Russia subs military with civilians at Syrian base

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has withdrawn all military personnel from its naval base in Syria and replaced them with civilian workers. The ministry said in Thursday’s statement that Russia has made the switch at…

Turkey probes social network ‘insults’

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish authorities are investigating people who allegedly insulted state officials or incited riots on social media, the deputy prime minister said Thursday, in a sign the government is intent on meting out punishment over…

Quelle surprise! France and EU no longer buddies

BRUSSELS (AP) — France stood at the cradle of the European Union and brought it back from crisis time and again — but now it’s the French who are turning against the creature they helped conceive after World…

Ecuador renounces trade benefits from US Congress

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s communications minister says the country is renouncing trade preferences that are up for U.S. congressional renewal. It comes as Ecuador considers the asylum request of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, which has prompted critics…

Egypt’s opposition criticizes president’s speech

CAIRO (AP) — A prominent opposition leader has criticized Egypt’s president for not offering a detailed road map for national reconciliation, saying his offer for a dialogue was a repeat of earlier proposals that never panned out. In…

Obama: Marriage benefits should cross state lines

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — President Barack Obama says the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage were a victory not just for gays and lesbians, but for American democracy. He says as president, he believes federal benefits should be…

Portuguese unions hold major anti-austerity strike

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A national 24-hour strike against austerity measures by Portuguese labor unions on Thursday brought public transport to a virtual standstill and depleted staffing levels at government offices, state-owned companies and public hospitals. Most services…

Lawyers file appeal to halt 5th Nigerian execution

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Human rights lawyers say they are filing an urgent appeal to prevent Nigerian authorities from executing by firing squad a man sentenced under the former military dictatorship. A statement Thursday says that it is…

EU strikes provisional $1.3 trillion budget deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission president says a tentative deal has been reached on a seven-year, 960-billion-euro ($1.27 trillion) budget that will come into effect next year. Jose Manuel Barroso announced the deal Thursday. He said it…

Israeli leader signals readiness to compromise

JERUSALEM (AP) — The outgoing governor of Israel’s central bank says the country should strengthen Palestinian leaders to help create an independent Palestinian state. Stanley Fischer, an American-Israeli economist who is highly respected in Israel, told Army Radio…

South Africa: Mandela improved overnight

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Members of a South African choir have prayed and sung outside a hospital where Nelson Mandela, the country’s former president, is reported to be in critical condition. In addition to the choir from the Salvation…

Suicide bomb kills 4 in Syrian capital’s Old City

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say the health of a prominent Syrian rights lawyer believed to be in government custody for more than eight months is deteriorating and has called for his release. Khalil Maatouk, 53, was abducted while…

Iran’s top leader: Nuclear solution ‘easy’

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader says a solution to the nuclear impasse with the West is “easy” if the country’s foes are serious about reaching a deal. The remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are his first…

Eiffel Tower reopens after 2-day strike

PARIS (AP) — France’s Eiffel Tower has reopened after a rare two-day workers’ strike. The union representing most of the Eiffel Tower’s 300 workers called the walkout Tuesday during negotiations this week over salary raises, company profit-sharing policy…

Red Cross says civilian centers abused in conflict

GENEVA (AP) — The president of the International Red Cross says his organization is gravely worried that hospitals, schools and religious centers are increasingly misused in armed conflicts. Peter Maurer says the International Committee of the Red Cross…

Merkel: Risks of arming Syrian rebels too high

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning against shipping weapons to Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. The German leader told Parliament on Thursday that she understands why Britain, France and the United States…

7 aboard US schooner missing in South Pacific

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand meteorologist took the last known calls from the seven people aboard an American schooner: “The weather’s turned nasty, how do we get away from it?” The phone calls and texts…

Japan gets 1st reprocessed nuclear fuel since 2011

TOKYO (AP) — A nuclear power plant on Thursday received the first shipment of reprocessed reactor fuel to arrive in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, although it will not be used until the facility gets government approval…

Italy: Journalist missing in Syria still alive

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s foreign minister says that officials continued to press for the release of a reporter for the Turin daily La Stampa missing in Syria since April. Emma Bonino told private Radio 24 on Thursday that…

3 feminists: Tunisian prison stay was humiliating

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Three European feminist activists who were jailed after a topless courthouse protest in Tunisia last month were freed overnight after a court lifted their prison sentence. They left Tunisia on Thursday morning. The two…