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Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

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This April 18, 2013 file photo shows an aerial view of the remains of a fertilizer plant and an apartment complex to the left, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at high risk for a terror attack, numbering in the thousands, and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists, congressional investigators say.


Spanish, Catalonia leaders meet on secession push

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In this Monday, June 2, 2014 photo, demonstrators wave a pro-independence "estelada" flag during a protest calling for the independence and the implementation of the republic in Catalonia after the announcement of the abdication of Spain's King Juan Carlos in Barcelona, Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the leader of the economically powerful Catalonia region are scheduled to hold a crucial face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in what could be a last chance for the two men to resolve a bitter dispute over the region’s plans to hold a secession referendum in November. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the leader of the economically powerful Catalonia region are holding a crucial face-to-face meeting Wednesday in what could be a last chance to resolve a bitter dispute over the region's plans to hold a secession referendum in November.


Three killed in car bomb in Cairo: Egyptian state-run television

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Three people were killed in a car bomb blast in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt's state-run Nile Television said on Wednesday. Another state news outlet, Al-Ahram, quoted a police officer who said those killed were inside the car and were likely to have been on their way to carry out a "terrorist operation".

Russia's VTB slides on Western sanctions, market rises as impact priced in

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Shares in Russia's second-largest bank VTB slid over 3 percent at the start of trading on Wednesday, but the broader stock market rose as investors had priced in the impact of a new wave of Western sanctions. Brussels and Washington announced new punitive measures on Tuesday, targeting Russia's energy, banking and defence sectors over what they say is Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury imposed targeted sanctions on Russian banks including VTB, VTB subsidiary Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agricultural Bank. VTB recouped some of its early losses to trade 1.55 percent lower at 0635 GMT, sharply underperforming the broader rouble-denominated MICEX index, which rose 1 percent.

Japan practices amphibious landing in Hawaii

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Japanese soldiers on a reconnaissance team come ashore at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii during amphibious landing practice on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. The amphibious landing exercises, which are relatively new to Japan’s military, come as Tokyo tries to boost its ability to defend small islands it controls but China claims as its own. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — Japan has been practicing storming beaches with the U.S. and other countries in Hawaii this month. The amphibious landing exercises, which are relatively new to Japan's military, come as Tokyo tries to boost its ability to defend small islands it controls but China claims as its own.


Libyan militants overrun Benghazi special forces base as chaos deepens

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By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people. A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city. "We have withdrawn from the army base after heavy shelling," Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi told Reuters. A separate special forces spokesman confirmed the militants had taken over the camp after the troops pulled out.

Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus

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By Umaru Fofana and Adam Bailes FREETOWN (Reuters) - The doctor leading Sierra Leone's fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country's chief medical officer said. The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows the deaths of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease's spread across West Africa. Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

Three of four Ethiopian athletes missing after U.S. track meet located

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Three Ethiopian athletes who came to the United States for a track meet in Oregon and then failed to fly home with their teammates have been located and are safe after disappearing in a possible asylum bid, local officials said on Tuesday. The four athletes were reported missing on Saturday from University of Oregon in Eugene, where they were competing in the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships. Police launched a missing persons investigation, and three of the athletes were found staying with acquaintances on Monday in Beaverton, about 106 miles (170 km) away, said University of Oregon spokeswoman Julie Brown. The rest of the Ethiopian team left Eugene on Monday en route to their home country, McIver said.

Obama administration kicks off bid to renew Africa trade program

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U.S. President Obama speaks about new sanctions imposed on Russia as he departs White House in WashingtonBy Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday pushed for Congress to renew a 14-year-old trade program giving African countries duty-free access to U.S. markets, warning that allowing the program to expire would disrupt trade flows between the two regions. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the African Growth Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which expires on Sept. 30 next year had both benefited African countries and supported 120,000 U.S. jobs. Froman's remarks came just days before the White House is set to host 50 African leaders at a three-day U.S.-Africa summit aimed at strengthening relations. AGOA, which is at the heart of U.S.-Africa trade ties, will be a key issue.


UCLA wades through damages from pipe flooding

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In this photo taken from video provided by nbc4la.com, water reaches into the air after a water main burst on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles near UCLA Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/nbc4la.com) MANDATORY CREDITLOS ANGELES (AP) — The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the school's storied basketball court less than two years after a major renovation.


At least 24 reported killed in Guinea beach concert stampede

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At least 24 people were killed in a stampede at a beachside concert celebrating the end of Ramadan in Guinea's capital, news agency AFP said, with Guinea's Presidency declaring a week of mourning after what it described as a "tragic drama". A statement from the Presidency said the incident occurred at a beach in the Ratoma neighbourhood of the capital, Conakry. The stampede, which occurred during celebrations to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in mainly Muslim Guinea, comes at a time when health workers are already stretched by an outbreak of Ebola.

West seeks to inflict more economic pain on Russia

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President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON (AP) — Citing Russia's stalled growth rate and a flow of foreign capital out of Moscow, U.S. and European officials hope a new round of sanctions targeting energy and defense entities, as well as major banks, will deepen Russia's economic pain even further and force President Vladimir Putin to end provocations in Ukraine.


Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids

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In this June, 2014 image from video provided by the FBI, authorities raid a hotel in Jackson, Mississippi. When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled kids as young as 11 from dingy motel rooms, truck stops and homes. (AP Photo/FBI)WASHINGTON (AP) — When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled minors as young as 11 from hotel rooms, truck stops and homes.


AP ANALYSIS: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

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Israeli soldiers give the victory sign on the top of armored vehicle near the Israel Gaza border, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip's only power plant. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The savage fighting between Israel and Hamas is escalating in Gaza, cease-fire efforts take on elements of farce, and bravado rules the public discourse. But even through the fog of war, a few endgame scenarios can nonetheless be glimpsed.


Poll: Americans cool to border-crossing children

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FILE - In this June 18, 2014, file photo, detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas. For nearly two months, images of immigrant children who have crossed the border without a parent, only to wind up in concrete holding cells once in United States, have tugged at heartstrings. Yet most Americans now say U.S. law should be changed so they can be sent home quickly, without a deportation hearing. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds two-thirds of Americans now say illegal immigration is a serious problem for the country, up 14 points since May and on par with concern about the issue in May 2010, when Arizona's passage of a strict anti-immigration measure brought the issue to national prominence. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)SAN DIEGO (AP) — Americans are wary of granting refugee status to children crossing the U.S. border to flee strife-torn countries in Central America, and most in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to accept asylum seekers generally.


US sues Pennsylvania over police fitness tests

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania State Police, one of the nation's largest forces, is faced with ending the physical fitness tests it gives to applicants for state trooper positions or defending in court a practice that the federal government says illegally discriminates against women.

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