- Twenty cars line up between police cruisers in a violent northeastern Mexican city, ready to be escorted at high speed across a notorious "death highway" infested with gangs that kill and kidnap.

Many are Mexican migrants who drove across the border to Matamoros from the United States, bearing gifts for their families for the Christmas holidays.

Others are local residents who know the dangers they face driving across Tamaulipas, the state with the highest number of missing people in Mexico -- 5,000 out of 26,000 nationally -- and regular drug cartel battles.

With that in mind, the federal police launched "Operation Tread" in 2013 to escort civilian cars across Route 101, a ghostly highway with closed or deserted restaurants and businesses along the way. Things here are so bad, it is known as "death highway."

Carlos Ortega, a 55-year-old gardener who drove from the northeastern US state of New Jersey, said he learned about the operation in a flier that was handed to him after he crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas.

"I'm here because I'm afraid of the problems out there, like robberies, attacks. They take cars and money. You can't travel calmly. We need this operation," he said as he headed to Puebla in central Mexico in a sport utility vehicle with his daughter and two friends.

Tamaulipas is home to the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels, two criminal groups that were once allies but have fought brutal turf wars in recent years.

While they have both been weakened by the captures or killings of top leaders, their members still sow fear in the population.

A man who lives in Texas said he was stopped at gunpoint three times in past trips across Tamaulipas.

"They had large guns. They made me get out and they said they wanted my SUV. I was with my family. I told them, 'I don't have anything against you. I'd rather pay an extortion fee,'" he said.

He didn't know whether they were cartel henchmen or common criminals. But he said they ask travelers to give them between $30 and $70.

On this trip, his car was loaded with toys, bags and boxes with US goods. He pulled over behind the lead police cruiser, but he was nervous despite the escort.

"If there's a fight, the cruiser in front of us won't do much against 10 SUVs that come to steal," the Texas man said.

- 'Safe point' -

After the 9:00 am rendezvous, the caravan set off on its 300-kilometer (185-mile) trip to the state capital, Tamaulipas, a nonstop ride with no bathroom breaks.

The officers were armed with assault rifles as they began to speed down the highway, with little space between the cars following behind them.

The caravan reaches cruising speeds of 100 kilometers per hour, going faster in some stretches.

For those who dare to drive without the police escort, the authorities set up a "safe point" at a gasoline station guarded by police and soldiers so that people can fill their tanks and stretch their legs.

The police caravan sped up as it approached San Fernando, the most dreaded part of the trip. It was there that suspected Zetas members slaughtered 72 Central and South American migrants in August 2010.

"San Fernando is the hardest part. There are kidnappings there. They take your car and rob you," said Rafael Portales, 37, who buys cars in the United States to sell them in Mexico.

Near Ciudad Victoria, the driver of the lead police car waved his hand outside his window to signal the end of "Operation Tread."

"Every man for himself from here. May God bless us," said the Texas man as he headed on to another city in his SUV.

- Relatives of the missing -

In Ciudad Victoria, families of some of the thousands of missing people shared their stories.

Carlota Hernandez, 42, said her husband Livorio and son Jorge disappeared along with a neighbor in August 2013 after they went to buy a car part at a junkyard.

"They were fixing the neighbor's car. They went to the junkyard and never came back," she told AFP.

Days after their disappearance, the father and son's belongings were found in a house used by criminals to hold kidnapping victims.

"Four people were arrested. I spoke with them so they would tell me where they are, but they said they knew nothing," Hernandez recalled.

She never got a call asking for a ransom. Hernandez thinks they might have been taken away to be forced into joining the gang, but she really fears the worst.

Her story is only one of many.

Guillermo Gutierrez Riestra, founder of the group Families and Friends of the Disappeared in Tamaulipas, said the real number of missing is 11,000, twice the official figure.

His daughter was 19 when she was kidnapped in 2011.

"People don't file complaints," he lamented.

"Most disappearances happen on the roads. A Zetas chief was arrested and they found 50 driving licenses on him, which indicates that most were kidnapped on the highway," Gutierrez said.

"They could be truck drivers, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, academics and migrants."

A 24 year old woman who repeatedly rammed her car into pedestrians on the packed Las Vegas Strip, killing one person and injuring more than 30, will be charged with murder, officials said.

Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson told reporters that additional charges would also be filed against Lakeisha Holloway, who had her three-year-old daughter in the car at the time of the incident Sunday night.

"Other charges we are considering are a multitude of counts of attempted murder," in addition to charges of child abuse and leaving the scene of an accident, Wolfson said.

Authorities said that as Holloway's car intentionally and repeatedly smashed into pedestrians at different spots on the busy Strip at about 6:30 pm, many witnesses tried to get her to stop, pounding on the windows and opening the doors of the vehicle.

After the rampage, she drove to a nearby hotel and asked a valet parking attendant to call the emergency services, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

"She didn't appear to be distressed due to her actions," Lombardo said, adding that the child was unharmed.

He said it appears Holloway, who is from the West Coast state of Oregon, was estranged from her daughter's father and was homeless and living in her car for the past week.

A spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Transportation told AFP that Holloway had her driving license suspended in 2012 for failing to comply with insurance requirements.

"In April 2013, her license was also suspended by the court because she did not pay the court fines related to that citation," Sally Ridenour said.

Authorities believe Holloway may have been passing through Las Vegas on her way to join her daughter's father in Texas.

Lombardo said Holloway, who had no previous criminal record, did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, but a drug expert said she was "under some sort of stimulant."

"We don't know (what)... caused her to snap or whether it was planned previously," he said, describing Holloway as "stoic" at the time of her arrest.

Authorities have ruled out an act of terrorism for the time being while they check Holloway's background, Lombardo said.

Of the more than 30 injured, three are in critical condition, suffering from head injuries.

The victims are from several US states as well as Canada and Mexico, Lombardo said.

Authorities have identified the woman who died as Jessica Valenzuela, 32, of Arizona.

- 'Bodies like pins' -

The Las Vegas Strip, lined with casinos and fancy hotels, attracts throngs of tourists from around the world and is usually abuzz with activity.

The incident occurred on the same night that Las Vegas hosted the popular Miss Universe pageant, which saw the crowning of Miss Philippines at a venue not far from where the chaotic scene unfolded.

Witness Rabia Qureshi, a tourist from Wisconsin, told the local NBC station KSNV that the vehicle in question looked like "a bowling ball and the human bodies were like pins."

"You think it's a show, because you're in Vegas," Qureshi was quoted as saying by NBC News. "But then I saw some people fly in the air."

Another witness, Antonio Nassar, told CNN that as the vehicle jumped the curb "all you could see was (her) driving away, and people were bouncing off the front of the car."

As the Republican candidates for president take the debate stage in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, the race has oddly enough turned into a referendum on the roughly 3 million Muslims in the United States — and on the 1.6 billion outside its borders.

Evidence that the couple behind the San Bernardino killings were Islamic extremists, with or without ties to organized groups, has turned the views of America held by Muslims outside the United States into a contentious topic of public debate. Donald Trump has proposed barring Muslims from entering the United States, in part because of their alleged anti-American sentiments. A majority of Americans oppose such a move, according to both the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. But in the Washington Post/ABC News survey, a majority of GOP voters support the idea. So, as the campaign season intensifies, more is likely to be heard about Muslim views of America in the weeks ahead.

Since 2002, the Pew Research Center has conducted surveys in a number of nations with large Muslim populations. Each year, publics have been asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the United States. In our most recent polls, intense anti-American sentiment can be found in Egypt (53 percent held a very unfavorable view of America in 2014) and Jordan (51 percent very unfavorable in 2015).

But such sentiment has actually ebbed among Muslims in the Palestinian territories and Pakistan. And in both Indonesia and Nigeria, countries with some of the largest Muslim populations in the world, strong majorities voice a favorable view of the United States. In fact, their pro-American sentiment is stronger than that in Germany.

It is true that anti-Americanism is particularly strong in Muslim-majority nations polled in the Middle East. As the 2015 Pew Research Center surveyhighlights, more than eight in 10 (83 percent) Jordanians voice an unfavorable view of the United States. This is down slightly from immediately after the U.S. invasion of Iraq but largely unchanged throughout most of the Obama administration.

Seven in 10 (70 percent) people in the Palestinian territories also hold an unfavorable view of Uncle Sam. But this negative sentiment is down from 98 percent in May 2003 and 82 percent in the first year of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

In Lebanon, where roughly six in 10 people are Muslim, 74 percent of Muslims say they see America in an unfavorable light. However, there are sharp differences between the country’s Shiite and Sunni communities: Fully 95 percent of Shiite Muslims voice anti-American sentiments, while only 52 percent of Sunnis agree.

And in Turkey, 58 percent express unfavorable views toward the United States. But such negative opinion is down from 83 percent in May 2003 and 77 percent in 2008.

In Egypt, in the Pew Research Center’s 2014 survey, 85 percent of respondents expressed anti-American sentiments. And, contrary to softening attitudes in some other Muslim-majority societies in the region, anti-Americanism in Egypt has been on the rise. In 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, 70 percent of Egyptians had an unfavorable view of the United States.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world, 62 percent of the public say they have an unfavorable view of America. But such negative views are down from a high of 73 percent in 2011.

And in Malaysia, where nearly two-thirds of the population is Muslim, 56 percent of Muslims have an unfavorable view of the United States.

Nevertheless, anti-American sentiment is far from ubiquitous in predominantly Muslim countries.

Indonesia is the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. This year, 62 percent of Indonesians say they have a very or somewhat favorableview of America. Just 26 percent hold an unfavorable opinion. And pro-American sentiment in the Southeast Asian nation is on the rise, while anti-American views are declining. A decade ago, in 2005, just 38 percent of Indonesians said they viewed the United States favorably, while 57 percent saw Uncle Sam unfavorably.

Similarly, in Nigeria, though not a Muslim-majority nation (roughly half the population is Muslim), but with the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world, 70 percent of Muslims surveyed had a favorable view of America. And, in 2014, in Bangladesh, with the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world, 76 percent of people had a positive opinion of the United States.

Attitudes toward the United States are the product of multiple factors. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent chaos were deeply unpopular in many predominantly Muslim countries and harmed the U.S. image both in the region and as far afield as Indonesia and Pakistan. But Muslim stereotypes of people in the West also help explain some of this anti-Americanism. Six in 10 or more Muslims across seven largely Muslim countries considered Westerners to be selfish, violent, greedy, and immoral, according to a Pew Research Center survey in 2011. Only about three in 10 saw Westerners as honest, tolerant, and generous.

As the U.S. political debate about Muslims unfolds over the coming weeks and months, it is useful to remember that Pew Research Center surveys find that anti-Americanism among Muslims varies with events and geography. Negative views of the United States have proved especially intense and enduring in the Middle East. Yet very large Muslim populations in Indonesia and Nigeria see America in a positive light.

But a word of caution to Trump and the GOP field: Muslims outside the United States are divided in their view of America, just as Americans are divided in their views of Muslims.

Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez thought she was doing the right thing when she pulled out her pistol and fired at a pair of shoplifters as they fled from a Home Depot near Detroit.

She wasn't, at least in the eyes of the law.

On Wednesday, a Michigan judge sentenced Duva-Rodriguez to 18 months of probation and stripped the 46-year-old of her concealed gun permit.

Duva-Rodriguez didn't manage to stop the shoplifters when she rattled off several rounds outside an Auburn Hills Home Depot on Oct. 6, although she did flatten one of their tires.

What she did do, however, was spark a nationwide debate — or at least add fuel to an already raging fire.

The shooting came just days after a massacre at a community college in Oregon, an event that led GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson to call for "more guns" to help fight crime.

But Duva-Rodriguez's attempt at being a good Samaritan badly backfired.

She was widely pilloried for pulling out her firearm when nothing but property was at stake. Gun experts slammed her, saying she was lucky not to have killed a bystander. Prosecutors called her decision to fire her weapon in a busy parking lot "disturbing" and charged Duva-Rodriguez with misdemeanor reckless use of a handgun.

Duva-Rodriguez did not contest the charge in court, but she was hardly contrite.

"I tried to help," she told WJBK after her sentencing on Wednesday, before wryly adding: "And I learned my lesson that I will never help anybody again."

Her lawyer was even more defiant.

"We need more people like Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez in our society," defense attorney Steven Lyle Schwartz told The Associated Press.

The shooting, and Duva-Rodriguez's sentencing, is unlikely to end the debate over whether arming law-abiding citizens cuts down on crime, let alone prevents massacres like the Oregon college incident or the recent rampage in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.

The idea that "good guys" with guns are the answer appears to resurface with a vengeance after every mass shooting.

Google searches for concealed weapon permits, for instance, have exploded since the San Bernardino shooting and Trump and Carson aren't alone in pushing the idea.

"If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in," said Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and son of the late religious-right leader Jerry Falwell Sr., two days after the San Bernardino shooting.

"It just blows my mind that the president of the United States (says) that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control," he continued. "If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now ..."

The "good guy" theory also appears to be gaining ground more generally.

There are now about 12.8 million concealed carry permit holders in the U.S., up from 4.6 million in 2007, Ingraham reports. And a recent Gallup poll found that 56 percent of Americans say the country would be safer if more people carried concealed firearms.

Despite anecdotal evidence that "good guys" with guns are good for public safety, scientific evidence is much harder to come by. A recent study by Mount St. Mary's University found that people without firearms training had either dangerously itchy or dangerously slow trigger fingers. "Carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level," the study's authors wrote.

Duva-Rodriguez saw herself as somebody's savior. She was in the Home Depot parking lot when she heard a scream. A loss prevention officer was chasing a shoplifter with a cart full of stolen power tools. When the man loaded the tools into a waiting getaway car, Duva-Rodriguez pulled out her pistol and fired two rounds.

