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- ECB tells governments: Don't wait to fix Europe's economy
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says governments that share the euro currency shouldn't wait for better times to push through reforms that would boost sluggish growth.
- Suspect in killings of wealthy DC family arrested
- US readies air patrols in search for Rohingya boat people
BANGKOK (AP) — Attention turned Friday to the seas off Southeast Asia's west coast as naval vessels from Myanmar and Malaysia searched for stranded boat people and the U.S. military prepared air patrols to step up its involvement.
- Insurgents in Syria seize hospital from army: monitor Insurgents on Friday seized a hospital from Syrian government forces who had been besieged there since late April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, compounding recent setbacks for President Bashar al-Assad. The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, one of the insurgent groups involved in the offensive, said government forces had fled the hospital outside the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. The Observatory said dozens of Syrian troops had managed to escape, and the insurgents were in complete control of the hospital.
- China stocks hit 7-year high, Europe muted ahead of Fed
HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese stocks hit a seven-year high as investors pinned their hopes on further economic stimulus while most other world markets were subdued Friday ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.
- Merkel says 'a whole lot left' to do on Greece bailout talks
RIGA, Latvia (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday added urgency to the talks between Athens and its international creditors, saying after a meeting with Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras that "very, very intensive work is still needed."
- Tuk-tuk taxi maker aims to make inroads in US
- China's mega-tours draw attention abroad, critique at home
BEIJING (AP) — All-expenses-paid trips to reward top salespeople aren't unusual, but direct marketing companies that are the Chinese versions of Amway, Avon and Herbalife are taking it to an extreme by sending thousands abroad on package tours.
- IS group seizes town in Iraq's Anbar province BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants have seized another town in Iraq's western Anbar province, less than a week after capturing the provincial capital, Ramadi, a tribal leader said Friday.
- AP PHOTOS: Fleeing Yemen war, thousands stuck in Djibouti
OBOCK, Djibouti (AP) — Fleeing the war at home, thousands of Yemenis have made it across the Gulf of Aden to find refuge in Djibouti, a sleepy Horn of Africa nation where the United Nations has set up a staging hub for aid for the conflict-torn Arab country.
- Australia in Europe's Song Contest? In a word, yes.
- UK public finances improve more than expected in boost for Osborne
Britain's public sector budget deficit narrowed more than expected in April, giving Chancellor George Osborne a boost as he renews his push to fix the country's public finances. The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, totalled 6.8 billion pounds in April, down nearly 27 percent from a year earlier and the lowest shortfall for that month since 2008. Economists taking part in a Reuters poll had forecast a shortfall of 8.1 billion pounds.
- 5 B.B. King children visit body a day before public viewing
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Five of B.B. King's adult children visited the blues great one last time in private at a Las Vegas funeral home that will host a public viewing Friday ahead of a Saturday memorial service.
- China says U.S. actions in South China Sea 'irresponsible, dangerous'
By Sui-Lee Wee BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a U.S. military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the U.S. P8-A Poseidon, the U.S. military's most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which had a team on board the U.S. aircraft. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, its claims overlapping with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
- Coal, medicine, trains top Tokyo's Asia infrastructure plan
TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's offer of $110 billion in fresh infrastructure financing for Asia is as much about Japan's agenda for selling its clean coal know-how and other technologies as it is about keeping up with China.
- Finding California oil spill's cause could take months
GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The operator of a broken oil pipeline that fouled a California shoreline says it could be weeks or even months before investigators are able to determine what caused the break and subsequent spill.
- Ireland votes in historic referendum on gay marriage
Ireland took to the polls on Friday to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. "This burden and pressure that's been on (gay couples), living in the shadows -- that can be removed on Friday by voting 'Yes'," Kenny said.
- Hundreds protest Wash. police wounding of 2 unarmed suspects
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state's capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.
