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U.S. defends drone strikes, rejects reports

Washington

U.S. defends drone strikes, rejects reports

The United States on Tuesday defended drone strikes targeting al-Qaida operatives and others it deems enemies, rejecting reports by two human-rights groups questioning the legality of strikes they asserted have killed or wounded scores of civilians in Yemen and Pakistan. Human Rights Watch alleged that 82 people, at least 57 of them civilians, were killed by the unmanned aircraft and other aerial strikes in Yemen between September 2012 and June 2013 and called such strikes unlawful or indiscriminate. Amnesty International called on the United States to investigate reports in Pakistan of civilian casualties. President Barack Obama's chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said the United States "would strongly disagree" with claims that the country had acted improperly, arguing that U.S. actions follow all applicable law.

12th named storm forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Lorenzo has formed in the central Atlantic Ocean, the 12th named storm of the 2013 hurricane season. Lorenzo's maximum sustained winds were over 50 mph with little change in strength forecast. The storm was centered about 830 miles east of Bermuda and was moving east near 8 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Forecasters say it is no threat to land.

San Francisco

Transit strike ends, trains roll again

Commuter trains began running again Tuesday after two striking unions reached a tentative agreement with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, ending a four-day walkout. Discussions continued about ways a future paralyzing strike could be prevented. The agreement, reached two days after a fatal accident involving a train operated by a trainee, includes higher wage increases for workers than an earlier offer from the transit system.

Sparks, Nev.

Motive is sought in school shooting

A day after a 12-year-old boy opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, killing a teacher and wounding two students before turning the gun on himself, police said they did not have a motive for the seventh-grader's actions and did not release his identity. Police said Tuesday that his family is fully cooperating with the investigation and believe the boy used a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic from his parents' home. Police said his parents could face charges related to the weapon.

Afghanistan

16 disqualified in presidential race

More than half of the Afghan presidential hopefuls had their hopes dashed Tuesday when the country's election commission declared that their candidacies did not meet documentary or citizenship requirements. The Independent Election Commission said it had ruled out 16 candidates, leaving 10 — including all the major contenders — remaining in the April election.

Elsewhere

India: A school principal and her husband have been charged with murder after 23 young children died from eating pesticide-contaminated lunches in July at the school in eastern India, police said Tuesday. Police said the chef cooked with the pesticide by mistake.

Saudi Arabia: Around 150 clerics and religious scholars held a rare protest outside the Saudi king's palace on Tuesday against fresh efforts by women seeking the right to drive.

Times wires

U.S. defends drone strikes, rejects reports

10/22/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 3:02am]
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