THE RUNDOWN
A BLOG OF NEWS AND INSIGHT
  • BY Will Lester, Associated Press  September 1, 2014 at 6:20 PM EDT

    A CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, takes off from the flight deck of the USS Comstock  Aug. 25. The 11th MEU and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Wenger/Released)

    WASHINGTON — A Marine Corps helicopter with 25 aboard crashed Monday in the Gulf of Aden, and all aboard were rescued, the Navy said. The 17 Marines and eight Navy sailors were recovered and were on board the USS Mesa Verde, and some who sustained minor injuries were treated on the ship. Continue reading

  • BY Corinne Segal  September 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM EDT

    Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage

    A hacker posted pictures of nude female celebrities without their consent on Sunday, prompting a call for a change in how we talk about the hacking of personal photos. Continue reading

  • BY Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press  September 1, 2014 at 4:49 PM EDT

    President Barack Obama, seen here in Minneapolis in June, will  make a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee today. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Boosted by recent economic gains, President Barack Obama is sounding more bullish about the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession and the White House is encouraging Democrats to show similar optimism as they head into the November mid-term elections. Continue reading

  • BY Donna Cassata, Associated Press  September 1, 2014 at 2:52 PM EDT

    Photo: Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to “keep the bums in,” with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted Nov. 4. Continue reading

  • BY Ayan Sheikh  September 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM EDT

    Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, began wearing body cameras on Saturday.  Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday began wearing body cameras attached to their uniforms following weeks of unrest over the killing of an unarmed black teenage boy by a white police officer. Continue reading

  • BY Jenny Marder  September 1, 2014 at 12:56 PM EDT

    A Liberian health worker disinfects a corpse after the man died in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward on Aug. 15 in Monrovia, Liberia. With the right public health system in place, the countries in western Africa can contain and eradicate the the virus, writePhoto by John Moore/Getty Images

    A third confirmed case of Ebola was reported in Nigeria’s Port Harcourt, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 16, Reuters reported on Monday. This comes after a doctor in that city died last week after treating a man with the virus. Continue reading

  • BY Rialda Zukic  August 31, 2014 at 5:59 PM EDT
    Firefighters search through the rubble of a four-storey residential building that collapsed following a blast in Rosny-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs of Paris on August 31, 2014. A four-storey residential building collapsed in a Paris suburb following an explosion possibly due to a gas leak, killing at least one child and an elderly woman, local emergency services said. Ten people were also wounded, including four in serious condition, while 11 others are still unaccounted for. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

    Firefighters search through the rubble of a residential building that collapsed following a blast in Rosny-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs of Paris on Sunday. Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

    At least four people died Sunday following an explosion and collapse of a four-story building in a northeastern Paris suburb, Reuters reported.

    The deaths included an 8-year-old child and an 80-year-old woman who died as emergency workers carried her out of the rubble.

    A woman in her forties and her child were found dead later in the afternoon. Four adults are still missing.

    Eleven people were injured in the incident. READ MORE

  • BY Philip Elliott, Associated Press  August 31, 2014 at 1:31 PM EDT
    BAIJI, IRAQ - JULY 30:  During the Eid al-Fitr, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-led militants patrol on the roads of Baiji after they control the city in Iraq on July 30, 2014. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

    Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-led militants patrol on the roads of Baiji on July 30, 2014. Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate intelligence committees said Sunday that President Barack Obama should take decisive action against the growing threats from Islamic State militants on American soil. Credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Sunday prodded President Barack Obama to take decisive action against what they say are growing threats from Islamic State militants on U.S. soil.

    The lawmakers, one Republican and one Democratic, offered bipartisan pressure on the White House to turn back the hazard of Islamist fighters who have taken control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Those militants now are looking toward the United States or Western Europe for its next targets, lawmakers said.

    Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions how to confront them, the lawmakers said Obama soon needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to crush the fighters.

    “His foreign policy is in absolute free-fall,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee. READ MORE

  • BY Carey Reed  August 31, 2014 at 12:56 PM EDT
    ISRAEL-SYRIA-UN-PHILIPPINES-CONFLICT-GOLAN

    Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) wave as they drive their armored vehicle in the Golan Heights near the border crossing between Israel and Syria, on August 30, 2014. 40 UN peacekeepers from the Philippines escaped after being surrounded since Thursday by Islamic militants in southern Syria. Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

    40 United Nations peacekeepers from the Philippines escaped overnight after being surrounded since Thursday by Islamic militants in southern Syria, Reuters reports.

    “We may call it the greatest escape,” Philippine military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told reporters in Manila, according to the Associated Press.

    The day before, 35 Filipino peacekeepers were rescued, following a firefight. The peacekeepers had been trapped by an al-Qaida linked group known as the Nusra Front. The group has been fighting the Syrian army in the area for the past several days.

    Forty-four Fijian troops were captured at the same time. They remain in captivity in an unknown location, as negotiations for their release continue.

    A Nusra Front commander told Reuters the Fijian peacekeepers had been detained because the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force troops were helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. READ MORE

  • BY Robert Burns, Associated Press  August 31, 2014 at 12:24 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON — Fearing a Russian invasion and occupation of Alaska, the U.S. government in the early Cold War years recruited and trained fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and other private citizens across Alaska for a covert network to feed wartime intelligence to the military, newly declassified Air Force and FBI documents show.

    Invasion of Alaska? Yes. It seemed like a real possibility in 1950.

    “The military believes that it would be an airborne invasion involving bombing and the dropping of paratroopers,” one FBI memo said. The most likely targets were thought to be Nome, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seward.

    So FBI director J. Edgar Hoover teamed up on a highly classified project, code-named “Washtub,” with the newly created Air Force Office of Special Investigations, headed by Hoover protege and former FBI official Joseph F. Carroll.

    The secret plan was to have citizen-agents in key locations in Alaska ready to hide from the invaders of what was then only a U.S. territory. The citizen-agents would find their way to survival caches of food, cold-weather gear, message-coding material and radios. In hiding they would transmit word of enemy movements. READ MORE