Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tens of thousands march on Pakistan’s parliament

ISLAMABAD — Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes marched on Pakistan’s parliament Tuesday, removing barriers blocking them from soldiers guarding the seat of the country’s government. The protesters, wearing masks and carrying makeshift shields, hammered through barbed wire and locks connecting shipping containers together that authorities put […]

Women stoned to death in Syria for adultery

BEIRUT — A cleric read the verdict before the truck came and dumped a large pile of stones near the municipal garden. Jihadi fighters then brought in the woman, clad head to toe in black, and put her in a small hole in the ground. When residents gathered, the fighters told them to carry out […]

Ukraine rebel leader asks for aid, cease-fire

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine’s rebels are surrounded and ready to agree to a cease-fire to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe,” the insurgents’ new leader said Saturday as conditions deteriorated in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, artillery thundering through deserted streets. There was no immediate government response to the cease-fire statement. The government has made steady advances […]

Gaza talks on hold, Israeli delegation stays home

JERUSALEM — Egyptian-brokered talks between Israel and Hamas on a new border deal for Gaza were thrown into doubt Saturday after senior officials said an Israeli team would not rejoin negotiations in Cairo unless rocket fire from Gaza stops. A day after the end of a temporary truce, cross-border attacks continued Saturday, though at a […]

Troops, volunteers dig through China quake debris

LUDIAN, China — About 10,000 troops used pickaxes and backhoes to clear roads and dig residents from collapsed homes Tuesday after an earthquake in southwest China that killed 589 people. Groups of volunteers, meanwhile, used their bare hands. Jackson Zeng joined about two dozen classmates who headed to Yunnan province’s Ludian county, where Sunday’s 6.1-magnitude earthquake […]

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

MINNEAPOLIS — An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa may seem like a distant threat to many Americans, but it is causing some to cancel travel plans and stirring fear in Minnesota, which has the largest Liberian immigrant population in the United States. The potentially Ebola-related death last week of a Liberian government official whose […]

Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A leading doctor who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients died Tuesday from the disease, officials said, as a major regional airline announced it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people. Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, who […]

Lax security at crash site hampers investigations

HRABOVE, Ukraine — When international monitors and Malaysian aviation experts arrived Tuesday at the two main sites where the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 smashed into the undulating countryside of eastern Ukraine, there was almost no perimeter tape. The only security consisted of two armed men who did not stop reporters from walking across […]

Plane crash bodies removed from war zone

KHARKIV, Ukraine — A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner finally reached Ukrainian government-held territory Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to allow the full-scale investigation demanded by world leaders. Five days after the plane was blown out of the sky, refrigerated railcars bearing […]

AP interview: Israel’s Peres defends airstrikes

JERUSALEM — Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that the killing of Palestinian civilians by air raids on Gaza presents a moral dilemma, but argued there is scant alternative as long as the Islamic militants who rule the strip refuse to stop sustained rocket fire against Israel. “There is a moral problem, but I don’t […]

Israel: Hamas to pay price for its ‘no’ to truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of Gaza on Tuesday and warned that Hamas “would pay the price” after the Islamic militant group rejected an Egyptian truce plan and instead unleashed more rocket barrages at the Jewish state, causing the first Israeli death in eight days of fighting. In Gaza, 194 […]

Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ changes the face of battle

JERUSALEM — Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system has emerged as a game-changer in the current round of violence with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, shooting down dozens of incoming rockets and being credited with preventing numerous civilian casualties. By shooting down more than 90 percent of its targets, the system is ensuring Israel’s decisive […]

Gaza dead tops 85 as Israel presses its offensive

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Al Haj family never heard it coming: An Israeli missile smashed into their home in the middle of the night, destroying the structure and killing eight relatives in a matter of seconds. A survivor said all the dead were civilians. As Israel intensified its bombardment Thursday of the Gaza […]

Germany kicks out top US spy over espionage claims

BERLIN — Germany on Thursday demanded Washington’s top spy in Berlin leave the country as a new round of allegations of U.S. espionage worsened the friction between the two allies. The immediate trigger was the emergence of two new cases of alleged American spying. They inflamed a furor that erupted last year when it was […]

Perez’s recount sends politics into uncharted territory

California politics is meandering into uncharted procedural and legal territory with former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s go-for-broke decision to seek a vote recount in his duel with Board of Equalization member Betty Yee for a spot on the November state controller ballot. Although 1.76 million Californians voted for one of the two Democrats on […]

