Obama, leaders to meet on migrants
President Barack Obama has summoned the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to the White House next week in an effort to demonstrate high-level cooperation to stanch the flow of migrant children from Central America through Mexico and into the United States. The White House said late Friday that Obama will meet with the three leaders next Friday, a high-profile gathering that comes as the administration struggles to win approval in Congress for $3.7 billion to expand border security, add immigration judges and care for the 57,000 unaccompanied children who have arrived since fall. White House officials said Friday that the flood of child migrants across the border has slowed, at least for now. The average number of children crossing the border declined to about 120 a day at the start of this week from 283 a day in mid June, officials said.
Iran nuclear talks to be extended 4 months
Iran, the United States and the five other countries negotiating the future of the Iranian nuclear program have agreed to a four-month extension of the talks, giving them more time to try to bridge major differences over whether Tehran will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to a statement released early today by all seven nations. The extension was expected after both Iran and President Barack Obama signaled more time would be needed to resolve differences. The original deadline for an accord was Sunday. This week, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, described a proposal that would essentially freeze Iran's operations at current levels for three to seven years, letting it continue limited production, then be free to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wants. The United States and its negotiating partners — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — argue that Iran must dismantle major elements of its uranium enrichment program, and they envision the restrictions going on for a decade or more.
UConn to pay $1.3M to settle sex assault law
The University of Connecticut will pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by five women who claimed the school responded to their sexual assault complaints with indifference, the two sides announced Friday. The bulk of the settlement, $900,000, will go to Silvana Moccia, a former UConn hockey player who joined the Title IX lawsuit last December, a month after it was filed by four other women. She alleged she was kicked off the team after reporting she had been raped by a male hockey player in August 2011. The other four women will receive payments of $25,000 to $125,000. The school, which has repeatedly defended its policies for responding to sexual assault complaints, admitted no wrongdoing.
Scores killed as gas field seized in Syria
Islamic extremists killed at least 115 Syrian troops, guards and workers as they captured a gas field in central Syria following daylong clashes, activists said Friday. More than 20 militants also died in the fighting Thursday for the Shaer gas field, the deadliest battles so far between fighters of the Islamic State group and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. Fighters from the Islamic State have in the past few weeks seized a huge chunk of territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border where they declared a self-styled caliphate. Earlier, they already captured much of Syria's oil-rich eastern province of Deir el-Zour.
Berlusconi conviction in sex case overturned
An appeals court on Friday overturned the conviction of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a sex-for-hire case, and revoked his seven-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban from holding public office. The prosecution had alleged that Berlusconi, 77, paid for sex with an underage prostitute and then used his influence to cover it up. He denied the charges. Berlusconi is performing a sentence of community service at a facility for Alzheimer's patients in a separate tax fraud conviction. That is the only case finalized against Berlusconi, who faces dozens of trials, mostly for his business dealings.
Powerful typhoon leaves 1 dead in China
A powerful typhoon killed one person and damaged several houses on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Friday afternoon after claiming 54 lives in the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun made landfall on Hainan southwest of Hong Kong with winds as strong as 130 mph, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The agency said Rammasun was the most powerful storm in at least nine years and possibly since 1973. More than 26,000 people on Hainan were evacuated and authorities required resorts and tour bus companies to suspend operations through this afternoon.
Fake military parts case nets guilty pleas
An Oregon defense contractor has pleaded guilty to selling $10 million worth of phony parts for attack helicopters and military vehicles to the U.S. government, including a locknut that secures the rotor on the Kiowa attack helicopter. Harold Ray Bettencourt II, owner of Kustom Products Inc. in Coos Bay, and four employees pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
FDA warns against powdered caffeine
The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid powdered pure caffeine sold online after the death of an Ohio teen. Even a teaspoon of the powder could be lethal — it is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. The FDA said the products are 100 percent caffeine and may carry minimal or insufficient labeling. Consumers may not be aware that even a small amount can cause an overdose. Symptoms of caffeine overdose or toxicity include rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation.