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Turkish army pounds north Syria, monitor says 20 civilians killed

Turkish armoured personnel carriers drive towards the border in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian borderBy Umit Bektas KARKAMIS, Turkey (Reuters) - A group monitoring the Syrian war said Turkish air strikes and artillery attacks killed at least 20 civilians and wounded dozens more on Sunday, the fifth day of Turkey's cross-border campaign that it says targets Islamic State and Kurdish forces. Turkey's warplanes roared into north Syria at daybreak and its artillery pounded what security sources said were sites held by Kurdish YPG militia, after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fierce overnight fighting around villages. There was no immediate comment from the YPG, but forces aligned to the Kurdish group had said on Saturday that no Kurdish militia were in areas being targeted by Turkish in the cross-border offensive.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:00:18 -0400
Half of Germans against Merkel serving fourth term: poll

German Chancellor Merkel speaks during the news conference in WarsawGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel's domestic popularity has declined, a poll showed on Sunday, with 50 percent of Germans against her serving a fourth term in office after a federal election next year. A series of violent attacks on civilians in July, two of which were claimed by Islamic State, have focused attention on Merkel's open-door migrant policy, which allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere into Germany last year. The head of Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Frank-Juergen Weise, told the newspaper that he expects a maximum of 300,000 refugees to arrive in Germany this year.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 04:12:27 -0400
New tans, same old 'polycrisis' as Europe's summer ends

EU flags fly in front of European Central Bank headquarters in FrankfurtBy Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union grinds back into action this week after its August break, still dazed by Britain's midsummer vote to quit the EU and facing much the same "polycrisis" as a year ago: a mass of refugees, a fragile economy, hostile Russians and, yes, those Brits, now more awkward than ever. When President Jean-Claude Juncker makes his annual State of the Union address to Parliament in Strasbourg on Sept. 14, he might easily repeat last year's warning: the EU had a "last chance" to save itself from a tide of centrifugal nationalisms. Last week, the EU's remaining Big Three -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and their host, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi -- felt they needed to renew their vows at the wellspring of the union, the island of Ventotene, where in 1941 prisoners of Mussolini wrote a manifesto for a united Europe.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 01:55:07 -0400
L'Aquila is grim reminder of struggle facing Italy's quake-hit towns

Destroyed houses in Onna are seen in this aerial view near L'AquilaBy Gavin Jones L'AQUILA, Italy (Reuters) - Seven years after being devastated by an earthquake that killed more than 300 people, L'Aquila's abandoned city center is a stark reminder of the struggle facing Italian towns hit by a quake last week. "This place is one big building site," said Luca Dioletta, the owner of Bar Duomo in the L'Aquila's main square, dominated by the neoclassical cathedral which is one of few buildings not shrouded in protective tarpaulins. Bar Duomo, which opened just a month ago, is the only bar or restaurant in the square which used to teem with life before the quake struck on April 6, 2009.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:12:37 -0400
Second boycotter says will rejoin Libya's U.N.-backed government

A member of the leadership of Libya's U.N.-backed government who is close to powerful rival factions in the east of the country has said he will end his boycott of the Tripoli-based body. The decision by Ali Gatrani could strengthen the Government of National Accord (GNA), coming days after a second boycotting member of the government's nine-member leadership, or Presidential Council, said he would resume his role. Eastern factions have blocked the parliament based in the east from approving the GNA, saying they believe the U.N.-backed government is dependent on militias and is undermining eastern forces led by General Khalifa Haftar.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 04:29:16 -0400
Spain starts countdown to possible third national election in year

Spain's acting Prime Minister Rajoy gestures during a news conference at Moncloa Palace in MadridBy Sonya Dowsett MADRID (Reuters) - The clock starts ticking on Wednesday towards what could be Spain's third national election in a year when acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces a confidence vote in parliament for a second term in office. Spain has been without a functioning government since inconclusive elections in December and June failed to hand a convincing mandate to any political party. The eight-month political deadlock has delayed investments in infrastructure such as roads and rail and put high-ranking government appointments on hold, leaving some Spanish embassies without an ambassador.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 04:04:26 -0400
Irish Olympic scam suspect freed pending probe

A business identification card belonging to Kevin Mallon, director of British hospitality firm THG Sports, is displayed during a press conference at the City Police's station in Benfica, north of Rio de Janeiro, on August 8, 2016Brazilian authorities have provisionally released an Irish businessman held over an alleged ticket scam at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, one of his lawyers said. Kevin Mallon, director of British hospitality firm THG, had been held in a Rio prison since his arrest on August 5. Police said at the time that they seized hundreds of tickets from Mallon which they suspect were offered for sale for thousands of dollars.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:11:31 -0400
Libya forces push into last IS-held areas of Sirte

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government gather next to tanks on August 27, 2016 in Sirte during a military operation to clear the Islamic State group from the citySirte (Libya) (AFP) - Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government pushed Sunday into the last areas of Sirte held by the Islamic State group in what was the jihadists' coastal stronghold, a spokesman said.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:09:42 -0400
College football Down Under attracts 61,000 fans at Sydney

California Golden Bears players reach up to touch the trophy presented to them ofter defeating the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at the end the opening game of the U.S. college football season at Sydney's Olympic stadium in Sydney, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016. The last American football of any kind played in Sydney was an NFL preseason game at the Olympic stadium that attracted 73,000 spectators in 1999. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)SYDNEY (AP) The beer ran out in some sections of the Olympic stadium, but most of the 61,247 spectators at Saturday's U.S. college football opener in Sydney between California and Hawaii appeared to be enjoying their American "gridiron" experience.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:04:19 -0400
Top Asian News 10:03 a.m. GMT

NEW YORK (AP) The hero, a police inspector, prowls a city known more for its political malevolence than its street crime. If you read the local newspapers, you could think it's a city with almost no crime at all. There have been no murders reported there for years, no bank robberies, no muggings, no rapes. The city is Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, which has long hidden so many realities beneath layers of propaganda and isolation. The hero is Inspector O, a policeman who knows those realities. And so, in many ways, does the policeman's creator, the bearded man in the crowded Manhattan restaurant who calls himself James Church.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 06:03:44 -0400
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