A Ukrainian official said 23 Americans were aboard Malaysia Flight MH17, reportedly shot down in the troubled Donetsk region of the Ukraine near the Russian border Thursday. President Barack Obama said, however, that the U.S. is still checking to see if any Americans were among the 295 people killed on the doomed flight.
"Obviously, the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we are working to determine whether there were American citizens on board," Obama said in brief remarks in Delaware on Thursday, according to Reuters, which reported the figure from the Ukrainian official.
Archie Comics Publications, Inc. has garnered controversy over its latest edition of the Archie comic series, wherein the title character is killed by politically driven violence.
Released Wednesday, the latest "Life With Archie" comic concludes with Archie Andrews being killed while protecting a gay politician who was trying to advance a gun control measure.
Gunmen wearing camouflage recently stormed two apartment buildings in Baghdad, Iraq, slaughtering 29 people, the majority of whom were prostitutes working in a brothel.
The attack happened Saturday, when a group of gunmen carrying firearms with silencers burst into the apartment compound in the neighborhood of Zayouna on the city's east side, executing 29 prostitutes inside as well as two men. The words, "This is the fate of any prostitution," were scrawled on one of the apartment's doors.
Police are now reportedly investigating the crime, and the building has been cordoned off, with only one entrance left open to residents of the apartment building. A police officer speaking on the condition of anonymity recalled the horrific, bloody scene of the crime to the South China Morning Post. more >>
Muslims, Jews and Christians across the globe designated Tuesday as an international day of fasting to encourage peace between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as the two areas continue to exchange rocket fire in the wake of the death of three kidnapped Israeli teens.
The fasting movement, coined as #hungryforpeace on Twitter, encourages both sides of the Middle East conflict to resolve their differences and end the ongoing bloodshed.
Tuesday falls as a fasting day for both Muslims and Jews, as it is the 17th of the month of Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar, as well as the month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast during daylight hours each day. more >>
Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed at least 2,053 civilians in over 95 attacks during the first half of 2014, an analysis by Human Rights Watch reported on Tuesday. The militants, who also kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in April, have waged a war on the Nigerian government and the country's Christians for close to five years.
"Boko Haram is effectively waging war on the people of northeastern Nigeria at a staggering human cost," said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Atrocities committed as part of a widespread attack on civilians are crimes against humanity, for which those responsible need to be held to account."
The watchdog group detailed a number of the attacks that have occurred in Nigeria since January, and noted that its figures are based on analysis of media reports as well as field investigations. Many of the most deadly attacks took place in Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, where 1,446 people were killed. more >>
The Obama administration has brought an accused Libyan terrorist named Ahmed Abu Khattala to Washington for trial. His saga reveals how the government views the Islamist threat, and it's discouraging. Fortunately, a much better alternative exists.
Abu Khattala stands accused of taking part in the murder of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012. After an achingly slow investigation, during which time the suspect lived in the open and defiantly gave media interviews, the American military seized him on June 15. After being transported by sea and air to Washington, D.C., Abu Khattala was jailed, provided with a defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, indicted, arraigned, and, after listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of conspiracy and requested a halal diet. He potentially faces life in prison.
This scenario presents two problems. First, Abu Khattala enjoys the full panoply of protections offered by the U.S. legal system (he actually was read his Miranda rights, meaning his right to stay silent and to consult with a lawyer), making conviction uncertain. As The New York Times explains, proving the charges against him will be "particularly challenging" because of the circumstances of the attacks, which took place in the midst of a civil war and in a country brimming with hostility to the United States, where concerns about security meant that U.S. law investigators had to wait for weeks to go to the crime scenes to collect evidence, and the prosecution depends on testimony from Libyan witnesses brought over to the United States who may well falter under cross-examination. more >>