World News | WRHL World News 2015-08-03T04:42:28Z World News U.S. to defend Syrian rebels with airpower, including from Assad By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has decided to allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials said on Sunday. The decision by President Barack Obama, which could deepen the U.S. role in Syria's conflict, aims to shield a still-fledging group of Syrian fighters armed and trained by the United States to battle Islamic State militants -- not forces loyal to Assad. Pro-Hadi fighters, Houthis battle over Yemen's largest military base Fighters loyal to Yemen's deposed president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi-led air strikes, battled Houthi forces inside the country's largest military base on Monday, pro-Hadi commanders said. It would also mark another significant gain for the Hadi loyalists after they drove the Houthis from the southern port of Aden in July following months on the defensive. Hadi remains in Saudi Arabia, to where he fled in March as the Houthis closed in on his refuge in Aden. Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report By Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed. A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report. Russia's Lavrov meets Hamas chief, invites him to Moscow: official Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Qatar on Monday and invited him to visit Moscow, a Hamas official said, extending a diplomatic welcome to the Palestinian group shunned by the West. Meshaal, who is based in Doha, last traveled to Moscow in 2010, four years after his first official visit to the Russian capital. In a statement released in Gaza, the Hamas official said a delegation led by Meshaal briefed Lavrov on conditions in the Gaza Strip, which the Islamist movement rules, in the aftermath of last summer's war with Israel. We want Iran cooperation, not meddling, Gulf Arabs tell Kerry By David Brunnstrom and Noah Browning DOHA (Reuters) - Iran's nuclear deal should bring stability and "good neighborliness" rather than interference, Gulf Arab states told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday as they began talks on the merits of its historic accord with world powers. Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, welcoming Kerry to Qatar for the talks with the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said the alliance wanted to spare the region "from any dangers and threats from nuclear weapons". This should be done by authorizing the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in line with international rules, he said, speaking for the GCC as host of the meeting. Barnacles on debris could provide clues to missing MH370: experts By Swati Pandey SYDNEY (Reuters) - Barnacles encrusted on a piece of plane debris that washed up on the French island of Reunion might help unravel the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared last year with 239 passengers and crew on board. Malaysia said on Sunday the piece of debris, a 2-2.5 meter (6.5-8 feet) wing surface known as flaperon, had been identified as being from a Boeing 777, the same model as the missing Malaysian plane. Based on photographs, ecologists in Australia believe the crustaceans clinging to the wing piece are goose or stalk barnacles. US stocks drop, led by another fall in the energy sector NEW YORK (AP) — Another bad day for the energy sector pulled down stocks on Monday. Mexico City mayor vows full probe of journalist slaying MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico City's mayor said Monday that no expense will be spared and no line of investigation ignored in the hunt for the killers of four women and a photojournalist, who had fled the state where he worked fearing for his safety. Report: US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria killed 459 civilians BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have likely killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday. AP source: Angel Di Maria accepts 4-year deal with PSG PARIS (AP) — Manchester United winger Angel Di Maria will join Paris Saint-Germain on a four-year deal to become the second most expensive player in the French league history. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday vowed to do "whatever necessary" in Turkey's controversial fight against Kurdish militants, with no end in sight to a two-week cycle of violence. Ankara is waging a two-pronged cross-border "anti-terror" offensive to bomb Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels in northern Iraq, after a wave of attacks in the country. Erdogan told reporters returning with him from a trip to Asia that the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq should be taking action against the PKK bases there. Puerto Rico confirms it failed to make $58M debt payment SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The government of Puerto Rico has confirmed that it failed to make a $58 million debt payment that was due Saturday, a significant escalation of the debt crisis facing the U.S. island territory. Mourning, outcry after Mexico journalist's killing Mexico City (AFP) - Family, friends and colleagues held a vigil Monday for Mexican photojournalist Ruben Espinosa after he was brutally killed in a multiple homicide. Pennsylvania resident guilty in Chinese test-taking plot PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Chinese citizen who lives in western Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to charges she used phony passports to take