Defense chief: Iraqis showed no will to fight at Ramadi WASHINGTON (AP) - The Islamic State group's takeover of the provincial capital Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired Sunday. The harsh assessment raised new questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the extremist group that has seized a strategically important swath of the Middle East. Although Iraqi soldiers "vastly outnumbered" their opposition in the capital of Anbar province, they quickly withdrew last Sunday without putting up much resistance from the city in Iraq's Sunni heartland, Carter said on CNN's "State of the Union." The interview aired on Sunday.
Malaysia finds graves of suspected trafficking victims WANG KELIAN, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian authorities said Monday they have discovered 139 suspected graves in a series of abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar were believed to have been held. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said that a sweep of the hilly, jungle area found at least 28 camps along a 50-kilometer (30-mile) stretch of the border. At one of the camps, police found "a highly decomposed body" that would be examined by forensics experts as teams began the work of exhuming the areas believed to be graves.
Deadly storms swamp Plains, Midwest, force Texans from homes SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) - A line of storms stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes dumped record rainfall on parts of the Plains and Midwest, spawning tornadoes and causing major flooding that forced at least 2,000 Texans from their homes. Three deaths were blamed on the storms Saturday and Sunday, including two in Oklahoma and one in Texas, where a man's body was recovered from a flooded area along the Blanco River, which rose 26 feet in an hour and created huge piles of debris. The line of storms prompted tornado warnings and watches as far north as Illinois Sunday night, and the weather system was expected to linger over a large swath of the region Monday, putting a damper on some Memorial Day plans.
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Businesses quietly switch to dollar in socialist Venezuela CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - It's still possible to buy a gleaming Ford truck in Venezuela, rent a chic apartment in Caracas, and snag an American Airlines flight to Miami. Just not in the country's official currency. As the South American nation spirals into economic chaos, an increasing number of products are not only figuratively out of the reach of average consumers, but literally cannot be purchased in Venezuelan bolivars, which fell into a tailspin on the black market last week.
Ex-Israeli Premier Olmert sentenced to 8 months in prison JERUSALEM (AP) - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison for unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter, capping the dramatic downfall of a man who only years earlier led the country and hoped to bring about a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. Olmert was convicted in March in a retrial in Jerusalem District Court. The sentencing comes in addition to a six-year prison sentence he received last year in a separate bribery conviction, ensuring the end of the former premier's political career.
Sydney siege inquest: Gunman secretive, defiant narcissist SYDNEY (AP) - The man who took 18 people hostage at a Sydney cafe last year was educated and erratic, secretive about his own life and public about his many grievances, and a self-obsessed fabulist whose life was spiraling downward in the lead-up to his deadly attack, lawyers told an inquest Monday. The details of Man Monis' life and death are being examined at a coroner's inquest into December's siege at the Lindt Cafe, in which a shotgun-wielding Monis took customers and workers captive and made a series of demands, including that he be delivered a flag of the Islamic State group. The standoff ended when police stormed the cafe. Monis was killed, along with two hostages.
Police: Pressure cooker from suspicious DC vehicle destroyed WASHINGTON (AP) - A bomb squad safely destroyed a pressure cooker found in a "suspicious" vehicle left unattended Sunday afternoon on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol building and the vehicle's owner was located and arrested, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman said. Police Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press that Capitol Police officers on routine patrol spotted the parked, unoccupied vehicle on a street on the mall west of the Capitol around 5 p.m. Sunday.
John Nash: A life of great struggle and even greater success TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Born to an electrical engineer, and later a precocious and dashing young man who attained an Ivy League education, John Nash seemed destined for a life of stunning success. That he achieved, winning a Nobel Prize in 1994, but not without a struggle with mental illness that would make him a household name even more so than his achievements in mathematics. Nash had read the classic "Men of Mathematics" by E.T. Bell by the time he was in high school. He planned to follow in his father's footsteps and studied for three years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh - now Carnegie Mellon University - but instead followed his passion for math.
UK airport expansion threatens to take out entire villages LONDON (AP) - With its classic red phone booth, pub, and medieval church, Harmondsworth's center looks quintessentially British. But the search for a twee English village isn't what brings millions of people within a stone's throw of its boundaries. The attraction is neighboring Heathrow Airport, which served 73 million travelers last year. Now Europe's busiest airport is proposing to build a runway roughly through the center of town, leveling the ivy-covered brick walls of the Harmondsworth Hall guest house and two-thirds of its homes. A village that traces its history to the 6th century would be forever altered, and some argue even what's left would be uninhabitable.
Artsy coffee chain Blue Bottle brews long queues in Tokyo TOKYO (AP) - Japan, famous for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup. The company, which began in Oakland, California in 2002, hopes its early popularity is more than a passing fad. Japan's consumer culture is littered with manias for Western food imports: pancakes, popcorn, doughnuts, even Taco Bell.