Fired-up Obama foes take over US House

WASHINGTON – A tense new era of political power-sharing dawned in Washington on Wednesday as a new US Congress convened with President Barack Obama's Republican foes in control of the House of Representatives.

U.S. envoy to Libya ensnared in WikiLeaks uproar

WASHINGTON – The U.S. ambassador to Libya has found his job in limbo after revelations in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks drew complaints from the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

North Korea wants talks, U.S. wants end to provocations

SEOUL/WASHINGTON – North Korea called on Wednesday for unconditional talks with the South but the United States suggested it must first stop provoking its neighbor, recommit to a 2005 nuclear pact and take responsibility for recent attacks.

800 soldiers in dock at Bangladesh mutiny hearing

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Some 800 shackled Bangladeshi soldiers crammed into a specially-built Dhaka court on Wednesday, accused of murder and other serious offenses during a mutiny in which scores of officers were massacred.

Earthquake injures 16 people in southern Iran

TEHRAN, Iran - Sixteen people were injured when a 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted southern Iran on Wednesday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.

New US Congress to hone in on Afghan aid

WASHINGTON DC - The new U.S. Congress will examine cutting civilian assistance to Afghanistan as budget-minded lawmakers seek to curb costs without undercutting military operations at a key moment in a long, unpopular war.

Sudan poll a challenge to Africa's colonial borders

JUBA, Sudan - A referendum on independence for south Sudan on Sunday raises tough questions about the legitimacy of Africa's colonial borders and sets a precedent for existing secessionist movements, analysts say.

Chavez floats Stone, Penn, Clinton for US envoy

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought to end a diplomatic stand-off with the United States on Tuesday by suggesting it name Bill Clinton, actor Sean Penn or director Oliver Stone as its envoy to Caracas.

US envoy discusses North Korea in Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea - The US special envoy on North Korea on Wednesday met with a top South Korean official for talks on easing tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear programme and a deadly attack on a South Korean island.

New twist in California gay marriage legal battle

LOS ANGELES - A US federal appeals court asked California's top tribunal Tuesday to help it rule on a challenge by opponents of same-sex marriages in the western US state.