Missile defense system fails in $214m test
The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency once again missed hitting its desired target during a flight test of an interceptor missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif. The failure of the $214 million test Friday involved a ground-based defense system to defend the United States from long-range ballistic missile attacks. The Missile Defense Agency now has a testing record of eight hits out of 16 intercept attempts with the "hit-to-kill" warheads. The last successful intercept came in December 2008. Despite the poor track record, the Pentagon plans to add 14 missile interceptors in Alaska to counter North Korea.
Simi Valley, Calif.
Fireworks accident leaves 39 injured
Hospital officials said Friday that they had treated 39 people following a July Fourth fireworks explosion that rocked Simi Valley, a community park northwest of Los Angeles.
Just three of the victims remained hospitalized Friday night, a day after the blast. Authorities and the company that put on the fireworks show are investigating the cause of the explosion.
Syrian troops strike city for 6th day in row
Syrian forces bombarded the city of Homs for a sixth day in a row Friday, while government soldiers backed by Hezbollah fighters clashed with rebels on the outskirts of the city's besieged Khalidiya neighborhood.
International health officials said the fighting was preventing humanitarian aid from reaching those most in need.
Afghanistan: A pair of suicide bombings killed at least 14 people in southern Afghanistan on Friday, including a dozen policemen who were sitting down to lunch when a man in a police uniform set off his explosives, Afghan officials said.
Russia: In closing arguments Friday, prosecutors urged a Russian judge to convict political opposition leader Alexei Navalny of embezzlement and sentence him to six years in jail — a verdict that would eliminate him as a threat to President Vladimir Putin. Navalny has accused the Kremlin of pursuing trumped-up charges. The verdict is to be delivered July 18.
South Korea: Delegates from North and South Korea arrived at their border today for working-level talks on a stalled joint factory park. The talks come after the Koreas last month called off what would have been the first senior-level meeting in years, following a protocol disagreement.