"I made a decision in a split second," she told judge Julie Nicholson on Wednesday, according to WJBK. "Maybe it was not the right one, but I was trying to help."

"She's there to help; saw something happening; thought it was serious; pulled her gun," added Schwartz, her attorney. "She didn't want to hurt anybody. We didn't know that there were any people in the parking lot, other than this person that was driving away this vehicle. She didn't shoot it in the air; she didn't shoot it at the window, at the windshield. She fired at the tires."

Schwartz also sought to dispel the idea that his client was a yahoo with a gun, calling her a "sharpshooter."

Whether she's a sharpshooter, Duva-Rodriguez will now have to wait until at least 2023 to carry a concealed weapon again, Nicholson ordered.

"I don't believe any malice was involved in what you were doing," the judge said, "but I believe you have to think about what could have happened."

The US and other countries on high alert forISIS attacks, American authorities are warning the terror group’s followers may have infiltrated American borders with authentic-looking passports ISIS has printed itself with its own machines, according to an intelligence report obtained by ABC News.

The 17-page Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Intelligence Report, issued to law enforcement last week, says ISIS likely has been able to print legitimate-looking Syrian passports since taking over the city of Deir ez-Zour last summer, home to a passport office with “boxes of blank passports” and a passport printing machine. Another passport office was located in Raqqa, Syria, which has long been ISIS’s de facto capital.

“Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is possible that individuals from Syria with passports ‘issued’ in these ISIS controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S.,” the report says.

The report notes that the primary source for the information was rated at “moderate confidence,” the second-highest rating given for source assessments. Testifying before lawmakers Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey first publicly revealed the nation’s top security officials’ very real anxiety over the problem.

“The intelligence community is concerned that they [ISIS] have the ability, the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in any setting,” Comey said.

Former Department of Homeland Security intelligence official and ABC News consultant John Cohen said, “If ISIS has been able to acquire legitimate passports or machines that create legitimate passports, this would represent a major security risk in the United States.”

Fake Syrian passports have already been discovered in Europe, most notably two used by suicide bombers in the horrific terrorist attack on Paris last month. The two men are believed to have slipped into Europe with a flood of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their homeland.

According to the source that provided the passport information to homeland security officials, Syria is awash in fake documents.

“The source further stated that fake Syrian passports are so prevalent in Syria that Syrians do not even view possessing them as illegal,” the report says. “The source stated fake Syrian passports can be obtained in Syria for $200 to $400 and that backdated passport stamps to be placed in the passport cost the same.”

The report included one example in which law enforcement officials said that a Syrian passport discovered in Turkey was printed with a designator number indicating it had been printed in an ISIS-controlled area earlier this year.

Recently international news outlets have reported that their journalists have been able to purchase fake Syrian passports for a few thousand dollars.

The DHS report says it is unclear what state the “blank” passports stolen from Deir ez-Zour were in or if they were completely blank. It also notes that the “whereabouts of the passport machine(s) remain fluid,” since the source said they are portable. As of April, the U.S. Department of Defense marked Deir ez-Zour as a “contested” city on its public map of Syria (PDF), versus ISIS-dominated for Raqqa.

The HSI report’s last page contains a warning: “If ISIS ability to produce passports is not controlled, their operations will continue to increase and expand outside of their operational controlled areas.”

assailants armed with assault rifles opened fire on a holiday banquet for county employees in San Bernardino, Calif. on Wednesday, killing 14 people and plunging a nation already on edge about terrorism and mass shootings into hours of tense uncertainty.

The massacre at the Inland Regional Center set off a surreal day in which hundreds cowered in their offices, schools went on lockdown, SWAT teams swarmed neighborhoods and a four-hour manhunt played out on live TV. The finale was a gun battle on a residential street that left two suspects dead.

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said investigators had not determined a motive for the shooting, in which 17 people were wounded. But an official at the FBI, which is working with local agencies, said he could not rule out terrorism as a motive.

"It is a possibility, but we don't know that yet, and we aren't willing to go down that road yet," said David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

Huppke: Mass shootings and the search for something good

Authorities identified the dead suspects as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. A family member said they had been married for two years and had a 6-month-old daughter.

Farook was a U.S. citizen, born in Illinois, and a five-year employee of the government agency holding the holiday banquet. His co-workers said Farook, a Muslim, had traveled in recent years to the Middle East.

Burguan said he could not rule out that a personal conflict led to the shooting. During the banquet, "there was some type of dispute," and Farook left the gathering angrily, the chief said, and he returned with his wife and they opened fire.

Law enforcement officials said they recovered four firearms, at least two of which were legally purchased.

Farook worked for the San Bernardino County Public Health Department as a health inspector, according to public records and co-workers. One co-worker, Patrick Baccari, told The Times that Farook was present when the banquet began but disappeared before a staff photo was taken.

"I guess he's missing the photo this year," Baccari recalled thinking.

By the time scores of officers arrived at the shooting scene, the assailants had fled. Witnesses said they left in a black SUV. Another tip led police to a home in nearby Redlands. As officers arrived about 3 p.m., a black SUV drove away.

Officers pursued the vehicle to San Bernardino, where it stopped on San Bernardino Avenue near Mountain View Street. A gun battle between the suspects and about 20 officers ended with the couple dead and an officer wounded. The officer's injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Farook and Malik were dressed in what the chief called "assault-style clothing," and both were armed with assault rifles and handguns.

Police saw a third person running from the area and detained him for questioning, Burguan said. He said it was unclear whether he was involved in the shooting.

Investigators said they were concerned about possible explosives or booby traps at the Redlands home and near the SUV. An object hurled from the vehicle was initially believed to have been a pipe bomb, but on closer inspection it was not, Burguan said.

China's military is in talks with the Horn of Africa country Djibouti to build logistics "facilities" to support Chinese peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions, the foreign and defense ministries said on Thursday.

In May, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh told French media his government was in talks with China about a military base, adding Beijing's presence would be welcome in the former French colony, which borders Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the facilities would mainly provide logistics services to resolve issues related to fuelling, rest and reorganization of troops and food supplies.

"The construction of the relevant facilities will help China's navy and army further participate in UN peacekeeping operations, carry out escort missions in the waters near Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, and provide humanitarian assistance," he told a daily news briefing.

"It will help China's military further carry out its international responsibilities to safeguard global and regional peace and stability."

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian, speaking at a monthly news conference, largely repeated the foreign ministry comments, but added China wanted to play a greater role in ensuring regional peace and stability.

"Maintaining regional peace and stability accords with the interests of both countries," Wu said.

Thousands of Cubans remain stuck on the Costa Rican side of the border with Nicaragua after Managua refused at a regional summit on Tuesday to open its doors to a wave of migrants heading for the United States.

Fearing the recent rapprochement between Havana and Washington could end preferential U.S. policies for Cuban migrants, thousands of people from the Communist-ruled island have been crossing into South America and traveling through Central America hoping to reach U.S. soil.

More than 3,000 Cubans have been stopped for days at the Costa Rican border after the Nicaraguan government shut its borders, denying them passage north through the country. At least 150 Cubans are arriving every day, exacerbating the problem.

During a regional summit in El Salvador, which included representatives from the governments of Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, Nicaragua rejected Costa Rica's suggestion of creating a "humanitarian corridor" for the migrants to pass through and said its border would remain closed.

"Nicaragua demands that the government of Costa Rica ... remove all migrants from our border areas," said Nicaraguan first lady and government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo.

Led by former Marxist guerrilla Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua is a close ally of Cuba, and his administration has complained that by issuing the Cubans with transit visas, Costa Rica has violated its national sovereignty.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez told reporters he thought Nicaragua had blocked a reasonable policy suggestion for resolving the crisis.

"It's unacceptable to kid around with people's suffering," he said.

Since U.S.-Cuban ties began to thaw in December, the number of Cubans heading through Central America has climbed.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data published by the Pew Research Center, 27,296 Cubans entered the United States in the first nine months of the 2015 fiscal year, up 78 percent from 2014.

Under arrangements stemming from the Cold War era, Cuban migrants receive special treatment on reaching the United States. The "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy allows Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil to stay, while those captured at sea are sent back.

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SPITZ (Austria) (AFP) - The Wachau, a picture-postcard river valley in Austria, makes a lot of wine. Soon it could be producing its own electricity too, and in a way that will not spoil the stunning views.

"Wind turbines are out of the question and solar panels are strictly regulated," says Andreas Nunzer, mayor of picturesque Spitz on the left bank of the Danube river.

"But we have found a way to contribute to the fight against global warming without harming our quality of life."

It is called river current power.

The idea is to place in the river what looks on the surface like the top of a submarine but is in fact a six-tonne buoy producing enough electricity for 250 people.

Below the waves is a turbine turned by the fast-flowing waters -- more brown than the blue of Strauss's famous waltz -- of the Danube, one of Europe's main waterways.

So far, three prototype river turbines producing between 40 and 80 gigawatts of electricity have been tested in the Wachau, but Nunzer has ambitious plans.

"We have obtained all the necessary permits to have nine of them, and we don't plan to stop there. We're just waiting for mass production," he told AFP.

According to Fritz Mondl, co-president of Aqua Libre, the Austrian firm that has spent the past 10 years developing the technology, this stage should begin next year.

In time, the aim is for all the 30,000 inhabitants of the UNESCO-protected valley, its steep slopes covered in vineyards and dotted with centuries-old castles, to get their power in this way.

- 24/7 renewable energy -

Mankind has long harnessed the awesome kinetic energy of rivers, most notably with hydroelectric power, the first plant being built at Niagara Falls in the United States back in 1879.

But even though the technology produces no climate-changing greenhouse gases -- which the Paris climate talks aim to reduce -- building the vast dams necessary nowadays is politically tricky, particularly in Europe.

"Forty years ago we successfully fought against a hydroelectric dam here," said Christian Thiery, owner of a Wachau hotel and restaurant at Durnstein, where English king Richard the Lionheart was famously imprisoned in the 12th century.

"Thank goodness we did, because we live off tourism now," he says. He has already ordered one of Aqua Libre's buoys to power his 100-bed hotel.

And apart from being unobtrusive, a key selling point of this new technology, its proponents say, is that it is the only source of renewable energy that works 24 hours a day and without the need for heavy infrastructure.

Problems that have long held the technology back, such as clogging of the turbines by plants and debris in the river, have been overcome. Nor do the buoys interfere with shipping or kill fish.

"The global market is forecast to be worth 15 billion euros ($16 billion) in 10 years," said Jean-Francois Simon, chief executive of French firm HydroQuest, which has installed its water turbines in French Guiana and in Orleans, France.

According to Simon, the relatively small generating capacity of the turbines is a turnoff to big firms, so the sector is dominated by smaller companies like his, Aqua Libre, Smart Hydro of Germany, Canada's Idenergie and Torcado of The Netherlands.

But it is the small water turbines' modest size, simplicity and ease of installation that make them attractive, in particular for areas of the developing world that are not connected to any power grid, he believes.

"The water turbines can work in farms of several dozen units and above all can use untapped sources of hydroelectric energy," he told AFP.

"They aren't going to turn the energy mix upside down, but they can play their part."

 

- Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying the jet had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km (0.62 mile) inside Syria and warned of "serious consequences" for what he termed a stab in the back administered by "the accomplices of terrorists".

"We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today," Putin said, as Russian and Turkish shares fell on fears of an escalation between the former Cold War enemies.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Turkey said it had shot down the jet while in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction, the letter said.

"Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

In condemnation of Russian air strikes in Syria, during which Turkish air space has been violated several times in recent weeks, Erdogan said that only Turkey's "cool-headedness" had prevented worse incidents in the past.

Each country summoned a diplomatic representative of the other. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled a visit to Turkey due on Wednesday and the defense ministry said it was preparing measures to respond to such incidents.

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, meeting in Washington, urged against an escalation, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey.

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it as it crashed in a wooded part of an area the TV said was known by Turks as "Turkmen Mountain".

Separate footage from Turkey's Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed.

A deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria said his men shot both pilots dead as they came down. The Russian military confirmed one pilot had been shot dead from the ground and another soldier died during a rescue operation.

A senior Turkish official said at least one of the pilots could still be alive. "It's not a fact but a possibility. We're trying to verify the information and taking all necessary steps to facilitate their return," the official said.

A video sent to Reuters earlier appeared to show one of the pilots immobile and badly wounded on the ground.

"MORAL CRUSADE"

Russia's defense ministry said one of its Su-24 fighter jets had been downed in Syria and that "for the entire duration of the flight, the aircraft was exclusively over Syrian territory", a suggestion Turkey denied.

"The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close," another senior Turkish official told Reuters. "Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly."

A U.S. military spokesman said it was an issue between the Turkish and Russian governments and that U.S.-led coalition operations in Syria and Iraq were continuing "as planned".

Moscow's decision to launch separate air strikes in Syria means Russian and NATO planes have been flying combat missions in the same air space for the first time since World War Two, targeting various insurgent groups close to Turkish borders.

Russia’s military involvement in Syria has brought losses, including the bombing by militants of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt. But there is no sign yet that public opinion is turning against the operation in Syria and the Kremlin said it would continue.

Instead Moscow, helped by state-controlled television, has used these reverses to rally public opinion, portraying the campaign as a moral crusade that Russia must complete, despite indifference or obstruction from elsewhere.

A U.S. official said U.S. forces were not involved in the downing of the Russian jet, which was the first time a Russian or Soviet military aircraft has been publicly acknowledged to have been shot down by a NATO member since the 1950s.

The incident appeared to scupper hopes of a rapprochement between Russia and the West in the wake of the Islamic State attacks in Paris, which had led to calls for a united front against the jihadist group in Syria.

Russia's main stock index fell more than two percent, while Turkish stocks fell more than four percent. Both the rouble and lira currencies were weaker.

Lavrov advised Russians not to visit Turkey and one of Russia's largest tour operators to the country said it would temporarily suspend sales of trips.

SHOT AS THEY FELL

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the warplane crashed in a mountainous area in the northern countryside of Latakia province, where there had been aerial bombardment earlier and where pro-government forces have been battling insurgents on the ground.

"A Russian pilot," a voice is heard saying in the video sent to Reuters as men gather around the man on the ground. "God is great," is also heard.

The rebel group that sent the video operates in the northwestern area of Syria, where groups including the Free Syrian Army are active but Islamic State, which has beheaded captives in the past, has no known presence.

A deputy commander of a Turkmen brigade told reporters on a trip organized by Turkish authorities that his forces had shot both pilots dead as they descended.

"Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air," Alpaslan Celik said near the Syrian village of Yamadi, holding what he said was a piece of a pilot's parachute.

In a further sign of a growing fallout over Syria, Syrian rebel fighters who have received U.S. arms said they fired at a Russian helicopter, forcing it to land in territory held by Moscow's Syrian government allies.

Turkey called this week for a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss attacks on Turkmens, who are Syrians of Turkish descent, and last week Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to protest against the bombing of their villages.

About 1,700 people have fled the mountainous area due to fighting in the last three days, a Turkish official said on Monday. Russian jets have bombed the area in support of ground operations by Syrian government forces.

Police watched the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks being led by a woman into an apartment the evening before both died there in a raid by special forces, a police source said on Friday.

SEE ALSO: US security response to Paris attacks likely can't stop ISIS

After a tip-off from Morocco that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of Islamic State's most high-profile European recruits, was in France, police honed in on Hasna Aitboulahcen, a woman already under surveillance who was known to have links to him.

Police tapping her phone as part of a drugs investigation tracked her to the St. Denis suburb north of Paris, also home to the stadium where three suicide bombers blew themselves up during last Friday's attacks that killed 130 people.

They watched the 26-year-old woman take Abaaoud into the St. Denis building on Tuesday evening. In the early hours of Wednesday, police launched an assault that lasted seven hours.

See images from the raid:

Abaaoud, 28, and Aitboulahcen, who may be his cousin, both died during the gun battle during which French police commandos fired more than 5,000 shots. A third person, who has yet to be identified, died with them.

Officials initially said Aitboulahcen had blown herself up, becoming Europe's first female suicide bomber, but a source close to the investigation said on Friday that a head blasted into the street by an explosive vest was not hers.

One of the police sources also said Abaaoud had been caught on camera at a suburban metro station, after the shootings and at cafes and restaurants in central Paris but while a massacre in the Bataclan concert hall was still underway.

He was seen on closed circuit TV at the Croix de Chavaux station in Montreuil, not far from where one of the cars used in the attacks was found, the source said.

A week after the Paris attacks, French nationals were in the firing line again in Mali when Islamist militants stormed a hotel in the capital Bamako leaving at least 27 people dead although France's defence minister said he was not aware that any French were among those killed.

HOUSE ARRESTS

In response to the Paris attacks, French police carried out raids across the country for a fifth day overnight on Thursday.

So far, police have searched 793 premises, held 90 people for questioning, put 164 under house arrest and recovered 174 weapons including assault rifles and other guns, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Police searched a mosque in Brest in western France early on Friday. Its imam, Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, who has condemned the Paris attacks, achieved notoriety this year for telling children they could be turned into pigs for listening to music.

In an unusual step, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) - the main umbrella group for mosque associations - and several of its member groups, urged their imams to denounce the attacks in Friday sermons and distributed suggested texts.

A bill to extend a state of emergency imposed a day after the Paris attacks into February and which would give the police more powers, received a final approval from the upper house of parliament on Friday.

Since the attacks, requests for information about joining the French army have surged. Colonel Herve Chene, head of airforce recruitment, said the numbers of people visiting his unit's hiring centres had tripled since last Friday.

DISOWNED

Abaaoud was spotted on the metro station CCTV tape at 10:14 p.m. (2114 GMT) on Friday last week after the initial wave of attacks. Seven assailants died and a suspected eighth person, Salah Abdeslam, is still on the run.

Abaaoud was a petty criminal who went to fight in Syria in 2013 and European governments thought he was still there until Morocco said he was actually in France.

He is believed to have recruited young men to fight for Islamic State from immigrant families in his native Brussels district of Molenbeek and elsewhere in Belgium and France.

At least 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building.

The jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the desert north of the former French colony, claimed responsibility for the attack. The former French colony has been battling Islamist rebels for years.

More than seven hours after the initial assault, a security source declared the drama over, along with the deaths of two militants. But the security ministry said gunmen continued to hold out against special forces on the top floors of the seven-storey building.


Sheen, 50, had a public meltdown in 2011, which ultimately cost him his starring role on the hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men." He landed on his feet, however, with his FX comedy "Anger Management." Sheen has remained out of the spotlight after FX decided not to renew the show in late 2014 after its 100th episode.

The actor has long struggled with substance abuse and has admitted to soliciting prostitutes in the past, both of which led to several run-ins with the law. He suffered a stroke in 1998 after a cocaine overdose.

A volunteer firefighter from Mississippi whose face was burned off during a home fire rescue received the world's most extensive face transplant, New York University Langone Medical Center said on Monday.

After a 26-hour surgery performed at the New York hospital in August, 41-year-old Patrick Hardison is living with the face of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, a BMX extreme bicycling enthusiast from Brooklyn who was pronounced brain dead after a cycling accident.

He received a full scalp and face, including ears, nose, lips and upper and lower eyelids.

Now, for the first time since that raging fire in Senatobia, Mississippi in 2001, Hardison can blink and even sleep with his eyes closed - key steps to sparing his blue eyes from blindness that previously seemed all but inevitable, said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, the plastic surgeon who led the 150-person medical team that performed the procedure.

Simultaneous surgeries took place, Rodriguez said, with Hardison on one operating table while Rodebaugh was on the other. The NYU medical team had practiced for a full year to get it right.

"You only have one chance to land the Rover. The same goes with the face," Rodriguez told Reuters following a news conference in New York earlier on Monday.

The team slit the skin at the back of the donor's head, peeling each side forward with key pieces of bone attached at the chin, nose and cheekbone and then precisely draped it, like Batman's cowl, onto Hardison's head.

"Everything has to be perfectly positioned," Rodriguez told Reuters, including the bones, muscles, ear canals, lips and nerves.

NYU, which will pay for the estimated $1 million surgery, took the case after a firefighter buddy reached out on behalf of Hardison, whose own children were initially terrified of their father's disfigured face.

Proof of the surgery's success was obvious after a medical team took Hardison shopping for new clothes at Macy's this fall, and no one in the store gave him a second look, Rodriguez said.

Rodebaugh's mother, who gave permission for the transplant, noting her son was an unexpected gift after she had been told she could not conceive a child, recently was shown a photograph of the surgical results.

"Patrick is beautiful," she told the medical team.

Hardison in a statement thanked his donor's family, saying, "I hope they see in me the goodness of their decision."

Attacks in Paris
Report: several dead in shooting, explosions in Paris

At least 35 people were killed Friday in shootings and explosions around Paris, many of them in a popular concert hall where patrons were taken hostage, police and medical officials said. The series of attacks gripped the city in fear and recalled the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo carnage just 10 months ago.

A police official said 11 people were killed in a Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement, and others said at least twice that number died elsewhere, primarily in the Bataclan concert hall, where the hostages were taken. It was unclear how many people were in the hall; one official said there were around 100, while another said there were far fewer.

Violence in Paris

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named in the quickly moving investigation.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the series of attacks.

Also late Friday, two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium north of Paris during a France-Germany friendly football match.

A police official confirmed one explosion in a bar near the stadium. It was not known if there were casualties.

Paris attacks

An Associated Press reporter in the stadium Friday night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead. French President Francois Hollande, who was in the stadium, was evacuated and immediately held an emergency meeting.

The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks.

Emilioi Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at the Carillon bar near the restaurant that was targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk, when the shooting started. He said he didn't see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner, then ran away.

"It sounded like fireworks," he said.

France has been on edge since deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in January on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery that left 20 dead, including the three attackers.

The restaurant targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices, as is the Bataclan, among the best-known venues in eastern Paris, near the trendy Oberkampf area known for a vibrant nightlife. The band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play there Friday night.

Deadly shootouts, explosions in Paris

The country remains on edge after January attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic State group.

The country has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts since, including an incident on a high-speed train in August in which American travelers thwarted an attempted attack by a heavily armed man.

France's military is bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and fighting extremists in Africa, and extremist groups have frequently threatened France in the past.

French authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have travelled to Syria and returned home with skills to stage violence.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

The attack, he said, was “not just an attack on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

French President Francois Hollande said he is closing the country's borders and declaring a state of emergency after several dozen people were killed in a series of unprecedented terrorist attacks.

Hollande, in a televised address to his nation, said the nation would stand firm and united against the attackers.

He said security forces are assaulting one of the sites hit by Friday's attacks, without elaborating.

"It's a horror," he said.

The ISIS terrorist dubbed "Jihadi John", who oversaw the brutal executions of American and Western hostages, was hit by a U.S. air strike Thursday night and is believed to have been killed, U.S. officials told ABC News.

One official said the jihadist, Mohammed Emwazi, was thought to be hit as he left a building in Raqqa, Syria, and entered a vehicle. The official called it a "flawless" and “clean hit” with no collateral damage and that Emwazi basically "evaporated."

"U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, on Nov. 12, 2015 targeting Mohamed Emwazi, also known as 'Jihadi John,'" Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

"Emwazi, a British citizen, participated in the videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Hainesand Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and a number of other hostages," Cook said. "We are assessing the results of tonight's operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate."

Diane Foley, the mother of Emwazi's first victim James Foley, told ABC News Emwazi's potential death would be "really a small solace to us."

"This huge effort to go after the this deranged man filled with hate when they can't make half that effort to save the hostages while these young Americans were still alive," said Foley, who has been critical of the U.S. government's hostage policy.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at a press conference early Friday, "We cannot yet be certain if the strike was successful. I've always said we would do whatever it takes to track him down, we've been working with the United States around the clock."

He added, "I want to thank the United States, the United Kingdom has no better ally."

Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism advisor to the White House and current ABC News consultant, said, "Since ISIS has used propaganda and its 'winner' image to lure new adherents, when its propaganda figure is killed that makes it look more like a loser, more like the tide may be turning against it."

After Emwazi was unmasked and identified in media reports in February, he ceased to appear in videos for ISIS.

VF

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FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2014 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores, greet supporters as they arrive for a march for peace in Caracas, Venezuela. Two nephews of Venezuela's powerful first lady Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti on charges of conspiring to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. and will be arraigned in New York, three people familiar with the case said Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Two nephews of Venezuela's powerful first lady Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti on charges of conspiring to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. and will be arraigned in New York, three people familiar with the case said Wednesday.

The arrest Tuesday, coming just three weeks ahead of key Venezuelan legislative elections, is likely to exacerbate already tense relations between the U.S. and Venezuela and cast a hard look at U.S. accusations of drug trafficking at the highest levels of embattled President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration.

The two suspects, Efrain Campos and Francisco Flores, were extradited from Haiti and scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in a federal court in New York, said a U.S. law enforcement official who insisted on anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case.

Michael Vigil, a former head of international operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration who was briefed by U.S. authorities about the lengthy undercover operation, said Campos and Flores were arrested in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, after arriving from Venezuela aboard a private plane. Both men were carrying diplomatic passports even though they don't have diplomatic immunity, Vigil said.

He also said Campos had claimed to law enforcement that he is the son of Flores and stepson of Maduro.

Another person briefed on the incident, who agreed to talk about the case only if not quoted by name, said Campos is the son of a deceased sister of Flores and was partly raised by the first lady and Maduro.

Flores, who Maduro calls the "First Combatant," is one of the most-powerful members of Venezuela's revolutionary government and a constant presence alongside her husband whenever he appears in public. The two traveled this week to Saudi Arabia for a summit and she's expected to be with the president Thursday when he's scheduled to address the United Nations Human Rights Council at a special meeting in Geneva called at Venezuela's request.

A former president of the National Assembly who is now running for congress, Flores became romantically involved with Maduro in the 1990s while serving as lawyer for the then-jailed Hugo Chavez. Maduro was one of many leftist activists drawn to the charismatic junior army officer following his arrest for a failed 1992 coup attempt. The two formally wed in 2013 shortly after Maduro was elected.

Venezuela's Communications Ministry and Foreign Ministry declined to comment about the reported arrests, saying they had no information about the incident. Maduro and Flores didn't issue any comment, while the president's Twitter account highlighted his meetings in Saudi Arabia with leaders from the Middle East.

American prosecutors have been steadily stepping up pressure on high-ranking members of Venezuela's military, police and government officials for their alleged role in making the country an important transit zone for narcotics heading to the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. government says more than 200 tons a year of cocaine flows through Venezuela, about a third of Colombia's estimated production.

But while several Venezuelan officials, including a former defense minister and head of military intelligence, have been indicted or sanctioned in the U.S., and many more are under investigation, no drug probes had previously touched Maduro's inner circle.

The arrests come as Maduro's government is reeling from an economic crisis marked by triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages that have emboldened its opponents. Polls say Venezuelans could hand the ruling socialist party its biggest electoral defeat in 16 years in next month's legislative elections.

Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank, said Maduro might use the arrests as a pretext to postpone the elections.

"He will blame the arrests on U.S. imperialism and see them as an attempt to undermine his government," Shifter said. "The news could well eclipse some of the mounting, severe criticisms, including from the OAS (Organization of American States) secretary general and throughout the region, aimed at the regime's abuses against the opposition."

Without mentioning the arrests, the president of Venezuela's National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, used his weekly broadcast Wednesday night to accuse the U.S. of trying to destabilize Maduro's administration before the elections.

