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Today in History

Today is Sunday, August 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today in History

Today is Sunday, August 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.

Moderate earthquake hits region near Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says a magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit 43 miles northwest of Fairbanks on Saturday night.

Guatemala Mayans: from victims of discrimination to perpetrators?

A member of a folk group holds a Mayan mask at the Tikal archaeological site in Peten departament, north of Guatemala city on December 20, 2012 Fearful of losing their culture and land, ethnic Maya people in Guatemala -- who have faced centuries of discrimination themselves -- drove out a group of 230 ultra-Orthodox Jews, experts say. The Jewish group's departure from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan some 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, followed failed efforts reach a deal Wednesday. "We are very pleased with the decision made by that group to avoid conflicts with (local) people," Miguel Vasquez, spokesman for the San Juan Council of Elders, told AFP by phone. Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan.


Philippine UN peacekeepers safe after 'greatest escape'

Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) drive their armoured vehicles in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the Quneitra crossing, the only border crossing between Israel and Syria, on August 30, 2014 All 75 Filipino troops serving as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights are safe after the last batch slipped away under cover of night from besieging Syrian rebels, military spokesmen said Sunday. Military chief General Gregorio Catapang called it "the greatest escape," and praised the soldiers. The troops are part of a UN peacekeeping force which has been stationed in the Golan Heights since 1974 to monitor a ceasefire between Israel and Syria. We left our (old) position but we brought all our arms," said Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala.


African extremists: Islamic State offers grim inspiration

A screen-grab from a video released by Boko Haram shows alleged members of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group at an undisclosed location on August 24, 2014 Amid fears Islamic State fighters are inspiring jihadists outside the Middle East, analysts warn it has emboldened extremists in Africa operating in voids left by weak governments and rampant corruption. The United States has described the IS group in Iraq and Syria as the strongest-ever Islamist threat with its "apocalyptic end of days" ideology. Their advance has sparked concern in Africa, with leaders from across the continent meeting Tuesday in Kenya to discuss the threat, the first such conference organised by the African Union. Islamist groups who belong to the Al-Qaeda franchise have already firmly implanted themselves across swathes of territory: from Nigeria's Boko Haram, extremists in the Sahel to Shebab fighters in the Horn of Africa.


African extremists: Islamic State offers grim inspiration

A screen-grab from a video released by Boko Haram shows alleged members of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group at an undisclosed location on August 24, 2014 Amid fears Islamic State fighters are inspiring jihadists outside the Middle East, analysts warn it has emboldened extremists in Africa operating in voids left by weak governments and rampant corruption. The United States has described the IS group in Iraq and Syria as the strongest-ever Islamist threat with its "apocalyptic end of days" ideology. Their advance has sparked concern in Africa, with leaders from across the continent meeting Tuesday in Kenya to discuss the threat, the first such conference organised by the African Union. Islamist groups who belong to the Al-Qaeda franchise have already firmly implanted themselves across swathes of territory: from Nigeria's Boko Haram, extremists in the Sahel to Shebab fighters in the Horn of Africa.


South Korea's Hur shares lead at Portland Classic golf

Hur Mi-Jung tees off on the 2nd hole during the third round of the LPGA Portland Classic on August 30, 2014 in Portland, Oregon Hur Mi-Jung led a Korean assault on the leaderboard with a two-under 70 to grab a share of the lead after the third round of the LPGA Tour's Portland Classic. Hur reached 11-under 205 after 54 holes on Saturday, making her the co-leader along with defending champ Suzann Pettersen (67) and Spain's Carlota Ciganda (70). Ryu So-Yeon also shot a 70 and is tied for fourth just one stroke back of Hur as three of the top six and five of the top 13 players are from South Korea. Second round leader Kim In-Kyung, of South Korea, and China's Lin Xi Yu (70) are tied with Ryu for fourth.


Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers who were surrounded and came under fire by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights made a daring escape, the Philippine military chief Sunday, while 44 Fijian soldiers remained in the hands of the insurgents. After coming under rebel attack Saturday, the first group of 35 Filipino peacekeepers was successfully escorted out of U.N. encampment in Breiqa by Irish and Filipino forces on board armored vehicles, said Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang and other military officials.

3 young people killed, 3 hurt in northeastern Pa. crash

3 young people killed, 3 hurt in northeastern Pa. crash Authorities say three young people are dead and three others hurt after an SUV crash in northeastern Pennsylvania.


