By Nick Tattersall and Vladimir Soldatkin ISTANBUL/NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia (Reuters) - Russia sent an advanced missile system to Syria on Wednesday to protect its jets operating there and pledged its air force would keep flying missions near Turkish air space, sounding a defiant note after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet. The downing of the jet on Tuesday was one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member and Russia for half a century, and further complicated international efforts to battle Islamic State militants in Syria. President Tayyip Erdogan made no apology, saying his nation had simply been defending its own security and the "rights of our brothers in Syria".
By Yeganeh Torbati WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States sanctioned a Syrian businessman on Wednesday who it said was a middleman for oil sales between Islamic State and the Syrian government, the latest salvo in an effort to cut off the flow of funds to the militant group. The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that it had also sanctioned three other individuals for providing support to the Syrian government, and businesses linked to them, including a Russian bank. The measures, the latest round of sanctions related to the ongoing civil war in Syria, freeze any U.S. assets and prohibit Americans from transactions with the targets.
By Thomas Escritt and Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Brussels metro and schools reopened on Wednesday as the Belgian capital edged back to normal after a four-day security lockdown but the hunt went on for militants police fear may mount a Paris-style mass attack. Troops and armored vehicles outside reopened underground stations -- about half of the network remains closed -- and police outside schools provided a reminder of the threat the government said was so imminent that it raised its alert level on Saturday in Brussels to the maximum, where it remains. There was less evidence of the raids and searches that have been carried out periodically in the city since two suicide bombers from Brussels blew themselves up on Nov. 13 during the Islamic State attack on Paris.
By Dan Williams JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Palestinian stabbed and critically wounded an Israeli soldier on Wednesday and was shot dead by troops, the army and a hospital official said, a day after a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to explore how to end eight weeks of violence. The attack occurred in the Israeli-occupied West Bank at a road junction near a cluster of Palestinian villages and Jewish settlements. Israeli media reported later that a top military officer said senior ministers should consider easing certain measures for Palestinians to reduce tensions, such as arming security forces and giving them armored vehicles to quell the violence.
By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian authorities said on Wednesday a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with plastic explosive blew up a presidential guard bus a day earlier, killing at least 12 troops in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants. Tuesday's explosion on a main boulevard in the capital drove home the vulnerability of Tunisia to Islamist militancy, following assaults on a seaside tourist hotel in June and the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March also claimed by Islamic State. One of the Arab world's most secular nations, Tunisia has increasingly become a target for militants after being hailed as a beacon of democratic change in the region since its 2011 uprising ousted autocrat Zine Abidine Ben Ali.
By Denis Dyomkin YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday inaugurated a museum dedicated to Boris Yeltsin, the former president whose legacy, many former Yeltsin associates say, Putin has spent the past 15 years dismantling. When an ailing and unpopular Yeltsin announced on New Year's Eve 1999 that he was stepping down, he anointed Putin as his successor but since then the Russian leader has distanced himself from his predecessor. The ceremony to inaugurate the museum threw up some awkward moments when memories of the Yeltsin era -- a period of dismantling Soviet rule, embracing the West and rushing headlong to a market economy -- rubbed up against the different realities of Putin's Russia.
Many say the populist crazy talk is typical of the White House primaries, but Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's increasingly incendiary remarks are leading some conservatives to brand him a "fascist" and party rivals to ramp up attacks against him. Republican experts are warning that Trump could do lasting damage to the GOP, and that his nomination in the party primaries would essentially hand the presidency to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Establishment conservatives even took the unfathomable step of using the F-word against a member of their own party.
PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrated his return to his first senior club with a goal as Paris Saint-Germain advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League on Wednesday while Juventus claimed top spot to qualify from Group D with a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
BALTIMORE (AP) — A police report says four passengers were removed from a flight at Baltimore's international airport after a fellow passenger said she saw one of them receive a text with the word "dynamite."
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's governmental human rights commission said Wednesday that excessive use of force by federal police resulted in six civilian deaths in a confrontation last January, including a person who was shot dead after he was already wounded on the ground and posed no threat to police.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — President-elect Mauricio Macri named a new Cabinet on Wednesday that includes members from diverse Argentine political movements, business executives and a minister with the outgoing government.
MADRID (AP) — Antoine Griezmann scored a goal in each half as Atletico Madrid comfortably defeated Galatasaray 2-0 on Wednesday to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the third straight season.
Conservationists in New Zealand on Thursday accused US singer Taylor Swift of endangering a rare bird species while shooting a music video near Auckland. The 25-year-old pop superstar slipped into New Zealand this week to film the video at Bethells Beach, a popular seaside town just outside the city. The chairwoman of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board Sandra Coney said Swift's production company was given permission to film on the beach, which is home to the critically endangered New Zealand dotterel.
