Federal judge tells government to pay bills amid crisis
Puerto Rico's financially strapped government was ordered by a federal judge Friday to immediately pay long-overdue bills owed by the Health Department to companies that serve mentally disabled people in the U.S. territory. U.S. District Judge Gustavo Gelpi said his order seemed to be the only way to protect the rights of a special needs population amid a worsening economic crisis. "Otherwise, the effects to these individuals will be devastating and beyond repair," he wrote in the order, which is tied to a 12-year legal battle in which the U.S. government sought to improve Puerto Rico's health system for the mentally disabled. Gelpi also called an emergency meeting with top government officials next week and warned that he will take additional steps if the situation is not resolved. Yaritza Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, told the Associated Press that the agency will issue checks to providers. The order comes as the U.S. territory's government runs out of money and faces a $70 billion public debt load that the governor has said is unpayable and needs restructuring. Public agencies including the Health Department are being forced to decide how they will use dwindling revenue.
Trooper accused of hitting wife over sex
A Pennsylvania state trooper on the team that guards the governor was charged Friday with beating the trooper's wife and threatening to kill her during an alcohol-fueled attack after she refused to have sex with him. Police in Clearfield charged Trooper Terry Drew Jordan with aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and other crimes. He was jailed on $1 million bail. A state police spokeswoman said Jordan was suspended without pay while the matter is investigated. Charging documents said Jordan, 46, a member of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's executive service section detail, hit his wife in the head Thursday at their home and kicked her several times when she was on the ground.
Chicago: Nearly four dozen letters in support of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert were made public Friday evening in advance of his sentencing on hush money charges next week.
Houston: Widespread flooding that has claimed eight lives and displaced thousands of people in the Houston area has caused more than $14 million in damage and inundated more than 1,700 homes — figures that authorities said Friday will increase as floodwaters recede and inspectors get a closer look at neighborhoods.
Security forces arrest dozens ahead of protests
Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of activists, journalists and lawyers ahead of demonstrations called for Monday against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's policies, including the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, lawyers and witnesses said Friday. Rights lawyer Ahmed Abdel-Naby said that dozens were arrested in cafes in downtown Cairo and in their homes. Ragia Omran, another rights lawyer, said in a statement that there is an "organized campaign" targeting activists in Cairo and several provinces. The Interior Ministry's spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Ecuador: Ecuadoreans slept outside and struggled to find food and water Friday in the wake of aftershocks that are still rocking coastal towns flattened by last weekend's powerful earthquake. The death count stood at 602.
Syria: Fresh air raids and deadly clashes across Syria are threatening to unravel the country's already fragile cease-fire, activists and rights monitors said Friday.