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Updated: 35 min 23 sec ago

Benghazi controversy explained

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 08:35

It’s been nearly three years since the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and the events of that night still remain a political controversy.

Syria army pushes IS jihadists back from ancient Palmyra

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 07:38

Syrian troops pushed Islamic State group jihadists back from the ancient city of Palmyra on Sunday, easing fears over the world heritage site, after fighting that left hundreds dead. The toll comprised 123 soldiers and loyalist militiamen, 115 IS fighters as well as 57 civilians, dozens of whom were executed by the jihadists, the Observatory said, quoting sources on the ground. On Saturday the jihadists pressed their offensive and seized the northern part of the modern town of Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic, but were driven out by regime forces. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the jihadists were still just a kilometre (less than a mile) away from the UNESCO-listed heritage site and its adjacent museum housing thousands of priceless artefacts.

Malaysia launches talks amid Asia's growing migrant crisis

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 05:50

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia launched high-level talks with its neighbors Sunday to try to solve the deepening problem of refugees stranded in boats off Southeast Asia's shores, but there appeared to be no quick solution to the crisis.

Central U.S. braces for storms after tornado series hits area

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 04:54
Thunderstorms and flash floods were predicted for several central U.S. states on Sunday after a tornado series hit large parts of the area a day earlier. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas were either under a flash flood watch or flash flood warning on Sunday morning as thunderstorms battered several central states, the National Weather Service said. Texas and Oklahoma were the hardest hit but there were no reports on Sunday morning of major damage or deaths.

Monitor: Islamic State dead in Syria raid climbs to 32

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 02:45

At least 32 Islamic State members, including four of its leaders, were killed in air strikes and a U.S. special forces raid that targeted the group in eastern Syria, a group monitoring the Syrian war said on Sunday. U.S. officials said the raid killed a senior Islamic State leader identified as a Tunisian who helped to manage its black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gathers its information from sources in the region. The operation in the eastern Deir al-Zor province marked a departure from Washington's strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants in the area.

Pope canonizes 2 saints from 19th century Palestine

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 01:24

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis canonized two nuns from what was 19th century Palestine on Sunday in hopes of encouraging Christians across the Middle East who are facing a wave of persecution from Islamic extremists.

Neither China nor U.S. giving ground over projects dispute

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 18:24

BEIJING (AP) — China and the United States are budging not a bit over Beijing's assertive development in disputed parts of the South China Sea, with Chinese officials politely but pointedly dismissing Washington's push for U.S.-proposed ways to ease tensions.

Tornadoes touch down in parts of Texas, Oklahoma

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 17:15
(Reuters) - Several tornadoes touched down in northwest Texas and western Oklahoma Saturday evening, part of an night of severe weather predicted for a swath of the U.S. ranging from Oklahoma to Nebraska, the National Weather Service said. The twisters that swept down to the ground in the Texas panhandle and in Oklahoma in the early part of the evening landed in areas that were not highly populated, said Keli Pirtle, a spokeswoman for the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service. A tornado that hit the city of Van, Texas, southeast of Dallas, May 10 killed two people and caused $40 million in damage, authorities said.

What we know about Abu Sayyaf: The Islamic State leader killed by U.S. forces

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 12:52

Before Saturday, most Americans had never heard of Abu Sayyaf. But according to the Department of Defense, the senior Islamic State leader wielded the kind of power worthy of sending U.S. Special Operations forces into eastern Syria on a rare and risky mission to capture him.

Bush's tough week exposes challenges for his likely 2016 bid

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 11:57

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jeb Bush worked his way through the dim hallway of an Arizona resort for hours, shuttling from room to room and meeting with dozens of Republican officials, many for the first time.

Notre Dame senior dies after falling from roof a day before graduation

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 08:43
A 21-year-old graduating senior at the University of Notre Dame died early on Saturday after falling from the roof of the school's sports arena in South Bend, Indiana, the university said. The medical examiner will work to determine a cause of death.

US commandos kill senior IS leader in Syria raid

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 08:09

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S. commandos mounted a rare raid into eastern Syria overnight, killing a senior Islamic State leader in a firefight, capturing his wife and rescuing a Yazidi woman held as a slave, the Pentagon said Saturday.

Army weighs if ex-Green Beret hero should be dismissed

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 06:49

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An Army officer stripped of a medal for heroism under fire and his right to call himself a Green Beret is fighting for his military career after accusations he tracked down and killed a suspected bomb-maker in Afghanistan.

U.S. says its troops killed senior Islamic State leader in raid

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 05:26

U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State leader, who helped direct the group's oil, gas and financial operations, during a raid in eastern Syria, the Pentagon and White House said on Saturday. The White House said President Barack Obama ordered the raid that killed the man identified as Abu Sayyaf. U.S. officials said his wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured in the raid and was being held in Iraq. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement that U.S. personnel based out of Iraq conducted the operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria.

Nepal army: All 8 bodies found in crashed US Marine chopper

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 03:31

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The bodies of all eight people on board the U.S. Marine helicopter that crashed during a relief mission in earthquake-hit Nepal have been recovered, Nepal's army said Saturday.

Egypt's ousted President Morsi sentenced to death

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 02:25

The verdict was announced Saturday in Cairo.

Virginia's all-women Sweet Briar College holding last commencement

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 02:03
By Gary Robertson RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - Virginia's all-women Sweet Briar College holds its final commencement on Saturday, as school supporters battle to stop it from becoming the latest U.S. women-only school to shut down. The 700-student school in southwest Virginia is scheduled to close because of financial woes amid a changing educational landscape that has made U.S. all-women schools a vanishing breed. Commencement speaker Teresa Tomlinson, the mayor of Columbus, Georgia, and a 1987 graduate, said she would come out fighting for the school's survival. It has to continue,” Tomlinson said, adding that women’s colleges can mold women into leaders just as Sweet Briar had for her.

FBI looks into shattered glass in new twist in derailment

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 22:42

The agency is called in to investigate the possibility that the Amtrak train's windshield was hit with an object shortly before the train derailed.

Clintons report $30M from speeches, book in past 16 months

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 17:52

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton reported Friday that they earned more than $30 million combined in speaking fees and book royalties since January 2014, putting them firmly within the upper echelon of American earners as the former secretary of state seeks the White House again.

Philadelphia train may have been hit by projectile before wreck

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 16:56

By Jarrett Renshaw PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia and a separate commuter train in the vicinity may have been hit by projectiles of some kind shortly before the wreck, a U.S. transportation safety official said on Friday, after investigators interviewed members of the Amtrak crew. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was called in to examine a remnant of a shattered windshield with a circular damage pattern from the Amtrak locomotive, Sumwalt said. The revelation that Amtrak train No. 188 might have been struck by an object added an unexpected twist to a crash probe that initially focused on why the train had accelerated to over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour) in the minute before it barreled into a curved track segment where the authorized speed limit was just 50 mph (80 kph). The unexplained speed has renewed calls for the installation of "positive train control" technology, which can automatically slow or stop a train to prevent an accident.