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Unprecedented migrant crisis forces EU to seek answers

Migrants walk along a road after crossing into Hungary from the border with Serbia near Roszke, HungaryBy Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union ministers were summoned on Sunday to meet in two weeks' time to seek urgent solutions to a migration crisis unprecedented in the bloc's history, as the mounting death toll on land and sea forced governments to respond. Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called interior ministers from all 28 member states to an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 14, saying: "The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions." Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier called on her EU neighbours to do more as Germany expects the number of asylum seekers it receives to quadruple to about 800,000 in 2015. "If Europe has solidarity and we have also shown solidarity towards others, then we need to show solidarity now," she told reporters in Berlin.

Guardsman killed in protests as Ukraine MPs back more autonomy for rebel regions

Demonstrators, who are against a constitutional amendment on decentralization, clash with police outside the parliament building in KievBy Richard Balmforth and Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - A national guardsman was killed and nearly 90 others protecting Ukraine's parliament were wounded by grenades hurled by protesters on Monday, the Interior Ministry said, as deputies backed reforms to give more autonomy to rebel-held areas. The violence, which Interior Minister Arsen Avakov blamed on the main nationalist party, and division in the pro-Western camp in parliament suggested President Petro Poroshenko faces an uphill battle to push through key parts of a faltering peace agreement reached in February for eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko's spokesman said the president would address the nation later on Monday following the clashes outside parliament, where deputies loyal to him managed to push through a first reading of a "decentralization" draft law - but only in the face of strong criticism from some of his political allies.

Thai police hunt two bombing suspects after weekend raids

By Aukkarapon Niyomyat and Panarat Thepgumpanat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Police probing Thailand's deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects after a second weekend raid on a suburban apartment block uncovered possible bomb-making materials. Police were looking for a 26-year-old Thai woman and a foreign man in his 40s after expanding their search to a property in the city's Min Buri district.

China to open high-speed rail link to North Korean border

China will open a high-speed rail line to the North Korean border on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua said, the latest effort to boost economic ties despite tension between the countries. The line, under construction since 2010, will run 207 km (127 miles) from Shenyang to the border city of Dandong, which faces North Korea across the Yalu River, and will shorten the train journey from 3 1/2 hours to just over one hour, Xinhua said. The new link will "raise the region's economic competitiveness", the report cited an unnamed railway official saying.

Myanmar's president signs off on law seen as targeting Muslims

Myanmar's President Thein Sein speaks at the Mekong-Five Economic Forum hosted by JETRO in TokyoMyanmar, which will hold its first democratic national poll in more than two decades on Nov. 8, has seen a flowering of anti-Muslim hate speech since the military gave up full power and opened up politics and the economy in 2011. President Thein Sein signed the Monogamy Bill after it was passed by parliament on August 21, Zaw Htay, a senior official at the president's office, told Reuters. The president also signed two other laws, which restrict religious conversion and interfaith marriage, on August 26, Zaw Htay said.

Taliban say keeping leader's death secret was a military decision

Key Taliban members decided to keep the death of their leader a secret for more than two years because the war in Afghanistan was entering a critical phase and most foreign troops were preparing to withdraw at the time, the group said on Monday. News of Mullah Omar's death leaked last month amid confusion over where and when the one-eyed militant leader died, but on Monday the Taliban for the first time revealed April 23, 2013 as the date of his death. The announcement came in a document of nearly 5,000 words published on the Taliban's official website as an "introduction" to his successor, Mullah Mansour, a longtime deputy of the dead leader.

Court bid to bar Springboks from World Cup over white player numbers

The Agency for a New Agenda lodged an application to block the Spingboks from flying to England next month, a few hours before coach Heyneke Meyer (pictured, R) named a record nine black players in his World Cup squadA virtually unknown South African political party has made an urgent court bid to try and block the Springboks from flying to England next month for the Rugby World Cup, arguing the squad has too many white players. The Agency for a New Agenda (ANA), which says it broke away from the ruling ANC party in 2013, lodged the application last Friday a few hours before coach Heyneke Meyer named a record nine black players in the 31-man World Cup squad. The team was "built on racially-exclusionary and racially-biased criteria", which was unconstitutional, said party leader Edward Mokhoanatse.

