Death toll in Syria war said to top 160,000
The death toll in Syria's three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, an activist group said Monday, a harrowing figure that reflects the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved. The grim tally only presents one facet of the tremendous suffering Syrians have endured since the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday it has documented 162,402 deaths in the conflict, including civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military.
CIA won't spy with vaccine programs
A top White House official has pledged the CIA will no longer use vaccination programs as cover for spying. The agency used the ruse in targeting Osama bin Laden before the U.S. raid that killed him in 2011. Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, wrote last week to the deans of 13 prominent public health schools.
Man gets 25 years for poison letters
A Mississippi man who pleaded guilty to sending letters dusted with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison. James Everett Dutschke, 42, of Tupelo also was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
Police head quits after Obama slur
A police commissioner has resigned after he admitted using a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama, an official said Monday. Robert Copeland, 82, resigned Sunday night from the post he was re-elected to in March, putting to rest a controversy that drew national attention. Copeland admitted using the slur, preceded by an obscenity, at a restaurant in March. A resident, Jane O'Toole, overheard him and complained to town officials when she learned Copeland was a police commissioner.
Report: Planes nearly collide in air
A plane taking off and another plane landing on intersecting runways at Newark Liberty Airport nearly collided last month, according to a preliminary federal report. The National Transportation Safety Board report classified the April 24 incident between a United flight coming from San Francisco and an ExpressJet flight bound for Memphis as a near midair collision. The report says the planes came within approximately 200 feet laterally. They were separated by about 400 feet vertically.
Marine veteran to get Medal of Honor
The White House said Monday it would award the Medal of Honor to a Marine corporal hailed by comrades since 2010 for throwing himself on a grenade to protect a fellow Marine in Afghanistan. Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, 24, a native of Flowood, Miss., will receive the nation's highest award for valor in combat June 19. He will be the eighth living recipient for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq.