Growing minority identify with no religion, poll says
A growing minority of Americans refuses to identity with traditional religion, a trend particularly strong among young adults, while self-identified Catholics and more liberal Protestants are declining as shares of the population. That's according to a massive survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center of more than 35,000 Americans, an unusually large sample with a margin of error of less than a percentage point. The poll confirms what Pew and several other polling firms have found since at least the turn of the century — a growing minority of "nones," or Americans who choose none-of-the-above from a menu of religious affiliations. The unaffiliated are nearly 23 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2007, the last time Pew did a similarly vast survey. They include atheists and agnostics and those who say they're "nothing in particular" some of whom are thoroughly secular and others of whom practice a do-it-yourself spirituality.
Saudi jets strike on eve of proposed truce
Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition pounded weapons depots on the edge of Yemen's capital Monday, one day before a humanitarian cease-fire is due to start and a U.N. envoy arrives on his first visit to try to end the war. The latest airstrikes followed the release by the Shiite rebels of video and photos of the purported wreck of a Moroccan F-16 that they claim to have shot down over the northern province of Saada near the Saudi border. The Moroccan military said the plane had disappeared Sunday evening. An online news site with close ties to Morocco's royal palace and security and intelligence services said the aircraft was one of two that flew from a base in the United Arab Emirates on a reconnaissance mission.
Woman gets life for running girl to death
An Alabama woman convicted of running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death as punishment for lying about candy was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Joyce Hardin Garrard, the diminutive grandmother whom prosecutors depicted as the "drill sergeant from hell," stood before the judge, and told him if she could have anything in the world, it would be to have her granddaughter Savannah back with her today. Garrard gripped the hand of her defense attorney as Etowah County Circuit Judge Billy Ogletree said he would uphold a jury's recommendation of life without parole, rather than death by lethal injection. Her husband, Johnny Garrard, cradled another of the couple's grandchildren as the sentence was read. Prosecutors said Garrard forced 9-year-old Savannah Hardin to run for hours after school after Garrard became enraged over the child's lie. A jury convicted Garrard of capital murder in March and recommended the life sentence over death by a 7-5 vote.
2 inmates found dead after riots at prison
Two inmates died and several people were injured in rioting at a Nebraska prison as prisoners took over part of the complex for several hours before guards were able to retake control Monday. "Two inmates have been found dead in one of the housing units," said Scott R. Frakes, director of the state Department of Correctional Services. "The cause of death is unknown at this time. However, it appears to be caused by other inmates." Inmates took control of two housing units at the prison Sunday, including staff offices, although they were not able to breach the units' control centers, Frakes said at a news conference. He described damage including several fires that were set, windows broken and even a wall torn down.