U.S. urges Iran to free three captives
The White House on Tuesday made a holiday appeal to Iran to return a retired FBI agent and two other Americans being held in the country.
Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent from Coral Springs, disappeared during a business trip to Iran's Kish Island in March 2007. The United States believes the private investigator and father of seven was abducted and is being held in Iran. Levinson's case was a topic in recent negotiations aimed at addressing Iran's nuclear program and improving diplomatic ties.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that Obama specifically raised Levinson's case as well as those of U.S. citizens Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati, who have been detained in Iran, during a telephone conversation in the fall with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Abedini is a pastor from Boise, Idaho; Hekmati is a former U.S. Marine whose family lives in Michigan.
Meningitis vaccine to be offered to 6,000
A meningitis vaccine not yet licensed for use in the United States will be made available to nearly 6,000 students starting Dec. 9 at Princeton University, which had previously said it was considering the move.
The Ivy League school has experienced an outbreak of type B meningococcal disease, which is sometimes life-threatening. Since March, seven students and one student visitor have been stricken by the bacterial illness.
Princeton said Tuesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially recommended that the new vaccine go to all undergraduate students; graduate students living in dorms; the Graduate College and annexes; and employees with certain medical conditions.
The first dose will be available Dec. 9-12, and the second dose in February. Two doses are needed for maximum protection.
The vaccine is licensed for use in Europe and Australia but not in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing its use at Princeton.
Las Vegas: O.J. Simpson on Tuesday was denied a new trial on his 2008 convictions for robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas, which sent him to prison for up to 33 years. Simpson, 66, had appealed to a county judge for a new trial, claiming incompetent legal counsel.
Pakistan: The government released three Taliban prisoners Tuesday in an attempt to jumpstart stuttering peace talks with the Afghan government, said Pakistani and Taliban officials.
Mexico: Mexican prison authorities on Tuesday released a teenage U.S. citizen who admitted to decapitating four people on behalf of a drug cartel and escorted him to the Mexico City airport, where he boarded a flight for Texas. Edgar Jimenez Lugo, 17, finished a three-year term at a juvenile detention facility for drug trafficking and participating in organized crime.
France: The government will send 1,000 troops to Central African Republic amid warnings of potential genocide in the near-anarchic former French colony.