AP International NewsBrief at 3:15 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Cambodia mourns as `king-father' Sihanouk crematedPHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Cambodia's capital Monday awaiting the cremation of former King Norodom Sihanouk, the revered "King-Father," who survived wars and the murderous Khmer Rouge regime to hold center stage in the southeast Asian nation for more than half a century. Cambodians from across the country flocked to Phnom Penh to pay their last respects as Sihanouk was given elaborate funeral rites _ mingling Hindu, Buddhist and animist traditions _ last seen 53 years ago with the death of Sihanouk's father, King Norodom Suramarit. And they may never be seen again in a rapidly modernizing country where monarchy has lost much of its power and glamor.
Israel suggests responsibility for Syria airstrikeMUNICH (AP) _ Israel's defense minister strongly signaled Sunday that his country was behind an airstrike in Syria last week, telling a high profile security conference that Israeli threats to take pre-emptive action against its enemies are not empty. "We mean it," Ehud Barak declared. Israel has not officially confirmed its planes attacked a site near Damascus, targeting ground-to-air missiles apparently heading for Lebanon, but its intentions have been beyond dispute. During the 22 months of civil war in Syria, Israeli leaders have repeatedly expressed concern that high-end weapons could fall into the hands of enemy Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militants.
Kerry makes calls abroad in first weekend on jobWASHINGTON (AP) _ New Secretary of State John Kerry reached out to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in phone calls this weekend, assuring them the Obama administration will continue to pursue a Mideast peace agreement while recognizing the individual concerns on both sides. Kerry told Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his and President Barack Obama's commitment to support Israel's security and to pursue a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu updated Kerry on his work to form a new government. They also discussed Iran and Syria, and pledged to work together closely.
Bolshoi ballet chief heads to Germany after attackMOSCOW (AP) _ The artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet says he will fly to Germany to continue treatment following an acid attack that caused severe burns to his face and eyes. An unidentified attacker threw sulphuric acid in Sergei Filin's face in Moscow on Jan. 17, as he was returning home from work.
Scientists to reveal result of Richard III huntLONDON (AP) _ Has Britain's lost king been found On Monday, scientists will announce the results of tests conducted to determine whether a battle-scarred skeleton found under a municipal parking lot in central England belongs to 15th-century King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in combat.
French tanker likely hijacked off Ivory CoastJOHANNESBURG (AP) _ Officials with a piracy watchdog say a French-owned oil tanker that's gone missing off Ivory Coast likely has been hijacked by pirates who have kidnapped the 17 sailors on board. Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau said Monday that the attack likely happened Sunday. He said the ship was flagged in Luxembourg, but declined to give any other details.
Textbook study faults Israelis and PalestiniansJERUSALEM (AP) _ A U.S.-funded study released Monday said both Israeli and Palestinian schoolbooks largely present one-sided narratives of the conflict between the two peoples and tend to ignore the existence of the other side, but rarely resort to demonization. The research by Israeli, Palestinian and American researchers, billed as setting a new standard for textbook analysis, tackled a particularly fraught issue _ longstanding Israeli claims that the Palestinians teach incitement and hatred of Israel in their schools.
Pakistan tries new way of tackling corruptionLAHORE, Pakistan (AP) _ Corruption is so pervasive in Pakistan that even Osama bin Laden had to pay a bribe to build his hideout in the northwest where he was killed by U.S. commandos. Ordinary Pakistanis complain they have to grease officials' palms to get even the most basic things done: File a police report when they have a traffic accident. Obtain copies of court documents. Get permission to see their relatives in the hospital.
Taliban peace talks flounder as troops draw downKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ The Afghan peace effort is floundering, fraught with mistrust and confusion among key players even though the hard-line Taliban militants show signs of softening and their reclusive, one-eyed leader made a surprise offer to share power in a post-war Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies hope the peace process, which began nearly two years ago, will gain traction before most international forces withdraw from the country in fewer than 23 months. But although the Taliban appear more ready to talk than ever before, peace talks remain elusive because of infighting among a rising number of interlocutors _ all trying to get some kind of negotiations started.
Iraq stock sale sign of investor confidenceBAGHDAD (AP) _ An Iraqi telecom company raised nearly $1.3 billion Sunday on Baghdad's small stock exchange in one of the region's biggest share offers in years _ a sign of investor confidence in the fledgling private sector despite violence that still plagues the country. In a reminder of Iraq's volatility, several suicide attackers on foot and in two explosives-laden cars assaulted a provincial police headquarters in northern Iraq, killing at least 15 people and wounding 90. Rescue workers led away dazed survivors, including veiled women climbing over debris, and pulled several mangled and scorched bodies from the rubble.
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