National News from Yahoo

At Fort Hood memorial, Obama promises help for war-weary troops

After losing 576 Fort Hood soldiers in a dozen years of war, the president, along with top US military leaders, gathered at the Texas Army base to remember the three who were gunned down by Sgt. Ivan Lopez. The job of military leaders “is to prepare our soldiers for the chaos of war,” the Army’s top officer, Gen. Raymond Odierno, said in remarks at the memorial service. But that the soldiers were lost “on American soil, at the hands of one of their own, makes this tragedy inexplicable,” added General Odierno, whose lived with his family on the base for more than seven years when he wasn’t commanding troops in Iraq. Two Fort Hood soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson and Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazeney-Rodriguez, joined the military two decades ago, prior to the 9/11 attacks “and stayed as the nation went to war,” Mr. Obama said.

NATO strategy might send U.S. troops to front lines near Russia

PARIS (AP) — NATO's top military commander in Europe, drafting countermoves to the Russian military threat against Ukraine, said Wednesday they could include deployment of American troops to alliance member states in Eastern Europe now feeling at risk.

Kerry ‘betrayed and surprised’ by McCain onslaught

Secretary of State John Kerry felt “betrayed and surprised” by Republican Sen. John McCain’s withering and highly personal remarks at a congressional hearing, a senior administration official tells Yahoo News on Wednesday.

Alarms sounded on Brazil's readiness to host 2016 Olympics

BELEK, Turkey (AP) — With sports federations demanding a "Plan B" because of the chronic delays in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday it was "premature" to speculate about taking the 2016 Games away from Brazil.

Vatican hires hawk to protect pope's doves after attack horrified crowds

The Catholic weekly Credere (Believe) has been caught in a delayed April Fools' prank about the Vatican recruiting a hawk to protect the pope's doves after two were killed by a crow and a seagull. The publication said a bird of prey named "Sylvia", who was specially trained for the task in northern Italy, has been taken on by the Swiss Guards following the incident in January. But a Vatican official told AFP the report, which was due to appear in the Italian weekly's Thursday edition and was relayed by other newspapers, was an "April Fools' they picked up".

Prosecutor demands Pistorius view graphic image of dead girlfriend

By Joe Brock PRETORIA (Reuters) - A South African prosecutor forced Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday to look at a forensic photograph that showed the head of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after it was blown open by a hollow-point bullet fired by the Olympic and Paralympic track star. In a dramatic opening to his cross-examination of Pistorius, prosecutor Gerrie Nel made him admit he had killed Steenkamp then later confronted him with the photograph showing the side and back of her skull, her hair matted with blood and brains. Pistorius responded by burying his head in his hands in the witness stand, rocking from side to side and weeping. The double amputee sprinter, once revered across the world for his triumph over adversity, faces life in prison if convicted in the Pretoria High Court of the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model.

Obama to speak at Sharpton's NYC conference

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton opened his annual civil rights conference, which will include a speech by President Barack Obama, amid revelations about his cooperation with the FBI in a 1980s mob investigation.

Pings raise hopes Malaysia Airlines plane will be found

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The frustrating monthlong search for the Malaysian jetliner received a tremendous boost when a navy ship detected two more signals that most likely emanated from the aircraft's black boxes. The Australian official coordinating the search expressed hope Wednesday that the wreckage will soon be found.

Peaches Geldof post-mortem tests inconclusive, police say

By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - A post-mortem examination into the death of Peaches Geldof, the second daughter of Band Aid founder and musician Bob Geldof, has proved inconclusive "pending toxicology tests", British police said on Wednesday. Geldof, 25, a media and fashion personality in her own right and a mother of two young children, was found dead at her home in Wrotham, Kent, in southern England, on Monday. Peaches was the daughter of television presenter Paula Yates and Bob Geldof, the Irish singer who rose to prominence as the leader of the 1970s-1980s band the Boomtown Rats, and later organized the charity Band Aid and the Live Aid concerts to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Bob Geldof said the loss of Peaches, the latest untimely death to befall the family, had left them "beyond pain".