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Calls for U.S. troops to fight Islamic State misguided, say experts

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 12:23

Americans want the Obama administration to get tougher with the Islamic State following the carnage in Paris, but many of the measures now being proposed could actually make the threat worse, counter-terrorism experts said. Republican presidential candidates, lawmakers and others are calling for deploying U.S. ground forces to the Middle East, using air power to create a Syria safe zone to train anti-Islamic State fighters and barring Syrian refugees. "There is no compelling reason to believe that anything we are doing will be sufficient," Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, declared on Tuesday in a speech in which he proposed intervention by a European and Arab ground force backed by 10,000 U.S. military advisers and trainers.

U.S. defense chief announces reforms aimed at strengthening military

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 12:20

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced reforms to the Defense Department's personnel policies on Wednesday aimed at attracting tech talent and improving the recruitment and retention of troops and civilians. Carter said he wanted to create more "on-ramps" for those outside the Defense Department to join even for short periods of time. A new chief recruiting officer will headhunt for executives to fill top civilian roles in the department, Carter said.

New Jersey university probes threats against African Americans

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:40
(Reuters) - New Jersey's Kean University is investigating threats of violence against African Americans on its campus that appeared on social media while students were staging protests over racial inequality, the school said on Wednesday.

Police officers identified in Minneapolis shooting of black man

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:37

By Todd Melby MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - State officials on Wednesday identified the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man that has sparked protests and dozens of arrests. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Minneapolis Police Department Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, early Sunday. Both men, on administrative leave during an investigation of the incident, have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the city.

Americans deeply split on abortion as Supreme Court takes case: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:34

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are split over abortion restrictions like those in a Texas law challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, reflecting deep and longstanding divisions over the contentious issue, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. In the online poll of 3,387 U.S. adults, 41 percent of respondents said laws like the one in Texas are intended to make abortion clinics safer, 35 percent said such laws are designed to make it difficult or impossible for women to obtain abortions, and 24 percent said they did not know. The 2013 Texas law mandated costly hospital-grade standards for abortion clinics and required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring down Russian plane

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:28

By Ahmed Aboulenein and Lin Noueihed CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State's official magazine carried a photo on Wednesday of a Schweppes drink it said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board. The photo showed a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background, three simple components that if genuine are likely to cause concern for airline safety officials worldwide. ...

Ohio jury convicts man for 1985 murder of pregnant wife

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 07:33
An Ohio jury this week convicted a man of strangling his pregnant wife to death with a belt in 1985, in a case that was re-opened as a result of a 2009 arson investigation, a prosecutor's spokesman said on Wednesday. A Summit County jury convicted Scott Purk, 53, of murder and tampering with evidence on Tuesday after a six-day trial in Akron, said James Pollack of the Summit County prosecutor’s office. Margaret Purk, 24, was nine months pregnant when she was found dead in the apartment she shared with her husband 30 years ago.

Ferguson, Missouri names new city manager

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:22
De'Carlon Seewood, an East St. Louis, Illinois, native who served as Ferguson's assistant city manager from 2001 to 2007, was chosen as city manager from a field of more than 40 applicants nationwide, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said on Wednesday. The city council approved Seewood's contract with Ferguson on Tuesday evening, Knowles said. Ferguson, a mostly black community of 21,000 residents, endured civil unrest last year after St. Louis County prosecutors announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Here's the manual the Islamic State uses to teach its soldiers about encryption

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:14
IS has been largely known for its gruesome videos and pervasive social media presence. But now that its Web-savvy media operatives have caught the world’s attention, they've becoming increasingly careful to secure their communications.

Man whose apartment was at center of Saint-Denis raid says he didn’t know he was harboring terrorists

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:06
“Someone asked me to put two people up for three days, and I did them a favor,” Jawad Ben Dow told reporters. “It’s normal.”

New bill in Congress proposes stricter vetting of refugees

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 04:33

A U.S. lawmaker introduced a bill aiming to toughen the vetting process for refugees seeking to enter the United States as Republican leaders in Congress sought to block Syrians fleeing war in their country. The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, said his bill would strengthen security measures for all refugee populations. It would stipulate that no Syrian or Iraqi refugee can enter the United States until Congress receives certification that they are not a national security threat, he said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Ford-UAW contract passage in doubt as voting nears end

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 04:06

Workers at two large Ford Motor Co plants in Louisville, Kentucky rejected a proposed four-year labor contract by 2-to-1, putting its passage in doubt as voting at Ford plants nears an end. Just over half of those who have voted so far have rejected the contract, according to a tally of local union results gathered by the Detroit Free Press. There are nearly 53,000 Ford UAW members eligible to vote.

Texas to execute man convicted of killing three children in house fire

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 03:48

Texas plans on Wednesday to execute Raphael Holiday, 36, who was convicted of killing his daughter and two stepdaughters in a mobile home blaze in 2000. Holiday is set to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. local time at the state's death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, Holiday would be the 531st inmate executed by Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

2 dead, 5 arrested in raid targeting Paris attack mastermind

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:46

A woman wearing a suicide vest blew herself up as police stormed a building near Paris.

Gunfire erupts near Paris as police hunt fugitives

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 21:51

Shots rang out during an operation to catch the alleged mastermind of last week's attacks.

Two Air France flights from the United States to Paris diverted: FAA

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 19:41

Two Air France flights en route to Paris from the United States were diverted on Tuesday following anonymous threats, and passengers and crew were safely removed, the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration said. An Airbus A-380 that departed from Los Angeles landed in Salt Lake City, where passengers and crew were being taken off the plane and escorted into the terminal, an FAA spokesman said. A separate flight that left Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., was diverted to Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia, where passengers and crew had disembarked.

Obama says GOP incitement on Syria refugees 'needs to stop'

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 18:15

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Barack Obama lashed out Wednesday at Republicans who insist on barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., deeming their words offensive and insisting "it needs to stop."

Louisiana Gov. Jindal ends bid for GOP nomination in 2016

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 16:10

"It's not my time," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says.

Adviser acknowledges Carson struggling with foreign policy

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 15:58

Some advisers to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson say he is struggling to grasp the complexities of foreign policy, his closest confident said Monday, acknowledging their frustration while adding the political newcomer is making progress.