Ukraine president shakes up military
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shook up his faltering military Thursday, appointing a new defense minister and top general while speaking angrily about the years of decay and corruption that left the forces unable to deal effectively with the well-armed eastern insurgency.
His tougher tone, analysts say, reflects public pressure to continue the fight against the insurgents in the regions bordering Russia — even with a rickety military that’s had little success.
Poroshenko denounced the “complete collapse” of the government’s ability to supply the armed forces in a sometimes angry, finger-wagging speech in parliament.
He won quick approval for his choice of former top police official Valery Heletey as defense minister, replacing Mikhailo Koval. He also tapped Lt. Gen. Viktor Muzhenko as chief of the military’s general staff and Yury Kosyuk, an agriculture magnate and one of Ukraine’s richest men, to oversee defense issues in the presidential administration and to help “purge the army of thieves and grafters.”
Protests mark ouster anniversary
A series of demonstrations and small bombings marked the anniversary Thursday of the ouster of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, and authorities responded by arresting nearly 200 people as part of their crackdown against Islamists.
One of the bombs went off accidentally inside an apartment outside Cairo, killing two suspected militants who were handling the explosives, the Interior Ministry said. It said the men were in the apartment with two friends who fled after the blast in the Islamist stronghold of Kirdasah.
Tussle over game trophy photos
Facebook has deleted some big-game trophy photos posted by a Texas Tech cheerleader, saying they violated its standards.
However, 19-year-old Kendall Jones later shared a Fox News Channel montage of the deleted photos of rhinos, elephants, lions and leopards killed or tranquilized.
Jones has received criticism and support online after posting the pictures of herself in Africa. Jones says on her public Facebook page that the hunts are legal.
A statement issued Thursday by Facebook says it removes “reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse.”
Jones subsequently shared the “Fox & Friends” collection.
Protesters awarded $185K over arrests
Four people arrested at an anti-war march during the 2004 Republican National Convention have been awarded $185,000 in the first trial stemming from lawsuits over protest arrests surrounding the GOP gathering.
Coming about six months after the city reached an $18 million settlement with about 1,800 other RNC protesters, Wednesday’s federal jury verdict caps a lingering chapter in the legal saga that followed the arrests, nearly all of which ended with cases dismissed or defendants acquitted.
VA: Patient access to care is improving
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has reached out to nearly 140,000 veterans in the past two months to get them off waiting lists and into clinics for medical appointments.
Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson revealed the number Thursday as the VA released new audit figures showing improved patient access at 731 VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.