N.K. hostilities appear designed to gain leverage

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Criticism, praise follow Catholic decision on gays

VATICAN CITY (AFP) ― Activists lashed out Sunday at the Catholic Church’s failure at a major synod to open its doors to gay people, but praised Pope Francis for getting bishops to confront “taboos.” After two weeks of fierce debate, the prelates approved a final document but sidelined ...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:22

Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesian president

JAKARTA (AFP) ― Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s first leader without deep roots in the era of dictator Suharto, was sworn in as president Monday but faces huge challenges to enact a bold reform agenda. The...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:17

China’s ruling party meeting opens in Beijing

BEIJING (AFP) ― Leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party opened a highly-anticipated meeting Monday, as state media emphasized the need to tighten control over the country’s legal system.The meeting, known as the Fourth Plenum, brings together the party’s 205-strong Central Committee ...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:16

IS group takes heavy losses in Kobane

MURSITPINAR, Turkey (AFP) ― The Islamic State group took heavy losses Sunday in the Syrian battleground of Kobane as Iraqi forces fought the jihadists, buoyed by U.S. backing for top government secur...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:16

Nigeria-Boko Haram truce faces skepticism

LAGOS (AFP) ― Nigeria’s announcement of a cease-fire with Boko Haram has surprised many and convinced few, particularly when talks with the militants on the possible release of 219 kidnapped schoolgirls had been at a frustrating standstill.The insurgents have had the upper hand in fighti...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:14

Obama marches on campaign trail, attacking Republicans

UPPER MARLBORO, Maryland (AP) ― President Barack Obama marched on the campaign trail for the first time this year, accusing Republicans of peddling fear and cynicism on Sunday as he rallied voters fo...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:14

Sweden makes 3 credible sightings in sub search

HELSINKI (AP) ― The Swedish military said Sunday it had made three credible sightings of foreign undersea activity in its waters during the past few days amid reports of a suspected Russian intrusion in the area. Rear Adm. Anders Grenstad said the armed forces had observed the activity in...

Updated : 2014.10.20 21:13

Sex? It all started 385 million years ago

PARIS (AFP) ― It may not have been love as we know it, but around 385 million years ago, our very distant ancestors ― armored fish called placoderms ― developed the art of intercourse.So suggest a team of evolutionary scientists, who point to the fossil of a placoderm species blessed wi...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:48

For many journalists, Ebola scarier than war

PARIS (AFP) ― You can’t see shells falling, guns pointed or identify the bad guys: For many journalists the invisible threat of Ebola is more unnerving than covering a war.Along with health workers ...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:31

Ex-German professor makes Twitter splash saying ‘Nein’

BERLIN (AFP) ― Former Ivy League professor of German Eric Jarosinski seemed an unlikely Twitter phenomenon in the making, at least on paper.When he wasn’t teaching his students in the United States about 20th-century writers and philosophers, he was trying to write a book on transparency...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:31

Japan’s ‘sacred’ rice farms rotting from inside

RYUGASAKI, Japan (AFP) ― Shuichi Yokota may be the future of Japan’s struggling rice industry.The 38-year-old is about half the age of most growers and he relies on cutting-edge technology to cultiv...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:30

Cash-strapped young Afghans turn to low-cost mass weddings

KABUL (AFP) ― The crowd bursts into applause as a hundred couples enter the hall, hand in hand, grooms in simple black suits and brides in modest white dresses, red flowers in hand.Expensive, lavish weddings have boomed in war-torn Afghanistan in recent years, but some young couples are n...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:30

‘Fury’ movie examines trauma of soldiers: Pitt

LONDON (AFP) ― Hollywood star Brad Pitt said Sunday that his new movie “Fury,” a brutal depiction of World War II, sought to recognize the psychological trauma endured by soldiers.The movie, which has its European premiere on Sunday at the close of the London Film Festival, follows a ta...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:29

Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies

Paul Craft. (AP-Yonhap)NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) ― Nashville songwriter and Hall of Famer Paul Craft has died in Tennessee at the age of 76.The Tennessean newspaper reported that Craft died Saturday ...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:29

‘Bad hijab’ link to acid attacks on Iranian women

TEHRAN (AFP) ― A series of acid attacks on women in the historic Iranian city of Isfahan has raised fears and prompted rumors that the victims were targeted for not being properly veiled.Police have declined to comment on a motive but suspects have been arrested and an investigation is on...

Updated : 2014.10.20 20:28