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Democratic donor contacts Biden allies about possible run
By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK (Reuters) - A prominent Democratic donor worried about the party's chances of winning the presidency emailed dozens of fans of Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, urging them to remain prepared to donate if Biden jumps into the race. The donor, Bill Bartmann, cited new polling showing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont nearly tied with the Hillary Clinton, eroding the 30-point lead the former secretary of state held at the end of last year. Bartmann and other party insiders are concerned that Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, is too far to the left to win against a Republican in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Factbox: What will be in Obama's final budget proposal?
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is set on Tuesday to unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, his final year in office. The following are some of the proposals that will be included: PENTAGON The Pentagon will ask for more than $7 billion for the fight against Islamic State, up about 35 percent from the previous year's budget request to Congress, and wants a fourfold increase for military training and exercises in Europe to support NATO allies. TAX ON OIL In a long-shot bid to raise $20 billion to expand transit systems and research self-driving cars, Obama will propose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil.
Clinton slams student loan servicer Navient as misleading
By Amanda Becker HENNIKER, N.H. (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said during a student town hall on Saturday that student loan servicer Navient Corp has been "misleading people" and "doing some really terrible things." "Their behavior is outrageous," Clinton said at New England College, where she was campaigning ahead of the state's nominating contest on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Clinton's criticism of the student loan servicer comes after she lost badly among young voters to Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders in last week's Iowa caucus.
Chinese visit temples, fairs to ring in Year of the Monkey
BEIJING (AP) ? Chinese and others around Asia flocked to temples and fairs to pray for good health and fortune on Monday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Thousands of refugees may enter Britain if it leaves EU - Cameron
By Elizabeth Piper LONDON (Reuters) - Thousands of refugees could flock to Britain from France if voters decide to leave the European Union, a spokesman for David Cameron said on Monday, underlining the prime minister's stance that an exit would hurt security. In what critics said was the start of a "campaign of fear" to try to keep voters in the European Union, the spokesman said leaving the bloc could harm an agreement with France which allows British border guards to make immigration checks there. "If those controls didn't continue then as we know there are thousands of people there, who are there specifically because they want to come to the UK, who would then come to the UK ... there would be nothing to stop thousands of people crossing the Channel overnight." Britain's border with France is on the French side of the Channel that separates the countries and at the northern port town of Calais, thousands of migrants are living in the so-called "Jungle" camp in the hope of crossing to England.
The Latest: Trump ramps up NH schedule ahead of primary
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) ? The Latest on the race for the White House with one day to go until the New Hampshire primary (all times local):
India regulator deals blow to Facebook in Internet row
India's telecom regulator on Monday dealt a blow to Facebook's plans to offer free mobile Internet through its controversial Free Basics service, by outlawing differential pricing for data packages. Facebook has suffered a fierce backlash in India from "net neutrality" advocates. While not ruling explicitly on net neutrality, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) decided not to allow what it called "discriminatory pricing" for different data platforms or content.
Qatar 'wants to host Summer Olympics'
Qatar has a "vision and target" of hosting a Summer Olympics and will bid to hold future games, a senior member of the Gulf country's olympics committee said on Monday. Thani Al-Kuwari added that the country would undoubtedly bid to host an Olympics, maybe as early as the 2028 games. "The vision and the target is to host one of the Olympics, one day," he said on the fringes of a sports reporters' conference in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Rubio springs back from Republican debate glitch
Marco Rubio, the young Republican senator fast building momentum in the race for the White House, came back swinging Sunday after a mauling in the latest presidential debate for his lack of experience.
Obama to ask Congress for $1.8 bn to tackle Zika crisis
washington (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama will ask Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to tackle the fast-spreading Zika virus both at home and abroad, the White House said Monday.
New England to get brunt of snowstorm heading east
BOSTON (AP) ? The second winter storm in four days to hit the Northeast is expected to bring blizzard conditions to southeastern Massachusetts on Monday and leave behind as much as 18 inches of snow.
Survivors pulled out from building 2 days after Taiwan quake
TAINAN, Taiwan (AP) ? At least four people, including an 8-year-old girl, were rescued Monday from a high-rise Taiwanese apartment building toppled by a powerful quake two days earlier, as frustration grew among families waiting for searchers to reach their buried loved ones.
UN probe accuses Damascus of 'extermination' of detainees
UN investigators on Monday accused Damascus of "extermination" in its jails and detention centres, saying prisoners were executed, tortured to death or held in such horrific conditions that they perished. Over the past four and a half years, thousands of detainees have been killed while being held by different sides in Syria's brutal conflict, the UN commission of inquiry on Syria said in its latest report. The report painted a stark picture of prisons and detention centres run by the Syrian authorities.
