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Syrian rebels attack peacekeepers in Golan Heights

U.N. peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, also known as UNDOF, observe Syria's Quneitra province at an observation point on Mount Bental in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, overlooking the border with Syria, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. An armed group detained more than 40 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and over 80 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said. ( AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)Rebels holding dozens of Fijian U.N. peacekeepers hostage attacked Filipino troops in the Golan Heights on Saturday, officials said.


EU set to slap new sanctions on Russia

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko makes a statement, at Boryspil airport in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Poroshenko canceled his visit to Turkey on Thursday due to a "sharp escalation of the situation in the Donetsk region, particularly in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo, as Russian forces have entered Ukraine," he said in the statement. (AP Photo/Mikhail Palinchak)European Union leaders condemn continued destabilization of Ukraine and a deepening military involvement by Moscow.


Housing group: 20 years to rebuild Gaza

A celebrator carries a rocket decoy, during a celebration by the Muslim Brotherhood movement to declare victory of Gaza and Hamas against Israel, in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Thousands of followers and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Jordan celebrate what they call " Hamas' Victory" against Israel. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An international organization involved in assessing post-conflict reconstruction says it will take 20 years for Gaza's battered and neglected housing stock to be rebuilt following the war between Hamas and Israel.


U.S. authorities investigate suspected threat against Obama: reports

U.S. President Obama arrives onboard Air Force One at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York(Reuters) - Authorities in Connecticut on Friday were investigating a possible threat against President Barack Obama, local media reported. The U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for presidential security, issued a statement saying, "Information has been received by law enforcement regarding a potentially suspicious person and vehicle. We are working with our local law enforcement partners to determine the validity of the information provided. ...


Florida schools make play for scholastic chess curriculum

By Zachary Fagenson FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. (Reuters) - Leaning over chess boards in the middle of classes, seven- and eight-year-olds in one of Florida's largest school districts furrow their brows as they plot moves toward a checkmate. The chess games are part of a weekly lesson given to all 34,000 second- and third-graders in Broward County Public Schools, the sixth-biggest district in the nation, in one of the largest such curriculum experiments in the country. "The act of sitting and filling in a bubble sheet is work." The initiative builds on growing numbers of school-age children playing chess in the United States. Along with Florida, thousands of students in New York City and Chicago are learning chess in school, also taught in major districts in Texas, Michigan and Washington state, among others.

U.S. judge halts major part of Texas law restricting abortions

District Judge Lee Yeakel said the so-called "ambulatory surgical center requirement" was unjust because it placed an undue burden on women by reducing the number of clinics where they could seek abortions and the regulations had no compelling public health interests. "The court concludes, after examining the act and the context in which it operates, that the ambulatory-surgical center requirement was intended to close existing licensed abortion clinics," Yeakel wrote in the decision. The requirement was to have gone into effect on Sept. 1. Under it, clinics would have had to meet a set of building standards ranging from widening halls to having facilities for certain surgeries that abortion rights advocates said were unnecessary, especially when an abortion is medically induced.

20 miners rescued, 5 still missing in Nicaragua collapse

A miner is moved on a stretcher after being rescued in an operation to reach a group of miners trapped in a gold mine in the community of El Comal, near Bonanza in northeastern Nicaragua, on August 29, 2014There had been 28 "guiriseros," or informal gold miners, working in the shaft when the mouth of the mine caved.


Ukraine says fighter jet shot down

Comrades and Crimea's self-defense fighters carry the coffin of former paratrooper Alexander Gusev, 46, covered by Russian paratroopers flag, who was killed during clashes with Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine, during his funeral in Simferopol, Crimea, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo)KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian forces say one of their fighter jets has been shot down by a Russian missile in combat against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.


Minister: Lesotho military seize police HQ, jam radio stations

File photo shows members of the Lesotho military. The military seized control of the tiny African kingdom's police headquarters and jammed radio stations and phones in the early hours Saturday, a government minister saidSoldiers have seized control of police headquarters in the tiny African kingdom, a government minister says.


Palestinian president: Hamas caused prolonged war

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with Palestinian businessmen from East Jerusalem to set up a national fund to support the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas has accused Hamas of needlessly extending fighting in the Gaza Strip, causing a high death toll. He told Palestine TV in remarks broadcast Friday, Aug. 29, that "it was possible for us to avoid all of that, 2,000 martyrs, 10,000 injured, 50,000 houses (damaged or destroyed)." (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi, File)Palestine's president blames Hamas for extending fighting with Israel in Gaza.