"They attack him everywhere and are going to continue attacking," Cabello said.

Days before he shot dead five people in a canteen during his lunch break, Jordanian police officer Anwar Abu Zeid sent a message to friends saying he was going on a journey to "paradise or hell", friends and security sources said.

The message, on the WhatsApp mobile messaging application, may hold clues for police seeking a motive for Monday's shooting spree in which two Americans, two Jordanians and a South African were killed at a police training facility.

Relatives described the 29-year-old police captain as pious but not an extremist", though he would wake at dawn each day to worship in the mosque in his village in rural northern Jordan.

But two officials close to security matters and relatives said evidence was growing of radical Islamist influences on Abu Zeid, and a security source, who asked not to be identified, suggested the message to close friends supported this notion.

"When we prepare our luggage for a journey ... we fear we may forget something, however small, and the longer the journey, the stronger the concern that we won't forget anything," the source quoted him as saying.

"So what if we are going to a residence ... in paradise or hell," the source added, but did not say on which day the message was sent.

The killings took place at the U.S.-funded King Abdullah Training Center near Amman on the 10th anniversary of al Qaeda suicide bombings that targeted three luxury hotels in the capital and killed 57 people.

No group has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack.

The Americans killed were former members of the U.S. military and were contracted to train police from regional allies such as Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The South African killed was also a trainer and the two slain Jordanians were translators.

Several accounts from officials with contacts in the security forces said Abu Zeid had smuggled an assault rifle and two handguns into the compound in his car. As an officer, he was not searched as he entered.

Security sources said that shortly after noon prayers he charged into a canteen on the compound, shouted Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest) and fired at least 50 bullets.

He then went outside and a police sniper shot him in the head near the outer gates of the compound after he defied calls to surrender, they said.

SLEEPER CELLS

Investigators have not concluded yet whether Abu Zeid was acting alone or was part of a wider sleeper cell of jihadists, one official close to intelligence matters said.

As a graduate of Jordan's top military academy, Abu Zeid, who had two young children, had a secure job and perks that many Jordanians dream of.

But he had sought an honorary early discharge for what he said were "private reasons", only to find his way blocked because he had not completed 10 years service, the security sources said.

A close confidant of the attacker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Abu Zeid had felt increasingly humiliated and angry at working in a job where U.S. trainers seen as "enemies of Islam were defiling his country."

Some relatives are already referring to him as a "martyr".

The fact that the attacker came from one of the native tribes in Jordan that form the backbone of the security forces is a particular blow for the kingdom's Hashemite dynasty, security experts say.

Some tribes have become increasingly disgruntled over perceived corruption and feel they are being marginalized economically, posing what security experts see as an additional threat to a country long worried about possible attacks by militant Islamists inspired by al Qaeda.

"It is an attack from within the loyalist establishment and it compounds the complex internal risks beyond the conventional jihadi threat that comes from a suicide bomber blowing himself up, which is a more obvious risk, "said one official familiar with intelligence matters.

DISAFFECTED YOUTH

The decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict and turmoil along Jordan's borders with Israel provide fertile ground for Islamic militancy, and mistrust of the West has long been fueled by a perceived U.S. bias towards Israel.

Jordan is now an ally of Washington in the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State militants who hold large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq. Its stepped-up military role in this campaign has angered many in Jordan who believe it serves the enemies of their Muslim faith.

Others fear the overt military intervention could provoke a militant backlash inside the country.

Monday's shootings have also reawakened longstanding concerns that Islamic State supporters have recruited Jordanians to sleeper cells that could one day attack, and fear they could include anyone from computer technicians to professors.

Such concerns were heightened by a prominent parliamentarian saying last month that he had learned from media linked to Islamic State that his son had carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq's Anbar province.

Some officials acknowledge a growing threat from increasingly radical disaffected youth influenced by rising violence in Iraq and Syria and widening sectarian war and Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Thousands of youths from impoverished towns and cities blighted by poverty and unemployment have over the last few decades joined radical Islamic groups to fight in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

King Abdullah is among those who say improving economic conditions would help battle Islamist militancy but that was an insufficient remedy on its own.

"We have to work to find new jobs that meet the aspirations of our youths to immunize and protect our sons from the poison of terror and extremist ideology," the king said on Tuesday in a summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh.


President Barack Obama's executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation suffered a legal setback on Monday with an appeal to the Supreme Court now the administration's only option.

The 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to uphold a May injunction deals a blow to Obama's plan, opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states.

SEE ALSO: Trump suggests boycott of major brand

The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.

See photos from protests on immigration:

The Obama administration has said it is within its rights to ask the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion before deporting nonviolent migrants with U.S. family ties.

The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president's efforts to change U.S. immigration policy.

Seeing no progress on legislative reform in Congress, Obama announced last November he would take executive action to help immigrants. He has faced criticism from Republicans who say the program grants amnesty to lawbreakers.

lice body camera video shows the father of a 6-year-old autistic boy had his hands up and posed no threat as police opened fire into his car, severely wounding the motorist and killing his son, the man's lawyer said Monday.

"This was not a threatening situation for the police," said Mark Jeansonne, the attorney for Chris Few, who remained hospitalized Monday and could not attend the funeral of his son, Jeremy Mardis.

Jeansonne spoke with The Associated Press after a closed hearing in a Louisiana jail where he said the two local marshals were ordered held on $1 million bonds. Derrick Stafford, 32, of Mansura, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, of Marksville, are both charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

The lawyer said he still hasn't seen the video, but its contents were described to the judge during the hearing. 

Investigators have been reviewing forensics evidence, 911 calls and body camera footage. They have not released the footage or the calls.

He also said that while Few's condition is improving, he has not yet been told that his son died at the scene.

State police declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Also Monday, District Attorney Charles A. Riddle recused himself from the case because one of his top assistant prosecutors is the father of Greenhouse. The case is "not good for any of us," Riddle said.

The state attorney general's office will take over the prosecution.

The possibility that the officers could post bond and be released Monday, despite the murder charges, didn't sit well with some townspeople who gathered outside the jail.

"The same day the boy is being buried," said Barbara Scott. "Shame, shame, shame."

"This child couldn't hurt a fly and his life is gone. I feel justice was not served," added Latasha Murray.

Louisiana State Police announced late Friday that they had arrested the two marshals in Tuesday's shooting, which raised questions from the start. Initial reports suggested the marshals had been serving a warrant on Few, but Louisiana's state police chief, Col. Mike Edmonson, said there was no evidence of a warrant, nor was there a gun found at the scene.

Investigators have been reviewing forensics evidence, 911 calls and body camera recordings, which Edmonson described at a news conference Friday. State police said the boy died wearing his seatbelt in the front passenger seat.

"It's the most disturbing thing I've seen — and I will leave it at that," Edmonson said. "Jeremy Mardis is 6 years old. He didn't deserve to die like that."

Stafford is a full-time lieutenant with the Marksville Police Department; Greenhouse is a full-time city marshal. Both were working part time as deputy marshals in Marksville on Tuesday when they allegedly opened fire.

Mardis was to be buried Monday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He had recently moved from Hattiesburg to Louisiana.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- A man marching down the street shot and killed three people on Saturday, before being fatally shot in a gunbattle with police, authorities and witnesses said.

Officers were responding to a report of shots being fired when they spotted a suspect matching the description of the person they were trying to find, Colorado Springs police Lt. Catherine Buckley said. The suspect opened fire, and police fired back, she said.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene as the suspect went down the street with a rifle.

Matt Abshire, 21, told the Colorado Springs Gazette he looked outside his apartment window and saw a man shoot someone with a rifle. He said he ran to the street and followed the man and called police.

The man suddenly turned and fired more shots, hitting two women, Abshire said. Their names and conditions were not available.

It was unclear how many people were wounded in the spree.

Alisha Jaynes told KKTV-TV 11 News she was at an ATM when she saw a man with a gun walking calmly down the street.

"They yelled, 'Put the gun down,' and he turned around, and that's when they shot at him a good 20 times," she said. "There was a lot of gunfire."

Buckley said the crime scene covered several major downtown streets. Those streets were shut down most of the day while investigators tried to figure out what happened.

A Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard.

A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a statement it had brought down the plane "in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land", but Russia's Transport Minister told Interfax news agency the claim "can't be considered accurate".

The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it went down in central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.

roup of South Carolina high school students has staged a brief, peaceful walkout in support of a sheriff's deputy who was fired after being recorded on video flipping a disruptive female student out of her desk and tossing her across the classroom floor. The incident sparked an outcry from civil rights groups who raised questions about whether the student's race, she is black and the officer white, played a role in the use of force.

Local news media outlets quote Spring Valley High School Principal Jeff Temoney as saying that approximately 100 students gathered in the school's atrium Friday to back former Richland County Deputy Ben Fields.

Ty'Juan Fulton, a Spring Valley student, said he felt Fields simply did his job in removing a disruptive student from the classroom. "That's what he's supposed to do when a student don't actually get up and listen. I think it's also her fault too for not listening. It didn't really have to go that far for an administrator and a deputy and a teacher to tell you to leave."

Fulton also said the level of force Fields used "wasn't called for." 

Videos and pictures of the walkout appeared on social media, some showing students wearing T-shirts that said "#bringbackfields" and "#bringfieldsback."

Temoney addressed the students, who he said returned to class about 10 minutes after their protest began.

Fields, who also coached football, was fired and banned from school district properties. Federal and state investigations into his actions are underway. He has prevailed against accusations of excessive force and racial bias before.

Video: S.C. school officer drags student from desk

Trial is set for January in the case of an expelled student who claims Fields targeted blacks and falsely accused him of being a gang member in 2013. In another case, a federal jury sided with Fields after a black couple accused him of excessive force and battery during a noise complaint arrest in 2005. A third lawsuit, dismissed in 2009, involved a woman who accused him of battery and violating her rights during a 2006 arrest.

Scott Hayes, an attorney for the former deputy, said in a statement released to local media that the officer's actions were justified and lawful. He said Fields wouldn't have any comment because of the federal investigation.

 - Mourners called for justice on Saturday at the funeral of Florida musician Corey Jones, who was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer after his car broke down on a highway off-ramp.

The death of the 31-year-old Jones is the latest fatal incident across the country involving police and black men. It has sparked anger and calls for greater transparency, as local law enforcement officials have been slow releasing details about the Oct. 18 shooting.

“We’re going to go to Washington and not stopping until a bill is passed that’s going to stop this brutality,” said Jones’ uncle Steven Banks at the funeral. “I won’t let it go until they swipe the pen and change is made.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent activist, media and civil rights figure, echoed that outrage as he delivered the eulogy for Jones.

"If we do not stop this policing problem it doesn't matter if it's a rich area, a poor area, a white area, a black area, this has got to stop because it's going on everywhere," Sharpton said.

Jones was waiting for a tow truck beside a highway off-ramp at 3 a.m. when Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, 38, pulled up in an unmarked van. A confrontation ensued and Raja fired six shots hitting Jones three times, authorities said.

Jones never fired the .380 caliber handgun recovered at the scene, according to the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office. He had a concealed permit for the gun, which he had purchased legally three days earlier.

After meeting with the state's attorney last week, family lawyer Benjamin Crump said Raja, who is of South Asian descent, had told authorities he never identified himself to Jones as a police officer.

“If he would’ve just said 'I’m the police,' he didn’t have to show a badge ... My brother would’ve laid on the ground,” Jones’ brother CJ Jones said during the funeral.

The state attorney’s office, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI are investigating the shooting.

Raja, who had been hired by the upscale community’s police department in April, had previously been investigating robberies in the area. He has since been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Telephone records obtained by the Palm Beach Post newspaper show that Jones had been on a 53-minute phone call with AT&T roadside assistance at the time of the shooting.

When the first sparks flew, the lead singer of Goodbye to Gravity joked that they weren't part of the heavy metal band's performance.

Moments later, flames spread quickly through the crowded basement club in downtown Bucharest, trapping many and triggering a stampede that would leave at least 27 people dead and 180 injured — making it the deadliest nightclub blaze in Romanian history.

Two of the band members were among the dead, while the lead singer was one of the many people who were treated in hospital for extensive burns. Witnesses said about 300 to 400 people, including some children attending with their parents, were at the club, housed in a former factory, when a pyrotechnical show went awry. They said there was only one exit.

A spark on stage ignited some polystyrene decor, club-goers told Digi 24 television. Photos posted on social media appeared to show a flame emanating from a pillar covered in foam insulation as those in the audience applauded the band.

The group, which was launching its new album "Mantras of War" Friday, had performed a song titled "This is the Day We Die" from their latest CD before the fire broke out, witnesses at the club said.

Hundreds of members of Bucharest's medical community were mobilized in frantic efforts to save as many lives as possible. Bogdan Oprita, a spokesman for the Floreasca Emergency Hospital, said it was the worst bloodshed since the 1989 anti-Communist revolution.

"It was like a war," he said. "Dozens of surgeons were called from home and asked to operate."

Emergency worker Violeta Maria Naca, with 22 years of experience, described in a Facebook post how parents were kissing ambulances carrying their children, while others were hitting the vehicles begging to be transported to hospital.

"There was a child with 70 percent burns. I was crying. The flesh was coming off him. He was asking whether he would live. If it was serious," she wrote. "He was almost in a coma. Blood and tears were coming out of his eyes. He asked me to hold his hand. I told him I had a boy the same age."

Children accompanied by an adult are allowed to enter nightclubs in Romania and many clubs don't pay attention to the age limit of 18 for unaccompanied teenagers.

Delia Tugui, a Spanish teacher at the American International School of Bucharest who was at the concert with her husband and son, said on Saturday that club-goers were surprised by how fast the fire spread and panicked.

