All 75 Filipino troops serving as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights are now safe after the last batch slipped away under cover of night from besieging Syrian rebels, a military spokesman said Sunday. We left our (old) position but we brought all our arms," said Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala. An initial group of 35 Filipino troops were picked up from their position by UN armoured vehicles on Saturday after Syrian rebels attacked their comrades positioned about four kilometres (two-and-a-half miles) away, said Zagala. UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the attack on UN peacekeepers, by non-state actors he said included the Al-Nusra Front, Ban's spokesperson said.
The United States has launched a social media offensive against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, setting out to win the war of ideas by ridiculing the militants with a mixture of blunt language and sarcasm. Diplomats and experts are the first to admit that the digital blitz being waged on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will never be a panacea to combat the jihadists. For the past 18 months, US officials have targeted dozens of social network accounts linked to Islamic radicals, posting comments, photos and videos and often engaging in tit-for-tat exchanges with those which challenge America. At the US State Department, employees at the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), created in 2011, manage an Arabic-language Twitter account set up in 2012 (https://twitter.com/DSDOTAR), an English-language equivalent (https://twitter.com/ThinkAgain_DOS) and a Facebook page, launched this week, (https://www.facebook.com/ThinkAgainTurnAway).
Australia's Jason Day fired a three-under par 68 to match American Ryan Palmer for the lead after the second round of the US PGA Deutsche Bank Championship. Day and Palmer, who fired a par 71, stood on eight-under par 134 after 36 holes Saturday with Americans Matt Kuchar and Billy Horschel on 135 and Americans Bill Haas, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Russell Henley and Keegan Bradley on 136. Only the 70 points leaders after this week's second event of the US tour's season-ending playoffs with advance to next week's BMW Championship in Denver, which will decide the 30 qualifiers for the Tour Championship in two weeks.
More than 1,000 protesters marched in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, peacefully reprising recent demonstrations over the shooting this month of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, US media reported. The New York Times wrote that some protesters called for more demonstrations on Monday, urging motorists to tie up traffic on the Labor Day national holiday. The August 9 killing of Michael Brown, 18, and the subsequent crackdown on demonstrators in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson revived a debate about race in the United States, and sparked condemnation of the militarization of the nation's police forces. Ferguson was hit with several days of at times violent protests and clashes in the wake of Brown's shooting by white police officer Darren Wilson.
Louis Van Gaal admitted Manchester United are playing well below the standards he demands after his spluttering side were held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley on Saturday. Van Gaal heads into the international break still waiting for the first victory of his United reign after two draws and a defeat in the Premier League, as well as a humiliating loss at third-tier Milton Keynes Dons in the League Cup.
By Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi army and Kurdish forces closed in on Islamic State fighters on Saturday in a push to break the Sunni militants' siege of the Shi'ite town of Amerli, army sources said. Two officers said Iraqi troops, militia and Kurdish peshmerga were advancing from four directions on the northern town, which has been surrounded by Islamic State forces for more than two months. In a separate incident on Saturday, a suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives killed at least 11 people in a town just south of Baghdad. Armed residents of Amerli have managed to fend off attacks by the Islamic State fighters, who regard its majority Shi'ite Turkman population as apostates.
European Union leaders on Sunday gave Russia a week to reverse course in Ukraine or face a new round of sanctions as Kiev warned it was on the brink of "full-scale war" with Moscow. Fears are growing that the confrontation on the EU's eastern borders could engulf the whole continent after Russia sent troops to back a new offensive by pro-Kremlin rebels in southeastern Ukraine. EU President Herman Van Rompuy said the 28 leaders meeting in Brussels agreed to take "further significant steps" if Moscow did not back down.