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BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the war in Syria (all times local):
Russian military helicopters fly in formation, with warships seen on the water, during celebrations for Navy Day in the Black Sea port of SevastopolBy Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO accused Russia of escalating a disinformation campaign since the Kremlin's 2014 seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, saying Russian websites such as Sputnik and RT had posted false stories, the alliance's spokeswoman said on Saturday. There is increasing concern among senior NATO and European Union officials over Russia's ability to use television and the Internet to spread what they say is fake news. The defense alliance of 28 democracies says it has recorded more than a score of Russian myths in the last two years which it has attempted to knock down with factsheets, interviews, rebuttals and videos.
BEIRUT (AP) — Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition forces have managed to capture just one-tenth of a north Syrian town from Islamic State militants, a conflict monitoring group said Saturday, despite reaching its outskirts seven weeks ago.
Spectators visit the new soccer stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. Ten thousand people came on Saturday to test the new St. Petersburg stadium built to host the matches of the Confederations Cup 2017 and the FIFA World Cup 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — A Russian stadium built for the 2018 World Cup and dogged by problems has opened to the public, with mixed reviews.
Severe winter weather has slowed rail deliveries of crops to shippers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, sending freight rates soaring and prompting Asian buyers to seek fill-in loads as they wait for the backlog at ports to clear. Blizzards, avalanches and heavy rain in recent weeks have hit transport of corn, soy and wheat to ports where they head for the lucrative Asian market, adding to the struggles that have plagued U.S. exporters since harvest. The setbacks come at a critical time for U.S. exporters, who are trying to move as much grain as possible before buyers turn their attention to South America when corn and soybean harvests in Argentina and Brazil accelerate in the coming weeks.
By Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's acceptance of Beijing's demand that he re-commit to a "one China" policy was heavily influenced by his new top diplomat, who argued behind the scenes that relations would remain on hold until Trump cleared up doubts about a longtime bedrock of U.S.-China ties, officials said. The abrupt course adjustment, made public in a White House statement on Thursday after a phone call between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, followed White House meetings this week involving Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Minsk II accord saw Kremlin-backed rebels agree with Kiev and Moscow on a halt to the fighting, but the bloody conflict has rumbled onThe war between Kiev and Moscow-backed rebels has killed more than 10,000 people, rattled eastern Europe and plunged relations between the West and Russia to post-Cold War lows. The war erupted in April 2014 as the ex-Soviet republic was thrust into a geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and the West. It followed the ouster of Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 after massive street protests over the government's decision to turn its back on closer ties with the European Union.
Turkey-backed opposition fighters advance in an armoured personnel carrier outside the northern Syrian town of al-Bab during a drive to retake control from the Islamic State group on February 9, 2017Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies entered the Islamic State-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria Saturday, as government forces moved closer to the jihadist bastion, a monitor said. Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency quoted military sources as saying one Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded in clashes with IS in Al-Bab. Turkish forces and allied insurgents have for weeks pressed an operation codenamed Euphrates Shield to drive the jihadists from the flashpoint town.
A Ukrainian Forces tank takes up position in the flashpoint eastern town of Avdiivka, just north of the pro-Russian rebels' de facto capital of DonetskTwo years have passed since the signing of a deal aimed at ending the war in Ukraine but the bloody conflict has rumbled on -- at the cost of another 5,000 lives. The Minsk II accord saw Kremlin-backed rebels agree with Kiev and Moscow on a halt to the fighting and outlined a complex roadmap for securing peace. It was hammered out by the presidents of Ukraine and Russia with the help of their French and German counterparts and signed on February 11 two years ago.
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 1980, file photo, the U.S. hockey team pounces on goalie Jim Craig after a 4-3 victory against the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. If the NHL doesn't send its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics, the hockey tournament in Pyeongchang will look a lot like the ones in Lillehammer in 1994, Albertville in 1992 and Calgary in 1988. Maybe even a little like 1980 in Lake Placid, site of the “Miracle On Ice.” (AP Photo, File)If the NHL doesn't send its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics, the hockey tournament in Pyeongchang will look familiar.
Still image shows Russian bomber landing in IranIran has again allowed Russian planes to use its airspace during recent operations in Syria, a senior Iranian security official was quoted as saying on Saturday. In August, Russian aircraft for the first time used an Iranian air base to conduct strikes in Syria. Iran's Foreign Ministry said then that Russia had stopped using the base for strikes in Syria, bringing an abrupt halt to the deployment that was criticized both by the United States and some Iranian lawmakers.
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Frenchman Richard Gasquet remains on course for a third straight title at the Open Sud de France, where he will face German teen Alexander Zverev in the final.
FILE In this Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov smiles as he attends an international conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is set to sail to victory in Sunday's election where eight other candidates are on the ballot, but all praise his polices. Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic for a decade, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service Pool via AP, file)ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is set to sail to victory in Sunday's election where eight other candidates are on the ballot, but all praise his polices.
MINSK, Belarus (AP) — A noted Ukrainian poet and novelist says he was seized by security agents in the middle of the night while visiting the capital of Belarus and ordered to leave the country.
