Texas abortion clinics plan to close
The day after a federal appeals court cleared the way for Texas' restrictive abortion law to take effect while it faces a legal challenge, many clinics across the state said they had stopped providing abortions and were preparing to shut down.
"Patients are walking through the door, they are crying — they are freaking out," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, chief executive of Whole Woman's Health, which, she said, expects to close its locations in Fort Worth, McAllen and San Antonio.
The law requires doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the procedure is performed, among other rules.
On Monday, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the law's requirement of physician-admitting privileges, saying it was "without a rational basis." On Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed enforcement to begin.
Envoy urges foes of Assad to attend talks
The international envoy to Syria called on the divided opposition Friday to overcome differences and agree to attend peace talks with President Bashar Assad's government, warning the negotiations cannot go forward without them.
Lakhdar Brahimi, who wrapped up his five-day visit to Damascus, appeared uncertain about prospects for the meeting expected to take place this month in Geneva.
The deeply fractured opposition groups are split on whether to attend the talks. They also disagree over conditions for taking part — from demands that Assad step aside right away to guarantees that he would not be part of a negotiated solution.
Washington: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the head of the National Guard "to take immediate action" to ensure that same-sex spouses of personnel in nine states — including Florida, Texas and South Carolina — are allowed to register for full benefits and receive identification cards giving them access to military bases in keeping with a Pentagon policy that went into effect in September.
Egypt: Thousands of supporters of Egypt's ousted president marched in street protests Friday across the country, ramping up pressure on the military-backed interim government ahead of his trial next week.
China: China's top security official, Meng Jianzhu, has concluded that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group, was responsible for the deadly attack Monday in which a car mowed down pedestrians at Beijing's Tiananmen Square before bursting into flames. Three people in the vehicle and two tourists were killed.