2 September 2014

Alaska Senate hopefuls pull ads mentioning deaths

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Television ads in Alaska's U.S. Senate race have been pulled by the two major party candidates after complaints from the family of two slaying victims.

2 September 2014

Candidates in Alaska governor's race join forces

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The independent and Democratic candidates for Alaska governor say they are merging their campaigns to give them a better shot at unseating Republican incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell.

2 September 2014

Paul Ryan blames Obama in rise of Islamic State

MILWAUKEE (AP) — U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan blamed the Obama administration Tuesday for contributing to the circumstances that led to the swift ascent of the Islamic State, a militant group that purportedly beheaded a second American journalist in two weeks.

2 September 2014

NATO coalition in Afghanistan shrinking

FILE - This April 30, 2014 file photo shows Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers standing guard during a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan National Security Forces depend exclusively on billions of dollars in funding from the US and its allies, money that is now at risk after President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a security agreement to keep a small U.S. force of trainers in the country after the NATO-led coalition ends its mission and withdraws at the end of the year. Alongside the exodus of US troops from Afghanistan before the end of the year, soldiers who hail from countries like Singapore and Slovenia, Mongolia and Malaysia have been packing up too, leaving behind an ever-shrinking NATO coalition. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Alongside the exodus of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, soldiers who hail from countries like Singapore and Slovenia, Mongolia and Malaysia have been packing up too, leaving behind an ever-shrinking NATO coalition.


2 September 2014

IMF board member says Fund taking big risks with Ukraine loan

The logo of the International Monetary Fund at the organization's headquarters in Washington, DC on May 16, 2011Brazil's representative at the International Monetary Fund has warned that the Fund risked making the "same mistake" with its rescue loan to Ukraine as it did in Greece. The Fund's $17 billion loan program for Kiev set in April "is flawed, or questionable at least," said Paulo Nogueira Batista, executive director in the IMF for Brazil and ten other countries, in a statement to the board obtained Tuesday by AFP. Speaking on his own behalf last week as the board met to release more funds to Ukraine, Nogueira Batista noted that the first IMF-European Union bailout plan for Greece foundered in part because the restructuring of the country's huge debt was undertaken at the beginning. "Is the Fund not yet again avoiding or unduly delaying the issue of debt restructuring?" he asked the board.


2 September 2014

US rejects Norwegian Air bid for US-Europe flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a case that has labor and trade policy implications, the Obama administration on Tuesday rejected a request that would have immediately permitted a low-cost air carrier to begin flights between the U.S. and Europe while the government is still reviewing its application for new service.

2 September 2014

Jury deliberations begin in corruption trial of Virginia ex-governor

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell arrives with his legal team for his trial in RichmondBy Gary Robertson RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - Jury deliberations began on Tuesday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, who are charged with accepting sweetheart loans and lavish gifts from a businessman. The jury of seven men and five women began deciding the fate of McDonnell and Virginia's former first lady, Maureen McDonnell, both 60, after receiving instructions from U.S. McDonnell and his wife face a 14-count indictment charging they accepted $177,000 in loans and gifts from dietary supplement entrepreneur Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for using the governor's office to promote Williams' company and its main product, the anti-inflammatory Anatabloc. If convicted on all charges, the McDonnells could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and be ordered to pay hefty fines.


2 September 2014

Russia and NATO square off over Ukraine

Russia declared NATO a major "threat" on Tuesday after the Western military alliance announced plans to reinforce defences in eastern Europe because of the Kremlin's perceived stoking of war in Ukraine. Moscow's surprise declaration of a shift in its military doctrine came just ahead of a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday at which beleaguered Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will lobby US President Barack Obama for military support.

2 September 2014

'Islamic State' extremists murder second US reporter

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on September 2, 2014, purportedly shows 31-year-old US freelance writer Steven SotloffThe so-called "Islamic State" has murdered a second American reporter, releasing another video Tuesday showing a masked militant with a British accent cutting the throat of a US captive. In the latest footage, the 31-year-old reporter Steven Sotloff calmly addresses the camera to say he is a victim of President Barack Obama's decision to press on with air strikes against the jihadists. "I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State," the black-clad jihadist says, wielding a combat knife and speaking in a London accent. This was a reference to a video issued last month in which US journalist James Foley was murdered, again by a suspected British foreign fighter, and in almost identical fashion.


2 September 2014

US war reporter Sotloff remembered as brave and fun

A file photo dated June 2, 2011, courtesy Etienne de Malglaive, shows American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with dark helmet) talking to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front lineSteven Sotloff, the second US journalist murdered by Islamic State militants, was a respected reporter as well known for his irreverent humor as for his sensitive approach to Middle East conflicts. "He is a journalist who made a journey to cover the story of Muslims suffering at the hands of tyrants," Sotloff's mother, Shirley said in a last ditch appeal for mercy last week. In a video showing the beheading of fellow US journalist James Foley, militants had warned Sotloff would be next if President Barack Obama did not halt raids against the Islamic State in Iraq. On Tuesday, a video released by the same jihadist group showed the murder of 31-year-old Sotloff, just over a year after he had been taken captive while crossing the frontier from Turkey to Syria.


2 September 2014

Boko Haram attacks prompt concern for Nigeria's northeast

A woman walks past burnt houses after an attack by Boko Haram Islamists on February 20, 2014 in the northeast Nigerian town of BamaBoko Haram militants have reportedly seized another town in Nigeria's far northeast after heavy fighting with government troops, with experts warning the region is on the brink of a "takeover". The claims were followed by an attack by the group on a nearby border crossing with Cameroon in which 40 Boko Haram members were said to have been killed. Nigeria's military denied that the northeastern town of Bama had fallen, but residents and a local lawmaker claimed the insurgents had driven out the troops and taken control of a military base. Some analysts have predicted that by seizing territory, Boko Haram is seeking to encircle the state capital, Maiduguri, 70 kilometres (45 miles) away, to make it the centre of a hardline Islamic state.


2 September 2014

Mali bomb blast kills four UN peacekeepers

United Nations soldiers patrol on July 27, 2013 in the northern Malian city of KidalFour United Nations peacekeepers from Chad were killed Tuesday when their truck was blown up in Mali, casting a shadow over the restart of peace talks between the west African state and rebel militias. The incident came a day after negotiations began between the Mali government and six armed rebel groups in the Algerian capital aimed at clinching a lasting peace agreement in the restive, deeply-divided nation. "Four peacekeepers from Chad are reported to have been killed. Fifteen others have been wounded, including six who are reported to be seriously injured," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.


2 September 2014

Top diplomat's visit to Bahrain being 'rescheduled': US

A handout picture released by Al-Wefaq on July 7, 2014 shows US diplomat Tom Malinowski (C) meeting with Bahrain's Al-Wefaq opposition group leader Sheikh Ali Salman (L) on July 6, 2014 in Zinj, west of ManamaThe US and Bahrain are working to reschedule a visit by a top US diplomat who was expelled from the Gulf kingdom earlier this year, an American official said Tuesday. US Secretary of State John Kerry had agreed with his Bahraini counterpart in July that they would find "a mutually agreeable time" for Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tom Malinowski, to return to Manama. "We’re continuing to work to reschedule the visit," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. In early July, Malinowski was told he was unwelcome in the Sunni-ruled country after meeting with members of the Shiite opposition and "should immediately leave the country, due to his interference in its internal affairs."


2 September 2014

US vows all efforts to free citizens in N. Korea

This undated handout photo recieved from FreeKenNow.com on October 12, 2013 shows US citizen Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old US citizen jailed in North Korea who is also known by his Korean name Pae Jun-Ho, posing for a photo at an undisclosed locationUS officials vowed Tuesday to "leave no stone unturned" to free three Americans held by North Korea, after the men urged Washington to send an envoy to negotiate their release. As Pyongyang's minders looked on, an American reporter on an official tour was granted surprise, separate five-minute-long interviews with Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller, who provided new details about their treatment in the autocratic country. "We are in regular contact with the families," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, adding Washington had been doing "everything we can to bring these three US citizens, detained in North Korea, home."


2 September 2014

US targets Shebab leader in Somalia air strike

Ugandan soldiers with the African Union Mission in Somalia prepare to advance on the town of Kurtunwaarey in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, on August 31, 2014US forces have carried out air strikes against senior members of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels, with casualties reported but uncertainty hanging over the fate of the group's leader, officials said Tuesday. "The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shebab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr," said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region. Abu-Zubayr is the often-used name for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world's eight top terror fugitives. We can't give further details until we get additional information on the exact number of casualties, but what I know is that the target was the leadership," government spokesman Ridwan Haji Abdiweli told reporters.


2 September 2014

Brazil set to keep rates on hold

A man arrives at the Brazilian Central Bank building in Brasilia, on May 29, 2012Brazil's central bank will keep its key interest rate on hold at 11 percent a month before its presidential vote despite a recession and inflationary pressures, analysts indicated Tuesday. Though Latin America's largest economy slid into recession last week, analysts believe the need to rein in inflation which in July crept above an official 6.5 percent ceiling outweighs stimulating consumer spending and easing access to credit via a cut. Brazil is in a fourth year of anemic growth and the 2014 forecast is for just a 0.52 percent rise in GDP. There is a small chance of a cut but the possibility is very small given inflation remains high," said Pedro Tuesta, chief economist of US consultancy 4Cast.


2 September 2014

U.S. strikes Somali militant camp in bid to kill al Shabaab leader

The United States launched Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions to destroy an al Shabaab encampment in south-central Somalia late on Monday, the Pentagon said. After the Westgate mall attack, Navy SEALS stormed ashore into the al Shabaab stronghold of Barawe, where a regional official said the latest air strike was also launched, but they failed to capture or kill their target.

2 September 2014

Top Obama national security aide to visit China

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks on March 21, 2014 in Washington, DCWashington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama's top national security aide will visit Beijing next week, with tensions between the Pacific powers aggravated by an incident between their air forces over the South China Sea.


2 September 2014

Congress pressures Obama on IS after 2nd beheading claim

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2011US lawmakers Tuesday called for Secretary of State John Kerry to present administration policy for "rolling back" the Islamic State's gains, after the rampaging group claimed it beheaded a second American. With members of the House and Senate warning that President Barack Obama has not done enough to combat the extremist group, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said he was summoning Kerry to testify once Congress returns next week from its recess. The committee's top Democrat, Eliot Engel, said lawmakers were "horrified" by the apparent murder.


2 September 2014

Libya pro-Islamist names rival government list

Libyans gather during a protest against the new nationalist-dominated parliament on August 8, 2014, in the capital TripoliA pro-Islamist figure, Omar al-Hassi, on Tuesday presented a cabinet line-up to the outgoing General National Congress, which quickly recognised the list rivalling Libya's internationally recognised government. The interim GNC "approved Mr Hassi's government", assembly spokesman Omar Ahmidan said, without specifying if the line-up had yet been formally submitted for approval. Hassi's cabinet list is made up of 19 personalities little-known to Libya's wider public, the official Lana news agency said. Hassi, a political science lecturer at the University of Benghazi in eastern Libya, was the losing candidate in a GNC election in June for a new premier and parliament.