"The lead singer made a quick joke: 'This wasn't part of the program.' The next second, he realized it wasn't a joke and asked for a fire extinguisher," she wrote on her Facebook page. "In 30 seconds... the fire spread all over the ceiling. People rushed to the entrance but it was too narrow, and people panicked."

"Friends were looking for each other under the pile of people," she said. "It was a nightmare."

She said she knew some would not escape.

"I realized that those on the other side of the bar would not get out alive."

"I was two meters (6.6-feet) from the door and I barely got out," she told The Associated Press. Then there was a blast and her hair caught fire.

"I tried to put it out with my hands and got burned. People behind me were burned from head to toe," she said. "Other people were hairless, their clothes were half-burned, and skin burned."

Goodbye to Gravity's guitarists Vlad Telea and Mihai Alexandru were among the 27 dead, Mediafax news agency reported, citing the band's record label Universal Music Romania. Lead singer Andrei Galut has serious burns, and bassist Alex Pascu and one other band member were also hospitalized with serious injuries.

An Italian woman, two Spanish citizens and a German man were among the injured, the Romanian Intelligence Agency said.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta cut short a visit to Mexico to return to Bucharest and declared three days of mourning for the victims starting immediately.

About 20 clubs in Bucharest announced they were canceling Halloween parties scheduled for Saturday evening in respect for the victims of the fire while one club said it would donate the evening's takings to the victims of the fire.

President Klaus Iohannis visited injured people Saturday at the Floreasca hospital in Bucharest and tried to comfort survivors and relatives. He said most of the injured were unconscious and in serious condition. He later visited the nightclub and spent a few moments paying silent respect to the victims.

The nightclub is one of dozens of clubs and bars that have sprung up in the Romanian capital in recent years, a lively city of 3 million renowned for its nightlife and long hours.

Shooting candles and indoor fireworks are common in bars and restaurants in Romania and fire regulations can be lax.

The General Prosecutor's office said that five of the dead had still to be identified. The interior ministry, which set up seven lines for families to call to find out about victims, said it had received more than 1,000 calls.

General Prosecutor Tiberiu Nitu said prosecutors are probing what happened. Police spent all night in the club investigating the incident and questioning the club's owners.

Iohannis also promised an inquiry into the blaze to prevent future disasters.

"I visited burns patients from last night's tragedy," he said. "I spoke to a patient's mum. People are disgusted that such a thing could happen and I hope we manage to have results of the inquiry as soon as possible and to change norms so that things like this never happen again."

A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people crashed on Saturday in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian officials said.

A "Russian civilian plane... crashed in the central Sinai," the office of Prime Minister Sharif Ismail said in a statement.

A senior aviation official said the plane was a charter flight operated by a Russian company carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. Communication with the aircraft was lost, he added.

Sergei Lzvolsky, an official with the Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia told Interfax news agency that the plane had departed Egypt's Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh at 5:51 am local time (03:51 GMT).

He said the aircraft did not make contact as expected with air traffic controllers in Cyprus, and "since then the plane has not made contact and has not appeared on radars".

"Prime Minister (Ismail) is expected to meet the concerned ministries and competent authorities to follow up on the accident of the Russian civilian plane that fell in central Sinai," Egyptian premier's office said.

A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people crashed on Saturday in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian officials said.

A "Russian civilian plane... crashed in the central Sinai," the office of Prime Minister Sharif Ismail said in a statement.

A senior aviation official said the plane was a charter flight operated by a Russian company carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. Communication with the aircraft was lost, he added.

Sergei Lzvolsky, an official with the Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia told Interfax news agency that the plane had departed Egypt's Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh at 5:51 am local time (03:51 GMT).

He said the aircraft did not make contact as expected with air traffic controllers in Cyprus, and "since then the plane has not made contact and has not appeared on radars".

"Prime Minister (Ismail) is expected to meet the concerned ministries and competent authorities to follow up on the accident of the Russian civilian plane that fell in central Sinai," Egyptian premier's office said.

Two-thirds of the world's population under 50 have the highly infectious herpes virus that causes cold sores around the mouth, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, in its first estimate of global prevalence of the disease.

More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 suffer from the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually after catching it in childhood, according to a the WHO study.

That is in addition to 417 million people in the 15-49 age range who have the other form of the disease, HSV-2, which causes genital herpes.

 Doctors for Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto who gained global notoriety for admitting to smoking crack while in office, have found a new tumor after cancer treatment forced him out of a re-election race in 2014.

Ford, now a city councillor, had abdominal pain and tests have confirmed a tumor is growing on his bladder, Ford's office said in a statement.

"At this time, we are still awaiting testing results to determine if it is related to the previous growths, as well as whether it is malignant," the statement said.

Ford and his brother Doug Ford, who remain popular figures in Conservative politics in Toronto's suburbs, helped organize a large rally for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper two weeks ago. Ford attended the rally and Tweeted a photo of himself and his family next to Harper, who was defeated last week in a federal election that ousted the Conservatives from power.

Ford made global headlines in 2013 by refusing to resign as mayor even after he admitted he had smoked crack while in a "drunken stupor."

He dropped out of a race for re-election in October 2014 after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He had surgery and chemotherapy and has continued to work as a city councillor under a populist platform of keeping taxes low and ending waste at city hall

 Saudi Arabia and Iran announced they would attend international talks in Vienna on Friday on the war in Syria, in the first meeting between the regional adversaries aimed at ending the four-year-long war.

Saudi Arabia said its participation in the talks aimed to gauge the willingness of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government's main backers, for a peace deal, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday.

"The view of our partners ... was that we should test the intentions of the Iranians and the Russians in arriving at a political solution in Syria, which we all prefer," al-Jubeir told a news conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and three of his deputies will attend the multilateral talks, Iranian state news agencies said earlier on Wednesday.

It will be the first time that Tehran attends international negotiations on Syria's war. Other participants, notably the United States, say Assad can play no part in Syria's future.

The Saudi foreign minister added that the kingdom and its allies would hold a separate meeting on Friday to seek "the time and means of Bashar al-Assad's exit".

Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Lebanon, the European Union and France also said they would attend Friday's talks, which come a day after a smaller round of negotiations between the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Around a dozen participants are expected in total.

It was not clear whether any invitation had been issued to either the Syrian government or the opposition. Neither side was present at the last talks in Vienna.

TWO MOST POWERFUL COUNTRIES

Speaking at a news conference alongside his Saudi counterpart, British foreign minister Philip Hammond said he hoped the meeting would encourage dialogue between the rivals, who back opposing sides in conflicts across the Arab world.

"Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two most important and powerful countries in this region. It is very much in the long-term interests of the region that eventually these two countries are able to talk to each other, are able to discuss differences, are able to seek solutions peacefully," Hammond said.

The Syrian National Coalition, an opposition group based in Turkey and backed by Western powers, said Iran's participation in the talks would undermine the political process.

"Iran has only one project – to keep Assad in power ... They don't believe in the principle of the talks," said the coalition's vice-president Hisham Marwa.

The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council told reporters during a visit to Pakistan on Wednesday that Tehran had entered the Syria talks "with no pre-conditions".

A senior Western diplomat in New York said on Wednesday: "We have got to start from a fairly low base given that you’ve got Russia and Iran on one side and everyone else on the other."

"It would be successful if (the meeting) came off and didn’t completely fall apart," he added.

Turkey, which backs the anti-Assad opposition, has no objection to Iranian participation in the Syria talks, a diplomatic source in Ankara said.

Turkish foreign ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

IRAN'S FIRST TEST

"Iran was always saying that without it the talks on the Syrian crisis would not succeed. What has changed is that Russia and the United States have come to the same conclusion," said Ali Sadrzadeh, an Iranian political analyst in Frankfurt.

He said the summer's nuclear deal between Iran and world powers had paved the way for Tehran's participation in the international arena, adding: "The Vienna talks will be Iran's first test."

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who will take part in the talks, welcomed Iran's participation. After a phone call with the Iranian foreign minister on Wednesday, she tweeted: "Important to have all relevant regional actors at the table on Friday in Vienna."

Fighters from Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are taking part in ground offensives being waged by the Syrian army and its allies with Russian air support, senior regional officials say.

Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said in an interview on state TV on Monday that Iran had increased its military presence in Syria in recent months to help its army.

"A few months ago the Syrian government asked us to help it reconstruct the army and also provide military advice for a massive operation. This required Iran to send more advisers there, so we increased both the quality and quantity of our military presence in Syria," Salami was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

Iran says it supports a political solution in Syria, but says Assad should be part of the process. Opposition groups, and their regional backers including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, say Assad must leave power as a precondition for peace.

"This is an acknowledgement of reality, four years into the conflict," said Julien Barnes-Dacey, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London.

"Having Iran at the table complicates the goal of getting rid of Assad, but potentially opens the door to some kind of de-escalatory track," he added.

Passengers were crowded on the left side of the top deck of a whale-watching boat when it was struck by a wave from the right side, causing the vessel to capsize and send 27 people into the water off Vancouver Island, an investigator said.

Five British nationals were killed, and the search continued for a missing Australian man. Twenty-one people were rescued after the Leviathan II capsized Sunday afternoon.

Marc Andre Poisson, Director of Marine Investigations for Canada's Transportation Safety Board, on Tuesday released preliminary results of the investigation into the accident.

Poisson said that with most passengers on the left side of the boat, "this would have raised the center of gravity, affecting the vessel's stability." When the wave approached from the right side, "we know that the vessel broached and then capsized."

He said investigators have interviewed the three crew members and some passengers. The investigation is expected to take months.

The British Columbia Coroners Service identified the five victims, two of whom were British nationals living in Canada. They are David Thomas, 50, and his 18-year-old son Stephen, from Swindon in southern England; Katie Taylor, 29, of Whistler, British Columbia; Nigel Francis Hooker, 63, of Southampton, England, and Jack Slater, 76, of Toronto.

In Britain, the Down Syndrome Association UK said in a statement that David Thomas was a "huge supporter" of the organization and "one of the driving forces behind the Swindon Down's Syndrome Group, where he was a trustee."

Stephen Thomas, who had Down Syndrome, "was a very talented young man and a gifted photographer," the association said in a statement.

David Thomas' wife, Julie, was rescued and is hospitalized with minor injuries.

Michele Slater Brown, of Milton, Ontario, called her father, Jack Slater, "larger than life, a charmer, handsome, entrepreneur, engineer in the navy ... and a lovely dad."

Coroner Matt Brown said a preliminary investigation suggests those who died were on the top part of the boat and that they weren't wearing life-jackets because they are not required in that type of vessel.

Investigators will review the weather, wreckage and the maintenance history of the 20-meter (65-feet) boat, Poisson said. They will try to recover the boat's electronics on Wednesday.

A senior employee of Jamie's Whaling Station, the company operating the boat, said the vessel sank so quickly the crew didn't have time to issue a mayday call. The crew shot flares from the water which attracted the attention of local aboriginal fishermen who rushed to help rescue people, said Corene Inouye, the company's director of operations.

Christy Clark, the province's premier, said she is proud of the way British Columbians came together to help.

"The Ahousaht First Nation, the people of Tofino, the people who know this coast so well, when there was a crisis, when there were lives at risk, people stepped up and stepped in and saved lives," Clark said.

The boat capsized about 9 miles (14 kilometers) off Tofino, a popular destination for whale watchers that is at the very tip of a peninsula some 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday confirmed that an Australian man was missing. Australian Associated Press reported that the 27 year-old Sydney man's family said he was on the boat with his girlfriend and her family when it sank.

Pentagon said Wednesday that U.S. fighter jets were tracking an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that tore loose from its ground tether in Maryland and drifted north over Pennsylvania.

Details were sketchy, but a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at about 12:20 p.m. EDT.

Two F-16 fighter jets from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in New Jersey were monitoring the craft, which was traveling north at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.

FAA officials were working with the military to ensure air traffic safety in the area.

The aircraft is known as a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System and can be used as part of a missile defense system.

It was not immediately clear how the blimp came loose.

The Islamic State (IS) militants have been airlifted from Syria by Turkish aircraft to save them from Russian airstrikes, spokesman for the Syrian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Mayhub said on Tuesday.

"On October 26, according to the reconnaissance data, four planes from Turkey arrived to the airport of the city of Aden (Yemen). Two of them belong to Turkish Airlines, one — to Qatar Airways and one more aircraft owned by an airline of the United Arab Emirates," said the Syrian army spokesman. "There were more than 500 militants of the Islamic State terrorist organization on board, they were taken from Syria to save them from Russian airstrikes," General Mayhub said.

According to him, "the militants were met by officers of the Saudi coalition that took them from the airport in three groups. The first went to the city of Al-Bab in Mandeb province (Yemen), the second — to Marib (Yemen), the third — to the Saudi regions of Jizan and Asir."

Islamic State redeploying reinforcement from Iraq to Syria

Previous reports said the  Islamic State terrorist group[ leaders were redeploying reinforcement units from Syria’s Raqqa province and Iraq’s territory to western Syria.

"Our unmanned aerial vehicles are fixing a considerable increase in the number of new IS targets in Syrian territory. The IS leadership is redeploying personnel reinforcement from Raqqa province and Iraq’s territory to the area of military hostilities in the west of Syria," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in an interview on Rossiya 1 television channel last week.

Russia started a military operation against the Islamic State terrorist group (which is banned in Russia) in the Syrian territory at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. The air group in Syria includes more than 50 warplanes, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers; Su-25 assault aircraft; Su-30SM fighter jets as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. The Russian Navy is also involved in the military operation. The warships of the Russian Caspian flotilla delivered a massive cruise missile strike from the Kalibr-class sea-based missile system on the night to October 7.

The Russian authorities have totally excluded a possibility of any ground campaign in Syria.

 

The US changed its story four times (at least) on why it bombed a civilian hospital staffed by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, in Kunduz, Northern Afghanistan earlier this month. Twenty two people died, including 12 staffers and 10 patients (three of whom were children) — and injuring 37 other people. Twenty four staff are still missing.

