Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, in the holy city of Mecca, the official SPA news agency reported, citing election commission president Osama al-Bar. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, including a ban on driving. According to election commission data, nearly 1.5 million people aged 18 and over were registered to vote.
Veteran lawmaker Sylvester Turner edged out Republican businessman Bill King on Saturday to claim victory as the new mayor of Houston, the fourth most-populous U.S. city. Turner, who sought to expand economic opportunities, faced King, who had pledged to fix city finances, in a runoff after a November election failed to produce a winner. With more than 210,000 votes cast, Turner claimed victory with 51 percent to 49 percent for King, who conceded defeat.
FBI divers picked through the bottom of a San Bernardino lake on Saturday for a third day, seeking evidence related to a married couple who massacred 14 people at a holiday party, in what the bureau has called an act of terror inspired by Islamic State. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in an email divers retrieved objects from Seccombe Lake, as they did the previous day. The San Bernardino lake, nestled in a public park, about 2.5 miles (4 km) north of the site of the shooting, is believed to be littered with junk and debris.
A 23-year-old man was in jail on Saturday on suspicion of arson and carrying out a hate crime, online jail records showed, an arrest that the Los Angeles Times reported was in connection with a fire at a Southern California mosque. The Times, citing jail records and anonymous law enforcement sources, said the arrest on Friday was tied to a blaze at Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. It identified the suspect as Carl Dial.
Marvin Banks, 30, faced two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, police officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25, who were gunned down in during a routine traffic stop on May 9. It was the first killing of a police officer in the city for more than 30 years.
Voters in Houston, the fourth most-populous U.S. city, went to the polls on Saturday to elect a mayor with Sylvester Turner, a veteran lawmaker seeking to expand economic opportunities, facing Bill King, a businessman pledging to fix city finances. Polls have shown the race to be a dead heat between Turner, a powerful Democrat in the Republican-dominated state legislature, and King, a Republican lawyer and businessman who calls himself "unapologetically moderate". Turner, supported by public sector unions, has backed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) that bans discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, protections not guaranteed under Texas law.
By Richard Valdmanis and Valerie Volcovici PARIS (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius presented a landmark global climate accord on Saturday, a "historic" measure for transforming the world's fossil fuel-driven economy within decades and turn the tide on global warming. At the tail end of the hottest year on record and after four years of fraught U.N. talks often pitting the interests of rich nations against poor, imperiled island states against rising economic powerhouses, Fabius urged officials from nearly 200 nations to support what he hopes will be a final draft. "Our responsibility to history is immense," Fabius told thousands of officials, including President Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in the main hall of the conference venue on the outskirts of Paris.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has called Donald Trump a disgrace to the United States following his call for a ban on Muslims entering the country, and demanded the Republican front-runner withdraw from the U.S. presidential race. Trump triggered an international uproar when he made his comments in response to last week's deadly shootings in California by two Muslims who authorities said were radicalized. "You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America," Prince Alwaleed, the chairman of Kingdom Holding , said on his Twitter account, addressing Trump and referring to the Republican Party.
By Emily Stephenson and Chris Kahn WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald Trump held onto his commanding lead in the Republican race for the White House after his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States was condemned worldwide, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, the first national survey conducted entirely after the billionaire's remarks. Trump led the pack of candidates seeking the Republican Party's nomination in the 2016 election with 35 percent of support from Republican voters, the opinion poll released on Friday found, the same lead he held before Monday, when he said Muslim immigrants, students and other travelers should be barred from entering the country. Most Republican voters said they were not bothered by his remarks, though many said the comments could still hurt Trump's chances of becoming president.
By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson threatened to leave his party and launch an independent White House bid on Friday, accusing Republican Party leaders of trying to manipulate who wins the 2016 nomination. Carson's threat came a day after party operatives said the race is so unpredictable that it could result in a contested convention in July when delegates meet to formally pick their presidential nominee. Carson's concern is that party officials will rally around a candidate of their choice and exclude him.
Investigators searched for motives and evidence in the case of a California couple who killed 14 people at a holiday Christmas party, while a poll released on Friday showed Americans are losing faith in the U.S. government's ability to protect them from militant attacks. A Gallup poll of 1,013 adults conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday showed 55 percent of respondents had a "fair amount" or "great deal" of confidence that authorities could prevent further attacks, a 12-point drop from June. Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, committed what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has called an act of terror when they opened fire on the party in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.
By Frank McGurty NEW YORK (Reuters) - Confidence in the U.S. government to protect its citizens from militant attacks has fallen to its lowest in more than a decade after a pair of suspected militant Islamists gunned down 14 people at a holiday party in California, a poll released on Friday found. Only 55 percent of respondents said they had "a fair amount" or "a great deal" of confidence that authorities could protect the country from further attacks, according to data collected by Gallup on Dec. 8-9, just days after the San Bernardino massacre.