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Afghanistan mounts offensive to retake Kunduz city from Taliban

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 03:51

Afghan troops backed by US air support launched a counter-offensive Tuesday to retake Kunduz, a day after Taliban insurgents overran the strategic northern city in their biggest victory since being ousted from power in 2001. Gun battles erupted and Humvees rolled through the city as Afghan security forces, who had retreated to the outlying airport after the fall, began a counter-strike backed by reinforcements. The Taliban had captured government buildings and freed hundreds of prisoners on Monday, raising their trademark white flag throughout the city.

Taliban display force, Afghan president vows to retake city

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 03:01

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban gunmen fanned out in full force Tuesday across a key Afghan city they captured the day before, as the U.S. military carried out an airstrike on Kunduz and President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take the northern city back from the insurgents, urging his nation to trust Afghan troops to do the job.

Baltimore judge to schedule police trials in black man's death

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 02:03

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams will hold an afternoon scheduling hearing with prosecutors and defense lawyers in the case arising from the death of Freddie Gray in April. Gray, 25, died from a spinal injury suffered in the back of a police van, leading to the demonstrations and looting in the largely black city later that month. It also fueled a U.S. debate on police treatment of minorities.

VW scandal: 1.8 million commercial vehicles affected

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 00:35

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division says 1.8 million of its vehicles are among those affected by the emissions-rigging scandal.

Obama and Putin: Awkward moments, few breakthroughs

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 23:16
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin's first formal meeting in more than two years started with an awkward handshake and ended without a breakthrough on Syria.

Obama and Putin meet on Syria, remain divided on Assad's fate

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 21:59

The U.S. and Russian leaders fail to resolve their dispute over the future role of Bashar al-Assad.

Two killed and three, including infant, hurt in Chicago shooting

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 21:36
The 11-month old's mother and grandmother were killed when an unknown number of people inside a car opened fire on the group around 7:30 p.m., Chicago police deputy chief Eugene Roy told reporters. The infant was in stable condition.

Putin does not rule out Russian strikes in Syria

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:56

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia had not ruled out air strikes in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's forces in their battle against jihadist rebels. As for ground forces, Putin said they would not be used. "We are thinking about how to additionally help the Syrian army," he said, after meeting US President Barack Obama.

State suspends amphibious truck tour service after Seattle crash

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:01

A Washington state commission suspended an amphibious tour service operator in Seattle on Monday while it investigates last week's crash with a charter bus carrying international students in which five people died, an official said. Thursday's crash between the Ride the Ducks truck and the bus on Seattle's Aurora Bridge also sent about 50 people to hospitals. Washington state's Utilities and Transportation Commission suspended all Ride the Ducks operations in the state, said spokeswoman Amanda Maxwell.

Bill to avert government shutdown clears main Senate hurdle

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 14:03

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to avoid a U.S. government shutdown and provide temporary funds for federal agencies in the fiscal year beginning on Thursday cleared an important procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday. With the 60 votes needed, the Senate limited debate on the stopgap funding bill that would extend current agency spending until Dec. 11. The Senate is expected to pass the bill on Tuesday or Wednesday, sending it to the House for passage before a midnight Wednesday deadline. (Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Did NASA time Mars announcement to 'The Martian'?

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 14:01

The announcement confirming that water is flowing on the surface of Mars was celebrated by scientists searching for life in the universe — and by the publicists at Twentieth Century Fox looking to promote "The Martian," the upcoming Ridley Scott film starring Matt Damon.

'Cheers' but no cheer: Obama and Putin's grim toast

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 13:38

Rarely can a toast at a UN luncheon have been so chilly. Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin went through the motions on Monday, clinking glasses and making eye contact, but no more. Obama saluted the world leaders seated at his table, but when he came to Putin, his look hardened and his smile faded.

Georgia woman set for execution gets last-minute clemency hearing

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 13:37

Georgia's only female death row inmate won a last-minute clemency hearing on Monday, a day before she is due to be executed by lethal injection, the state parole board said. The Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday morning to consider "supplemental information" in the case of Kelly Gissendaner, 47, opening the possibility for her sentence being commuted to life, with or without parole, it said. Supporters urged government and court officials on Monday to spare Gissendaner's life, arguing she has been a model prisoner and questioning the lethal injection method that will be used to execute her.

Oklahoma court denies motion to halt execution of Glossip

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 12:43

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday denied a request to halt the execution planned for later this week of Richard Glossip, whose lawyers said they had uncovered new evidence that points to his innocence. On Sept. 16, it issued a two-week stay hours before his scheduled execution and set the new date of Sept. 30 for the lethal injection. Glossip, 52, was found guilty of arranging the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, the owner of an Oklahoma City motel that Glossip was managing.

McCarthy announces candidacy for House speaker

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 11:45

The House Majority Leader officially declares his candidacy for House speaker to replace John Boehner.

Pope wades into U.S. gay marriage debate after historic visit

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 11:20

By Scott Malone PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Pope Francis waited until his historic U.S. visit was over to make his most direct comments on the nation's debate over gay marriage, saying government officials should have the right to refrain from actions that violate their religious beliefs. "Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right," Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian. "If someone does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right." Francis alluded to the Roman Catholic Church's objections to gay marriage during some of his U.S. talks, citing concerns about "juridical" changes to the definition of the family.

Obama, Putin clash over vision for resolving Syrian crisis

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 09:16

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin clashed Monday over their competing visions for Syria, with Obama urging a political transition to replace the Syrian president but Putin warning it would be a mistake to abandon the current government.

Trump unveils tax plan that would lower taxes for millions

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 08:54

NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday proposed eliminating income taxes for millions of Americans, and lower rates for the highest-income earners, as part of a plan he said would grow the U.S. economy at a pace not seen in years.

Trump promises to simplify and streamline U.S. tax code

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 07:44

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday promised to simplify the U.S. tax code and eliminate deductions and loopholes for special interest groups if he becomes president at the November, 2016 election. Real estate mogul Trump said he would end deferred taxes on corporate income earned abroad, and eliminate the so-called death tax and marriage tax penalty. In a news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, he vowed to reduce the number of tax brackets for individuals to four from seven.