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Feed Provided By SFGate - World News



Avalanche survivors: sipping tea, then world crashed down FARINDOLA, Italy (AP) — Some of the lucky ones were sipping hot tea near the fireplace in their mountain resort hotel, waiting for snowplows to arrive so they could finally go home, after a winter holiday made nerve-wracking by a day of ground-shaking earthquakes and heavy snowfall. Twenty-three others remained missing, with hopes dependent on whether anyone might have found survival in some air pocket searchers hadn't yet reached. While the nine people who were eventually rescued, including all the children, remained hospitalized Sunday, some details of their harrowing survival accounts began emerging, through family, friends and rescuers who spoke with them at their bedside or by telephone. Suddenly, "everything collapsed on top of us, and I didn't understand anything anymore," Galassi, a 22-year-old university student, told Radio Giulianova, a radio station her hometown of the Adriatic coastal town of Giulianova, where Forti, 25, owns a seaside pizzeria. [...] considering where he was — a square meter (3 foot by 3 foot) (space) in the cold, without lights, with a broken sofa, a girder splitting it up. [...] their cellphone batteries ran out, the survivors had some light. [...] it would be 4 a.m. Saturday, before rescuers, who carved out a series of vertical and horizontal tunnels into the icy several-meter thick mantle of snow to reach survivors, carried Galassi outside to safety — after first rescuing a mother and son, and then three other children. Lt. Col. Vincenzo Romeo, of the Carabinieri paramilitary police's mountain weather unit, said the equivalent of the weight of "3,500 big-rigged trucks, fully loaded" had smashed into the hotel after days of heavy snowfall. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:11:01 UT

Gambia awaits new leader, but exiled one has right to return BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's capital was awaiting the arrival of the country's new leader and an era of democracy, nearly a full day after the authoritarian ruler of 22 years flew into exile with an extraordinary set of assurances from the international community. Even as new President Adama Barrow remained Sunday night in neighboring Senegal awaiting a triumphant return after a whirlwind political crisis sparked by his December election win, former leader Yahya Jammeh appeared to be guaranteed the right to come home. A joint declaration issued shortly after Jammeh left by the United Nations, African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS said the bodies will work with Barrow's government to make sure Jammeh, his family and his close associates are not the target of punishment. The unpredictable Jammeh, known for startling declarations like his claim that bananas and herbal rubs could cure AIDS, flew off late Saturday with a wave as supporters and soldiers wept. Jammeh's dramatic about-face on his election loss to Barrow, at first conceding and then challenging the vote, appeared to be the final straw for the international community, which had been alarmed by his moves in recent years to declare an Islamic republic and leave the Commonwealth and the ICC. Hundreds greeted its arrival at the president's official residence, State House, cheering and dancing and shouting "We love ECOWAS!" while some people grabbed soldiers to take selfies. Barrow, who has promised to reverse many of Jammeh's actions, told The Associated Press on Saturday he will launch a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses of Jammeh's regime. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:08:29 UT

Israeli leader delays West Bank annexation vote JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed a vote Sunday on an explosive proposal to annex one of the West Bank's largest settlements, apparently to coordinate his policy toward the Palestinians with the new administration of President Donald Trump. After eight years of frosty relations with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu has welcomed Trump's election as an opportunity to strengthen ties between two allied nations. With Trump signaling a more tolerant approach toward the much-maligned settlement movement, Israel's nationalist right now believes it has an ally in the White House, and Israeli hard-line leaders make no secret they will push for aggressive action in the occupied West Bank. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, has been pushing Netanyahu to abandon the internationally backed idea of a Palestinian state and to annex the Maaleh Adumim settlement near Jerusalem. Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu thanked Trump for his friendship and his inaugural speech pledge to battle radical Islamic militants. Netanyahu, a longtime supporter of the settlements, has nonetheless been cautious about expanding them in the face of strong opposition from the international community. In a final showdown with Israel last month, the Obama administration allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution condemning settlements as illegal. The Palestinians and the international community consider all settlements illegal, and unilaterally making Maaleh Adumim part of Israel would deal a powerful blow to hopes for a two-state solution. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:01:13 UT

