Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

14 are reported killed in blast north of Cairo

Egypt

14 are reported killed in blast north of Cairo

A powerful explosion believed to be caused by a car bomb rocked a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city north of Cairo early today, killing at least 14 people and injuring scores, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency and a security official. The interim government accused the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack in the province of Mansour. The attack came a day after an al-Qaida-inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, called on police and army personnel to desert or face death. The group and several others have claimed responsibility for attacks on security forces since the July coup that toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The armed forces launched an offensive against militants in the Northern Sinai province in August.

Rulings on gay marriage hailed

In decisions that supporters of same-sex marriage hailed as two important legal victories, a federal judge in Utah allowed hundreds of gay couples to continue exchanging vows Monday, while a federal judge in Ohio invalidated part of that state's ban on same-sex marriage. In Utah, Judge Robert Shelby rejected a request to put same-sex weddings on hold as the state appeals his decision on Friday overturning the state's ban on such marriage as unconstitutional. In Ohio, Judge Timothy Black ordered authorities to recognize gay marriages on death certificates, saying a state ban on such unions is unconstitutional.

Washington

Federal workers get 1% pay raise

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday authorizing a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees, ending a four-year freeze in salary rates. The increase will take effect in January. It does not apply to members of Congress but will go to 2.1 million federal workers, from rank-and-file civil servants to high-level career employees and top political appointees.

Elsewhere

Alaska: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday rejected a proposed land swap with the state of Alaska to build a road through a remote national wildlife refuge that shelters millions of migratory waterfowl.

Russia: Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday that 50 trucks and 25 armored vehicles had been delivered to the Syrian port of Latakia in recent days to help with the removal of the country's chemical weapons stockpile, the latest sign of progress in the effort.

Central African Republic: A U.N. peacekeeper from the Republic of Congo was killed over the weekend in Central African Republic by a Christian militia, underscoring the growing peril that international forces are facing in the troubled nation.

Afghanistan: NATO said Monday that an attack in eastern Afghanistan killed one of its service members. The nationality of the soldier was not released.

Times wires

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