DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) ? Rebels in eastern Ukraine appeared to be successfully closing in on the government-held airport in Donetsk Wednesday, a strategic victory for the pro-Russian separatists that further undermines a shaky cease-fire in the region.
TOKYO (Reuters) - The death toll from Japan's volcanic eruption rose to 48 on Wednesday, the worst in 88 years, after more victims were discovered on the ash-covered summit. Military searchers resumed a recovery operation with helicopters early on Wednesday a day after officials called off rescue efforts because of poisonous gas and fears of another blast. The eruption of 3,067-metre (10,062-foot) Mount Ontake, 200 km (125 miles) west of Tokyo, blanketed the peak with a deadly rain of ash and stone as it was crowded with climbers and hikers enjoying the autumn colours. ...
By Paulo Prada RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - In March 2003, three months into her tenure as Brazil's environment minister, Marina Silva gathered a half-dozen aides at the modernist ministry building in Brasilia, the capital. She told them the new government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was about to embark on a pharaonic infrastructure project for Brazil's arid Northeast. The project, a still-ongoing effort to reroute water from one of Brazil's biggest rivers, had previously been opposed by environmentalists, including Silva herself. "Instead of fighting, she was merely trying to mitigate." Lisboa would not be the last person surprised by Silva, a former rubber tapper and maid and now a frontrunner in Brazil's presidential election race.
DAMASCUS (AP) ? A Syrian official says 17 people, including 10 children, have been killed in twin explosions near a school in the central city of Homs.
LOS ANGELES (AP) ? A new study found that television is increasing its depiction of gay characters.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State beheaded seven men and three women in a northern Kurdish area of Syria, a human rights monitoring group said on Wednesday, part of what it described as a campaign to frighten residents resisting the militant group's advance. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human, Rights Rami Abdulrahman, said five anti-Islamic State Kurdish fighters, including three women, and four Syrian Arab rebels were detained and beheaded on Tuesday 14 km (8 miles) west of Kobani, a Kurdish town besieged by Islamic State near the Turkish border. ...
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - At least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a mini-van in a nearby street in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, city authorities and Reuters witnesses said. There were no children among those killed in the shelling at School No. 57 on the first day of the new school year, though witnesses said the dead included a biology teacher and the parent of a child at the school. Reuters correspondents saw the bodies of three adults at the school and an additional six bodies in a burnt-out mini-van and on streets nearby. ...
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An EU-Ukraine trade deal at the center of tensions between Russia and the West can only be changed by Brussels and Kiev, the head of the European Commission told Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a letter on Wednesday. Putin wants more three-way negotiations to amend the EU's accord with Kiev, which Russia says will hurt its own economy, and has threatened to curtail Ukraine's access to Russian markets if Kiev implements the deal. ...
DAMASCUS (AP) ? Syrian official: 17 people killed, including 10 children, in car bombs near Homs school.
Tokyo (AFP) - Kei Nishikori thrilled his home fans as the US Open finalist posted a 6-3, 6-4 opening victory over Ivan Dodig on Wednesday to reach the second round of the Japan Open.
By Jessica Donati and Hamid Shalizi KABUL (Reuters) - Two Taliban suicide bombers carried out separate attacks on Afghan army vehicles in Kabul on Wednesday, killing seven people and injuring 19, the government said, a day after Afghanistan signed security deals with NATO and the United States. The agreements will allow foreign troops to stay in the country after the end of the year, filling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani. ...
Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ten civilians died in attacks in Ukraine's rebel-held city of Donetsk on Wednesday, including from a shell that hit a school on the first day of class, regional authorities said, blaming pro-Russian rebels.
HONG KONG (AP) ? Student leaders of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong warned Wednesday that if the territory's leader doesn't resign by the end of Thursday they will step up their actions, including occupying several important government buildings.
LONDON (Reuters) - Pershing Square Holdings, a fund managed by activist investor Bill Ackman, raised $3.07 billion ahead of a stock market listing in Amsterdam, the company said on Wednesday. The fund boosts the firepower of billionaire Ackman, famed for aggressive moves such as a $1 billion bet against U.S. nutrition firm Herbalife and a battle to broker a sale of Botox maker Allergan to Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The fund raised $2.73 billion through an initial public offering and said the exercise of an over-allotment option would see the value of the placing rise to more than $3 billion. ...
The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States traveled from Liberia, federal health officials said. The unidentified man, who was visiting relatives in Dallas, is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital:
Hong Kong (AFP) - Huge crowds of pro-democracy protesters from all walks of life gathered in Hong Kong Wednesday in defiant mood on China's National Day as support for the movement spread around the world.
OTAKI, Japan (AP) ? One body recovered near the volcano's summit was in a squatting position and had to be dug out of a thick layer of ash. Another was caught between huge boulders bigger than large refrigerators. Police who recovered a dozen bodies on Wednesday portrayed a painful scene of death around the summit where hikers enjoying a weekend autumn hike were caught by the mountain's surprise eruption.
