Government and politics
CAIRO - An Egyptian court sentenced seven men to life in prison on Wednesday for sexual assaults on women during public rallies in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, in the first such heavy sentences since the government vowed to crack down on rampant sexual violence.
Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have become more frequent and brutal since the 2011 overthrow of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, with frenzied mobs targeting women who take part in political gatherings.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there are "still significant gaps" and more work to do to reach a deal to get Iran to curb its nuclear program.
Iran and six world powers have tentatively decided to adjourn their nuclear talks two days early but plan to extend them past their planned July 20 end date, diplomats said Wednesday. The diplomats demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge confidential information.
BRUSSELS - European Union leaders ordered tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday because of its actions in Ukraine, asking the European Investment Bank to sign no new financing agreements with Moscow.
The leaders, meeting in Brussels, also agreed to act together to suspend financing of the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations in Russia.
TRENTON, N.J. - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has body-slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's humorous attempt to sell a pension-reform plan.
Christie's office removed a trailer that it posted to YouTube for a mock summer blockbuster titled "No Pain. No Gain."
The video originally included a shot of the Hollywood action star and former professional wrestler. A new version without Johnson was posted on Wednesday.
The United Nations is calling for Israel to agree to "a unilateral humanitarian pause" so that aid can be delivered to people in need of food, water and other necessities in Gaza.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Robert Serry, the U.N. special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, made the appeal after talks with Israel's Coordination Office for Government Affairs in the (Palestinian) Territories.
If Israel agrees to a "humanitarian pause," Haq said, Serry "would then urge the parties in Gaza to respect that pause."
STOCKHOLM - A Swedish court on Wednesday upheld its detention order on Julian Assange, reaffirming the legal basis for an international warrant for the WikiLeaks founder which has kept him hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for two years.
One of Assange's defence lawyers, Per Samuelson, said they would study the judge's decision in detail and then "write a juicy, toxic appeal" to a higher court.
WASHINGTON - The economy kept expanding in all regions of the country in June and early July, helped by strength in consumer spending, a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday indicates.
All 12 of the Fed's regions reported growth with five — New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco — characterizing growth as "moderate" while the others reported "modest" growth. Boston and Richmond reported that growth came in at a slightly slower pace than the previous reporting period.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A court on Wednesday ordered the Netherlands to compensate the families of more than 300 Bosnian Muslims killed after Dutch troops handed them over to Bosnian Serb forces in 1995, in a ruling that could make countries more leery to contribute troops to peacekeeping missions.
KABUL - A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.
The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.