A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

Record numbers of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea are trying to reach Europe this year, despite the risks of perilous sea crossings and little humanitarian assistance. Here are the latest developments Monday:

Germany open to new 4-way Ukraine summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel grimaces during her annual summer news conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she's open to holding a new summit with the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and France but that there would have to be hope of progress for it to make sense.

S. Sudan rebels accuse government of breaking ceasefire

South Sudan's civil war began in December 2013 when President Kiir accused Riek Machar (pictured), his former deputy, of planning a coupSouth Sudan's rebel chief on Monday accused the government of breaking a ceasefire, jeopardising a peace agreement aimed to end the country's 20-month civil war. "We have concerns that the ceasefire is not holding, and this is because the government is unable to control its own troops," Riek Machar told reporters in the Ethiopian capital. There was no immediate response from South Sudan's army, but it called similar claims on Sunday a "fabrication".

U.N. climate talks begin divided, but with hope for Paris accord

File picture of the sun seen through the steam and other emissions coming from funnels of the brown coal Loy Yang Power Station in the Latrobe Valley near MelbourneBy Alister Doyle BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Chances that governments will work out a U.N. accord to combat climate change in December seem brighter than in the run-up to a failed attempt in 2009, experts said as delegates from almost 200 nations met on Monday, hoping to bridge deep divisions. Memories of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, when world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama failed to work out a deal intended to avert more heatwaves, floods and rising seas, hang over the talks in Bonn. "We're closer to an agreement" than at the same time before Copenhagen, Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission delegation, told Reuters.

German leader presses for EU to share migrant burden

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends her annual summer news conference in Berlin, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed fellow European nations Monday to share the burden of the influx of migrants, arguing that the European Union will betray its values if it fails to get a grip on the crisis.

Low water still hampers Rhine, Danube river shipping in Germany

Low water levels on the Rhine and Danube in Germany mean cargo vessels cannot sail fully loaded on the German sections of both rivers, traders said on Monday. Dry weather in recent days had caused river levels to drop further, they said. Water levels have been unusually low since early August.

Top Asian News at 2:30 p.m. GMT

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police issued arrest warrants Monday for two more suspects, a Thai woman and a foreign man of unknown nationality, as part of a widening investigation that yielded its first arrest over the weekend in connection with a deadly bombing in Bangkok two weeks ago. National police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri said he was certain the two were part of a group responsible for the Aug. 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok that killed 20 people, more than half of them foreigners.

Grenade explodes during Ukraine clashes; 1 officer killed

Ukrainian protesters clash with police after a vote to give greater powers to the east, outside the Parliament, Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. The Ukrainian parliament has given preliminary approval to a controversial constitutional amendment that would provide greater powers to separatist regions in the east. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the parliament to protest against the amendment. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A grenade exploded outside Ukraine's parliament during a nationalist protest against a vote to give greater powers to separatist regions in the east, killing one police officer, the interior ministry said. About 100 other officers were injured in the clashes, 10 of them seriously.

US stocks open modestly lower, led by energy sector

A woman looks at her cell-phone in front of electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. Asian stocks fell Monday after a U.S. Federal Reserve official suggested a September interest rate hike still was possible and Japanese factory activity weakened (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved lower in early trading Monday, as oil prices fell and investors reacted to signs that the Federal Reserve was still on pace to raise rates this month. It sets up another volatile week on Wall Street, which has been battered this month.

Tsipras still has the edge in pro-euro Greece, say analysts

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is still popular with an electroate keen to stay in the euroWith just three weeks to go before Greece's snap elections, analysts say charismatic ex-premier Alexis Tsipras remains popular with an electorate determined to stay in the euro -- even if it means more painful austerity. Opinion polls show Tsipras in first place for the September 20 vote, with his far-left Syriza party ahead of its main rivals, the New Democracy conservatives, by between 1 and 3.5 points.

