World

Pakistan releasing key Taliban, hoping to spur peace talks

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, who’s been in Pakistani custody since 2010, will be released Saturday. Pakistani officials hope the Afghan Taliban will press their Pakistani Taliban allies to begin peace talks with the government. | 09/20/13 16:02:23 By - By Tom Hussain

Islamists’ rise in Syria undercuts Kerry’s claim they play minor role

This week’s takeover of Syrian rebel posts by al Qaida-linked fighters undercuts Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion to Congress earlier this month that moderates make up the bulk of the guerrilla movement against President Bashar Assad’s regime and are growing stronger. | 09/19/13 18:24:30 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Egyptian police raid town south of Cairo, arresting at least 70

Egyptian security forces on Thursday stormed Kerdasa – a purported stronghold for ousted President Mohammed Morsi – exchanged fire with residents in an hours-long street battle and arrested dozens of suspected militants in the latest government crackdown on cities suspected of serving as redoubts for armed Islamists. | 09/19/13 16:00:50 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Syria chemical weapons plan renews talk of whether Israel also has them

A U.S.-Russian plan to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons has prompted Syria and Iran to point to Israel’s reputed chemical stockpile, but Israeli officials have dismissed suggestions that they give an accounting of their country’s capabilities. | 09/19/13 15:08:22 By - By Joel Greenberg

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels being shoved aside by radical Islamists

There’s hardly a more sensitive topic in Syria’s eastern provinces than the standoff between the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and the Islamist militants who run much of the region, so it was no surprise that the commander of the Free Syrian Army unit in eastern Syria’s biggest town understated the state of play when he was asked earlier this summer. | 09/19/13 15:07:59 By - By Roy Gutman

U.S. ready to begin major drawdown of troops, equipment from Afghanistan

As the United States begins the major phase of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, military officials say equipment and vehicles are moving out of the country briskly but that planning the final details has been complicated because negotiations with the Afghan government have stalled over how many American troops might remain. | 09/19/13 12:34:12 By - By Jay Price

Syria’s Assad says his agreement to give up chemical arsenal is unconditional

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that he is committed to relinquishing Syria’s chemical arsenal without conditions and as quickly as possible in a Fox News Channel interview that is the latest installment in a charm offensive intended to counter portrayals of him as a bloodthirsty dictator. | 09/18/13 21:05:38 By - By Hannah Allam

Egypt’s crackdown on Morsi supporters called worse than Mubarak era

In the two months since Egyptian authorities started rounding up supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a repressive regime has emerged here that appears to be far worse than the one political activists thought they’d ended when they pushed Hosni Mubarak from office two and a half years ago. | 09/18/13 19:21:19 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Lebanon charges 5 Syrians in spread of war across border

Lebanese prosecutors charged five Syrians this week in attacks earlier this year on targets related to the Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah. Although the two cases – a bombing and a rocket attack – remain legally unconnected, they suggest that Lebanese authorities are reaching conclusions about who’s responsible for violence in the country related to the civil war in Syria. | 09/18/13 16:35:22 By - By Mitch Prothero

In sign of energy dilemma, Mexico runs low on natural gas

Prices for natural gas over the border in Texas are at historic lows, so what happened earlier this month at the Gulf of Mexico port of Altamira, Mexico, might seem to defy market logic: Tankers arrived from Yemen and Nigeria to offload liquefied natural gas at a price four times the market rate in the U.S. It’s a sign of Mexico’s enormous energy crisis, even as oil remains the mainstay of the country’s economy. Mexico has huge natural gas reserves, yet those reserves remain largely untapped, and the country is a net importer of the fuel. | 09/18/13 13:55:48 By - By Tim Johnson

Even before Syria deal, Egypt was renewing its relationship with Russia

Whether a proposed Russian deal to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons as an alternative to a U.S. missile strike actually works or not, Russia already has emerged as a winner among many Egyptians. | 09/18/13 16:52:17 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.N. calculations of poison rockets’ paths implicate Syrian guard unit

A U.N. report detailing the scientific evidence behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria carefully avoided laying blame for the incident. But the report’s details, particularly its calculations of the trajectories of the rockets that delivered poison gas to two Damascus suburbs, point directly at President Bashar Assad’s regime, experts concluded Tuesday after a day spent studying the U.N. findings. | 09/17/13 18:35:42 By - By Matthew Schofield

Multi-nation military base offers Afghans a lesson on getting along

The very nature of the exotically multinational force at Camp Marmal in northern Afghanistan seems to mock the notion that war makes any sense. | 09/17/13 17:47:53 By - By Jay Price

UN has allegations of 14 other gas attacks in Syria by both regime and rebels

U.N. inspectors, who Monday confirmed the use of chemical weapons against a rebel-held area in the Damascus suburbs, were in Syria by coincidence, intending to investigate other gas attacks where the national government claims the rebels are responsible. | 09/16/13 20:38:27 By - By Roy Gutman

U.N. team confirms sarin attack; Assad military implicated

A United Nations report released Monday confirmed that poison gas was used against Syrian civilians in a deadly attack last month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of villagers in 1988. | 09/16/13 19:56:07 By - By Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

UN team confirms sarin gas used against civilians in Syria

A United Nations report released Monday confirmed that poison gas was used against Syrian civilians in a deadly attack last month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of villagers in 1988. | 09/16/13 12:29:45 By - By Hannah Allam

Syrian official calls U.S.-Russia chemical weapons deal a victory for Assad

A U.S.-Russian agreement for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons stockpiles and avoid American air strikes is a ‘victory’ for President Bashar Assad, the Syrian official in charge of reaching out to the government’s opponents declared Sunday. | 09/15/13 17:19:16 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Israelis cautious about U.S.-Russia deal on Syria’s chemical weapons

Israel reacted cautiously Sunday to a U.S.-Russian accord to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid- 2014, with some Israeli officials questioning whether the deal could be carried out while analysts said the result was preferable to a limited military strike that would have left Syria’s chemical arsenal largely intact. | 09/15/13 17:22:16 By - By Joel Greenberg

Syrian opposition stands to lose in U.S-Russian deal to disarm Assad

The U.S.-Russian deal to seize Syria’s chemical weapons is likely to keep Bashar Assad in office for at least many months to come in a major setback for Syrian opposition figures who now face the prospect of negotiating with what they fear will be an emboldened regime with its superior military intact. | 09/14/13 18:25:53 By - By Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

U.S., Russia give Assad till Friday to reveal details of Syria’s chemical weapons

The United States and Russia on Saturday reached agreement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, giving President Bashar Assad one week to reveal what kind of weapons his country has and where they are being kept. | 09/14/13 15:38:47 By - By Matthew Schofield

Riot police sweep striking teachers from Mexico City’s main plaza

Squads of riot police backed by water cannon Friday swept into the historic heart of Mexico’s capital, scurrying between bonfires to flush out striking teachers, some of whom swung pipes and threw rocks at security forces. | 09/13/13 19:53:01 By - By Tim Johnson

Rare Leonardo da Vinci codex on exhibit at National Air and Space Museum

A rare avian landed Friday at the National Air and Space Museum. “Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds” will be on display until Oct. 22. | 09/13/13 12:08:17 By - Tish Wells

U.S. troops join Afghans to repulse attack on consulate in Herat

Insurgents detonated a pair of vehicle bombs at a gate of the U.S. consulate in the western city of Herat early Friday, then opened fire with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades before being killed, Afghan and U.S. officials said. | 09/13/13 08:09:35 By - Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Syria sends UN pledge to give up chemical weapons as U.S., Russia begin tense talks

Syrian President Bashar Assad formally agreed Thursday to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal, marking the first concrete step in a diplomatic process aimed at heading off a potential U.S. military strike against his regime. | 09/12/13 19:52:35 By - By Matthew Schofield and Hannah Allam

With pullout looming, NATO forces now disassembling larger bases in Afghanistan

Coalition troops at the German base and an adjacent U.S. camp are packing up and shipping out equipment, trying to decide what to destroy, what to sell and what to give to the local Afghan security forces, trying to orchestrate a safe, orderly final withdrawal even as they dodge the occasional incoming rocket and respond to intelligence reports of bombs along the roads they’re using to truck equipment and people out. | 09/12/13 18:06:11 By - By Jay Price

