By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a global gag rule that bans U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion, a move that was widely expected but nonetheless dismayed women's rights advocates. The rule, which affects American non-governmental organizations working abroad, is one that incoming presidents have used to signal their positions on abortion rights. It was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Russian jets pounded Islamic State in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor on Monday, seeking to thwart a full-blown assault by the militants against the last district in the region still held by the Damascus government. Six TU-22 strategic bombers carried out air strikes against Islamic State targets near the city of Deir al-Zor, Russia's defense ministry said in a statement. The long-range bombers took off from Russian territory, it said, a rare occurrence as Russia usually launches bombing runs from its air base in the Syrian province of Latakia.
By Denis Dyomkin and John Irish ASTANA (Reuters) - Syria's warring sides met for their first talks in nine months on Monday, with their Russian and Turkish backers pushing to cement a ceasefire that could pave the way for political talks. The meeting in the Kazakh capital comes at a time when Turkey, which backs the rebels, and Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, each want to disentangle themselves from the fighting. "We understand that militarily they have achieved what they wanted in Syria.
GDANSK, Poland (AP) — It was supposed to be the first museum in the world to tell the story of World War II in its entirety by focusing on all the nations caught up in that global conflict. But it has fallen foul of changing political priorities in its Polish home, and as it opened its doors for the first time Monday, it's facing an uncertain future.
Gambian President Adama Barrow has chosen a former minister of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh as vice-president, a spokesman said Monday. Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang is often described as the woman who persuaded The Gambia's divided opposition parties to club together and field a single candidate in the December 1 election which Barrow eventually won. A former health minister in the early years of ex-leader Jammeh's 22-year rule, Jallow-Tambajang was specifically chosen to correct the gender balance in Barrow's administration, spokesman Halifa Sallah told journalists in announcing her appointment.
BANJUL, Gambia (AP) — Gambia's new vice president will be a female leader of the opposition coalition that helped bring new President Adama Barrow to power, a presidential spokesman announced Monday, as regional troops continued security sweeps to prepare for Barrow's return to the country he now rules.
By David Ljunggren CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada is not the main target of U.S. President Donald Trump's push to renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord and is unlikely to be hit hard by any changes to the deal, the head of a business advisory council to Trump said on Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are holding a two-day retreat in Calgary, Alberta to discuss U.S. ties. Trump wants major changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has enabled Canada to send 75 percent of its exports to its southern neighbor.
By Tracy Rucinski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Indiana and several environmental groups are objecting to a plan by Peabody Energy Corp to exit its $8 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing concerns over how the company will cover about $1 billion in future mine cleanup costs. Most creditors support the plan by the world's largest private-sector coal company to cut $5 billion of debt, but it faced official objections in court filings on Friday. Indiana and the environmental groups objected to Peabody's failure to disclose how it will finance the future cleanup of contaminated mines, an issue that has attracted attention in several recent coal bankruptcies because of a federal program called "self-bonding." For decades, self-bonding has exempted large coal companies like Peabody from setting aside cash or collateral to ensure that mined land would be returned to its natural setting, as required by law.
Vast woodland fires in the center and south of Chile have caused "the biggest forestry disaster in our history," President Michelle Bachelet said Monday, canceling a trip abroad to supervise the emergency. A total of 130 square kilometers (500 square miles) have been charred, mainly in sparsely populated rural areas, according to the National Emergency Office. Bachelet scrapped a trip to the Dominican Republic for a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in order to oversee the official response.
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian state television aired footage on Monday of an Italian student taken weeks before he was abducted and tortured to death, the first images of him involving the case to be made public.
Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday vowed "no confrontation but no submission" to the United States in renegotiating the two countries' relations under new US President Donald Trump.
Hungarian strongman premier Viktor Orban on Monday hailed US President Donald Trump's "America First" pledge, saying it was a "gift" to other nations who could now follow suit. "This is a great thing: a great freedom and a great gift," the eurosceptic head of government added in a speech in Budapest. Orban, one of the few national leaders to openly support Trump's White House campaign, said the billionnaire's aggressively nationalist vow signalled a welcome return to a "bilateral" era, notably in economic and military matters.
Syrian rebels vowed Monday to keep fighting if peace negotiations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad fail, as the first day of talks in the Kazakh capital Astana ended with no apparent breakthrough. Monday's meetings, organised by key players Russia, Turkey and Iran, could have marked the first time armed rebel groups negotiate directly with the Assad regime since the conflict erupted in 2011.
The head of Britain's communications spying agency announced he was resigning on Monday, after just over two years in the post, for personal reasons. Robert Hannigan, the head of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), informed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of his decision. Hannigan was director general of defence and intelligence at the Foreign Office before taking over at GCHQ.
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) will discipline one of its state leaders for criticizing Berlin's Holocaust Memorial but will not expel him over the episode, the party's co-leader said on Monday. Bjoern Hoecke, AfD head in the eastern state of Thuringia, stirred anger across Germany with a comment about the memorial when he told party members in a speech in Dresden last week: "Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital." AfD co-leader Frauke Petry told broadcaster MDR on Monday that its executive committee had concluded Hoecke's statements, which were cheered by some far-right supporters in the party, had harmed the AfD's reputation.
HELSINKI (AP) — As talks between the Syrian government and rebel factions continue in Kazakhstan, Nordic and United Nations aid groups are meeting in Finland to discuss the plight of civilians in the war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country's population.
The fedora, the bomber jacket and the consuming quest invite comparisons to Indiana Jones. Blaine Gibson, though, hasn't matched the film hero's triumph in finding the legendary chest containing the stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. Not that he didn't try. "The Ark of the Covenant, I did not find it. However, I do believe that it's in Ethiopia somewhere," Gibson told AP recently. The amateur sleuth has had far greater success finding clues from a modern mystery: the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. He is the first person searching for the plane who's actually found any trace of it and says he won't quit gathering clues until...