CNN: Afghanistan suspends security talks with U.S.
Afghanistan has suspended security talks with the United States - one day before American officials are set to meet with the Taliban for formal talks. President Hamid Karzai's office announced the suspension Wednesday, but offered a vague reason for doing so. "In view of the contradiction between acts and the statements made by the United States of America in regard to the peace process, the Afghan government suspended the negotiations," the statement from the office said. It wasn't clear whether Karzai's decision had anythig to do with the U.S.-Taliban meeting.
ALSO SEE: CNN: Taliban talks announced as Afghanistan assumes security
USA Today: Medical group recognizes obesity as a disease
The American Medical Association decided Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease, requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment. The American Medical Association, the nation's largest physician organization, decided Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease that requires a range of medical interventions for treatment and prevention. The decision was made at the group's annual meeting in Chicago. Experts in obesity have struggled for years to have obesity recognized as a disease that deserves medical attention and insurance coverage as do other diseases. Previously the AMA and others have referred to obesity as "a major public health problem."
CNN: Afghan forces formally take over security of country.
Marking a key transition in the more than decade long war, Afghan forces have formally taken over security for the entire country from NATO-led troops, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced at a handover ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday. "You are the sons and guardians of this country and it is your responsibility to protect it," Karzai told the troops. ""I wish a long-term peace in Afghanistan." The head of NATO said Afghans are now in charge. "The main effort of our forces is shifting from combat to support. We will continue to help Afghan troops in operations, if needed, but we will no longer plan, execute, or lead these operations," NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the ceremony. Inside a firefight with the Taliban Born solely to serve others Packing up, shippping out of Afghanistan "By the end of 2014, our combat mission will be completed," Rasmussen said.
ALSO SEE: Reuters: Explosion in Kabul coincides with Afghan security handover
Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen tweets:
CNN: Colorado blaze leaves 2 dead as firefighters battle on
The forecast Friday provides little hope for firefighters trying to make headway against a raging wildfire northeast of Colorado Springs. The high temperatures and blustery winds will be back, along with little chance for meaningful rain. The weather is expected to cool some over the weekend, with calmer winds, but no significant showers. The Black Forest Fire has been dubbed the most destructive in state history after it scorched close to 16,000 acres, destroyed 379 homes and claimed at least two lives by Thursday evening.
CNN: Israel pushes ahead with settlement expansion
Israel said Thursday it will build 675 new settlement homes on the West Bank. The housing units are part of an old agreement and not a new plan, Prime minister spokesman Mark Regev has said. The expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank have been a lasting thorn in the side of Palestinians.
Reuters: UN documents 93,000 deaths in Syria, says real toll much higher
At least 93,000 people had been killed in Syria's conflict by the end of April this year, but the true number is "potentially much higher", the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday. An average of more than 5,000 people have been killed every month since last July, while Rural Damascus and Aleppo have recorded the highest tolls since November, it said in its latest study compiling documented deaths.
CNN: Colorado fires scorch state; thousands evacuated
Fast-moving wildfires lit up central Colorado, forcing thousands from their homes and scorching some 12,000 acres of brush and timber. Of the five fires burning, the most problematic was the Black Forest Fire. Tinder-dry conditions and gusty winds fueled the fire, just northeast of Colorado Springs, prompting mandatory evacuations over an area covering 24,000 acres and about 5,000 homes.
CNN: Ohio kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro due in court
An Ohio man accused of murder, rape and holding three women against their will for close to a decade will be arraigned on Wednesday. Ariel Castro, 52, was indicted last week on 329 counts. His case has attracted national attention because of the unusual length and depravity of the crimes of which he's accused. "The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty. Two counts accuse Castro of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
CNN: State TV: Suicide attacks kill 14 in central Damascus
A pair of suicide attacks in central Damascus on Tuesday killed at least 14 people and injured 31 others, Syrian state TV reported. The explosions took place near a police station, a police source said. Syria's state news agency, SANA, reported a slightly higher casualty toll, reporting 33 injuries after "two suicide bombers" blew themselves up.
CNN: Turkish riot police move in on protesters at Taksim Square
Turkish riot police in sizable numbers moved into Taksim Square on Tuesday morning, where they engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse with a small, hard-core group of protesters. The protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails at armored vehicles and burned one. Police responded by spraying water cannons. The demonstrators, using wooden boards as shields, would pull back - only to return again, lobbing cocktails and firecrackers and flashing "victory" signs. Smoke from tear gas and fireworks wafted through the air as the armored vehicles shoved away makeshift barriers set up by the demonstrators.
CNNMoney: Seniors in 48 states face serious income shortage
Seniors in almost every state in the country are falling short when it comes to affording their golden years, according to a study released Monday. Nationwide, seniors are living off of a median household income of $35,107, roughly 57% of the median income of their younger counterparts ages 45 to 64, according to an analysis of 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data by Interest.com, a financial information website owned by Bankrate.com. "We found that many senior citizens are significantly underfunded and risk running out of money," said Mike Sante, the site's managing editor. Only seniors in Nevada and Hawaii have median annual incomes that meet the savings benchmark commonly recommended by financial planners.
CNN: Waning Andrea to dump heavy rain across East Coast
Tropical Storm Andrea is expected to drench the East Coast with heavy rains Friday as its strength weakens. A broader swath of the East Coast - including parts of 13 states, from Georgia to Maine - is under flash-flood watches. Flash flood warnings extend from Florida through coastal communities north to Virginia. The warning means a sudden deluge of rain could overwhelm sewers, and cause rivers and creeks to overrun their banks through the weekend. The watch area includes Washington, which the National Weather Service predicts could get up to 6 inches of rain Friday, and New York City, where forecasters say 1 to 2 inches of rain an hour could fall at times into Saturday.
CNN: As search in building collapse ends, lawsuits and investigations begin
Her family says she was brilliant, caring and had the ability to find beauty in everything. Anne Bryan was in her first year as a full-time student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was among the six people killed Wednesday when a building collapse spilled rubble into a thrift store. Roseline Conteh, Borbor Davis, Kimberly Finnegan, Juanita Harmin and Mary Simpson also died, according to Mayor Michael Nutter. Nutter promised Thursday morning a "wide-ranging" investigation into the collapse of a four-story wall of a partially demolished building that toppled onto a Salvation Army store. For more than a dozen hours, searchers had climbed over shards of wood, concrete and rebar before calling off the search for possible survivors late Thursday afternoon. Fire Department Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said officials were "absolutely sure" there were no more victims in the huge pile of rubble. The scene will be turned over to accident investigators from the police and inspections departments and the fire marshal's office, he said.
CNN: North and South Korea agree to idea of talks on shuttered industrial zone
After months of unsettling tensions, North and South Korea tentatively agreed Thursday to hold talks about reopening their shared manufacturing zone where Pyongyang halted activity in April. The North proposed the meeting to discuss the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Zone - a major symbol of cooperation between the two countries - along with other issues in a statement published by state-run media. "The venue of the talks and the date for their opening can be set to the convenience of the south side," it said. The South Korean Unification Ministry responded positively, saying, "We hope the talks between the two authorities will be a great opportunity to build trust between South and North." It said the timing, agenda and other aspects of the talks would be announced later.
CNN: Dissidents: Syrian rebels control crossing into Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
Syrian rebels have taken control of the only crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Rebels attacked government checkpoints and battled Syrian forces in the largely abandoned city of Quneitra before gaining control of the city's border crossing, the opposition group said. A steady stream of gunfire could be seen in Quneitra from the Israeli-occupied side. Rebels opened fire on the Syrian forces, who responded with tank fire to try to force the rebels back. Mortars and small arms fire caused the bushes and shrubs to catch on fire.
CNN: Fires, floods, storms: Mother Nature sends extremes across U.S.
Tempestuous weather is striking the United States on four fronts. It seems as if Mother Nature is trying to throw much of the nation one extreme or another. Here's a roundup: An area of "disturbed weather" in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Yucatan Peninsula, could bring heavy rain and flooding to the Florida Peninsula and the Georgia and Carolina coasts by Thursday, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said. …A 32,000-acre wildfire is burning some old-growth chaparral that lies in the western tip of the Mojave Desert in northern Los Angeles County. …The mighty Mississippi River is now at major flood stage in St. Louis, but the worst of it is over and waters will recede this week, Morris said. The river has risen to more than 10 feet above flood stage.
CNN: Parents of Boston bombing suspect share phone call with son
Inside their dark, barren home in Dagestan, Zubeidat and Anzor Tsarnaev finally hear the voice they've been longing to hear for weeks. It's the voice of their only surviving son, Dzhokhar. To the outside world, he's suspected of helping to launch a gruesome attack at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and maimed dozens more. But to the Tsarnaevs, Dzhokhar is an innocent teen who has been victimized by the American justice system. In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate ITN, Zubeidat Tsarnaev plays a recorded phone call with her 19-year-old son. It's their first conversation since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shot and arrested in April.