Egyptian Museum and its ancient artifacts feel the nation’s ills

Yasmin el Shazly last gave a VIP tour through Cairo’s Egyptian Museum two years ago, before the uprising just outside the museum doors in Tahrir Square led to the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. Before that, el Shazly once lectured Paris Hilton and Charlize Theron about the world’s greatest collection of Egyptian artifacts. Now the museum is an empty monument to a nation shunned by tourists and unwilling, or perhaps unable, to preserve its history, both recent and ancient. | 09/12/13 16:58:23 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt’s government extends state of emergency for two months

Amid increased violence in the restive Sinai, a month-long curfew and an increasingly fervent government crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian authorities on Thursday extended a state of emergency for another two months, giving the government broad powers to arrest dissidents. | 09/12/13 16:41:15 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian oil fields, now in rebel hands, still play crucial role in nation’s economy

With colorful bandannas covering their faces to protect against the noxious smoke, displaced Syrians have been flocking to the country’s oil-producing east to scratch out a living by operating primitive refineries in a setting that seems straight out of purgatory. | 09/12/13 15:57:59 By - By Roy Gutman

National soccer team’s dismal showing adds to Mexico’s sour mood

Barely a year ago, the national soccer team showered Mexico in glory by bringing home a gold medal from the Summer Olympics, arguably the most important sports honor the nation has ever won. | 09/12/13 15:01:16 By - By Tim Johnson

U.S., Russia begin talks on how to seize Syria’s chemical arsenal

The United States and Russia on Wednesday began swapping ideas on how to contain and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons in preparation for high-level talks slated to begin Thursday in Geneva, in the latest whirlwind of diplomacy to stave off U.S. missile strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. | 09/11/13 18:52:14 By - By Hannah Allam and Anita Kumar

Syria chemical weapons deal puts Russia back at center of international influence

In one day, with one simply stated proposal, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned a losing position into a winning one. | 09/11/13 15:38:48 By - By Matthew Schofield

Nusra Front militia’s control of Syrian city gives it economic clout

At the edge of a vast desert in Syria’s gas and oil production region, Ash Shaddadi, a city of 70,000, has become the nightmare that many fear if radical Islamist forces triumph in the country’s civil war. Since February, the city has been under the control of the militia known as the Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to al Qaida. The spoils of conquest include much of eastern Syria’s petroleum resources. | 09/11/13 15:11:40 By - By Roy Gutman

Surreal Afghanistan boardwalk fading into memory as U.S. troops withdraw

There is nothing quite like coming off a patrol, your body-armor-shaped sweat stains still drying and ears ringing from grenades, only to have the hostess at T.G.I. Friday’s tell you to wait a few. Sorry, sergeant, we’ve got to clear a table. | 09/11/13 21:20:48 By - By Jay Price

A year after Benghazi, State Department hopes to expand security training

The Diplomatic Security Training Center trains all diplomatic security agents, as well as foreign service officers heading to high-threat posts. But the facility is only an interim one, built in 2007 to augment previous training sites that the Government Accountability Office called “inadequate” and said posed a “critical challenge” to training. Today, the State Department says the temporary center decreases productivity, interrupts scheduling and increases costs. That’s why the department hopes the site won’t be its permanent home. | 09/11/13 07:17:54 By - By Ben Kamisar

Child killed by dogs in Bucharest leads to tough new law on strays

The mauling to death of a 4-year-old boy in the Romanian capital has reignited a countrywide debate over what to do about the packs of stray dogs that roam Bucharest. | 09/10/13 18:08:23 By - By Kit Gillet

Obama puts off war vote in Congress to explore Russian-brokered deal with Syria

President Barack Obama asked Congress on Tuesday to postpone a vote on airstrikes against Syria to allow time to explore a Russian proposal to get Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international control. | 09/10/13 22:05:39 By - By Anita Kumar, William Douglas and Matthew Schofield

Syria accepts Russia's chemical weapons plan; talks to start at U.N.

Hours after Syria announced that it had accepted a Russian plan for the destruction of its chemical weapons, the White House said President Obama had agreed Tuesday to "explore seriously" the Russian proposal and that talks with Russia and China would being Tuesday at the U.N. | 09/10/13 09:41:25 By - By Matthew Schofield and Anita Kumar

Mexico, beset by obesity and diabetes, to consider a tax on soft drinks

Mexico’s president, taking aim at sugary drinks as a public health issue, is asking Congress to impose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. | 09/09/13 15:51:37 By - By Tim Johnson

In Mexico, beer sales are latest battlefield against country’s giant monopolies

Pablo Flores has big dreams for his tiny craft brewery, which produces smooth golden and brown ales in bottles with dandy labels. | 09/09/13 15:30:03 By - By Tim Johnson

Anniversary of Chilean coup brings renewed calls for justice

The Chilean military officer put a pistol to folksinger Victor Jara’s head in a game of Russian roulette, twirled the chamber and shot him point blank. Then he ordered a group of conscripts to fire into his corpse. Now, four decades after Jara’s death, a civil lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Jacksonville, claiming that Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez — a man now living in Florida — is responsible for those events as well as the torture of Jara in the days after the democratically elected Marxist President Salvador Allende was toppled and a military dictatorship installed. | 09/09/13 13:49:26 By - Mimi Whitefield

Al Qaida fighters among rebels who seize Christian village in Syria

A coalition of Syrian rebel groups that includes members of al Qaida took control of one of the oldest Christian villages in the world on Sunday, raising concern about the potential destruction of ancient shrines and churches. | 09/08/13 14:57:44 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Syrians, once welcomed in Cairo, now finding Egypt is hostile

In the months that Alaa lived in Cairo after fleeing her war-torn Syrian homeland, she had grown accustomed to Egyptian men asking for her hand in marriage, believing that Syrian women are prettier, better cooks and cheaper. She could handle the lack of jobs and families sharing one-room apartments to survive on the bare minimum. But the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi July 3 – and the response that has provoked among Egyptians, civilians and soldiers alike – was just too much. | 09/07/13 12:20:52 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. pulls staff from outposts in Lebanon, Turkey

Citing increased threats to American citizens as the United States debates military action in Syria, the Obama administration on Friday ordered nonessential personnel out of its embassy in neighboring Lebanon. The State Department said it also would allow nonessential staff and their families to leave a diplomatic outpost in Turkey. | 09/06/13 18:01:24 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Joint Statement on Syria

The Leaders and Representatives of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America made the following statement on the margins of the Group of 20 Nations Leader’s Meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia: The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal. The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere. Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons. | 09/06/13 11:32:22 By -

Putin and Obama meet on Syria, reach little common ground

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today he and President Barack Obama talked Syria today at an unexpected encounter, but that neither side blinked: "We stuck to our guns," Putin told reporters Friday at a closing press conference, describing the meeting, nevertheless as "very friendly." | 09/06/13 10:02:10 By - Lesley Clark

Yemen al Qaida group appears to think globally, act locally

In the words of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, it was a plot that aimed to change history. Intercepted communications appeared to indicate an impending terrorist operation of mammoth proportions. European nations shuttered their embassies; the U.S. and the United Kingdom airlifted staff from the Yemeni capital. The apparent plot seemed a manifestation of the U.S. government’s greatest fears regarding al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which former CIA director David Petraeus once dubbed the “most dangerous node in the global jihad.” | 09/05/13 15:19:24 By - By Adam Baron

Russia gave UN 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for Aleppo sarin attack

Russia says a deadly March sarin attack in an Aleppo suburb was carried out by Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, and it has delivered a 100-page report laying out its evidence to the United Nations. | 09/05/13 09:59:53 By - By Matthew Schofield

Intercepted call bolsters Syrian chemical-weapons charge, Germans say

German intelligence intercepted a phone call between a Hezbollah commander and an unidentified official at an Iranian embassy that provided evidence that the Syrian government was behind the alleged Aug. 21 chemical-weapons attack, a German newsmagazine has reported. | 09/04/13 19:09:39 By - By Matthew Schofield

France won’t attack Syria if U.S. doesn’t, prime minister tells his Senate

French leaders warned Wednesday that failing to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would send a dangerous signal to the dictators of the world. | 09/04/13 13:37:40 By - By Matthew Schofield

NSA leak might lead to cancellation of Brazil state visit

Revelations of a U.S. spy program that allegedly allows digital surveillance of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico have drawn cries of indignation and anger in both nations, but the fallout may be strongest for U.S.-Brazil relations. | 09/03/13 19:02:58 By - By Tim Johnson and Vinod Sreeharsha

