WASHINGTON (AP) — Citing "significant and chronic system failures" in the nation's health system for veterans, a review ordered by President Barack Obama portrays the Department of Veterans Affairs as a struggling agency battling a corrosive culture of distrust, lacking in resources and ill-prepared to deal with an influx of new and older veterans with a range of medical and mental health care needs.
Thailand's junta-leading Army Chief has dismissed allegations he plotted to seize power for years before May's coup, issuing an apparent rebuke to the leader of the protests that crippled the former government. "It is not true" General Prayut Chan-O-Cha said, addressing accusations that he had discussed uprooting the divisive Shinawatra clan from politics with firebrand protest chief Suthep Thaugsuban. Supporters of ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra have blamed a coalition of establishment-linked forces -- including the army and judiciary -- for colluding to overthrow the government, the second such army putsch in eight years. He has imposed martial law on the kingdom, suspended the constitution, muzzled dissent and detained or arrested hundreds of people -- mainly supporters of the former government.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian rebels that the U.S. now wants to support are in poor shape, on the retreat from the radical al-Qaida breakaway group that has swept over large parts of Iraq and Syria, with some rebels giving up the fight. It is not clear whether the new U.S. promise to arm them will make a difference.