Turkmenistan's President Berdymukhamedov speaks at a news briefing in TbilisiTurkmen leader Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is certain to secure a third term in office in Sunday's presidential election, maintaining his grip on power in the isolated gas-rich nation. Berdymukhamedov, 59, has run the former Soviet republic of five million people with an iron fist for a decade after succeeding equally autocratic president-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov who died in 2006. Berdymukhamedov, a dentist by training, has kept in place Niyazov's repressive political system which tolerates no political opposition or public expressions of discontent, while refocusing his predecessor's elaborate personality cult on himself.
Germany's winner Benedikt Doll celebrates after the men's 10 km sprint competition at the Biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austrian province of Tyrol , Austria, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)HOCHFILZEN, Austria (AP) — Benedikt Doll won the men's 10-kilometer sprint title on Saturday, earning Germany its third medal in as many events at the biathlon world championships.
A woman signs to collect her ballot during a presidential election at a polling station in Ashgabat, TurkmenistanTurkmen leader Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is certain to secure a third term in office in Sunday's presidential election, maintaining his grip on power in the isolated gas-rich nation. Berdymukhamedov, 59, has run the former Soviet republic of five million people with an iron fist for a decade after succeeding equally autocratic president-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov who died in 2006. Berdymukhamedov, a dentist by training, has kept in place Niyazov's repressive political system which tolerates no political opposition or public expressions of discontent, while refocusing his predecessor's elaborate personality cult on himself.
Syria's opposition on Sunday announced its 21-member delegation, including 10 rebel representatives, for a new round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva scheduled for February 20Syria's opposition on Sunday announced its 21-member delegation, including 10 rebel representatives, for a new round of UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva scheduled for February 20. The delegation will be headed by Nasr al-Hariri, a member of the National Coalition, replacing Assad al-Zoabi, who led the opposition at several previous rounds of talks in Geneva last year. The delegation's chief negotiator was named as Mohamed Sabra, a lawyer who was part of the opposition's technical team during negotiations in Geneva in 2014.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov faces eight other candidates in a presidential vote, but all are viewed as token opponentsCitizens of Turkmenistan went to the polls Sunday for a presidential vote expected to further tighten strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's hold over the gas-rich Central Asian country. The turnout in the country of over 5 million people exceeded 74 percent in the first six hours of voting, the Central Election Commission said. Berdymukhamedov, 59, faces eight other candidates including low-level regional officials, the director of a government-owned oil refinery and a representative of a state agribusiness complex.
People watch a TV screen in Tokyo showing a live broadcast from Florida of a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a missile launch by North Korea, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile early Sunday in what would be its first such test of the year and an implicit challenge to Trump, who stood with the Japanese leader as Abe called the move SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea's missile launch (all times local):
In this Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 photo, beekeeping technician Carlos Correa holdl a bee on his fingers at an apiary affected by wildfires in Quebrada del Maule, Chiile. Hundreds of small sheep farmers, beekeepers and wine producers in Chile have been gravely affected by the massive wildfires that hit the area during the last couple of weeks. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The flames consumed everything on Sonia Diaz's land: the machinery, supplies, even the shed for her sheep. But the 70-year-old artisan weaver still hopes to rise from the ashes.
Alexandra Glebova, 26, knows only too well the trauma of domestic violence in Russia after suffering years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her fatherAlexandra Glebova knows only too well the trauma of domestic violence in Russia after suffering years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her father. Now a law set to be signed by President Vladimir Putin will soften the punishment for such domestic violence from a jail term to a fine. Already fast-tracked through parliament, the proposed law was drawn up by conservative pro-Kremlin lawmakers who argue that tough legislation on domestic abuse represented undue interference into family life.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is on the US and UN terror blacklistsThe UN Security Council has lifted sanctions on the notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, previously branded "a global terrorist" and accused of war crimes. The move follows a peace deal between Hekmatyar's insurgent group Hezb-i-Islami and the Afghan government in September that granted him legal immunity from past offences, sparking outrage from rights groups. Although Hekmatyar is accused of killing thousands in Kabul during the 1992-1996 civil war, many foreign governments, including the United States, praised the landmark accord as a step towards peace in Afghanistan.
Wales' Owen Jenkins, left, runs through a tack of Fiji's Vatemo Ravouvou to score a try during their match at the World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Sydney, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)SYDNEY (AP) — Wales ended a 14-match losing streak to Fiji by upsetting the Olympic rugby champion 28-15 in the Sydney Sevens on Saturday.
In this Feb. 2, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with House and Senate legislators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. For all of the White House's early bravado,Trump has taken office with few concrete plans for how to make good on his pledge to unravel President Barack Obama's foreign policy and tackle some of the biggest national security challenges facing his administration. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — For all the White House's early bravado, President Donald Trump has taken office with few concrete plans for how to make good on his pledge to unravel President Barack Obama's foreign policy and tackle some of the biggest national security challenges facing his administration.