Airstrikes and aid provide relief for Iraqi town

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission.

Impatience grows in Turkey over Syrian 'guests'

A Syrian refugee family sit on a street in Istanbul in this United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees photo from August 1, 2014 Cengiz, a street seller who plies his trade selling bread rings in the centre of Istanbul, is usually a fervent supporter of Turkey's newly-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has maintained an "open door" policy for all those fleeing Syria's civil war, with the result that there are now some 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in the country. It is these refugees who have become the source of an upsurge in tensions in Turkey, where local authorities appear to have been initially poorly prepared for the huge influx. The refugees have become an increasingly visible presence in cities including Istanbul, with entire families huddled together on carpets and begging in the middle of the pavement in the city centre.


Impatience grows in Turkey over Syrian 'guests'

A Syrian refugee family sit on a street in Istanbul in this United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees photo from August 1, 2014 Cengiz, a street seller who plies his trade selling bread rings in the centre of Istanbul, is usually a fervent supporter of Turkey's newly-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has maintained an "open door" policy for all those fleeing Syria's civil war, with the result that there are now some 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in the country. It is these refugees who have become the source of an upsurge in tensions in Turkey, where local authorities appear to have been initially poorly prepared for the huge influx. The refugees have become an increasingly visible presence in cities including Istanbul, with entire families huddled together on carpets and begging in the middle of the pavement in the city centre.


3 young people killed, 3 hurt northeastern Pa. crash

3 young people killed, 3 hurt in northeastern Pa. crash Authorities say three young people are dead and three others hurt after an SUV crash in northeastern Pennsylvania.


Airstrikes and aid provide relief for Iraqi town

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission.

Airstrikes and aid provide relief for Iraqi town

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission.

Vintage racing crash kills Connecticut man

SALISBURY, Conn. (AP) — Police say a vintage racing enthusiast is dead after a crash during a race in Connecticut.

Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city

File photo of reactors in Fukushima Prefecture By Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski IWAKI Japan (Reuters) - Like many of her neighbors, Satomi Inokoshi worries that her gritty hometown is being spoiled by the newcomers and the money that have rolled into Iwaki since the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost three and a half years ago. Property prices in Iwaki, about 60 km (36 miles) south of the wrecked nuclear plant, have jumped as evacuees forced from homes in more heavily contaminated areas snatch up apartments and land. "The situation around Iwaki is unsettled and unruly," said Ryosuke Takaki, a professor of sociology at Iwaki Meisei University, who has studied the town's developing divide. "There are many people who have evacuated to Iwaki, and there are all kinds of incidents caused by friction." HOSTS WEARY, GUESTS FRIGHTENED Residents across Fukushima prefecture hailed the first wave of workers who arrived to contain the nuclear disaster in 2011 as heroes. Cities like Iwaki also welcomed evacuees from towns closer to the meltdowns and explosions.


Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers who were surrounded and came under fire by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights made a daring escape, the Philippine military chief Sunday, while 44 Fijian soldiers remained in the hands of the insurgents. After coming under rebel attack Saturday, the first group of 35 Filipino peacekeepers was successfully escorted out of U.N. encampment in Breiqa by Irish and Filipino forces on board armored vehicles, said Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang and other military officials.

'Made In America' concert kicks off in Philly

'Made In America' concert kicks off in Philly The "Budweiser Made in America" concert kicked off in Philadelphia and is sure to have the city rocking this Labor Day weekend.


Lesotho PM flees military 'coup' for S.Africa

Soldiers atop a military vehicle leave the army barracks on August 30, 2014 in Maseru Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane said he had fled for his life across the border to South Africa, accusing the military of seizing power in a coup and leaving the country in flux. "I will return as soon as my life is not in danger... I will not go back to Lesotho to get killed." Local intelligence officers told AFP the coup was led by Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, who was recently ordered to renounce command of the Lesotho Defence Forces. "This issue of always alleging that the Lesotho defence force is mounting a coup d'etat is not a new thing," said Major Ntlele Ntoi, a military spokesman, adding that Kamoli remains in his post.


Lesotho PM flees military 'coup' for S.Africa

Soldiers atop a military vehicle leave the army barracks on August 30, 2014 in Maseru Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane said he had fled for his life across the border to South Africa, accusing the military of seizing power in a coup and leaving the country in flux. "I will return as soon as my life is not in danger... I will not go back to Lesotho to get killed." Local intelligence officers told AFP the coup was led by Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, who was recently ordered to renounce command of the Lesotho Defence Forces. "This issue of always alleging that the Lesotho defence force is mounting a coup d'etat is not a new thing," said Major Ntlele Ntoi, a military spokesman, adding that Kamoli remains in his post.