Putin: 'Best not to mess with us'

Russian President Putin speaks to the media after talks with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Minsk, BelarusThe Russian president tells an assembly the nation is ready to meet any aggression.


Ethnic strife blurs Myanmar's first census in 30 years

Volunteers attend a census training course at a school in YangonBy Paul Mooney YANGON (Reuters) - Following an incomplete count due to ethnic conflicts in parts of the country, Myanmar said on Saturday that its first census in 30 years shows the population to be 51.4 million, some ten million less than expected. The provisional findings of the census, taken between March-April with support from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), was released by Minister of Immigration and Population U Khin Yi. The census was mired in controversy from the outset, as the government and UNFPA were criticized for basing the counting on 135 officially recognized ethnic groups, a classification that critics say is outdated and inaccurate. Ethnic groups said their political representation and claims to ethnicity would be compromised if they were undercounted.


EU leaders to threaten extra Russia sanctions, agree new team

Ukrainian President Poroshenko shakes hands with EC President Van Rompuy, prior to an EU summit at the European Council building in BrusselsBy Alastair Macdonald and Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders are likely to threaten Russia with new economic sanctions over its action in Ukraine on Saturday but officials and diplomats said the bloc was not yet ready to order additional penalties. At a summit in Brussels that may hand one of the Union's top jobs to Poland's prime minister, giving Vladimir Putin's critics in ex-communist Eastern Europe new influence over EU policy, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko received a demonstrative welcome from senior officials whom he urged to set new sanctions. Those include Germany, Britain and France, as well as Italy, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and expects to secure the post of EU foreign affairs chief.


11 of 24 trapped gold miners rescued in Nicaragua

Miners wait for their turn to help in the rescue operations at El Comal gold and silver mine after a landslide trapped at least 24 miners inside, in Bonanza, Nicaragua, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Rescuers on Friday located 20 of at least 24 gold miners trapped by a landslide in northern Nicaragua, but were not immediately able to bring them to safety. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)BONANZA, Nicaragua (AP) — The first 11 of 24 freelance gold miners trapped by a collapse in a mine in northern Nicaragua have been rescued and crews were working early Saturday to free more, officials said.


EU leaders to pick new foreign policy chief

Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, right, smiles as Denmark's Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard, left, and Croatia's Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic watch, during an informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. European Union foreign ministers on Friday were set to weigh adopting a tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef up economic sanctions against Russia. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are set to decide who will be the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy chief for the next five years, with Italy's top diplomat Federica Mogherini widely seen as the front-runner for the prestigious job.


Liberia reopens slum barricaded to fight Ebola

A woman, center, reacts as she and others celebrate on the streets outside of West Point, that have been closed in by Liberian security forces to stop all movement the past week in a attempt to control the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Liberia says it will open up a slum in its capital where thousands of people were barricaded to contain the spread of Ebola. Information Minister Lewis Brown says lifting the quarantine Saturday morning will not mean there is no Ebola in the West Point Slum. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Crowds celebrated in the streets of Liberia's capital on Saturday after authorities reopened a slum where tens of thousands of people had been barricaded for more than a week to contain the country's Ebola outbreak.


Indian police charge ex-minister, Malaysian tycoon in telecoms scandal

Indias Minister of Communications and Information Technology Maran looks on during the launch of CanvasM technologies in New DelhiBy Devidutta Tripathy MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's federal police have filed charges against a former minister, his media mogul brother, and a Malaysian tycoon over alleged corruption to help Malaysia's Maxis group take control of an Indian mobile phone carrier eight years ago. South Indian politician Dayanidhi Maran, who was India's telecommunications minister between 2004 and 2007; Malaysia's second-richest man T. Ananda Krishnan and his aide Augustus Ralph Marshall, are among those named in the charge sheet filed in a New Delhi court on Friday, a police spokeswoman said.


What to watch at US Open: Isner-Kohlschreiber III

Jan-Lennard Struff, of Germany, returns a shot John Isner, of the United States, during the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)NEW YORK (AP) — John Isner is not the sort to study a lot of video of past matches in order to prepare for an upcoming opponent.


California lawmakers pass first US plastic bag ban

State Senators Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, left, and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, celebrate after lawmakers approved Padilla's bill to ban single-use plastic bags at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. By a 22-15 vote, the Senate approved SB270 that makes California the first state to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The bill now goes to Gov Jerry Brown. De Leon had previously opposed the bill, but gave his support after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have approved a measure that would make the state the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.


AP NewsAlert

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine defense chief says Syrian rebels attacked Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights.