2 Marines killed, several troops injured during Friday attack in southern Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Heavily armed insurgents attacked a British air base in southern Afghanistan Friday, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding several other troops, U.S. officials said.
Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is stationed at the base on a four-month combat tour. There was no immediate word on his whereabouts at the time of the attack.
U.S. officials said the attack at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province involved a range of insurgent weaponry, possibly including mortars, rockets or rocket-propelled grenades, as well as small arms fire.
Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a spokesman at Camp Leatherneck, a U.S. Marine based adjacent to the air base, confirmed the attack and said two coalition service members had been killed but he did not specify their nationalities.
Upton said coalition forces were assessing the extent of the damage and would provide more details later.
Camp Bastion is a British air base and is used by the Marines at Leatherneck.
A number of aircraft at the base also were hit by insurgent fire, another U.S. official said.
Capt. Harry Wales, as the prince is known in the military, is serving a four-month combat deployment as a gunner on an Apache helicopter. Harry, who turns 28 on Saturday, is expected to start flying Apache missions this week. This is
It also was not clear Friday whether the attack was connected at all to the protests and violence across the Muslim world this week that has been linked to an anti-Islamic film. Afghanistan’s southern region has been a hotbed of the insurgency and frequent attacks.
Libyan officials: U.S. drones behind airport closure; fear for commercial aircraft
BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) -- U.S. drones hovered over the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday and militia forces fired toward the crafts, prompting authorities to close the airport for several hours for fear a commercial aircraft could be hit, Libyan officials said.
Abdel-Basit Haroun, the head of the militia in charge of city security, said the drones could easily be spotted from the ground. He says men angry over perceived foreign intervention fired in the air and authorities closed the airport.
An airport official confirmed the firing on the drones was the reason for the airport shutdown.
U.S. officials said drones in Libya include Predators and Reapers, which are being used for surveillance and are largely unarmed. While drones have been there consistently, officials have increased their coverage and cycles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.
The American consulate in Benghazi came under deadly attack Tuesday night when angry mob and heavily armed Islamists demonstrating against a film denigrating Prophet Muhammad stormed the compound, setting the building on fire. Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.
Along with drone surveillance, the U.S. has deployed an FBI investigation team, and a small surge of U.S. intelligence officers to try to track down al-Qaida sympathizers thought responsible for turning the demonstration into a violent militant attack.
Neil Armstrong, 1st man to walk on moon, buried at sea following Thursday’s memorial
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first man to walk on the moon has been buried at sea.
NASA says Neil Armstrong’s cremated remains were buried in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday during a ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea.
Armstrong was a Navy fighter pilot before joining the space program. He died last month in Ohio at age 82. His burial follows a memorial service in Washington on Thursday.
NASA photographs show Armstrong’s widow, Carol Armstrong, accepting a folded American flag during the ceremony, which NASA said included a bugler and a rifle salute.
The space agency didn’t give the location of the ceremony. The ship’s homeport is Mayport, Fla.
Israel leader says he can’t rely on U.S. to act against Iran’s suspect nuclear program
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insinuated in an interview published Friday that Israel cannot entirely rely on the U.S. to act against Iran’s suspect nuclear program, a sign that the Israeli leader is not backing down from the sharp rhetoric that strained relations this week with the Obama administration.
Netanyahu has been arguing in recent weeks that Iran is getting close to acquiring nuclear weapons capability, a claim Iran denies. He has been pushing the U.S. to commit to the circumstances under which the U.S. would lead a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly hinted that if the United States does not attack, Israel will.
"I hear those who say we should wait until the last minute. But what if the U.S. doesn’t act? It’s a question that must be asked," Netanyahu told Israel Hayom, in an interview marking the Jewish New Year.
The paper, a free mass-circulation daily, is funded by Netanyahu’s billionaire Jewish-American supporter Sheldon Adelson.
The Obama administration also suspects Tehran is seeks to become a nuclear power and says it is committed to preventing a nuclear Iran, but insists more efforts must be made before resorting to military action. Washington is refusing to be specific about what exactly would necessitate a strike on Iran and has rejected an Israeli demand for "red lines" that cannot be crossed.
Judge strikes down Wis. law that effectively ended collective bargaining for public workers
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has struck down the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers.
Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled Friday that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void. The ruling comes after a lawsuit brought by the Madison teachers union and a union for Milwaukee city employees.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says he is confident the decision will be overturned on appeal.
It was not clear if the ruling means the law is immediately suspended. The law took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers and has been in effect for more than a year.
Judge convicts ex-police officer in 1957 abduction, murder of 7-year-old Illinois girl
SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) -- A 72-year-old man was convicted Friday in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old girl, with spectators letting out a deafening cheer as the verdict was announced in one of the oldest unsolved crimes to eventually get to court in the U.S.
