Russia's Putin urges release of Ukrainian soldiers
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops, and Western powers accused Moscow of lying about its role and dangerously escalating the conflict.
UN says Syria refugees top 3 million mark
GENEVA (AP) — The civil war in Syria has forced a record 3 million people out of the country as more than a million people fled in the past year, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The tragic milestone means that about one of every eight Syrians has fled across the border, and 6.5 million others have been displaced within Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, the Geneva-based agency said. More than half of all those uprooted are children, it said.
Ebola in mind, US colleges screen some students
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — College students from West Africa may be subject to extra health checks when they arrive to study in the United States as administrators try to insulate their campuses from the worst Ebola outbreak in history. With the virus continuing to kill in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the expected arrival of thousands of students from those countries has U.S. authorities on alert but cautioning against alarm.
In first, memorial will be open on night of 9/11
NEW YORK (AP) — The Sept. 11 memorial plaza will be open on the night of the attacks' anniversary this year, marking the first time the general public will be able to visit ground zero on the commemoration date. The plaza will be closed to the public during the remembrance ceremony and much of the rest of the day, but it will open from 6 p.m. to midnight for those who want to pay respects and view one of the most evocative observances — the twin beams called the Tribute in Light — from an especially "meaningful vantage point," memorial President Joe Daniels said in an email Thursday to victims' families.
Obama cautions against using force to solve crises
WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, President Barack Obama is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict. While that stance is in keeping with Obama's long-standing aversion to military entanglements, it comes at a time when the effectiveness of his preferred options is being challenged and there are indications that some in the administration are ready to take more robust actions.
Malaysia Airlines to cut 6,000 staff in overhaul
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 workers as part of a $1.9 billion overhaul announced Friday to revive its damaged brand after being hit by double passenger jet disasters. The staff reduction represents about 30 percent of its current workforce of 20,000. A search for a new CEO is underway but there is no move to change the airline's name, which some branding experts had said was necessary for a successful makeover.
Russian fund with US advisers eludes sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama warns of stepped-up economic punishments against Russia for its military incursions inside Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have so far avoided one prominent financial institution: the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has partnered with brand-name American companies and whose advisers include top U.S. and European private equity executives. Despite its ties to Russian state businesses and officials, the Russian Direct Investment Fund has managed to operate unaffected by the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's military actions in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government said Russian troops invaded southeastern Ukraine on Thursday with two columns of tanks and military vehicles.
German economic fears growing but Merkel strong
BERLIN (AP) — Ordinary Germans are spooked about the future. Businesses are starting to see black clouds on the horizon. And an economy that has been the envy of Europe is showing cracks, shrinking unexpectedly last quarter amid the conflict in Ukraine. It might seem like enough to put any leader into trouble. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity remains sky-high — with nobody in sight to touch her.
With a splat, paintball fires into Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The hidden gunman, dressed in long green coveralls and a SWAT-team-style vest and helmet, looks ominous as he takes aim and fires off a short burst. But this isn't a Taliban attack in the heart of Afghanistan's capital — it's just a friendly game of paintball.
Shelly Sterling talks about husband, Clippers sale
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Shelly Sterling was approached by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about buying the Los Angeles Clippers, the wife of disgraced NBA team owner Donald Sterling did not know who he was. But in before long she wound up convincing him that the team was worth an unprecedented $2 billion. In an exclusive interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Shelly Sterling offered details of how she wound up negotiating one of the richest deals in sports after her husband's racist rant to a girlfriend became public, prompting the NBA to ban him for life and decree he give up the team.