English-language fluency tests used for college entrance purposes for two other Chinese women, including one now enrolled at Virginia Tech. US Treasury sanctions Syrian government's energy networks WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department on Monday targeted 11 companies and individuals suspected of providing energy products the Syrian government of Bashar Assad is using in the conflict there. Creators of destroyed hitchhiking robot mull rebuild TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian talking and tweeting hitchhiking robot that met its untimely end in the United States over the weekend might be given another chance at life. Chile poll: Bachelet's approval rating at new low SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The approval rating of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is at its lowest level since she returned to the office last year, a poll said Monday. Obama says climate one of 'key challenges' of our time President Barack Obama framed climate change as the toughest and most pressing challenge of our time Monday, as he unveiled the first ever limits on US power plant emissions. "This is one of those rare issues, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that if we don't get it right, we may not be able to reverse," he said, at the White House. In an attempt to at least try to slow the process, Obama announced that power plant owners must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. 11 soldiers killed in attack on Mali camp: government Eleven soldiers were killed Monday in a "terrorist" attack on their camp in northern Mali's Timbuktu region, said a government statement. According to Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar, jihadist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the attack in Gourma-Rharous. "Our...fighters attacked at dawn the Malian army base in this village and we succeeded in killing nine soldiers," AQIM spokesman Abou Darda Al-Chinguitty said by telephone, according to the agency. Special Olympics athlete vanishes after another found safe LOS ANGELES (AP) — The search for a teenage Special Olympics athlete who vanished from Los Angeles International Airport early Monday, just hours after another missing competitor turned up safe in Northern California. Jewish extremist head arrested after anti-Arab violence: police A Jewish extremist group's leader was arrested Monday after a Palestinian baby died in a West Bank firebombing, as police investigated online threats against Israel's president for condemning "Jewish terrorism". The domestic intelligence service named him as Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Meir Kahane, a rabbi who founded the racist anti-Arab movement Kach and was assassinated in 1990 in New York. Police said Ettinger, who is aged around 20, was suspected of "nationalist crimes" but did not accuse him of direct involvement in Friday's firebombing. Top Asian News at 8:00 p.m. GMT BAGO, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited one of the country's many flood-afflicted areas Monday, raising her profile during a national disaster that has killed at least 46 people and could affect this November's general election. Over the weekend President Thein Sein visited the areas in central Myanmar hit hardest by flooding from almost continuous rains since mid-July. On Friday, he declared four areas of the country disaster zones, but only after he had come under a barrage of criticism in the press and on social media for failing to quickly mobilize relief. Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A whale has appeared in a port at one of Buenos Aires' most exclusive neighborhoods, periodically surfacing alongside luxury yachts while attracting hundreds of onlookers. Brazilian universities to help with dirty water cleanup RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao has signed a deal with several Brazilian universities and research institutes to develop a plan for cleaning up the polluted waters of the city's sewage-strewn Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will be held. US-China nuclear agreement passes congressional review WASHINGTON (AP) — An agreement allowing American involvement in China's civilian atomic industry is set to be renewed for 30 years despite some stiff criticism from lawmakers over the Asian nation's record on nuclear proliferation. Catalonia leader calls election framed as vote on independence Catalan leaders threw down a challenge to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday by pressing ahead with early elections next month portrayed as a proxy for a vote on independence. Catalan President Artur Mas, who has taken up the secession cause in recent years amid a surge in popular support, formally called the poll for Sept. 27, shortly before a Spanish general election due by year-end. The vote to elect a parliament in the wealthy northeastern region, a year earlier than necessary, ratchets up pressure on center-right Rajoy, who has ruled out Catalan independence. US begins armed drone flights from Turkey WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military is expanding its combat role in Syria in defense of coalition-backed rebels, conducting armed drone missions into Syria from an air base in Turkey and imposing new rules allowing the U.S. to defend rebels against attacks from any hostile force, including the Assad government. Lawmaker: Majority in US House oppose Iran nuclear deal A Republican majority in the US House of Representatives will vote to block