Many in Middle East struggling to understand Obama’s Syria policy

Ahmad Nemah, a midlevel Syrian rebel commander, is certain there’s sound military logic behind President Barack Obama’s decision to delay U.S. missile strikes against the Syrian regime, but he’s having a hard time persuading his subordinates. | 09/03/13 18:29:26 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Younger Muslim Brotherhood hoping to revive the Egyptian group

With the unprecedented arrests of the top and mid-levels of the Muslim Brotherhood, the secretive organization through which Mohammed Morsi ascended to the presidency before he was ousted this summer, the group’s younger members are forming splinter groups that they promise will revive the embattled organization. | 09/03/13 18:10:18 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

As Syrian refugees flood Lebanon, security worries grow

With more than 700,000 Syrian refugees jammed into a country of fewer than 4 million that already was hosting an estimated 500,000 Syrian guest workers, tensions are rising in Lebanon, which was deeply divided even before civil war broke out in its neighbor to the east. | 09/03/13 16:19:31 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Don’t wobble on reforms, Mexican leader tells nation

President Enrique Pena Nieto, facing a sudden downturn in his political fortunes, vowed Monday to forge ahead with a sweeping restructuring of the state despite a slumping economy, promising that “the great transformation of Mexico is possible.” | 09/02/13 14:37:41 By - By Tim Johnson

In Syrian refugee camp, anger at Obama

As President Barack Obama’s announcement that he was postponing U.S. missile strikes against the Syrian regime hit the Zaatari refugee camp, so did anger and fear. | 09/02/13 10:27:24 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Mexico sets ‘crusade’ to ease rural poverty, but will it work?

Maria Suarez Bonilla dwells in a thatched-roof hut with a dirt floor and no running water. She hopes one day to have a few pesos to build an outhouse. | 09/02/13 00:00:00 By - By Tim Johnson

Have questions?

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Mexican call centers provide jobs, network for deported teens

Years of record-breaking deportations in the United States are helping to fuel a developing industry in Mexico: call centers to serve American customers. | 09/01/13 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez

After father is deported, teen makes his own way in U.S.

As Armando Cruz and his friends in Charlotte, N.C., watched U.S. senators vote on a massive immigration overhaul in June, his mind drifted 1,600 miles away to this dusty Mexican town where his little sister was on a 30-minute trek to the closest Internet cafe. | 09/01/13 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez

Young Mexican immigrant returns to nation she barely knows

In a corner of her room is a pink drawer. It’s almost hidden by the 3-foot pile of clothes. But when Alejandra Pinzon clears a path and pulls open the plastic drawer, she can touch her most cherished possessions: a jumble of mementos that connect her to a life that’s slipping from her grasp. | 09/01/13 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez

Obama risks embarrassing loss in Congress

President Barack Obama is taking a risk by asking Congress to approve airstrikes against Syria. | 08/31/13 18:52:03 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Yemeni Prime Minister escapes assassination attempt

Yemen’s Prime Minister, Mohamed Salim Basindowa, narrowly escaped an apparent assassination attempt Saturday evening, as his armored car came under gunfire en route to his home in an upscale neighborhood in the Yemeni capital. | 08/31/13 18:35:20 By - By Adam Baron

Chemical weapons experts weigh in on Syria intelligence report

International chemical weapons experts generally agree that the evidence presented Friday in an unclassified U.S. report about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria seems stronger than the faulty intelligence employed to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. | 08/30/13 19:21:40 By - By Lindsay Wise and Anita Kumar

In Egypt, the press turns yellow as it takes on opponents of military takeover

Readers of Egypt’s main state-run newspaper this week were treated to a startling expose. Splashed atop al Ahram’s front page was trumpeted how security forces smashed a plot by the Muslim Brotherhood, the United States and Palestinian Islamists to foment the secession of northern Egypt. | 08/30/13 17:34:56 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

A war-weary public leery of another Middle East entanglement

The American public doesn’t have much appetite for a military strike in Syria. | 08/30/13 15:35:11 By - By David Lightman

With Britain out, U.S. ready to go it alone in Syria

U.S. intervention in Syria won’t have the support of key ally Britain after a historic vote by Parliament on Thursday to reject any military action to deter the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad’s regime. | 08/29/13 21:00:25 By - By Lindsay Wise, Anita Kumar and Hannah Allam

Missing in Syria debate: Weighing the ethics of war

As the Obama administration continues to weigh its options in Syria after last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack, the conversation has stayed away from one of the murkier issues of war: its moral implications. | 08/29/13 18:35:15 By - By Ali Watkins

Obama blames Syrian regime for chemical weapons deaths; undecided on whether to attack

In his first direct comments about the Syrian crisis, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his government has concluded Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is responsible for a large-scale chemical weapons attack that killed civilians but that he’s not yet decided how to respond to a breach he said demands “international consequences.” | 08/28/13 20:02:38 By - By Lindsay Wise and Lesley Clark

Attacking Syria raises thorny questions as well as risks

The Obama administration’s preparations on Syria this week raise many thorny questions about the risks associated with launching a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime over the alleged use of chemical weapons. | 08/28/13 19:27:25 By - By Hannah Allam

Military experts cautious about effectiveness of a U.S. attack on Syria

Now, with the United States appearing close to launching a retaliatory attack for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of nerve gas last week, defense and diplomatic analysts are cautioning that the expected “surgical” strike will likely be symbolic and fall far short of eliminating Syria’s chemical capabilities. | 08/28/13 20:18:26 By - By James Rosen

Fearing U.S. missiles, Syrians flood neighboring Lebanon

Lebanese media outlets – which tend to employ hyperbole on refugee matters – said tens of thousands of Syrians had used the Masnaa border crossing in the past 48 hours to flee the more than 2-year-old rebellion that has killed more than 100,000 people and threatens to enter a new phase of Western involvement. Lebanese security sources put the numbers substantially lower but said they were believed to be in the thousands. | 08/28/13 18:33:02 By - By Mitchell Prothero

ARCHIVED CHAT: What will happen in Syria?

Foreign Affairs correspondent Hannah Allam and Middle East expert Leila Hilal answer your questions about what's next in Syria. | 08/28/13 15:53:29 By - By Hannah Allam

UN council clears path for action in Syria

Israel prepares for retaliation as Russians flee Syria. | 08/28/13 07:39:37 By - By Matthew Schofield

U.S. wins Arab League backing as plans emerge for strike against Syria

The Arab League on Tuesday declared the Syrian regime “fully responsible” for an alleged chemical weapons attack, giving the Obama administration symbolic regional cover to proceed with a punitive offensive that could begin within days. | 08/27/13 18:48:21 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam

In foreign policy, the moral high ground is only an occasional destination

The United States helped protect the last Middle Eastern tyrant thought to use chemical weapons. | 08/27/13 17:34:03 By - By Michael Doyle

In Bulgaria, protesters’ constant cry hopes to unseat unpopular government

Surrounded by fellow protesters, Ivan Diadovski shakes his fist angrily at the upper-floor window of a nearby government building. Tired of the corruption he believes is endemic among his country’s political class, the 73-year-old ecologist has taken to the streets to join his countrymen in protest. | 08/27/13 15:25:33 By - By Kit Gillet

Surging protests heighten stakes in Mexico battle over revisions

For a week now, striking teachers have brought much of Mexico’s capital to a crawl with traffic-snarling protests, and the unrest looks likely to expand in coming days to capture discontent far beyond mandatory teacher evaluations. | 08/27/13 15:15:24 By - By Tim Johnson

Arab leaders blame Syria for using chemical weapons

With a U.S. military strike potentially imminent, Arab leaders on Tuesday provided a qualified endorsement should President Barack Obama decide to retaliate against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people. | 08/27/13 14:58:44 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Kerry says Syrian use of chemical weapons ‘undeniable;’ U.N. investigates

A U.N. team began inspecting the site of a possible chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Monday as the United States used its strongest language yet to condemn the Syria government for purportedly using deadly nerve gas to kill hundreds of its own people in an escalating and bloody civil war. | 08/26/13 19:28:22 By - By Anita Kumar, Mitchell Prothero and Matthew Schofield

Why the US won't declare war on Syria

While a U.S.-led attack appears increasingly likely, the legal underpinnings for lethal action remain ambiguous. | 08/26/13 17:42:17 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama seeks chemical weapons rebuke without entering Syrian swamp

With Secretary of State John Kerry warning Monday that Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons would not go “without consequence,” the trick is to come up with a strong rebuke for Bashar Assad’s regime that doesn’t commit U.S. military backing to the wider civil war. | 08/26/13 20:37:12 By - By Hannah Allam

Even as U.S. hands over fight to Afghans, some troops still take fire

For weeks, the fierce duel playing out in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan between U.S. and insurgent artillery crews had been decidedly one-sided – deadly only for the Taliban. With better training and high-tech equipment, the Americans were so fast and accurate with return fire that shooting at them from the mountainsides overlooking their camp was practically suicidal. But a seemingly endless supply of insurgents replaced those they killed. The incoming fire continued. Finally a Taliban rocket found its mark. | 08/26/13 13:42:56 By - By Franz-Stefan Gady and Jay Price

U.S. appears to weigh military response to alleged Syrian use of chemical weapons

U.S. officials on Sunday called Syria’s decision to allow a U.N. team to investigate the site of a purported chemical attack “too late to be credible,” signaling that the Obama administration was leaning toward a military intervention in the two-year-old civil war. | 08/25/13 20:12:27 By - By Hannah Allam, James Rosen and Jonathan Landay

Obama convenes Saturday meeting on Syria

President Obama will meet this morning in a rare Saturday session with his national security team "to discuss the reports of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in Syria earlier this week," a White House official said. | 08/24/13 17:13:30 By - Lesley Clark

Doctors cite deaths, injuries from toxin attack in Syria as Obama, allies ponder lethal action

President Barack Obama met with his national security team to discuss potential military options in Syria Saturday, as an international relief group said Syrian hospitals reportedly treated 3,600 patients displaying symptoms of chemical weapons exposure after an attack that killed scores of civilians. | 08/24/13 16:32:20 By - By Lesley Clark and Mitchell Prothero

U.S. awaits UN inspection before responding to Syria chemical weapons claims

The Obama administration, along with key ally Britain, on Friday strongly suggested that a chemical attack was the reason for scores of civilian deaths in Syria this week but continued to push for a U.N. investigation before committing to any punishment for President Bashar Assad’s regime. | 08/23/13 20:53:43 By - By Hannah Allam, Mitchell Prothero and Lesley Clark

Muslim Brotherhood leadership fading amid government crackdown

Television preacher Saftwat Hegazy was arrested earlier this week as the military-installed government moved to crack down on its Islamist opponents. | 08/23/13 17:57:52 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Jonathan S. Landay

Robert Bales sentenced to life without parole in slaying of Afghans

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales received a life sentence without the possibility parole on Friday for his single-handed massacre of 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012. | 08/23/13 14:42:42 By - Adam Ashton

For dark-skinned Mexicans, taint of discrimination lingers

Flip through the print publications exalting the activities of Mexico’s high society and there’s one thing you rarely find: dark-skinned people. | 08/22/13 14:59:03 By - By Tim Johnson

Tensions remain high in Egypt after Mubarak released from prison

As a small gaggle of supporters cheered and waved his portraits outside, former dictator Hosni Mubarak was whisked by helicopter Thursday out of one of Egypt’s most notorious prisons a day after a court ruled that he could no longer be jailed pending his trial on corruption and other charges. | 08/22/13 17:48:42 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Egyptian turmoil continues with Mubarak’s pending release, more arrests

During the latter half of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule, those who suggested rising up against him often would be reminded of an Egyptian phrase, “The one you know is better than the one you don’t know,” referring to Mubarak’s potential replacement. | 08/21/13 19:18:38 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Jonathan S. Landay

Unconfirmed reports of chemical weapons use in Syria complicate U.S. role

Syrian government forces unleashed artillery attacks and air raids in eastern Damascus on Wednesday in a campaign that followed unverified reports of mass deaths in a chemical weapons attack. | 08/21/13 19:32:17 By - By Mitchell Prothero and Hannah Allam

Egypt quandary deepens for White House

President Barack Obama convened his National Security Council on Tuesday to weigh whether the U.S. should cut off aid to Egypt, as he struggles to respond to a continuing crisis that has led to the imprisonment of its democratically elected president and the deaths of nearly 1,000 civilians. | 08/20/13 18:38:05 By - By Anita Kumar and Hannah Allam

Muslim Brotherhood names new chief as it struggles to rally supporters

The Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that propelled Mohammed Morsi to the Egyptian presidency before his recent ouster, named an interim leader Tuesday. | 08/20/13 16:57:18 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

A peaceful soccer match ends with an Afghan win over Pakistan

A sniper team peered down from one corner of the bleachers, another perched atop the roof of the VIP area, trucks with machineguns were parked at the stadium gates and hundreds of shield-toting riot police stood between the stands and the field. | 08/20/13 16:55:43 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Once-despised Egyptian military finds favor after short-lived democracy

Soha Sayed was once an iconic face in a nation weary of an Egyptian government dominated by the military. | 08/19/13 20:59:17 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Presence of al Qaida-linked groups in northern Syria complicates rebellion

The presence of al Qaida-linked groups fighting alongside rebels in Syria continues to grow – and reshape the conflict. | 08/19/13 15:56:51 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Recovery is slow in rural China’s ‘cancer villages’

In Nanmen, a small village about 25 miles from Shanghai, the smell of paint and gasoline hangs heavy in the stagnant afternoon air. Small dogs run in streets wide enough for only a small car. Children with worn Disney backpacks walk home from school, avoiding the trash tossed into the street gutters. It seems to be a village much like any other in rural China. But there is something different about Nanmen that weighs on villagers’ minds. | 08/19/13 15:02:47 By - By Brittany Horn

After days of death and protest, Sunday brought quiet to Cairo's streets

Cairo violence and protests ebb, but Islamist prisoners reportedly killed in jailbreak. | 08/18/13 15:58:50 By - Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt government paints opponents as terrorists; US journalists targeted

Egyptian presidential advisor Mustafa Hegazy described them as remnants of “religious fascism” that once governed the nation. The police called them infidels as they cleared a mosque Saturday where they were either hiding or shooting, depending on which side you listened to. Newscasters referred to them as armed gunmen. | 08/17/13 19:29:03 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Mexico’s state oil giant faces pressure to revamp, slim down

For generations, one of the sweetest jobs any Mexican could aspire to has been a slot at the state oil giant, Petroleos Mexicanos. Salaries are high, and Pemex offers fat pensions, a low retirement age and sometimes-modest – even barely existent – workloads. But the company has seen crude oil production fall for the past eight years, endangering its role as the ATM of the federal government. Now President Enrique Pena Nieto has proposed opening the energy sector to foreign investment, and experts say Pemex and its employees are in for turbulent times. | 08/16/13 18:29:50 By - By Tim Johnson

In ‘Day of Rage,’ Egyptians battle in the streets

Several cities across Egypt erupted into fierce street battles Friday between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi outraged over the deaths of hundreds at sit-ins earlier this week, residents and security forces. Health Ministry officials said that at least 60 people died, pushing the death toll toward 700 since armed government forces swept into two camps of pro-Morsi demonstrators Wednesday. | 08/16/13 18:01:38 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Reprisals threatened for Beirut bombing in resurgently violent Lebanon

The family of a man who was killed this week in the deadliest car bombing to hit Lebanon’s capital in decades said it would wait for orders from Hezbollah’s leadership before seeking revenge on Syrian rebels. In turn, Hezbollah’s top leader responded to the developments with an eye-for-an-eye speech that suggested more cross-border involvement in the bloodshed that’s overwhelmed Syria. It was a sign that Thursday’s attack threatens to return Lebanon to the violence that ripped it apart from the mid-1970s through the ’80s. | 08/16/13 16:19:02 By - By Mitchell Prothero

After Friday prayers, bloodshed breaks out in Egypt

Several cities across Egypt erupted into fierce street battles Friday between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi outraged over the deaths of hundreds at sit-ins earlier this week, residents and security forces. | 08/16/13 12:25:34 By - Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Scene at overtaxed Cairo morgue is solemn in aftermath of crackdown

