World News

The new secretary general of NATO and Pakistan's Army chief were in Kabul on Thursday to meet with newly-sworn-in President Ashraf Ghani.

As NPR's Sean Carberry reports the visits mark a continued honeymoon between the international community and Afghanistan's new government. Sean sent this report to our Newscast unit:

"Neither visit resulted in any new policies or initiatives. Rather, they appeared to be about marking a new chapter in Afghanistan's relations with NATO and Pakistan.

For the first time, a small group of Syrian rebels have been permitted to transit Turkish territory en route to the fight against militants of the self-declared Islamic State in the besieged border city of Kobani.

The Associated Press reports, citing Syrian activists and Kurdish officials, that the group of around 50 armed men are from the Free Syrian Army. It was reported earlier that Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were also being allowed to cross from Turkey.

Russia is backing a plan by separatists in eastern Ukraine to hold a vote in areas under their control ostensibly as part of a deal with Kiev to allow limited self-rule in the region. The vote, set for Nov. 2 would come days after Ukrainian elections that saw pro-Western parties allied with President Petro Poroshenko sweep to power.

At a checkpoint outside the northern Iraq town of Makhmur, I saw something I'd never seen before in Iraq.

Two men were checking cars. One was young and wearing a sand-colored uniform of the official Iraqi Kurdish forces, called the peshmerga. The other was older, grizzled and dressed in an olive-green, traditional Kurdish overall, and he's with Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"We're happy to be working together," said the older man, Hajji Hussein Abdulrahman.

The Pentagon says it will investigate a video released by the self-declared Islamic State showing its fighters purportedly rifling through crates of U.S. arms intended for Kurdish forces fighting the extremist group.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said: "We're still taking a look at [the video] and assessing the validity of it."

youtube / KTN Kenya

The world is mourning the death in Broome County of a prominent African scholar who had ties to New York's State University system.

Kenyan-born Professor Ali Mazrui died early Monday morning - the 81-year-old was an academic and political writer on African and Islamic studies and North-South relations, as well as professor and director of the Center for Global Cultural Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton.

The number of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong has dwindled today after a weekend that saw dozens of arrests and an angry backlash from business owners whose shops were shut down amid the demonstrations.

The South China Morning Post says: "Protest sites are quiet on Monday as some demonstrators leave for work, others remain and authorities keep their distance."

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying is appealing to pro-democracy demonstrators who've brought parts of the Asian financial hub to a standstill in recent days to halt their campaign "immediately" because, he says, Beijing won't accede to their demands. But protesters have promised to announce a new phase of civil disobedience if reforms aren't forthcoming.

French warplanes conducted their first airstrikes against targets in northern Iraq just hours after the U.S. Senate approved arming and training Syrian rebels to enter the fight against Islamic State militants.

Rafale fighters struck a logistics depot, which French President Francois Hollande declared "entirely destroyed."

Voters are heading to the polls in Scotland today to vote on whether to break from the United Kingdom. One passionate supporter of independence is Lindsay Jarrett, who suffers from a lung disease and made headlines by climbing and hanging a “Yes” sign on the cliffs near Edinburgh Castle. Jarrett says she is confident the referendum will pass.