World

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - For more than 30 years, chef and restaurant owner Oh Keum-il built her expertise in cooking one traditional South Korean delicacy: dog meat.

In her twenties, Oh travelled around South Korea to learn dog meat recipes from each region. During a period of South Korean reconciliation with North Korea early last decade, she went to Pyongyang as part of a business delegation and tasted a dozen different dog dishes, from dog stew to dog taffy, all served lavishly at the Koryo, one of the North's best hotels.

BERLIN - A German union representing pilots says it is planning a new round of strikes in a long-running dispute over wages and early retirement benefits.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union says in a statement it will order pilots of Germanwings, a subsidiary of Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa, to go on strike Friday if further negotiations on Thursday fail to achieve their goals.

The union said all Germanwings flights departing from German airports would be affected by the strike Friday from 6 a.m. until noon local time.

LAS VEGAS - The death of an Arizona firearms instructor by a 9-year-old girl who was firing a fully automatic Uzi displayed a tragic side of what has become a hot industry in the U.S.: gun tourism.

With gun laws keeping high-powered weapons out of reach for most people — especially those outside the U.S. — indoor shooting ranges with high-powered weapons have become a popular attraction.

NEW YORK - The FBI said Wednesday it's working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several U.S. financial institutions.

A report on Bloomberg.com said Wednesday that the FBI is investigating an incident in which Russian hackers attacked the U.S financial system this month in possible retaliation against U.S. government-sponsored sanctions aimed at Russia.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Thundering surf spawned by a Pacific hurricane pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town while drawing daredevil surfers and body-boarders into churning, 20-foot waves as crowds of spectators lined the shore.

Despite the danger, surfers, body-boarders and body-surfers flocked to favourite spots such as the notorious Wedge at Newport Beach, where the interaction of swells and a jetty produced huge waves, and cars were backed up for miles along the only road to the narrow peninsula.

LOS ANGELES - Jiff was already cute, lovable and talented. Now he's proven he's speedy too.

The 4-year-old, 5-pound Pomeranian blazed into the 60th edition of the Guinness World Records book that comes out Sept. 10.

He can run 10 metres (9.1 yards) on his hind legs in 6.56 seconds and 5 metres (4.55 yards) on his front paws in 7.76 seconds. Both times are faster than any other dog on the planet has clocked.

CINCINNATI - Personal conflict, not religion, was the driving motive behind beard- and hair-cutting attacks targeting Amish, an appeals court panel ruled Wednesday in overturning the hate-crime convictions of 16 men and women.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel sided with arguments brought by attorneys for the Amish defendants, who were convicted two years ago in five attacks in 2011. The attacks were in apparent retaliation against Amish who had defied or denounced the authoritarian style of Sam Mullet Sr., leader of the Bergholz community in eastern Ohio.

ST. LOUIS - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday appointed a new state public safety director, giving his administration its only black Cabinet member nearly three weeks after the shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer led to violent protests in a St. Louis suburb.

The governor said former St. Louis police chief Daniel Isom II will take over as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety on Sept. 1. He will replace Jerry Lee, who resigned after almost three years as director.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - John Lennon's imprisoned killer says he still gets letters about the pain he caused in his pursuit of notoriety nearly 34 years ago.

"I am sorry for causing that type of pain," Mark David Chapman told a parole board last week, according to a transcript released Wednesday. "I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory."

It was Chapman's eighth appearance before a parole board. In again denying his release, the three-member panel said it would "so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law."

BEIRUT - The mother of a hostage American journalist pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerged of mass killings, including masked militants shooting kneeling men after the capture of a strategic air base in Syria.

Shirley Sotloff's plea came as a U.N. commission accused the group, which dominates a broad swath of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border, of committing crimes against humanity and President Barack Obama weighs options for targeting the extremists' stronghold in Syria.

TORONTO - Canada will bring three scientists working in West Africa's Ebola zone home by private charter, the Public Health Agency of Canada suggested Wednesday as it issued a short update on the evacuation of the team from Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

The agency reiterated that the Canadians were being brought back to Canada early after it was discovered several people at the hotel where they were staying were infected with Ebola.