- UK PM predicts 'ups and downs' in EU renegotiation bid
Prime Minister David Cameron predicted there would be "ups and downs" in Britain's bid to renegotiate its relationship with the European Union as he arrived at a summit in Riga Friday. "There will be lots of noise, lots of ups and downs along the way," he said, while voicing "determination" to secure EU reforms ahead of a referendum by the end of 2017 on a possible British exit. "It's in Britain's interest that this is a success," Cameron added on arrival at the summit between leaders of the EU and six former Soviet states.
- Al Shabaab attacks village in Kenya's Garissa
Al Shabaab militants attacked a village in the northeastern Kenyan county of Garissa, the ministry of interior said on Friday. The Somalia-based al Shabaab group, which has carried out frequent attacks in Kenya in recent years to try to force Nairobi to pull its troops out of Somalia, struck a university in the same area last month, killing 148 people. A ministry statement said the militants entered Yumbis village, 70 km (45 miles) north of Garissa town, but were driven back.
- 'David Cameron always difficult': Euro parliament head A senior EU official said he did not expect unusually tough talks on Friday with David Cameron, who has brought his demands for reform of the bloc to a summit in Riga -- because, he said, talking to the British prime minister was always difficult. "I don't expect a difficult debate with David Cameron today," Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat who is president of the European Parliament, told reporters. "Debates with David Cameron are always difficult, here or elsewhere." The remarks revealed a degree of impatience with Cameron's demands for change in the bloc before he puts continued British membership to a referendum by 2017.
- Sold! to the man with $12,400: a pair of Japanese melons
A single pair of premium melons fetched an eye-watering 1.5 million yen ($12,400) at an auction in Japan on Friday. The winning bid was placed by a local fruit wholesaler for the first Yubari melons to go under the hammer this year at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido, officials said. The figure -- enough to buy a brand new car in Japan -- is some way short of the record for the luxury fruit, which fetched 2.5 million yen last year.
- Amid celebrity show offs, $30 million raised at AIDS gala
CAP D'ANTIBES, France (AP) — Amid celebrity show offs, indiscreet liaisons, and the aggressive banging of a hammer — the French Riviera's annual, star-filled amfAR gala brought in its expected share of drama — with celebrity attendees including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marion Cotillard, Sienna Miller and Adrien Brody.
- Senate expected to act on NSA collection of phone records
WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of the bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency is now before the Senate, in what is increasingly looking like a game of legislative chicken.
- Obama's Senate allies hope to endorse his trade bill Friday
- Benghazi emails show Clinton's correspondence with adviser
WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal had been blocked from working for Hillary Rodham Clinton at the State Department by skeptical White House officials. But that didn't cut his direct line to Clinton on one of the most sensitive matters of her tenure at the agency.
- Obama to address anti-Semitism at Jewish congregation WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is addressing one of the largest Jewish congregations in Washington to highlight efforts to combat anti-Semitism, a problem he says has created an intimidating environment worldwide for Jewish families.
- Morocco looks set to ease but not scrap ban on abortion By Emma Batha CASABLANCA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day hundreds of Moroccan women and girls put their lives at risk by seeking backstreet abortions or trying to end unwanted pregnancies themselves with needles and poison. Others who give birth in secret discard their babies in rubbish bins or dump them in forests, says Professor Chafik Chraibi, a senior gynaecologist who has led efforts to get abortion legalised in the North African country. At least 600 girls and women in Morocco have illegal terminations every day, Chraibi says.
- Archives show Hillary Clinton OK'd tax breaks for nonprofits
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — As first lady in the final year of the Clinton administration, Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed a White House plan to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time the William J. Clinton Foundation was soliciting donations for her husband's presidential library, recently released Clinton-era documents show.
- Merkel says still 'a lot to do' for Greek debt deal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday there was still a lot of work needed to reach agreement with Greece on its debt bailout, as tortuous talks drag on amid fears Athens could run out of money. The government of Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is locked in talks to obtain fresh funding with international creditors who are demanding more tough austerity measures in return. Tsipras met Merkel and French President Francois Hollande late Thursday on the sidelines of the EU-Eastern Partnership summit in the Latvian capital Riga but their discussions produced no breakthrough.
