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Turkish mining company denies negligence

SOMA, Turkey (AP) — Senior Turkish officials denied allegations of lax government oversight and a Turkish mining company defended its safety record Friday, four days after at least 284 people died in an underground blaze at a coal mine in western Turkey.

Firefighters battle raging San Diego wildfires

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - California firefighters were battling wind-whipped wildfires on Friday, as some 125,000 people fled their homes in the San Diego area and police arrested at least two people on arson-related charges. The cluster of fires comes as California enters its peak fire season amid its worst drought in decades. Crews made some progress against the fires, which have scorched thousands of acres this week across Southern California. But they had only a tenuous grip on the so-called Cocos Fire, which was threatening the northern San Diego county communities of San Marcos and Escondido.

Flare-up keeps California firefighters on edge

SAN MARCOS, Calif. (AP) — As calmer winds allowed firefighters to make progress on nine fires burning in San Diego County, one of the most serious blazes suddenly roared Thursday afternoon burning close to homes, triggering thousands of new evacuation orders and keeping the situation tenuous.

Exclusive: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks

By Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi VIENNA (Reuters) - Despite apparently reducing illicit purchases that breach U.N. sanctions, Iran is pursuing development of ballistic missiles, a confidential U.N. report says, posing an acute challenge to six powers negotiating with Tehran to rein in its nuclear program. He decreed mass production of ballistic weapons, striking a defiant tone just before nuclear talks resumed on Wednesday in Vienna. Tehran's often repeated view that missiles should not be part of the nuclear talks appears to enjoy the support of Russia, one of the six global powers. But a senior U.S. official made clear this week that Tehran's ballistic capabilities must be addressed in the negotiations since U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran \"among many other things, do say that any missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon must be dealt with.\" A ban on developing missiles suited to carrying a nuclear warhead is included in a 2010 Security Council resolution, its fourth - and toughest - imposed on the Islamic Republic for defying council demands that it suspend uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities of potential use in bomb-making.

One big obstacle to #BringBackOurGirls? Nigeria’s government

“Brutal tactics.” “Record of atrocities.” “Gross violations of human rights.” Top U.S. government officials spoke those words Thursday at a Senate hearing about Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls. But they said them about Nigeria’s government and military, not the Islamic terrorist group that burst into international consciousness with its actions last month.

Reid joins Senate Dems opposed to Obama court pick

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the Obama administration's staunchest allies in Congress, announced his opposition Thursday to Michael Boggs' nomination to the federal bench, dealing a strong if not fatal blow to the former Georgia state lawmaker's confirmation hopes.

Turkey outraged as PM's aide kicks protester

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A video showing an aide to Turkey's prime minister kicking a protester held on the ground by special forces police sparked outrage Thursday, tarnishing the Turkish leader's image ahead of his expected run for president.

Obama at 9/11 museum: Terrorism can't break us

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama praised the new Sept. 11 museum on Thursday as "a sacred place of healing and of hope" that captures both the story and the spirit of heroism and helpfulness that followed the attacks.

GM recalls 2.7M more cars; industry on record pace

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors recalled an additional 2.7 million vehicles Thursday as a deep dive into safety issues at the nation's biggest automaker turned up more problems with some of the cars it built over the past decade.

Crews make gains on worst of San Diego fires

Winds haven't reappeared in San Diego County wildfire areas and authorities say it's a window of opportunity to make gains against flames that have scorched thousands of acres and destroyed homes.

EU energy chief: Progress in Ukraine gas row, more talks this month

By Barbara Lewis ATHENS (Reuters) - Europe's energy commissioner said on Thursday he saw progress in resolving the row over gas prices between Kiev and Moscow and expected one, perhaps two more rounds of ministerial talks on the issue before the end of May. In his latest letter to EU leaders, made public on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged them to do more to help Ukraine through its economic crisis and to resolve the standoff over gas, repeating a threat to cut exports if Kiev fails to pay in advance for June deliveries. There is some progress,\" Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU energy ministers in Athens. Putin first wrote to EU leaders last month, suggesting three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. On Monday, Oettinger is meeting Russia's energy minister and the head of Gazprom in Berlin to set a date for further talks.