U.S. drone kills a top militant and five others
A senior commander linked to the Taliban was among six militants reportedly killed early Friday in a suspected U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan along the Afghan border, according to local media and an intermediary with close links to militants. The commander, Sangeen Zadran, was a leading figure in the Haqqani network, a pro-Taliban group that uses Pakistan to mount high-profile attacks against Western and Afghan targets inside Afghanistan. He played a prominent role in the capture of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who disappeared from his post in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 and has been held by the Haqqani network since. Zadran appeared in a video alongside Bergdahl in 2010. It is unclear whether the soldier was under Zadran's control at the time of the commander's death, or what impact the killing would have on the years of efforts to secure his release.
Google seeking better encryption
Google is racing to encrypt the torrents of information that flow among its data centers around the world in a bid to thwart snooping by the National Security Agency and the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, company officials said Friday. The move by Google is among the most concrete signs yet that recent revelations about the NSA's surveillance efforts have provoked significant backlash within an American technology industry that U.S. government officials long courted as a potential partner in spying programs.
Court blocks judge in rape sentence
Montana's Supreme Court on Friday blocked a judge from resentencing a former teacher who got 30 days in prison for raping a 14-year-old student, a sentence widely criticized. The justices said Judge G. Todd Baugh lacked authority to impose a new sentence on former Billings teacher Stacey Rambold, 54. An appeal of the case already was pending from prosecutors who contend Rambold should serve two years, at a minimum. Baugh had tried to undo the sentence after a public backlash and calls for his resignation. The appeal process will proceed.
Belgium: In a setback for U.S. attempts to isolate Iran over its nuclear program, a European Union court threw out sanctions Friday on seven Iranian companies, including four banks, saying they were wrongly imposed.