BAGHDAD (AP) — Residents of Mosul have watched helplessly as extremists ruling the northern Iraqi city blew up some of their most beloved landmarks and shrines to impose a stark vision of Islam. Next up for destruction, they feared: the Crooked Minaret, a more than 840-year-old tower that leans like Italy's Tower of Pisa.
The Heritage Foundation, one of Washington’s preeminent right-wing think tanks, has a reputation for pulling no punches when it comes to going after President Obama. So if you are a Republican, and the Heritage Foundation is warning you that your political strategy may be a little too aggressive, you might want to listen. It’s not clear though, that the message is getting through to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Last week, a pair of Heritage Legal fellows examined Boehner’s proposal to sue President Obama over his alleged failure to faithfully enforce U.S. law and concluded that, as a legal matter, the case will face “what may prove to be an insurmountable hurdle” over the legal concept of standing.
Police and emergency crews in the city of Revere, Massachusetts, outside Boston scrambled to clean up after a rare tornado touched down on Monday, downing power lines, damaging homes and overturning at least one car. The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down during a storm that brought heavy rains, lightning and flooding to Boston and many of its northern suburbs. State emergency management officials said they were not aware of injuries or fatalities from the storm. "We are in the process of evaluating the aftermath of the severe storm that passed through Revere this morning," Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said on his official Twitter page.
The Islamic State, which advocates public stoning for adultery, has opened a "marriage bureau" for women who want to wed its fighters in territory they control in Syria and Iraq. The jihadist group's office is operating from Al-Bab, a town in Aleppo province of northern Syria, for "single women and widows who would like to marry IS fighters", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Running twice-weekly tours from Syria's Raqa to Iraq's Anbar, IS buses fly the group's black flag and play jihadist songs throughout the journey. IS has its roots in Iraq, but spread into Syria in late spring 2013.
In the search for life beyond Earth, astronomers should look for signs of pollution in the atmospheres of alien planets outside the Earth's solar system, a new study says. The next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2018, could hunt for worlds harboring alien life by sniffing their atmospheres for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), greenhouse gases that destroy ozone in the Earth's atmosphere. Of course, to very advanced civilizations, Earth's own greenhouse gases might signal a primitive world, the scientists said. "We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it's not smart to contaminate your own air," study leader Henry Lin, a student at Harvard University, said in a statement.