Greek finance minister to meet French counterpart on Sunday
PARIS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet with his French counterpart Michel Sapin in Paris on Sunday, the French finance ministry said on Saturday. Late on Friday, a source close to the French president's office told Reuters that President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "agreed that it is important to respect the choices of the Greek people and for Greece to respect its commitments" to the holders of its debt. "There is a need for dialogue and exchange to better understand the intentions of the Greek government," the source said after Hollande and Merkel met over dinner in the French city of Strasbourg. The new Greek government wants to renegotiate the country's debt and end the austerity measures that it says its EU partners have imposed on Greece.
01/31/2015 - 11:21 AM
Serena beats Sharapova in Open final for 19th Slam
American top seed Serena Williams won her sixth Australian Open and 19th career Grand Slam title on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Russia's Maria Sharapova. The triumph means the world number one overtakes 18-time major champions Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert to go a clear second on the all-time Open-era winners' list, three behind Steffi Graf on 22. It also extends her staggering decade-long dominance of arch rival Sharapova, with the world number one posting her 16th straight victory over the Russian. The first Australian final in a decade to feature the tournament's top two seeds was a one-sided affair in the first set although Sharapova rallied to make a contest of it in the second.
01/31/2015 - 11:21 AM
Greek finance minister says wants to attract new foreign investment
Greece will look after investors' interests and wants to bring in new foreign investment, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told a newspaper on Saturday after a turbulent week in which the new government halted a series of privatisations. "Our commitment to investors who have invested in the country's productive network will remain untouched and not only that, but we also aim to attract new, immediate investment from abroad through transparent procedures which will safeguard our mutual interests," he told the weekly Agora newspaper. Doubts about foreign investment in Greece were fuelled by the new leftwing government's decision to halt privatisation projects including the sale of the country's biggest port and to review its options on a Canadian-run goldmine, one of Greece's biggest foreign investments.
01/31/2015 - 11:21 AM
Australian Open Women's final: LIVE REPORT
Melbourne (AFP) - 10:56 GMT - Trophy - Williams is now making her way around the court with the silver cup, a broad smile across her face as the camera flashes light up the stadium.
01/31/2015 - 11:13 AM
Former German president Richard von Weizsaecker dies at 94
BERLIN (AP) — Former German President Richard von Weizsaecker, who urged his country to confront the Nazi past, promoted reconciliation and denounced far-right violence during a 10-year tenure that spanned the reunification of west and east, has died. He was 94.
01/31/2015 - 11:13 AM
Islamic State seizes oil facility in northern Iraq, 15 workers missing
Islamic State insurgents on Saturday seized a small crude oil station near the northern Iraqi city Kirkuk where 15 employees were working, and explosions in and around the capital Baghdad killed at least nine people. Two officials from the state-run North Oil Co confirmed the militants seized a crude oil separation unit in Khabbaz and said 15 oil workers were missing after the company lost contact with them. We lost contact and now the workers might be taken hostage," an engineer from the North Oil Co told Reuters, using a derogatory acronym for Islamic State. The radical jihadist movement seized at least four small oilfields when it overran large areas of northern Iraq last summer, and began selling crude oil and gasoline to finance their operations.
01/31/2015 - 11:07 AM
Greece seeks EU allies but Germany holds firm
Greece's radical new government on Saturday began a search for European allies for its anti-austerity agenda, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again ruled out debt relief for Athens. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his maverick Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are reaching out to France and Italy, whose centre-left governments are most likely to sympathise with its determination to end painful reforms. Varoufakis will head to Paris late Saturday, his office said, bringing forward a European tour that was due to start in London on Monday and will also include Rome. Predictably, neither tour includes Germany, which has shouldered the bulk of Greece's huge bailout and where officials have already expressed outrage at the new Greek government's plans to renegotiate the rescue.
01/31/2015 - 11:06 AM
Serena Williams wins 6th Australian, 19th major title
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams won her 19th Grand Slam title, continued her unbeaten run in six Australian Open finals and extended her decade-long domination of Maria Sharapova with a commanding 6-3, 7-6 (5) win on Saturday night.
01/31/2015 - 10:56 AM
Extra time in Australia vs South Korea Asian Cup final
Sydney (AFP) - South Korean star Son Heung-Min struck in the dying seconds to take the Asian Cup final against Australia into extra-time with the scores locked at 1-1 on Saturday.
01/31/2015 - 10:54 AM
China offers up to $50K in cash for terror tips in Tibet
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities are offering up to 300,000 yuan ($50,000) for tips on terrorism activities in the Himalayan region of Tibet, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.
01/31/2015 - 10:54 AM
Fifteen Ukrainian soldiers killed in fighting in past 24 hours: defense minister
KIEV (Reuters) - Fifteen Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fighting against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Saturday. Poltorak said fighting was particularly intense around the town of Debaltseve, a major rail and road junction northeast of the city of Donetsk and where government garrisons are partly encircled by separatists. "Along all the lines of conflict (with the separatists) our losses amount to 15 killed and 30 wounded," he told journalists. (Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Louise Ireland)
01/31/2015 - 10:53 AM
Imagine Dragons' bassist: Don't make Seahawks the hero
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Imagine Dragons bassist Ben McKee has a simple reason he wants the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl — he doesn't want to see the Seattle Seahawks made into heroes.
01/31/2015 - 10:45 AM
AU threatens South Sudan warring factions with sanctions
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The African Union Saturday joined regional and international organizations in threatening South Sudan's warring factions with sanctions.
01/31/2015 - 10:36 AM
San Francisco police detain man in human remains case
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police detained a "person of interest" Friday night who had been shown in photos released earlier in the probe of human remains found inside a suitcase, authorities said.
01/31/2015 - 10:36 AM
Merkel rejects debt writedown for Greece: Die Welt
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister have both ruled out a debt haircut for Greece, rejecting the new Greek government's demand to write off part of its 320 billion euro ($360 billion) debt. I don't see a further debt haircut," Merkel told German daily Die Welt in an interview published in its Saturday edition.
01/31/2015 - 10:33 AM
Greece says will not cooperate with 'troika' or seek aid extension
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government also sacked the heads of the state privatization agency after halting a series of state asset sales. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the euro zone finance ministers' group, for what both men described as "constructive" talks. The meeting marks the start of Athens' drive to persuade its creditors to ease the strict terms of the bailout. Although neither France nor Italy has shown any sign of accepting the new Greek government's demand to write off part of its 320 billion-euro debt, they have both previously called for a change of course from German-style budget austerity.
01/31/2015 - 10:33 AM
No lending to Greek banks if no deal by end of February: ECB's Liikanen
A deal on extending Greece's bailout deal must be found by the end of February or the European Central Bank will not be able to continue lending to its banks, ECB council member Erkki Liikanen said on Saturday. Europe's bailout program for Greece, part of a 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) rescue package along with the International Monetary Fund, expires on Feb. 28 and a failure to renew it could leave Athens unable to meet its financing needs and cut its banks off from ECB liquidity support. "We (ECB) have our own legislation and we will act according to that... Now, Greece's program extension will expire in the end of February so some kind of solution must be found, otherwise we can't continue lending," Liikanen, also the governor of Finland's central bank, told public broadcaster YLE.
01/31/2015 - 10:32 AM
Germany's Merkel says she doesn't see another Greek debt cut
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is underlining the refusal of Greece's European creditors to consider forgiving part of the debt-ridden country's rescue loans though stressing that Berlin's aim remains to keep Greece in the eurozone.
01/31/2015 - 10:27 AM
Two die as Muslim protesters clash with police in Afghan capital: witnesses
By Mirwais Harooni Kabul (Reuters) - Two people were killed when violence broke out at an anti-Charlie Hebdo protest in the Afghan capital on Saturday, according to witnesses, but Kabul's police chief said there were no deaths and only two injuries. Police sources said the protest turned violent when protesters attacked policemen with burning tires, stones and then gunfire. Primary reports show that two protesters were wounded." Protests against the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad have erupted around the world and taken place weekly in the Afghan capital.
01/31/2015 - 10:14 AM
Ohio delays seven executions to secure new drugs
The US state of Ohio is postponing the execution of seven death row inmates, officials said Friday, following several botched lethal injection killings across the country last year. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) said it had put a hold on the executions while it secured new lethal injection drugs. Earlier this month, the department revised its drug protocol following the bungled January 2014 execution of Dennis McGuire, who appeared to be gasping for air during the process that lasted 26 minutes, instead of the expected 10 minutes. The drug cocktail used to kill McGuire included the sedative midazolam, which is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and has been used in several bungled executions in the United States.
01/31/2015 - 10:09 AM
Japan says hostage negotiations 'deadlocked'
Japan's deputy foreign minister has said negotiations with the Islamic State group threatening to execute a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist have become "deadlocked", local media reported Saturday. Yasuhide Nakayama, who is leading Tokyo's emergency response team in Amman, told reporters in the Jordanian capital late Friday that there had been no progress in trying to secure the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh. "It has become deadlocked," he said, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK. "Staying vigilant, we will continue analysing and examining information as the government is making concerted efforts together." In Tokyo, deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko, a key aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Saturday morning that the government was still waiting for new information on the hostage crisis.
01/31/2015 - 10:02 AM
Liberia delays school reopening by two weeks as Ebola cases fall
Liberia said on Friday it would delay reopening schools for two weeks in order to better prepare safety measures against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 3,650 people in the country but now appears to be receding. A ministry statement said it wanted to "raise awareness about safety protocols, logistics and training requirements", adding: "Actual teaching will begin on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015." Some Liberian opposition parties and members of parliament had called for the reopening date to be moved to March 2, concerned that the Ebola epidemic is not yet fully under control. Liberia and its neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hardest hit in the worst outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic fever on record. The number of Ebola infections and deaths has fallen sharply in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25, according to the World Health Organisation, raising hopes that the disease is gradually being brought under control.
01/31/2015 - 09:22 AM
Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul
BAGHDAD (AP) — When Islamic State group militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people's ideas.
