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Huffington Wires | AP

Russia beefs up air group in Syria with advanced fighters

February 1, 2016 12:03 PM EST | AP


MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military says it has beefed up its air group in Syria with state-of-the art fighter jets.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says Su-35 fighters have been deployed to Hemeimeem air base in Syria. Konashenkov on Monday didn't say how many Su-35s had been sent to Syria, but Russian media reported that there were four.

French demolish migrant church, mosque at migrant camp

February 1, 2016 11:51 AM EST | AP


PARIS (AP) — French authorities demolished a makeshift church and mosque on Monday at a camp in Calais populated by thousands of migrants.

The operation was the culmination of a two-week effort to clear a 100-meter security zone around the perimeter of the camp, a regional official said. The migrants and charity groups helping them were informed Jan. 19 of the pending demolition, the official said, adding that no one was hurt in the operation.

Mystery surrounds Muslim cleric in US mountain compound

February 1, 2016 10:16 AM EST | AP


SAYLORSBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — The influential Muslim cleric lives quietly on a gated 26-acre compound in the Pocono Mountains, where he prays, works, meets admirers and watches from afar as terrorism accusations that have landed him on Turkey's most-wanted list unfold in court.

Rarely seen in public, Fethullah Gulen has long been one of Turkey's most important scholars, with multitudes of followers in his native country and around the world. More recently, Turkey's increasingly autocratic president, Recip Erdogan, has accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the officially secular government from his Pennsylvania idyll some 5,000 miles away.

Researchers confirm lion population in remote Ethiopian park

February 1, 2016 11:35 AM EST | AP


JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Conservationists confirmed the existence of lions in a remote national park in Ethiopia, a rare piece of good news for a threatened species whose numbers have plunged in many parts of Africa, a wildlife charity said Monday.

The discovery was made in Alatash National Park in northwest Ethiopia, on the border with Sudan, the Britain-based Born Free Foundation said in a statement.

IS rape victim, pontiff among Nobel Peace Prize candidates

February 1, 2016 11:18 AM EST | AP


STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — An Islamic State rape victim, Pope Francis and the Afghan women's cycling team are among the known candidates for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize as the nomination window was set to close Monday.

The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives more than 200 nominations for the prestigious prize, and keeps candidates secret for 50 years. Panel members can make their own nominations during a judging meeting Feb. 29.

Belgians, French meet to improve counterterrorism efforts

February 1, 2016 11:15 AM EST | AP


BRUSSELS (AP) — The prime ministers of Belgium and France and other senior officials from their governments are meeting to try to better coordinate their countries' counterterrorism efforts.

The session, being held Monday in eastern Brussels, follows the Paris attacks in November claimed by IS that killed 130 people.

New trial opens in Turkey against US-based Muslim cleric

February 1, 2016 11:12 AM EST | AP


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A new trial has opened in Turkey against a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief foe, over accusations that his influential movement engaged in espionage and tried to topple the government.

Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, went on trial in absentia on Monday and faces life imprisonment if found guilty. More than 120 other people, including former police officials, are also on trial.

Thai authorities say fishing industry crackdown intensified

February 1, 2016 10:55 AM EST | AP


BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand, which faces possible trade sanctions over abuses in its seafood industry, says it has accelerated its fight against human trafficking and unregulated fishing.

Deputy national police chief Thammasak Witcharaya said Monday that in the eight months since a task force was set up to combat fishing industry abuses, it has investigated 36 cases, arrested 102 suspects and rescued 130 presumed trafficking victims. In the 16 months prior to that, only 15 cases were investigated. Trafficking victims in the fishing industry sometimes work in slavery-like conditions.

13 college students on school picnic drown in western India

February 1, 2016 10:43 AM EST | AP


NEW DELHI (AP) — Thirteen college students on a school picnic drowned Monday while swimming in the sea in western India, police said.

Senior police official Raja Pawar said the 10 female and three male students were swept away when they went into the water in Murud, a beach town about 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Mumbai.

Singapore seizes bank accounts in Malaysian fund probe

February 1, 2016 10:05 AM EST | AP


SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore announced Monday that it has seized a large number of bank accounts in a probe into alleged misappropriations related to an indebted Malaysian state investment fund.

Investigations of "possible money laundering and other offenses carried out in Singapore" in connection with the 1MDB fund have been continuing since mid-2015, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department, which polices white-collar crime.

