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Weather service chief retires after critical report

Washington

Weather chief retires after report

The director of the National Weather Service has retired after an investigative report found senior staff members at the agency had misdirected millions of dollars and operated "outside the bounds of acceptable financial management."

John L. "Jack" Hayes, assistant administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NWS director since 2007, retired Friday. That was the day after a departmental investigation said that for several years, the NWS has taken money Congress had provided for certain functions and reallocated the money to 122 weather offices around the country.

"The fact that the team did not find any evidence of fraud or (personal) financial gain does not lessen the severity of the misconduct," said a memorandum from Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

Turkey

Turkish court charges Israeli military leaders

A Turkish court on Monday formally pressed charges against members of Israel's military for the killing of nine people aboard a Turkish ship trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza in 2010, Turkey's state news agency said.

The court in Istanbul voted unanimously to approve an indictment against Israel's former military chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the heads of its navy, air force and military intelligence, the Anadolu Agency said. They face nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing," the agency added.

Israeli officials had no comment. Israel has insisted that its soldiers acted in self-defense.

Qatar

13 children among dead in mall fire

Nineteen people, including 13 children, died Monday in a fire that raged through a high-end shopping mall in Doha, Qatar's Interior Ministry said.

The fire started late in the morning and centered on a children's play area in the Villaggio Mall, a glittering collection of shops and indoor canals in Doha, the capital, frequented by expatriates in the oil-rich emirate.

Local news reports said no Qatari children were among the dead. Other media reports said four children from Spain, three from New Zealand and one from France was among the victims.

Afghanistan

Crash, attack kill 3 NATO troops

A helicopter crash killed two NATO service members in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, and a third died in an insurgent attack in the south, the U.S.-led coalition said. It said initial reports indicate there was no enemy activity in the area when the copter went down.

The deaths raised the number of NATO troops who have been killed in Afghanistan this year to 172. NATO is aiming to withdraw its combat forces by the end of 2014 and turn security responsibility over to the Afghans.

Elsewhere

DALLAS: Police tried Monday to coax a man from a crane cab on the Southern Methodist University campus in suburban Dallas after he told officers he was armed and threatened to shoot anyone who approached him.

Yemen: A U.S. drone strike Monday aiming for an al-Qaida leader killed five militants, Yemeni officials said. They said the airstrike targeted Qaid al-Dahab; his fate was not known.

Pakistan: The family of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor sentenced to 33 years in prison for helping the United States track down Osama bin Laden, said Monday the man is innocent and dismissed his trial as a sham.

Israel: A court on Monday convicted two Israeli police of negligent homicide for abandoning an injured Palestinian man on a roadside, where he was found dead two days later.

Times wires

Weather service chief retires after critical report 05/29/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:26am]

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