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Panda mania hits Germany as China's cuddly envoys arrive

Panda mania hits Germany as China's cuddly envoys arriveGermany was bracing for panda mania as furry ambassadors arrive from China on Saturday, destined for a new life as stars of Berlin's premier zoo. The pair, named Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, will be jetting in on a special Lufthansa cargo plane, accompanied by two Chinese panda specialists, the Berlin Zoo's chief vet and a tonne of bamboo. Berlin's mayor, China's ambassador to Germany and a gaggle of journalists will greet the VIPs as LH8415 pulls to a stop on the tarmac of Schoenefeld airport....

Qatar says Saudi-led ultimatum unreasonable

Qatar says Saudi-led ultimatum unreasonableQatar on Saturday denounced a sweeping list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies in an escalating Gulf diplomatic crisis as unreasonable and an impingement on the emirate's sovereignty. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want Qatar to meet the 13-point ultimatum in return for an end to a nearly three-week-old diplomatic and trade "blockade" of the emirate. Qatar has been given 10 days to meet the demands, which apparently include a call to close down broadcaster Al-Jazeera, but Doha said the requests were unrealistic....

US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan quits post

US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan quits postWashington's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan stepped down on Friday, just as the United States is preparing to send thousands more troops to the region. A senior State Department official told AFP that acting special representative Laurel Miller left the post without a replacement being named. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Miller is returning to a position at the Rand Corporation and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has not yet decided what to do with post....

Suicide bomber blows himself up as Saudis foil Mecca plot

Suicide bomber blows himself up as Saudis foil Mecca plotRIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Grand Mosque at Mecca as police disrupted a plot to target the holiest site in Islam just as the fasting month of Ramadan ends, Saudi security forces said Saturday....

Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for vets' care

Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for vets' careWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Friday that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees, part of a push to overhaul an agency that is struggling to serve millions of military vets....

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