Punishments but no criminal charges in US attack on hospital WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. aerial gunship attack on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people occurred because of human errors, process mistakes and equipment failures, and none of the aircrew or U.S. ground troops knew the target was a hospital, a top U.S. general said Friday. "This was an extreme situation" complicated by combat fatigue among U.S. special operations forces, Gen. Joseph Votel told a Pentagon news conference. Votel headed U.S. Special Operations Command at the time of the tragic attack last fall. In March he took over U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Afghanistan. Sixteen military members have been disciplined for their roles in the tragedy, Votel said.
Trump making case to GOP insiders after chaotic rally scene LOS ANGELES (AP) - Donald Trump, the outsider, is making his case to California's Republican establishment after he kicked off his crucial campaign for the state's presidential primary with a rally marred by confrontations between protesters and his supporters on the streets. The front-runner and his two rivals pitch their campaigns from the stage and in behind-the-scenes cajoling at the GOP convention outside San Francisco, with Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich appearing Friday and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his new running mate, Carly Fiorina, up Saturday. It's a key event in the campaign for the nation's largest GOP primary, June 7, an exercise that usually comes after the party nominees are known but this time looms as a decisive contest that could either clinch the prize for Trump or force him into a contested convention in July.
Cruz gets Indiana governor's endorsement INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - In a setback for Donald Trump, Indiana's governor endorsed the front-runner's chief rival, Ted Cruz, on Friday, just days before the state's critical Republican primary contest. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made his support for the Texas senator official during an afternoon radio interview, casting Cruz as "a principled conservative." "The man has shown the courage of his convictions," Pence said, citing Cruz's fight against government spending and the federal health care law, and his "strong and unwavering stand for the sanctity of life." Pence, who faces his own re-election test this fall, also praised Trump, who he said "has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans." ''I'm grateful for his voice in the national debate," he said.
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Violence in Syria's Aleppo kills many including worshippers DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Insurgents shelled a government-held area in the contested city of Aleppo, hitting a mosque and killing at least 15 people as they left Friday prayers, while government airstrikes struck rebel-held parts of Syria's largest city - even as the army unilaterally declared a brief truce in other parts of the country. The violence in Aleppo has killed more than 200 civilians over the past week and is likely to continue unchecked, as the government's cease-fire does not include the city. At least 15 people were killed and 30 injured when rockets struck Malla Khan mosque in the government-held Bab al-Faraj district shortly after Friday prayers, Syrian state TV reported.
Russia's nuclear nightmare flows down radioactive river MUSLYUMOVO, Russia (AP) - At first glance, Gilani Dambaev looks like a healthy 60-year-old man and the river flowing past his rural family home appears pristine. But Dambaev is riddled with diseases that his doctors link to a lifetime's exposure to excessive radiation, and the Geiger counter beeps loudly as a reporter strolls down to the muddy riverbank. Some 50 kilometers (30 miles) upstream from Dambaev's crumbling village lies Mayak, a nuclear complex that has been responsible for at least two of the country's biggest radioactive accidents. Worse, environmentalists say, is the facility's decades-old record of using the Arctic-bound waters of the Techa River to dump waste from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, hundreds of tons of which is imported annually from neighboring nations.
North Korea sends another US citizen to prison PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea on Friday sentenced a U.S. citizen of Korean heritage to 10 years in prison with hard labor after convicting him of espionage and subversion, the second American it has put behind bars this year. Kim Dong Chul was sentenced after a brief trial in Pyongyang by North Korea's Supreme Court, which found him guilty of espionage and subversion under Articles 60 and 64 of the North's criminal code. North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies in an attempt to overthrow its government. Outsiders say North Korea seeks to use its U.S.
Most states do bare minimum on fire-foam contamination The military is checking U.S. bases for potential groundwater contamination from a toxic firefighting foam, but most states so far show little inclination to examine civilian sites for the same threat. The foam was likely used around the country at certain airports, refineries and other sites where catastrophic petroleum fires were a risk, but an Associated Press survey of emergency management, environmental and health agencies in all 50 states showed most haven't tracked its use and don't even know whether it was used, where or when. Only five states - Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin - are tracking the chemicals used in the foam and spilled from other sources through ongoing water monitoring or by looking for potentially contaminated sites.
Senate confirms first female officer for warfighting command WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has confirmed an Air Force general to be the first female officer to lead one of the military's warfighting commands. By voice vote late Thursday, the Senate approved Gen. Lori Robinson to be commander of U.S. Northern Command. The command is responsible for preventing attacks against the United States. She has been serving as commander of Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii. She joined the Air Force in 1982 after graduating from the University of New Hampshire. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire says Robinson is a trailblazer with the dedication and experience to succeed at Northern Command.
Texas schools spare no expense for huge football stadiums DALLAS (AP) - A suburban Dallas school district grabbed national attention in 2012 when it opened an eye-popping $60 million high school football stadium. Not to be outdone, school officials near Houston next year plan to unveil a $62 million stadium-development plan. And a district north of Dallas is considering spending more than $50 million on its own football arena. Are such exorbitant price tags for high school stadiums the new normal? Only in Texas, it seems. Football fields in other states are far less expensive, often in the range of $5 million to $10 million. One Southern California district built four stadiums for about $72 million.
Pop went the weasel and down went the Large Hadron Collider GENEVA (AP) - It's one of the physics world's most complex machines, and it has been immobilized - temporarily - by a weasel. Spokesman Arnaud Marsollier says the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN outside of Geneva, has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage on Thursday night. Authorities say the incident was one of several small glitches that will delay plans to restart the $4.4 billion collider by a few days. Marsollier says Friday that the weasel died - and little remains of it.