On Thursday, as the repercussions of Wednesday’s clearing of sit-ins in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi sank in for Egyptians, the unprecedented death toll overwhelmed Cairo’s Zeinhoum morgue. | 08/15/13 19:34:17 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Blast hits Hezbollah area in Beirut, showing spread of Syria conflict

A large suspected car bomb exploded Thursday in the southern part of this city in a neighborhood controlled by the militant group Hezbollah, signaling another encroachment of the Syrian civil war into Lebanon. The blast killed more than 20 people and wounded scores of others in streets crammed with offices and military posts for the Shiite Muslim group. Several 10-story apartment buildings burned for more than an hour. | 08/15/13 18:30:24 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Back to 2011? Military is in control of Egypt again

At the site where thousands of people once lived in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, all that remain are ashes and military tanks stationed to control the area. Where kitchens once prepared thousands of meals to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan, government bulldozers now sit. Where the injured from the sit-in camp once clung to life on dirty hospital floors littered with bloodied bandages are now charred hallways | 08/15/13 16:00:20 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

US to scrap joint military exercise with Egypt

President Barack Obama said today he's told Egypt that the U.S. will cancel a bi-annual joint military exercise that had been scheduled for September -- in response to a lethal crackdown by the Egyptian military. | 08/15/13 10:29:05 By - Lesley Clark

Egypt: After ‘volatile’ and ‘saddening’ day, what happens next?

Egyptian security forces launched a bloody crackdown against the supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi early Wednesday morning, firing ammunition and razing their sit-in sites with bulldozers in an attack that killed at least 500 people. McClatchy Middle East Bureau Chief Nancy A. Youssef and special correspondent Amina Ismail answer questions about Wednesday’s events and the outlook for the coming days: | 08/14/13 18:23:31 By -

Al Qaida threatens more violence as Pakistan vows to execute terrorists

Pakistan’s government has brushed aside an al Qaida ultimatum, pledging to carry out the scheduled executions of three convicted terrorists next week. The militants, in turn, warned that proceeding with the executions would unleash a murderous campaign of revenge against politicians of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party. | 08/14/13 17:02:19 By - By Tom Hussain

Egyptian forces storm protest camps; hundreds killed or injured

Egypt’s security forces stormed camps of protesters loyal to ousted President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday in a wave of gunfire and tear gas that set off fighting throughout the country. At least 278 people were dead and more than 2,200 injured on the deadliest day since the 2011 uprising. | 08/14/13 18:03:31 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

White House condemns violence in Egypt

The White House said Wednesday it "strongly condemns" the Egyptian military's lethal decision to lay seige to sit-ins by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and that it "strongly opposes" a return to emergency law the military has imposed. | 08/14/13 12:28:47 By - Lesley Clark

Egypt declares state of emergency after 149 killed during morning attack

Egypt security forces launched an early morning attack Wednesday on two sit-ins by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, firing ammunition and razing the sites with bulldozers in an attack that could end up killing hundreds. | 08/14/13 10:27:50 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

U.S. journalist marks year in captivity as risks increase for war reporters

Tuesday marked a year since American journalist Austin Tice was detained while covering the civil war in Syria, one of at least 14 news media workers who’ve vanished or been seized in the past year, according to press advocacy groups. | 08/13/13 19:52:30 By - By Hannah Allam

War in Syria stokes feuds between Lebanese clans

The Syrian civil war has spawned another violent but low-grade conflict that pits village against village, clan against clan and Muslim sect against sect among Lebanese living on the country’s border. Escalating retaliations have triggered kidnapping and ambushes, and have left partisans captured, wounded and dead. | 08/13/13 18:03:22 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Mexico unveils plan to open energy sector to competition

President Enrique Pena Nieto began selling his proposal to a reluctant nation by saying the move would lower electricity costs, create jobs and revive Mexico’s status as a global energy power. Flanked by much of his Cabinet, Pena Nieto said the plan would revitalize the oil and gas industry without selling out the giant state oil company to foreign interests. | 08/12/13 18:58:36 By - By Tim Johnson

U.S.-style liberal arts colleges plant foothold in China

It was a risky business venture. In 2005, Chen Wei Ming – a Harvard-educated Chinese businessman – bought a cash-strapped technical college in Shanghai. Chen had a vision for the future of Chinese universities. He recognized that burgeoning cities such as Shanghai couldn’t sustain workers who’d gone to school on the “assembly line.” He envisioned a college where students could challenge their professors, think critically and pursue multiple, creative interests. So Xing Wei College was born. Classes are taught in English by American professors to a student body that totals just 25. | 08/12/13 17:00:03 By - By Lauren Ingeno

Kidnapping threats escalate in Lebanon, neighboring Syria

The abduction of Turkish pilots in Beirut marked a quick escalation of hostage taking among factions that have various ties to the Syrian civil war. The kidnappings threaten to complicate alliances in the Middle East and undercut tourism in Lebanon. | 08/12/13 16:51:19 By - By Mitchell Prothero

U.S. embassies in Muslim world reopen amid still-murky threats

CAIRO – Even as many of the U.S. diplomatic posts in the Muslim world reopened Sunday, some still remained closed and the threats that triggered action to shut them temporarily last week were unexplained. | 08/11/13 15:47:39 By - By Nancy A. Youssef, Adam Baron and Tom Hussain

Obama defends Russia relations, progress on al Qaida, health care law

President Barack Obama said Friday that it was appropriate for the U.S. to “take a pause” and reassess its relationship with Russia, given what he called Cold War-era thinking by President Vladimir Putin. | 08/09/13 19:36:43 By - By Lesley Clark

U.S. pullback in Lahore another sign of growing al Qaida violence in Pakistan

The U.S. State Department’s decision Friday to withdraw staff from its consulate in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore is the latest indication that the city of 10 million is facing a renewed threat of al Qaida infiltration. | 08/09/13 19:15:28 By - Tom Hussain

Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat

The United States’ launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country. The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway. | 08/09/13 19:07:23 By - Adam Baron

New vision of al Qaida rises from U.S. Embassy closings

The rise in prominence of Nasir al Wuhayshi, the Yemeni head of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, underscores the transformation of al Qaida from a relatively small group led by one charismatic man into a diffuse global organization with many branches that pursue local objectives but follow a single ideology, according to counterterrorism analysts and officials. | 08/08/13 19:07:53 By - By Hannah Allam and Adam Baron

Pakistani police commanders killed in al Qaida-linked attack

Nearly half the top police commanders in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province were killed Thursday when insurgents shot and killed a police inspector, then bombed his funeral hours later, where most of the province’s police commanders had gathered. At least 30 people were reported dead and 40 wounded. | 08/08/13 15:34:25 By - By Tom Hussain

Syrian army kills dozens of al Qaida-linked rebels in ambush

The Syrian army ambushed a group of al Qaida-linked fighters Wednesday east of Damascus, killing more than 60 and handing the group a setback after a string of victories this week. Syrian state television and opponents of President Bashar Assad confirmed the ambush, which decimated a unit of about 70 members of the Nusra Front, a rebel group that’s sworn allegiance to al Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri and that the United States declared an international terrorist organization last year. | 08/07/13 16:47:19 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Broad U.S. terror alert mystifies experts; ‘It’s crazy pants,’ one says

U.S. officials insisted Tuesday that extraordinary security measures for nearly two dozen diplomatic posts were to thwart an “immediate, specific threat,” a claim questioned by counterterrorism experts, who note that the alert covers an incongruous set of nations from the Middle East to an island off the southern coast of Africa. | 08/06/13 19:47:17 By - By Hannah Allam

Yemen denounces U.S. evacuation of some embassy staff as aiding extremists

Yemeni officials on Tuesday sharply denounced the United States’ decision to evacuate some of its staff from its embassy in the country in the first sign of a split between allies over the Obama administration’s reaction to what U.S. officials say is one of the most specific terrorism threats in years. | 08/06/13 19:35:56 By - By Adam Baron

Defense experts question Joint Chiefs chairman’s views on Syria

Several international defense experts said that a recent letter from America’s top military leader about the war in Syria revealed a “great power” weary of conflict, cautious on spending and hesitant about overseas engagements. But several experts questioned his costs and conclusions. | 08/06/13 18:20:00 By - By Matthew Schofield

Among China’s students, some hope for a return to Mao-era policies

On the campus of Beijing Normal University, professors say they’ve noticed a trend that worries them: students embracing radical leftism. They advocate a return to the socialist state that Communist Party founder Mao Zedong favored and that Chinese leaders for the last generation have tried to put behind them. | 08/06/13 16:42:07 By - By Lara Farrar

