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Ukraine captures Russian soldiers ahead of peace talks

Ukraine captures Russian troopsUkraine released a video of captured Russian soldiers on Tuesday, sharply escalating a dispute over Moscow's alleged backing for separatist rebels in the east of the former Soviet republic.

The footage was released only hours before the two countries' presidents were due to meet for the first time since June to discuss the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 people and provoked Western sanctions against Russia.

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Israel, Palestinians reach Gaza ceasefire deal: Hamas spokesman

Israel, palestine reach Gaza truceIsrael and the Palestinians have reached a Gaza ceasefire deal and an official announcement will be made in Egypt, where the agreement was mediated, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman said on Tuesday.

"An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation," said the spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.

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The end of AIPAC?

AIPAC influenceFor decades, AIPAC has thrived on bipartisanship, exerting its influence on congressional Democrats and Republicans alike. But Israel’s government, now dominated by a coalition of right-wing parties led by Likud, has made compromise far less likely than it was a generation ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, the leader of Likud and an unabashed partisan of the Republican view of the world, took office at about the same time as President Obama, and the two have clashed frequently over the expansion of Israeli settlements and the contours of a potential peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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Germany to arm Kurds against Islamic State in test of stronger global role

Germany to ar KurdsGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a backlash at home as Germany flexes a more muscular foreign policy, most recently with a controversial decision to arm Kurdish forces in Iraq.

The decision to bolster Kurds fighting the self-declared Islamic State (IS) is opposed by nearly two-thirds of Germans. And while Ms. Merkel has been a master at tapping the public mood, even when that has meant U-turns on issues from energy to the minimum wage, she is now pushing Germany to be more assertive, both because of its growing world clout and because international crises have erupted so close to home.

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VA says no proof delays in care at Phoenix facility caused vets to die

VA deaths not caused by delaysThe Department of Veterans Affairs says investigators have found no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at a VA hospital in Phoenix, deflating an explosive allegation that helped expose a troubled health care system in which veterans waited months for appointments while employees falsified records to cover up the delays.

Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care at the Phoenix VA hospital rocked the agency last spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well. The scandal led to the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. In July, Congress approved spending an additional $16 billion to help shore up the system.

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Oklahoma sued over secrecy of botched execution

Oklahoma sued over botched execution attemptA decision by state authorities in Oklahoma to keep the botched execution hidden behind a curtain from press and public observers is being legally challenged, with a leading legal rights group joining media outlets in charging that prison officials acted unconstitutionally.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced the lawsuit Monday in a bid to prevent the state from concealing future executions from reporters and the public.

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'His death is not in vain': Thousands mourn Michael Brown

Michael BrownHundreds of people gathered Monday to pay their final respects to Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer earlier this month. The ceremony was accompanied by calm on the streets of Ferguson — contrasting with the turmoil in the aftermath his death — but provided the opportunity for civil rights advocates to again push for justice regarding the shooting and an end to police brutality.

Pastors and civil rights leaders joined Brown's parents at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis to commemorate the young man's life. Earlier his father, Michael Brown Sr., called for a day of peace in honor of his son.

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Seattle protesters aim to block Israeli cargo ship over Gaza siege

Seattle protesters aim to stop Israeli shipPalestinian rights activists in the Seattle area picketed the Port of Tacoma on Monday in an attempt to block a commercial Israeli cargo ship from unloading its merchandise.

The action follows a similar protest last week that managed to prevent the delivery of goods for days from a vessel seeking to dock in Oakland, California.

Block the Boat organizers said the ship, which is owned by Israel's Zim Shipping Services Ltd., one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, was schedule to arrive in the Port of Tacoma on Monday afternoon.

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13 die in Baghdad mosque suicide bombing

iraqi prime ministerAn attack on a Shia mosque by a suicide bomber in Baghdad killed 13 people Monday, and came soon after a call from unity by Iraq's new prime minister.

The explosion was caused by the detonation of a vest full of explosives during noon prayers in the mosque in the southeastern section of New Baghdad. An unconfirmed number of people were injured. The cities of Karbala and al-Hillah, each south of Baghdad, were the sites of car bomb detonations Monday as well.

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