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Updated: 1 hour 55 min ago

Obama to set out plan to go on offensive against Islamic State

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 20:10

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said he will explain to Americans and congressional leaders this week his plan to "start going on some offense" against Islamic State militants, who he said could eventually become a threat to the United States. Obama will make a speech on Wednesday to "describe what our game plan's going to be," and meet congressional leaders on Tuesday to seek their support for his strategy to halt the militant Islamist group, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq. "I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we're going to deal with it and to have confidence that we'll be able to deal with it," Obama said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that aired on Sunday.

Monsoon floods kill nearly 300 in India, Pakistan

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 20:07

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed nearly 300 people in large swaths of northern India and Pakistan, officials said Sunday.

Abbas may end unity with Hamas over Gaza governance

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 18:16

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has threatened to break off a unity agreement with Hamas if the Islamist movement does not allow the government to operate properly in the Gaza Strip. The threat drew an angry reaction from Hamas, which denounced the president's allegations as "baseless" and raised fresh questions over the future of a fragile intra-Palestinian unity deal aimed at ending years of bitter rivalry. "We will not accept the situation with Hamas continuing as it is at the moment," Abbas said on arrival in the Egyptian capital late Saturday, in remarks published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA. "We won't accept a partnership with them if the situation continues like this in Gaza, where there is a shadow government... running the territory," he said.

U.S. launches airstrikes around Iraq's Haditha Dam

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 15:01

Islamic State insurgents are targeted there for the first time in a move to prevent the group from capturing the vital dam.

U.S. missionary with Ebola showing signs of improvement, wife says

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 10:15

Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-old Boston physician, arrived Friday at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment after being flown there from Liberia, one of five West African countries affected by an outbreak of the virus. "Rick is very sick and weak, but slightly improved from when he arrived yesterday," Debbie Sacra said Saturday. Sacra said she and the couple's 22-year-old son are in Nebraska, but they visited with Rick, isolated in the hospital's biocontainment unit, for about 25 minutes over a video link. She said he remembered little of his journey from Liberia and that she was "relieved to see his face and hear his voice again." Dr. Sacra contracted Ebola while working at a hospital in Liberia on behalf of the North Carolina-based Christian group SIM USA.

Wreckage of small U.S. plane believed sunk in ocean, Jamaica says

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 09:01

The plane, with an unresponsive pilot, crashed on Friday after veering far off its course to Florida and triggering a U.S. The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority said the wreckage is believed to have sunk into the ocean in an area about 6,600 feet (2,000 meters) deep. “We would have to assume that the debris sank because we didn’t find it at the surface,” Jamaica Coast Guard Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman said at a news conference on Saturday. The Jamaica Defense Force "conducted searches overnight and this morning in same location where they spotted an oil spill," she said.

Explosions in east Ukraine threaten ceasefire

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 08:56

Powerful explosions in a key frontline city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday raised fears that a day-old truce between government and rebel forces had already collapsed. Numerous explosions were heard and thick smoke was visible on the horizon of Mariupol, a government-held port city in the east of the country. A checkpoint held by Ukraine loyalists seemed to be on fire late on Saturday, according to AFP journalists close to the scene. The renewed violence came just hours after a phone call between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who agreed that a ceasefire signed on Friday "was generally being observed".

North Korea sets trial date for detained American

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 06:00

SEOUL (Reuters) - Matthew Miller, one of three detained Americans in North Korea, will face trial next week, a short statement carried by state media said on Sunday, without elaborating any further on what charges the U.S. citizen faced. Miller, of Bakersfield, California, will go to trial in North Korea on Sept. 14, the short statement said. The 26-year old was arrested in April for tearing up his visa upon his arrival in the isolated country, state media said at the time. The statement did not mention fellow U.S. ...