With a 4th win, Jason Day creates a temporary Big 3

Jason Day, of Australia, holds up a trophy after winning The Barclays golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Edison, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)EDISON, N.J. (AP) — Jordan Spieth was gone, but not forgotten, certainly not by Jason Day.

Canadians, Pakistani, Nigerian among dead in Saudi fire

Firefighters go for a rest after putting out a fire at a multistory residential compound known as Radium that accommodates workers for state oil giant Saudi Aramco, in the eastern city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015. The fire broke out Sunday in the basement of the sprawling residential complex in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 200, with some of the injured in critical condition, officials in the kingdom said. (AP Photo)RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Three Canadians, a Pakistani and a Nigerian were among those killed in a fire that engulfed parts of a residential compound in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, a Saudi official said.

Dozens of Venezuelan shot by police amid crime crackdown

In this Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 photo, people walk near a factory where Aragua State police officers killed four men execution-style in Maracay, Venezuela. A video secretly recorded that rainy day in early August showed that police officers took the man to a concrete alley in the complex where his three companions already lay dead, held him in place, and then shot him point blank. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)MARACAY, Venezuela (AP) — Workers in the industrial complex had been hiding in bathrooms and closets for hours when the shooting stopped. The last of the four suspected thieves, a slightly built man in yellow rain boots, surrendered on the roof, crying out, "Jesus saves!"

Six soldiers killed in DR Congo ambush

Congolese soldiers are deployed north-west of Munigi, overlooking the front-line, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 15, 2013Six Congolese soldiers were killed on Monday in Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, a region where Rwandan Hutu rebels are known to operate, regional and military sources said. The attack took place in Rugari, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu. "A Republican Guard jeep was ambushed in Rugari," said Justin Mukanya, administrator of Rutshuru territory which lies on the border of Rwanda and Uganda.

Hurricane Fred forms, flooding in South Carolina from Erika's remnants

People walk on the beach as a red and purple flag fly from a lifeguard station indicating a high surf hazard and dangerous marine life as the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika pass through South Florida, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)By Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, S.C.. (Reuters) - Hurricane Fred formed early Monday in the eastern Atlantic as it approached the Cape Verde Islands, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika brought flooding to parts of South Carolina. The center of Fred is expected to pass near or over the northwestern Cape Verde Islands later on Monday with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 kph) with stronger gusts, before gradually weakening. Tropical Storm Erika dissipated over Cuba on Saturday after killing at least 20 people in the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, and one person in Haiti.

Islamic State group seizes 200 residents of Iraqi town

BAGHDAD (AP) — The mayor of a remote, Islamic State-held town in western Iraq said on Monday that some 200 residents have been detained by the group at an unknown location following clashes there.

USA moves top at women's World Cup after Russia loses

OKAYAMA, Japan (AP) — USA capitalized on a rare Russia defeat to move to the top of the rankings at the women's volleyball World Cup Monday, beating Argentina 25-16, 25-19, 25-14 in Okayama.

Thai police seek 2 new suspects in Bangkok bombing probe

This image released Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) shows Wanna Suansun who police said is renting the second apartment which was raided by authorities in Min Buri, in Bangkok's outskirts, and where police found fertilizer, gun powder, digital clocks and remote-controlled cars whose parts can be used for detonation. Thai police said Monday they were seeking two new suspects — a Thai woman and a foreign man of unknown nationality — in the widening investigation into Bangkok's deadly bombing two weeks ago. Words in Thai say "Official Police Photo". (National Council for Peace and Order via AP)BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police issued arrest warrants Monday for two more suspects, a Thai woman and a foreign man of unknown nationality, as part of a widening investigation that yielded its first arrest over the weekend in connection with a deadly bombing in Bangkok two weeks ago.

Indian scholar who criticized idol worship murdered at home

NEW DELHI (AP) — Following a knock at his front door, an Indian scholar greeted two unidentified visitors and was shot in the head and the chest, becoming the third critic of religious superstition to be killed in the country in three years.

Sri Lanka 67-3 chasing 386 to win the 3rd test

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Seamers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav propelled India to a winning position in the decisive third test as Sri Lanka, chasing a daunting 386 to win, were struggling on 67 for three at stumps day four on Monday.