Now news just broke that Saudi Arabia bombed another Doctors Without Borders hospital last night, this time in northern Yemen.

Luckily only two doctors were "lightly wounded" and no one died this time. Reportedly everyone had just enough time to run to safety before another missile hit the maternity ward.

This is, yet another, war crime, and pretty much everybody knows it.

But they just keep justifying it by claiming terrorists might be hiding in these hospitals, so they have no choice but to bomb hospitals.

 

“Today’s students forced this issue as the governor and most state lawmakers seek re-election on Nov. 3, and many politicians have avoided staking positions. Not so Chris McDaniel, a state senator who lost a contentious Republican primary to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014, and insisted that ‘Ole Miss should fly it, as long as they remain a publicly funded university.’

‘Universities are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, not cocoons designed for coddling the feelings of the perpetually offended,’ the tea party favorite posted Monday on his Facebook page.

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said months ago that it’s time to change the flag, but his fellow Republican, Gov. Phil Bryant, declined to call a special legislative session to debate it and said Mississippians themselves should to decide the flag’s future.

Since 1894, the Mississippi flag has had the Confederate battle emblem in the upper left corner – a blue X with 13 white stars, over a field of red. State voters decided in 2001 to keep it that way, making it the last state flag in the nation to incorporate the divisive symbol.

But, Ole Miss student, faculty and administrative leaders quickly endorsed its demotion after more than 200 people attended a remove-the-flag rally on Oct. 16 that was organized by the university’s NAACP chapter.

  •   Donald Trump32.0%
  •   Ben Carson21.6%
  •   Jeb Bush7.3%
  •   Marco Rubio6.7%
  •   Ted Cruz5.3%
  •   Carly Fiorina3.9%
  •   Mike Huckabee3.9%
  •   Chris Christie2.8%
  •   Rand Paul2.6%
  •   John Kasich2.4%
  •   Bobby Jindal1.1%
  •   Lindsey Graham0.7%
  •   George Pataki0.7%
  •   Rick Santorum0.5%
  •   Jim Gilmore0.0%
  •   Rick Perry
  •   Scott Walker
  •   Undecided

The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.

Tangled legacy

Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a pathology, pediatrics and genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of "Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People" (Oxford University Press, 2012).

But depending on whether the lineage gets traced through maternal or paternal DNA or through the rest of the genome, researchers got very different answers for whether Ashkenazi originally came from Europe or the Near East.

Past research found that 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East, Richards said. That supported a story wherein Jews came from Israel and largely eschewed intermarriage when they settled in Europe. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

But historical documents tell a slightly different tale. Based on accounts such as those of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, by the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, as many as 6 millionJews were living in the Roman Empire, but outside Israel, mainly in Italy and Southern Europe. In contrast, only about 500,000 lived in Judea, said Ostrer, who was not involved in the new study.

"The major Jewish communities were outside Judea," Ostrer told LiveScience.

Maternal DNA

Richards and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which is contained in the cytoplasm of the egg and passed down only from themother, from more than 3,500 people throughout the Near East, the Caucusus and Europe, including Ashkenazi Jews.

The team found that four founders were responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA, and that all of these founders originated in Europe. The majority of the remaining people could be traced toother European lineages.

All told, more than 80 percent of the maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to Europe, with only a few lineages originating in the Near East.

Virtually none came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas.

The finding should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire, Richards and Ostrer said.

The genetics suggest many of the founding Ashkenazi women were actually converts from local European populations.

"The simplest explanation was that it was mainly women who converted and they married with men who'd come from the Near East," Richards told LiveScience.

Another possibility is that Jews actively converted both men and women among local populations at this time, although researchers would need more detailed study of paternal lineages to test that hypothesis, Richards said.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice launched a probe Tuesday into the circumstances surrounding a school resource officer’s actions at a high school in South Carolina the day before.

Federal investigators will assist the Richland County Sheriff's Department, which found itself in the center of a national controversy after one of its deputies slammed a student on the ground.

Several students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia used their cellphones to record Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields as he flipped an unidentified girl’s desk over and dragged her across the floor Monday.

Witnesses say the teacher called Fields to the classroom because the student refused to turn over her cellphone after she was caught using it during a lesson.

“The sheriff has asked for special agent in charge from the FBI to be a part of the investigation and also for the U.S. Justice Department’s [Attorney] Will Nettles to also take part in this investigation,” Lt. Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff's Department said in an interview with Yahoo News on Tuesday. “So an outside entity is also involved — not just our investigators from Internal Affairs.”

By Tuesday, the media’s attention turned to Fields’ varied past with the department. He started working for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in 2004 and joined the School Resource Officer Program in 2008.

Federal court records obtained by Lancaster Online show that Fields was raised in Lancaster, Pa., and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 2000, where he played basketball and football.

In addition to serving as a school resource officer, Fields is the defensive line and strength and conditioning coach for the Spring Valley High School varsity football team. Videos on YouTube show the officer weightlifting

Two French pilots given 20-year jail sentences in the Dominican Republic for cocaine-trafficking slipped out of the country and went home "to clear their names", one of them said Tuesday, but the Caribbean nation said it will seek their re-arrest.

Pascal Fauret, 55, and co-pilot Bruno Odos, 56, were among four Frenchmen sentenced in Santo Domingo in August in a case dubbed "Air Cocaine" in France.

But on Tuesday they were back with their families in France after travelling by boat from the Dominican Republic to the Franco-Dutch island of Saint Martin, before flying to Martinique and then on to France.

Fauret told a press conference in Paris that he felt the men had no choice but to leave the Dominican Republic, where they were not being held in detention pending a judicial appeal.

"The justice system did not open an investigation, it did not listen to us and we were sentenced to 20 years in jail just because we're French and not good Christians," he said.

"I'm sorry, but my first instinct was to return to my country where I could speak before a functional justice system and try to go back to a normal life."

Their lawyer Jean Reinhart insisted the men had not "fled" the Dominican Republic.

"They are in France not to flee justice but to seek justice," he told AFP.

"They are not escapees, because they were not in prison," he added, explaining that although they were not in jail they had been barred from leaving the Dominican Republic pending the appeal.

Exactly how the pilots managed to leave remains shrouded in mystery.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, a high-profile lawyer who is representing the pilots, said he could not give details of their journey because "it was not done alone, there were other people involved".

But he said the men had left of their own accord, telling the press conference: "It's no use imagining that a team of spooks was paid by the French state to facilitate this escape. That's not it at all."

The foreign ministry said the men had received no help from the French government.

- 26 suitcases of cocaine -

The Dominican Republic said it would seek an international warrant for the men's re-arrest.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said Dominican authorities were also reviewing international protocols in a bid to force the pilots to return and face justice.

"We are in contact with the French authorities, not only to determine how they escaped the country and their accomplices, but also to make them assume their responsibility in (the Dominican Republic), regardless of any other cases that may arise in France," he said.

The pilots were arrested in March 2013 along with two other men, Nicolas Pisapia and Alain Castany, as they were about to take off from the Dominican resort of Punta Cana.

Authorities said they were preparing to leave on a privately hired mid-size Dassault Falcon 50 jet with 26 suitcases containing 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of cocaine.

All four, who were in custody for 15 months while their case was being heard, have protested their innocence. Pisapia and Castany are still in the Dominican Republic.

"I want to come out clean from all this, that's why I'm here to fight until the end," Pisapia told AFP by telephone. "I want to leave here legally, having proved my innocence."

At their trial, defence lawyers argued there was no proof the men knew the drugs were on the plane.

Fauret and Odos "have left the territory of a country where justice does not exist", said their lawyer, Reinhart.

"They are not trying to evade justice," he insisted. "The first thing they did upon their return was to write to the magistrate" in charge of their case in France.

Four Dominican locals have also been jailed for sentences ranging between five and 10 years in connection with the case.


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Elephant tusks, leopard heads, crocodile skin purses and tiger skins — more than 1.5 million items in all — fill the shelves of a warehouse on a wildlife refuge near Denver.

The National Wildlife Property Repository is the only place in the United States that stores such a large collection of seized wildlife items. It provides a macabre look at the cost of the global trafficking of endangered and threatened animals.

The contents of the Colorado center operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement include an array of animal parts, large and small, and the items made from them — skins, carved ivory, boots, even medicines.

The confiscated items come from law enforcement agencies around the country.

"You can think of us as customs for wildlife," said Coleen Schaefer, who supervises the repository.

A multibillion-dollar industry, the black market in wildlife is the fourth-most-profitable in the world, after illegal trafficking in weapons, drugs and humans, Schaefer said.

The repository has a loan program for schools, museums and nonprofits that have a conservation message. It also sends items to research institutions.

"Our main purpose is to provide conservation education about the legal and illegal wildlife trade," Schaefer said.

Nearby is the National Eagle Repository, also a one-of-a-kind facility in the U.S. that stores dead bald and golden eagles and their parts and feathers. Alaska Natives and Native Americans in federally recognized tribes may use the feathers for religious purposes.

Use of the center's feathers reduces pressure to take eagles from the wild, the Fish and Wildlife Service says.

llary Rodham Clinton strove to close the book on the worst episode of her tenure as secretary of state Thursday, battling Republican questions in a marathon hearing that grew contentious but revealed little new about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. She firmly defended her record while seeking to avoid any mishap that might damage her presidential campaign.

Pressed about events before and after the deaths of four Americans, Clinton had confrontational exchanges with several GOP lawmakers but also fielded supportive queries from Democrats.

In the end, there were relatively few questions for the Democratic presidential front-runner about the specific events of Sept. 11, 2012, which Clinton said she continues to lose sleep over. The hearing ended at 9 p.m., some 11 hours after it began, with some of the fiercest arguments of the day as Clinton and the House Benghazi Committee's Republican chairman fought over the private email account she maintained as President Barack Obama's chief diplomat.

"I came here because I said I would," an exhausted Clinton told Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, her chief interrogator. "I tried to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that."

Gowdy declared after the end of the session: "We keep going on."

He portrayed the investigation as a nonpartisan, fact-finding exercise although fellow Republicans recently described it as designed to hurt Clinton's presidential bid. Democrats have pointed out that the probe has now cost U.S. taxpayers more than $4.5 million and, after 17 months, lasted longer than the 1970s Watergate investigation.

When Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, said the hearing wasn't a prosecution, Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, bluntly disagreed. He told Clinton: "The purpose of this committee is to prosecute you."

The appearance came at a moment of political strength for Clinton. A day earlier, Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not compete with her in the presidential race. She also is riding the momentum of a solid debate performance last week.

For Clinton, the political theater of the hearing offered both opportunity and potential pitfalls. It gave her a high-profile platform to show her self-control and command of foreign policy. But it also left her vulnerable to claims that she helped politicize the Benghazi tragedy.

In one tense moment, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio accused her of deliberately misleading the public by linking the Benghazi violence at first to an Internet video insulting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Clinton, stone-faced for much of the hearing, smiled in bemusement as Jordan cut her off from answering. Offered the chance to comment, she said "some" people had wanted to use the video to justify the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and that she rejected that justification.

Clinton: Most of my work not done on email

The argument went to the origins of the Benghazi saga and how Obama and top aides represented the attack in the final weeks of his re-election campaign. And it reflected the raw emotion the deadly violence still provokes, something Clinton will face over the course of her White House bid even if the Republican-led investigation loses steam.

"There were probably a number of different motivations" for the attack, Clinton said, recalling a time before a clear picture had emerged. Speaking to Jordan, she said: "I'm sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative. I can only tell you what the facts were."

As the hearing neared its conclusion, Republican questions became increasingly aggressive. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama, however, drew laughter from Clinton by asking if she was alone "the whole night" of the attacks after returning home.

Challenged that she didn't care enough about the victims, Clinton choked up while recounting a conversation with a wounded Benghazi guard. "Please do everything you can so that I can go back in the field," Clinton said he asked her. "I told him I would. He was determined to go back, to protect our diplomats, to protect you when you travel," she said, directing the last part to lawmakers.

Clinton made no gaffes. And she never raised her voice in the manner she did at a Senate hearing on Benghazi in January 2013. Then, she shouted: "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Republicans campaigned off that oft-repeated sound bite, and she was careful to avoid leaving a similarly indelible image Thursday.

Gowdy said important questions remain unanswered: Why was the U.S. in Libya, why were security requests denied, why couldn't the military respond quickly on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 and why did the administration change explanations of the attacks in the weeks afterward?

Clinton focused on the bigger picture, starting with a plea for the U.S. to maintain a global leadership role despite threats to its diplomats. She said perfect security can never be achieved, drawing on attacks on U.S. diplomatic and military installations overseas during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

"In Beirut we lost far more Americans, not once but twice within a year," she said of the 1983 attacks in Lebanon that killed more than 250 Americans and dozens of others while Ronald Reagan was president. "People rose above politics. A Democratic Congress worked with a Republican administration to say, 'What do we need to learn?'"

At times, Clinton's effort to restrain herself from a fight was apparent, but she gradually joined the fray. She nodded when Democrats fought as her proxies, such as when Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland described the probe as a partisan campaign replete with implausible conspiracy theories.

The Republican criticism has included contentions by some lawmakers that Clinton personally denied security requests and ordered the U.S. military to "stand down" during the attacks. None of these were substantiated in the independent Accountability Review Board investigation ordered by Clinton after the attacks or seven subsequent congressional investigations.

Thursday's hearing yielded no such evidence, either.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked a Holocaust controversy on Wednesday, hours before a visit to Germany, by saying that the Muslim elder in Jerusalem during the 1940s convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

SEE MORE:Democrats release Benghazi testimony of top Clinton aide

In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Netanyahu referred to a series of Muslim attacks on Jews in Palestine during the 1920s that he said were instigated by the then-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader's decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews.

