- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

Heads of House, Senate intelligence panels warn of threat from Islamic State fighters in US

WASHINGTON (AP) - Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Sunday prodded President Barack Obama to take decisive action against what they say are growing threats from Islamic State militants on U.S. soil.

The lawmakers, one Republican and one Democratic, offered bipartisan pressure on the White House to turn back the hazard of Islamist fighters who have taken control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Those militants now are looking toward the United States or Western Europe for its next targets, lawmakers said.

Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions how to confront them, the lawmakers said Obama soon needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to crush the fighters.

“His foreign policy is in absolute free-fall,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee.

In another TV interview, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate intelligence panel, said Obama is perhaps “too cautious” in his approach to combatting the Islamic State group.

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Putin calls for talks; Ukraine says rebels fire on border guard vessel in Azov Sea

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Ukraine to immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Hours later, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. Pro-Russian rebels have recently opened a new offensive along the seacoast.

Putin’s comment, made to national TV network Channel 1, said Ukraine should “hold substantive, meaningful talks, not about technical issues but about the question of the political organization of society and statehood in southeast Ukraine, with the goal of safeguarding the legitimate interests of those people who live there.”

Despite the use of the word “statehood,” Putin did not envision sovereignty for the two separatist eastern regions that style themselves as “Novorossiya” (New Russia ), his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later, according to a Russian news report.

Putin’s comments came a day after leaders of the European Union decided to put off any new sanctions against Russia for at least a week.

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Philippines says peacekeepers pull ‘greatest escape’ from Syrian rebels; 44 Fijians still held

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