Bonne Terre, Mo.
Man is executed in triple killing
A former methamphetamine dealer was executed Wednesday for killing three people in remote northern Missouri out of fear they would report his drug activity to police. John Middleton, 54, died Wednesday night from an injection of pentobarbital, the sixth execution in Missouri this year. Only Florida and Texas, with seven each, have had more executions. Middleton maintained to the end that someone else was responsible for the 1995 slayings he was convicted of.
La Quinta, Calif.
Judge rejects Calif. death penalty
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that California's death penalty system is so arbitrary and plagued with delay that it is unconstitutional. The decision is expected to inspire similar arguments in death penalty appeals across the country. The state has placed hundreds of people on death row but has not executed a prisoner since 2006. That sense of uncertainty, wrote Judge Cormac J. Carney of U.S. District Court, "violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."
Obama may look to extend Iran talks
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he thinks the United States has "a credible way forward" in nuclear negotiations with Iran, and suggested that after consulting with Congress, which has threatened more sanctions, he would seek to extend the talks beyond Sunday's deadline. "There are still some significant gaps between the international community and Iran," he said, "and we have more work to do." Iran has signaled it wants more time to negotiate, but Obama is almost certain to run into opposition on Capitol Hill if he agrees. Republicans and even some Democrats say Tehran is simply stalling.
Gunmen attack airport in Kabul
Gunmen used rockets to attack the Kabul International Airport in the Afghanistan capital before dawn today, a senior military official said. The gunmen occupied two buildings under construction 700 yards north of the airport and were using them as a base to fire rockets and gunfire toward the airport and ISAF jet fighters flying over Kabul, said Afzal Aman, a general in the Afghan army in Kabul. Aman said several rockets hit the airport but no planes were immediately damaged. He said two attackers had been killed by Afghan forces.
Senate GOP blocks bill on birth control
Senate Democrats suffered what looked like a setback on birth control Wednesday, but they hope it pays political dividends in November. Republicans blocked a bill that was designed to override a Supreme Court ruling and ensure access to contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections.
Syria: In a lavish ceremony, President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term on Wednesday.
Egypt: Seven men were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for sexual assaults on women at public rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the first heavy sentences since a vowed crackdown on sexual violence.
Washington: A wildfire is threatening hundreds of homes in central Washington state, about 10 miles north of Leavenworth.