Mandela makes ‘dramatic’ progress, says daughter

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans are preparing to celebrate the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela on Thursday, even as the former president remains critically ill in a hospital. The Nelson Mandela Center of Memory and other groups have…

Japan PM renews claim to disputed islands

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renewed his claims on disputed East China Sea islands as he visited nearby islands. He urged border security officials to boost their guard against China’s increased activity in the region.…

Spanish police arrest Briton in drugs ring bust

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police say they have arrested one of the most-investigated criminals in Europe and six others as part of anti-drug operation. Six more people were arrested in Venezuela. A police statement said British citizen Brian…

Court hears how 32 died in Italy shipwreck

ROME (AP) — The captain who is the only defendant on trial for the 2012 shipwreck of the cruise liner Costa Concordia off the Italian coast is trying anew for a plea bargain deal. Francesco Schettino’s trial resumed…

Kerry wins Arab backing on Mideast peace effort

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed senior Arab officials Wednesday on his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and on American views of the crises and Syria and Egypt. On his sixth trip…

Barclays pledges to fight US energy fine

LONDON (AP) — Barclays, one of Britain’s largest banks, is vowing to defend itself against U.S. allegations that it manipulated the electricity prices in California and other western states to make money. Regulators ordered Barclays and four of…

Hollywood director: China unlikely to affect plots

BEIJING (AP) — Although Hollywood may be benefiting by adding Chinese elements to its films, it won’t be making wholesale changes to the way it tells stories on the screen just to cater to China’s massive audience, a…

Bangladesh opposition leader gets death penalty

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A special tribunal sentenced a senior leader of an Islamic party to death on Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping and killing of people involving Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971. The…

12 inmates flee in 2nd Indonesia jailbreak in days

BATAM, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police launched an intense manhunt to recapture more than 100 prisoners after a group of inmates fled detention in Batam island — the second jailbreak in Indonesia in less than a week. The…

BC-WEA–Global Weather-Fahrenheit, WEA

NEW YORK (AP) — Minimum and maximum temperatures in Fahrenheit, precipitation in inches and weather conditions as recorded for the previous day and forecast for the current and following day in each city as of 0700 GMT: ;MIN;MAX;COND;PRECIP;MIN;MAX;COND;MIN;MAX;COND…

China’s online population rises to 519 million

BEIJING (AP) — China’s population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20 percent rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices,…

Al-Qaida branch confirms its No. 2 killed in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida says a U.S. drone strike has killed a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who rose to become the group’s No. 2 figure. The announcement, posted on militant websites, gave no…

Packed boat capsizes near remote Australian island

SYDNEY (AP) — A boat carrying about 150 asylum seekers capsized in monstrous Indian Ocean waves, triggering a frantic rescue effort by Australian crews who saved nearly every passenger from the churning water, officials said Wednesday. Four people…

Cartel’s border city home tense following arrest

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (AP) — The capture of the homegrown boss of Mexico’s most feared drug cartel wasn’t discussed publicly by residents of this northern border city and not a word appeared in the local newspapers a day…

Ahead of draft, ultra-Orthodox soldiers under fire

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli soldier was walking home on a busy Jerusalem street when suddenly a car stopped next to him, and men inside spat upon him and hurled insults, trash and water bottles. When the assailants…

Singapore wants maps to help clear Indonesian haze

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Singapore pressed Indonesia on Wednesday to share maps that could help make plantation companies accountable for setting fires that cause smog in neighboring countries. Secrecy over the maps, which reveal where agriculture firms…