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 and the Middle East.
White House 2016: Clinton gears up for Trump in fall race WASHINGTON (AP) - Waves of campaign staffers are being dispatched to battleground states. Advisers are starting to consider locations for a splashy convention rally in Philadelphia. An army of lawyers is scrutinizing more than two dozen possible vice presidential picks. Though she has yet to clinch the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and her team are taking early steps into a general election campaign. Aides are working under the assumption that Republican front-runner Donald Trump will be her opponent. Six months before the presidential election, they're looking beyond primary rival Bernie Sanders and preparing their candidate and party for what may be a hard-fought - and personally ugly - fall campaign.
Trump making case to GOP insiders amid chaotic rally scene BURLINGAME, Calif. (AP) - Donald Trump, the outsider, made his case to California's Republican establishment on Friday as protesters shadowed him from the southern to northern ends of the state and clashed with police. Demonstrators swarmed outside the hotel near San Francisco airport where Trump was scheduled to meet with local GOP power brokers before giving a lunchtime speech at the state party's convention. On Thursday night, protesters tangled with authorities and damaged police cars after a Trump rally in Orange County. Tensions mounted as the GOP presidential contest moves into its final stages in one of the nation's most liberal and diverse states.
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Rising violence kills over 200 in a week in Syria's Aleppo DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - The Syrian army and rebels unleashed deadly new attacks on each other Friday in Aleppo, with insurgents shelling a mosque during weekly prayers and government airstrikes hitting opposition neighborhoods in escalating bloodshed the U.N. decried as a "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties." More than 200 people have been killed in eight days of mounting violence in and around the contested northern city, including 15 at the Malla Khan mosque hit by rebel rockets and another 10 from the government warplanes and helicopters, officials said. The surge in fighting has caused the collapse of a two-month cease-fire brokered by the U.S.
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.
Exxon sees smallest profit in 16 years, Chevron posts loss DALLAS (AP) - Motorists are saving billions on cheaper gasoline, but the long slump in oil prices is taking a heavy toll on companies that find and produce crude. Exxon Mobil posted its smallest quarterly profit in more than 16 years Friday, while Chevron lost $725 million, its worst showing since 2002, and raised the number of jobs it expects to cut this year from 7,000 to 8,000. Other oil companies are expected to report weak earnings in the next few days. Oil prices have tumbled from their 2014 highs of over $100 a barrel, bottoming out at under $30 in mid-February, because of a worldwide glut.
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.
Boom! Queen & Harry answer Obamas' Invictus Games challenge LONDON (AP) - It helps to have friends in high places when you're promoting an athletic event. That's certainly the case for Prince Harry, who released a video Friday promoting the upcoming Invictus Games for wounded veterans. The cast includes his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II as well as Barack and Michelle Obama, who Harry and his brother Prince William had over for dinner last week in London. The video starts with Harry and the queen looking at an Invictus brochure when they get a video phone message from Mrs. Obama. It shows the Obamas accepting Harry's challenge to the Invictus Games, with a man in uniform behind them saying "Boom!" The queen, bemused by the Americans, says, "Oh really?