Surly 2014 electorate poised to 'keep the bums in' WASHINGTON (AP) - A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to "keep the bums in," with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted Nov. 4. With less than 10 weeks to the elections, Republicans and Democrats who assess this fall's midterm contests say the power of incumbency - the decennial process of reconfiguring congressional maps and hefty fundraising - trumps the sour public mood and antipathy toward gridlocked Washington.
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.
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Aid flows into Iraq Shiite town after siege broken BAGHDAD (AP) - Aid began to flow to a small northern Shiite town in Iraq on Monday, a day after security forces backed by Iran-allied Shiite militias and U.S. airstrikes broke a two-month siege by Sunni militants. Ali al-Bayati, who heads local NGO the Turkmen Saving Foundation, said that four trucks loaded with foodstuffs, medicine and fruit had entered the town of Amirli. The aid was sent by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Red Crescent, he said, adding that soldiers had begun bringing food to families in their houses Sunday night.
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 gave foreign media access on Monday 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 high-ranking representative to negotiate for their freedom. Jeffrey Fowle and Mathew Miller said they expect to face trial within a month. But they said they do not know what punishment they could face or what the specific charges against them are. Kenneth Bae, who already is serving a 15-year term, said his health has deteriorated at the labor camp where he works eight hours a day.
Protesters briefly storm Pakistan state TV station ISLAMABAD (AP) - Anti-government protesters stormed Pakistan's state television building Monday, forcing the channel briefly off the air as they clashed with police and pushed closer to the prime minister's residence. The violence comes as part of the mass demonstrations led by cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and opposition politician Imran Khan that demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign. Over the weekend, clashes between protesters and security forces killed three people and wounded hundreds in running street battles in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
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.
Spain orders custody for parents of ill UK boy LONDON (AP) - The grandmother of a 5-year-old British boy with a severe brain tumor accused U.K. authorities on Monday of cruelty for seeking an arrest warrant and pursuing the family abroad after his parents removed him from a British hospital against medical advice. Hours later, a Spanish judge ordered the parents' detention for 72 hours while a court in Madrid considers whether to grant Britain an extradition request.
Israeli children return to school after Gaza war KIBBUTZ SAAD, Israel (AP) - Thousands of Israeli children in areas near the Gaza Strip went back to school Monday after spending the summer in bomb shelters as rockets and mortars rained on their communities during the 50-day Israel-Hamas war, while schools in Gaza remained shuttered as the territory recovered from the fighting. The start of school brought a sense of joy and excitement to rocket-scarred communities in southern Israel, but the signs of the fighting remained fresh. In the southern city of Ashdod, employees at the "Pashosh" kindergarten, which was struck by a rocket, removed shrapnel marks off the walls and slides ahead of the students' arrival.