By Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian fast-attack craft that approached two U.S. ships, a Pentagon spokesman said on Thursday, in the most serious of a number of incidents in the Gulf area this week. "They did feel compelled ultimately to fire three warning shots and the reason for that is... they had taken steps already to try and de-escalate this situation," spokesman Peter Cook told reporters. Tensions have increased in the Gulf in recent days despite an improvement in relations between Iran and the United States.
By Steve Scherer and Gabriele Pileri PESCARA DEL TRONTO, Italy (Reuters) - Hopes of finding more survivors faded on Friday three days after a powerful earthquake hit central Italy, with the death toll rising to 267 and the rescue operation in some of the stricken areas called off. Sniffer dogs and emergency crews continued to scour piles of rubble in Amatrice, a picturesque town popular with tourists which was leveled by Wednesday's quake and where 207 bodies have been retrieved so far. Italy plans to hold a state funeral for around 40 of the victims on Saturday, which will be held in the nearby city of Ascoli Piceno.
By Nick Tattersall and Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL/KARKAMIS, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish forces will remain in Syria for as long as it takes to cleanse the border of Islamic State and other militants, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday, after a truck bombing by Kurdish insurgents killed at least 11 police officers. The suicide bombing at a police headquarters in a province bordering Syria and Iraq came two days after Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria, an operation meant to drive Islamic State out of the border area and stop Kurdish militias from seizing ground in their wake. Turkey, a NATO member and part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, has seen a series of deadly bombings this year blamed on the radical Islamists.
Israeli soldiers on Friday shot and killed an apparently unarmed Palestinian who ran toward their position in a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, and the incident was under review, a military spokeswoman said. A Palestinian official said the 38-year-old man suffered from mental illness, and several unsourced Israeli news websites reported that no weapons were found on his body. "(Israeli) forces identified a suspect running toward an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) post in Silwad," the military spokeswoman said.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday the European Union should start setting up a joint European army. Orban, a staunch critic of the EU's migration policies, said security should be a priority for Europe. "We should list the issue of security as a priority, and we should start setting up a common European army," Orban told a news conference after a meeting between Central European member states and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Warsaw.
By Lesley Wroughton and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov met in Geneva on Friday to try to hammer out final details of a cooperation agreement on fighting Islamist militants in Syria. The hope is that a deal on fighting jihadists in Syria will help lead to a cessation of hostilities between the army and its militia allies on one side and non-jihadist rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, as a step towards relaunching talks on a political transition to end the five-year Syrian conflict. The meeting between Lavrov and Kerry at a luxury hotel on Lake Geneva began shortly after 10 am (0800 GMT).
Colombia's president is moving quickly to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, delivering the final text of the deal to congress ...
BEIRUT (Reuters) - The evacuation by bus of residents and insurgents from the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya began on Friday, Reuters witnesses and Syrian state TV said, following one of the longest stand-offs in the country's five-year war. On Thursday, rebels and Syria's army agreed a deal to evacuate the town, which the army has surrounded and blocked food deliveries to since 2012. (Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Beirut, Firas Makdesi and Kinda Makieh in Damascus; editing by John Stonestreet)
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Striking miners in Bolivia armed with dynamite seized highways in a protest over mining laws and then kidnapped, possibly tortured and beat to death the county's deputy interior minister in a killing President Evo Morales characterized Friday as a "political conspiracy," officials say.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that Britain's decision to leave the European Union has exposed the need for better communication within the bloc that is facing security and economic challenges.
By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - The Philippines government and Maoist-led rebels agreed indefinite ceasefires on Friday as part of an accord to accelerate efforts to end a conflict that has lasted almost five decades and killed at least 40,000 people. The government expressed hopes that a peace agreement could be reached within a year after the Oslo talks, the first formal meeting for five years. Both sides, at a signing ceremony in a hotel on the outskirts of Oslo, hailed the ceasefire deal and measures to step up negotiations as a breakthrough after 30 years of fitful peace talks.
