WASHINGTON – President Obama declared Monday he is sticking to his war strategy of using U.S. troops to advise and mentor Afghan forces, even as a suddenly growing number of Americans are being gunned down by the very Afghans they are training to take on insurgents.
In the past 10 days, Afghan forces have attacked their coalition partners seven times, killing nine Americans. For the year there have been 32 such incidents, killing 40, compared with 21 attacks killing 35 troops in all of 2011.
We are deeply concerned about this, from top to bottom, Obama told a White House news conference. But he said the best approach, with the fewest number of deaths in the long run, would be to stick to the plan for shifting security responsibilities to the Afghans.
Molester priests not Vatican staff: Judge
The Vatican won a major victory Monday in an Oregon federal courtroom, where a judge ruled that the Holy See is not the employer of molester priests.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman ends a six-year question in the decade-old case and could shield the Vatican from possible monetary damages.
The original lawsuit was filed in 2002 by a Seattle-area man who said the Rev. Andrew Ronan repeatedly molested him in the late 1960s.
The plaintiffs tried to show that Ronan and all priests are employees of the Vatican, which is therefore liable for their actions.
Up, down on state immigration laws
Part of Alabamas immigration law that ordered public schools to check the citizenship status of new students was ruled unconstitutional Monday by a federal appeals court that also said police in that state and Georgia can demand papers from criminal suspects they have detained.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Alabama schools provision wrongly singles out children who are in the country illegally. Alabama was the only state that passed such a requirement, and the 11th Circuit previously had blocked that part of the law from being enforced.
The court, however, upheld parts of immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia allowing law enforcement to check documents for people they stop.
Man high on meth in patrol car suicide
A man police say shot himself in the head while his hands were cuffed behind him in the back of an Arkansas patrol car tested positive for methamphetamine, anti-anxiety medication and other drugs, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed his death as a suicide.
The state crime lab report said the muzzle of a handgun that Chavis Carter apparently concealed from arresting officers was placed against his right temple when it was fired. The report, signed by three medical examiners, included a drug analysis showing Carters urine and blood indicated methamphetamine and other drug use.
Bacon tossed before Ramadan gathering
Muslims gathering to celebrate the end of Ramadan at a New York City park found uncooked bacon scattered there, and police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
New York Police Department investigators believe the same person might be behind an anti-Muslim Internet posting, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Monday.
In a statement, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said pork is often used to offend or taunt Muslims, who are barred from eating it because pigs are considered unclean.
Straits swimmer endures storms
Diana Nyad slogged across the Straits of Florida for a third straight day Monday, advancing toward a swimming record on calm seas after enduring a night of stormy weather.
Nyad, who turns 63 on Wednesday, is making her third attempt since last summer to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. She also made a failed try with a cage in 1978.
Nyad had been expected to arrive somewhere in the Florida Keys early today, but her team tweeted Monday evening that she lost six hours progress in overnight storms Sunday.
Next goal for Mars: Dig into planet core
After driving all around Mars with four rovers, NASA wants to look deep into the guts of the red planet.
The space agency decided Monday to launch a relatively low-cost robotic lander in 2016 to check out what makes the Martian core so different from Earths.
NASAs Discovery program picked a project called Insight over missions to a Saturn moon and a comet, drawing complaints from scientists who study other places in our solar system that NASA is too focused on Mars.
All three proposed missions were good, but the Mars one showed the best chance of making it within budget and on schedule, said NASA sciences chief John Grunsfeld. The missions cost no more than $425 million.
WVU back on top in party-school study
West Virginia University is back on top for the first time in five years, bumping off Ohio University to reclaim its title as the nations No. 1 party school.
WVU hasnt held the top spot since 2007, but the rankings announced Monday by The Princeton Review make it the third time. WVU has been among the top 20 party schools 12 times in the 21 years the rankings have been published.
Topping the Stone-Cold Sober Schools for the 15th straight year? Utahs Brigham Young University.
The current rankings are in the 2013 edition of The Best 377 Colleges, which goes on sale today.
Mali announces new government
Malis interim leaders announced a new government Monday, months after a military coup unleashed political chaos that allowed an Islamist takeover of the north and forced nearly half a million people to flee their homes.
The government has 31 ministers, including five who are viewed as close to coup leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who nominally handed over power to a civilian interim government months ago but still has not completely relinquished control.
None of the ministers in the new government are closely linked to the democratically elected president who was ousted in March.
West African leaders had threatened to expel Mali from the regional bloc and impose sanctions if the country failed to assemble a unity government as promised.
Somalia takes step toward parliament
Somalias chief justice on Monday swore in 215 new members of parliament, an accomplishment but one that fell far short of U.N. hopes that the Horn of Africa nation would seat a full 275-member parliament that would vote in a new president.
Monday – the last day of eight years of Somalias U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government – was the day by which the U.N. repeatedly said a new president would be in place. But political bickering, violent threats and seat-buying schemes delayed progress, guaranteeing the deadline would be missed.