Iran criticizes missile request in Syria fighting
Iran lashed out Friday at Turkey for requesting that NATO supply it with Patriot surface-to-air missiles to deploy along the border with Syria. Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliamentary, made the remarks after a visit to Damascus. "The internal crisis in Syria cannot be solved through the deployment of such weapons," Larijani, who is close to Iran's supreme leader, said at a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, where he went after leaving Syria. Turkey's request earlier this week follows several incidents in which violence has spilled across the border from the civil war in Syria, frequently mortar rounds falling a short distance inside. Patriots would be useful in intercepting ballistic missiles — a much more serious but still hypothetical threat.
Inquiry continues in interstate pileup
Texas authorities on Friday continued their investigation into the chain-reaction wreck that killed a couple and injured at least 80 other people during heavy fog along Interstate 10 near Beaumont. The pileup on Thursday involved more than 100 vehicles, many of which were left twisted on top of each other. Twelve people remain hospitalized, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday. Sgt. Chuck Havard told KFDM-TV that investigators will determine whether any drivers will face charges.
Army fails to halt advance by rebels
Congolese rebels beat back a government counteroffensive and slowly pushed toward another big city Friday. For the past week, a group of a few thousand well-disciplined rebel fighters, widely believed to be covertly supported by neighboring Rwanda, has captured a string of towns in eastern Congo, including Goma, a provincial capital. Their advance has raised serious questions about the stability of the country.
Tibetan man sets himself on fire
A Tibetan man has died after setting himself on fire in northwest China's Qinghai province, state media reported Friday, in the latest in a series of protests against Chinese rule. The Xinhua News Agency said Libong Tsering, 19, self-immolated in Tongren county on Thursday. Two days earlier, Xinhua reported two Tibetan herdsmen died after setting themselves on fire. The latest death brings to at least 78 the number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 in protest against what overseas supporters say is China's strict control over Tibetan Buddhist culture.
New Orleans: A worker who was critically burned when an offshore oil platform caught fire has died of his injuries, officials said Friday. The fire on Nov. 16 killed one man and the search for another was called off.
South Korea: Ahn Cheol Soo, a millionaire software mogul who was seen as a top contender in the presidential election in December, unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy on Friday. His exit turns the campaign into a close two-way race between Moon Jae In of the liberal opposition party and Park Geun Hye of the governing conservative party.
Russia: A court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought millions of dollars in damages from Madonna for allegedly traumatizing minors by speaking up for gay rights during a concert in St. Petersburg. The ruling came after a hearing that bordered on the farcical.