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Optimism fades as talks to resume on Gaza war

CAIRO (AP) — A Palestinian negotiator said Sunday his side is "less optimistic" about indirect talks with Israel over the Gaza war as a deadline on a temporary cease-fire looms.


Pope makes biggest gesture yet to China, eyes ties

HAEMI, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis made his strongest gesture yet to reach out to China on Sunday, saying he wants to improve relations and insisting that the Catholic Church isn't coming in as a "conqueror" but is rather a partner in dialogue.


Samsung extends deal as Olympics top sponsor to 2020

South Korea's Samsung has extended its top sponsorship contract as an Olympics worldwide partner to 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sunday. Samsung, who first signed up as a top sponsor with the IOC in 1998 and was a local sponsor at the 1988 Seoul Olympics as well, will support all Games up until and including Tokyo 2020. "We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with Samsung," said IOC President Thomas Bach in a statement. "The funding generated by the TOP Programme directly supports the staging of every Olympic Games, as well as every one of the National Olympic Committees, enabling athletes from all over the world to prepare for and compete at each Games." The 2016 summer Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro while the 2018 winter Olympics will be staged in South Korea's Pyeongchang.


Dubai bars world's most pierced man: report

Rolf Buchholz, the world's most pierced man, has been barred from Dubai, where he was turned back at the airport on his way to a hotel appearance, a newspaper reported on Sunday. A spokesman for the hotel where Buchholz was scheduled to appear said its management had failed "despite all its attempts" to win permission for him to enter the emirate, the report added. Dubai is considered the most open of the conservative Gulf monarchies. Vowing never to return to Dubai though his luggage was still there, Buchholz said on Twitter: "At the end I got an answer why I can't enter Dubai.


Bold finish gives Jeffress Fiji International golf title

Australian Steve Jeffress recorded the biggest win of his 15-year career with a strong finish to shut out compatriot Jake Higginbottom in the inaugural $1.0 million Fiji International on Sunday. In an absorbing head-to-head on the final day, the seasoned Jeffress, 38, fired three birdies in the final four holes to finish on two-under 70, 10 under for the tournament and four strokes clear of the 20-year-old Higginbottom. After starting the day sharing the lead, Higginbottom held a two-shot advantage at the turn before the wheels started to come off for the younger player when he bogeyed the 10th and the 13th. At the par-three 15th, with the frontrunners tied on seven under for the tournament, Higginbottom hit a poor tee shot into a hazard short of the green.


Britain's Brook wins IBF welterweight title

England's Kell Brook stretched his perfect record to 33 straight wins by beating Shawn Porter by a majority decision to capture the International Boxing Federation's world welterweight title. The 28-year-old Brook, who was taking part in the first title fight of his career, improved to 33-0, with 22 knockouts as he handed Porter the first loss of his career. "I took it off him in his backyard," Brook said. Brook, of Sheffield, England, won handily on two judges scorecards, 117-111 and 116-112, while a third scored it a draw, 114-114.


Displaced Iraq Yazidis left hungry and desperate

Scores of Yazidis, mainly children, who fled as jihadists overran their villages in northern Iraq are now sheltering in an abandoned construction site on the outskirts of Dohuk city. While they have found safety in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, the members of the Yazidi religious minority have little to celebrate, having lost loved ones, homes and their belongings. Four-year-old Alia, who arrived with five relatives, sobs with hunger on her mother Hazika Ahmed's knees. The children's father Nuweil Qassem Murad, a shepherd, was kidnapped by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group as its fighters advanced in Iraq's Nineveh province from August 3, targeting minority groups and forcing many to flee.


Mao's archenemy Chiang Kai-shek part of mainstream

BEIJING (AP) — Photos of Mao's archenemy Chiang Kai-shek adorn the walls of a Beijing restaurant, and his face looks up at diners from the menu. Online, the deposed Chinese leader's image is used to sell the kinds of lamps and swords he might have used. A liquor brand has patterned its bottle on Chiang's memorial in Taipei.


