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Diplomatic push grows against Islamic State group

Global drive grows against Islamic State, with promises of airstrikes but no ground troops
Lori Hinnant, The Associated Press

PARIS - Newly outraged by the beheading of yet another Western hostage, diplomats from around the world are in Paris pressing for a coherent global strategy to combat extremists from the Islamic State group — minus two of the main players and without any ground troops — in a conflict that threatens to spill beyond the Mideast.

Rights group calls for probe into Iraqi airstrike

Human Rights Watch calls for probe of Iraqi airstrike that killed 31 civilians
Sinan Salaheddin, The Associated Press

BAGHDAD - An international rights group called Sunday for an investigation into an Iraqi airstrike on a school housing displaced families that killed 31 civilians, including 24 children, a day after the country's new prime minister ordered the army to stop shelling militant-held populated areas to minimize civilian casualties.

Family: Remember slain hostage for helping others

Slain UK hostage's family: Remember David Haines for trying to help victims in war zones
Gregory Katz, The Associated Press

LONDON - British aid worker David Haines devoted his life to helping civilians in war zones and that is how he should be remembered, his family said Sunday as they grieved his death at the hands of Islamic State militants in Syria.

Haines — the third Westerner beheaded in recent weeks by the Islamic State group — had entered humanitarian work with enthusiasm, his brother Mike Haines said in a statement.

"He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion," he said of his brother.

Video purports to show British aid worker slain

Video posted online purports to show beheading of British aid worker by Islamic State group
Zeina Karam, The Associated Press

BEIRUT - Islamic State extremists have released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, who was abducted in Syria last year, and British Prime Minister David Cameron is condemning his slaying as "an act of pure evil."

Cameron confirmed Haines' death in a statement posted late Saturday on his official Twitter account after the British Foreign Office had said earlier that it was "working urgently to verify the video."

Scots nationalists tell opponents: no grudges

Scottish nationalist leader denies opponents will face 'day of reckoning' after independence
The Associated Press

GLASGOW, Scotland - Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has sought to calm fears that there would be repercussions against opponents of independence if the Yes campaign wins the upcoming referendum.

"The day after a Yes vote there will cease to be a No campaign and Yes campaign — only Team Scotland. We will approach the success of Yes with magnanimity to all," Salmond said Saturday.

Kerry seeks Egypt aid in battle against extremists

Kerry seeks Egypt's support for coalition against Islamic State group
Lara Jakes And Mariam Rizk, The Associated Press

CAIRO - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday hailed Egypt as an "important partner" in the emerging coalition aimed at beating back the extremist Islamic State group, while stressing that the need for Cairo's support would not lead Washington to ignore human rights concerns.

Pakistan arrests opposition activists

Pakistan police arrest anti-government activists amid lingering political turmoil
Zarar Khan, The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani police arrested anti-government protesters in what activists said was an effort to crack down on weekslong sit-ins in the capital, while the government said police only apprehended suspects in a recent attack on state-run TV.

Obama 'confident' of Islamic State group's defeat

Obama says fight against Islamic State group is focusing Muslim world on extremism
Josh Lederman, The Associated Press

BALTIMORE - President Barack Obama cast the worldwide campaign he's leading to destroy the Islamic State group on Friday as part of a broader effort to root out extremism within the Muslim world, telling Jewish donors the U.S. "is on the right side of history."

Kerry says no to Iran's help against Islamic group

Kerry calls Iran's participation at strategy meeting on Islamic State group inappropriate
Lara Jakes, The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey - Even as it discouraged Iran from joining diplomatic talks on how to defeat the Islamic State militant group, the United States could not outline Friday what other nations have volunteered to contribute to a worldwide effort against the insurgency that has overtaken a third of Iraq and Syria and threatens to upend the Mideast.

US sanctions target key Russia economic sectors

New US sanctions target Russia's largest bank, as well as energy and defence sectors
Julie Pace, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The United States hit Russia Friday with a new round of economic sanctions, levying penalties on Russia's largest bank and expanding financing restrictions on major energy and defence companies.

The sanctions were imposed in co-ordination with the European Union, which unveiled its own package of penalties hours earlier. Officials said the parallel penalties are aimed at punishing Russia for deepening its provocations in Ukraine, including sending forces and weaponry across the border.

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