Combination briefs package




Drone strike kills 7, officials say

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed seven militants in Pakistan near the Afghan border on Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said. The missiles struck a compound in Mangrothi village in the Shawal area, along the border dividing the North and South Waziristan tribal regions. The country’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has lashed out against the U.S. drone program.


U.N. appeals for aid for Syria

The United Nations presented the biggest financing appeal in its history Friday, asking for more than $5 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria this year to help millions of people affected by the country’s civil war and contain the pressures building up in neighboring countries that are overwhelmed by Syrian refugees. Calling the Syrian conflict “the most dangerous crisis since the end of the Cold War,” António Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, urged world leaders to respond to the appeal not just out of compassion but as a form of “enlightened self-interest” to help stabilize the region and avert “an explosion in the Middle East.”


Alleged kidnapper faces 329 charges

A man accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade has been indicted on 329 charges including kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said. A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver fired last fall. The grand jury charged Castro with one count of aggravated murder, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.


Budapest braces for Danube flooding

The crest of the flood-swollen Danube River surged toward the Hungarian capital of Budapest on Friday, while communities along the Elbe in Germany braced for high water as the river churned toward the North Sea. Elsewhere in central Europe, communities were beginning to count the cost of devastating floods that have hit Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. At least 19 people have died over the past week, and experts say the economic damage in Germany alone could top $14.6 billion.


Cheney to compete in antelope hunt

Dick Cheney will be shooting for Wyoming in an antelope hunt that’s co-hosted by the governors of Colorado and Wyoming each year. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said Friday that the former vice president will join him in the Sept. 21 competition in Lander, Wyo. It will be the first time Cheney has participated in the One Shot Antelope Hunt event. The event started in 1940 as a duel between Wyoming and Colorado, and governors traditionally lead a team from their state. Cheney grew up in Wyoming and represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years.


Iranians among dead in suicide blasts

Suicide attackers rammed car bombs on Friday into a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims and a police checkpoint west of Baghdad, killing 19 people in all, in the latest bout of violence to rattle Iraq. Friday’s first attack struck in the morning, when a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a bus carrying Iranian Shiite pilgrims who were on their way to visit shrines in the holy city of Najaf. In the evening, attackers drove two more car bombs into a major highway checkpoint between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province west of Baghdad, detonating them nearly simultaneously.


Judge considers allowing voice experts

An expert hired by an Orlando newspaper testified Friday that screams for help on 911 calls don’t match neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman’s voice. Tom Owen testified on the second day of a hearing that will determine whether voice identification experts can be used at Zimmerman’s second-degree trial for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The trial starts Monday and Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense. Testimony for the hearing was to continue today before Circuit Judge Debra Nelson makes a decision.


Morsi dismisses calls for early vote

Egypt’s embattled president on Friday dismissed calls for early presidential elections as clashes erupted in a northern Egyptian city and unidentified assailants torched a Cairo campaign headquarters of a youth group petitioning for Mohammed Morsi’s removal from office. Clashes erupted Friday evening in downtown Cairo between security forces and members of the Black Block, a group of young masked men opposed to president Morsi’s rule. Protesters hurled stones at the Central Security forces who fired back tear gas, according to the MENA State news agency.