By Maher Nazeh and Saif Hameed CAMP TARIQ, Iraq (Reuters) - Islamic State militants fought back vigorously overnight and parried an onslaught by the Iraqi army on a southern district of the city of Falluja, the group's bastion near Baghdad, officers said on Tuesday. An aid official warned of a "human catastrophe" unfolding in the city, with residents unable to escape. Soldiers from the elite Rapid Response Team stopped their advance overnight about 500 meters (yards) from the al-Shuhada district, the southeastern part of city's main built-up area, an army commander and a police officer said.
China has been angered by what it views as provocative U.S. military patrols close to islands China controls in the South China Sea. "Beijing will pressure Washington over maritime issues during the upcoming Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as the United States' increasing military presence in the South China Sea is among China's major concerns," the official China Daily said, citing unidentified officials.
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 ballistic missile launch.
Saudi Arabia has intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired from Yemen and a Saudi-led military coalition said in a statement late on Monday it may be forced to reconsider a truce that has been place since April. Saudi Arabia, leading a coalition of Arab states, intervened in Yemen in March last year mainly with air strikes to try to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Houthis, backed by forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, had advanced on Hadi's temporary headquarters in the southern city of Aden, forcing him to flee the country.
By Ori Lewis JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held out the prospect on Monday of reviving a 2002 Arab peace initiative that offers Israel diplomatic recognition from Arab countries in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians. Netanyahu's comments were a formal response to a speech last week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who promised Israel warmer ties if it accepted efforts to resume peace talks. "The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said, echoing comments he made a year ago to Israeli reporters.
At least 23 people were killed in Russian air strikes overnight in the Syrian rebel-held 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.
Some 3,700 people have fled Falluja over the past week since the Iraqi army began its offensive on the city controlled by Islamic State, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday. "We have reports of casualties among people in the city center in Falluja due to heavy shelling, including 7 members of one family on the 28th of May. We also have several reports of people being used as human shields by ISIL (Islamic State)," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told a news briefing.
SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Zhong Guoyan sifted through piles of fish at a Wal-Mart in Shenzhen, one of China's largest cities. She studied the fins, to make sure they were bright red and firm. She peered at the eyeballs — were they bulging? "I like when the products are fresh, and the quality is good," she said. "When I come here, I have a look. If it's good, then I will buy it. If it's only cheap, I won't buy it." In American Wal-Marts, customers are not offered the opportunity to fondle their fish. But America is not China, as the world's biggest retailer has learned.
SUBANG AIR BASE, Malaysia (AP) — The bodies of 32 Australian service personnel and their dependents, many of them killed during the Vietnam War, were handed over by Malaysian soldiers to their Australian counterparts Tuesday. Australian officials say it's among the biggest single repatriations in the nation's history.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said on Tuesday that heavy air strikes reported to have been carried out by Russian jets on a hospital and a mosque in Syria's rebel-held city of Idlib had killed more than 60 civilians and injured around 200 people. In an e-mailed statement, the Turkish foreign ministry called on the international community to act swiftly against what it called the "indefensible" crimes of the Russian and Syrian administration. (Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall)
HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets rose Tuesday on better-than-expected Japanese economic data and a weaker yen while European shares drifted as investors came back from a long weekend in the U.S. and Britain.
CAIRO (AP) — In a story May 30 about the referral to trial of the head of Egypt's Journalists union and two of its board members, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the three did not post bail. A statement from the prosecution office states that they did
China aims to curb worsening soil pollution by 2020 and stabilize and improve soil quality by 2030, the cabinet said in an action plan published on Tuesday. The government will continue to eliminate outdated capacity in heavy metal sectors, the cabinet said in a statement on its website (www.gov.cn). Last year, the environment minister said 16.1 percent of China's soil exceeded state pollution limits, but treatment costs for heavy metal or chemical contamination are high, and China has struggled to attract private capital.
Germany's highest court Tuesday struck down a challenge by electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk against a hip-hop artist's two-second sample of their tune, in a dispute that erupted almost two decades ago. The constitutional court ruled that if the impact on the usage rights of the intellectual property owner is "negligible, then artistic freedom overrides the interest of the owner of the copyright". At the heart of the dispute is a short drum sequence looped repeatedly in the song "Nur mir" (Only Me) by Sabrina Setlur, also famous for her past relationship with German former tennis star Boris Becker.
Iraqi forces faced tough resistance from the Islamic State group Tuesday as they attempted to enter the centre of Fallujah, where there were mounting fears for thousands of trapped civilians. A day after announcing a push into the jihadist bastion, forces led by Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service had some way to go before retaking the city. After thrusting toward Fallujah from three directions on Monday, their biggest advance was from the south, where they pushed into the suburb of Naimiyah.
CAMP TARIQ, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi forces battling their way into Fallujah repelled a four-hour attack by the Islamic State group in the city's south on Tuesday, a day after first moving into the southern edges of the militant-held city with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.
Russian warplanes pounded an Al-Qaeda-held city in northwestern Syria overnight killing 23 civilians in the heaviest strikes in months, a monitoring group said on Tuesday. Dozens of civilians were also wounded in the raids on Idlib, a provincial capital held by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies since March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "The air strikes are the most intensive on Idlib since the beginning of the truce," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Ecstasy is becoming popular again in the European Union, with online sales and targeted marketing helping to drive the revival among a new generation of users, the EU drug agency said Tuesday.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen saw net profit fall 19 percent in the first three months of the year as it grappled with a costly scandal over cars it had equipped to cheat on diesel emissions tests.
LONDON (AP) — The Tennis Integrity Unit says no evidence of corruption was found after an investigation into a mixed doubles match at this year's Australian Open that had reportedly attracted suspicious betting patterns.
Civilians fleeing an Islamic State offensive in northwestern Syria have been prevented by Syrian Kurdish authorities from entering areas under their control in response to rebel shelling of a Kurdish-held area of Aleppo, the United Nations said. The civilians have been fleeing fighting between Syrian rebels and the Islamic State group that advanced into the opposition-held town of Marea at the weekend, a significant advance by the jihadists against Turkish-backed insurgents. The United Nations has expressed concern about an estimated 8,000 Syrians trapped by fighting in northern Aleppo.
Poland on Tuesday relaunched a procedure to extradite Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski to the United States to face sentencing over a 1977 case of statutory rape. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro announced he would appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn a previous decision that Polanski should not face extradition. A lawyer for the 82-year French-Polish director, Jerzy Stachowicz, told AFP that the minister's announcement did not come as a surprise.
SINGAPORE (AP) — Four Bangladeshi workers held on suspicion of planning attacks linked to the Islamic State group in their own country were convicted of financing terrorism by a court in Singapore on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — American ships and fighter jets maneuvering across the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan represent the "new normal" in U.S.-Pacific relations despite rising tensions with China and Moscow.
Gunmen in Afghanistan killed nine bus passengers and kidnapped 170 on Tuesday outside the northern city of Kunduz in an attack blamed on Taliban insurgents, a provincial official said. The attackers stopped three buses on a road and ordered the passengers out, shot dead nine of them and kidnapped the rest, said Massoum Hashemi, deputy police chief of Kunduz. "The Taliban have brutally killed nine civilians and taken about 20 with them," Hashemi said.
BANGKOK (AP) — A school in northern Thailand where 17 girls were killed in a dormitory fire last week has reopened, but only about a third of the students returned because some families remain concerned about safety, a volunteer at the school said Tuesday.