The Canadian province of British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding with Alaska on Wednesday to protect transboundary rivers, watersheds and fisheries and be more involved in major mining developments in each other's territory. The two regions will also work toward allowing government representatives and scientists to be involved in each other's environmental assessment and permitting processes for mining projects. The memorandum comes after Alaskan environmental, fishing and First Nations groups called for tougher transboundary environmental legislation following a huge mining waste spill at the Mount Polley copper-gold mine in British Columbia in August 2014.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Because of man-made global warming and a strong El Nino, Earth's wild weather this year is bursting the annual heat record, the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday. The United Nations weather agency's early report on 2015 says it is the hottest year on record, surpassing last year's record heat. It made the proclamation without waiting for the end of the year because it has been so extraordinarily hot and is forecast to stay that way. The report comes the week before more than 100 world leaders assemble in Paris to try to negotiate an agreement to fight climate change.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. airstrike that killed 31 civilians at a hospital in Afghanistan last month resulted from preventable errors by soldiers and airmen who violated rules of engagement and have been removed from duty while awaiting further investigation, military officials said Wednesday.
Louis van Gaal's Manchester United squandered an opportunity to reach the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to PSV Eindhoven. On a night when Old Trafford marked 10 years since the death of United legend George Best, the hosts saw plenty of the ball but created few genuine chances, with Jesse Lingard hoisting their clearest opportunity over the bar mid-way through the second period. Coupled with Wolfsburg's 2-0 win at CSKA Moscow, the result -- United's first goalless home draw in the competition since September 2010 -- left Van Gaal's men needing to win their final Group B game at Wolfsburg on December 8 to be certain of a place in the knockout phase.
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Out-of-control wildfires have caused at least two deaths, 13 injuries and have destroyed at least 16 homes near the southern Australian city of Adelaide, officials said on Thursday.
Britain is pushing the United Nations to kick off the search for the next secretary-general in earnest, giving candidates until spring to enter the race to be the world's top diplomat. A draft letter circulated by Britain to the UN Security Council lays out a timetable and criteria for choosing the successor to Ban Ki-moon, who steps down at the end of 2016 after 10 years on the job. The move, however, is facing opposition from Russia, and to some extent China, which are resisting attempts to change the mostly secretive selection process for the top UN post, diplomats said.
MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) — Lars Stindl scored twice as Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated Sevilla 4-2 on Wednesday to eliminate the visiting side from the Champions League and boost its own chances of playing in the Europa League.
Russia's decision to deploy its most hi-tech air defense system to its base in Syria is raising "significant concerns" for the US military, a US official said Wednesday. Moscow says it is sending S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to Latakia in northwestern Syria, in a move that comes after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in the increasingly crowded air space along the border on Tuesday. The S-400 missiles have a range of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) -- meaning they could reach deep into Turkey or pose a potential threat to US-led coalition planes -- adding yet another dangerous element to an already volatile mix of competing military interests in Syria.
US Vice President Joe Biden called at a Western Balkans summit Wednesday for greater cooperation at European borders to deal with the flow of migrants and to fight terrorist threats. Biden's attendance at the meeting of presidents in Zagreb was seen as highlighting Washington's renewed interest in the fragile Western Balkans as the region deals with an unprecedented influx of refugees and other migrants. "It is clear there is a need to improve cross-border cooperation, information sharing and to deal with the flow of refugees while stepping up our ability to counter terrorist threats as well," Biden said afer the summit.
Fixing the migrant crisis requires rich nations to invest in rural areas and agriculture in the world's poorest countries, the UN said Wednesday. "There can be no sustainable solution to the migration crisis without a poverty eradication-oriented strategy to transforming rural economies" in least-developed countries (LDCs), the head of the UN's Conference on Trade and Development, Mukhisa Kituyi, said in a statement. The UNCTAD's annual report on the 48 economies categorised as LDCs detailed the extent of rural poverty afflicting many areas, including incomes languishing as low as $0.10 (0.09 euros) per day in parts of Africa.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated President-elect Mauricio Macri of Argentina on his election in a phone call on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement. "The President emphasized the longstanding partnership between the United States and Argentina and conveyed his commitment to deepen cooperation on multilateral issues, improve commercial ties, and expand opportunities in the energy sector," the statement said. (Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Stocks wobbled on Wednesday and finished little changed before the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The market was positive for most of the day, but its gains dissipated in the final minutes of trading.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The big Thanksgiving getaway went into full swing Wednesday with drivers delighted by the lowest November gas prices in years and many airline passengers undaunted by terrorism fears and long lines at security checkpoints.