By Andrew Osborn and William James BIRMINGHAM England (Reuters) - A schism over Europe cast a pall over the final day of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party conference, the last before a national election next year, after a party donor became the latest figure to defect to the anti-EU UKIP party. Hours before Cameron was due to deliver a keynote speech, Arron Banks, a businessman who electoral records show has given tens of thousands of pounds to Cameron's party, said he was switching his support to the UK Independence Party (UKIP). ...
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey may send troops into Syria and Iraq and allow foreign soldiers to use its bases for cross-border incursions against Islamic State militants, according to a government proposal to be debated by parliament on Thursday. The advance by Islamic State fighters to within clear sight of Turkish military positions on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to take a more robust role in the U.S.-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the insurgents. ...
By Fatos Bytyci KACANIK Kosovo (Reuters) - Born in Germany, Blerim Heta moved to his parents' native Kosovo as a 10-year-old boy in the wake of a NATO air war in 1999 to save the territory's ethnic Albanians from Serbian repression. They settled in Urosevac, where U.S. soldiers ? greeted as heroes for leading the intervention ? were building a military base, a guarantor of protection for the aspiring statelet and a source of jobs for Albanians trying to rebuild their lives. ...
Washington (AFP) - Foreigners in federal courts in the United States face harsher penalties and are more likely to be convicted than US citizens, a study released Wednesday found.
BAGHDAD (AP) ? The U.N. mission in Baghdad says at least 1,119 Iraqis died in violence in September but that the real figure was likely much higher since the organization's death toll does not include killings in areas controlled by the Islamic State group.
YONGNING COUNTY, China (AP) ? France's Moet Hennessy is betting on China's taste for bubbly with the launch of sales this month by the first foreign-owned Chinese winery devoted to sparkling wine.
LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Feminism pioneer Gloria Steinem says that if anything good has come from the NFL's domestic violence scandal, it's that we're actually talking about domestic violence.
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
By Misha Hussain DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Pestilence, cyclical droughts and floods, and the West Africa Ebola crisis have pushed hunger to record levels in Gambia, where 200,000 people need urgent food assistance, the United Nations says. Tourism is a significant source of income for the country, and even though Gambia has not seen cases of Ebola, the outbreak in the region has caused visitor numbers to plummet by 60 percent compared to last year, said Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, the U.N. representative for Gambia. ...
By Felix Onuah ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Wednesday the army was turning the tide against Boko Haram Islamists and he trumpeted his government's achievements in what sounded like a bid for re-election just months before a presidential poll. The Feb. 14 vote looks set to be Nigeria's least one-sided since the end of military rule in 1999. Jonathan has yet to formally declare his intention to run for a second term, but he has been endorsed as sole candidate by the board of his ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). ...
Washington (AFP) - The United States has diagnosed its first case of Ebola in a man who was infected in Liberia and traveled to Texas, US health officials said, pledging to contain the virus that has killed more than 3,000.
Paris (AFP) - Crisis-hit France admitted it would suffer from slow growth and high budget deficits for the next three years at least, when it unveiled a gloomy annual budget on Wednesday.
The Hague (AFP) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Wednesday said "all Serbs" were on trial as he began his closing statement to the Yugoslav war crimes court, where he is charged with some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.
BRUSSELS (AP) ? At a time of daunting geopolitical crises, NATO is undergoing its own version of regime change, with the arrival of a new chief official who has the blessing, at least temporarily, of one of the West's biggest adversaries: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
BEIJING (AP) ? The 10,000 doves released in a ceremony Wednesday for China's National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and anus checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks.
BERLIN (AP) ? The Simon Wiesenthal Center has identified dozens of former members of Nazi mobile death squads who might still be alive, and is pushing the German government for an investigation, The Associated Press has learned.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) ? Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic insisted Wednesday that United Nations prosecutors do not have "a shred of evidence" linking him to atrocities throughout the Bosnian war, and accused them of putting the entire Serb people on trial.
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) ? As a child, Osama al-Bar would walk from his home past Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba, to the market of spice and fabric merchants where his father owned a store. At that time, Mecca was so small, pilgrims could sit at the cube-shaped Kaaba and look out at the serene desert mountains where the Prophet Muhammad once walked.
JERUSALEM (AP) ? Former Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo Lahat, who presided over the city's transformation into a vibrant and open urban center, has died at the age of 87.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) ? Morgan Harrington's parents were so convinced that a serial offender was responsible for their daughter's killing in 2009, they started a nonprofit foundation aimed at protecting other young women.
By Donny Kwok and Irene Jay Liu HONG KONG (Reuters) - Thousands of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday, some of them jeering National Day celebrations, as demonstrations spread to a new area of the city, ratcheting up pressure on the pro-Beijing government. There was little sign of momentum flagging on the fifth day of the student-led protest, whose aim has been to occupy sections of the city, including around the Central financial district, in anger at a Chinese decision to limit voters' choices in a 2017 leadership election. ...
DALLAS (AP) ? The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. has been confirmed in a man who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas, sending chills through the area's West African community whose leaders urged caution to prevent spreading the virus.
PARIS (AP) ? France's Socialist government has detailed a 21 billion-euro ($26.5 billion) cost-cutting plan, the deepest-ever spending cuts in the country's modern history.