Israel shelves plan to release prisoners
Mideast peace talks remained in crisis Thursday as Israel froze plans to release Palestinian prisoners and officials threatened sanctions after the Palestinian Authority's request to join multiple international conventions. The impasse deepened into a crisis just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was working on a three-way deal that would extend talks and allow the prisoner release. Kerry canceled his planned return to the region Wednesday, and negotiating teams met with an American mediator overnight for a long session that local media described as particularly stormy.
U.N.: South Sudan needs urgent help
South Sudan needs $230 million in international aid in the next 60 days or it will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Ethiopia's famine, the U.N. official coordinating humanitarian aid in the country warned Thursday. About 3.7 million people, close to a third of the total population, are at severe risk of starvation, a crisis ranked by the United Nations on par with Syria's, Toby Lanzer said.
New drug supply used for execution
A serial killer was put to death Thursday in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyers' demand that the state release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug. Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, was the first inmate to be injected with a dose of newly replenished pentobarbital that Texas prison officials obtained to replace its expired supply.
England choked by two days of smog
Schools closed playgrounds and ambulance staff reported a surge in breathing problems as smog blanketed parts of England a second day Thursday. Air pollution hit the top level of 10 in London and the southeast. The haze is a mix of local pollution, European emissions and Sahara sand. Atlantic winds are expected to bring relief today.