Clashes kill Afghan police, Taliban
Taliban fighters killed 22 Afghan police officers Thursday in an ambush of their convoy in an eastern province bordering Pakistan, officials said Friday. The ambush was part of clashes spread over two days that killed an estimated 70 Taliban fighters, Col. Mohamed Masoum Hashimi, the deputy police chief of Nangarhar province, said Friday.
60 removed from military jobs
Sixty people have been removed from jobs as military recruiters, drill instructors and victims counselors as a result of screenings ordered following a jump in the number of sexual assault in the U.S. armed forces, officials said Friday. The Army said 55 people had been suspended from their positions since screenings ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began last month. The Navy said it had removed five people from their positions. The move came a week after the Pentagon issued an annual report showing a 37 percent jump in cases of unwanted sexual contact in the military. The 60 people were removed from their positions for a variety of reasons, ranging from alcohol-related concerns to unwanted sexual contact to other conduct that raised questions about their suitability for the jobs, officials said.
IT worker sues Zimmerman prosecutor
The former IT director in the office of the prosecutor who tried George Zimmerman has filed a lawsuit against his former boss, claiming he was unlawfully fired. Ben Kruidbos filed the lawsuit against State Attorney Angela Corey’s office on Thursday. He is seeking more than $5 million in damages. Kruidbos was fired last month and accused of misconduct after he testified in June about retrieving evidence from Trayvon Martin’s cellphone the defense contends wasn’t disclosed.
Sandusky case costs adding up
Penn State’s bill to pay costs related to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal is nearing $48 million. A university website on Friday showed a $47.7 million total as of May 31, up $1.9 million from two months earlier. The amount covered legal fees, consulting work and other costs. Much of the increase was tied to the university’s legal services and defense, which cost $10.4 million, up about $700,000 from March.
Pope’s crowd numbers in question
The Vatican said an historic 3.7 million people were at Pope Francis’ Mass on giant Copacabana beach last weekend. But number crunchers questioned the estimates Friday, saying the real figure was not even half as big. The problem was that the count released by Vatican and Brazilian officials was a guesstimate that statisticians said grossly inflated the crowd figures. The research director of Datafolha, one of Brazil’s top polling and statistic firms, said that based on the size of the crowd area and reasonable density estimates, he would put Sunday’s turnout at between 1.2 million and 1.5 million people.
Cellphone in casket is DOA
Mexico City prison authorities say they have quashed an attempt to smuggle a prohibited cellphone into a city prison in the coffin of an inmate’s mother. Prisoners in the city have the right to have the casket of a deceased parent or child brought into the prison yard so they can bid farewell to their relative. City correctional spokesman Emilio Castelazo said Friday that before the coffin was allowed into the Santa Marta Acatitla prison, guards searched the casket and found the cellphone inside.
Exonerated Marine teaches marksmanship
A Marine sergeant says he has returned to his old job as a marksmanship instructor at Camp Pendleton after his murder conviction in a major Iraq war crime case was overturned. Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins said Friday he wants out of the Marine Corps but must remain while the Navy decides whether to let the ruling stand or appeal to the Supreme Court. Hutchins led an eight-man squad that killed a retired Iraqi police officer in April 2006 in the village of Hamdania. Hutchins said he thought the man was an insurgent leader.