Officials: 42 die in attacks in Iraq
Emboldened militants in Iraq set up their own checkpoint to kill drivers and bombed crowded cafes Thursday in the deadliest of a series of attacks that killed at least 42 people, authorities said.
More than 550 people have been killed in violent attacks so far this month, according to an Associated Press count, as violence continues during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The speaker of Iraqi parliament even has acknowledged that insecurity in the nation likely will get worse after a massive al-Qaida-claimed prison break freed hundreds of inmates.
The deadliest attack Thursday happened when a bomb exploded inside a crowded cafe north of Baghdad, killing 16 diners and wounding 20 others.
Remains of WWII airman identified
The remains of a World War II airman have been identified and will be returned to his hometown for burial nearly 70 years after his plane and two others slammed into a remote, jungle-covered mountainside in the South Pacific.
DNA samples provided by relatives matched those of Sgt. Dominick Licari, who was 31 when his A-20 Havoc bomber crashed into a mountain in Papua-New Guinea on March 13, 1944.
Halliburton to plead guilty in spill
Halliburton Energy Services has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
Federal officials said in a news release that a criminal information charging Hallburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed in federal court in Louisiana.
Halliburton has agreed to pay the maximum fine, be on probation for three years and continue to cooperate with the government’s criminal investigation, according to the news release, which did not list the amount of the fine.
Pope urges Catholics to shake up church
RIO DE JANEIRO
Pope Francis showed his rebel side Thursday, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a “mess” in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith. It’s a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio’s most violent slums and opening the church’s World Youth Day on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach.
Francis was elected pope on a mandate to reform the church, and in four short months he has started doing just that: He has broken long-held Vatican rules on everything from where he lays his head at night to how saints are made. He has cast off his security detail to get close to his flock, and his first international foray as pope has shown the faithful appreciate the gesture.
Obama hosts Ramadan dinner
President Barack Obama saluted Muslim Americans on Thursday for their contributions in helping build the nation as business entrepreneurs, technology innovators and pioneers in medicine.
Obama spoke at a White House dinner he hosted to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The meal, or iftar, breaks the day of fasting when Muslim families and communities eat together after sunset.
Obama said it is a White House tradition to celebrate sacred days of various faiths, adding that these occasions celebrate diversity that defines the country and reaffirms the freedom to worship.