Following a dozen years under Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's leadership, Afghan voters turned out at the polls on Saturday to elect their first president of the post-American era in the country. U.S. troops were ordered to remain out of sight throughout the voting, so the process would be truly "Afghan-owned." While some incidents of violence and threats from the Taliban were reported, voters nevertheless turned out in such numbers that many polling stations ran out of ballots.
Afghan voters turn out at election polls
March's jobs report shows moderate growth
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 192,000 workers were hired in March, the month's job creation was not strong enough to bring down unemployment, which held at 6.7 percent. The jobs gained entirely from the private sector, as government hiring was frozen. March's report "is strong enough to indicate the economy is back on track, but not so robust that the Federal Reserve would have to start thinking about actually raising rates," Joel Naroff, head of Naroff Economic Advisers in Holland, Pennsylvania, said.
Indian court sentences three to death under tough new anti-rape law
Following tough new legislation passed in March, an Indian court sentenced three men to death by hanging for a gang rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist last year. The convicted are the first to be tried under the new law, seen as an important step forward in a country plagued with violence against women. Protests following an especially violent and widely publicized gang-rape of a student in December pushed the provisions and punishments forward.
Judge orders Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages
Federal Judge Timothy Black on Friday declared that Ohio must recognize same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. The judge's decision prohibits Ohio officials from enforcing a voter-approved ban on recognizing those out-of-state gay marriages, saying it would violate "constitutional rights to equal protection and due process." The state plans to appeal the ruling, and same-sex couples living in Ohio cannot get legally married in the state based on the decision.
Afghan police officer fatally shoots veteran AP photographer
The Associated Press reported on Friday that veteran photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was fatally shot by an Afghan police officer in Kabul. The officer reportedly walked up to the car Niedringhaus was traveling in and opened fire on the photographer and her companions. Canadian journalist Kathy Gannon was also shot, but she is reportedly in stable condition.
United Nations: South Sudan faces catastrophic famine
United Nations officials warned this week that roughly 3.7 million people, or one-third of South Sudan's population, are currently at severe risk of starvation if they don't have a successful planting season. Having asked the international community for $1.27 billion to go toward water, food, seeds and farming tools, the U.N. has raised just $385 million so far. "It's hard to compete with Syria and Ukraine," Toby Lanzer, the U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator for South Sudan, said.
Kerry says Mideast peace talks need 'reality check'
The goal is clear: An independent Palestine alongside Israel, and a lasting peace treaty. But Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts at saving last summer's diplomatic efforts between the two sides did not end well on Friday. "It's reality-check time," Kerry said. Israel announced it would not release 26 Palestinian prisoners, while the Palestinian Authority signed international treaties Israel opposes. "This is not an open-ended effort," Kerry said. "It never has been."
U.S. envoy to Africa focuses on genocide prevention
Citing Sunday's 20-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said she is using a trip to Africa to bring attention to ethnic killings in Central African Republic. The delegation is recognizing Rwanda's 100-day massacre, but Power is also traveling to Central African Republic and Burundi, where Power says there are "very worrying signs of ethnic exclusion and oppression emerging."
McDonald's shutters restaurants in Crimea
Citing "manufacturing reasons," McDonald's suspended operations at its three Crimean locations this week. The company offered to transfer employees to other outposts in mainland Ukraine, even paying relocation fees. Leaders of Russia's newest territory downplayed the action: "Russia has a lot of its own cafe chains, including fast food," Crimean Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev said. "They can promptly take this niche."
Lancôme announces Lupita Nyong'o as new brand ambassador
French luxury brand Lancôme announced on Friday that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o is the new face of its cosmetics, and her ads will begin appearing this summer. The 31-year-old actress is the first black ambassador for the brand, which has featured such famous actresses as Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet. "I am particularly proud to represent (Lancôme's) unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman's freedom to be herself," Nyong'o said.