Fighter 'War Machine' sent to Nevada to face assault charges

The professional fighter known as "War Machine" was in custody in a Las Vegas jail on Saturday after being transferred from Southern California, where he was arrested for assault stemming from an ex-girlfriend's accusation that he beat her in Nevada. Jonathan Koppenhaver, an Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor, was released from jail in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, on Wednesday to be transported to Nevada, said Captain Don Aguilar, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Koppenhaver, 32, was in custody on charges including battery resulting in substantial harm, battery by strangulation and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the website for the Clark County detention center in Las Vegas.

Philippine peacekeepers rescued from militants on Golan: U.N.

By Louis Charbonneau and Avi Ohayon UNITED NATIONS/EIN ZIVAN Golan Heights (Reuters) - Thirty-two U.N. peacekeepers were rescued on Saturday from Islamist militants who fired at their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and trapped them for two days, the United Nations said. Another group of 40 Philippine U.N. peacekeepers remain trapped by Islamist militants who reinforced their siege on Saturday with fighters who arrived in more than 20 vehicles, U.N. diplomatic sources told Reuters. The peacekeeping troops are part of UNDOF, a U.N. force that has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since 1974, following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

All Filipino peacekeepers escape Golan standoff

In this photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office, Philippine Military Chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang, center, reacts after learning about the safe repositioning of Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights as they monitor the situation with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, second left, Philippine National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, third from left seated, at Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters in suburban Quezon city, Philippines on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Catapang said more than 70 Filipino peacekeepers have escaped from two areas in the Golan Heights that came under attack by Syrian rebels. (AP Photo/Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office) MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers who were surrounded and came under fire by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights made a daring escape, the Philippine military chief Sunday, while 44 Fijian soldiers remained in the hands of the insurgents.


Britain's MI6 aided torture of Nepal Maoists, book claims

File photo taken on Agust 30, 2010 shows people looking at photographs of missing people who disappeared during Nepal's decade-long Maoist insurgency in Kathmandu British authorities funded a four-year-long intelligence operation in Nepal that led to Maoist rebels being arrested, tortured and killed during the country's civil war, according to the author of a new book on Kathmandu. Launched in 2002, "Operation Mustang" targeted Maoist guerillas and saw British intelligence agency MI6 fund safe houses and provide training in surveillance and counter-insurgency tactics to Nepal's army and spy agency, the National Investigation Department (NID), writer Thomas Bell told AFP Saturday.


Britain's MI6 aided torture of Nepal Maoists, book claims

File photo taken on Agust 30, 2010 shows people looking at photographs of missing people who disappeared during Nepal's decade-long Maoist insurgency in Kathmandu British authorities funded a four-year-long intelligence operation in Nepal that led to Maoist rebels being arrested, tortured and killed during the country's civil war, according to the author of a new book on Kathmandu. Launched in 2002, "Operation Mustang" targeted Maoist guerillas and saw British intelligence agency MI6 fund safe houses and provide training in surveillance and counter-insurgency tactics to Nepal's army and spy agency, the National Investigation Department (NID), writer Thomas Bell told AFP Saturday.


Iraq launches drive to break jihadist siege of Amerli

Peshmerga fighters' miltary vehicles are positioned at their post in the strategic Jalawla area, in Diyala province, which is a gateway to Baghdad, on August 25, 2014 Iraq has launched a major operation to liberate a jihadist-besieged town, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for a global coalition to combat the "genocidal" militants. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned that the West would be the next Islamic State (IS) target unless swift action is taken, after Britain raised its terror alert level over the threat of jihadist attacks. The drive to break the more than two-month siege of Amerli, north of Baghdad, came as an NGO said that the IS jihadist group, which has surrounded the Shiite Turkmen-majority town, sold at least 27 women in Syria after kidnapping them in Iraq.


Iraq launches drive to break jihadist siege of Amerli

Peshmerga fighters' miltary vehicles are positioned at their post in the strategic Jalawla area, in Diyala province, which is a gateway to Baghdad, on August 25, 2014 Iraq has launched a major operation to liberate a jihadist-besieged town, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for a global coalition to combat the "genocidal" militants. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned that the West would be the next Islamic State (IS) target unless swift action is taken, after Britain raised its terror alert level over the threat of jihadist attacks. The drive to break the more than two-month siege of Amerli, north of Baghdad, came as an NGO said that the IS jihadist group, which has surrounded the Shiite Turkmen-majority town, sold at least 27 women in Syria after kidnapping them in Iraq.