the Iran nuclear deal, a lawmaker announced Monday, but in numbers shy of the two-thirds required to torpedo the accord. If the resolution is adopted, it would prevent President Barack Obama from lifting crippling US sanctions against the Islamic republic in exchange for the rollback of Iran's nuclear program. Republicans control both the House and Senate, and such a motion appears on track to pass both chambers -- but Obama would veto it. Your mutual fund may have Greek stocks, but just a smidgen NEW YORK (AP) — Yes, your mutual fund may own some Greek stocks. No, most likely not a lot. Firefighters battle raging blazes across California More than 13,000 people have been forced to flee homes threatened by Rocky, CALFIRE spokeswoman Alisha Herring said. Governor Jerry Brown's office said that some 9,600 people were battling the fires early Sunday. Thousands of lightning bolts since Thursday caused hundreds of smaller fires throughout the state, but most of the blazes were concentrated in the north, California fire chiefs said. Delta bans shipments of trophies of lions, other big game (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines banned shipments of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies on its aircraft on Monday amid international outrage over the killing of Zimbabwe's most famous lion by a American hunter. The No. 2 U.S. passenger carrier is the only American airline to fly directly between the United States and Johannesburg. Delta said in a statement the ban was effective immediately. Catalonia to hold Sept 27 elections in fresh independence challenge Barcelona (AFP) - The leader of Spain's wealthy Catalonia region signed a decree on Monday calling early parliamentary elections on September 27 which he has said will act as proxy vote on independence. Greek stock market bloodbath as exchange reopens ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece suffered its worst stock market bloodbath in decades on Monday, when it opened after a forced five-week closure, and new data showed a dismal outlook for the bailout-dependent country's shrinking economy. Italy arrests 11 in search for Sicilian mafia boss of bosses By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - Police in Sicily arrested 11 suspected mobsters they believe were helping Sicilian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro evade capture and spread his orders to the rest of the criminal organization. The suspects used coded language and hand-written notes to communicate with the highest-ranking Sicilian mob boss currently at large, police said in a statement. Messina Denaro has been sought since 1993 for planting bombs that killed 10 people in Florence and Milan. French minister asks UK for more help to combat migrant smuggling networks France's interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said he had called on Britain to provide more help in dismantling illegal immigration networks as the two countries deepen cooperation to tackle a migrant crisis at the French port of Calais. Cazeneuve told French newspaper La Croix in an interview published on its website on Monday that cooperation between French and British secret services and police had enabled them to break up 17 people-smuggling networks so far this year. "I think we need to go further, and I've asked my British counterpart for an additional effort by his services," Cazeneuve told La Croix. US to speed up arms sales to Gulf after Iran deal: Kerry Washington has agreed to speed up arms sales to Gulf states, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday after talks in Doha on their concerns over the Iran nuclear deal. At the same time, his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, told a joint press conference with Kerry that the nuclear deal was "the best option among other options". Asked what he could offer Gulf states, Kerry said the United States "agreed to expedite certain arms sales that are needed and that have taken too long in the past". Lavrov condemns US plan to extend Syria bombing Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed as "counter-productive" an announcement by Washington that it could take extra measures to defend US-allied fighters in Syria. At a news conference in Qatar, Lavrov condemned comments by the White House that it could take "additional steps" to protect allies in Syria and warned Bashar al-Assad's regime not to impede their actions. "We believe it's counterproductive to announce publicly that some US-trained armed groups... will be under the protection of the coalition's air forces," Lavrov said. Iranian censors act against critics of nuclear deal: ISNA Iran's Press Supervisory Board has suspended a hardline newspaper and cautioned two other outlets for criticizing last month's nuclear deal with world powers -- a rare move for a body more used to upholding social conservatism. The board suspended "9 Dey", a weekly newspaper that accused Tehran's negotiators of overstepping Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's red lines in the negotiations, and referred its case to a court, the ISNA news agency reported on Monday. The pact has been the subject of intense debate in the Islamic Republic, and President Hassan Rouhani took to the airwaves on Sunday evening to talk up the achievements of Iranian diplomats. Andy Murray returns to DC tournament for 1st time since 2006 WASHINGTON (AP) — Andy Murray is back on hard courts for the first time in four months — and back at the Citi Open for the first time in nine years. WRHL 2015-08-03T21:42:28Z