Singer Simone Battle found dead at West Hollywood home

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 05:39
(Reuters) - Singer Simone Battle, a member of the band G.R.L. and former contestant on the "The X-Factor" television show, has been found dead in her West Hollywood home, authorities said on Saturday. Battle was found on Friday morning and an autopsy could be conducted as soon as Sunday, said Lieutenant David Smith from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department. "Simone's incredible talent was only surpassed by the size of her heart." News of Battle's death was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

Wreckage of small U.S. plane spotted off Jamaica

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 04:46
By Aileen Torres-Bennett KINGSTON (Reuters) - Rescuers were searching on Saturday for the wreckage of a small U.S. The plane, with an unresponsive pilot, crashed on Friday after veering far off its course to Florida and triggering a U.S. "Our pilots are very confident that the sighting is consistent with that of a high impact debris field, and this has since been corroborated by a United States Coast Guard C-130 aircraft involved in the operation," the Jamaica Defence Force said in a statement on Friday. The crash killed two people aboard the plane: Larry Glazer, a real-estate executive from Rochester, New York;

Somali extremists name new leader after U.S. strike, warn of revenge

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 03:33

By Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab confirmed on Saturday that its leader Ahmed Godane had been killed in a U.S. Western governments and neighboring countries want to neutralize a group that they say has exploited Somalia's chaos to attract jihadists and train them to fight. In a statement, al Shabaab reaffirmed its affiliation to al Qaeda, and named its new leader as Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, warning its enemies to "expect only that which will cause you great distress". Little is known of al Shabaab's new leader, but a local elder who asked not be named said he had joined al Shabaab in 2006 and, like Godane, hailed from the Dir clan.

Storms cut power to more than 600,000 in Michigan, Illinois

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 02:49
(Reuters) - More than 600,000 electric customers in Michigan and Illinois lost power at the height of storms that brought heavy winds and lightning, ripping up trees, downing power lines and leaving at least two people dead, officials said on Saturday. An Illinois woman died Saturday of injuries she sustained when she was struck by a falling tree and a Michigan man was electrocuted after touching a power line, local media said. Molly Glynn, 46, died at NorthShore Evanston Hospital on Saturday, hospital spokeswoman Colette Urban said. Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Corp unit, reported more than 174,000 customers lost power in Illinois in Friday's storms.

Obama to delay immigration action

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 00:54

The president decides to delay any executive action until after November elections.

Syrian strikes on Islamic State stronghold kill 25

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 00:45
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria launched a series of airstrikes targeting a stronghold of the Islamic State extremist group on Saturday, killing at least 25 people, most of whom died when one of the missiles slammed into a crowded bakery, activists said.

Pennsylvania mother who gave daughter abortion pill gets prison

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 23:24
By David DeKok HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for obtaining so-called abortion pills online and providing them to her teenage daughter to end her pregnancy. Jennifer Ann Whalen, 39, of Washingtonville, a single mother who works as a nursing home aide, pleaded guilty in August to obtaining the miscarriage-inducing pills from an online site in Europe for her daughter, 16, who did not want to have the child. Whalen was sentenced on Friday by Montour County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Norton to serve 12 months to 18 months in prison for violating a state law that requires abortions to be performed by physicians. The felony offense called for up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Next for former Va. governor: sentencing, appeal

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 22:26

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys aren't through fighting over the fate of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

Ukraine cease-fire holds, exchange of POWs planned

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 18:30

Both residents and combatants said they do not expect the ceasefire to last long.

Rebel leaders accuse Ukraine forces of breaking ceasefire

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 16:42

Pro-Russian rebels ivowed to pursue their independence drive in the east.

Guns silent as Ukraine truce holds

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 14:53

The guns remained silent over eastern Ukraine on Saturday as a truce between Ukraine and pro-Kremlin insurgents appeared to be holding despite concerns it will fail to halt the separatist drive in the east. The 12-point pact signed on Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk is the first backed by both the Kremlin and Kiev since bands of Russian-speaking militias seized a string of government buildings across Ukraine's industrial heartland in early April. Highly sceptical Western leaders nonetheless decided to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin over what they see as Moscow's "aggression" in the former Soviet state. Western governments agreed to beef up sanctions on Russian state firms while NATO member states approved a rapid reaction force aimed at reassuring jittery eastern European states.

Malaysia to send team to jet crash site in Ukraine

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 14:48

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia aims to send a search team to the crash site in Ukraine of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 before winter sets in to gather physical evidence to prove that it was shot down, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday.