city's Golden Bauhinia Square as China's National Day holiday lent their campaign for free elections fresh momentum.

30 September 2014

California bans political fundraising parties at lobbyists' homes

SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - Lobbyists in California will be banned from throwing lavish fundraising parties at their homes and offices for state candidates under a bill signed Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who vetoed other proposals introduced in the wake of a series of ethics scandals. The law prohibiting residence or office-based fundraisers was introduced after a prominent lobbyist was fined $133,500 for throwing lavish parties for candidates, despite a law limiting such events to "meetings" that cost less than $500. ...

30 September 2014

US lawmaker launches Hong Kong caucus to monitor rights

US lawmaker Chris Smith, who for decades has prodded Beijing to improve its human rights record, announces he is creating a congressional Hong Kong caucus to monitor China's actions thereWashington (AFP) - US lawmaker Chris Smith, who for decades has prodded Beijing to improve its human rights record, announced Tuesday he was creating a congressional Hong Kong caucus to monitor China's actions there.


30 September 2014

White House breach 'unacceptable': Secret Service chief

A US Secret Service officer patrols in front of the White House in Washington DC on September 28, 2014Washington (AFP) - The head of the US Secret Service pledged to revamp her elite agency Tuesday as she was subjected to withering criticism from angry lawmakers outraged over White House security breaches.


30 September 2014

Obama's BRAIN initiative gets more than $300 million

US President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2, 2013 to announce his Administration’s BRAIN, Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies InitiativeWashington (AFP) - President Barack Obama's initiative to study the brain and improve treatment of conditions like Alzheimer's and autism was given a boost Tuesday with the announcement of more than $300 million in funds.


30 September 2014

White House moves to deal with child migrant issue

U.S. President Obama pauses while he hosts a meeting with El Salvador's President Sanchez Ceren, Guatemala's President Perez Molina and Honduras' President Orlando Hernandez in the Cabinet Room of the White House in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House announced its intention on Tuesday to establish refugee processing in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to try to deter unaccompanied children from resorting to crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on their own. The announcement was made in a memorandum to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that also said the admission of up to 70,000 refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2015 is justified by humanitarian concerns. ...


30 September 2014

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) listens while US President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House September 30, 2014 in Washington, DCWashington (AFP) - The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.


30 September 2014

We cannot bomb IS into obscurity: US military

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby answers questions at the Pentagon August 22, 2014 in Arlington, VirginiaWashington (AFP) - The US military cannot bomb the Islamic State group into "obscurity," it cautioned Tuesday, appealing for patience in its escalating attempts to defeat the jihadists in Syria and Iraq.


30 September 2014

US Marines crisis unit to deploy to Mideast

US Marines from Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion 8th Marines Regiment conduct a patrol in Garmser, Helmand Province on June 29, 2012Washington (AFP) - The US Marine Corps plans to deploy 2,300 troops to the Middle East for a new unit designed to quickly respond to crises in the volatile region, the Pentagon said Tuesday.