Lebanon probing link between bomb factory where 2 died and Syrian war

Lebanese military intelligence is investigating what link an explosion that took the lives of two Egyptian brothers Sunday might have to the civil war in neighboring Syria, according to security officials and the country’s official National News Agency. | 08/05/13 18:08:00 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Egypt’s government won’t find it easy to clear pro-Morsi encampment

The site of a sit-in staged by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has become a city of its own within the nation’s capital, a development that surely will complicate any effort by the militarily installed government to uproot it without the agreement of the Muslim Brotherhood members who’ve built it. | 08/05/13 17:08:33 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Finding husbands is tough for China’s ‘leftover ladies’ – if they even want them

In a society with a growing number of women seeking education, many urban Chinese women are postponing marriage to have careers, which has many parents going to extreme measures, such as the "marriage market" in People’s Square, to pair up their sons and daughters. Many of these women have a difficult time finding partners: Many Chinese men would rather be with young women who are less successful than they are, according to Xu Anqi, of the Family Study Center at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. | 08/05/13 16:22:56 By - By Jessica Tully

U.S. extends embassy closings; warnings renew debate over NSA data collection

The closing of U.S. embassies in 21 predominantly Muslim countries and a broad caution about travel during August that the State Department issued on Friday touched off debate Sunday over the National Security Agency’s sweeping data collection programs. | 08/05/13 06:39:45 By - By Ali Watkins, David Lightman and Adam Baron

U.S. travel alert comes amid al Qaida glee over prison breaks

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens Friday as it suspended operations in 21 Muslim countries in response to “current information” that suggests al Qaida-affiliated militant groups might strike within the next month. | 08/02/13 17:58:36 By - By Hannah Allam

No breakthrough evident on Guantanamo detainees after Obama, Yemen’s president meet

President Barack Obama and Yemen’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, pledged Thursday to work together to repatriate dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the country. | 08/01/13 19:59:30 By - By Lesley Clark

With Snowden now free in Russia, U.S. has few options

The world’s most closely watched layover ended on Thursday as Russia granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the accused intelligence leaker who’d been holed up in a Moscow airport’s transit lounge since June 23. | 08/01/13 18:54:49 By - By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

Months of planning led to Pakistan prison break that freed scores of terrorists

A daring prison break earlier this week during which Pakistani Taliban insurgents freed about 250 of their colleagues was meant to convey that the group is a major threat to national security despite losing swaths of territory, havens and strategic conduits in the northwest tribal areas during military counterterrorist operations this year. | 08/01/13 15:20:53 By - By Tom Hussain

NATO vows better cleanup of unexploded munitions as it closes Afghan bases

The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan has agreed to do a better job of cleaning up deadly unexploded munitions from its bases and firing ranges as it closes them down after the U.N. accused the coalition of leaving dangerous explosives behind, a coalition spokesman wrote Wednesday in an emailed statement. | 07/31/13 18:23:44 By - By Jay Price

Wounded Afghan civilians tell how it happened

A new report says the number of Afghan civilians who’d been killed and wounded in the war rose 23 percent in the first half of the year over the same period last year. It was a reversal of a decline that had been recorded last year. Here are the stories of some of the wounded, in their own words. | 07/31/13 18:54:09 By - By Jay Price

Kabul hospital is sad symbol of Afghanistan’s rising civilian toll

Even as the U.S. presence drops on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and with it American casualties, the number of civilian Afghans killed and injured in the conflict is rising, new U.N. numbers show. That’s been especially true for women and children, who’ve been caught in the crossfire as an emboldened Taliban tangles with empowered Afghan security forces. | 07/31/13 17:38:47 By - By Jay Price

Senate kills effort to cut off aid to Egypt

The Senate Wednesday resounding rejected, 86-13, an effort by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to cut off American aid, most of it military, to Egypt. | 07/31/13 13:39:22 By - David Lightman

McClatchy asks Obama administration if U.S. helped New Zealand collect data on journalist

The McClatchy Co. asked the Obama administration on Tuesday to explain news reports in New Zealand that U.S. intelligence agencies had helped that country’s military track cellular telephone calls made by a New Zealand journalist while he was working for McClatchy in Afghanistan. | 07/30/13 19:40:21 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Kerry sets 9-month goal for reaching accord on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

WASHINGTON Heralding what he called a “new moment of possibility” toward Middle East peace, Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday announced an ambitious schedule for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying he hopes negotiators for the two sides will have agreed to a framework for a settlement in nine months. | 07/30/13 19:16:59 By - By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

Pakistani Taliban free dozens of terrorist convicts in daring jail break

Pakistani Taliban insurgents freed as many as 200 terrorist convicts from a fortress-like prison in the northwest city of Dera Ismail Khan early Tuesday in a raid marked by two hours of automatic weapons fire and about 60 grenade explosions. | 07/29/13 23:31:23 By - By Tom Hussain

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resume after three-year hiatus

Hours before Israeli and Palestinian leaders met on Monday to end a three-year freeze on negotiations, Secretary of State John Kerry named veteran diplomat Martin Indyk as the Obama administration’s special envoy to shepherd talks toward a final settlement of the decades-old conflict. | 07/29/13 18:50:35 By - By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

Same issues, same faces, same hopes as Mideast peace talks resume

The old adage “familiarity breeds contempt” may apply nowhere better than the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that are about to be reconvened after months of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The negotiators are nothing if not familiar with one another. | 07/29/13 16:40:25 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Without jobs growth, China will break education’s promise

Xin Sun, 24, is taking the route his parents always wanted for him. Work hard, study, get a job. On paper, he was on the fast track to success. Fast-forward to March 2013. Xin is jobless and starting to become hopeless, he said. | 07/29/13 15:52:25 By - By Vera Greene

VIDEO: Interview with Sabrina De Sousa, CIA officer, on Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr's rendition

A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation. | 07/29/13 06:44:47 By -

Report: New Zealand military collected data on phone calls of McClatchy contributor

New Zealand’s defense minister said Monday that an investigation is underway into a report that U.S. intelligence agencies helped his nation’s military track the mobile telephone calls of a freelance journalist while he worked for McClatchy Newspapers in Afghanistan. | 07/29/13 01:35:57 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Dozens dead after Egypt security forces open fire on Morsi supporters

Scores of people were killed and dozens more wounded Saturday in the worst violence in recent Egyptian history as police opened fire on supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi. | 07/27/13 20:04:20 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

U.S. allowed Italian kidnap prosecution to shield higher-ups, ex-CIA officer says

A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation. | 07/27/13 16:59:48 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Official who oversaw Guantanamo resigns as U.S. says it will send 2 detainees to Algeria

The Obama administration on Friday announced that it has notified Congress that it soon will transfer two detainees from the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to their home nation of Algeria, the first repatriations from the detention center in 10 months. | 07/26/13 20:26:36 By - By Matthew Schofield, Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

Morsi moved to prison as millions in Egypt take to streets to back military

Egypt’s military-imposed government announced Friday that it had launched an investigation into toppled President Mohammed Morsi that could lead to charges of murder and espionage, stemming from Morsi’s 2011 jailbreak during the final days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. | 07/26/13 18:35:58 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Assad opponents see U.S. distancing itself from their goals in Syria

Syrian opposition leaders say there’s just one way to interpret the U.S. stalling on promised military aid at a time when rebels are losing ground to forces loyal to President Bashar Assad: Goodbye, and good luck. | 07/26/13 17:03:20 By - By Hannah Allam

Arrests in attacks on Hezbollah suggest Lebanon closing in on Syrian rebel group

Lebanese officers arrested a Syrian man and accused him of a bombing that targeted a convoy of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah as it traveled near the Syrian border, Lebanon’s government-owned news service reported. He was the second Syrian to be charged in the assault, one of a string of attacks that many here suspect were retaliation by Syrian rebels for Hezbollah’s support for Syrian President Assad. The arrests suggest that authorities are closing in on a mysterious group that’s claimed responsibility for the attacks and may be able to link it to larger Syrian rebel organizations. | 07/25/13 17:47:39 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Despite EU terror designation, Hezbollah will be in Lebanon’s next government, Nasrallah says

