President Obama announced Thursday that he was sending 300 military advisers to Iraq to help the embattled Shiite-led government fight off a rapid advance by extremist Sunni insurgents. "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq," Obama said, "but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists." Obama said the goal was preventing an escalating civil war that could destabilized the entire region.
Obama sends 300 military advisers to help Iraq fight insurgents
McCarthy picked to replace Cantor as House majority leader
House Republicans chose Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as their majority leader on Thursday. He will replace Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who lost in a GOP primary to Tea Party-backed economics professor David Brat. McCarthy is a loyal lieutenant to Speaker John Boehner. Tea Partiers had wanted Cantor's job for one of their own, but got McCarthy's old spot — majority whip — which went to conservative Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
White House announces sanctions over Uganda's anti-gay law
The Obama administration announced Thursday that it was canceling a military exercise in Uganda and imposing sanctions in reaction to the country's new anti-gay law. The U.S. is restricting visas for powerful Ugandans and cutting funding for a Ugandan police program, while avoiding directly impacting AIDS and food programs. The White House said the sanctions would help prevent abuses. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni blasted the move as "social imperialism."
Men exonerated in Central Park jogger case settle with NYC for $40 million
The five men convicted and later exonerated in the 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park have agreed to accept a $40 million settlement from New York City to end their civil rights lawsuit. The initial story — that the then-teens were "wilding" and attacked the 28-year-old investment banker — dissolved when the men said their incriminating statements had been coerced, and a convicted rapist and murderer confessed to the crime.
Marine who shielded comrade from grenade gets Medal of Honor
President Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on retired Marine Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, who lost most of his jaw and an eye when he shielded a fellow Marine from a grenade blast during a 2010 Afghanistan firefight. Carpenter, 24, was nearly given up for dead, had to be revived while being evacuated by helicopter, and was labeled dead on arrival at a field hospital. "The enemy killed me. I came back..." he said. "I won't ever quit."
Education Department proposes rules to track campus sexual assaults
The Department of Education is proposing rules requiring colleges to publish statistics on domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus. The plan, due to be published Friday, adds categories of crimes that schools receiving federal financial aid must report. The aim is to get schools to do more to reduce sexual assaults and protect victims. "Schools aren’t going to change unless they are pressured to," one activist said.
CDC says scientists might have been exposed to anthrax
Dozens of scientists at a federal lab in Atlanta might have been accidentally exposed to anthrax after researchers failed to adequately deactivate live samples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Up to 75 workers are being monitored for symptoms of the disease, the CDC says. None has shown any sign of illness so far. Investigators are looking into how the breach of protocol happened.
Fighting continues in Ukraine a day after cease fire proposal
Ukrainian troops clashed with pro-Russian separatists for a second consecutive day on Friday, despite a unilateral cease fire proposed two days earlier by the country's president, Petro Poroshenko. Government forces hammered villages near a railroad hub north of the eastern regional capital of Donetsk, denying supplies to blockaded separatists in Slavyansk. NATO said Russia had returned thousands of troops to the Ukraine border.
Gov. Scott Walker accused of breaking election laws
Prosecutors say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, was involved in a "criminal scheme" to violate state election laws, according to court documents filed in December and unsealed on Thursday. Walker and members of his staff allegedly filed false campaign reports and illegally coordinated fundraising efforts with conservative groups during the 2011 and 2012 elections, prosecutors say in the documents. Walker said two judges already said they "did not buy those arguments."
Harley unveils its first electric motorcycle
Harley-Davidson unveiled its first electric motorcycle on Thursday. The iconic motorcycle manufacturer is launching a promotional tour next week that will give consumers a chance to see the new bike at 30 Harley dealerships across the country. The tour will move on to Canada and Europe in 2015. The sleek eco-hog, the LiveWire, can go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. Harley-Davidson isn't saying yet how much it will cost, or when it will go on sale.