World News | WRHL World News 2016-05-31T06:49:30Z World News Fear for civilians as Islamic State halts Iraqi army at gates of Falluja By Maher Nazeh and Saif Hameed CAMP TARIQ, Iraq (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters halted an Iraqi army assault on the city of Falluja with a counter-attack at its southern gates on Tuesday, while the United Nations warned of peril for civilians trapped in the city and used by militants as human shields. The Iraqi army's assault on Falluja has begun what is expected to be one of the biggest battles ever fought against Islamic State, with the government backed by world powers including the United States and Iran, and determined to win back the first major Iraqi city that fell to the group in 2014. A week after Baghdad announced the start of the assault, its troops advanced in large numbers into the city limits for the first time on Monday, pouring into rural territory on its southern outskirts but stopping short of the main built-up area. Death toll from Russian air strikes in Idlib climbs to 23: monitor By Tom Perry and Suleiman Al-Khalidi BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) - At least 23 people were killed in Russian air strikes overnight in the rebel-held Syrian city of Idlib, the heaviest bombardment there since a cessation of hostilities was agreed in February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Observatory said the air strikes targeted a number of positions in the city, one of them next to a hospital. Seven children were among the dead, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said. Israel's settlement drive is becoming irreversible, diplomats fear By Luke Baker MITZPE YERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) - In the hills east of Jerusalem, overlooking the Palestinian city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, stands a religious Jewish settlement whose red-tile roofs, neat gardens and brightly colored playgrounds give the sense of permanence. Mitzpe Yericho has stood on this escarpment close to the Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth - since 1978. It is one of more than 230 settlements Israelis have built on occupied land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past half-century. As Beijing flexes muscles in South China Sea, Malaysia eyes harder response By Joseph Sipalan MIRI, Malaysia (Reuters) - Spotting a large vessel off the coast of Sarawak state in March, officers on a Malaysian patrol boat were shocked when it steamed toward them at high speed, blaring its horn before veering off to reveal "Chinese Coast Guard" emblazoned on its side. According to an officer from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Chinese Coast Guard vessels have been sighted several times before around the South Luconia Shoals, off the oil-rich town of Miri. Spurred by the incident and the appearance of some 100 Chinese fishing vessels in the area around the time, some in Malaysia are hardening the nation's previously muted responses toward their powerful neighbor China. Jets bomb Syrian rebel group Ahrar al Sham's main camp, large numbers killed: monitor Unidentified jets bombed a major camp of the powerful Islamist Ahrar al Sham insurgent group in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, leaving a large number of dead and wounded, a monitor reported on Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said top trainers from among Ahrar al Sham's leaders were normally at the camp located in the Sheikh Bahar area of rural Idlib. The insurgent group could not be reached comment. Attempted North Korea missile launch fails: South Korea By Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea attempted to fire a missile from its east coast on Tuesday but the launch appears to have failed, South Korean officials said, in what would be the latest in a string of unsuccessful ballistic missile tests by the isolated country. Tension in Northeast Asia has been high since North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a satellite launch and test launches of various missiles. Japan put its military alert on Monday for a possible North Korean missile launch. Israel fills UN hall for anti-BDS conference UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Over 1,500 students fill the United Nations General Assembly for a conference sponsored by the Israeli mission on how best to combat a movement on many U.S. campuses calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. Inexperienced but talented players squeeze into Euro 2016 LONDON (AP) — Lucas Vazquez has never played for Spain. Marcus Rashford is fresh from his England debut. Joshua Kimmich has only one Germany cap. Sonny Bill Williams signs 3-year deal with New Zea WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has signed a three-year deal with New Zealand Rugby and will play for the Auckland-based Blues in the Super Rugby competition from next season. Turkish businessman alleges overreach by US in bail fight NEW YORK (AP) — Saying his client is not a terrorist, the lawyer for a Turkish businessman arrested on charges he helped Iran evade sanctions insisted in court papers Tuesday that the U.S. government stretched the law to prosecute him. Small quake shakes Nicaraguan capital Managua, no damage MANAGUA (Reuters) - A 3.