Pompeo in Saudi Arabia for visit focused on Iranian threats

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and the crown prince on Thursday to discuss shared security interests in the Gulf and threats from Iran. He also toured a sprawling desert air base in Saudi Arabia where a few thousand U.S. troops are deployed as part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to stymie Iran’s regional reach.

German gunman calling for genocide kills 9 people

HANAU, Germany — A 43-year-old German who posted a rant calling for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst” shot and killed nine people of foreign background, most of them Turkish, in an attack on a hookah bar and other sites in a Frankfurt suburb, authorities said Thursday.

Lawyer: Assange was offered US pardon if he cleared Russia

LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to claim during an extradition hearing that the Trump administration offered him a pardon if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, a lawyer for Assange said Wednesday.

UN: Thousands fleeing Syrian offensive, kids dying in cold

UNITED NATIONS — Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing a Russian-backed Syrian offensive are being squeezed into ever smaller areas near Turkey’s border “under horrendous conditions” in freezing temperatures that are killing babies and young children, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Wednesday.

Abuse victims look to Vatican after UN meetings in Geneva

GENEVA — Three deaf victims of sexual abuse by priests in Argentina wrapped up a string of meetings with United Nations human rights officials in Geneva on Wednesday, hoping to build pressure on the Vatican — and Pope Francis himself — to come clean about the crimes committed against them.

Russia and Turkey agree on more talks on Syria amid crisis

ANKARA, Turkey — Talks between Russia and Turkey meant to reduce tensions in northwestern Syria did not yield a “satisfactory result” for Ankara, but both sides agreed to continue negotiations, a spokesman for Turkey’s president said Tuesday.

Experts ponder why cruise ship quarantine failed in Japan

TOKYO — As an extraordinary two-week quarantine of a cruise ship ends Wednesday in Japan, many scientists say it was a failed experiment: The ship seemed to serve as an incubator for the new virus from China instead of an isolation facility meant to prevent the worsening of an outbreak.

Virus claims life of hospital director in hard-hit Wuhan

BEIJING — As a mysterious new virus enveloped central China’s Wuhan early this year, Liu Zhiming mobilized all the resources of his hospital in the city’s Wuchang district to deal with the thousands of sick people arriving daily, threatening to overwhelm the local health care system.

Virus fears rise after Cambodia’s acceptance of cruise ship

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The feel-good story of how Cambodia allowed a cruise ship to dock after it was turned away elsewhere in Asia for fear of spreading the deadly virus that began in China has taken an unfortunate turn after a passenger released from the ship tested positive for the virus.

Priests of disgraced Legion face trial for obstruction claim

MILAN — The Vatican effort to reform the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order is coming under new scrutiny, with four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim.

After gains in northern Syria, Assad predicts total victory

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces Monday for recent gains in northwestern Syria that led to his troops consolidating control over Aleppo province, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later.”

Leaked data shows China’s Uighurs detained due to religion

BEIJING — For decades, the Uighur imam was a bedrock of his farming community in China’s far west. On Fridays, he preached Islam as a religion of peace. On Sundays, he treated the sick with free herbal medicine. In the winter, he bought coal for the poor.