KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's president said Wednesday he will not pursue peace talks with the Taliban unless the United States steps out of the negotiations, while also insisting the militant group stop its violent attacks on the ground after it claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed four Americans. Hamid Karzai's strong response and the Taliban attack deflated hopes for long-stalled talks aimed at ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan, just a day after the United States and the Taliban said they would begin initial meetings in Qatar.
BERLIN (AP) - Trying to tamp down concerns about government over-reach, President Barack Obama on Wednesday defended U.S. Internet and phone surveillance programs as narrowly targeted efforts that have saved lives and thwarted at least 50 terror threats. "This is not a situation in which we are rifling through ordinary emails" of huge numbers of citizens in the United States or elsewhere, the president declared during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He called it as a "circumscribed, narrow" surveillance program.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Worry and speculation have consumed investors since Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke to Congress last month about the Federal Reserve's drive to keep long-term interest rates at record lows. On Wednesday, many hope the Fed will settle the confusion.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A spokeswoman for a South African defense company is confirming that two South Africans died in a militant attack on the U.N. compound in Mogadishu. Vuyelwa Qinga, a spokeswoman for Denel, a manufacturer of defense equipment, said Wednesday that two South Africans contracted from the company Denel Mechem who were doing demining work for the U.N. died in the attack.
SAO PAULO (AP) - Tens of thousands of Brazilians again flooded the streets of the country's biggest city to raise a collective cry against a longstanding lament - people are weighed down by high taxes and high prices but get low-quality public services and a system of government infected with corruption. That was the repeated message Tuesday night in Sao Paulo, where upward of 50,000 people massed in front of the city's main cathedral. While mostly peaceful, the demonstration followed the rhythm of protests that drew 240,000 people across Brazil the previous night, with small bands of radicals splitting off to fight with police and break into stores.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Supporters of a far-reaching immigration bill in the Senate see fresh momentum from a report by the Congressional Budget Office that says the measure would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits by billions of dollars. Congress' nonpartisan scorekeeping agency said Tuesday that the immigration bill would decrease federal red ink by $197 billion over a decade and $700 billion in the following 10 years as increased taxes paid to the government offset the cost of benefits for newly legal residents.
BERLIN (AP) - Issuing an appeal for a new citizen activism in the free world, President Barack Obama renewed his call Wednesday to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles and to confront climate change, a danger he called "the global threat of our time." In a wide-ranging speech that enumerates a litany of challenges facing the world, Obama said he wanted to reignite the spirit that Berlin displayed when it fought to reunite itself during the Cold War.
The image was stark: a silent, solitary figure standing in passive defiance to the Turkish prime minister's demand for protesters to clear Taksim Square in central Istanbul. The challenge by performance artist Erdem Gunduz is catching on with other protesters in Turkey, encouraged by social media into imitating his gesture across the country.
The zoo in Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city, is home to a unique animal - the liliger. That's a big cat breed where the father is a lion and the mother is a lion-tiger hybrid, called a liger. The first liliger was born in the zoo last year and now there's a second litter of three, all of them females.
MIAMI (AP) - When LeBron James' greatness almost wasn't good enough, officials began preparing for a San Antonio celebration. Miami's championship reign would be over. Someone in Spurs black would replace James as NBA Finals MVP.