In what was essentially a dare to the European Union to sanction the government of Lebanon, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday that the militant Shiite Muslim organization would demand to be included in any new Lebanese government, despite the EU’s designation earlier this week of Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization. | 07/24/13 18:38:52 By - By Mitchell Prothero

U.S. delays F-16s for Egypt as el-Sissi calls for protests against ‘terrorism’

Egypt’s tense political situation appeared likely to worsen as the head of the country’s military called Wednesday for Egyptians to demonstrate Friday against terrorism, in what many feared was a green light for violence against supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi. | 07/24/13 19:53:32 By - By Amina Ismail and Nancy A. Youssef

Yemeni president pardons reporter Obama wanted kept in jail

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye had reported that a 2009 bombing in the village of Majalla was a U.S. cruise-missile attack that killed dozens of civilians, rather than a Yemeni airstrike on an al Qaida training camp, as originally claimed. Shaye was arrested after those reports, and a Yemeni court found him guilty of assisting al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and sentenced him to five years in jail, in a trial that international human rights groups called a sham. | 07/24/13 16:35:19 By - By Adam Baron

In Afghan national park, the rare sound of women laughing

For centuries Afghans have believed that the waters of the group of six lakes known as Band-e Amir can cure illness and infertility. Now Band-e Amir also has become the nation’s soothing antidote to the daily horrors elsewhere: improvised bombs, suicide attacks and bribe-hungry police. Partly that’s due to the peacefulness and startling beauty of the remote region, which is tucked away high in the Hindu Kush of central Afghanistan, and partly it’s because four years ago it became Afghanistan’s first national park. | 07/24/13 15:40:41 By - By Jay Price

Kurdish-Nusra battle becoming war within a war in northern Syria

Arab Islamists and Kurdish militants, two of the most controversial armed groups in Syria’s civil war, have been battling each other for control of key towns close to the Turkish border after the Kurds announced a plan to declare local autonomy. The U.S. views both sides, the Kurdish Democratic Union and the Nusra Front, as terrorist organizations, and the prospect of either prevailing is causing deep concern in Washington and Ankara, the Turkish capital. | 07/23/13 19:00:55 By - By Roy Gutman

Mexican president might push oil-sector revisions past skeptical public

Facing a deeply skeptical nation, President Enrique Pena Nieto will seek in a matter of weeks to usher through a major revision of Mexican energy law that may either turbo-charge the economy or hobble the nation if it falls to defeat or is watered down. Some experts predict a grand – but quick – battle. | 07/23/13 19:16:05 By - By Tim Johnson

Tales of witnesses to Cairo massacre back pro-Morsi version

Overlooking the scene where 55 supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi died during a standoff with the military two weeks ago are two apartment buildings whose residents are perhaps the only unbiased witnesses to what happened. With no videos or photos of the initial violence surfacing, Morsi supporters and the military have offered two very different versions of what set off the confrontation, the deadliest incident since the military toppled Morsi early this month. | 07/23/13 17:10:06 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey offers bleak view of U.S. military options in Syria

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that establishing a no-fly zone over Syria would cost the U.S. $500 million to $1 billion a month and that it might not quell the conflict there because President Bashar Assad’s military primarily relies on artillery, not air power, for most of its offensives. | 07/23/13 07:38:18 By - By William Douglas

Some in Argentina remain dissatisfied with Pope’s response to ‘dirty war’

As Pope Francis visits Brazil this week, he’s being praised as a humble pontiff for the poor, just the person, the Vatican hopes, who can reinvigorate a Roman Catholic Church beset by scandals and secrecy in a land where the number of practicing Catholics has plummeted in recent years. But next door in his native Argentina, not all are impressed with the stories of his rejecting the stately Vatican quarters the pope traditionally has occupied, or the plush papal finery and luxury cars. “He is a good actor,” said Estela de la Cuadra, who’s 77. | 07/22/13 18:09:05 By - By Vinod Sreeharsha

4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Air Force sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides over parts of southern Vietnam and along the borders of neighboring Laos and Cambodia. The herbicides were contaminated with dioxin, a deadly compound that remains toxic for decades and causes birth defects, cancer and other illnesses. To this day, dioxin continues to poison the land and the people. The U.S. has never accepted responsibility for these victims, and it’s unclear when this chain of misery will end. | 07/22/13 15:02:28 By - By Drew Brown

As parents die, Vietnamese worry who’ll care for Agent Orange disabled

Dang Chi Trung and his sister, Dang Chi Tam, live in a small house that once belonged to their parents. The children of lifelong Communist Party members who fought against the French in the 1950s and the Americans a decade later, they live on a government allowance of about $60 a month. Both parents are deceased, leaving Dang Chi Trung, 44, to care for his sister, who’s 43. She’s mentally disabled because of her parents’ exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. She is completely dependent on her brother. | 07/22/13 14:53:43 By - By Drew Brown

Makers of Agent Orange followed formula dictated by U.S. government

James R. Clary was a young Air Force officer and scientist who designed the spray tank for the C-123 cargo planes that dispensed Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War. Thirteen years after the conflict ended, with serious concerns being raised in Congress about the effects of defoliants on veterans’ health, Clary dropped a startling bombshell: Military scientists had known that herbicides shipped to Vietnam were contaminated with dioxin and had “the potential for damage” to human health. | 07/22/13 14:53:13 By - By Drew Brown

Fore! Golf is catching on in China

As Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera captivated fans at this year’s Masters Tournament, a young golfer with far less experience also made headlines. Tianlang Guan, 14, was the youngest player ever to compete in the Masters. Despite finishing near the bottom of the pack with a 12-over par, the Chinese teen impressed fellow competitors and galleries. For a country with a relatively brief history in golf, his success may represent a new direction for the sport in China. There are more than 300 golf courses in China, and more are being built each year. | 07/22/13 09:54:58 By - By Mike Still

Ex-CIA officer tied to abduction of Egyptian cleric allowed to flee Panama for U.S.

Panama on Friday allowed a retired CIA station chief wanted in Italy for his role in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric to leave for the United States, permitting the former U.S. intelligence agent to avoid an Italian jail cell. | 07/19/13 19:30:15 By - By Tim Johnson

Analysts: Absent strong U.S. policy on Mideast, nations compete for influence

Some of America’s closest Middle East allies, viewing U.S. policy as adrift, are competing for influence in the region’s trouble spots, producing discord that might get in the way of stable outcomes and take decades to put right, experts in the region say. Analysts blame the Obama administration, which they say still doesn’t have a strategy to deal with the aftershocks of the 2011 Arab Spring – in particular the war in Syria and Egypt’s latest political upheaval. | 07/19/13 15:30:04 By - By Roy Gutman

Panama arrests ex-CIA station chief sought by Italy in rendition case

Panamanian authorities have arrested a retired CIA station chief who was convicted in absentia in Italy for kidnapping an Egyptian cleric who was accused of terrorism and sent back to Egypt for questioning and a jail term. | 07/18/13 20:05:27 By - By Tim Johnson

Africans, Europeans most approving of U.S. drone strikes

The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes project released a survey Thursday showing respondents in African and European countries are more likely to approve of U.S. drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Middle Eastern countries had the lowest approval for strikes. | 07/18/13 18:17:38 By - Danny Dougherty

UN: Unexploded ordnance killing Afghan civilians as U.S.-led coalition abandons bases

The U.S.-led coalition is failing to clear unexploded munitions from the Afghan bases it’s demolishing as it withdraws its combat forces, leaving a deadly legacy that has killed and maimed a growing number of civilians, United Nations demining officials charge. | 07/18/13 18:23:23 By - By Jay Price

Germany backs away from claims NSA program thwarted five attacks

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is backing off his earlier assertion that the Obama administration’s NSA monitoring of Internet accounts had prevented five terror attacks in Germany, raising questions about other claims concerning the value of the massive monitoring programs revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. | 07/18/13 16:33:14 By - By Matthew Schofield

Panama summons U.N. experts over North Korea arms ship

Panama said Wednesday that it had slapped disorderly conduct charges on 35 crewmembers of a rusty North Korean freighter carrying “obsolete” military equipment – including apparently two MiG-21 fighter jets – and summoned U.N. experts to ascertain if the shipment violated U.N. resolutions. | 07/17/13 19:38:16 By - By Juan O. Tamayo, Tim Johnson and Jonathan S. Landay

