- Qaeda, allies seize Syria's Idlib city in blow to regime
Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its allies seized on Saturday the city of Idlib, only the second provincial capital to be lost by the regime in more than four years of war. More than 215,000 people have been killed since anti-government protests, which erupted in March 2011, were brutally repressed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime civil war followed. The coalition that seized Idlib city is made up of Al-Nusra Front, the official Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda, and several Islamist factions. "Al-Nusra Front and its allies have captured all of Idlib," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
- Saudis say tracking Yemen rebel groups headed to border
- Nigeria's voting extended as millions choose new president
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria has extended voting to Sunday after problems occurred as millions turned out Saturday to vote in a presidential election that analysts say is too close to call between President Goodluck Jonathan and former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.
- Technical problems, Boko Haram hit Nigerian general election
Problems with new technology on Saturday forced a 24-hour extension to the presidential election in Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, and renewed Boko Haram violence hit the knife-edge vote. President Goodluck Jonathan was the most high-profile victim of the glitches with handheld readers, which scan biometric identity cards to authenticate voters to help cut electoral fraud. The 57-year-old, who is seeking a second term of office, was forced to abandon his attempt to accredit for the ballot in his home town of Otuoke, Bayelsa state, after the device repeatedly failed. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accepted there had been "challenges" with the technology in "many" places that had forced polling officials to suspend the process.
- Signs of discord at Iran nuke talks as deadline looms
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program grew frantic on Saturday amid signs of discord, with the French and German foreign ministers joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in talks with Tehran's top diplomat ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a preliminary deal.
- Alps crash pilot told ex 'everyone will know my name'
The co-pilot who investigators believe crashed a passenger jet into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, worried "health problems" would dash his dreams and vowed one day to do something to "change the whole system", an ex-girlfriend told a German newspaper. She split up with him because it became "increasingly clear that he had problems", she said.
- Search continues for at least 2 after apparent NYC gas blast
NEW YORK (AP) — Emergency workers continued searching Saturday for at least two people still missing after an apparent gas line explosion leveled three Manhattan apartment buildings while investigators piece together what exactly caused the blast that injured 22.
- Roger Penske warns NASCAR team not to manipulate tires
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Roger Penske has warned his NASCAR team to stay out of any controversy regarding the possible manipulation of tires used during races.
- Hamilton dodges downpour to grab Malaysia pole
Peerless Lewis Hamilton waited out a torrential downpour before snatching pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix in a wet and wild qualifying session on Saturday. The Mercedes driver and reigning world champion set a fastest time of 1min 49.834sec, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, after rain halted qualifying for 35 minutes. The commanding drive from Hamilton, hit by mechanical problems this week, will fuel his charge towards a second race win after he dominated the season-opener in Australia. Vettel was the day's other big winner and he whooped and hollered to his team as he seized second place from Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the dying seconds.
- Rally slated over Indiana law some say allows discrimination
- Fernandez, Tuktamysheva take gold at worlds
European figure skating champion Javier Fernandez became the first Spanish man to win the world singles title Saturday, as Russian teenager Elizaveta Tuktamysheva clinched the women's gold in Shanghai. Fernandez, who has twice won the bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships, overcame last year's winner Yuzuru Hanyu in dramatic style to claim the biggest title of his career. "This is going to give me a lot of energy to practise hard and keep competing and try my best," added Fernandez, who won the last three European crowns and finished fourth at last year's Sochi Winter Games. The Japanese pin-up was returning to competition for the first time since comfortably defending his Grand Prix Final title in Barcelona in mid-December.
- Fore! Obama in Florida for weekend golf getaway
- US medal drought continues at figure skating worlds
- Kenya president suspends 4 ministers for alleged corruption
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's president has suspended four cabinet secretaries and 17 other senior officials to facilitate investigations into allegations of corruption.
- Decorated Boston cop in coma after being shot in face
BOSTON (AP) — A decorated officer remained in a medically induced coma Saturday, a night after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop that ended when other officers fatally shot his attacker, Boston's police commissioner said.
- Things to know about Nigeria, as country votes for president
- UN staff flee Yemen as Hadi urges decisive air war
UN staff were evacuated from Yemen's capital Saturday after a third night of Saudi-led air strikes, as President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi urged his Arab allies to bomb Iranian-backed rebels into submission. A Sunni Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies, is battling to avoid having a pro-Iran regime on its doorstep, as Shiite Huthi rebels tighten the noose around Hadi's southern stronghold Aden. "I call for this operation to continue until this gang surrenders and withdraws from all locations it has occupied in every province," Hadi told an Arab League summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. "I say to Iran's puppet and whoever is with him, you are the one who destroyed Yemen with your political immaturity," Hadi said.
- Migrants' newest route to Europe means an epic Balkans trek
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East take many routes to cross illegally into the European Union, and all are fraught with likely disappointment and occasional danger. The newest path, through the EU's Balkans back door, comes with a cruel twist: an epic 250-kilometer (150-mile) walk that is surging in popularity even though most who try it fail.
- Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers.
- In NYC, an unusual task force fights home-as-hotel rentals
- Colorado town microcosm of art urban development movement
LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) — A national movement that counts on painters, dancers and musicians to help revitalize downtowns is coming to this Colorado city as the first residents prepare to move into new low-income apartments built for artists and their families.
- Wiggly words on immigration policy from 2016 GOP contenders
- Guinea deploys police as Sierra Leoneans flee Ebola lockdown
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Guinea has deployed security forces to the country's southwest in response to reports that Sierra Leoneans are crossing the border to flee an Ebola lockdown intended to stamp out the deadly disease, an official said Saturday.
- Colleges getting out of health insurance business
- Iran talks go into top gear in battle of wills
Tortuous negotiations aimed at laying to rest fears that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons shifted into top gear Saturday with each side demanding the other give ground ahead of a looming deadline. "We're at that point in the negotiations where we really need to see decisions being made," a senior US State Department official said late Friday at the talks in Switzerland. The other side needs to choose between pressure and a political accord," countered Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. France's top diplomat Laurent Fabius, the most hawkish in the P5+1 group of countries negotiating with Iran since late 2013, was the first European minister to fly in for the crucial talks saying he wanted to reach a "robust deal".
- Albania gets 266-million-euro loan from World Bank
TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The World Bank has lent 266 million euros ($289.6 million) to Albania for its public finances and investment in road maintenance.
- Crash co-pilot's personality 'serious lead' but not only one: French investigator
"We have a certain number of elements which allow us to make progress on this lead, which is a serious lead but which can't be the only one," police chief Jean-Pierre Michel told AFP in the western German city of Duesseldorf. The investigation so far has not turned up a "particular element" in the life of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz which could explain his alleged action in the ill-fated Airbus plane, he added.
- UK prime minister rallies party before 'knife edge' election
- German pilot visited glider field near crash site as a child
SISTERON, France (AP) — The German co-pilot accused of crashing a passenger plane in the French Alps frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents, according to a member of the club.
- Lights out as Earth Hour kicks off
Hong Kong's iconic skyline dimmed and the sails on Sydney's Opera House went dark Saturday, as lights on landmarks across Asia were switched off for the global climate change awareness campaign Earth Hour. Millions are expected to take part around the world in the annual event organised by conservation group WWF, with hundreds of well-known sights including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Seattle Space Needle set to plunge into darkness. "It's almost like the thing vanished," said Tony Jennings from Earth Hour after standing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the lights went off at 8:30pm (0930 GMT).