More than 40 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Saturday, the Italian navy said, after apparently suffocating below deck on the boat taking them to Europe. "Operation underway... many migrants saved. At least 40 dead," the navy said on Twitter, while the Corriere della Sera newspaper said those who died were found in the hold of the vessel.
By Megha Rajagopalan TIANJIN, China (Reuters) - China warned residents near the site of two huge explosions who had taken refuge in a school to evacuate on Saturday after a change in wind direction stoked fears that toxic particles could be blown inland. The evacuation came as a fire broke out again at the site of Wednesday's deadly blast in the northeastern port city of Tianjin, a warehouse specially designed to store dangerous chemicals, the official Xinhua news agency said. Evacuees were advised to wear long trousers and face masks, according to a post on the official microblog of the Tianjin branch of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China.
Kayla Mueller, the U.S. aid worker killed this year while being held hostage by Islamic State militants, was raped repeatedly by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, while in captivity in Syria, U.S. officials said on Friday. Mueller was 26 at the time of her death and would have turned 27 on Friday.
AUSTIN, Texas/LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Two states that had blocked gay marriage are in legal battles over granting parenthood status to same-sex couples: Arkansas is trying to throw out a suit from couples seeking the status and Texas is saying it does not have forms ready. The cases come as states that had barred same-sex marriage grapple with changes brought by the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that made gay marriage legal in the United States. Three Arkansas same-sex couples have sued the state Health Department for refusing to record both partners as parents on birth certificates of the children they are raising.
Kayla Mueller, the U.S. aid worker who died earlier this year while being held hostage by Islamic State militants, was raped repeatedly by the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while in captivity in Syria, U.S. officials said on Friday. The officials confirmed a report by ABC News, which said Mueller's family had been told by U.S. government officials that their daughter, who was 26 at the time of her death, had been sexually assaulted by al-Baghdadi. The White House declined to comment.
By Julia Edwards and Jason Szep WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Facing accusations that it cannot adequately protect the White House, the U.S. Secret Service plans to hire 1,100 more officers and agents for an agency besieged by embarrassing scandals and security lapses, two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the plans said. The addition of 700 uniformed division officers and 400 agents over five years would expand its staff of 6,647 by nearly 17 percent, the biggest hiring increase in more than a decade at the 150-year-old agency whose job it is to protect the president, his family, and senior officials, along with fighting financial crime. The Secret Service is trying to rebound from a leadership crisis and mend a culture of covering up mistakes that some trace back 12 years to when it was pulled out of the Treasury Department and absorbed into the sprawling new Department of Homeland Security, where it had to compete for turf and money.
The man who shot and wounded a firefighter during a six-hour standoff with authorities fled his New York home on Friday, opening fire on police, who returned it and shot him dead, law enforcement said. Garland Tyree, 38, an alleged gang member who authorities were trying to arrest for a federal parole violation, had promised to surrender but instead dashed out the back door with an assault rifle, spraying bullets at police who surrounded the multi-family home in New York's Staten Island borough, police said. An AK-47, three handguns and a smoke grenade were recovered from the scene on Destiny Court, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a news conference.
By Daniel Trotta and Lesley Wroughton HAVANA (Reuters) - Watched over by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Marines raised the American flag at the embassy in Cuba for the first time in 54 years on Friday, symbolically ushering in an era of renewed diplomatic relations between the two Cold War-era foes. Three retired Marines who last lowered the flag in 1961 participated in the ceremony, handing a new flag to the Marine Color Guard, which raised it on the grounds outside the embassy building on the Havana seafront. Kerry, the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Cuba in 70 years, told the ceremony it was obvious that "the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba have been traveling is not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction." The symbolic event took place eight months after Havana and Washington agreed to restore ties and nearly four weeks after the United States and Cuba formally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies.
A wrenching look by The New York Times into the Islamic State’s enslavement and rape of women from the Yazidi minority group has shed light on one of the most disturbing aspects of its rule in Syria and Iraq. The practice, according to reporter Rukmini Callimachi, was formalized a year ago, when IS announced it was bringing institutionalized slavery back. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts.