Drought gets worse after weeks of easing
The worst U.S. drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of slowly improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium said Wednesday. Rainstorms had been easing the drought weekly since late September. But Wednesday's weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report showed 60.1 percent of the lower 48 states were in drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 percent a week earlier. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst classifications, grew from 18.3 to 19.04 percent.
Benghazi official assassinated
A senior Libyan security official was assassinated outside his home in Benghazi, officials said Wednesday, the same city where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed at their diplomatic compound in September. His death was the latest in a series of mysterious killings that have raised fears about the country's precarious postwar security. Faraj Mohammed al-Drissi, who was Benghazi's security director for only a few weeks, was fatally shot late Tuesday, officials said. The motive for the killing was unknown.
Report: Rwanda runs Congo rebels
The Rwandan military is commanding and supporting the rebel force that overtook a major city in eastern Congo, a United Nations report released Wednesday said. Uganda also is providing more subtle but decisive backing to the M23 rebels, the report said. The report's release, a day after the violent takeover of Goma, is sure to increase pressure on the international community to confront the two eastern African countries over their role in Congo's conflict. Rwanda and Uganda have repeatedly denied supporting the M23 movement.
Judge rejects 9/11 suit against United
United Air Lines isn't liable for the plane hijacking in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that destroyed 7 World Trade Center, a judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein granted a motion by the carrier for a judgment without a trial saying it wasn't responsible for the tower's destruction. He dismissed the airline from the case. World Trade Center Properties sued United Continental Holdings, American Airlines and others in 2008, saying their negligence caused the tower's collapse.
Strong earthquake rattles Chile
A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook central Chile on Wednesday, causing office buildings in the capital to sway for almost a minute. Authorities said no damage was reported. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicenter was 37 miles southwest of the port city of San Antonio. Two other temblors with magnitudes of 5.1 and 5.2 were reported near San Antonio.