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Breaking news and analysis from around the world
At least 20 dead in Philippines after Typhoon Rammasun passes through

At least 20 people have been killed and seven others injured in a typhoon that ripped through the Philippines, government officials said Wednesday. Typhoon Rammasun, which made landfall early Tuesday, blasted the island nation with 105-mph winds and heavy rain, knocking down power lines and leading to the collapse of some bridges and buildings. Officials have begun to survey the damage as the worst of the storm moved west off the coast of the country and toward China. The storm is the first typhoon to touch down in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan, which was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. It devastated the country in 2013, leaving thousands dead. The fatalities from Rammasun, which included an 11-month-old baby and were mostly caused by falling trees and debris, were concentrated mainly in the Calabarzon region, just south of the nation’s capital. “We cannot give a very clear picture yet. We are still awaiting reports from our local governments and councils,”...

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Typhoon Rammasun hits the Philippines

Many people fled their homes in the Philippines as Typhoon Rammasun rumbled toward Manila, the capital, where it made landfall early Wednesday. The storm is the first typhoon to touch down in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan, which was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. It devastated the country in 2013, leaving thousands dead. More than 168,000 people have been evacuated so far, according to the country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. One person has been killed and two people injured. Power was out throughout Manila, and the Manila Electric Co. said on Twitter that the blackouts were due to "a sudden plant outage." Typhoon Rammasun, also known as Typhoon Glenda in the Philippines, first made landfall early Tuesday in the central Visayas region. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 93 mph near the center with gusts of up to 115 mph. Forecasters at the U.S...

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Costa Concordia wreck is refloated so its final journey can begin

Two and a half years after the Costa Concordia’s deadly wreck off the coast of Italy, salvage crews refloated the cruise ship and detached it from its resting spot Monday so it can begin its final journey. The ship, which smashed into rocks and tipped over off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, will be towed to the Italian port city of Genoa to be dismantled. The journey of about 200 nautical miles is expected to begin this month and take about four days. About 4,200 passengers and crew members had to scramble into lifeboats or plunge into shallow water after the ship capsized. Thirty-two people drowned. The body of one victim, Indian waiter Russel Rebello, is still missing. During the salvage operation, a diver also died. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is standing trial on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship. Five other employees of the cruise company were convicted of manslaughter last year. The 950-foot-long, 114,000-ton vessel was impaled...

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Did Luis Suarez of Uruguay bite opponent at the World Cup?

For the third time in four years, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has been accused of biting someone on the soccer pitch, making himself the center of attention on the day his team advanced to the knockout stage.

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Massive West African Ebola outbreak 'now in a second wave'

The Ebola outbreak is devastating West Africa and will spread to more countries unless more aid is provided, an official with the group Doctors Without Borders said Friday. The outbreak has been linked to 337 deaths across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and is now the deadliest on record, according to numbers released by the World Health Organization. International governments and aid organizations need to send more health experts to the area and step up education efforts to curb the outbreak, Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders in Brussels, told the Associated Press on Friday. "The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Janssens said. "And, for me, it is totally out of control." He said it was the first Ebola epidemic in which Doctors Without Borders teams "cannot cover all the needs, at least for treatment centers." It is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever since the first reported outbreak in 1976 killed 280 people...

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5th U.S. casualty named in possible friendly fire case in Afghanistan

The Defense Department has identified the fifth of five soldiers killed last week in southern Afghanistan, possibly by friendly fire: Army Staff Sgt. Jason A. McDonald, 28, of Butler, Ga. Military officials released few details about McDonald and have said little about the incident. The soldiers were in a clash with Taliban forces in remote Zabul province Monday night, and Afghan officials have said an airstrike by the U.S.-led military coalition mistakenly targeted soldiers who were battling Taliban insurgents. “Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause” of the soldiers’ deaths, a Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said in a statement Tuesday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen.” The U.S.-led coalition concurred: “The casualties occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces. Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved,” it said last week. ...

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Bowe Bergdahl unstable from Taliban abuse, official says

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is physically well despite nearly five years as a Taliban captive, but confinement in a small space and other harsh treatment has left him psychologically unstable, a senior U.S. official briefed on his medical treatment said Monday Bergdahl is "struggling with psychological issues" that his doctors are hoping to ease before they agree to send him from Germany, where he is being treated in a U.S. military hospital, to another facility in Texas, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Bergdahl's condition. Bergdahl otherwise is being treated for minor gum and skin ailments. He has been under doctors' care since he was released in eastern Afghanistan on May 31 in a trade for five Taliban prisoners from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prisoner exchange has set off a fierce debate in Washington about whether the White House gave up too much for Bergdahl and whether Obama should have consulted Congress before agreeing...