The sound of sobbing overtook the room as the cheers and applause faded after Judge James Hallock pronounced Jack McCullough guilty of murder, kidnapping and abduction in Maria Ridulph’s death. Family and friends of the girl fell into each other’s arms; others walked up to hug and kiss prosecutors.
McCullough was around 17 years old on the snowy night in December 1957 when the second-grader went missing in Sycamore, about 60 miles west of Chicago. He later enlisted in the military, and ultimately settled in Seattle where he worked as a Washington State Police officer.
Maria’s playmate the night she disappeared, Kathy Chapman, was a star witness in the case. She testified that McCullough was the young man who approached the girls as they played, asking if they liked dolls and if they wanted piggyback rides.
"A weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said Chapman, who is now 63, said outside on the courthouse steps. "Maria finally has the justice she deserves."
Bomb threats prompt evacuations at Texas, NDakota campuses; both later issue all-clears
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Tens of thousands of people streamed off university campuses in Texas and North Dakota on Friday after telephoned bomb threats prompted officials to warn students and faculty to get away as quickly as possible. Both campuses eventually were deemed safe and reopened by early afternoon, as authorities worked to determine whether the threats were related.
The University of Texas received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man claiming to be with al-Qaida who said he had placed bombs all over the 50,000-student Austin campus, according to University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon. He claimed the bombs would go off in 90 minutes and all buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.
The deadline passed without incident, and the university reopened all buildings by noon. Classes were canceled for the rest of the day, but other university activities were to resume by 5 p.m.
"We are extremely confident that the campus is safe," UT President William Powers told a news conference.
North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said 20,000 people also were evacuated from his school’s main and downtown campuses in Fargo after the school received its threat. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said a call that included a "threat of an explosive device" came in about 9:45 a.m., but he declined to give further details. He said the agency was trying to determine if the two campus threats were related.
FBI: ‘Bucket List Bandit,’ suspected of bank heists in 9 states, caught in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- In banks from Utah to Pennsylvania this summer, a middle-aged man with grayish, thinning hair, glasses and a blue polo shirt has been demanding money from frightened tellers and offering the same sad story: He only had months to live.
After his fourth heist, this one in Utah, he earned a nickname, the "Bucket List Bandit," because the robberies were believed to be the actions of a desperate and dying man.
On Friday, the FBI announced the suspect had been captured during a routine traffic stop Thursday night in the eastern Oklahoma city of Roland. Officers determined Michael Eugene Brewster, 54, of Pensacola, Fla., was driving a stolen SUV that he borrowed from a friend 10 days before the first robbery and that it had improper Utah license plates, said Rick Rains, a spokesman for the FBI’s Oklahoma City office.
"They determined the vehicle was reported stolen, and one thing led to another. Ultimately, they called us and we were able to determine who he was," Rains said. "It was a little bit of luck on our part."
Rains would not say whether Brewster was armed. In the robberies, the suspect told tellers he had a weapon was armed but never showed one.
Topless tempest: French publication of Kate photos spark palace fury
LONDON (AP) -- Paparazzi, French media and a British royal: The publication of topless photos of Prince William’s wife Kate has reunited the same players whose clash ended with the untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a Parisian car crash.
William, who has long harbored a grudge against the paparazzi who chased Diana in the days and hours leading up to her 1997 death, was clearly infuriated. The royal couple hit back with an immediate lawsuit against the popular French gossip magazine Closer, which is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori publishing empire.
The blurry photos, called a "grotesque" abuse of privacy by royal officials, show Kate -- the Duchess of Cambridge -- wearing only a skimpy bikini bottom. They are the first to show Britain’s likely future queen with her bosom exposed.
St. James’s Palace officials sharply criticized the magazine moments after the photos hit French newsstands, comparing the intrusion on the young couple’s privacy to the tragic paparazzi pursuit of Diana, which many believe was a contributing factor in her early death on Aug. 31, 1997.
The parallels between the past and the present were eerie. Diana was hounded by paparazzi who took telephoto shots of her vacationing on a yacht with her boyfriend Dodi and tailed them relentlessly in Paris.
Negotiators reach ‘framework’ to end Chicago teachers strike; classes could resume Monday
CHICAGO (AP) -- The city’s nearly weeklong teachers strike appeared headed toward a resolution Friday after negotiators emerged from marathon talks to say they had achieved a "framework" that could end the walkout in time for students to return to class Monday.
Both sides were careful not to describe the deal as a final agreement. They expected to spend the weekend working out details before union delegates are asked to vote on the package, probably sometime Sunday.
Chicago School Board David Vitale said the "heavy lifting" was over after long hours of talks placed "frameworks around all the major issues."
The school district and union negotiators "put things on the table over the last few days to help each other" and to put schools on track to reopen next week, Vitale said.
"Our kids are going to get the time they need in this school year, and they’re going to get the time they need in the school day," he said. "And our teachers are going to get the respect they deserve for their hard work with our kids."