Obama seeks to do no harm to Democrats in midterms WASHINGTON (AP) - Hampered by low approval ratings and an unfriendly electoral map, President Barack Obama enters the fall campaign as a liability to some vulnerable Democrats and a target for Republicans trying to fire up conservatives and appeal to disillusioned independents. Mindful of his precarious political position, Obama is charting a midterm election strategy intended to help where he can and, perhaps most importantly, do no harm to Democrats.
China anti-dissent playbook may fail in Hong Kong HONG KONG (AP) - China's Communist leaders have pulled out their usual playbook to suppress resistance to their plans to tightly limit the first direct election of Hong Kong's leader, but are likely to find that the results are quite different. Beijing is blaming radicals and foreigners and showing off its military might, all things unlikely to go down well in the freewheeling capitalist bastion where a sizeable middle class accustomed to freedom of speech and the rule of law plans to push back with acts of civil disobedience.
Beijing faces defiance in Hong Kong on vote reform HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers disrupted a Beijing official's speech Monday as he sought to explain a decision announced over the weekend to tightly limit voting reforms for the southern Chinese financial hub. The legislators chanted slogans and held up placards accusing China's central government of breaking its promise to let Hong Kong directly elect its leader. Some stood on chairs and pumped their fists, waving signs that said "Shameful" and "Loss of faith."
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Islamic State group becomes target of Arab satire BAGHDAD (AP) - The bumbling young militant first drops the rocket launcher on the toes of his boss before taking aim and firing toward a military checkpoint outside of an Iraqi town - not realizing he's fired it backward at his leader. The "Looney Tunes"-style cartoon targeting the Islamic State group comes after its militants have swept across large swaths of Syria and Iraq, declaring their own self-styled caliphate while conducting mass shootings of their prisoners. The group cheers its advances and beheadings in slickly produced Internet videos.
Americans detained in North Korea call for US help PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea has given foreign media access to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and - watched by officials as they spoke - called for Washington to send a representative to negotiate for their freedom. The three all described their situations as urgent.
Protesters clash with Pakistan police, storm TV ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistani anti-government protesters stormed the state TV building on Monday, forcing the channel briefly off the air as they clashed with police and pushed further into a sprawling government complex in the capital, Islamabad, in an effort to reach the prime minister's residence. The violence is the latest in the turmoil roiling Pakistan, where anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan have been leading twin protests since mid-August calling on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.
Islamist militia now guards US Embassy in Libya TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya's capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, a commander said Sunday, as onlookers toured the abandoned homes of diplomats who fled the country more than a month ago. An Associated Press journalist saw holes left by small-arms and rocket fire dotting the residential compound, reminders of weeks of violence between rival militias over control of Tripoli that sparked the evacuation.
Moscow: Ukraine talks must back cease-fire now MOSCOW (AP) - Diplomats at a new round of talks on easing the crisis in Ukraine must push for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists, Russia's foreign minister said Monday. The talks later Monday in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, come as Ukrainian troops are facing a resurgent rebel force. In the past week, the rebels have opened a new front along the southeastern Azov Sea coast and are pushing back after losing ground in the previous several weeks.
AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from Asia In an oddball attempt at sports diplomacy with North Korea, a group of about 20 mixed martial artists from around the world, including former NFL player Bob "The Beast" Sapp, traveled to Pyongyang last week to engage in arm-wrestling and tug-of-war competitions with local children. The trip, organized by pro-wrestler-turned-politician Kanji "Antonio" Inoki, was the first big sports event in North Korea featuring well-known foreigners since Dennis Rodman and a team of other former NBA players held a basketball game in January for leader Kim Jung Un's birthday.
Stewart back on the track, but big issues remain HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) - His racing suit unzipped down to his waist, Tony Stewart walked glumly out of Atlanta Motor Speedway with two issues still hanging over him. He doesn't know if he'll face criminal charges for his car striking and killing another driver.