MEXICO CITY - Relatives of people missing in Mexico blasted authorities Wednesday as seemingly more interested in manipulating the data on the disappeared than on conducting thorough investigations.

The government last week revised the number of people believed to have disappeared since Mexico launched a war against drug traffickers in 2006, reporting that 22,322 had been reported missing. That was significantly higher than earlier estimates. In May, the government had said 8,000 people were missing.

ROTHERHAM, England - ROTHERHAM, England (AP) — Rotherham is a working-class town that is remarkable in its ordinariness — a collection of charmless discount stores, betting shops and kebab counters, surrounded by sleepy residential streets lined with brick houses that have seen better days.

But below the drab surface, shock was evident Wednesday as the people of this northern English town learned that for 16 years, girls as young as 11 in their community had been subjected to sexual exploitation on a vast scale.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - John Lennon's imprisoned killer says he still gets letters about the pain he caused in his pursuit of notoriety nearly 34 years ago.

"I am sorry for causing that type of pain," Mark David Chapman told a parole board last week, according to a transcript released Wednesday. "I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory."

It was Chapman's eighth appearance before a parole board. In again denying his release, the three-member panel said it would "so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law."

NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine - Pushing west in a new offensive along Ukraine's strategic coastline, heavily armed Russian-backed separatist forces captured new territory Wednesday far from their previous battles with government troops.

The bold offensive along a new southeastern front raised the prospect that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Azov Sea.

TEL AVIV, Israel - The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering Palestinians in Gaza.

JERUSALEM - Both Israel's prime minister and Hamas declared victory Wednesday in the Gaza war, though their competing claims left questions over future terms of their uneasy peace still lingering.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments, delivered in a prime-time address on national television, appeared aimed at countering critics of the war, with both hard-liners in his governing coalition, as well as residents of rocket-scarred southern Israel, saying the war was a failure because it did not halt Hamas' rocket attacks or oust the group from power.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska voters have retained a new petroleum production tax system that offers hope of increased investment and jobs but drew criticism as a giveaway to already profitable oil companies.

The state Division of Elections counted 17,721 absentee and early votes Tuesday, giving repeal opponents the victory. The "no" side increased its lead from 6,880 to 8,443 votes. The unofficial overall count was 90,150 to 81,707, giving the no side a 52.5 per cent edge.

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as a leading American health official warned that the outbreak sweeping West Africa would get worse.

The disease has already killed more than 1,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and Doctors Without Borders warned that the tremendous influx of patients in Liberia, in particular, is overwhelming their treatment centres there.

CHICAGO - Two Chicago men sued a taxi company this week, alleging a driver tried to kick them out of his cab because they shared a short kiss.

Matthew McCrea and Steven White filed the lawsuit against Sun Taxi. They claim the driver violated the Illinois Human Rights Act and are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering launching a humanitarian relief operation for Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq who have been under siege for weeks by Islamic State militants, U.S. defence officials said Wednesday.

Libya's ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday of "full-blown civil war" if the chaos and division in the North African country continue.

Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the U.N. Security Council that he had always excluded civil war as a possibility, "but the situation has changed."

The council unanimously approved a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire and extending sanctions against people threatening Libya's stability.

PARIS - Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, was put under official investigation for negligence in a French corruption probe that dates back to her days as France's finance minister.

After a fourth round of questioning before magistrates on Wednesday, Lagarde said she was returning to her work in Washington, and called the investigation "without basis." She is the third IMF managing director in a decade to face legal troubles.

KEARNS, Utah - A newborn baby girl was expected to remain in critical condition for several days after Utah police say her mother dumped her in a neighbour's trash can in a Salt Lake City suburb.

The 2-day-old girl was still on a ventilator and fighting for her life in a hospital, Unified Police Detective Jared Richardson said Wednesday. The girl's mother, 23-year-old Alicia Marie Englert, was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted murder.

MADRID - Spanish fashion retailer Inditex said Wednesday it has withdrawn a children's shirt that triggered an outcry from people who said it was reminiscent of the clothes Jews were made to wear at Nazi concentration camps.

The long-sleeved shirt with horizontal dark stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the left side of the chest prompted a storm on social media, with many people finding the shirt distasteful because it conjured up memories of the Holocaust.