Saturday, April 25, 2015

White House: Two Al-Qaeda Hostages Killed In U.S. Operation

Washington (AFP) — The White House said Thursday that a U.S. operation in January against an Al Qaeda compound near the Afghan-Pakistan border killed one American and one Italian hostage, along with an American member of the jihadist group.

Another American, Al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, was killed, “likely in a separate U.S. government counterterrorism operation.”

“No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy,” the White House said, revealing the previously classified finding. The president “takes full responsibility for these operations.”

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his profound regrets to their families.

“We will identify the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and any changes that should be made.…

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Texas Legislative Panel Votes To Restrict Same-Sex Marriage

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

HOUSTON — Just a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, Texas lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill in committee that would bar state or local funds from being used to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Texas already bans same-sex marriage, but that’s being challenged in federal court.

Last year, a federal judge here ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, but put his ruling on hold while the state appealed.

That appeal is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which heard oral arguments in January but is expected to wait to issue its ruling until after the Supreme Court acts.…

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Boston Marathon Bomber’s Lawyers Try To Explain His Crude Gesture

By Richard A. Serrano, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

BOSTON — Defense attorneys for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Wednesday tried to downplay prosecution claims that their client had shown anger and defiance at the U.S. when he raised his middle finger at a surveillance camera, and said he may instead have been upset or depressed over a conflict with a guard.

That image of Tsarnaev has become a crucial piece of evidence in the trial’s penalty phase, in which the jury must decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Wednesday was the second day jurors saw the image, which dates from July 10, 2013.…

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