International

1.23.15:  Sierra Leone eases blocks on travel, business as Ebola wanes

 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s president is easing restrictions on movement and commercial activity as an Ebola outbreak subsides in West Africa, while warning that the fight against the deadly disease is not yet over.

While the outbreak has sickened more than 21,000 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the number of new infections is falling.

President Ernest Bai Koroma announced in a national broadcast that, starting Friday, the country would lift all district quarantines and extend business hours on Saturdays. Koroma said in the Thursday night speech that while people must remain vigilant, easing the restrictions can jump-start the economic recovery.

The country plans to reopen schools in March, and Koroma also outlined the steps that must be taken before that happens.

 


1.23.15:  New  king for Saudi Arabia

 

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s new king is promising to continue the policies of his predecessors.

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud took control of the kingdom after the death of King Abdullah yesterday.

In a nationally televised speech today, Salman made an oblique reference to the chaos in the Middle East created by the extremist Islamic State group.

He said, “The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need of solidarity and cohesion.”

 


1.22.15:  Day 2 of talks in Cuba

 

HAVANA (AP) — Delegations from the U.S. and Cuba will hold their second day of meetings in Havana today on normalizing ties.

They’re expected to discuss the lifting of restrictions on American diplomats in Cuba and assurances that Cubans will have unfettered access to a future U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The U.S. has rebuffed demands for broader changes to U.S. migration rules that grant virtually automatic legal residency to any Cuban who touches U.S. soil.


1.21.15:  Havana talks start with promises by Obama, Cuban caution

 

HAVANA (AP) — The highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in decades begins two days of negotiations.

Today the delegation will discuss continuing by both sides to promote what the State Department calls “safe, legal and orderly migration.”

That covers everything from the security of charter flights between Miami and Havana to rooting out fraudulent passports and partnering on potential search-and-rescue missions.

Tomorrow’s talks focus on re-establishing a U.S. Embassy in Havana headed by an ambassador, and a Cuban Embassy in Washington.


1.16.15:  Arrests in Europe sweeps

 

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says his country is “waging war” against terrorism and will not back down from international military operations against Islamic extremists despite recent deadly attacks.

Authorities say more than two dozen suspects have been arrested in Belgium, France and Germany in continuing searches for suspected terrorists.

In a Belgium raid last night, police moved in on a suspected terrorist hideout, killing two suspects and thwarting what authorities say was an imminent attack.

 

The head of European Union police agency Europol says the large number of radicalized Muslim extremists across Europe, their lack of command structure and growing sophistication make it “extremely difficult” for law enforcement agencies to foil every terror attack.

Europol chief Rob Wainwright told The Associated Press in an interview today that Europe needs to cooperate more closely to prevent attacks like last week’s deadly rampage in Paris.

Wainwright says that “the scale of the problem, the diffuse nature of the network, the scale of the people involved makes this extremely difficult for even very well-functioning counterterrorist agencies such as we have in France to stop every attack.”

Wainwright says at least 2,500 and possibly up to 5,000 suspects have traveled from Europe to conflicts in Syria and Iraq.


1.15.15:  Target to exit Canada

 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target is exiting Canada.

Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell says the company was unable to find a realistic scenario in which Target Canada would become profitable before at least 2021.

The retailer said Thursday that it anticipates approximately $5.4 billion in fourth-quarter losses from discontinued operations in Canada.

Target Corp. currently has 133 stores in Canada with about 17,600 employees.


1.15.15:  Pope says he’ll focus on poor, exploited in Philippine trip

 

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Pope Francis says he will focus on the poor, the exploited and victims of injustice during his four-day trip to the Philippines.

Francis was greeted by ecstatic crowds when he arrived in Manila on Thursday on the first papal visit to Asia’s largest Catholic nation in 20 years. The pontiff described his priorities for the second leg of his Asian trip during his flight to Manila from Sri Lanka.

“The central nut of the message will be the poor, the poor who want to go forward, the poor who suffered from Typhoon Haiyan and are continuing to suffer the consequences,” he said.

His message will resonate in a country where poverty afflicts nearly a quarter of the 100 million people, and where many Filipinos leave their families in search of jobs abroad.


1.15.15:  Immigrants can now get Mexican birth certificates in US

 

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The Mexican government says it will start issuing birth certificates at its consulates in the United States to help immigrants seeking work permits, driver’s licenses and protection from deportation.

The move will make it easier for Mexicans in the United States to get documents that can be used to apply for passports or consular identification cards that are vital for immigrants living in the country illegally to prove their identity.

Arturo Sanchez, consul for press and commercial affairs in Santa Ana, California, says 50 consulates will start issuing the certificates Thursday.

While many in the Republican-led Congress are trying to quash President Barack Obama’s immigration efforts, Mexico is trying to help millions of its citizens apply for programs that would let them remain here temporarily.

 

Meanwhile, the Mexican Consulate in Michigan is located in Detroit. For more information:  313-964-4515 or Detroit@sre.gob.mx.


1.13.15:  Obama says US must up its game on cyberthreats

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says recent cyberthreats to Sony and the military’s U.S. Central Command are reminders of the serious threats facing the U.S.

Obama unveiled a proposal for cybersecurity legislation at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center just outside Washington. He says cyberthreats pose “an enormous challenge.”

Obama says cybercriminals are doing as much damage — or more — than traditional criminals. He says the U.S. is making progress, but attackers are also getting more sophisticated

Obama says the U.S. must be “upping our game.”

The legislation would increase information-sharing between companies and the government about cyberthreats. It’s among a series of proposals Obama is laying out before his State of the Union address next week.


1.13.15:  Police official: Arms for Paris attacks came from abroad

 

PARIS (AP) —A French police official says the weapons used by a terror cell in attacks in the Paris region that left 17 people dead came from outside the country, and that authorities are urgently tracing the source of the financing.

Christophe Crepin, a French police union representative, said several people are being sought in relation to the “substantial” financing of the three gunmen, as well as others in their network.

He said that the weapons stockpile clearly came from abroad and the amount spent shows an organized network.

The news came hours after a Bulgarian prosecutor announced the arrest of a man with ties to one of the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo newspaper massacre. Crepin said the people in the Islamic extremist cell had mixed allegiances, with little sense of loyalty to individual jihadi groups.