By Richard Cowan and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress narrowly averted a partial shutdown of the U.S. domestic security agency late on Friday night, but the forces behind the chaotic episode remain - fractious Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner's lack of control over them. In five to seven months, the federal debt ceiling will again be reached, and by October Congress must pass spending bills to keep the government running in the new fiscal year. Failing to deal effectively with these issues could have much more damaging repercussions - such as a broad government shutdown or a debt default - than a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some conservatives speak of ousting Boehner, but it is unlikely they can muster enough votes, while others made clear on Friday that they were willing to take big risks to score ideological points. Brinkmanship like this, reminiscent of 2013's 16-day federal government shutdown, was supposed to be over.
By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door-to-door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.
The London man believed to be Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John" told a journalist four years ago that surveillance by British security services had left him contemplating suicide, it emerged Saturday. Mohammed Emwazi, named by media and experts as the militant thought to have beheaded at least five Western hostages held by the IS group, told the Mail on Sunday reporter that he felt like a "dead man walking". Prime Minister David Cameron and a former head of foreign spy agency MI6 strongly rejected the idea, while London mayor Boris Johnson accused Cage of an "apology for terror".
By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door to door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said Saturday that an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Stormy weather coated parts of Texas and Oklahoma with ice on Saturday, canceling nearly 1,000 flights at the Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, while more snow headed toward the already winter-weary Midwest and Northeast. Meteorologists said a storm moving east across the plains will bring a wide swath of 1-3 inches of snow into the Midwest, including Illinois and Kentucky, on Saturday night. Snow was already falling Saturday afternoon in areas that do not usually see it, such as Arkansas and Oklahoma, said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com. Snow and freezing rain overnight made roads treacherous in the Dallas area on Saturday morning, but conditions were improving in the afternoon as temperatures rose, according to NWS meteorologist Jamie Gudmestad.
The United States set out what it called its "bottom lines" to reach a deal with Iran to rein in its nuclear program, ahead of new talks next week. Washington had stuck to its guns that it wanted a "good deal" and had agreed to several extensions of the negotiations "because we have held firm to certain bottom lines," a senior US administration official said. "We will only accept an agreement that cuts off the different pathways to the fissile material that Iran needs for a nuclear weapon," the official stressed. US Secretary of State John Kerry will leave at the weekend for Switzerland, where he will meet once again with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled the trial for the accused Boston Marathon bomber can go ahead in the city, over attempts from his attorneys to change the venue on the basis an impartial jury could not be seated so close to the site of the 2013 attack. The split three-judge panel of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals backed District Judge George O'Toole, who has three times rejected pleas by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers to move the trial out of Boston, where the bombing killed three people and injured 264. "We are unable to conclude that it is clear and indisputable that the petitioner cannot receive a fair trial by an impartial jury in the Eastern Division of Massachusetts," the judges wrote in the 80-page opinion.
A man armed with a handgun went on a house-to-house shooting spree in a rural Missouri town, killing seven relatives and neighbors before taking his own life, officials said on Friday. All of those killed by the gunman, identified as Joseph Aldridge, 36, lived within a few miles of each other in the tiny community of Tyrone, an unincorporated area with a population of about 50, authorities said. Authorities said the motive was unclear and declined to comment on whether the murders had been triggered by the death of Aldridge's mother, who was found at her home. Authorities said she may have died from natural causes.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a one-week funding extension for the Department of Homeland Security late on Friday, in time to avert a partial shutdown for the agency at midnight. The two-thirds majority vote, which came with support from Democrats a few hours after the House failed to pass a three-week extension, buys time for Congress to sort out a longer-term funding solution for the domestic security agency. (Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Doina Chiacu)