KABUL, AFGHANISTAN | The Taliban claimed responsibility Wednesday for an attack in Afghanistan that killed four American troops just hours after the insurgent group announced it would hold talks with the U.S. on finding a political solution to ending the nearly 12-year war in the country.
The deadly attack underscores the challenges ahead in trying to end the violence roiling Afghanistan via peace negotiations in Qatar with militants still fighting on the ground.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents fired two rockets into the Bagram Air Base outside the Afghan capital, Kabul, late on Tuesday. American officials confirmed the base had come under attack by indirect fire — likely a mortar or rocket — and that four U.S. troops were killed.
The attack came as the Taliban opened a political office in the Qatari capital of Doha, and announced they were ready for peace talks. The decision was a reversal of months of failed efforts to start negotiations while Taliban militants intensified a campaign targeting urban centers and government installations across Afghanistan.
Afghan military officially takes control of country’s security
President Obama’s plan for leaving Afghanistan reached a new milestone Tuesday as the Afghan military officially took responsibility for the country’s security. The White House also said it would try again to hold peace talks with the Taliban. Major Garrett reports.
By Clare Kim
(File photo by Elaine Thompson/AP)
Colorado made history Tuesday when Governor John Hickenlooper signed six bills into law that will govern the cultivation, sale, and taxation of recreational marijuana, creating the first legal framework in the U.S. for recreational marijuana use.
Last November, Coloradans voted to approve a constitutional amendment on recreational marijuana. The measure, Amendment 64, will allow Colorado adults–21 and older–to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use from specialty marijuana dispensaries (which could open as soon as January) and to grow up to six marijuana plants–with only three flowering at a given time–in their homes.
Video surveillance of pot growing will become established by an agency that will oversee seed-to-sale tracking next year.
The measure also limits possession up to an ounce for personal use. And selling marijuana without a license, purchasing marijuana from a party who is not licensed as well as public use of marijuana will remain illegal.
For the first few months, Colorado’s marijuana industry be restricted to individuals and shops licensed to sell or produce medical marijuana. Licenses will be granted only to residents of two years, and investors will also need to meet the residency requirements.
Ned Resnikoff, @resnikoff
Roughly 150 people died from work-related illness or injury per day in 2011, according to a new report the AFL-CIO released on Tuesday. Fatal workplace injuries claimed 13 lives per day, while work-related illness and disease killed an additional 137 people daily.
Although occupational fatality rates have trended downward in the years since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the gradual improvement of workplace safety seems to have halted in recent years.
“After years of steady decline, for the past three years the job fatality rate has essentially been unchanged,” according to the report.
BOSTON (AP) — Federal agents zeroed in Tuesday on how the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out — with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel — but said they still didn’t know who did it and why.
An intelligence bulletin issued to law enforcement and released late Tuesday included a picture of a mangled pressure cooker and a torn black bag the FBI said were part of a bomb.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly pleaded for members of the public to come forward with photos, videos or anything suspicious they might have seen or heard.
“The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said at a news conference. He vowed to “go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime.”
President Barack Obama branded the attack an act of terrorism but said officials don’t know “whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.”
Scores of victims remained in hospitals, many with grievous injuries, a day after the twin explosions near the marathon’s finish line killed three people, wounded more than 170 and reawakened fears of terrorism. A 9-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were among 17 victims listed in critical condition.
By Vivian Quo and Josh Levs
(CNN) — The state’s chief witness in the Trayvon Martin murder case lied under oath, prosecutors say.
The young woman who says she was on the phone with Martin when he encountered George Zimmerman lied about her whereabouts at another time, the prosecution told a judge Tuesday.
The woman, whose name has not been released, had told prosecutors that she was in the hospital on the day of Martin’s funeral. The defense then sought her medical records.
Letters to Zimmerman show split opinions on Trayvon Martin shooting
In court on Tuesday, the state said the woman, known as Civilian Witness 8, was not in the hospital, so there are no such records to be turned over.
Prosecutors did not immediately respond to a question Wednesday from CNN about the witness’s credibility and how this may affect the case.
Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — Oscar Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably in a Pretoria courtroom Tuesday as prosecutors described how they say he murdered his girlfriend.
The state said the killing was premeditated: Pistorius armed himself, attached his prosthetic legs and walked 7 meters before shooting Reeva Steenkamp, who had come to spend the night, through the bathroom door, prosecutors said.
Pistorius fired four times, prosecutors said; Steenkamp was struck thrice inside a locked bathroom.
He “shot and killed an innocent woman,” senior state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.
As Nel spoke, Pistorius buried his face in his hands.
But defense attorney Barry Roux said the shooting was not premeditated; Pistorius shot his girlfriend thinking she was a burglar, he said.
The prosecution doubted that assertion, asking why a burglar would lock up in a bathroom.
But Roux questioned how the prosecution would know Pistorius attached his prosthetic legs and walked to the bathroom. Police have said Pistorius and Steenkamp, now deceased, were the only ones in the home.
The global sports hero, known as the “Blade Runner,” was in court for a bail hearing Tuesday. The last time the world saw images of Pistorius was when he was initially charged Friday, when the track star crumbled upon hearing the word “murder.”
The courtroom scenes are a far cry from the packed stadiums that erupted in applause for the double-amputee who dared to compete against men with legs.
Recently, we were shocked and saddened by the mass murder of 20 innocent children with a “Bushmaster” assault weapon. It is perverse that this has sparked an explosion in national sales of such weapons. These sales are insults to the memory of those who died at Newtown, CT. In response to this tragedy President Obama charged Vice President Biden to formulate the administration’s response: Reforms to lessen the likelihood of future mass murders. Many citizens and organizations were asked to give their advice to the government. Mr. Biden has promised to give his report to the President on Tuesday.
Personally, I think that certain guns should be allowed–under license–for hunting and sport shooting. Military-style weapons should be banned for use by the public along with high-capacity clips and so-called, “cop killer” bullets. There should be a federal registry of all gun owners and they should be required to secure their weapons in a gun safe or under lock and key. There should be strict administration of the new laws and penalties. Gun use is a part of our culture and is protected by The Constitution. The US Supreme Court has ruled in “Heller” that assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. Should all assault weapons now in use be subject to a mandatory “buy-back” program is subject for a national conversation.
I pray that God will bless Vice President with insightful and concrete reforms in the ownership and use of guns in America. I ask this in Jesus’ name. —GoodOleWoody
“The Egyptian president has returned to work in Cairo, although scores of protesters angered by his drive to push through a new constitution are still blocking one gate of the presidential palace.
Mohamed Morsi left the palace in the northern Cairo district of Heliopolis on Tuesday evening as tens of thousands of demonstrators surged around it, clashing briefly with police.
A presidential source said Morsi was back at work in the palace on Wednesday, even though up to 200 demonstrators had camped out near one entrance overnight.
Traffic was flowing normally in the area and riot police had been withdrawn, a witness said.
The rest of the Egyptian capital was calm, despite the political furore over Morsi’s November 22 decree handing himself wide powers and shielding his decisions from judicial oversight.
Egyptian police fired tear gas at opposition protesters demonstrating on Tuesday evening against Morsi’s drive to hold a snap referendum on the draft constitution.
Live television footage showed that some protesters broke through police lines and got too close to the presidential palace late on Tuesday night.
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo said: “We saw thousand of people surrounding the palace on all four corners, outnumbering the police and getting close to the presidential walls.”