A 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal Saturday, causing an avalanche on Mount Everest and crumbling buildings in Katmandu, the capital. Nepal’s Home Ministry announced an initial death toll of 686, a number that is continuing to rise. We are collecting stories and from the ground and live updates on the death toll and damages as the story develops.
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake in Nepal smashed into a base camp at the foothills of Mount Everest on Saturday, killing at least eight climbers and guides, injuring many and leaving an unknown number missing near the mountain's most dangerous spot, officials said.
By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A shallow earthquake measuring 7.9 magnitude struck west of the ancient Nepali capital of Kathmandu on Saturday causing buildings to collapse, injuring many and leaving a pall of dust over the city, witnesses said. The initial unconfirmed death toll was at least four but could be expected to rise significantly as Kathmandu's decrepit buildings, crisscrossed by narrow alleys, are home to large families. At the main hospital in Kathmandu, people with broken limbs and arms were being rushed in for treatment. A girl died after a statue fell on her in a park in Kathmandu, a witness said, while another died in India when her house collapsed.
(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Friday night that an outage affecting payment systems at a number of its stores in the United States and Canada had been resolved. "The point of sale register outage has been resolved and all Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada are expected to open for business as usual on Saturday," a statement on the company's website said. "We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience." Starbucks said the outage also affected its Evolution Fresh and Teavana stores, which the company said would also open as scheduled on Saturday.
(Reuters) - Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday signed a bill that will overhaul the state's medical marijuana market, reconciling the long unregulated system with the voter-approved recreational pot industry. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, voters in Washington state and Colorado approved recreational cannabis use in landmark votes in 2012 that ushered in licensed and taxed retail stores offering a range of products to adults. "Today, after tremendous hard work and compromise by legislators on both sides of the aisle, I signed a bill that will create a medical marijuana system that works for Washington." The bill will remove collective gardens that supply medical dispensaries starting next year, in favor of four-person "cooperatives." Some existing collectives will be allowed to continue operating however, if granted a license on the basis of factors such as the applicant's tax history. It will also establish a voluntary database of medical patients and let authorized patients possess three times the amount of marijuana allowed by the recreational-use law.
By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner said on Friday that he identifies as a woman, becoming the most high-profile American to come out as transgender. The 65-year-old Jenner made the declaration in a wide-ranging interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, nearly 40 years after his record-breaking Olympic gold-medal win in the decathlon that gave him the unofficial title of "World's Greatest Athlete." At the outset of the taped interview, Sawyer asked "Are you a woman?" and Jenner responded, "Yes, for all intents and purposes I am a woman." "People look at me differently," Jenner added.
By Ian Simpson BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The mayor of Baltimore praised the citizens who organized five days of peaceful protests over the death of a black man in police custody and vowed after meeting with clergy leaders on Friday to find answers in the case. The largely black city has seen daily marches and demonstrations since Sunday, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of a neck injury sustained when police arrested him a week earlier. Unlike in Ferguson, where weeks of peaceful protests were punctuated by several nights of rioting, arson and looting, the protests in Baltimore have seen only a handful of arrests and no major violence. They demand answers." Six Baltimore officers have been suspended with pay over the incident.
By Mark Hosenball and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Central Intelligence Agency's Inspector General will conduct what could be the first of several investigations into the CIA drone strikes that killed American and Italian hostages and two U.S.-born al Qaeda militants, U.S. government sources said on Friday. The Senate Intelligence Committee also is reviewing the attacks, a Congressional source said. Depending upon the results of the CIA watchdog's investigation, U.S. President Barack Obama could establish an outside investigative panel to examine the drone attacks, and broader U.S. drone policy, said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The White House has revealed few details about the reviews, declining even to identify the CIA Inspector General as the office doing the initial probe.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The accidental killing of two hostages in a U.S. operation against al-Qaida has put a new spotlight on the Obama administration's reliance on drones in the battle against terrorism — and has also raised pressure on the White House to revise the nation's oft-criticized strategy for dealing with abducted Americans and their families.
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty were evacuated from Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Friday after a report of a suspicious package, the United States Park Police said, and law enforcement officials are investigating the site. The New York Police Department's bomb squad is assisting in the security sweep of one of the New York area's most popular tourist destinations, a NYPD spokesman said. The evacuation was ordered after a telephone bomb threat and police dogs detected a suspicious scent on a package, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing park police. Sergeant Lelani Woods of the U.S. Park Police said she could not confirm that anyone phoned in a bomb threat.
(Reuters) - The number of confirmed and presumed HIV cases stemming from abuse of intravenous prescription drugs has increased to 142 in a rural part of southeastern Indiana and more cases are being identified every day, a state health official said on Friday. The HIV outbreak, the biggest in state history, is centered on Scott County near the Kentucky border and now includes at least five cases in neighboring Jackson County, officials said. "We likely haven't reached the peak of this outbreak, but we hope to soon through the continued comprehensive response made possible by the joint efforts of so many people and organizations," state Health Commissioner Jerome Adams said in a statement. Typically, Scott County has fewer than five new HIV cases in a year.