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nicaragua's capital Managua on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, but the Nicaraguan government said there were no immediate reports of damage. The epicenter of the quake was about 12 kilometers (7 miles) northeast of Managua at a depth of 26 km (16 miles), the USGS said. (Reporting by Ivan Castro; Editing by Sandra Maler) Niguez and Isco left off Spain's final squad for Euro 2016 MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid's Francisco "Isco" Alarcon and Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez were left off Spain's final squad for the European Championship on Tuesday. Criminal charges possible in killing of Cincinnati gorilla By Ginny McCabe CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Police may bring criminal charges over a Cincinnati Zoo incident in which a gorilla was killed to rescue a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into its enclosure, a prosecutor said on Tuesday. The death of Harambe, a 450-pound (200-kg) gorilla, also prompted the animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now to file a negligence complaint on Tuesday against the zoo with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Online petitions at drew more than 500,000 signatures demanding "Justice for Harambe." Cincinnati police are taking a second look at possible criminal charges in the incident after initially saying no one was charged. Haiti council starts deliberating possible election redo PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti's electoral authorities began deliberating Tuesday whether to annul the disputed presidential election and hold a new vote, as recommended by a special commission that reported finding what appeared to be significant fraud and professional misconduct. 2nd man arrested in kidnapping of Mexican soccer player CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — Police arrested a second suspect in the kidnapping of Mexican soccer player Alan Pulido, after wounding the man in a gunbattle, the Tamaulipas state prosecutor said Tuesday. The Latest: Keane makes it to Ireland squad for Euro 2016 LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the European Championship squad announcements (all times local): Italy court upholds 16-year term for Concordia captain Florence's appeals court on Tuesday upheld a 16-year jail term for Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that sank off Italy in 2012 leaving 32 people dead. Schettino was not in court when the verdict was read out by presiding judge Grazia D'Onofrio. Schettino was sentenced in February 2015 to 16 years and one month in prison after a judge ruled that his recklessness was to blame for the fate of the giant ship, which struck underwater rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio on the night of January 14, 2012. Testimony from families of 9/11 victims sought at Guantanamo GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A prosecutor asked a judge Tuesday to allow public testimony at Guantanamo Bay this fall from some people who had family members killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, saying otherwise they may not live long enough to be heard. Brazil eases visa rules ahead of Rio Olympics Brazil is lifting visa requirements for tourists from Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States starting Wednesday to encourage travel to the Rio Olympics, the government said. The tourism ministry said Tuesday that it was throwing the doors open to tourists from the four countries because they are already a good market, have strong interest in the Olympics and pose a low security risk. "These tourists will boost the country's economy by spending in hotels, restaurants, car hire, travel agencies and many other sectors," Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves said in a statement. Western Sahara independence movement leader Abdelaziz dies ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Mohamed Abdelaziz, the head and co-founder of the Polisario Front independence movement in the Western Sahara, died Tuesday after a long illness, the group said. He was in his late 60s. Surfer loses leg in shark attack off west Australia PERTH, Australia (AP) — A 29-year-old surfer was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday after a shark tore a leg off at an Australian west coast beach, officials said. Expect no sanctions reprieve from Russia visit - Juncker European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday warned against expecting any announcement on the lifting of EU sanctions on Russia when he visits the country in mid-June. EU leaders must decide by the end of June whether to prolong the sanctions they imposed on Russia over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which run out in July. Juncker will attend an economic forum in Saint Petersburg on June 16, where he will meet with President Vladimir Putin. Trump showboats attacks on 'dishonest' US media Donald Trump stepped up his assault on the US media Tuesday, branding the political press "dishonest," calling one journalist "a sleaze" and promising more such attacks if elected US president. The former reality TV star, prolific on Twitter with two million more followers than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, has dominated coverage of the 2016 presidential cycle like no other by calling personally into television shows and frequently holding court at press conferences broadcast live nationwide. The New York tycoon, who was dismissed as a joke when he launched his campaign, annihilated 16 rivals in the race to sew up the Republican nomination and is trailing Clinton by just a few percentage points in recent polls. Greece's PAOK wins playoff for shot at Champions League THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — PAOK held Panathinaikos to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday to win the Greek league playoffs and earn a place in the qualifying round of next season's Champions League. Indians' Carrasco to start Thursday against Kansas City CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who has been on the disabled list since April 25 with a strained left hamstring, will start Thursday against the Kansas City Royals. Bahrain frees female activist and toddler son Bahraini authorities on Tuesday released on "humanitarian" grounds opposition activist Zainab al-Khawaja, who had been imprisoned with her toddler son since March, a public prosecution official said. Judicial authorities ordered "the suspension of the sentence" for Khawaja and another defendant identified as Irena Bogotova who had been jailed with her four-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Sayed said in a statement. Zainab al-Khawaja is the daughter of prominent rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence for plotting