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World News: Greece, Turkey Quake; Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria Updates; Pope Speaks Out

By: ap
By: ap

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- An earthquake beneath the sea shook northern Greece and western Turkey Saturday, with 266 people reportedly injured in Turkey.
The quake struck at 12:25 p.m. local time (0925 GMT) southwest of the Greek island of Samothraki, 210 kilometers (130 miles) east of Thessaloniki and 296 kilometers (185 miles) northeast of the capital Athens. It was also close to the Turkish island of Gokceada and the Greek island of Lemnos.
The quake caused 266 injuries in Turkey, including one person who was in serious condition, according to the government's emergency and disaster management agency. The injuries were mostly the result of panic, caused as people tried to rush out of buildings.
The Institute of Geophysics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said the magnitude of the quake was 6.3. The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported a magnitude of 6.4, later revised to 6.9.
The temblor was widely felt, including in Thessaloniki, the west coast of Turkey and as far away as Bulgaria and Istanbul. Turkey's emergency and disaster management agency said there were close to 70 aftershocks, the strongest measuring 5.5.
There were divergences as to the quake's depth. The USGS reported a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), but the Athens Geodynamics Institute has reported 27 kilometers (17 miles).
"The earthquake has occurred in an area with especially high seismic activity, which, in the past, has given earthquakes up to 7 magnitude (in 1982)," Manolis Skordilis of the Institute of Geophysics told The Associated Press. "We are currently analyzing the aftershocks and are on alert," he added.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- A renegade Libyan general leading a week-long military offensive against Islamists dominating the country's political scene and their militia allies has welcomed street protests in support of his campaign.
Gen. Khalifa Hifter says the protests give him a "popular mandate" to fight terrorism.
Hifter's statement was broadcast Saturday on Libya's Alahrar TV.
He says his forces will not return to their barracks until terrorism is defeated and called on Libyans to keep up their support for his campaign.
Thousands rallied in Tripoli, the eastern city of Benghazi and other Libyan cities on Friday in support of Hifter's offensive.
His spokesman, Mohammed Hegazi, called on troops who have not yet joined the campaign dubbed "Operation Dignity" to do so within 48 hours or "face penalties." He did not elaborate.

OBAMA-FOREIGN POLICY
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Confronting critics of his foreign policy, President Barack Obama will soon outline a strategy for his final years in office that aims to avoid overreach as the second of the two wars he inherited comes to a close.
The president will make the case for that seemingly more limited approach during a commencement address Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The speech will come amid growing frustration in the White House with critics who contend that Obama has weakened America's standing around the world.
A White House official says Obama will address his decision to pull back a military strike in Syria and his inability to stop Russia from annexing territory from Ukraine. The official insists on anonymity to preview the president's speech.

GERMANY-FRANCE-RUSSIA
BERLIN (AP) -- The leaders of Germany and France have called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Ukraine on the eve of elections there.
The office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and French President Francois Hollande spoke to Putin late Saturday afternoon, and all three expressed their concern about the situation in Ukraine.
Merkel's office says the three leaders agreed that the presidential election should take place peacefully in as many parts of Ukraine as possible.
Pro-Russian insurgents are expected to prevent voting in half or more of the election districts in Ukraine's embattled east on Sunday.
Merkel's office declined to say whether any disagreements were expressed during the call.
Germany and France, like most western countries, have blamed Russia for fanning the separatists' rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

