30 January 2015

Islamic State hostage drama reveals 'chink in the armor'

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, a passerby is silhouetted against a large TV screen broadcasting a news program in Tokyo reporting on a video posted on YouTube by jihadists on Tuesday, Jan. 27, that purports to show a still photo of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh. Far from the high-tech, slickly edited videos involving beheaded Western hostages through which the group impressed supporters and terrorized opponents, recent messages purporting to be from Japanese hostage Kenji Goto have been through digitized, audio dispatches featuring either still photos or text. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)Experts say there is a change in the extremist group's propaganda technique.


30 January 2015

First lady defends 'American Sniper' at veterans event

Actor Bradley Cooper speaks on a panel during the launch event for "Got Your 6," a multifaceted program that includes encouraging film and television to include characters who are veterans, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, at the National Geographic Society in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)NEW YORK (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama urged Hollywood to give a more accurate portrayal of veterans and defended the Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," which has received criticism for its depiction of war.


30 January 2015

Hagel: U.S. ground troops could be needed in Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia,Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says all options must be considered in Iraq.


30 January 2015

Texas Governor to declare 'Chris Kyle Day' in honor of sniper

Texas Attorney General Abbott speaks during an anti-abortion rally at the State Capitol in Austin(Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" in the state, in honor of the late Navy Seal sharpshooter portrayed in the film "American Sniper." The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range in 2013, has been a box office hit as well as a flashpoint of debate between liberals and conservatives. Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin, according to a statement from the governor's office. "In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas," Abbott said during the speech, according to the statement.


30 January 2015

In Los Angeles, Muslim women find empowerment in female-only Friday prayers

Muslim women arrive for the prayer service at the Women's Mosque in downtown Los AngelesBy Daina Beth Solomon LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After the traditional call to prayer, Edina Lekovic stood in front of some 150 women seated on the floor at an interfaith center in Los Angeles, and delivered a sermon, a role traditionally reserved for Muslim men. Lekovic, an activist with California's Muslim Public Affairs Council, then joined the women in kneeling in prayer in the direction of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. Friday's gathering at the interfaith center - a former Jewish synagogue near downtown Los Angeles with Stars of David etched into the stained glass windows - aims to encourage women to participate fully in Muslim prayer and education. Muslim women often meet for casual gatherings and prayer, but rarely do they unite in a formal setting, such as the Friday worship, under the banner of a mosque.


30 January 2015

$50 million lawsuit filed over deadly Washington subway smoke incident

(Reuters) - The family of the woman who died in a Washington D.C. subway train after smoke filled a tunnel and two rail cars filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city's subway system on Friday. Marcus and Anthony Glover, sons of late Carol Glover, filed the suit in federal court in the nation's capitol, alleging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority failed to take proper precautions to prevent the incident or respond quickly enough afterward.

30 January 2015

Newtown debate: Was Adam Lanza's mom a victim?

A sign is pictured in the Sandy Hook area of Newtown, ConnecticutHARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut panel developing a report on the Newtown massacre debated Friday whether the victims counted in the dedication should include the shooter's mother, a woman who has been faulted for contributing to the tragedy by fostering her son's fascination with guns.


30 January 2015

Mitt Romney says he will not make 2016 White House bid

In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss. Closing in on a decision about whether to again run for president, Mitt Romney is finding that several past major fundraisers and donors in key states have defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The donors, in interviews with The Associated Press, said they see in Bush what they liked about Romney in 2012, namely what they believe it takes to serve successfully as president, but also something he could not muster in his two previous campaigns: what it takes, both in personality as a candidate and in a supporting staff, to win the White House for the GOP. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)The 2012 GOP nominee announced he won't make a third bid for the presidency.


30 January 2015

Hezbollah: we don't want war with Israel but do not fear it

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses supporters at an Ashoura ceremony in BeirutHezbollah says it has the right to respond to Israeli attacks any time, anywhere.


30 January 2015

Ukraine rebels vow to push offensive if talks fail

A pro-Russian separatist stands in front of a tank at a checkpoint in Enakieve, 25 kilometers from the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, on January 29, 2015Pro-Russian separatists say they will push their latest offensive in eastern Ukraine further.


30 January 2015

Qaeda group launches assault on Western-backed Syria rebels

Jihadists with the Al-Nusra Front take part in a 2013 rally at the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of AleppoAl-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria battled Western-backed rebels Friday as the jihadists pressed their bid to seize control of northern areas, a monitoring group and rebels said. The fighting comes nearly three months after Al-Nusra Front expelled another group of Western-backed opposition fighters from Idlib province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists launched their offensive against the Western-armed Hazem movement on Thursday in Aleppo province. "The jihadists expelled the rebels from Regiment 111, once a regime army base that Hazem had taken over," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.


29 January 2015

Dartmouth College bans hard liquor

On Thursday, school President Philip Hanlon announced that starting March 30, all students, regardless of age, will be prohibited from possessing hard alcohol on campus. The school’s Greek societies have also been warned that they need to improve their behavior or risk being banned. The White House says the behavior has led to an “epidemic” of sexual assault on school campuses. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries and 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

30 January 2015

Florida prosecutor drops case against Zimmerman

George Zimmerman listens to judge during a first-appearance hearing in Sanford, FloridaBy Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida prosecutor announced on Friday he will not pursue an aggravated assault charge against former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman stemming from a domestic incident earlier this month after the alleged victim recanted. Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013 in a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, has had several brushes with the law since his trial. His latest arrest on Jan. 9 in central Florida was in connection with a domestic disturbance involving his then-girlfriend who had accused him of throwing a wine bottle at her and smashing her cell phone during an argument. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, in February 2012, when he was patrolling as a neighborhood watch volunteer.


31 December 1969

'Suge' Knight arrested for murder

'Suge' Knight faces murder charges