Tuesday, May 05th

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Video shows ISIL destroying ancient city of Nimrud

NimrudA video purporting to show Islamic State extremists destroying the ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud has been posted online.

In the video, militants use drills, sledgehammers and a bulldozer to destroy ancient stone reliefs and walls, before huge explosions can be seen. The video footage could not be independently verified by USA TODAY.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, considers the artifacts to be idolatry.


Kenya's second-in-command wants 600K refugees shipped out

Kenya refugee campKenya's second most powerful official has effectively issued an ultimatum to the United Nations -- demanding that the world body move more than 600,000 Somali refugees out of his country, or else his government will do so.

Deputy President William Ruto made the demand Saturday to the U.N.'s refugee agency, giving it three months to move out every last refugee from the Dadaab camps -- the largest in the world.


Reckoning point: Ex-US guards face sentencing in Iraq case

blackwaterA yearslong legal fight over a deadly shooting of civilians in an Iraq war zone reaches its reckoning point with the sentencing this week of four former Blackwater security guards.

Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Slough face mandatory, decadeslong sentences because of firearms convictions. A fourth defendant, Nicholas Slatten, faces life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder.

At the hearing Monday in U.S. District Court, defense lawyers intend to appeal for mercy by arguing that their clients acted in self-defense during a chaotic firefight in Baghdad. They also plan to argue that sending the defendants to prison for decades would be an unfairly harsh outcome for men who have close family ties and proud military careers, and who were operating in stressful conditions in a war-torn country.


Reuters Iraq Bureau Chief Leaves Country After Being Threatened Over Story

Iraq: reuters bureau chief leavesThe Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters has left Iraq after he was threatened on Facebook and denounced by a Shi'ite paramilitary group's satellite news channel in reaction to a Reuters report last week that detailed lynching and looting in the city of Tikrit.

The threats against journalist Ned Parker began on an Iraqi Facebook page run by a group that calls itself "the Hammer" and is believed by an Iraqi security source to be linked to armed Shi'ite groups. The April 5 post and subsequent comments demanded he be expelled from Iraq. One commenter said that killing Parker was "the best way to silence him, not kick him out."


Detroit fracking opponents try again to bring issue to voters

Dteroit anti frackig movementThe wheels begin to turn in earnest next week on efforts to bring a ban on hydraulic fracturing before Michigan voters in 2016.

When Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers meets Tuesday, the four-member panel will review forms for the collection of signatures to initiate legislation. It’s a paperwork formality necessary before supporters of a ban on the controversial natural gas extraction process can begin approaching state residents.


Egypt court sentences US-Egyptian citizen to life in prison

Egypt sentences American citizen to lifeAn Egyptian criminal court sentenced a dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen on a monthslong hunger strike to life in prison Saturday on charges of financing an anti-government sit-in and spreading false news.

Mohammed Soltan, the son of a prominent member of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested in August 2013, when security forces came looking for his father at his house. They didn't find the father at the time, but arrested him instead, Soltan's family said. His father, Salah, was detained later.


Lockdown lifted at U.S. Capitol after suspected suicide

cpaitol lock down liftedThe U.S. Capitol has re-opened after it was locked down for about two hours Saturday when shots were fired on the west front of the building in what appears to be an attempted suicide.

The Capitol and the Capitol Visitors Center were re-opened shortly before 4 p.m. The shooter suffered from a self-inflicted wound and has been "neutralized," U.S. Capitol police said. It was not immediately clear if he died.


U.S. To Impose Offshore Drilling Rule: Report

Offshore drillingThe United States is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing Obama administration officials.

The Interior Department could make the announcement as early as Monday, the paper said. It is timed to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the BP disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf.


Obama and Castro shake hands at historic summit

Obama - Castro handshakeUS President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro shook hands at a historic Summit of the Americas, marking a major milestone in their efforts to end decades of animosity.

Mr Obama and Mr Castro nodded and smiled as they greeted one another and exchanged pleasantries, looked over by Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General.

It was the first such interaction between the two men in three years, and one of the only times that the leaders of the US and Cuba have spoken to one another in more than a half century.


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