- Iran aid ship reaches Djibouti waters, waits to enter port: activist By Jonathan Saul LONDON (Reuters) - An Iranian aid ship has reached the outskirts of Djibouti's port and is waiting for a permit to enter after Tehran agreed to an international inspection of the vessel with goods for Yemen, an activist on board said on Thursday. The Iran Shahed vessel, carrying 2,500 tonnes of food and medical supplies, was previously bound for the Yemeni port of Hodaida before Iran agreed on Wednesday to allow the international inspection. "We have arrived outside the port of Djibouti and are waiting for permission to enter," the activist, Christoph Horstel, told Reuters.
- Berlin art show pairs impressionist, expressionist paintings
BERLIN (AP) — Camille Pissarro's famous "Boulevard Montmartre at Night" shows a brightly illuminated avenue in Paris — the city lights turned into gentle dabs of oil paint. Next to the French impressionist's 1897 work is a painting by German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from 1912 depicting a Berlin street scene in flashy yellow, blue and black — the broad brush stokes clearly visible.
- Drought-ridden California faces decision on new water cuts
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers along the river delta at the heart of California agriculture expected to get an answer Friday on their surprise offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks as California responds to the worsening drought.
- Spain: Local election seen as test for new upstart parties
MADRID (AP) — Spain could be set for a political upheaval in key local elections this weekend, with strong signs that voters fed up with economic crisis and corruption scandals may punish both the ruling conservative Popular Party and the leading opposition Socialists.
- Cameron determined to give Britons 'proper choice' on reformed EU
British Prime Minister David Cameron predicted "ups and downs" on Friday in European Union reform negotiations but said he was determined to give Britons a proper choice on a reformed EU in a referendum he has promised before the end of 2017. "There will be ups and downs. You'll hear one day this is possible, the next day something else is impossible," Cameron told reporters as he arrived for an EU summit with six ex-Soviet states where he hopes to have initial contacts on his drive to reform the 28-nation bloc.
- Uganda rules out sending troops to Burundi-Prime Minister
By Daniel Bases NEW YORK (Reuters) - Uganda, which has sent its troops to address regional instability in South Sudan and Somalia, is not considering putting any of its soldiers on the ground in Burundi where political unrest spurred an attempted coup on May 13. "There are not plans for military intervention in Burundi," Ruhakana Rugunda, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to run for a third term has triggered street protests.
- Civilians killed amid clashes near Mali flashpoint town At least six civilians, including one aid worker, were killed in northern Mali on Thursday amid clashes between separatist rebels and pro-government militia, rebels and a local source said. The killings will further escalate tensions linked to fighting over the nearby flashpoint town of Menaka, the scene of repeated violations of a ceasefire agreement. Mali's government and allied militia have signed up to a peace deal but separatist rebels say more talks are needed, delaying international efforts to restore order to a zone awash with separatist and Islamist gunmen.
- Ducks bounce back after tough OT loss for 2-1 series lead
- World Bank: Gaza economy on 'verge of collapse' JERUSALEM (AP) — Gaza's economy is on the "verge of collapse," a new World Bank report warned Friday, saying the unemployment rate there is now the highest in the world and calling on Israel and international donors to remedy the situation.
- Appeals court frees 'nut rage' Korean Air heiress
The former Korean Air executive jailed for disrupting a flight in a rage over macadamia nuts walked free Friday when a South Korean appeals court overturned her conviction for violating aviation safety laws. The High Court in Seoul ruled that Cho Hyun-Ah, who had been in jail since her arrest in December, was not guilty of the most serious charge of altering an aircraft's route while in flight. "The accused had no intention of hampering the safe operation of the plane," High Court judge Kim Sang-Hwan said, handing down a reduced sentence of 10 months, suspended for two years.