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War and unrest

Venezuela’s ex-spy chief promotes possible presidential bid

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A former spy chief under the late leader Hugo Chavez is emerging as a political player in turbulent Venezuela, mistrusted by the opposition and despised by the government as he travels the country in a possible bid for the presidency. Miguel Rodriguez Torres is a longshot …

Egypt IS leader vows to escalate attacks on Christians

CAIRO (AP) — The leader of the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has vowed to escalate attacks against Christians, urging Muslims to steer clear of Christian gatherings and western embassies as they are targets of their group’s militants. “Targeting the churches is part of our war on infidels,” the unidentified …

Rio de Janeiro on edge as police wage big anti-crime sweep

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Military police launched a major anti-crime operation in northern Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, arresting dozens of men and confiscating automatic rifles in a sweep that led gang members to burn public buses and left the city that hosted last year’s Olympics on edge. The …

Who speaks for Islam and reform? Debate heats up in Egypt

CAIRO (AP) — It was a startling collision of religion and politics. Egypt’s president proposed a new law that would prevent Muslim men from ending their marriages simply by saying “divorce” three times. The country’s top institution of Islamic clerics, Al-Azhar, bluntly rejected the idea, saying Islam gives men that …

Top official’s son calls out his dad as Venezuela quits OAS

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The son of Venezuela’s top human rights official is urging his father to prevent further bloodshed tied to anti-government street clashes as officials defy international criticism by withdrawing from the Organization of American States. Yibram Saab said in an online video that he attended an opposition …

Venezuela threatens to exit OAS as pressure on Maduro mounts

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is threatening to pull out of the Organization of American States as the socialist government’s response to political unrest that has been blamed for 27 deaths in recent weeks draws rebuke from the hemisphere’s major powers. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said on state TV late …

Venezuela officials say at least 12 people killed overnight

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — At least 12 people were killed overnight during looting and violence in Venezuela’s capital amid a spiraling political crisis, authorities said Friday. Most of the deaths took place in El Valle, a working class neighborhood near Caracas’ biggest military base where opposition leaders say a group …

Arrests highlight Pakistan’s struggle with extremism

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani authorities said Monday they have arrested 22 people involved in the lynching of a university student who was accused of blasphemy and detained a teenage woman who had been recruited by the Islamic State group for a foiled attack on a church. Word of the arrests …

Churches in southern Egypt will not celebrate Easter

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian churches, in the southern city of Minya, said on Tuesday that they will not hold Easter celebrations in mourning for 45 Coptic Christians killed this week in twin bombings of churches in two cities during Palm Sunday ceremonies. The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said that celebrations …

Whitehead’s ‘Underground Railroad’ wins fiction Pulitzer

NEW YORK (AP) — Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad,” his celebrated novel about an escaped slave that combined liberating imagination and brutal reality, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Monday’s announcement confirmed the book as the literary event of 2016, an Oprah Winfrey book club pick and critical favorite …

Maryland soldier fighting militants in Afghanistan dies

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Pentagon has identified the soldier who was killed over the weekend while conducting an operation against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. Military officials said in a news release Monday that 37-year-old Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar of Edgewood, Maryland, died Saturday of wounds sustained when his …