White House says circumstances of Taliban leader’s death remain uncertain


The White House said on Friday the U.S. intelligence community has confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but the circumstances of his death remain uncertain.

The White House said in a statement that his death “represents a chance for yet more progress on the path to a stable, secure Afghanistan.”


Minister intervenes to give Chinese artist Ai Weiwei full UK visa

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei leaves the airport in Munich

Related: WORLD

Ai, who arrived in Germany on Thursday to see his son, is due to travel to Britain for a major exhibition of his work at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in September.

After his release from detention in 2011, the Chinese government said he remained under investigation on suspicion of economic crimes. The world-renowned artist maintains the charges were trumped up in retaliation for his criticism of the government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Britain in October, and the move could fuel criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, accused by critics of putting trade before human rights in dealing with China.


Recovered plane debris flown to France for checks

French gendarmes and police stand on the beach where a large piece of plane debris was found in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La ReunionRelated: WORLD, CHINA, FRANCE, AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

Plane debris which washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion and is thought to belong to the vanished Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flown to France on Friday for checks officials hope could provide some insight into the disaster.

Discovery of the debris, which may finally confirm the plane crashed into the sea after veering off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew, could help end 16 months of lingering uncertainty for relatives.

Aviation lawyers said it had also rekindled efforts by family members of passengers to seek greater compensation if the part is deemed to have belonged to MH370, aviation lawyers said.

Experts hope the barnacled 2-2.5 meters (6.5-8 feet) long wing surface known as a flaperon and a fragment of luggage could yield forensic clues to the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished without trace in March 2014.


Accused Russian Taliban depicted in U.S. court as assault mastermind


Accused Taliban fighter Irek Hamidullin, the first military prisoner from Afghanistan to be tried in U.S. federal court, was portrayed by prosecutors and testimony Friday as the commander behind an attack on U.S. and Afghan forces six years ago near the Pakistanborder.

Hamidullin, a former Soviet army officer believed to be in his 50s, faces 15 criminal counts ranging from supporting terrorists to firearms offenses stemming from the 2009 assault on Camp Leyza, an Afghan border police base in eastern Afghanistan’s Khost province.

U.S. Army Sergeant Sergio Silva, the prosecution’s third witness to take the stand, testified that he saw Hamidullin fire on him and other American and Afghan soldiers during a skirmish with insurgents after the initial assault.

Silva added that two Afghan insurgents were killed in the firefight and that Hamidullin was wounded and surrendered.


On Army Day, China warns of growing border security risks

Soldiers of China's PLA patrol in temperatures below minus 10 degrees Celsius at China's border with Russia in Heihe


China’s military warned on Saturday on its founding anniversary of growing risks along its borders, including in the disputed waters of the South and East China Seas.

The Chinese military, the world’s largest, has embarked upon an ambitious modernization program in recent years.

That, along with rising defense spending, has jangled nerves around the region. Chinasays it is a threat to nobody, but needs to update outdated equipment and has to be able to defend what is now the world’s second largest economy.


GOP Congressman: ‘Old Age or Disability Does Not Make Someone a Threat to Society


(CNSNews.com) – Speaking on the House floor on Wednesday, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) warned that President Barack Obama is trying to “deny millions of law-abiding Americans” the right to bear arms “by going through Social Security.”

“Mr. Speaker, President Obama is at it again. He’s now seeking to deny millions of law-abiding Americans their Second Amendment right to bear arms by going through Social Security, and why is that? Because he couldn’t get gun control through the Congress. The American people wouldn’t stand for it,” said Johnson.




On a website entitled “Bernie Sanders, United States Senator for Vermont,” Sanders and his legislative team declare that interns “are an integral part of our Senate operation and contribute greatly to the senator’s work on behalf of Vermont and the nation.”

Just below, in the Frequently Asked Questions section, Sanders flatly explains he pays his own interns “$12 per hour.”


Human Skull Discovered In Kentucky Is Up To 3,000 Years Old, Coroner Finds


In May, another research team found upper and lower jaws that included teeth, which are believed to have belonged to a new species of hominin, the subset of hominids that includes modern humans and our direct ancestors. The fossils are thought to date back 3 million to 4 million years ago, meaning ancestors to modern humans may have been more diverse than initially understood.

A younger skull — just 430,000 years old — was recently found at an archeological site in northern Spain. The site is located deep underground in a cave and holds the skeletal remains of at least 28 early humans. Scientists discovered lethal wounds on the fossilized skull, proving that deadly interpersonal violence is an “ancient human behavior,” the scientists said in a study, published in the journal PLOS One.




William Harrod, the coroner in Franklin County, said his office had suspended its investigation and would work with the Kentucky Heritage Council and the State Historical Preservation Office to properly rebury the skull.

The thousands-year-old remains are relatively young for a human fossil. In Ethiopia earlier this year, paleoanthropologists said they had discovered a 2.8-million-year-old jawbone — making it the oldest fossil in the human ancestral line ever found by more than 400,000 years.


Overeating may be caused by a hormone deficiency, scientists say

The study, by a team of researchers from Rutgers University, looked at how levels of the hormone affected laboratory mice. When GLP-1 was reduced in the mice, they over-ate and consumed more high-fat food. When researchers enhanced the signal, they were able to block the mice’s interest in fatty foods.

While it still needs to be established that the same effect happens in humans, there is already a drug on the market that scientists say mimics the hormone. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Saxenda — a drug originally designed to improve glucose tolerance for diabetics — as a treatment for obesity.