Obama: North Korea rocket launch concerning but not a surprise
U.S. President Barack Obama said he was concerned but not surprised about North Korea's rocket launch over the weekend, saying his administration is pressing China and working with South Korea to pressure North Korea's regime and block its efforts. In an interview aired on Monday, Obama told CBS he was not surprised at the launch, adding: "We have been concerned about North Korea's behavior for a while. The interview was conducted on Sunday, when North Korea launched a long-range rocket that it said carried a satellite but stoked fears about its nuclear weapons capabilities.
Survivors pulled alive from Taiwan quake rubble
A girl aged eight and three others were rescued Monday from the rubble of a Taiwan apartment tower complex, more than two days after it was felled by an earthquake, but over 100 others remain trapped in the ruins. The girl and a 28-year-old woman were the latest to be pulled from the rubble, while a man and a woman were rescued earlier in the day as emergency workers scrabbled to find the missing. The other survivor pulled from the rubble earlier Monday was Tsao Wei-ling, 45, who is in stable condition.
Coldplay's latest video criticized for portrayal of India
NEW DELHI (AP) ? British rock band Coldplay's latest music video has triggered a debate in India over its portrayal of the country with critics accusing its producers of showing stereotypical images of India with Hindu holy men, peacocks and colorful festivals.
Turkey will take refugees fleeing Syrian forces 'when necessary': PM
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will admit the almost 30,000 people fleeing war-torn Syria who have amassed at the border "when necessary," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, adding Russia's air assault should not be tolerated with the idea that Turkey will accept the refugees. The latest developments in Syria are an attempt to pressure Turkey and Europe on the migration issue, Davutoglu said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. ...
Merkel says 'appalled' by suffering in Syria due to Russian bombing
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she was appalled by the suffering of civilians in Syria who are fleeing the city of Aleppo under bombardment from Russian-backed government forces. "We are now, over the last few days, not only appalled but also shocked by the human suffering of tens of thousands of people through bombing attacks, and also bombing attacks originating from the Russian side," she said in Ankara.
South African university suspends 2 in costume outcry
JOHANNESBURG (AP) ? A South African university suspended two students for painting their faces in what it called a "blackface" incident deemed to be racially offensive. One of the students, however, says they were dressing as purple space aliens for a party with a galactic theme.
Mass deaths in Syrian jails amount to crime of 'extermination': U.N.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Detainees held by the Syrian government are dying on a massive scale amounting to a state policy of "extermination" of the civilian population, a crime against humanity, United Nations investigators said on Monday. The U.N. commission of inquiry called on the Security Council to impose "targeted sanctions" on Syrian officials in the civilian and military hierarchy responsible for or complicit in deaths, torture and disappearances in custody, but stopped short of naming them. In their report, the independent experts said they had also documented mass executions and torture of prisoners by two jihadi groups, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State (ISIS), constituting war crimes.
From beyond the grave, 'Iron Lady' Thatcher haunts Britain's EU debate
By Guy Faulconbridge LONDON (Reuters) - A quarter of a century since Margaret Thatcher was deposed by her own party, Britain's 'Iron Lady' has stirred a row: Would the hero of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party have voted to leave the European Union? Thatcher, who died in 2013, grappled with Britain's EU relationship, supporting membership while in power but also scolding Brussels with a ferocity which ultimately triggered the party coup which ended her premiership in 1990. When former foreign policy aide Charles Powell suggested Thatcher would have supported the essence of Cameron's EU deal and voted for membership in a referendum likely in June, he prompted an angry response from many other Thatcher fans.
North Korea's new satellite flew over Super Bowl site
TOKYO (AP) ? Here's a bit of Super Bowl trivia: North Korea's newest satellite passed almost right over the stadium just an hour after it ended.
Wall of worry weighs on markets, particularly in Europe
LONDON (AP) ? Worries over the global economy weighed heavily on stock markets Monday, with Europe bearing the brunt of the selling. And oil prices fell further, with the benchmark New York rate below $30 a barrel again.
The Latest: Merkel 'horrified' by Russian bombing in Syria
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ? The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
Ex-French minister in court for tax fraud, money laundering
PARIS (AP) ? A former French budget minister is appearing in court on charges of tax fraud and money laundering that forced him to dramatically resign three years ago in the first political scandal under President Francois Hollande.
