BEIRUT (AP) — A leading international watchdog on Thursday accused an al-Qaida-linked rebel group that controls large parts of northern Syria of running secret prisons in which torture and summary killings are common.
The European Union took a historic leap towards greater integration just hours ahead of a summit Thursday, with a deal on a banking union aimed at preventing a repeat of the eurozone's crippling crises of the past. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, just beginning a fresh four-year mandate, will be closely watched at the summit for her reaction to the agreement, which marks one of the biggest transfers of national sovereignty to the bloc since the creation of its single currency. The deal is expected to bolster her pledge ahead of the summit to, together with key partner France, build a stronger Europe. Invigorated by a third term as leader of Europe's biggest economy, she has also signalled her determination to push through unpopular reforms to ensure the financial stability of the 28-nation bloc.