Partial results: Valls, Hamon advance in French primary PARIS (AP) — Partial results suggest that Manuel Valls, a center-leaning former prime minister who rallied France together after extremist attacks, will confront stalwart Socialist Benoit Hamon in the country's left-wing presidential primary runoff. Whoever wins the Jan. 29 primary runoff will face the April-May presidential election battling more popular candidates from the far right to the far left riding frustration with immigration and economic stagnation. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:55:17 UT

Intensive negotiations ahead of Russia-led Syria talks ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Delegates from Russia, Turkey and Iran held hours-long talks in Kazakhstan Sunday on the eve of negotiations between Syrian rebels and President Bashar Assad's government, trying to forge common ground that would nudge forward a political settlement for the country's civil war. Whether Russia and Turkey will manage to bolster the cease-fire they brokered on Dec. 30 will be a key measure of success for the Astana meetings, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya al-Aridi told reporters in the Kazakh capital Sunday. The new U.S. administration is not directly involved, because of the "immediate demands of the transition," the State Department said Saturday, but Washington will be represented by the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, George Krol. The talks are sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, and are the latest attempt to forge a settlement to end a war that has by most estimates killed more than 400,000 people since March 2011 and displaced more than half the country's population. Ja'afari told reporters on the plane to Astana that in addition to cease-fire talks, a priority was to "unify efforts to combat terrorism." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is embroiled in troubles at home and has moved closer to Russia recently, prioritizing the fight against Kurds and the Islamic State group over support for the Syrian rebels he has propped up for years. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 19:33:16 UT

OPEC, allies says production cuts ahead of schedule VIENNA (AP) — OPEC and key non-OPEC oil producers are near their target of taking 1.8 million barrels of crude a day off global markets less than two months after agreeing to do so in efforts to push up the price of crude, Russia's energy minister said Sunday. The announced reductions come after years of failed attempts, with individual OPEC members ignoring calls to hew to production targets in attempt to maximize sales and OPEC outsiders showing little interest in cooperating with the oil cartel. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 18:25:18 UT

Hungarian official: Bus crash victim IDs could take days BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — It could take days to officially identify the 16 people killed when a bus carrying Hungarian students returning from a ski trip burst into a fireball after crashing in Italy, Hungary's foreign minister said Sunday. Szijjarto said one of the unidentified adults in critical condition suffered third-degree burns on over 60 percent of his body, while the other person had undergone surgery for a serious head injury. Judit Timaffy, the Hungarian consul in Milan, said that a "hero professor" identified as physical education teacher Gyorgy Vigh dashed repeatedly into the bus pulling students to safety. Hungarian rescue officials said that with exception of the two adults in critical condition, the rest of the injured and the other passengers were expected to arrive back in Budapest later Sunday. Hungarian police said they were cooperating with their Italian colleagues in the investigation and searches would take place at the headquarters of the bus company to gather information about the mechanical and technical conditions of the bus when it left Hungary and about any repairs it may have recently undergone, as well as the drivers' qualifications. After conflicting reports about the number of people on the bus, Szijjarto confirmed that the passengers included 43 minors and 11 adults. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 18:23:40 UT

Male, female styles merge to cap Paris menswear PARIS (AP) — Male and female styles fused at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday for the final installment of fall-winter menswear shows as the fashion media prepare to notch up a gear for star-filled couture. A golden brown coat sported delicate androgynous curved shoulders, and the merging of eclectic pieces in the same look was further proof of Ossendrijver's fashion mastery. Top houses like Givenchy have increasingly taken to merging men's and women's designs on the catwalk — celebrating androgyny and shunning sexual difference. The classical tailored gray jacket was worn by a female model, and men sported soft velvet suits in warm vivid shades of violet and blue. Quirkiness peppered proceedings via eccentric contrasts — the bread-and-butter sartorial styles and trench coats mixed with quirky pointed snake skin boots, sneakers and loose sweaters with ethnic motifs. [...] the element that made the French designer's display stand out was its virility (barring the inclusion of the odd female model in menswear) in a Fashion Week more and more defined by the androgynous aesthetic. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:35:53 UT