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Former UN envoy Brahimi: Mideast could 'blow up' if Syria not checked

The crisis in Syria, if left unchecked, poses grave risks to the entire Mideast, the former United Nations special envoy for Syria says. Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned last month, spoke in a no-holds-barred interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, saying that "unless there is a real, sustained effort to work out a political solution, there is a serious risk that the region will blow up." Syria is embroiled in a civil war pitting opposition rebels desperate to wrest control from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. The fighting, which began as a series of largely peaceful uprisings that quickly turned violent, has killed 160,000 people and forced many to leave their homes to escape the violence. In the interview, published over the weekend, Brahimi said he had hoped Assad would take on the role of kingmaker instead of staying on as president. But he said many underestimated Assad, who recently received 88.7% of the vote in a presidential election that was limited to...

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Nine reported dead in assault on airport in Karachi, Pakistan

Heavily armed attackers stormed the international airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, late Sunday night, prompting a gun battle that left at least five security personnel dead, officials said. Four of the attackers also died during an hours-long firefight with security forces at Jinnah International Airport that sent travelers running for safety as gunfire and explosions were heard into the early hours Monday. Pakistani security officials said they believed about 10 people participated in the assault. By early Monday, Pakistani commandos had confined the remaining attackers to one part of the airport and evacuated all travelers to safety, said Asim Bajwa, spokesman for Pakistani security forces. There were no immediate reports of casualties among civilians. Television news footage showed at least one parked plane on fire, and officials said the attackers fired bullets into three aircraft. Airport officials said that passengers and airline staff had been evacuated from the...

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Algeria opposition rebuffs Cabinet overtures

Newly reelected Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has appointed old-guard figures for his fourth Cabinet after a failed attempt by the prime minister to coax opposition figures into a coalition government. The 34-minister Cabinet unveiled Monday by the Algerian official news agency APS comes one week after Bouteflika, 77, was sworn in following a landslide victory. Bouteflika, who was first elected in 1999, retained the presidency despite his poor health and protests from Islamist and leftist groups accusing him of perpetuating autocratic and oligarchic rule by the National Liberation Front (FLN) and a handful of army generals. Abdelmalek Sellal, who resigned as prime minister to become Bouteflika’s presidential campaign manager, was reinstated as premier of the new Cabinet. Opposition groups rebuffed his overtures to join in a coalition. Another campaign official, Amara Benyounes, was appointed trade minister. He was in charge of other portfolios in Bouteflika's previous...

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African immigrant leader enters Israeli detention center

A leading spokesman for African immigrants living illegally in Israel began an indefinite sentence at a detention center Monday after Israel's Supreme Court declined to freeze his detention order. Mutasim Ali, who has challenged Israel's policies toward the more than 50,000 African immigrants living in the country without permission, was ordered three months ago to report to Holot, a detention center in the middle of the Negev desert. Ali challenged the order in court, arguing that he and thousands of other immigrants ordered to detention were political refugees who should receive asylum hearings. The Tel Aviv District Court ruled against him. Ali's appeal will be heard on May 21 by the Supreme Court, which recently rejected a request that his detention order be frozen. Ali, who was born in Sudan's restive Darfur region, says he crossed into Israel from Egypt several years ago in order to seek protection. He is part of a wave of recent immigrants from Sudan and Eritrea who say they are...

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Oscar Pistorius was 'broken' after shooting girlfriend, witness says

A friend of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday that the South African Olympian appeared "broken" as he wept, prayed and begged his girlfriend not to die in the minutes after he fatally shot her on Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius' murder trial resumed Monday after a two-week break, with the defense calling more witnesses. The prosecution accuses Pistorius of killing Reeva Steenkamp in a rage after an argument. He says he mistook her for one or more intruders but was not conscious of pulling the trigger when he opened fire through the door to a toilet closet. The former manager at the secure estate where Pistorius lived, Johan Stander, and his daughter Carice Viljoen were among the first to arrive at the house after the shooting. Both testified Monday. Stander told the court that he was Pistorius' friend and that they often had coffee together. Pistorius called him minutes after firing the four shots. "Oscar said, 'Oom [Uncle] Johan, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva. I...

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