BY Wire reports
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 2:45 AM
U.S. recognizes 1st Somali government in 2 decades
WASHINGTON - The U.S. has recognized Somalia's government for the first time in more than two decades.
Calling it a milestone in the country's fight against Islamist extremists, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement Thursday alongside Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. President Barack Obama later met privately with the Somali leader at the White House.
The U.S. hadn't recognized a Somali government since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. American intervention failed two years later after militants shot down two U.S. helicopters and killed 18 American servicemen.
Clinton said times have changed, citing the militant group al-Shabab's retreat from every major Somali city. The U.S. provided $780 million to African forces to help that effort.
Report: Miss. schools' discipline too hard on kids
JACKSON, Miss. - Civil rights advocates say harsh disciplinary practices at many Mississippi schools lead to children being expelled and even incarcerated for minor infractions, policies that disproportionately affect minorities.
A joint report by groups including the ACLU and NAACP says the problems are more widespread than just the city of Meridian, where the U.S. Justice Department has filed a suit claiming officials are running a "school-to-prison pipeline" for minor infractions.
The groups say the Meridian lawsuit is just one example of a problem "that has plagued Mississippi schools statewide for years."
The report was a joint project of the state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse and the Advancement Project.
"The bottom line is that there are no successful schools in America that have high expulsion, suspension and arrest rates," Scott Roberts, a coordinator for Advancement Project, said at a news conference in Jackson.
Poisoned lotto winner's body to be exhumed
CHICAGO - Authorities plan to exhume the body of a Chicago businessman Friday in hopes of learning exactly how he ingested a lethal dose of cyanide.
Urooj Khan died in July as he was about to collect $425,000 in lottery winnings. His death was initially ruled a result of natural causes, but a relative pressed for a deeper look. Full toxicology results revealed in November that Khan was poisoned. His death was reclassified a homicide.
No suspects have been identified.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office hopes an autopsy, expected to be finished by Friday afternoon, will produce more evidence in the event the case goes to trial.
U.S. troops worry about defense, job cuts
VICENZA, Italy - The soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team have gone to war five times since 9/11, and 84 have been killed - including 13 during their current deployment to Afghanistan.
But when members of the unit had a chance to ask Defense Secretary Leon Panetta questions Thursday, the top issue on their minds was jobs.
How would the impending budget cuts affect civilians at their post? And what will it all mean for their spouses and family members who work on the base?
Panetta had few answers, as Congress continues to struggle to reach an agreement that would avoid massive budget cuts. But as he looked out across the somber lines of battle-hardened troops, his condemnation of Capitol Hill reached new heights.
"You guys go out and you put your lives on the line, you take the worst risk of all - which is that somebody may shoot you and you may die," Panetta told the roughly 150 soldiers at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza. "All we're asking of our elected leaders is to take a small part of the risk," he said, that maybe they would make some constituents mad.
Panetta all but called lawmakers cowards and said that by not governing they would be undermining democracy and "the strength of everything that we hold dear."