National News from Yahoo

Boko Haram Islamists 'kill many' in Nigeria attack

Boko Haram gunmen killed many people in an attack in the restive northeast, throwing explosives into residential homes and shooting dead civilians who tried to surrender, an official and witnesses said Friday. Residents in the town of Damboa said they were left completely defenceless after the security forces pulled out of the area following a militant attack two weeks ago. Women and children fled into the bush," said an official with the Damboa local government, who requested anonymity. Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group in Nigeria blamed for slaughtering more than 2,000 civilians already this year, has increasingly targeted remote northeastern communities, razing entire villages while firing indiscriminately on the population.

'Unimaginable' stories from victims' families emerge

Dutch families jetting off to exotic destinations, more than 100 AIDS experts, British football fans and a twice unlucky Australian family were among victims of the doomed Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine. "It was my brother and best friend," said a distraught Sander Essers, 66, who lost his brother Peter, sister-in-law Jolette Neusink and their two children Emma, 20 and Valentijn, 17 in the crash. Peter Essers' wife, Jolette, was a clinical psychologist who ran her own practice and ironically worked with victims traumatised by war. Also on board was prominent former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange, who together with as many as 100 other Aids activists were on their way to Melbourne for the 20th International Aids Conference, media reports said.

Indiana U. student among victims on Malaysian airliner

(Reuters) - A Dutch doctoral student and former member of the Indiana University rowing team was among the passengers killed when Malaysian airliner went down in Ukraine, the university said Friday in a statement. Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student in the chemistry department in the university's college of Arts and Sciences, had earned a master's degree from the university and was a member of the women's rowing team in the 2011 season, the university said. "The Indiana rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn's sudden passing," Indiana head rowing coach Steve Peterson said in a statement.

Jihadis seize Syria gas field, 100 feared dead

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic militants killed about 100 Syrian troops, guards and workers as they captures a gas field in central Syria following daylong clashes, activists said Friday.

Coetzee shoots 69 on 28th birthday at British Open

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — George Coetzee wasn't planning much of a celebration for his 28th birthday. He did give himself a pretty nice gift — a 3-under 69 at the British Open.

Putin urges Ukraine cease-fire after plane attack

ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a jetliner shot down as it flew miles above the country's battlefield.

Russian President Putin makes post-crash plea for peace

ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners — dressed in overalls and covered in soot — spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a jetliner shot down as it flew miles above the country's battlefield.

Dozens of leading AIDS experts lost in Ukraine crash

By Sonali Paul and Robin Emmott MELBOURNE/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The world of AIDS research was in shock on Friday after dozens of leading HIV experts were feared killed when a Malaysian plane was shot down over Ukraine, fuelling concerns that research on curing the disease could suffer. Among them was Joep Lange, who researched the condition for more than 30 years and was considered a giant in the field, admired for his tireless advocacy for access to affordable AIDS drugs for HIV positive patients living in poor countries. "Global health and the AIDS response have lost one of their great leaders," Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a former executive director of UNAIDS, told Reuters in London. "Joep Lange was one of the most creative AIDS researchers, a humanist, and tireless organiser, dedicated to his patients and to defeating AIDS in the poorest countries." The United Nations AIDS program, UNAIDS, said it feared "some of the finest academics, health-care workers and activists in the AIDS response may have perished" on the plane.

23 Palestinians, Israeli soldier killed in Gaza ground offensive

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel intensified its land offensive in Gaza with artillery, tanks and gunboats on Friday and warned it could "significantly widen" an operation Palestinian officials said was killing ever greater numbers of civilians. Palestinian health officials said 27 Palestinians, including a baby, two children and a 70-year-old woman, had been killed since Israel sent ground forces into the densely-populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians on Thursday. The land advance followed 10 days of barrages against Gaza from air and sea, hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel and failed Egyptian attempts to secure a ceasefire. Rocket salvoes, many of them intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield system, continued on Friday against southern Israel, police said, causing no casualties.

Woman loses relatives in 2 Malaysia air disasters

SYDNEY (AP) — In an almost incomprehensible twist of fate, an Australian woman who lost her brother in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 learned on Friday that her stepdaughter was on the plane shot down over Ukraine.

Black box confusion: Who has them?

Ukraine government says it found two at crash site of Malaysian airliner. Pro-separatists say they have some too.

Growing wildfire empties Washington town

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A small north-central Washington town and a nearby hospital have been evacuated ahead of a wind-whipped wildfire that has already burned at least 35 homes, authorities said.

Israel deepens Gaza push to destroy Hamas tunnels

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.

Workers comb through Malaysian plane crash site

ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — A Malaysian jetliner shot from the sky by what U.S. intelligence officials believe was a surface-to-air missile scattered wreckage and bodies across the Ukrainian countryside, leaving investigators scrambling Friday to figure out how that could have happened.

Growing wildfire empties small Wash. town

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A small north-central Washington town and a nearby hospital threatened by a wind-whipped wildfire have been evacuated, and the blaze has burned at least 35 homes in Okanogan County, the sheriff said.