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U.S. & World News


NEWS BRIEFS


Russia's gains cloud Obama's assurances to Baltics

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security. But his objectives will be clouded by the West's inability to halt the Russian aggression in Ukraine that has stoked fears in other former Soviet republics. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels continued in eastern Ukraine as Obama prepared to fly to Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders and to Wales for a NATO summit. The Ukrainian government, NATO and Western nations say Russia has already sent troops, artillery and tanks across Ukraine's southeast border to reinforce the separatists, a claim Russia has denied.


6 militants killed in US Somalia strike

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Al-Shabab's top leader was traveling in one of two vehicles hit Monday night by a U.S. military strike, a member of the Somali Islamic extremist group said Tuesday. The spokesman would not say whether Somali Ahmed Abdi Godane, the rebel leader, was among the six militants killed.


Group accuses extremists of war crimes in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — An international rights group accused the extremist Islamic State group on Tuesday of carrying out a systematic campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in northern Iraq that includes mass killings, abductions and other war crimes. In a new report, Amnesty International said militants have abducted "hundreds, if not thousands" of women and children who belong to the ancient Yazidi faith. The extremists also have rounded up Yazidi men and boys before killing them, the London-based group said.


Syrian rebels issue demands for captive UN troops

BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels holding 45 Fijian peacekeepers hostage have issued a set of demands for their release, including the extremist group's removal from a U.N. terrorist list and compensation for the killing of three of its fighters in a shootout with international troops, an official said Tuesday. The Nusra Front seized the Fijians on Thursday in the Golan Heights, where a 1,200-strong U.N. force monitors the buffer zone between Syria and Israel. The rebels also surrounded two Filipino units, but those U.N. troops escaped over the weekend.


Pakistan lawmakers back premier amid mass protests

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's lawmakers rallied behind the country's embattled prime minister Tuesday in an emergency session, even as thousands of protesters remained camped outside of parliament demanding his ouster. Speaking for the government in the joint session of Pakistan's National Assembly and the Senate, the country's interior minister slammed the protesters demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation, describing them as "terrorists."


Ukraine: Russian forces in major rebel cities

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian military forces have been spotted in both major rebel-held cities in eastern Ukraine, an official said Tuesday, prompting Ukraine to declare that it now has to fight the Russian army, not just the separatists. The statement on the Russians by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council, came after the country's defense minister said Ukraine's armed forces are expanding their strategy from just fighting separatists to facing the Russian army in a war that could cost "tens of thousands" of lives.


32 teens escape from Nashville detention center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Thirty-two teens escaped from a Nashville youth detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence late Monday, and 10 of them were still on the run Tuesday, a spokesman said. The teens — ages 14 to 19 — left their rooms and went into a common area, where they overwhelmed 16 to 18 staff members, Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson said.


School starts in Chicago with more safety guards

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago children returned to school Tuesday walking past even more guards than last year, when concerns about safety prompted the city to line the streets with 1,200 adults every day. Thanks to an infusion of $1 million from the city, another 100 "Safe Passage" workers were lining routes that students walk through crime-ridden neighborhoods to get to school. And after Gov. Pat Quinn pledged $10 million, officials said another 600 of the workers would be hired and on the streets over the next several weeks.


Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

BANGKOK (AP) — When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive. Wassana, a lifetime resident of the slums, viewed it as a nine-month solution to her family's debt. She didn't ask many questions.


Blackwater legacy: a faint memory of Nisoor Square

WASHINGTON (AP) — The summer-long trial of four Blackwater security guards in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqis has been a grim retelling of lives snuffed out and the daily life-and-death decisions amid the chaos of war. Wrapping up almost 6,200 miles from Baghdad, the trial is the best hope the survivors and the families of the victims have for accountability for the violence at Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007, in which 14 people were killed. After 10 weeks of arguments and testimony, the case goes to the jury Tuesday.










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