The Latest: UN: Don't stigmatize migrants over assaults

February 1, 2016 06:12 AM EST | AP


BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the huge influx of asylum-seekers to Europe (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Chinese artist imitates photo of Syrian toddler on the beach

February 1, 2016 09:42 AM EST | AP


NEW DELHI (AP) — Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has recreated the famous image of a 3-year-old Syrian child who drowned in Turkey last year by staging a photo of himself lying face down on a beach in Greece.

The photograph last year of the child lying on a Turkish beach triggered international outrage as people saw the helpless toddler as the devastating human face of the refugee crisis in Europe.

Saudi-led coalition sets up body to probe actions in Yemen

February 1, 2016 04:41 AM EST | AP


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Saudi-led coalition striking Shiite rebels in Yemen says it is setting up an independent committee to probe the force's actions amid criticism over its military operations in the impoverished nation.

Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency early Monday as saying the team is tasked with examining military activities in civilian areas.

Shootouts claim 8 lives in Mexican city across from Texas

February 1, 2016 10:30 AM EST | AP


CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities say eight people including a 13-year-old girl were killed in a string of shootouts between gunmen and security forces that caused panic in the border city of Matamoros.

A Tamaulipas state government statement says seven of those killed Sunday in the city across from Brownsville, Texas, were presumed criminals.

On historic foray, Castro visits France as Cuba opens up

February 1, 2016 10:25 AM EST | AP


PARIS (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro is paying an historic state visit to France as the Caribbean island opens up its economy.

The trip comes after a breakthrough deal was reached in Paris in December to lighten Cuba's foreign debt — and days after France hosted the leader of another long-time pariah state: Iran.

Bomb attacks on pipelines cause massive oil spill in Nigeria

February 1, 2016 10:05 AM EST | AP


WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Multiple bombings of Agip oil pipelines have caused thousands of barrels of oil to pollute waterways, farms and fishing grounds in Nigeria's southern Bayelsa state, residents said Monday.

Oil flowed unchecked for two days, according to fishermen who complained that a clean-up has not yet started.

British woman who took toddler to join IS jailed for 6 years

February 1, 2016 09:49 AM EST | AP


LONDON (AP) — A judge sentenced a British woman on Monday to six years in prison for going to Syria to live under the rule of the Islamic State group.

Tareena Shakil, 26, was convicted last week of being a member of the group and encouraging acts of terrorism.

Oil and gas companies lead an early decline in stocks

February 1, 2016 09:43 AM EST | AP


NEW YORK (AP) — Another steep drop in oil and natural gas prices is pulling the stock market lower in early trading.

Southwestern Energy, a natural gas company, plunged 10 percent shortly after the opening bell Monday. Chesapeake Energy sank 6 percent.

US official visits northern Syrian town of Kobani

February 1, 2016 07:01 AM EST | AP


BAGHDAD (AP) — President Barack Obama's envoy to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group visited northern Syria over the weekend, according to a coalition official.

Brett McGurk's visit to the town of Kobani was the first known visit by a senior U.S. official to Syrian territory since the beginning of the U.S.-led campaign against IS in August 2014.

Suicide bombing in Afghan capital kills at least 9

February 1, 2016 09:28 AM EST | AP


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 12 in an attack on a police base in Kabul on Monday, an Afghan official said.

Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said the attacker joined a line of people waiting to enter the local headquarters of a branch of the national police after having lunch and praying outside. The bomber detonated his explosives after being spotted near the gate.

Thai authorities say fishing industry crackdown intensified

February 1, 2016 09:27 AM EST | AP


BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand, which faces possible trade sanctions over abuses in its seafood industry, says it has accelerated its fight against human trafficking and unregulated fishing.

Deputy national police chief Thammasak Witcharaya said Monday that in the eight months since a task force was set up to combat fishing industry abuses, it has investigated 36 cases, arrested 102 suspects and rescued 130 presumed trafficking victims. In the 16 months prior to that, only 15 cases were investigated. Trafficking victims in the fishing industry sometimes work in slavery-like conditions.

Myanmar house begins new session dominated by Suu Kyi party

February 1, 2016 03:59 AM EST | AP


NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's parliament, led for the first time by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, began a historic session Monday that will install the country's first democratically elected government in more than 50 years.

The National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in Nov. 8 elections, taking about 80 percent of the seats at stake in the two houses of parliament to defeat the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.

10 years on, AP photographer remembers Pulitzer moment

February 1, 2016 09:17 AM EST | AP


JERUSALEM (AP) — Ten years ago today, AP photographer Oded Balilty captured the powerful image of a Jewish settler woman defying Israeli soldiers as they forcibly removed her from a West Bank settlement.

Balilty won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, becoming the first and thus far only Israeli to be awarded the coveted honor. He is the most recent AP photographer to win the prize with a single image.