Woman, 77, struck in West Philadelphia hit-and-run

Woman, 77, struck in West Philadelphia hit-and-run Police are investigating a hit-and-run accident in West Philadelphia that sent a 77-year-old woman to the hospital.


US drops humanitarian aid in besieged Iraq town: Pentagon

Smoke billows during fighting between Iraqi security forces, backed by Turkmen Shiite fighters, and Islamic State Sunni militants on August 4, 2014 in Amerli, some 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad The US military on Saturday dropped humanitarian aid to the besieged Iraqi town of Amerli, home to thousands of Shia Turkomen cut off by jihadist rebels from receiving food, water, and medical supplies. "At the request of the government of Iraq, the United States military today airdropped humanitarian aid to the town of Amerli," said Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby. The humanitarian aid was delivered in conjunction with "coordinated airstrikes against nearby ISIL terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation," the US military officer said, referring to the Islamic State (IS) forces also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


Obama's cool head in a crisis -- asset or growing liability?

US President Barack Obama walks from the West Wing to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on August 29, 2014 in Washington, DC He doesn't bluster and he doesn't strut and President Barack Obama certainly isn't panicking, though he admits it feels like the world is falling apart. With world crises bursting around him and political opponents apoplectic, Obama has yet to lash out in response, and refuses to act on anyone's timetable but his own. With Islamic State radicals dug into a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's shadow ever lengthening over Ukraine, Obama is shrugging off a whirl of hostile news cycles and political attacks on his leadership. A burst of honesty on Syria put the president in a new fix —- and raised the stakes for his trip to the NATO summit and Estonia beginning Tuesday.


U.S. applauds European steps towards more Russia sanctions

The White House on Saturday applauded the European Council's readiness to consider further sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. "We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days," White House National Security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. The United States is working with the EU to prepare further sanctions against Russia, she said.

Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military chief says more than 70 Filipino peacekeepers have escaped from two areas in the Golan Heights that came under attack by Syrian rebels. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said Sunday in the Philippine capital, Manila, that the Filipino peacekeepers separately moved to positions that were safely away from any further threat.

US welcomes EU decision on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is welcoming a decision by European Union leaders to prepare tougher economic sanctions against Russia over its apparent invasion of Ukraine.

US welcomes EU decision on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is welcoming a decision by European Union leaders to prepare tougher economic sanctions against Russia over its apparent invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. conducts air strikes on militants near besieged Iraqi town

The United States carried out air strikes on Saturday against Islamic State fighters near the besieged Shi'ite town of Amerli in northern Iraq and dropped humanitarian supplies to civilians in the area, the Pentagon said. President Barack Obama authorized the operation to prevent an Islamic State attack on residents of Amerli. Amerli has been surrounded by Islamic State forces for more than two months. Iraqi army and Kurdish forces closed in on Islamic State fighters on Saturday in a push to break the Sunni militants' siege of the town.

All Philippine UN peacekeepers in Golan now safe: military

Irish members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force sit in armoured vehicles in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights as they wait to cross into the Syrian-controlled territory, August 28, 2014 All 75 Filipino troops serving as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights are now safe after the last batch slipped away under cover of night from besieging Syrian rebels, military spokesmen said Sunday. We left our (old) position but we brought all our arms," said Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala. An initial group of 35 Filipino troops were picked up from their position by UN armoured vehicles on Saturday after Syrian rebels attacked their comrades positioned about four kilometres (two-and-a-half miles) away, said Zagala.


US OPEN SCENE: Djokovic gives singer the spotlight

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, waves to the crowd after defeating Sam Querrey, of the United States, during the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic used some of his spotlight as the world's top tennis player to let another light shine.


Pakistan protesters march on PM's residence

Pakistani protesters run during clashes near prime minister's home in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, Aug. 30, 3014. Pakistani police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters as they tried to march toward the prime minister’s home in the capital on Saturday, blanketing the route with clouds of white smoke and scattering demonstrators. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed ISLAMABAD (AP) — Hundreds of people were injured as Pakistani police battled throngs of protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with tear gas, batons and rubber bullets outside the prime minister's official residence and the adjacent parliament building.


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