See images of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews," Netanyahu said in the speech. "And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here (Palestine).'

"'So what should I do with them?'" Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: "Burn them."

Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.

They noted the meeting between Husseini and Hitler took place on November 28, 1941. More than two years earlier, in January 1939, Hitler had addressed the Reichstag, Nazi Germany's parliament, and spoke clearly about his determination to exterminate the "Jewish race".

"To say that the mufti was the first to mention to Hitler the idea to kill or burn the Jews is not correct," Dina Porat, a professor at Tel Aviv University and the chief historian of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum, told Israel Radio.

"The idea to rid the world of the Jews was a central theme in Hitler's ideology a long, long time before he met the mufti."

It is not clear why Netanyahu decided to launch into the issue now, but his remarks came with tensions between Israelis and Palestinians at a new peak, particularly over a Jerusalem holy site overseen by the current mufti.

A German government spokesman, asked about Netanyahu's comments, said the Holocaust was Germany's responsibility and there was no need for another view on it.

NETANYAHU HITS BACK

Responding to the criticism, Netanyahu said on Wednesday there was "much evidence" to back up his accusations against Husseini, including testimony by a deputy of Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, at the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War Two.

Netanyahu, in a statement issued by his office, did not name the aide, but he seemed to be referring to Eichmann assistant Dieter Wisliceny, who has been quoted in news reports dating back to the late 1940s as having told the war crimes court that Husseini repeatedly suggested the extermination of European Jews to Nazi leaders.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, accused Netanyahu of using the human tragedy of the Holocaust to try to score political points against Palestinians.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer died after being shot in the head in a gun battle while pursuing a suspect following a report of shots fired, police said.

"He is the fourth New York City police officer murdered in this city in the last 11 months," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during a press conference at Harlem hospital where Officer Randolph Holder, 33, was pronounced dead Tuesday night. "That's about as bad as it gets," he said.

Dozens of Holder's fellow officers stood outside the hospital early Wednesday morning and saluted as the ambulance carrying their fallen comrade left. Afterward, many embraced one another.

"Tonight, he did what every other officer in the NYPD does when the call comes — he ran toward danger," Bratton said. "It was the last time he will respond to that call."

The shooting in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood happened while the 5-year veteran and his partners were responding to a call of shots fired.

Witnesses told the officers a man had fled on a foot path and the officers encountered another man who told them an assailant had stolen his bicycle at gunpoint.

Holder and another officer confronted the armed man and there was an exchange of gunfire at East 120 Street and the FDR Drive, Bratton said. The officer was struck and the shooter fled on foot. The suspect was caught several blocks away with a gunshot wound to his leg.

Bratton said the suspect was expected to be released from a hospital early Wednesday and transferred to police custody. The suspect was not identified.

"We are humbled by Officer Randolph Holder's example, an example of service and courage and sacrifice," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Our hearts are heavy. We offer our thoughts and our prayers to his family."

De Blasio said Holder, who joined the force in July 2010, had an "exemplary record" as a police officer.

Holder was a native of Guyana. In the NYPD, he worked in the division that polices the city's public housing developments. His father and grandfather both were police officers in Guyana, Bratton said.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said: "New York City police officers everyday go out and carry themselves like superheroes but the reality is when we're attacked we bleed, when we bleed we die and when we die we cry."

So far this year, 101 police officers have died in the line of duty in the U.S. — 33 of those deaths caused by gunfire — according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. By early Wednesday, Holder's name already had been added to the list.

Canadians voted for a sharp change in their government Monday, returning a legendary name for liberals, Trudeau, to the prime minister's office and resoundingly ending Conservative Stephen Harper's near-decade in office.

Justin Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became Canada's new prime minister after his Liberal Party won a majority of Parliament's 338 seats. Trudeau's Liberals had been favored to win the most seats, but few expected the final margin of victory.

"Tonight Canada is becoming the country it was before," Trudeau said.

He said positive politics led to his victory.

"We beat fear with hope," Trudeau said. "We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Most of all we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less."

Harper, one of the longest-serving Western leaders, stepped down as the head of Conservatives, the party said in a statement issued as the scope of the loss became apparent.

Tall and trim, Trudeau, 43, channels the star power — if not quite the political heft — of his father, who swept to power in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed "Trudeaumania."

Pierre Trudeau, who was prime minister until 1984 with a short interruption, remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America, his charisma often drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy.

Justin Trudeau, a former school teacher and member of Parliament since 2008, becomes the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history.

Trudeau has re-energized the Liberal Party since its worst electoral defeat four years ago when they won just 34 seats and finished third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party. Trudeau promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending. His late father, who took office in 1968 and led Canada for most of the next 16 years, is a storied name in Canadian history, responsible for the country's version of the bill of rights.

A bachelor when he became prime minister, Pierre Trudeau dated actresses Barbra Streisand and Kim Cattrall and married a 22-year-old while in office.

Canada has shifted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline.

"The people are never wrong," Harper said. "The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone."

Harper said he called Trudeau to congratulate him.

The Trudeau victory will ease tensions with the U.S. Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project. Harper has clashed with the Obama administration over other issues, including the recently reached Iran nuclear deal.

Trudeau's opponents pilloried him as too inexperienced, but Trudeau embraced his boyish image on Election Day. Sporting jeans and a varsity letter jacket, he posed for a photo standing on the thighs of two his colleagues to make a cheerleading pyramid, his campaign plane in the backdrop with "Trudeau 2015" painted in large red letters.

"A sea of change here. We are used to high tides in Atlantic Canada. This is not what we hoped for," said Peter MacKay, a former senior Conservative cabinet minister, shortly after polls closed in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals were elected or were leading in 185 districts, with Trudeau winning his Montreal district. The party needed 170 to gain a majority.

The Conservatives were next with 97, followed by the New Democrats at 28 and Bloc Quebecois with nine.

Harper, 56, visited districts he won in the 2011 election in an attempt to hang onto them. On Saturday, he posed with Toronto's former crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, in a conservative suburb.

Harper had said he would step down if his party didn't win the most seats. Former colleagues of Harper said he would be personally devastated to lose to a Trudeau, the liberal legacy he entered politics to destroy. Harper's long-term goal was to kill the widely entrenched notion that the Liberals — the party of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien — are the natural party of government in Canada, and to redefine what it means to be Canadian.

Hurt when Canada entered a mild recession earlier this year, Harper made a controversy over the Islamic face veil a focus of his campaign, a decision his opponents seized on to depict him as a divisive leader.

"Canadians rejected the politics of fear and division," New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair said of the Harper Conservatives.

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Canadians rallied around the Liberals as the anti-Harper vote.

The New Democrats suffered a crushing defeat, falling to third place after winning official opposition status in the last election. "I congratulated Mr. Trudeau on his exceptional achievement," Mulcair said.

Paula Mcelhinney, 52, from Toronto, voted Liberal to get rid of Harper.

"I want to get him out, it's about time we have a new leader. It's time for a change," she said.

 Marbella was getting ready to prepare dinner for her three children one evening last week when a plane flew over their home in the village of El Verano, deep in the Sierra Madre.

Next, three helicopters swooped overhead. The biggest one, dark gray, had the face of a shark painted on it, and the emblem of the Mexican marines. She thought it was preparing to land, but instead it opened fire.

"I was out the back with the baby in my arms when I heard the first bullet hit the house. I just ran and hid behind my back wall," said Marbella, whose small house was soon peppered with bullet holes.

Her neighbor hid under a bed with her son and his young friends from school.

For more than an hour and a half, "all I could hear was shooting," said the woman, who was fearful of giving her name.

The massive military operation in El Verano and at least 12 other villages in the rugged borderlands of Durango and Sinaloa was aimed at capturing fugitive cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, authorities confirmed this week.

"Military personnel from Mexico City are working in the zone," Sinaloa state Gov. Mario Lopez told reporters. As for Guzman, he said, "Yes, that's the objective of this group."

Last week's major search operation seemed to be focused around the municipality of Tamazula, of which El Verano, La Calera and dozens of other similar villages are a part. Authorities swept in with force after receiving a tip from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, based on cellphone records, that Guzman was in the area, according to a variety of news reports.

Federal authorities late Friday confirmed that the elusive leader of the Sinaloa cartel had evaded capture but had been injured while making his escape.

“As part of these efforts and thanks to intelligence and information exchange with international agencies, operations have been carried out across the country,” said a statement from a coalition of federal security agencies. “As a consequence of these actions and to avoid capture, in recent days the fugitive made a hasty escape, which, according to information, caused him injuries in one leg and in the face.”

The military operation last week sent hundreds of people fleeing from their homes, many of them going on foot through the mountains to reach shelter here in Cosala, about 80 miles south.

El Chapo wanted posted

Guzman was listed by Forbes magazine as Mexico's 11th-richest man and one of the most powerful people in the world not long before his latest arrest in February 2014. The Sinaloa cartel transports and sells millions of dollars worth of heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana to the United States each year.

But Guzman's stunning escape in July — through a milelong tunnel that led from underneath his prison cell — has embarrassed the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto and sparked a nationwide manhunt whose most recent manifestation is the military operation in the Sierra Madre.

Mexican authorities have said it's likely that Guzman has returned to the homeland of the Sinaloa cartel in the remote, brush-covered mountains of Mexico's notorious "Golden Triangle" near where the states of Sinaloa and Durango meet, an impenetrable land dotted with small farming villages such as El Verano.

The area offers hiding places and an often-friendly populace, and is difficult for authorities to enter except by way of heavily armed operations of the kind mounted by the marines last week.

This month, Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez announced the detention of the pilot who authorities claim flew Guzman away after his prison break. The pilot, who wasn't named, is suspected of lifting Guzman from a partially constructed house in which he surfaced from the ventilated tunnel leading from his cell in the Altiplano prison.

Additional leads have come from records extracted from cellphones belonging to Guzman's attorneys, allowing investigators to begin drawing a map of Guzman's inner circle, according to news reports of a briefing Gomez Gonzalez gave the Mexican Senate.

Hundreds of villagers who fled the violent military operation complained to authorities that they had faced dehydration and several days of walking to reach safety and shelter, and many were injured.

In Cosala, a small town across the state line in Sinaloa, about 500 displaced villagers from Tamazula are being given food and shelter by the state government. They say they don't know when they will be able to return to their homes.

Several shared their stories in interviews, and some shared audio files of the sound of heavy, prolonged gunfire, and cellphone photos of their homes, riddled with bullet holes.

Marbella spoke while sitting on the couch in her mother's house, as military helicopters flew frequently overhead.

Residents said the marines seemed to be firing indiscriminately on houses and families and set cars on fire, allegations Mexico's secretary of the navy denied this week. 

"They said they came looking for one man," said Marbella's neighbor, who remembers panting under her bed as she waited for the gunfire to stop.

"That this wasn't a rescue mission; they were here to trap and kill," Marbella said.

Eduardo Nevarez, a 47-year-old farmer, watched the attack from a distance in the nearby village of La Calera. He and his 25 family members fled and walked for two days to reach Cosala.

"We thought it was better for us to get out or they were just going to kill us right there in our home," Nevarez said.

After the shooting stopped late in the evening of Oct. 6, Marbella and her neighbors slowly emerged from their hiding spots to congregate in a single house. The next morning, several said, about 10 marines approached on foot, pointing their weapons at them and treating them roughly.

The marines told the villagers that they had been shot at from the ground, and had been returning fire when they fired from their helicopters.

Marbella and other witnesses said most of the men from the village were out in the fields when the firing began, and wondered who would have shot at the oncoming helicopters.

Residents said they were prevented by the marines from leaving their homes until a delegation of representatives from Sinaloa's State Human Rights Commission came to get them out four days after the operation. Then they left for Cosala.

Guzman, meanwhile, appears to have evaded capture, if he was ever in the area. As of Friday, there were no reports of his having been detained.

Marbella said she doubted that the marines found their target.

"I don't think so," she said, managing a wry smile.

"It seems to me that he is more astute than the government."

An Ohio woman was brutally beaten and her body was hanged from a fence, where it was initially mistaken for a Halloween decoration, authorities said.

Police in Chillicothe announced Wednesday they had arrested Donnie Cochenour, 27, on a murder charge based on information from an informant, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Read: Man Uses Lighter Fluid to Set Halloween Costumes on Fire in Walmart

Rebecca Cade's body was found hanging by a sleeve from a fence by contractors who had first thought it was a spooky display for the upcoming holiday.

The woman’s cause of death was multiple blows to the head, cops said. She was 31.

Cochenour is being held on $1 million bail, police said.

Read: Halloween Costume Shows Cecil the Lion Getting Revenge on His Killer

Since last year, four other women have been found dead in the area and police say the victims were connected through heroin use and prostitution.

Police did not link Cochenour to the previous homicides. It was not known whether he had an attorney.

When President Barack Obama leaves office in 15 months, he'll hand his successor military conflicts in the two countries where he promised to end prolonged war: Afghanistan and Iraq.

There will be far fewer troops in each, and the American forces won't have a direct combat role. But for Obama, it's nevertheless a frustrating end to a quest that was central to his political rise.

"As you are all well aware, I do not support the idea of endless war," Obama said Thursday as he announced he was dropping plans to withdraw nearly all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year. Instead, he'll leave office with at least 5,500 on the ground to help protect gains made during 14 years of war.

As a result, the winner of the 2016 presidential election will become the third American commander in chief to oversee the Afghan war.

The president's goal of ending the wars he inherited had already been tarnished by the return of U.S. forces to Iraq last year, 2½ years after they left. The troops are there to help Iraq fight the Islamic State, a mission Obama has said will likely outlast his presidency.