Prosecutor: Couple sexually abused 2 Amish sisters

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) — The northern New York couple charged in the kidnapping of two young Amish sisters were prowling for easy targets and sexually abused the girls before letting them go, authorities say.


Pope tells Asia's communist nations not to fear Christians

By Philip Pullella HAEMI South Korea (Reuters) - Pope Francis, in remarks clearly intended for communist-ruled countries such as China, North Korea and Vietnam, said on Sunday that Asian governments should not fear Christians as they did not want to "come as conquerors" but be integral parts of local cultures. Francis made his comments, some of them unscripted, in an address to about 70 bishops from 35 Asian countries gathered in the town of Haeme, south of Seoul, on the next-to-last day of his trip to South Korea. He told them the Church was committed to dialogue with everyone, saying: "In this spirit of openness to others, I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship, may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all." Francis then added, in unscripted remarks, that he was talking of "not just political dialogue but also fraternal".


Scotland claims on national treasure fuel independence row

Debt, North Sea oil and the pound sterling are just some of the economic issues pitting Edinburgh against London ahead of Scotland's independence referendum in one month's time. First Minister Alex Salmond, the nationalist leader, insists Scotland must receive a favourable share of common goods in the event of a divorce, providing a base for the country to build a prosperous future on its own terms.


Pope pushes dialogue with Asian nations like China

Pope Francis on Sunday championed a "creative" Catholicism in Asia that reflects the region's diversity, and urged countries like China and North Korea to respond by fostering a proper dialogue with the Vatican. In a speech to Catholic bishops from 22 Asian countries, the pope said the Church had no choice but to adapt when communicating its message across a region of dramatic contrasts. "On this vast continent, which is home to a great variety of cultures, the Church is called to be versatile and creative," he told the bishops at a martyrs' shrine some 150 kilometres south of Seoul on the penultimate day of a visit to South Korea. It is the first papal visit for 15 years to Asia -- a region the Vatican sees as having enormous growth potential to offset dwindling numbers in the United States and Europe.


Price helps Tigers beat Mariners 4-2

DETROIT (AP) — David Price pitched eight innings of one-run ball, and the Detroit Tigers snapped Seattle's five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Saturday night.


US rethinks giving excess military gear to police

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a decade of sending military equipment to civilian police departments across the country, federal officials are reconsidering the idea in light of the violence in Ferguson, Missouri.


Kurds fight to retake Iraq's largest dam after 'massacre'

Kurdish forces backed by US warplanes battled to retake Iraq's largest dam from jihadist fighters, a day after militants carried out a "massacre" of dozens of villagers. Two months of violence have brought Iraq to the brink of breakup, and world powers relieved by the exit of long-time premier Nuri al-Maliki were sending aid to the displaced and arms to the Kurds. Kurdish forces attacked the Islamic State (IS) fighters who had wrested the Mosul dam from them a week earlier, a general told AFP. "Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam" complex, Major General Abdulrahman Korini told AFP, saying several jihadists had been killed.


Champs Man City ready to roll again, says Pellegrini

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini thinks he has a stronger squad than last season as the champions prepare to begin their Premier League title defence at Newcastle on Sunday. City start their campaign with a trip to St James' Park having added a number of new faces to their ranks since last season's Premier League and League Cup triumphs. Pellegrini signed French defender Eliaquim Mangala and Brazilian midfielder Fernando from Porto, Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Malaga and French right-back Bacary Sagna on a free transfer from Arsenal.


Protesters take to streets again ahead of curfew in Ferguson

By Ellen Wulfhorst FERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - Hundreds of demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, angry at the shooting death of a black teenager by police took to the streets in the rain on Saturday night, hours ahead of a planned curfew called for by the state's governor. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency, as he and other officials seek to restore order after a week of racially charged protests and looting over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. Johnson was named by the governor this week to oversee security in the suburban St. Louis community that has been roiled by the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The mood among hundreds of protesters on a main road in Ferguson that has been the scene of recent demonstrations was tense and defiant on Saturday night, in marked contrast to the festive atmosphere of Thursday.


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