Samba! Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics
COPENHAGEN - The 2016 Games are going to Rio de Janeiro. Finally, South America gets an Olympics.
In a vote of high drama, the bustling Brazilian carnival city of beaches, mountains and samba beat surprise finalist Madrid, which got a big helping hand from a very influential friend, former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Chicago was knocked out in the first round - in one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee. President Barack Obama's last-minute hop to Denmark didn't swing the games Chicago's way.
Iraqis lead crackdown on extremists
BAGHDAD - Iraqi forces in Mosul have detained more than 150 suspected Sunni insurgents during an offensive in the country's last major extremist stronghold, a senior security official said Friday.
The crackdown is the latest attempt to break insurgent strength in the northern city - and the first wide-ranging operation since the U.S. withdrew combat forces from cities in June. While each sweep into Mosul over the past years has produced scores of arrests, they apparently have failed to significantly weaken the networks of al-Qaida in Iraq and other groups.
The Iraqi security official said raids began earlier this week and are expected to wrap up today. So far, the detained suspects include alleged senior insurgent commanders and financiers, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.
Obama meets with top general in Denmark
WASHINGTON - At a pivotal point in the administration's Afghanistan strategy, President Barack Obama and his top Afghan war commander met privately aboard Air Force One on Friday for a talk the White House described as productive.
The 25-minute meeting with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, aboard Air Force One as it waited to carry the president home from Denmark, gave Obama a chance to step outside the circle of advisers he has convened to study the problem of Afghanistan. His war council has been sharing differing opinions on whether the United States should send thousands more troops to tamp down the Taliban, or shift to a narrower focus on al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan.
The Copenhagen meeting was an extension of those war council sessions ""as we reassess and re-evaluate moving forward in Afghanistan,' White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters afterward.
Mud rivers flood Sicilian city; at least 20 dead
ROME - Rivers of mud unleashed by heavy rains overnight flooded parts of the Sicilian city of Messina, killing at least 20 people, sweeping away cars and collapsing buildings. Hundreds were driven from their homes.
Rescuers with sniffer dogs searched Friday for several people missing after the mud swamped entire villages and suburbs of Messina on the island's eastern coast, Mayor Giuseppe Buzzanca said. Rescue efforts were hampered by the fact that many roads were impassable and the terrain still unstable with continuing rain.
Germans arrest man with alleged ties to al-Qaida
BERLIN - German authorities said Friday they arrested a man with dual Turkish-German citizenship suspected of attempting to recruit supporters for al-Qaida and procuring material that could be used to make a bomb.
The 24-year-old man, identified only as Adnan V., was arrested Thursday after police searched an apartment in Offenbach and a business in nearby Frankfurt, federal prosecutors said.
Norway decorates WWII hero with top military honor
OSLO - Norway on Friday awarded its highest military decoration for the first time in 60 years, posthumously honoring a soldier who was killed while helping the wartime government flee the country as German troops invaded in 1940.
Capt. Eiliv Austlid was awarded the War Cross with Sword, a medal that was recently reinstated after having been suspended since 1949.
8 militants killed in Chechnya fight
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia - Chechen forces engaged in a two-hour gunbattle with militants Friday, leaving eight insurgents dead in the violence-wracked Russian province, authorities said.
Chechnya's Moscow-backed regional President Ramzan Kadyrov has claimed militants are on their last legs nearly a decade after the end of major fighting in two devastating separatist wars. But a recent wave of bombings and other attacks has undermined his claims and alarmed the Kremlin.