Obama never mentioned Iraq Thursday, but the tenuous situation there has no doubt hung over his decision-making on Afghanistan. Obama's critics contend the decision to withdraw from Iraq created the vacuum that allowed the Islamic State to thrive and warned leaving Afghanistan next year could have the same consequences.

Military commanders have argued for months that Afghans needed additional assistance and support from the U.S. to beat back a resurgent Taliban and keep the Islamic State from using the country as a haven.

The president had originally planned to withdraw all but a small embassy-based force from Afghanistan in late 2016, shortly before leaving office. Under the new $15 billion-a-year plan, the U.S. will maintain its current force of 9,800 through most of 2016, then begin drawing down to 5,500 late in the year or in early 2017.

Obama's decision thrusts the war into the middle of a presidential campaign that so far has barely touched on Afghanistan. Candidates now will be pressed to say how they will try to do what Obama could not — end a conflict that has killed more than 2,230 American service members and cost more than $1 trillion.

On Thursday, leading Democratic candidates — including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served as Obama's secretary of state — were silent about the president's decision. Last year, after Obama announced his original 2016 withdrawal timeline, Clinton said she would be open to extending the U.S. presence if Afghan leaders made that request.

The president's revamped plan was welcomed by several Republican presidential candidates, but some said 5,500 troops would not be enough.

"If he is truly committed to fighting terrorism and securing a stable Afghanistan, he shouldn't shortchange what our military commanders have said they need to complete the mission," said Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor did not say how many troops he thought would be sufficient.

According to a defense official, the president approved the highest number requested by commanders, with the greatest amount of flexibility.

Former technology executive Carly Fiorina called Obama's decision a "recognition of reality" in Afghanistan. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the president was "waking up to the fact that disengaging America from the world and allowing there to be safe havens for terrorists is not the right way to protect American homeland security and national security."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was an outlier among Republican candidates. He vowed to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan immediately if elected president.

U.S. officials say Afghan President Ashraf Ghani asked Obama to keep the troops in his country when they met in Washington earlier this year. Obama sees Ghani as a more reliable partner than former President Hamid Karzai, a mercurial leader who deeply frustrated the White House.

Obama's meeting with Ghani set off a months-long re-evaluation of the U.S. role in Afghanistan.

The president's decision was reinforced when Taliban fighters took control of the key northern city of Kunduz late last month, leading to a protracted battle with Afghan forces supported by U.S. airstrikes. During the fighting, a U.S. air attack hit a hospital, killing 12 Doctors Without Borders staff and 10 patients.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that American special operations analysts were gathering intelligence on the hospital days before it was destroyed because they believed it was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity.

The U.S. forces that Obama spoke of Thursday will continue with their current two-track mission: counterterrorism operations and training and assisting Afghan security forces. The troops will be based in Kabul and at Bagram Air Field, as well as bases in Jalalabad and Kandahar.

Ghani welcomed the decision, saying it sent a message to the Taliban and terrorist groups that their actions "will produce no result other than defeat."

Officials said the drawdown to 5,500 would begin late next year or in early 2017, with the pace determined by military commanders. They said NATO allies had expressed support for extending the troop presence in Afghanistan, but they did not outline any specific commitments from other nations.

White House officials said they were still pleased with the progress Obama had made in drastically reducing the number of U.S. troops from a high of about 100,000 in 2010 and ending America's direct combat role.

Still, there's no doubt the situation he'll leave behind is far different from what he envisioned last year, when he announced it was time to "turn the page" and withdraw from Afghanistan.

"Americans have learned that it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them," he said at the time.

lice officials in a small, predominantly black Texas college town are defending the decision to use a stun gun on a City Council member when he intervened as officers questioned his friends outside his apartment.

Police say they were questioning four men outside Prairie View City Council member Jonathan Miller's apartment about suspicious activity in the neighborhood when Miller interfered Thursday night. Miller, at a Monday news conference, said he was vouching for his friends and telling officers they were doing nothing wrong.

"It was just concern for my friends. That's all it was, and that's all it should have been," Miller said.

Video from police and from one of Miller's friends shows officers using a Taser on Miller when he was slow in following police commands. Miller and the officer ordering the use of the Taser are both black.

Police Chief Larry Johnson said Monday that the Taser was used according to policy. He said his department has turned over its evidence to the Waller County district attorney for review.

Prairie View garnered attention this summer after a Chicago-area woman who was arrested following a routine traffic stop was found dead in jail. A medical examiner ruled Sandra Bland hanged herself July 13 at the Waller County jail, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Bland's relatives and supporters dispute that finding. Dash-cam video of the traffic stop that led to her arrest shows her interaction with a state trooper quickly turned into a confrontation.

Zimbabwe will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion in July because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt, a cabinet minister said on Monday, angering conservationists.

Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, stoked a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe.

But Palmer's hunting papers were in order, Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said on Monday. Consequently, he could not be charged.

See photos of Walter Palmer and protests following the death of Cecil:

"We approached the police and then the Prosecutor General, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order," Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said Palmer was free to visit Zimbabwe as a tourist but not as a hunter. The implication was he would not be issued the permits a hunter needs.

The environment minister's comments immediately drew the ire of the animal conservation group Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which maintained that Palmer had committed a crime and said it planned to pursue legal action against him in the U.S.

Palmer could not be reached immediately for comment on the environment minister's statement to reporters.

"The fact is the law was broken. We are going to get our advocates in America to actually see what they can do to bring justice to him," said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the task force, which first reported news of Cecil's killing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has previously said it was investigating the killing of the lion.

Two more people still face charges related to Cecil's killing. Both allegedly were involved in using bait to lure Cecil out of his habitat in Hwange National Park so he could be killed.

Theo Bronkhorst, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe, is charged with breaching hunting rules in connection with the hunt in which Cecil was killed. A game park owner is also charged with allowing an illegal hunt. Both have denied the charges.

Bronkhorst is expected to appear in a Hwange court on Thursday where a magistrate will rule on a request by his lawyers that his indictment be quashed.

Parks officials said prosecutors would bring Cecil's head, which the hunters took as a trophy, to court as an exhibit if the trial goes ahead.

Palmer, 55, has previously said that the hunt was legal and no one in the hunting party realized the targeted lion was Cecil, a well-known tourist attraction in the park.

Wildlife hunting, which earned $45 million last year, is an important source of money for the southern

 A bill to repeal the U.S. oil export ban passed the House of Representatives on Friday, but faces an uncertain future after a veto threat by PresidentBarack Obama.

The bill sponsored by Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, passed the House 261 to 159, failing to reach the 290 votes necessary to overturn a presidential veto.

Only 26 Democrats voted for the bill despite Republicans' late effort to attract them by adding a measure to provide funds for the Maritime Security Program. The fleet of privately-owned ships brings supplies to U.S. troops and allies abroad.

The White House this week threatened to veto the House bill, saying Congress should work to move the country to cleaner sources of energy. The administration advocated measures including ending billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies and instead investing in wind and solar power and energy efficiency.

Congress passed the ban in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo caused snaking lines at gas stations and fears of global oil shortages.

"Much has changed since the ban on crude was put in place," Representative Fred Upton, a Republican of Michigan. "One of biggest threats to the American energy boom today is not an international actor, but rather our own ban on oil exports."

Backers of repealing the trade restriction say it would keep the drilling boom alive and help U.S. allies find alternative sources of oil beyond Russia and the Middle East.

Opponents of lifting the ban, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union, say it will cost jobs in refineries and shipbuilding. Greens, meanwhile, say additional energy drilling will harm the environment.

Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, a state with several refineries, opposed the bill, saying it would be a "windfall to the oil industry."

Two similar bills in the Senate have passed through committees, but backers are struggling to find enough Democrats to pass legislation in the full chamber

A Tennessee mother has paid tribute to her eight-year-old daughter after she was shot dead, allegedly by her 11-year-old neighbor. 

“She was a precious little girl, she was a mommy’s girl, no matter how bad of a mood you were in she could always make you smile,” Makayla Dyer’s mother, Latasha Dyer, told local TV station WATE, speaking with difficulty through tears.

“I want her back in my arms. This is not fair. Hold and kiss your babies every night – you’re never promised the next day with them,” Dyer said. “I hope the little boy learned his lesson because he took my baby’s life and I can’t get her back.”

According to police in White Pine, a rural town in the American south, the two children were playing in the mobile home park where they lived when the boyasked to see puppies that belonged to the girl’s family. When the girl said no, the boy shot her in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun from his mobile home window.

“When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying Makayla,” Dyertold WATE. “He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her. I had to go the principal about him and he quit for a while and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her.”

The boy – who has not been named because of his age – has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile, and court proceedings are likely to be confidential because of his age. The boy’s family have not spoken to the media since the incident. Child welfare officials are now investigating the boy’s family. He lived with five other children, according to Sheriff GW “Bud” McCoig of Jefferson County.

The shooting took place just after 7pm on Saturday, when the boy used his father’s shotgun to shoot the girl in the chest from his mobile home park window, officials said.

“We was in the house watching the Tennessee [football] game and heard the bang,” Chasity Arwood, manager for the mobile home park, told Knoxville News Sentinel. “[We] came out, the family was running to our porch yelling ‘He shot my baby, he shot my baby’.”

Arwood apparently had to hold Dyer back as she attempted to reach for her daughter after she was shot.

Search and rescue teams on Sunday located debris which appeared to belong to the cargo ship El Faro that went missing in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin with 33 mostly American crew members aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard and the ship's owner said.

Life jackets, containers and an oil sheen were spotted by U.S. Coast Guard aircrews flying over the Bahamas on the third day of their search for the container ship.

The owners of the El Faro, Tote Maritime, also said two vessels it sent to the scene had found a container "which appears to be from the El Faro."

There had been no sighting of the El Faro or any life boats, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico president, Tim Nolan, said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the 33 individuals aboard the ship and their families," he added.

The Coast Guard could not confirm that the objects belonged to the El Faro, which sent a distress call on Thursday in the Bahamas but has not been heard from since.

"The debris is scattered about over several miles," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss with the Miami station. "It's going to take some time to verify. The items would appear to be consistent with the missing ship."

El Faro, a 735-foot (224-m) container ship with 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals aboard, was headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida when it reported losing propulsion and that it was listing and taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

Joaquin battered the central Bahamas archipelago for more than two days with 130 miles (210 km) per hour winds, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on a scale of 1 to 5.

Doss said weather conditions in the search area had greatly improved on Sunday which would enable Coast Guard ships or a helicopter to retrieve the debris for verification.

"There is unrestricted visibility and ideal search conditions right now," he said.

The Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force sent out four C-130 search and rescue planes at dawn on Sunday, and three Coast Guard cutters were headed to the area.

SURPRISED BY COMMUNICATIONS LOSS

On Saturday, pilots working in high winds and seas found three life rings in waters to the northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas, about 75 miles (120 km) from the ship's last known position. One was confirmed to belong to the El Faro.

Conditions in the area on Friday and Saturday hampered search efforts, with 20 to 40-feet seas and winds in excess to 115 miles (185 km) per hour, the Coast Guard said.

In video released by the Coast Guard, one pilot said visibility was less than a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) while flying low at 1,000 (300 m) feet.

"This was the most challenging weather conditions anyone on our crew had ever flown," said Coast Guard pilot Lt Dustin Burton after returning Saturday from his mission.

It is not known whether the El Faro was able to recover propulsion at some point.

There were no further communications after a distress call received at about 7:30 a.m. (1130 GMT) on Thursday, the Coast Guard said. The search and rescue efforts have covered more than 30,000 square miles since then.

"We are very surprised that we lost all communication with the ship," Mike Hanson, a spokesman for Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, told Reuters.

The ship was equipped with an onboard transponder as well as a satellite phone and GPS devices on the containers, he said.

he African American civil rights and police accountability activist had simply asserted her rights, when the trooper gave her unlawful orders, which were only permissible if phrased (and accepted) as requests.

Three days after the false arrest, Bland was found dead in her jail cell.

Now, since that death, the video footage of the dashcam stop has come under increasing scrutiny. But long before it was judged in the court of public opinion, traffic stops just like the one in question were ruled on by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Democratic Texas state Senator Royce West weighed in on the video, saying that “once you see what occurred, you will probably agree with me she did not deserve to be placed in custody.”

The United States Supreme Court has proven to agree with this position.

Encinia’s conduct clearly violates a decision handed down by the Supreme Court last April.

In the case of Rodriguez v. United States it was determined that police were not allowed to extend the length of a routine traffic stop. That ruling effected lengths of even a few minutes, unless there was a clearly demonstrable safety concern or an additional crime that had been committed in the course of the stop.

But what is clear now, from the video, is that there was no other crime, nor a safety concern. The officer was acting in violation of the law, as defined by the Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke it down like this, saying that “[t]he tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure’s ‘mission’ — to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop, and attend to related safety concerns.” A police stop “may ‘last no longer than is necessary to effectuate th[at] purpose.’ Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are — or reasonably should have been — completed.”

Encinia was clearly completing the traffic stop when he escalated things because of Bland’s refusal to put out her cigarette. He later even indicates in the video that she had been “trying to sign the fucking ticket” when things got ugly.

That means his extension of the stop past that point – when there was no safety concern, nor any criminal offense that had been committed during the stop at that point – constituted illegal detention and a subsequent false arrest.

Trooper Encinia broke the law and he is not being held accountable for it.

The fact is that a lit cigarette has no jurisprudencial precedence in being regarded as a “safety threat” to police officers. He had no grounds to tell her to put it out, nor did he even phrase his request as a command.

Encinia, in fact, neglected to even mention the cigarette in his official incident report. He also failed to mention his threats or the fact that he pulled and aimed his Taser at Bland over this illegal command.

It is clear from the video that the Supreme Court ruling is directly relevant to this case. Trooper Encinia made a false arrest, and in this case, he is not exempted by qualified immunity. He can and should be held accountable and punished for the false arrest.

 local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion near their hospital