to overthrow the Sunni regime. Ireland loses final Euro 2016 warm-up game to Belarus CORK, Ireland (AP) — Ireland lost its final warm-up game before traveling to the European Championship, beaten 2-1 Tuesday by a Belarus side which hasn't qualified for the tournament in France. Maduro calls 'rebellion,' tells OAS to 'shove it' Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a "national rebellion" against alleged international threats Tuesday and told the head of the Organization of American States to "shove it" in an escalating war of words. The verbal barrage came after OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called for an urgent meeting on the Venezuelan crisis, warning democracy was at risk in the country. In a 132-page letter to the president of the OAS Permanent Council, Almagro requested a meeting of the Washington-based organization's 34 member states from June 10 to 20. Istanbul locked down on anniversary of 2013 demos Turkish police on Tuesday detained several activists and imposed a heavy security blanket in Istanbul on the third anniversary of protests that posed the biggest challenge to the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The May-June 2013 protests began as a grassroots movement to stop plans for the redevelopment of Gezi Park in central Istanbul but snowballed into a wave of nationwide wave of anger against Erdogan. Hundreds of armed police were deployed in Taksim Square next to Gezi Park, with access to the centre of the square and the park barred to the public throughout the day, an AFP correspondent said. US stocks struggle as energy companies fall with oil prices NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes struggled to a mixed close Tuesday as energy companies fell with the price of oil, overcoming gains in utilities and phone companies. Philippines president-elect says won't rely on United States By Neil Jerome Morales DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Reuters) - Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday his country would not rely on long-term security ally the United States, signaling greater independence from Washington in dealing with China and the disputed South China Sea. The Philippines has traditionally been one of Washington's staunchest supporters in its standoff with Beijing over the South China Sea, a vital trade route where China has built artificial islands, airstrips and other military facilities. Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who swept to victory in a May 9 election, has backed multilateral talks to settle rows over the South China Sea that would include the United States, Japan and Australia as well as claimant nations. Montolivo out as Italy squad revealed in glitzy ceremony ROME (AP) — AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo was left out of Italy's squad for the European Championship on Tuesday after failing to recover from injury in time, but fellow midfielder Thiago Motta was judged fit enough to be included in the 23-man squad. OAS chief calls for emergency meeting to evaluate Venezuela CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The head of the Organization of American States called Tuesday for an emergency meeting of regional governments to evaluate Venezuela's respect for democracy, a move that could lead to the country's suspension from the hemispheric body. Paris plans refugee camp as migrant deaths spike The Paris mayor unveiled plans Tuesday for a refugee camp in the French capital as the migrant crisis took on an ever-more deadly turn with 2,500 drowned in the Mediterranean so far this year. With Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II peaking for a second consecutive year, the UN refugee agency said some 204,000 people had crossed the Mediterranean to the continent since January. "I emphasise that that figure is a conservative estimate," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told reporters, with a number of small children reportedly among the dead. Big donors wary, but some ready to back Trump candidacy Republican mega-donor Frank VanderSloot backed a Donald Trump rival in the US presidential primaries, but despite strong reservations, he says he's now ready to support the controversial tycoon as the "best bet" to defeat Hillary Clinton. Like VanderSloot, a billionaire Idaho businessman, many establishment Republicans have eaten crow over their predictions that Trump would never become the party standarbearer, but now back the brash political neophyte who has electrified the conservative voting base even while antagonizing many in the party. Others, however, are vowing to never support Trump and his insult-laden campaign, complicating his ability to raise the finances necessary to mount a winning 2016 bid. Arnautovic, Schoepf help Austria beat Malta 2-1 in friendly KLAGENFURT, Austria (AP) — Early goals by Marko Arnautovic and Alessandro Schoepf helped Austria beat Malta 2-1 in a warmup match Tuesday for the European Championship. Rafinha and Ederson miss Brazil squad for Copa America RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil has lost two more players from its squad for the Copa America, with Barcelona midfielder Rafinha and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson being replaced because of injuries. Mexico starts removal of invasive goats from Baja island MEXICO CITY (AP) — Environmental authorities in Mexico have begun removing 800 to 900 wild goats from Espiritu Santo island off Baja California. I.Coast's ex first lady on trial for poll bloodbath Ivory Coast's feisty former first lady Simone Gbagbo went on trial Tuesday for crimes against humanity in what many see as a litmus case for justice in the west African country. Security was tight as a smiling Gbagbo, in an elegant red and white floral dress and sporting her trademark braids, was led in and seated in a red chair opposite the bench. Nicknamed the "Iron Lady", she is accused of planning and directing rights abuses against supporters of her husband's presidential rival to try to maintain Laurent Gbagbo in power at all costs. WRHL 2016-05-31T23:49:30Z