Jury in case of missing N.Y. boy starts ninth day of deliberations

By Natasja Sheriff NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jurors in the trial of a former deli worker who confessed to killing Etan Patz in 1979 began a ninth day of deliberations on Monday with a re-reading of testimony that implicated another, earlier suspect in the case of the missing 6-year-old boy. Pedro Hernandez, 54, is charged in state Supreme Court in Manhattan with the murder and kidnapping of Patz, one of

Republican presidential contenders woo evangelical voters

By Luciana Lopez DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Republican presidential hopefuls in Iowa and elsewhere have recently begun sounding a call to arms to Christian conservatives, describing what they say is an urgent threat to religious liberty. Citing high-profile dust-ups over religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas, the contenders are painting a vivid picture of faith under fire. “In the past month, we have seen religious liberty under assault

Top U.S. court appears on cusp of declaring right to gay marriage

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than two decades of litigation and a transformation in public attitudes. Based on the court’s actions during the past two years, a sense of inevitability is in the air: That a majority is on the verge of declaring gay marriage legal nationwide. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s pivotal member on gay

Photos from the ground: Devastating earthquake hits Nepal

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal Saturday, causing an avalanche on Mount Everest and crumbling buildings in Katmandu, the capital. Nepal’s Home Ministry announced an initial death toll of 686, a number that is continuing to rise. We are collecting stories and photos from the ground and live updates on the death toll and damages as the story develops.

Olympian Bruce Jenner makes transgender history by identifying as a woman

By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner said on Friday that he identifies as a woman, becoming the most high-profile American to come out as transgender. The 65-year-old Jenner made the declaration in a wide-ranging interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, nearly 40 years after his record-breaking Olympic gold-medal win in the decathlon that gave him the unofficial title of “World’s Greatest

Gaps remain in probe of Baltimore man's death in police custody

By Ian Simpson BALTIMORE (Reuters) – An investigation into the death of a black man in Baltimore police custody is still trying to figure out what happened, the police commissioner said on Friday as the city braced for a major protest over the incident. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said police would release surveillance camera photos involving the death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died on Sunday a week after being

Southwest Airlines flight diverted to Denver over "pressurization": media

(Reuters) – A Southwest Airlines flight en route to Milwaukee from Las Vegas had to divert to Denver on Friday night due to a “pressurization issue,” local broadcaster FOX31 reported. The airline said in a statement to FOX31 that the plane, which was carrying 175 passengers and six crew members, landed safely at Denver International Airport around 8:30 p.m. local time. One person was injured after falling during the deplaning

Indiana university cleared after report of armed person

(Reuters) – An Indiana university gave the all clear early on Saturday after being locked down for several hours over a reported armed person, possibly with explosives, near the school’s administration building, officials said. Manchester University spokeswoman Anne Gregory said in an email that police had swept all the buildings and residence halls on its North Manchester campus and found no credible threats or injuries.

Witnesses: Some buildings collapse in Nepal capital after 7.7 quake

By Gopal Sharma and Ross Adkin KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through northern India on Saturday, killing more than 1,000 people, toppling a 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. There were reports of devastation in outlying, isolated mountainous areas after the midday quake of magnitude 7.9, Nepal’s worst in 81 years, centered 50 miles (80


Images show rapid Chinese progress on new South China Sea airstrip

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Recent satellite images published on Thursday show China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested territory in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands and may be planning another, moves that have been greeted with concern in the United States and Asia. IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly said March 23 images from Airbus Defence and Space showed work on

Saddam aide, Iraqi insurgent leader al-Douri reported killed

Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former aide to late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and a leader of Iraq’s Sunni insurgency, may have been killed by Iraqi forces and Shi’ite militias fighting the insurgents. Douri was killed in a military operation, Raed al-Jubouri, the governor of Salahuddin province, told Reuters. Amongst the bodies was Douri’s.” He said the operation was carried out in the Hamrin area near al Alam in Salahuddin province,

Israel military networks breached by hackers: researchers

By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Hackers have managed to penetrate computer networks associated with the Israeli military in an espionage campaign that skillfully packages existing attack software with trick emails, according to private security researchers. Waylon Grange, a researcher with security firm Blue Coat Systems Inc who discovered the campaign, said the vast majority of the software was cobbled together from widely available tools, such as the remote-access

South Africa seeks diplomatic support to defeat anti-immigrant unrest

By Ed Cropley PRETORIA (Reuters) – South Africa sought diplomatic support from countries across the continent on Friday to defeat the “demon” of anti-immigrant violence in which at least four people have been killed over the past fortnight. Foreign nationals have complained that the South African police are failing to protect them, raising the prospect of a row between Pretoria and its neighbors, as well as stirring hostility to South

Qaeda takes key Yemen army camp, heavy weapons: official

Al-Qaeda militants in southeast Yemen on Friday seized heavy weapons as they overran a key camp in Hadramawt provincial capital Mukalla, consolidating their grip on the city, an official said. “Today Al-Qaeda fighters took control of the 27th Mechanised Brigade’s camp and seized heavy weapons including tanks and artillery,” the official told AFP, confirming that Al-Qaeda now controlled all of Mukalla a day after seizing its airport. Until Friday, the

Russia blames U.S. for security crises, turmoil in Ukraine

By Gabriela Baczynska MOSCOW (Reuters) – Top Russian officials accused the United States on Thursday of seeking political and military dominance in the world and sought to put blame on the West for international security crises, including the conflict in east Ukraine. Evoking Cold War-style rhetoric, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said a drive by the United States and its allies to bring Kiev closer to the West was a

U.S. Iran bill makes nuclear deal harder, but not impossible

By Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A compromise allowing the U.S. Congress to vote on a nuclear deal with Tehran may prompt Iranian negotiators to drive a harder bargain, but does not drastically weaken President Barack Obama’s ability to deliver on a final agreement. For months Obama resisted attempts led by Republicans and some Democrats to open an agreement with Iran to congressional approval. On Tuesday he backed down in

New Yemen VP says he hopes to avert Saudi invasion

By Angus McDowall and Mohamed Mukashaf RIYADH/ADEN (Reuters) – Yemen’s newly-appointed Vice President Khaled Bahah, a widely respected figure named this week to shore up the legitimacy of the exiled Saudi-backed government, said on Thursday he hoped to avert a Saudi-led invasion to restore unity to the country. Arab military exercises planned for Saudi Arabia have raised speculation that Riyadh is considering land operations in Yemen, after three weeks of

No breakthrough between Iran and U.N. nuclear watchdog

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had a “constructive exchange” with Iran this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough on aspects of its nuclear program that the agency says Tehran has failed to fully address. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating Iran’s nuclear program in parallel to talks between Tehran and six world powers that aim to broker a deal by the end of June

Forty-one boat migrants reported drowned in Mediterranean: IOM

Forty-one people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy by boat from Libya, four survivors said when they arrived at the Sicilian port of Trapani, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The four survivors said they were originally from Sub-Saharan Africa and had left the city of Tripoli in Libya on Saturday. They then stayed adrift for four days before their boat was wrecked, the IOM

Polish man confesses rape, murder of 9yr-old French girl

A Polish man has confessed to raping and killing a nine-year-old girl after brazenly snatching her from a French playground within view of her mother, prosecutors said Thursday. The country was left reeling from the crime in the northern city of Calais, where flags flew at half mast, as grisly details emerged about how the girl, Chloe, was kidnapped, raped and strangled in the space of an hour and a

Murders of pro-Russian lobbyists increase tension in Ukraine standoff

By Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) – A Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russian views was shot dead on Thursday in Kiev, a day after the killing of a political supporter of ousted Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich, driving up tension between Moscow and Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the murders were political while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described them as deliberate acts which “play into the hands

Iran repeats its demand of lifting sanctions at once for signing nuclear deal

By Parisa Hafezi and Sam Wilkin ANKARA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Wednesday it would only accept a deal over its contested nuclear program if world powers simultaneously lifted all sanctions imposed on it. The comments by President Hassan Rouhani came the day after U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to give Congress a say in any future accord — including the right to veto the lifting of sanctions imposed

Islamic State withdraws from Yarmouk camp, Nusra remains: residents

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have largely withdrawn from a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus after expelling their main rival, several residents and a Palestinian official said on Wednesday. The pull-out from Yarmouk leaves al Qaeda-linked Nusra as the main group inside the camp. The sources said hundreds of fighters of the hardline Islamic State had returned to their stronghold in neighboring Hajar

Iraq's prime minister says seeks U.S. arms, with payment deferred

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Wednesday he would seek a sustainable flow of weaponry from the United States during talks in Washington, with payment deferred, as Baghdad battles a cash crunch due to plunging oil prices. Asked about when Baghdad would pay: “Iraq can pay for it later, not now… I think there can be an arrangement for deferred payment.” Reuters had previously reported Abadi’s intention to seek

Philippines seeks help from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

The Philippines is seeking more “substantive” support from its long-time security ally United States on how to counter China’s rapid expansion in the South China Sea, the foreign secretary said on Wednesday. China’s rapid reclamation around seven reefs in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea has alarmed claimants, including the Philippines and Vietnam, and drawn growing criticism from U.S. government officials and the military. U.S. President Barack Obama

Iran says it will use influence to broker peace in Yemen

Iran’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that his country would use all its influence to broker a peace deal for Yemen in order to end Saudi-led air strikes against Houthi rebel forces allied to Iran. “We are a major force in the region and we have relations with all groups in various countries, and we are going to use that in order to bring everybody to the negotiating table, to