Syria’s Nusra Front tries to show it’s a different kind of al Qaida

Two al Qaida-linked rebel groups in Syria appear to be distancing themselves from each other in what may be an effort by the Nusra Front, which the United States has branded as an international terrorist organization, to remain relevant amid signs that major portions of the Syrian population are chafing under harsh rule by conservative religious fighters. | 07/17/13 17:22:19 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Marines’ Afghan open burn pits questioned as incinerators stand idle

A federal watchdog agency says the U.S. military is endangering the health of troops and civilians working at the main Marine Corps base in Afghanistan by burning solid waste in open pits even as two of the base’s four incinerators – built for $11.5 million – go unused and the other two are running below capacity. | 07/17/13 15:58:44 By - By Jay Price

General who toppled Morsi will hold three jobs in Egypt’s new government

The Egyptian general who announced that President Mohammed Morsi had been removed from office was named the country’s first deputy prime minister on Tuesday, a sign that the military, despite asserting it had no interest in governing, intended to maintain its influence. | 07/16/13 19:24:33 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian rebel leader feels betrayed by West’s failure to deliver arms

Three weeks after the United States and other powers promised “urgent, practical steps” to help Syrian rebel forces tilt the balance on the ground against the government of President Bashar Assad, the top rebel commander says there hasn’t been any progress and his fighters are in “a critical and dangerous” situation. | 07/16/13 18:14:28 By - By Roy Gutman

Europe’s image of tolerance doesn’t extend to gay rights

Vadim’s brilliant white groom’s tuxedo matched both his smile and the outfits of his friends as they gathered along Berlin’s famed shopping street, the Ku’damm, and waited for the uberfestive annual gay pride parade to begin. | 07/16/13 20:45:55 By - By Matthew Schofield

Upcoming royal baby already inspires clothes, accessories and glitz

Once upon a time, luxuries belonged to only the poshest of babies, like the one making news in London, the first offspring of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. But in these egalitarian times full of bling-y binkies, cashmere blankies, baby buggies with cupholders and throne-shaped rocking chairs, any baby can get the royal treatment. | 07/16/13 13:56:33 By - Lisa Gutierrez

Panama finds missile parts under bags of sugar in North Korean freighter

Panamanian officials Tuesday sought to unravel the mystery surrounding a rusty North Korean freighter in whose hold they found what experts said were parts of an obsolete Soviet-era anti-aircraft missile system hidden beneath sacks of sugar. | 07/16/13 19:47:32 By - By Tim Johnson and Jonathan S. Landay

Mexico captures kingpin of dreaded Los Zetas crime gang

Mexican marines captured the leader of the nation’s most feared drug trafficking group, Los Zetas, along the northern border with Texas, marking a major blow to a crime gang with tentacles deep within the United States, authorities said Monday night. | 07/15/13 22:52:49 By - By Tim Johnson

In Egypt, only military-imposed government will meet with U.S. envoy

The Obama administration tried Monday to step up its diplomacy in Egypt, dispatching Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to this tumultuous capital, only to discover that some of the major players won’t meet with a representative of the United States. | 07/15/13 19:58:51 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Lebanese officials say CIA warned them of imminent al Qaida attack on Hezbollah

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warned Lebanese officials last week that al Qaida-linked groups are planning a campaign of bombings that will target Beirut’s Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs as well as other political targets associated with the group or its allies in Syria, Lebanese officials said Monday. | 07/15/13 19:18:49 By - By Mitchell Prothero

France’s foreign minister, in Mexico to bury hatchet, says U.S. no longer dictates world events

France’s foreign minister called Monday for far-reaching collaboration with Mexico, officially burying a diplomatic squabble that roiled relations between the two nations for years. | 07/15/13 17:10:51 By - By Tim Johnson

American Muslim chaplain finds new role in ministering to Afghan troops

In many ways, the war in Afghanistan is one of ideas, of narrative, of whose story is credible, says U.S. Army Major Dawud Agbere. | 07/15/13 16:50:03 By - By Jay Price

Despite censorship in China, social media thrives

On Nanjing Road, the home of flagship stores like Apple and Coach, it’s hard to miss the giant Nike billboard that covers the façade of an entire building. | 07/15/13 15:21:05 By -

A month after U.S. pledged more help, Syrian rebels in worse shape

A month after the Obama administration pledged stepped-up support for Syria’s armed opposition, the government of President Bashar Assad’s position has improved, with U.S. assistance to the rebels apparently stalled and deadly rifts opening among the forces battling to topple the Assad regime. | 07/12/13 20:38:19 By - By Hannah Allam

Hundreds of thousands rally for Morsi in latest battle of street protests

Supporters of Mohammed Morsi rallied on behalf of the ousted president Friday in their biggest demonstrations since he was removed from office, part of a strategy to get him reinstated by using the same means that forced his removal: mass protests. | 07/12/13 19:08:29 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Edward Snowden reportedly vows no more leaks as he seeks asylum in Russia

Acknowledging that he’s trapped in a Moscow airport by the ability of the United States and its European allies to force to the ground nearly any aircraft he boards, fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden asked Russia on Friday to grant him temporary asylum, promising, apparently, that he was finished leaking information about U.S. government programs. | 07/12/13 18:20:35 By - By Matthew Schofield

Egypt’s military blames Mohammed Morsi’s supporters for violence

In a battle over the narrative of what’s happened here during the past eight dramatic days, the new Egyptian government accused former President Mohammed Morsi on Thursday of being obstinate in his final days, claimed that his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood had killed some of their own to frame the military and asserted that its decision to oust Morsi may have saved the nation from “possible civil war.” | 07/11/13 17:41:41 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Latin American complaints over U.S. spying ignore their own wiretap programs

Several Latin American presidents have complained bitterly following recent revelations about U.S. electronic surveillance, but there’s a bit of hypocrisy in some of their griping. | 07/11/13 17:23:47 By - By Tim Johnson

Trapped: An air escape from Moscow unlikely for NSA leaker Snowden

Beginning a third week holed up in a Moscow airport’s transit zone, Edward Snowden finds himself far enough away to evade U.S. authorities, but also too far from any of the sympathetic nations willing to shelter him. | 07/10/13 19:52:53 By - By Hannah Allam and Matt Schofield

Offices burned and leaders jailed, Muslim Brotherhood struggles to respond to Morsi ouster

One week after Egypt’s military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, his followers in the Muslim Brotherhood are under siege and struggling with no clear strategy to find a way back into the political arena. | 07/10/13 20:30:06 By - By Roy Gutman

New Egyptian coalition splits over granting interim president broad powers

The broad political coalition that backed last week’s military takeover in Egypt began to fracture Tuesday over a military-approved timetable for the return to democratic rule, with two factions calling the newly announced constitutional declaration “dictatorial” and demanding a more representative transitional government. | 07/09/13 20:04:43 By - By Roy Gutman

Bomb in heavily secured Beirut neighborhood may be retaliation for Hezbollah’s role in Syria

A car bomb exploded in a crowded parking lot in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Tuesday, killing no one, but wounding about 50 people in what was a rare attack inside one of Hezbollah’s most secure areas. | 07/09/13 19:13:31 By - By Mitchell Prothero

With Mohammed Morsi gone, Egypt seems to be returning to 2011

The Egypt that’s emerged in the week since President Mohammed Morsi was toppled from power looks much as it did in the period just after the uprising in 2011 that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Appointees in the new government are nearly all proponents of military intervention. The new prime minister served as the minister of finance in the first military government after Mubarak’s fall. The Muslim Brotherhood, the secretive organization that helped Morsi ascend to power, is isolated from the political process, just as it was under Mubarak and in the first months after his ouster. And old problems are back. | 07/09/13 18:24:18 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In talking about Egypt, Obama officials won’t even mention the word ‘coup’

U.S. officials went to great lengths Monday to avoid calling Egypt’s abrupt regime change a coup, a label that could force a suspension of aid to the stalwart Arab ally at a time when the U.S. appears to be losing leverage in conflicts across the Middle East. | 07/08/13 19:23:50 By - By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

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Mexico Unmasked

Written by Tim Johnson, McClatchy's bureau chief in Mexico City.

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Inside South America

Written by Jim Wyss, McClatchy's bureau chief in Bogota.

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China Rises

Written by Tom Lasseter, McClatchy's Beijing bureau chief.

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