By Andy Sullivan NASHUA, N.H. (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham took their debate over America's role in the world from the U.S. Senate floor to the campaign trail on Saturday in an early sign that foreign policy is likely to be a flash point in the 2016 election. At a gathering of 18 potential and actual White House contenders, Paul accused fellow Republicans of being too willing to commit U.S. troops to foreign conflicts without a clear idea of how to get them out. There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more." That drew a rebuke from Graham, a South Carolina senator and Air Force reservist who frequently criticizes Democratic President Barack Obama for not being aggressive enough with adversaries like Iran and the Islamic State.
Russia has key interests in common with the United States and needs to work with it on a common agenda, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday in a television interview. In his comments to the state-run Rossiya channel, Putin appeared to soften his anti-American rhetoric after being highly critical. Relations between Moscow and Washington and other Western powers have soured over the conflict in Russia's neighbor Ukraine, sinking to an all-time low. We have a common agenda." Putin has in the past fiercely attacked the United States and the West in general, blaming them for the Ukraine crisis, which Russia says was the result of a Western-backed "coup" against Ukraine's former leader Viktor Yanukovich.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack Saturday that killed 33 people and wounded more than 100 others in eastern Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani said, in what appears to be the first major attack by the jihadists in the country. Ghani's government has repeatedly raised the ominous prospect of IS making inroads into Afghanistan, though the group that has captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq has never formally acknowledged having a presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban have seen defections to the group in recent months, with some self-styled IS insurgents voicing their disaffection with their one-eyed supreme leader Mullah Omar, who has not been seen since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, Daesh (IS) claimed responsibility," Ghani said on a visit to northeastern Badakhshan province.
A suicide bomber killed at least 33 people and wounded 100 others in an attack Saturday outside a bank in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, according to officials. "Thirty-three dead bodies and more than 100 wounded were brought to the hospital," Dr Najeebullah Kamawal, head of the provincial hospital, told AFP. Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, provincial government spokesman, confirmed the attack -- the deadliest since November -- but put the death toll slightly lower at 30. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack, which saw children among those killed, his office said in a statement.
(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the city's teachers union reached a tentative agreement on Friday night, the union said, averting a possible strike. The three-year agreement includes a 10 percent pay rise spread over two years, investment in class size and counseling, as well as improvements to the evaluation system for teachers, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) said on its website. Representatives for the school district could not be immediately reached early on Saturday, but school board member Steve Zimmer told the Los Angeles Times: "This is an important step in restoring trust and partnership between LAUSD and UTLA." "Our message to our teachers is simple: We believe in you. The agreement must be ratified by union membership and the district's Board of Education, the union said.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. The 12-inch (30-cm) pipeline, belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp , was struck by a backhoe near state Highway 99, unleashing a fireball that injured members of the construction team and a prison inmate crew nearby, Fresno Fire Department spokesman Peter Martinez said. Four of the injured were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, and two more were taken to the burn unit there, said hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell, adding that four were in critical condition and two serious. A county public works equipment operator struck the natural gas line, said The Fresno Bee, citing Fresno County Administrative Officer John Navarrette.
By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Advocates for legalizing marijuana launched a petition campaign in Phoenix on Friday seeking a ballot measure that could make Arizona the fifth U.S. state to allow possession, cultivation and consumption of small amounts of pot for recreational use. Supporters have until July of next year to obtain the signatures of 150,642 registered voters in the politically conservative state in order to get their initiative placed on the November 2016 ballot, election officials said. Following the leads of five other western states and the District of Columbia, the Arizona measure would legalize possession, cultivation and private personal consumption of marijuana by adults for the sake of just getting high. Arizona is already one of 23 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
It was just after 9 a.m. on April 19, 1995, when the bomb went off outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It was one of those events that seem to make the world stop turning. At the time, it was the worst terror attack on U.S. soil. Lt. (now Capt.) Stephen Spall of the New York City Fire Department was driving home from his shift when he heard the news on the radio. He immediately called in to see if he needed to go back to work. The next day, he was on a plane to Oklahoma.