US mission in Afghanistan to shift to support role
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. role in Afghanistan will shift to a support role later this spring and he will soon get recommendations from his top military advisers on U.S. troop drawdowns.
Obama says in a joint news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that any agreement on troop drawdowns must include an immunity agreement in which US troops are not subjected to Afghan law.
Obama says the path of the U.S. military remains clear and the war is moving toward a "responsible end" in 2014.
The two leaders met at the White House on the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops serving there.
The U.S. military mission will shift from combat to support in the spring, a few months ahead of schedule.
UN urged to refer Syria to war crimes court
BERLIN (AP) — Dozens of countries plan to call on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
A letter drafted by Switzerland on behalf of more than 50 countries including Security Council members Britain and France urges the council to use its power to "ensure accountability" for crimes committed in Syria.
The letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press says the situation in Syria should be referred to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal "unless a credible, fair and independent accountability process" is established in Syria "in a timely manner."
Adrian Sollberger, a spokesman for Switzerland's U.N. mission in New York, says the letter will be submitted to the Security Council on Monday.
AMERICAN TALIBAN-PRISON PRAYER
US-born Taliban fighter wins prison prayer lawsuit
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a convicted Taliban fighter should be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at their high-security prison in Indiana.
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson sided on Friday with John Walker Lindh, an American convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban.
The judge ruled that the prison was violating Lindh's and other Muslim inmates' religious freedom by banning them from engaging in daily ritual prayer.
Lindh is serving a 20-year sentence for aiding the Taliban during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
He sued the government after he was barred from praying with other inmates, which he said violated his religious rights. Prison officials had argued that it would be dangerous, unaffordable and unfair to other inmates.
NEW: Police official says 30 die in Nepal bus accident
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A police official says a bus veered off a mountain road in west Nepal leaving at least 30 people dead and several more injured.
Police official Ramesh Bahadur Dhanuk said the bus drove off the gravel road Saturday in a remote mountainous area near Chatiwan village.
It was dark and the area was covered in thick fog. The bus rolled about 300 meters (300 yards) from the road. Rescuers and local villagers helped the pull the dead and injured from the wreckage.
Among the dead were 22 men, seven women and a child.
Biden voices interest in new technology for guns
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says he's interested in technology that would keep a gun from being fired by anyone other than the person who bought it. He says evidence shows such technology may have curtailed what happened last month in Connecticut when 20 youngsters and six teachers were gunned down inside their elementary school.
Biden commented Friday as he met with representatives from the video game industry. It was the latest in a series of meetings he's held with interested parties as he finalizes the administration's response to the Connecticut shooting.
He said he hopes to deliver recommendations to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.
Biden said that had the Connecticut shooter not had access to guns bought by his mother he might have been unable to otherwise get a gun.
Victim's father's outburst ends court hearing at which Holmes' arraignment is delayed
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The father of one of the victims of the Colorado movie theater shootings is promising there will be no more outbursts.
Steve Hernandez apologized to the judge, after shouting during a hearing that accused gunman James Holmes should "rot in Hell."
Hernandez was the father of Rebecca Wingo, who died along with 11 others in the shooting.
The judge was sympathetic, telling him, "I am terribly sorry for your loss and I can only begin to imagine the emotions that are raging."
The outburst came at the end of a hearing at which the judge delayed the arraignment of Holmes until March, despite objections from prosecutors and victims' families.
Defense lawyers could be looking for time to get a mental health evaluation by a doctor of their choosing. If he had entered an insanity plea, an evaluation would be done by state doctors.
TEXAS-GUNS IN SCHOOLS
Texas Lt. Gov.: Fund weapons training for teachers
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is calling for state-funded, specialized firearms training for teachers and administrators to guard against school shootings.
Dewhurst suggested Friday that school districts would nominate who they want to carry weapons on campus under his plan. The training would be more extensive than what's required for a Texas concealed handgun license and include how to react technically and emotionally in an active shooter situation.
Dewhurst says the state funding needed would depend on the number of participating districts and how many people want training. School districts wouldn't be required to participate.
Dewhurst offered no other details while speaking Friday to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The proposal is one of many offered by officials nationwide after the deadly December shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
Only Miss. abortion clinic can't comply with law
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's only abortion clinic has missed a Friday deadline to comply with a new state law that requires each of its physicians to get hospital admitting privileges — a law the governor said he signed with the hopes of shutting the clinic down.
The state Health Department won't immediately close the clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization. The department will set an inspection later, and if it orders a shutdown, the clinic can appeal.
Clinic administrator Diane Derzis said every Jackson-area hospital where the clinic applied for privileges said no.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said repeatedly that he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free.
The law requires anyone doing abortions in a clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a hospital near the facility where the abortions are done.
US government tells computer users to disable Java
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is advising people to temporarily disable the Java software on their computers to avoid potential hacking attacks.
The recommendation came in an advisory issued late Thursday, following up on concerns raised by computer security experts.
Experts believe hackers have found a flaw in Java's coding that creates an opening for criminal activity and other high-tech mischief.
Java is a widely used technical language that allows computer programmers to write a wide variety of Internet applications and other software programs that can run on just about any computer's operating system.
Oracle Corp. bought Java as part of a $7.3 billion acquisition of the software's creator, Sun Microsystems, in 2010.
Oracle, which is based in Redwood Shores, Calif., had no immediate comment late Friday.
Judge: Tully's Coffee to go to Dempsey's group
SEATTLE (AP) — A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of beleaguered coffee company Tully's to a group led by Patrick Dempsey.
The actor dubbed "McDreamy" in the "Grey's Anatomy" hospital TV drama had claimed victory last week after an auction.
But a company that teamed up with Starbucks Corp. to bid for the Tully's chain filed an objection Wednesday. AgriNurture Inc. said it was still willing to proceed with its combined bid with Starbucks of about $10.6 million.
The bid from Dempsey's company, Global Baristas LLC, was for $9.2 million.
At a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Karen Overstreet said the auction was fair.
Tully's has 47 shops in Washington and California with more than 500 employees. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.
Rhythm guitar player for Elvis Presley dies at 67
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Rhythm guitar player John Wilkinson, who performed with Elvis Presley hundreds of times, has died in Missouri. He was 67.
The Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home says Wilkinson passed away Friday at his home in Springfield. A family spokesman says Wilkinson had been fighting cancer.
Wilkinson first met Presley when he was 10, by sneaking into his dressing room before a show.
Wilkinson was 23 when Presley asked him to join the TCB Band in 1968. He played 1,200 shows with Presley before the legendary singer died in 1977.
His family says Wilkinson played less music after that, and made a living in retail and airline services management. A stroke in 1989 left him unable to play the guitar, but he continued singing with the old TCB Band and others.Tags: