Several dozen men took over a police station in eastern Ukraine this morning, raising a Russian flag and barricading the building. Ukrainian officials claim the militants seized at least 400 handguns and 20 automatic weapons to distribute to pro-Russia protesters. The militants appear to be Ukrainian, but the headquarters takeover is the latest building seizure by Pro-Russia forces, which come in the wake of a buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border. Russian President Vladimir Putin maintains those movements are part of a military training exercise.
Pro-Russia militants seize more Ukrainian buildings
White House refuses visa to Tehran's United Nations ambassador
In what could be an "unprecedented" move, the White House announced on Friday it will deny Iran's pick for United Nations ambassador a visa. Citing Hamid Aboutalebi's involvement in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, "the selection was not viable," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The decision could cool still-tentative relations between the two countries, as Tehran said it plans to challenge the visa denial.
President Obama nominates Sylvia Mathews Burwell for health secretary
President Barack Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, as expected, for new head of the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday. The selection followed Thursday night's resignation by Kathleen Sebelius, who quarterbacked the Affordable Care Act rollout. The Senate unanimously confirmed Burwell last year to her post of director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Obama called her a "proven manager" and "steady hand on the wheel."
NSA reportedly knew about Heartbleed bug for two years
Two anonymous sources told Bloomberg that the National Security Agency knew about the dangerous Heartbleed bug for at least two years, regularly exploiting the internet security flaw for its own intelligence gathering needs. Affecting as many as two-thirds of the world's servers, Heartbleed left many sites considered secure open to data breaches by hackers. The NSA reportedly used those breaches to obtain passwords and other information. Both the NSA and the National Security Council issued flat denials of any prior knowledge of the bug.
Nuclear energy firm agrees to continue supplying Ukraine
Nuclear technology company Westinghouse said on Friday it would extend a 2008 contract to supply fuel for Ukraine's nuclear reactors. Much of the country's nuclear fuel comes from Russia, but Moscow is threatening to cut off supplies over price disputes in the fallout over Crimea's annexation. In light of those ongoing disputes, Ukraine also said it will reach out to European countries for new natural gas sources.
Brazilian police evict 5,000 squatters from Rio de Janeiro favela
With this summer's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics set in Rio de Janeiro, officials have been trying to stamp out the city's many favelas, slums in which more than 20 percent of Rio de Janeiro's 6.3 million residents live. On Friday, police got the go-ahead to clear one such favela that was housing 5,000 squatters. People began protesting, throwing rocks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. While local media reported a calmer scene by Friday evening, it was the latest incident attracting international attention to a city struggling with concerns over whether it's prepared to host high-level sporting events.
Ohio issues new fracking regulations in wake of small earthquakes
Following a state investigation into small earthquakes deep under the Appalachians last month, Ohio issued new fracking conditions on Friday. Calling the link between injections of sand and water into the Utica Shale and the small tremors "probable," state officials said the quakes wouldn't have been easily felt by people, but were still cause enough for new permit conditions. "While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps," James Zehringer, director of Ohio's natural resources department, said.
Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priests' sexual abuse
Speaking on Vatican Radio on Friday, Pope Francis asked forgiveness from victims of Catholic priests' sexual abuse. The comments are being called the strongest condemnation yet of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. Pope Francis addressed the issue after being criticized for not dedicating enough attention to the problem, saying, "the church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem."
Dating app Tinder now worth $5 billion
Created just 20 months ago, the popular dating app Tinder is now worth $5 billion. The app, which syncs a Facebook profile and pings back other active profiles nearby, matches 10 million users a day. Barry Diller's IAC, which is Tinder's majority owner, bought another 10 percent of the company from venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya for $500 million, making Tinder's value almost as much as its parent company.
Aaron Hernandez associates charged with murder
Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, associates of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, were indicted on first-degree murder charges on Friday. No arraignment date has been set yet. Hernandez had previously been charged in the June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, a fact Ortiz's lawyer John Connors noted: "(Ortiz) started out having a gun (charge), then accessory after the fact, and now we're up to first-degree murder," Connors said. "This is absolutely crazy."