01/31/2015 - 09:19 AM
Bayern suffer shock 4-1 hammering at Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg breathed life into the Bundesliga's title race on Friday with a shock 4-1 hammering of leaders Bayern Munich, who suffered their heaviest German league defeat for six years. Pep Guardiola's Bayern also lost their first league game of the season as second-placed Wolfsburg trimmed their lead to eight points. Bayern leaked as many goals in Wolfsburg as in the entire first half of the season as the home side ruthlessly exploited Bayern's numerous errors.
01/31/2015 - 09:19 AM
Family, diplomats say no new word on Islamic State hostages
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The family of a Jordanian fighter pilot held by the Islamic State group said Saturday it has received no word on his fate since the militants threatened to kill him earlier this week.
01/31/2015 - 09:05 AM
Japan self-censors images, words linked to hostage crisis
TOKYO (AP) — Images or mentions of knives, ransom or blood — or anything else that can be seen alluding to the hostage crisis involving two Japanese in Syria — have been omitted. Some anime and other entertainment programs are altering, canceling or postponing episodes violating those sensitivities — typical of the kind of self-restraint shown here to avoid controversy.
01/31/2015 - 09:02 AM
Nigeria's Buhari vows to end graft, insecurity, inequality
By Tim Cocks and Julia Payne LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's presidential challenger Muhammadu Buhari pledged to cheering crowds in opposition stronghold Lagos that he would tackle the country's three greatest ills -- insecurity, inequality and corruption. Jonathan has been criticised for not doing enough to protect civilians from Boko Haram and for failing to defeat the insurgents.
01/31/2015 - 08:59 AM
Second patient hospitalized in California undergoes Ebola testing
Hours after a suspected Ebola patient in Sacramento, California, was found to be free of the virus, a second person hospitalized in the city was reported by public health officials on Friday to be undergoing testing for the deadly disease. The second patient was admitted to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center on Wednesday and, like the previous case, is considered to be at low risk of having contracted the virus, the hospital said in a statement.
01/31/2015 - 08:55 AM
After historic balloon journey, crew plans landing Saturday
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two pilots from the U.S. and Russia have traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to eliminate any remaining debate over a century of records in long-distance ballooning.
01/31/2015 - 08:53 AM
A Super Bowl weekend at a golf tournament without Tiger
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Three previous trips were enough for Tiger Woods to leave quite an impression at the Phoenix Open. The hole-in-one on the most raucous hole in golf. Fans moving a half-ton boulder. A kid tossing an orange onto the green when he was putting.
01/31/2015 - 08:51 AM
Anger, mourning in Pakistan after mosque bombing kills 59
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Thousands of Shiites across Pakistan mourned and protested Saturday after a bombing at a Shiite mosque in the country killed at least 59 people.
01/31/2015 - 08:45 AM
Bill Cosby's show in Ohio draws a few protesters
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — Bill Cosby's stand-up tour has stopped in northern Ohio, where it drew several protesters before the show. The comedian himself received standing ovations before and after his performance.
01/31/2015 - 08:44 AM
Dueling narratives surround 'Suge' Knight in deadly run-in
LOS ANGELES (AP) — As Marion "Suge" Knight sat jailed on suspicion of murder, dueling narratives cast him as attacker and victim in the hip-hop music mogul's latest and most serious run-in with the law.
01/31/2015 - 08:43 AM
Mitt Romney bows out of 2016 race after a 3-week test run
WASHINGTON (AP) — He insists he could win, but Mitt Romney has stepped out of the 2016 presidential contest in favor of the "next generation of Republican leaders" following a three-week fact-finding effort that revealed significant resistance to a third campaign.
01/31/2015 - 08:42 AM
Crash victim thanks donors whose blood saved his life
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandon Levine exchanged handshakes and hugs with nearly two dozen of his blood brothers and sisters, people he had never met but knew had saved his life.
01/31/2015 - 08:40 AM
UN support for Congo campaign against Rwanda rebels in doubt over abuses
By Michelle Nichols and Aaron Ross UNITED NATIONS/KINSHASA (Reuters) - United Nations support for a planned military operation against Rwandan rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo could be in doubt because Congo named a general accused of rights abuses to head the offensive, diplomats and officials said on Friday. General Bruno Mandevu was appointed on Sunday to head a Congolese army (FARDC) operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which had been jointly planned with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO).
01/31/2015 - 08:37 AM
After 150 years, Confederate submarine's hull again revealed
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A century and a half after it sank and a decade and a half after it was raised, scientists are finally getting a look at the hull of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship.
01/31/2015 - 08:35 AM
White House grapples with fraught terrorism language
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twice this month, the White House has publicly grappled with the politically fraught language of terrorism.
01/31/2015 - 08:31 AM
5 things to know before Obama rolls out his budget Monday
WASHINGTON (AP) — A quick quiz:
01/31/2015 - 08:30 AM
IS hostage drama shows change in propaganda technique
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest Islamic State hostage drama involving a veteran Japanese war correspondent and a young Jordanian pilot marks the first time the group has publicly demanded prisoner releases. It also signals a change in the extremist group's propaganda technique.
01/31/2015 - 08:30 AM
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