RUSSIA-PUTIN
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn't believe there'll be a new Cold War with the United States, which he says Moscow doesn't want.
But he warns that Russia's interests must be taken seriously and accuses the West of having ignored Russia's concerns over Ukraine. He also calls Britain's Prince Charles' reported recent remarks comparing him to Hitler as "unacceptable" and "not royal behavior."
Speaking Saturday to representatives of major news agencies on the margins of a major economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Putin accused Western politicians of interfering in Ukraine without taking into account how important Russia sees its neighbor to its own security and economic interests.
Russia fears the new Western-leaning government in Kiev would try to take Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, into the U.S. dominated Atlantic Alliance. When Russia annexed Crimea in March, Putin said the decision was driven in part by the need to prevent NATO ships from ever being based on the Black Sea peninsula.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Belgian officials say that at least three people have been killed in gunfire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, in a post on Twitter, said he was "shocked by the murders committed at the Jewish Museum" on Saturday afternoon. He said he had seen the bodies of the victims.
Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said at least three were killed in the incident, and a Brussels fire department spokesman said one person was wounded.
No details were immediately available, but according to RTBF, a Belgian broadcasting company, a person with a backpack opened fire then fled.
Police have closed off the area around the museum, near the center of Brussels, and numerous ambulances were at the scene.

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists say rebel fighters and government forces have agreed to a truce in an opposition-held area near the central city of Homs.
A Syrian activist who uses the name Thaer Khalidiya and another who uses the name Abu Yasin al-Homsi said on Saturday that the truce will enable the two sides to negotiate an agreement for the rebels to leave al-Waar, an area across the Orontes River from Homs.
The two activists say the truce began on Friday.
In early May, an agreement that began with a truce ultimately allowed for the evacuation of hundreds of rebels from opposition-held parts of Old Homs.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are trying to seize rebel-held parts of major urban centers before June 3 presidential elections.

POPE-MIDEAST
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Pope Francis is in the Middle East on a three-day visit.
On his first day there, he denounced arms dealers and appealed for an urgent end to the Syrian civil war.
Francis deviated from his prepared remarks to make a strong plea for peace during his first day in Jordan, praying for God to "convert those who seek war, those who make and sell weapons!"
He called the arms trade "the root of evil, the hatred, the love of money."
The pope's tough words echoed the diatribe he delivered a few weeks ago against mobsters in Italy, denouncing their activities and praying that they turn away from evil to embrace a more dignified life.
He also held an emotional meeting Saturday with war refugees from Syria and Iraq who have fled to Jordan and held private talks with King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and their children at the royal palace.
Francis thanked Jordan for its "generous welcome" to Syrian refugees and called for an urgent resolution to the civil war next door.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Security and military officials in Yemen say al-Qaida militants have launched a major attack targeting army, security and government buildings in a southern city, killing at least 16 troops.
They say the attack early Saturday struck an army headquarters, the central security headquarters, the Central Bank, the traffic police department, the post office and the agricultural bank in Sayoun, a city in southern Hadramawt province.
The officials say the attackers, however, failed to storm the army command and the security headquarters due to the fierce resistance put up by the government troops. They say the attackers used car bombs at the beginning of their assault.
They say Jalal Baliedy, a prominent al-Qaida leader, led the attack.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to brief journalists.

Aide who kicked protester dismissed in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's state-run news agency says an aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was photographed kicking a protester during a visit to town hit by a coal mine disaster has been dismissed from his post as deputy chief of staff.
A video and photographs showing Yusuf Yerkel kicking a protester held on the ground by two police officers sparked outrage and tarnished the Turkish leader's image ahead of his expected run for president.
Anadolu Agency said Saturday that Yerkel was removed from his post in Erdogan's office on Wednesday. It said he would be assigned to another position, which has yet to be determined.
Yerkel had issued a statement expressing regret but also claimed that he was provoked.

NIGERIA-EXPLOSION
JOS, Nigeria (AP) -- A senior police official in Nigeria says a bungled bomb killed three people, including a suicide bomber, in Jos (jahs) city Saturday night.
The blast came four days after twin car bombs blamed on Islamic extremists killed at least 130 people in the central city.
The police official says the bomber dropped a bag holding explosives at an outdoor theater crowded with people watching a European soccer cup final. He says the bomber and two others died. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not the official spokesman.
The venue is not far from the bustling marketplace that was targeted in Tuesday's attack.
There have been no immediate claims of responsibility for the latest attack.
But the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which has been threatening to sell nearly 300 kidnapped schoolgirls into slavery, has been waging a two-pronged campaign of urban bombings and rural attacks on northeastern villages.


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