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3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

Elias Meseret, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 9:30am

African leaders have decided to work on deploying 3,000 troops to West Africa’s troubled Sahel region as extremist attacks surge, an African Union official said Thursday.

State newspaper says Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran vice president and spokeswoman for 1979 hostage-takers, has new virus

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 6:58am

State newspaper says Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran vice president and spokeswoman for 1979 hostage-takers, has new virus.

Italy changes virus count methods at UN agency's urging

Frances D'Emilio and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 6:56am

With tourism tanking and panic rising, Italy is changing how it reports coronavirus cases and who will get tested in ways that could lower the country's caseload even as an outbreak centered in northern Italy spreads in Europe, officials said Thursday.

Vexed by how to contain virus, countries take tough steps

Matt Sedensky and Jon Gambrell, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 6:52am

Saudi Arabia cut travel to Islam’s holiest sites, South Korea toughened penalties for those breaking quarantines and airports across Latin America looked for signs of sick passengers Thursday as a new virus troubled a mushrooming swath of the globe.

UN rights chief regrets Sri Lanka withdrawal from resolution

Krishan Francis, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 6:44am

The United Nations' human rights chief expressed regret Thursday over the Sri Lankan government's decision to withdraw its co-sponsorship of a 2015 resolution backing an investigation into alleged human rights violations during the country's civil war.

Semiofficial news agencies in Iran say Friday prayers canceled in Tehran, elsewhere over outbreak of new virus

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 6:16am

Semiofficial news agencies in Iran say Friday prayers canceled in Tehran, elsewhere over outbreak of new virus.

Israel denounces anti-Semitic trope at Spanish Carnival

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 4:40am

Israel’s ambassador to Spain has denounced a Carnival parade performance in a small town that featured men and women dressed up like Jewish Holocaust victims and Nazi soldiers.

Greek island residents protest for 4th day over migrant plan

Elena Becatoros, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 4:14am

Demonstrators gathered Thursday for a fourth consecutive day on the eastern Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios to protest government plans to build new migrant detention centers.

Iran's Health Ministry spokesman says the new coronavirus has killed 26 people amid 245 confirmed cases in Iran

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 3:35am

Iran's Health Ministry spokesman says the new coronavirus has killed 26 people amid 245 confirmed cases in Iran.

Report: Japan to close all elementary, junior high and high schools from this weekend through March to curb virus spread

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 2:44am

Report: Japan to close all elementary, junior high and high schools from this weekend through March to curb virus spread.

Malaysia's Mahathir says Parliament to elect new prime minister after king fails to establish who has majority support

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 2:37am

Malaysia's Mahathir says Parliament to elect new prime minister after king fails to establish who has majority support.

AP Interview: Al-Qaida, IS affiliates team up in West Africa

Carley Petesch, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 2:32am

The only place in the world where fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are cooperating is in West Africa's sprawling Sahel region, giving the extremists greater depth as they push into new areas, according to the commander of the U.S. military's special forces in Africa.

South Korea reports 171 more cases of the new virus, bringing its total number of infections to 1,766

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 1:48am

South Korea reports 171 more cases of the new virus, bringing its total number of infections to 1,766.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency gives latest figures: 22 dead amid 141 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 27th - 12:34am

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency gives latest figures: 22 dead amid 141 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

Syrian opposition fighters retake key town, cut highway

Bassem Mroue and Andrew Wilks, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 26th - 11:44pm

Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters retook a strategic northwestern town from government forces on Thursday, opposition activists said, cutting a key highway just days after the government reopened it for the first time since 2012.

Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 1:40 p.m. EST

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 26th - 10:40pm

Saudi Arabia has closed off the holiest sites in Islam to foreign pilgrims due to the coronavirus. The decision disrupted travel for thousands of Muslims already headed to the kingdom. And it could affect millions more ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan and the hajj pilgrimage. Such a move wasn't even taken during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions of people. It shows the growing worry about the virus in the Mideast. Those afflicted in Iran include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known as “Sister Mary,” who was the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

UN disarmament chief: nuclear arms race is threatening world

Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 26th - 9:14pm

The U.N. disarmament chief warned Wednesday that the specter of an unbridled nuclear arms race is threatening the world for the first time since the 1970s, the height of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

China reports 433 new virus cases, South Korea has 334 as illness persists in worst-hit areas and spreads beyond borders

The Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 26th - 6:49pm

China reports 433 new virus cases, South Korea has 334 as illness persists in worst-hit areas and spreads beyond borders.

South Korea, US postpone annual military drills due to virus

Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 26th - 6:16pm

The South Korean and U.S. militaries announced Thursday that they were postponing their annual joint drills due to concern about a viral outbreak that has infected soldiers in both countries' armed forces, put many troops in quarantine and closed base facilities.