Iran commander backs right to defend territory
A Predator unmanned aerial vehicle is shown returning from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat mission.
November 9th, 2012
04:50 AM ET

Iran commander backs right to defend territory

Iran defended its right to "confront" incursions into its territory after the Pentagon said two Iranian jets fired on an unmanned U.S. Air Force drone last week.

"The armed forces will respond decisively to any act of transgression," Maj. Gen. Seyed Masoud Jazaeri said Friday, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
October 27th, 2012
03:33 AM ET

Syria's temporary cease-fire unravels

[Updated at 5:13 a.m.] The Syrian government accused "terrorists" of targeting a church with a car bomb in Deir Ezzor, according to a report on the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. The government called it a violation of a temporary four-day truce called over the observance of the Muslim religious holiday Eid al-Adha.

The government allegation appears to contrast an opposition activist claim that the military police building in the eastern Syrian city looked to be the target. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

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Truce in Syria?
Civilians carry belongings Thursday in Aleppo along a street filled with debris after fighting between Syrian troops and rebels.
October 26th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Truce in Syria?

Editor's note: Hours after the beginning of a truce to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, reports of new violence began to emerge in Syria’s civil war. Read the full story.

Here are the latest developments.

[Updated at 1:20 p.m.] More than 70 people have been killed across Syria on Friday, the first day of the Eid truce, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. Opposition activists said a car bombing rocked a Damascus neighborhood, with death toll estimates ranging from 10 to more than 20.

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October 15th, 2012
07:17 AM ET

Nobel Prize for economics awarded to two U.S. economists

Alvin E. Roth of Harvard University and Lloyd Shapley of UCLA have been awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Monday.

The economics prize is the sixth and final of the annual awards that spotlight the world's top scholars and peacemakers.

The economics award was not among the original prizes created in 1895 by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel to honor work in physics, medicine, chemistry, literature and peace. It was added as a category in 1969 by the

Swedish central bank in memory of the industrialist.

As such, the economics prize is given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences - following the same principles used to determine the other Nobel Prize winners, according to the Nobel committee.

The monetary award that accompanies the Nobel Prize was lowered by the foundation this year by 20% from 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.5 million) to 8 million kronor ($1.2 million) because of the turbulence that hit the financial markets.

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Armstrong stops fight against doping probe
August 23rd, 2012
10:55 PM ET

Armstrong stops fight against doping probe

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said early Friday it will strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and impose a lifetime ban, a move that came just hours after the cyclist announced he would no longer fight charges of illegal doping.

A formal announcement by the USADA is expected later in the day, "but his choosing not to contest the charges means that there will be a lifetime ban and a loss of all results beginning from August 1, 1998," agency spokeswoman Annie Skinner told CNN in an emailed statement.

Even so, there is a question about whether the USADA - a quasi-government agency recognized as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports in the United States - has the authority to take action against Armstrong.

The International Cycling Federation, whom Armstrong has said should be the arbiter in his case, has opposed the American agency's actions by claiming it has jurisdiction. That position has been recently backed by USA Cycling, the official cycling organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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August 17th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Afghan police officer kills 2 U.S. troops, military says

A uniformed Afghan police officer turned his weapon on U.S. forces in Farah province Friday, killing two of them before being shot and killed himself, a U.S. military statement said.

The killings are the latest in a series of assaults this year carried out by Afghans clad in security force uniforms.

This attack also follows a Thursday statement by the Taliban's elusive leader boasting that fighters are infiltrating Afghanistan's security forces. The statement said fighters are attacking NATO-led forces on their bases, according to a statement purported to be from Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Bergen: Shooting by Afghan forces take toll on NATO troops

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July 20th, 2012
04:51 AM ET

Police: 12 killed, 38 injured in shooting at Colo. movie theater

A heavily armed gunman killed at least 12 people and wounded 38 more during an early Friday morning screening of the new Batman movie at an Aurora, Colorado, theater, police Chief Dan Oates told reporters.

