Airstrikes and aid provide relief for Iraqi town WASHINGTON (AP) - Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission. Thousands of Shiite Turkmen have been stranded in the farming community about 105 miles north of Baghdad. The aid came at the request of the Iraqi government, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions BRUSSELS (AP) - Despite tough rhetoric decrying Russia's increasing military involvement in Ukraine, European Union leaders on Sunday stopped short of imposing new sanctions against Moscow right away. Instead, the 28-nation bloc's heads of state and government tasked their executive body to "urgently" prepare tougher economic sanctions that could be adopted within a week, according to EU summit chairman Herman Van Rompuy.
Philippine troops pull 'greatest escape' in Golan MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and under fire for seven hours by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights, Philippine officials said Sunday, leaving 44 Fijian troops still in the hands of the al-Qaida-linked insurgents. "We may call it the greatest escape," Philippine military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said.
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China: No open nominations for Hong Kong leader BEIJING (AP) - China's legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong's leader, saying it would create a "chaotic society" in a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub. The legislature's powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than half of the votes from a special nominating body before going before voters. Hong Kong democracy activists have held massive protests calling for genuine democracy in the Chinese territory over concerns that candidates would continue to be screened to assess their loyalty to Beijing.
It's not just Hello Kitty: Japan's character craze TOKYO (AP) - Hello Kitty, whom many learned last week is a girl and not a cat, may be the queen of Japan's cute characters, but she's hardly the only one. There are thousands, and they are ubiquitous: Long-time favorite Doraemon (who really is a cat) has a daily quiz in a national newspaper. Little monster Pikachu hosted a theme cafe in Tokyo this summer. Stress-relieving Rilakkuma ("relaxed bear") dangles from teenage girls' school bags.
Obamas attend wedding of their longtime chef POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. (AP) - Setting aside for a few hours the pressures of trying to calm the world's trouble spots, President Barack Obama assumed the role of spectator for something more joyous: the wedding of the first family's longtime chef and friend. Chef Sam Kass and MSNBC host Alex Wagner tied the knot Saturday at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a farm-to-table restaurant in Pocantico Hills, just north of New York City.
Pakistani protester dies in clashes with police ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistani police on Sunday clashed with scattered pockets of anti-government protesters trying to advance on the prime minister's residence after a night of violence that saw hundreds wounded and the first death in more than two weeks of demonstrations. The violence has raised the stakes in a political standoff, in which cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led twin protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, alleging massive voting fraud in the election that brought him into office last year in the country's first democratic transfer of power.
Trapped miners rescued in Nicaragua; 5 remain BONANZA, Nicaragua (AP) - Rescue workers and trapped miners alike frantically dug away at opposite sides of rock and mud that blocked a Nicaragua gold mine, finally succeeding in freeing at least 20 men. Efforts to reach five miners still missing continued Saturday. Antonio Diaz said the miners tried to cheer each other up inside the dark, cold shaft, attacking the slide with their picks and shovels by the light of helmet lamps. But after 24 hours, they began feeling hungry and some started losing hope.
AP PHOTOS: Fairy-tale night for girls in Rio slum RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Dressed in long evening gowns, girls from Rio de Janeiro's Santa Marta "favela" slum have celebrated a fairy-tale evening in a debutante ball sponsored by local police. The 15-year-old girls were escorted to the ball held in a Copacabana dancehall Friday night by members of the Pacifying Police Unit from their community. The police units have re-conquered slums ruled for decades by drug-dealing gangs.
Sam cut from Rams, but may still have NFL future ST. LOUIS (AP) - Not long after Michael Sam waved to an adoring crowd at Missouri's season opener, he looked down at his cell phone. It was 3 p.m. CT, the deadline for NFL teams to pare rosters to 53 players. And the Rams coach was talking to the players who didn't make the cut.