Austria orders migrants from train at Hungarian border

Migrants travel on the train to Austria and Germany at the Eastern (Keleti) railway station in Budapest on August 31, 2015Austrian security forces stopped a Munich-bound train Monday with several hundreds migrants on board near the border with Hungary, a police spokesman said, just hours after authorities in Budapest let them leave despite many not having the right visas to travel in the EU. "There are roughly 300 to 400 migrants on board.

Officials blame Paraguay power outage on rebels

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Paraguayan officials are blaming rebels for a power outage that is affecting some 750,000 people in the country's north.

Greece's 'invisible negotiator' may assuage bailout fears in election run-up

By Renee Maltezou ATHENS (Reuters) - The appointment of Greek bailout negotiator George Chouliarakis to be finance minister in a caretaker government may help assuage some fears that Greece's bailout program could go off track while it prepares for elections. Greece is due to hold elections on Sept.20 after former prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned in a bid to win popular backing for his decision to accept the 86-billion-euro ($96 billion) aid plan from creditors and get rid of leftist rebels opposed to it. Chouliarakis, who played a key role in technical-level talks with EU and IMF lenders, sought to address those concerns when he took over as interim finance minister on Friday saying his main target was "to make sure we won't lose valuable time".

Celebrated Romanian baritone Dan Iordachescu dies at 85

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Celebrated Romanian baritone Dan Iordachescu, who sang at Milan's La Scala and the Vienna State Opera during a half-century career, has died at 85, the Bucharest Opera said Monday.

Ukraine's interior minister says 1 police officer has been killed in clashes in Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's interior minister says 1 police officer has been killed in clashes in Kiev.

Boko Haram kills nearly 80 in NE Nigeria villages: locals

Fire guts a police station set ablaze by Boko Haram Islamists in Kwadon village outside the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on February 14, 2015Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback shot dead nearly 80 people in separate attacks on three villages in Nigeria's restive northeast at the weekend, a vigilante and residents said Monday. Vigilante Babakura Kolo said 68 people were killed in the attack on Baanu village in Borno state late on Friday while residents said another 11 people were shot dead in two other villages on Saturday and Sunday. "Reports reached us of an attack on Baanu village late Friday where Boko Haram gunmen riding on horses opened fire on the village.

Austria checks refugees from Hungary for asylum status

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria will check whether hundreds of refugees who boarded a train in Budapest bound for the West have applied for asylum in Hungary and not let them continue their travels if they have, a Vienna police spokesman said on Monday. Other migrants on the train, which Austrian Railways said was halted on the Hungarian-Austrian border because of overcrowding, can stay in Austria for two weeks while they decide whether to seek asylum there, the police spokesman said. Those who do not will be returned to their last transit country. ...

Australia wins toss, bowls 1st vs England in T20 match

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Australia has won the toss and will bowl first against England in a one-off Twenty20 international on Monday.

AP Interview: Migration group ready to help with influx

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the International Organization for Migration says aid groups like his are ready to help the European Union handle an influx of migrants, but governments must reach out.

Poland backtracks on Nazi 'gold train' discovery

A train passes by the site where a Nazi gold train is believed to be hidden, in the city of Walbrzych, Poland, on August 28, 2015A regional governor in Poland said Monday he had serious doubts about the alleged discovery of a Nazi gold train days after a deputy culture minister revealed he was "more than 99 percent sure" one had been found. "There is no more proof for this alleged discovery than for other claims made over the years," Tomasz Smolarz, governor of the southwestern region of Lower Silesia, told reporters. "It's impossible to claim that such a find actually exists at the location indicated based on the documents that have been submitted," Smolarz said, adding that he had set up a special unit including historians and geologists to scrutinise the alleged discovery.

Afghan police investigate gas poisoning at girls' school

More than 100 girls were taken to hospital from their school in western Afghanistan on Monday after breathing in toxic gas, officials said, and police were investigating whether the incident was deliberate. Elements of Afghanistan's ultra-conservative society oppose education for girls and schools have periodically come under attack. Police promised to track down those responsible.

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