Earlier, police said 14 had been killed.

Police arrested a man believed to be the shooter in a rear parking lot of the theater, Frank Fania, a police spokesman, told CNN. The suspect was not immediately identified, though Fania said he was believed to be in his early 20s.

"He did not resist. He did not put up a fight," Fania said. Police seized a rifle and a handgun from the suspect, and another gun was found in the theater, he said.

 

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Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says
Seau amassed 1,526 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions in his 20-season career with the Chargers, Patriots and Dolphins.
May 4th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says

[Updated at 11:06 a.m. ET] The family of former NFL star Junior Seau, who authorities say committed suicide this week, has decided to let researchers study his brain to see whether it was damaged by concussions suffered during his football career, San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said Friday.

Seau was found Wednesday in his Oceanside, California, home with what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. It is not clear if Seau left a note or an explanation.

The family made the decision to allow the research in hopes it will help NFL players and others in the future, Mitchell said.

Since news of Seau's death broke, there has been speculation about whether repeated hits to his head over the linebacker's 20-year pro career could be a contributing factor.

There is no evidence Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease brought on by multiple concussions, though friends and family have stepped forward to say the legendary linebacker suffered a number of hits to the head during his career.

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March 18th, 2012
06:20 AM ET

More questions than answers in account of American's abduction in Iraq

The murky abduction account of an American, who nobody appeared to know was missing in Iraq until he resurfaced, is raising questions about everything from his name to the circumstances surrounding his reported kidnapping.

A Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Saturday in a bizarre, pre-taped news conference that it was releasing U.S. soldier Randy Michaels, who one Sadrist lawmaker said was captured in battle nine months earlier.

The man did not identify himself, though he said he was a former soldier who was working as a civilian when he was abducted.

But U.S. officials say all missing soldiers have been accounted for and no civilian was recently reported missing, and even the man's ex-wife said she didn't know he had been kidnapped.

On Sunday, adding to the mystery, the U.S. Embassy declined to identify the American or discuss details surrounding the reported abduction.

"We cannot disclose any further information at this moment regarding this case because of privacy practices," embassy spokesman Michael McClellan said.

But a U.S. official who had knowledge of the man and had seen the video told CNN he was Rand Michael Hultz, a former Army soldier who served in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion and later returned as an "entrepreneur."

The account by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the case, is supported by interviews the man gave to an Iraqi television stations in 2010 where he identified himself as Hultz and detailed his business ventures.

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December 10th, 2011
02:22 PM ET

As Iraq war ends, families across U.S. welcome troops home

With virtually all American troops scheduled to be out of Iraq by the end of the year, thousands of them are coming home this month – many of them sooner than expected, to the delight of their families.

As of last week, more than 10,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed in Iraq, down from 170,000, and the number was dropping daily. Iraqi security forces, including army and police officers, are to assume full responsibility for the country's security by the end of the year under a deal agreed to by Iraq and the United States.

The withdrawal will bring to an end the war that began in 2003 with the toppling of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Only about 150 U.S. troops are expected to remain after the December 31 deadline, to assist in arms sales, a U.S. official told CNN, though a large private security force will protect the thousands of State Department workers and contractors staying behind after the withdrawal deadline.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the troop withdrawal in October, cutting some units’ deployments short. His announcement followed news that negotiations to extend the deadline broke down after Iraq's top political leaders refused to grant U.S. troops legal immunity, opening up the prospect of soldiers being tried in Iraqi courts and being subjected to Iraqi punishment.

The following is a collection of reports from troop homecomings across the country:

Last large group of Lewis-McChord troops returns

The final large group of troops from Washington state’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord returned home from Iraq on Tuesday, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

One hundred seventy troops from the 17th Fires Brigade and 62nd Medical Brigade filed off a plane and into a building for a homecoming ceremony, SeattlePI.com reported.

