By Zandi Shabalala BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius's conviction for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has been scaled up to murder from culpable homicide by South Africa's top appeals court. "Blade Runner" Pistorius could now be sent back to jail for at least 15 years for shooting Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day 2013. The athlete is expected to be sentenced for the new murder conviction by a lower court at a date still to be determined.
California's Muslim community expressed its horror at the mass shooting that killed at least 14 in San Bernardino, after a local Muslim man was widely identified as a suspect. Syed Farook, a US citizen who worked for the town's health department, is believed to have been killed in a shootout with police hours after opening fire inside a Christmas party at a local social services center. "The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence," he added in a statement.
A Texas state agency sued the U.S. State Department, a relief agency and others in federal court on Wednesday, seeking to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state just ahead of a plan to bring a new group of Syrians within a week. The International Rescue Committee is set to relocate two Syrian refugee families to Texas in the coming days despite a threat from state officials that such a move would be reckless and met with a cut in funding for the agency. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission sued, asking the U.S. District Court in Dallas for an immediate restraining order and a hearing by Dec. 9 for an injunction that would prevent resettlement.
Britain will join the US-led bombing campaign against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria after a decisive parliamentary vote, with fighter jets launching their first air strike as early as Thursday. Prime Minister David Cameron's government was backed by 397 lawmakers compared to 223 who opposed the bombing, giving him at 174 the strong mandate he said was essential for military action. Royal Air Force planes based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are already helping to bomb targets in Iraq and government sources indicated that they could start flying missions over Syria imminently.
By Tim Reid and Dan Whitcomb SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a holiday party on Wednesday at a social services agency in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 others, then fled the scene, triggering an intense manhunt and a shootout with police, authorities said. One suspect was struck by gunfire and one officer was injured in a confrontation hours after the mass shooting, San Bernardino police spokeswoman Sergeant Vicki Cervantes told reporters, adding that a second suspect might still be "outstanding." She did not know the condition of the struck suspect but said the officer's injuries were not considered to be life-threatening. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a televised news briefing earlier that as many as three suspects were believed to have made their getaway in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle.
A Baltimore policeman on trial for the death of a black man from a spinal injury while in custody failed to secure him in the back of a van and ignored his request for medical aid, a prosecutor said in opening statements on Wednesday. Gray's death in April triggered rioting, arson and protests in the largely black city and fueled a national debate over police tactics and relations with minorities. Porter, 26, faces charges in Baltimore City Circuit Court that include manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct.
At least one gunman opened fire inside a center for the disabled in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding the same number before fleeing the scene. A stock-market trader goes on a day-long shooting rampage, killing 12 people, including his wife and two children, before taking his own life. A teenage boy kills two people at his grandfather's home on an Indian reservation and then goes to his local high school, where he kills seven others before committing suicide.
A jury was selected on Wednesday in the trial of the first of six police officers charged in a black man's death that triggered rioting and fueled a U.S. debate on police brutality and race relations. Opening arguments in the trial of Officer William Porter could begin as early as Wednesday after the panel of eight black and four white jurors was chosen in Baltimore City Circuit Court, a court spokeswoman said. The jurors' identities will be shielded, and Judge Barry Williams has said the trial will run no later than Dec. 17.
Artists and activists have circumvented the French government’s controversial ban on public protests – in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people – through art installations that capitalize the presence of world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Chicago's 12,000-member police force, one of the biggest in the country and one of the most prone to use lethal force, needs a cultural change that will take time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Wednesday in an interview with Politico. Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday and has launched a search for a replacement, following protests over the police killing of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old African-American teenager, which was caught on video. Jason Van Dyke, the white police officer who shot McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014, has been charged with murder and is out on bail.