Ukraine rebels say they are poised to recapture Donetsk airport
EU officials proposed sanctions on Tuesday to starve Russian firms of cash as punishment for Moscow's role in Ukraine, where rebels said they were storming Donetsk airport, potentially their biggest prize since turning the war's tide last week. Western countries accuse Moscow of sending armored columns of troops into Ukraine, where the momentum in a five-month war shifted last week decisively in favor of pro-Russian rebels, who are now advancing on a new front towards a major port. Russia denies its troops are involved in fighting on the ground, in the face of what Western countries and Ukraine say is overwhelming evidence. According to the United Nations, the war, in which pro-Russian separatists are fighting to throw off rule from Kiev, has killed more than 2,600 people and driven nearly a million from their homes in east Ukraine.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:30:25 -0400
Islamic State issues video of beheading of U.S. hostage: SITE
The Islamic State released a video purporting to show the beheading of American hostage Steven Sotloff, a monitoring service said on Tuesday, as the militant group raised the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. A masked figure in the video also issued a threat against a British hostage, a man the group named as David Haines, and warned governments to back off "this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State", the SITE monitoring service said.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:37:03 -0400
Syrian forces escalate assault on rebel-held Damascus district
Syrian forces carried out their fiercest assault on the rebel stronghold of Jobar in Damascus since the start of the three-year war, conducting at least 27 air strikes on Tuesday and killing a child, according to activists and rights groups. The government is trying to retake Jobar after the capture of several rebel-held areas around the center of the capital this summer, including the town of Mleiha just outside Damascus on August 14. State-run television said the army had gained ground in Jobar, located on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, and aired footage of rubble and tunnels it said had been used by rebels. Although insurgents have been prevented from taking central Damascus, President Bashar al-Assad's forces are worried they will reach it by digging tunnels from the sprawling suburbs and outlying towns under their control.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:33:19 -0400
U.S. military strike in Somalia targeted al Shabaab leader
If Godane were killed, it would be a major victory against the al Shabaab militants fighting the Western-backed government of Somalia, which is also supported by African Union troops. Since taking charge in 2008, Godane has restyled the group as a global player in the al Qaeda franchise - a transformation that was highlighted when it killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Kenyan shopping mall in September last year.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:34:31 -0400
EU's new leadership trio may surprise on upside
By Paul Taylor and Robin Emmott PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - At first sight, the European Union's new leadership team looks like a missed opportunity. Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini seem a less than ideal crew to tackle the EU's biggest challenges - dynamising a stagnant economy, standing up to Russia over Ukraine and preventing Britain from drifting away from Europe. The former Luxembourg prime minister, current Polish prime minister and Italian foreign minister bring a combination of wily west European compromise building, stolid central European determination and youthful Mediterranean exuberance to the task. This was the year when the 28-nation bloc had an opportunity to choose a new set of top officials after many voters expressed their disenchantment with the EU through mass abstention and big protest votes in European Parliament elections in May. But rather than reach for the most talented statesmen and women - EU luminaries like France's Pascal Lamy, Italy's Mario Monti or Sweden's Carl Bildt - national leaders preferred to play safe by picking a trio of relatively low-profile figures unlikely to threaten their own dominance of European policy.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:25:00 -0400
African leaders seek fund to fight militant groups
By Drazen Jorgic and Edith Honan NAIROBI (Reuters) - African leaders proposed on Tuesday creating a special fund to combat Islamist militant groups growing in strength from Kenya to Nigeria. African Union (AU) states announced the idea after Nairobi talks on a problem highlighted on Tuesday by capture of a town in north-eastern Nigeria by Boko Haram militants. A senior European Union official also told the summit that Islamic State's gains in Iraq and Syria, where it controls vast swathes of territory, could help set off a competition between it and al Qaeda to become the leading Islamist militant group in Africa.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:58:33 -0400
China's Peng Shuai into US Open semi-finals
Unseeded Peng Shuai of China swept past Swiss teen Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the US Open semi-finals. Peng joins two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na and Zheng Jie as the only Chinese to reach the final four of a Grand Slam -- and she did it in her 37th appearance in a major tournament. "Thirty-seven times Grand Slam," Peng said, then had to stop the thought as she struggled to contain her emotions. "My coach and my parents always told me to fight and not give up -- that today was coming." Peng, who has reached the semi-finals without dropping a set, was in charge from the beginning against Bencic, the unseeded 17-year-old who was already the youngest US Open quarter-finalist since Martina Hingis won the title at 16 in 1997.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:41:41 -0400
Brazil squanders oil bonanza even as Rousseff declares victory
By Jeb Blount RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has put her government's oil policies front and center in her re-election campaign. The message: her leftist government is turning an offshore oil bonanza into schools, hospitals and jobs, propelling Brazil into the ranks of developed nations. Brazil's oil industry may be large and growing, but little of what Rousseff promised when elected in 2010 - or before then as energy minister or chairwoman of state-run energy giant Petrobras - has come to pass. Instead, industry experts and Rousseff's election rivals say her policies have led to stagnant oil output, increased dependence on imports and waning investor confidence despite Brazil's huge potential.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:40:57 -0400
US family grieving over new beheading video
WASHINGTON (AP) A family spokesman says relatives of freelance journalist Steven Sotloff are aware of a new video purporting to show his beheading by Islamic State militants.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:40:29 -0400
Putin's '2 weeks to Kiev' out of context: aide
MOSCOW (AP) A Kremlin aide on Tuesday sharply criticized EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for breaching confidentiality when he quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying Moscow could take over Kiev in two weeks, if it wished.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:39:36 -0400
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