State faces dicey new round of base closings

When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asked Congress the other day to authorize a new round of military base closings and consolidations in 2017, alarm bells should have gone off in many parts of California. This state has been victimized more than any other in the past two such rounds, with profound economic effects in many […]

Batson column ignores history

Jack Batson’s column of June 30 (“Beware of claims that misuse history”) is typical of those who believe the “it can’t happen here” theory. Mr. Batson is a bright guy who believes that no one should have a weapon because the government will take care of us. He says the citizens of this country would never […]

Lucas decision is a loss for SF

After hearing all the complaints about the George Lucas location, his decision to go elsewhere to build his museum should be a wake-up call to all the do-gooders in San Francisco who think they can direct and control who and what the city establishes as business and entertainment for the visiting public who enjoy different aspects of […]

Question of the week: Do you agree with the ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision?

The Supreme Court ruled last week that for religious reasons, businesses can deny insurance coverage for contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. Do you agree with the decision? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s poll: In light of the high fire danger, should Suisun City reconsider selling fireworks? Yes: 75 percent No: 25 percent 160 […]

Video purportedly shows extremist leader in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A man purporting to be the leader of the Sunni extremist group that has declared an Islamic state in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria has made what would be his first public appearance, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq’s second-largest city, according to a video posted online Saturday. The […]

Palestinian teen burned to death, autopsy shows

RAMALLAH, West Bank — An autopsy showed an Arab teenager who Palestinians say was killed in a revenge attack was burned to death, officials said Saturday, while Palestinian militants fired two rockets toward a major southern city deeper into Israel than any other attack in the current round of violence. The Israeli military said its […]

Ukraine claims victory in rebel stronghold

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian troops forced pro-Russian insurgents out of a key stronghold in the country’s embattled east on Saturday, a significant success that suggested the government may finally be making gains in a months-long battle against a spreading separatist insurgency. As rebels fled from Slovyansk, vowing to regroup elsewhere and fight on, President Petro […]

NATO signals no new members for the present

BRUSSELS — Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, NATO has been mulling how to react, but it is ruling out one option: rapid expansion. Four would-be members, including the former Soviet republic of Georgia, have been informed that admission to NATO isn’t in the cards anytime soon. For some, that means dashed hopes. Macedonia’s foreign […]

Dutch court: Black Pete is a negative stereotype

AMSTERDAM — An Amsterdam court ruled Thursday that the traditional figure known as Black Pete — the sidekick to the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus — is a negative stereotype of black people and the city must rethink its involvement in holiday celebrations involving him. Debate over Zwarte Piet has raged in the Netherlands in […]

Ukraine’s president shakes up military leadership

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shook up his faltering military Thursday, appointing a new defense minister and top general while speaking angrily about the years of decay and corruption that left the forces unable to deal effectively with the well-armed eastern insurgency. His tougher tone, analysts say, reflects public pressure to continue the […]

Kurdish leader calls for independence referendum

BAGHDAD — The leader of Iraq’s Kurdish north called on lawmakers in the self-rule region’s parliament to take the necessary steps toward holding a referendum on independence, a move that would likely spell the end of a unified Iraq. Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdish territory has long been a beacon of stability and prosperity, while much […]

Pro-Russian rebels capture police HQ in Ukraine

DONETSK, Ukraine — The Interior Ministry headquarters in eastern Ukraine’s largest city fell to pro-Russia separatists Tuesday after a five-hour gunbattle that erupted hours after the Ukrainian president said the rebels were not serious about peace and ended a cease-fire. The shaky cease-fire had given European leaders 10 days to search for a peaceful settlement, […]

Japan’s Cabinet eases post-WWII limits on military

TOKYO — Since Japan’s defeat in World War II, its military has been shackled by restrictions imposed by a victorious U.S. and that, over time, a majority of Japanese adopted as their own. Now, the shackles are being loosened. Japan’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist postwar constitution that will allow […]

Egypt’s army says ‘virus cure’ needs more tests

CAIRO — Egypt’s military said Saturday that a device it claimed it invented to cure AIDS and hepatitis C needs six more months of testing. The army had earlier promised to reveal the technology to the public this coming Monday after making what experts dismissed as an outlandish claim last February. At a news conference […]