Australian woman freed by al Qaeda says her husband is still alive
An Australian woman who was freed by al Qaeda after three weeks in captivity said on Monday her husband who was seized with her in Burkina Faso was still alive and she hoped he too would be released soon. Jocelyn Elliott, 76, gave no further details of the couple's captivity but her comment provided the first confirmation that her husband, Dr Ken Elliott, 81, was still alive. The couple were seized on Jan. 15 from the town of Djibo near Burkina Faso's border with Mali where they have operated a 120-bed clinic for over 40 years.
Sanders asked to drop American Legion emblem from campaign
The American Legion has asked the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to "cease and desist" from using the organization's emblem in campaign fliers.
Suicide bombers in Afghanistan kill nine, wound 23
Two suicide bombers targeting Afghan government and military employees killed at least nine people on Monday and wounded 23, officials said. Six civilians died and nine were injured in a blast outside a bakery shop in Yahyakhil district of Paktika province, an area near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, district governor Musa Khan Kharuti said. The suicide bomber apparently targeted police and government employees buying bread, a provincial police official said.
Turkish prime minister: Turkey, Germany to work together for NATO involvement in curbing refugee flow
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ? Turkish prime minister: Turkey, Germany to work together for NATO involvement in curbing refugee flow.
Spain: Madrid city calls for release of puppeteers
MADRID (AP) ? Madrid city hall apologized Monday to parents for exposing their children to a violent puppet show, but says jailing the puppeteers for allegedly praising terrorism was disproportionate.
Special Report: The World Health Organization's critical challenge - healing itself
By Kate Kelland GENEVA (Reuters) - When executive board members of the World Health Organization sat down for their annual meeting in Geneva in January, many powerful figures spoke forcefully of the need to reform the leading global authority on health and disease. "It's time to stop talking," Stewart Jessamine, New Zealand's director of public health and a WHO executive board member, told the delegates. Critics say the organization needs deep reforms to allow it to show clear leadership in promoting health and to respond decisively to disease emergencies that may span many countries.
Merkel in Turkey for migrants talks as 33 people die at sea
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ? German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks in Ankara Monday on how to reduce the influx of people into Europe as reports emerged that another 33 people died off Turkey's coast attempting to reach Greece.
Trump aiming for New Hampshire win, rivals aim to survive
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) ? GOP front-runner Donald Trump is aiming for his first win in New Hampshire's fast-approaching primary, while rival Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, said their campaigns will go on no matter what the outcome Tuesday.
Martelly leaves office with Haiti in crisis
Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Michel Martelly ended his presidential term without handing power to a successor, in an electoral crisis highlighting Haiti's long struggle to keep democracy on track in the 30 years since the Duvalier dictatorship ended. Martelly was able to leave office thanks to a last-minute agreement hours before to install a transitional government after prolonged protests that sometimes turned violent. "During its long road to the promised land, Haiti will remember that a certain Michel Joseph Martelly -- Micky to his people -- loved, gave, and built," he said during his last address as president.
Syria troops make more gains in Aleppo, near Turkish border
BEIRUT (AP) ? Syrian army troops recaptured a new village north of Aleppo Monday, bringing troops and allied militiamen to within a few kilometers of the Turkish border as part of a major Russian-backed offensive in the area, the Syrian government and opposition activists said.
Australian released by jihadists arrives in Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) ? An Australian woman who was freed by her al-Qaida captors after several weeks said Monday that she hopes her husband who remains a hostage will soon be released as well so they can continue their charity work in the West African country.
Mother, sons freed from debris, dark and confusion in quake-toppled Taiwan home
By J.R. Wu TAINAN, Taiwan (Reuters) - When an earthquake struck southern Taiwan in the early hours of Saturday, Chang Chun-jung thought it was all over. All three are being treated in hospital for lacerations.
After big loss, Credit Suisse CEO asks board: Cut my bonus
GENEVA (AP) ? The new CEO of Credit Suisse has proposed that its board make a "significant" cut in his bonus after the Swiss bank posted disappointing earnings last week and announced 4,000 job cuts.
Call for responsive governments at Dubai summit amid turmoil
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) ? World leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama called Monday for governments to be responsive to and inclusive of their citizens, especially as the unrest of the Arab Spring still reverberates across the Middle East.
Russia says arrests seven Islamic State militants over attack plot
Russia's FSB security service said on Monday it had arrested seven Islamic State militants in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg who it said had been planning bomb attacks in Moscow, St Petersburg and the Sverdlovsk region. The group included Russian nationals and citizens of Central Asian states, the FSB said in a statement, saying it had charged the group with terrorism, and the illegal possession of weapons and explosives. "It was established that after the terror acts, those detained plan to leave for Syria to take part in military action in the ranks of Islamic State," the FSB said.