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Breaking news and analysis from around the world
Bomber who killed Afghan president's cousin hid explosives under cap

A young suicide bomber with explosives hidden beneath his cap assassinated a politically influential cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday, a provincial official said.

The 24-year-old attacker blew himself up in a reception room at Hashmat Khalil Karzai’s home in the southern province of Kandahar, according to Dawa Khan Minapal, the spokesman for the province’s governor. The bomber was bowing to kiss Hashmat Khalil Karzai’s hand after morning prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the Associated Press reported.

One other person, described only as a civilian, was wounded by the blast.

The attack was the latest to target an Afghan political leader, and was not the first to claim a relative of President Karzai. Ahmed Wali Karzai, his half brother, was killed in his home in Kandahar in 2011.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Hashmat Karzai. The Taliban is waging an insurgency that has targeted other powerful figures in the country, and has...

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Teen's body discovered on U.S. military plane at base in Germany

The body of a teen stowaway was found in the wheel well of a U.S. military plane in Germany on Sunday night, military officials said.

The victim, described as an "adolescent black male, possibly of African origins," was found during a routine inspection of a C-130J military aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman, a Defense Department spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times that the aircraft had been on a support mission in Africa and had stopped in several countries during the last few days.

It was not clear where or when the teen climbed in, and the cause of death was not immediately known, Hillman said.

"We have no way of knowing, right now, at what point the child entered the plane," she said.

The teen's body has been taken to a German medical facility for an autopsy. 

 Follow @JamesQueallyLAT on Twitter for breaking news.

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Air Algerie wreckage found; French send troops to secure site

The French government confirmed Thursday night that wreckage from an Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people that disappeared from radar earlier in the day had been found.

Wreckage from the flight was found in Mali's Gossi region, according to a news release from French officials.

The debris was “clearly identifiable” as the Air Algerie flight, officials said. 

A French military detachment was deployed to secure the site and collect initial information, officials said.

The plane crashed during a storm over northern Africa early Thursday.

The flight took off from Burkina Faso at 1:17 a.m. Thursday but its disappearance was not made public until several hours after it didn't make its 6:10 a.m. scheduled arrival in Algiers.

Shortly before the plane vanished from the screens, the captain asked permission to depart from his planned route because of heavy storms and poor visibility over northern Mali. The plane is believed to have crashed shortly after making the diversion.

The passengers...

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FAA lifts U.S. flight restrictions for Tel Aviv

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday night lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv.

The decision was made after the U.S. government determined that Israel had proper measures in place to "mitigate potential risks to civil aviation" during the ongoing hostilities in and around the Gaza Strip, according to an FAA news release.

The FAA "will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation ... and take additional actions, as necessary," according to the release.  

The FAA ban was imposed Tuesday after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a home about a mile from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, apparently circumventing Israel's Iron Dome missile-defense system.

The ban was greeted with criticism from Israel, where tourism from the United States is a key driver of the economy, especially in the summer. A cutoff of flights to the U.S. was also seen as an important psychological setback in a country that feels isolated in a region where it is surrounded by...

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FAA extends ban on U.S. airlines flying to Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended its ban on U.S. airlines flying to Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport for up to 24 hours.

The ban, which was ordered Tuesday morning, came after a rocket struck about a mile from the airport in Tel Aviv. 

The ban is applicable only to U.S. carriers, although many other airlines also terminated service to Tel Aviv on Tuesday. 

"The agency is working closely with the government of Israel to review the significant new information they have provided and determine whether potential risks to U.S. civil aviation are mitigated so the agency can resolve concerns as quickly as possible," an FAA statement said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said he would fly to Israel as a show of support for the nation and in protest of the FAA's ban. John Kerry landed at the airport Wednesday.

At a press briefing Wednesday, the State Department confirmed that rockets had landed near the Tel Aviv airport....

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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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