One of the 170, Staff Sgt. Michael Welsh, told CNN he had ended his fourth deployment.

“Just proud of what we did, and hopefully we won’t have to do it again,” he said.

Over the course of the nearly nine-year war in Iraq, the base lost 200 soldiers and one airman as a result of combat, disease or accident in Iraq, SeattlePI.com reported.'

Home and Away: Coalition casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq

iReport assignment: Stories from the Iraq war

Maine ‘Troop Greeters’ welcome final waves of Iraq soldiers

A group that has been greeting troops at a Maine airport since 2003 is doing its part to give the final waves of Iraq soldiers a hearty welcome home.

The Maine Troop Greeters gather at the Bangor International Airport – a transfer stop for some military flights – whenever they hear of an inbound troop flight.

As soldiers leave their plane for a brief layover at the airport, greeters line up to shake their hands and welcome them to U.S. soil.

“It’s our pleasure to welcome them and to make their stay here as comfortable and as friendly as possible,” greeter Clayton Dodge said.

The group operates a lounge where troops can use prepaid cell phones to make calls to family and friends.

“It means a lot that people are supporting us. It shows that we’re doing something right, that somebody actually cares,” Spc. Stasha McDonald said.

A soldier's last day in Iraq

Fort Hood troops, families relieved Iraq deployments over

At a homecoming ceremony for troops early this month at Fort Hood, Texas, service members and relatives were excited not only for the return, but also because of the knowledge that the days of deployments to Iraq were over.

Troops were treated like rock stars, entering the ceremony room through a gate and manufactured smoke.

“Everyone tried to make the speeches very, very short, because the highlight was seeing these troops rush into the arms of their loved ones, hugging, kissing, trying to catch up over what’s been missed over the last 10 months,” CNN’s Chris Lawrence reported.

Maj. Mike Ianucilli said that there is “a sense of peace knowing there’s one less opportunity for us to be separated from our families.”

“We know we still have our operations going on in Afghanistan, and other contingency operations as they come up, but to know that what has consumed so much of our careers recently as a profession, to know that that’s not there looming over us is certainly peace of mind,” he said.

War in Iraq: What CNN reporters, producers will remember

National Guard welcomed home in San Mateo

In San Mateo, California, members of the California National Guard returned from Iraq to warm greetings from loved ones in early December.

“I can’t put it into words,” said Spc. Leonardo Ramirez, with an arm around his wife, Ria. “We’ve been gone for such a long time. Just happy to be back home.”

Texas soldier surprises daughter on field at football game

In early November, Sgt. Luis Cardenas – just home from Iraq - surprised his daughter at a high school football game in San Antonio, after not seeing her for a year. CNN affiliate KSAT reports in the video above.

October 15th, 2011
06:40 PM ET

U.S. combat brigade to leave Iraq well ahead of schedule

A brigade of U.S. troops originally scheduled to be among the very last to leave Iraq is being pulled out of the country months ahead of its planned departure, military officials said Saturday.

The announcement follows news this month that a deal to keep American troops in Iraq past a December 31, 2011, deadline to withdraw was on shaky ground after Iraqi leadership said any remaining U.S. forces would not be granted immunity from Iraqi prosecution. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top brass have repeatedly said any deal to keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the withdrawal deadline must require a guarantee of legal protection for American soldiers.

The Fourth Brigade Combat Team, First Armored Division, based at Fort Bliss, deployed to Iraq in August to replace two withdrawing brigades. The troops were sent with the understanding they would be among the last to leave the country and were told to expect up to a 12-month deployment, though it wasn't clear how long they would stay in Iraq. But brigade officials informed hundreds of military families gathered Saturday at its headquarters that their troops would begin returning home within weeks.

When family members inquired why soldiers were returning early, they were told by a military official: "Basically, what's happened ... is that the United States and Iraq have not come to an agreement," according to a CNN reporter who attended the meeting.

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