GENEVA (AP) — The United States and Russia on Friday renewed efforts to secure a military and humanitarian cooperation agreement for war-torn Syria after months of hesitation, missed deadlines and failed attempts to forge a truce.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Netherlands coach Danny Blind has left Manchester United winger Memphis Depay out of his squad for a friendly against Greece followed by its first World Cup qualifier against Sweden.
Major international seed companies formed an alliance on Friday to oppose a proposal by India that would force them to share their genetically modified crop technology with local players. Executives from the India businesses of Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont Pioneer and Syngenta, which have formed the alliance, said seed prices should be set by the market rather than by regulation. The show of solidarity comes after Monsanto, which pioneered the use of GM cotton in India, pulled an application for its next-generation product from the approvals process on concerns over the security of its intellectual property.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Kurdish militant suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden truck into a checkpoint near a police station in southeast Turkey on Friday, killing at least 11 police officers and wounding 78 other people, the prime minister said.
Philippine commandos killed 11 Islamist militants on a remote southern island on Friday, an army spokesman said, stepping up the offensive after President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his aim to "destroy" one of Asia's most notorious kidnap gangs. Major Filemon Tan said dozens of Abu Sayyaf rebels, a small but brutal group affiliated with Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, were also wounded in the 45-minute gun battle in the jungle of Jolo island. Seventeen commandos were wounded, Tan said, adding the soldiers clashed with about 100 Abu Sayyaf militants holding about 20 hostages, including eight Indonesians, five Malaysians, a Norwegian and a Dutch national.
Kuwaiti authorities have detained a state employee suspected of belonging to the Islamic State-linked "Cyber Caliphate Army", and hacking official websites of foreign countries to spread militant ideology, local media reported on Friday. The Arabic-language al-Watan and al-Qabas reported that the 26-year-old man identified as Othman Zebn Nayef was arrested after months of surveillance. Al-Qabas quoted the interior ministry's public information department as saying in a statement that Nayef confessed to being "a main member of the so-called Caliphate Cyber Army", believed to be the electronic arm of Islamic State.
Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay, though China's foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy. Three hotels with rooms costing about 150 yuan ($23) a night told Reuters that they had received police notices from as early as March telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. The notice appears only to apply to cheaper hotels at the bottom of the price scale.
Tunisia's premier-designate called for "sacrifices" on Friday as parliament convened to vote on a cabinet line-up he has proposed to tackle pressing economic and security challenges. It is likely that a majority of parliament's 217 members will vote in favour of the line-up, making Youssef Chahed, at 40, the country's youngest prime minister since it won independence from France in 1956. The prime minister-designate addressed the assembly on Friday morning ahead of the vote of confidence, which is not expected before 2000 GMT.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe police battled anti-government protesters Friday with batons, tear gas and water cannons, despite a court order that police should not to interfere with the demonstration in the capital Friday.
Israeli troops shot dead a suspected Palestinian assailant at the entrance to the West Bank village of Silwad on Friday, the army said. "Forces identified a suspect running towards an (army) post in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah," a spokeswoman said. Silwad, close to the Jewish settlement of Ofra, is under constant stakeout by the Israeli army seeking to prevent attacks on passing settler traffic.
By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - If Tunisia does not overcome its economic difficulties, an austerity program will be inevitable next year with thousands of public sector job cuts and new taxes, prime minister-designate Youssef Chahed told parliament on Friday. Chahed has promised his new government will take tough decisions to help growth in the economy and create jobs as the country comes under pressure from international lenders to push through reforms and trim public spending. Lawmakers were meeting on Friday to vote whether to approve Chahed's new government - a broad coalition of secular, Islamist and leftist parties, independents and trade union allies which he believes can deliver on economic reforms.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Warsaw's mayor said Friday she was firing three officials for what she described as lax oversight over town hall's decisions to return property seized by the communists into private hands.