Italian experts to travel to Egypt to probe student's death Last April, a senior Egyptian prosecutor told a Cairo news conference that Egyptian investigators could not meet an Italian request for video footage from the security cameras at the Dokki metro station, the nearest station to Regeni's Cairo apartment. Egypt later debunked its own story, saying the gang may not have had any links to Regeni's death, but it never explained why the student's ID cards were found at the scene, again prompting speculation of a police cover-up. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has promised that investigators would work "night and day" to identify and prosecute those responsible for the torture and killing of Regeni and blamed the local media for wrongfully pointing an accusing finger at his security forces, whose human rights record are regularly criticized by rights groups. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 17:29:04 UT

Suspected US drone strike kills 3 alleged al-Qaida in Yemen The use of unmanned aircraft as well as air strikes in the Arab world's poorest country rose dramatically under President Barack Obama, with data from the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism showing spikes in attacks, especially in 2012 and 2016. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, exploited the chaos, seizing territory in the country's south and east, and the Islamic State group has also claimed attacks. On Sunday, Mwatana, one of Yemen's top human rights groups, released a documentary on civilian victims of drone strikes, interviewing family members who say their relatives were innocent and they had received no compensation from the U.S. despite their wrongful deaths. In one segment from Bayda, the same province where Saturday's drone strikes hit, Ali Abedrabbo Ahmed said his 17-year old son was only a simple construction worker killed while he was going to work in a pickup truck with colleagues in 2014, an incident other witnesses corroborated in the video. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 16:44:14 UT

The Latest: Israel delays vote on settlement annexation Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says his Security Cabinet has unanimously agreed to postpone a vote on a proposal to annex a major West Bank settlement. The party's leader, Naftali Bennett, believes the Trump administration will be friendly to the settlement movement, and that Israel should therefore drop the idea of creating a Palestinian state and instead annex West Bank settlements. The building plans were put on hold in the final months of President Barack Obama's administration and were announced Sunday following the inauguration of Donald Trump. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 16:27:03 UT

British leader to meet with Trump to discuss trade, NATO The White House's invitation for May to meet with Trump on Friday was seen in Britain as affirmation that Trump values the vaunted "special relationship" between the United States and its longtime ally across the Atlantic. Trump has rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is "obsolete" and that the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don't meet targets for their own defense spending. May said she has a long track record promoting equal rights for women, adding that she is proud to be Britain's second female prime minister. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:36:52 UT

Missile failure off Florida? British leader won't say LONDON (AP) — The British government is being accused of concealing the failure of an unarmed ballistic missile launch ahead of a debate in Parliament over whether to refurbish the country's aging Trident nuclear launching system. Theresa May told BBC she has total confidence in Britain's Trident nuclear launching system, but didn't confirm or deny a newspaper report about the alleged failure of a ballistic missile designed to carry nuclear warheads. The newspaper said top government officials decided to keep the failure of a Trident II D5 ballistic missile out of the public eye because of an upcoming debate the next month in Parliament over whether to spend 40 billion pounds to refurbish the aging Trident, the cornerstone of Britain's nuclear deterrent system. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:32:39 UT

Heavy wind, rain and snowstorms hit Spain, force evacuations Bad weather conditions began taking a toll on Thursday, when authorities said around 2,000 people were trapped overnight in vehicles as heavy snowfall cut off several roads in eastern Spain, forcing the army's emergency unit to assist many along the highway linking Madrid to Valencia. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:22:06 UT

Turkish president targets cleric's schools on Africa visit [...] the Turkish government lobbied African nations to close or take over local schools linked to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of masterminding a failed coup attempt last year. Turkey accuses international schools inspired by Gulen of providing militant recruits for his movement, which in turn says an increasingly authoritarian government is casting as wide a net as possible for perceived opponents. Turkey, a NATO member repairing frayed ties with Russia, has a sometimes testy relationship with old allies in the West over Turkey's human rights record and other matters. The overtures to Africa are partly an effort to build Turkey's international profile as a partner and counter to global powers on a continent with a bitter history of Western colonialism and Cold War-era conflict. Turkey's involvement in Africa feeds into the Turkish ruling party's "self-perception as the protector of Muslims and Muslim minorities around the world," said Sener Akturk, associate professor in the international relations department at Koc University in Istanbul. The schools once had the approval of Erdogan's government, whose former alliance with Gulen partly derived from joint opposition to the hard-line secular circles that had ruled Turkey. ... Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:09:19 UT








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