violence

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias and U.S. airstrikes have reportedly entered the northern town of Amerli, where Islamic State militants have laid siege to the town for weeks, prompting fears of a sectarian massacre.

Reuters and BBC report that Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters entered the town on Sunday after defeating the Sunni rebels, also known as ISIS or ISIL, east of the city. The Islamic State, which claims to enforce a pure version of Islam, has apparently targeted Amerli because of its large Shiite Turkmen population, seen by them as apostates.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, comes a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

After two weeks of sometimes violent protests, the family of Michael Brown finally took some time to mourn on Monday.

The funeral service for the unarmed 18-year-old killed by officer Darren Wilson was held in a St. Louis megachurch.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and his father, Michael Brown Sr., entered the church in silence.

At a rally on Sunday, that's what Brown called for: calm and peace while his son was laid to rest.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Police are still investigating an incident from last week in which a police officer used a stun gun on a city teenager. The family has called the use of force unnecessary.   

Members of community gathered to discuss the incident on Friday night, and Governor Dannel Malloy said he thought the use of the Taser was inappropriate. 

President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs that supply local law enforcement agencies with military weapons and equipment after concerns over how the police handled unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

A senior Obama administration official says the president "whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding."

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son's safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood.

"It's my worst nightmare," she says. "I have the issue with him not understanding, possibly, a command to put your hands up or to get on the ground. So, yes, it's scary."

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The United Nations is calling for action to prevent what it's describing as a possible massacre in Iraq's northeastern city of Amerli, which has been under siege for two months by Islamic State militants.

The city's population is largely Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by the hard-line Sunni Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

One day after an Israeli airstrike killed three of its senior military leaders, Hamas says it has executed more than a dozen people in the Gaza Strip, after concluding that they had been spying for Israel.

A four-year-old Israeli boy was also reportedly killed in a mortar attack near the Gaza border.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Jackie Northam reports:

"Hamas confirmed that there were two separate rounds of executions in Gaza for people suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel describes a failed U.S. mission into northern Syria earlier this summer to rescue Americans believed held there — including a journalist who was executed earlier this week — as "flawless" despite not recovering the hostages.

"This was a flawless operation, but the hostages weren't there," Hagel told journalists at a Pentagon briefing with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century," President Obama said Wednesday, referring to the videotaped execution carried out by militants with the Islamic State.

Obama also said the group attacks women and minorities, "for no other reason than they practice a different religion."

White House

President Barack Obama said the United States will continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite the brutal murder of journalist James Foley. 

This post was updated at 2:25 p.m. ET.

A video that was released online Tuesday in which the extremist group the Islamic State claimed to behead American journalist James Foley is authentic, according to U.S. intelligence analysts. Foley was abducted in Syria in 2012.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon and later removed; since then, it has resurfaced elsewhere online. The images show Foley kneeling next to a masked militant and reciting comments against the U.S. before being killed.

New Haven Police Officer Responds to Ferguson Shooting

Aug 19, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last week has led to a series of angry protests in Ferguson, Missouri. As some protests turned violent and police have implemented military tactics there, the issue of race and violence has once again come into the nation’s focus. 

At least six bullets hit Michael Brown, 18, when he was shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, according to a preliminary private autopsy report. Only one of those wounds — to the top of the teenager's head — was deemed not survivable by former New York City chief medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden.

Baden and another pathologist hired by Brown's family say they believe that the two bullets that struck Brown in the head "were most likely the last two" to hit him during a confrontation on a street last Saturday.

Updated 3:14 a.m ET.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is sending the National Guard to Ferguson to help restore order. He signed the executive order after another night of violence. In a statement, Nixon said the guard's help is needed to "restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson."

A preliminary private autopsy performed by Dr. Michael Baden shows that Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, reports the New York Times.

The Times has more:

New Orleans is still reeling from another spate of violence last weekend, when five people were killed by gunfire and 11 wounded, including two toddlers. The city has launched high-profile campaigns to address gun violence, but a big part of the problem is an acute shortage of police.

Karen Rogers lives in the lower 9th Ward, where a recent drive-by shooting left two people dead and several more wounded. Police say it was drug-related.

"This is not the first time [I've heard gunshots]," says Rogers. "This is the first time to actually see people murdered and shot."

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Justice Department has ordered a second autopsy of Michael Brown, the black teen who was fatally shot by police last week in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, sparking off a week of angry and frequently violent protests.

In a city where public safety consistently ranks as the top issue in public opinion polls, a veteran Springfield city councilor caused a buzz this week when he suggested people had become complacent about violence.

In an op-ed published on MassLive.com, Springfield City Councilor-at-large Tim Rooke called on the “silent majority” to speak up and help dismantle the violent drug gangs that he said are causing families to move out of Springfield and hurting businesses.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions and offensive language.

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, "we never talked about race growing up," Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I just don't think that was ever a conversation."

"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn't matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."

In Gaza, Cease-Fire Expires As Rockets Fly

Aug 8, 2014

Just as the latest cease-fire expired, rockets flew into Israel from Gaza and Israel responded by ordering airstrikes in Gaza.

And just like that, a three-day negotiated peace came to an end. But NPR's Jackie Northam, who is reporting from Jerusalem, tells us it's still unclear if this renewed fighting is a sign of something broader.

It was negotiated as a three-day humanitarian cease-fire that was to start at 8 a.m. local time today.

But just hours in, fighting erupted again in Gaza.

Palestinian authorities told The Associated Press that at least 27 people were killed in Gaza after an Israeli tank opened fire. NPR's Emily Harris reports that Israel accused Hamas of continuing its rocket fire.

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On average, 14 people die each year in Connecticut as a result of intimate partner violence. There have been 188 intimate partner homicides in the state since the year 2000.

These are among the statistics in this year's annual report by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday dismissed international calls for an immediate cease-fire in the country's conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

"We need to be prepared for a long operation until our mission is accomplished," Netanyahu said in televised remarks.

He defined that mission the same way Israeli officials have since launching a ground offensive in Gaza: taking out the tunnels Hamas uses to infiltrate Israel.

Dozens Killed As Libyan Militias Battle For Tripoli's Airport

Jul 21, 2014

At least 47 people have been killed in fighting over the past 24 hours between rival Libyan militias battling for control of Tripoli's international airport.

The country's health ministry said late Sunday that the fighting also wounded 120 people. The Associated Press reports:

"The weeklong battle over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET.

A spokesman for Hamas claimed Sunday that the group has captured an Israeli soldier. Reuters quotes Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Ron Prosor, as saying that no Israeli soldier has been kidnapped.

It's the latest development in a bloody day of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Israel's military said today that a series of attacks on its forces inside the Gaza Strip has killed 13 soldiers, by far the heaviest single-day toll for its troops since the beginning of the offensive nearly two weeks ago.

Israel has unleashed repeated military offensives in the Gaza Strip since 2000 and has never been able to permanently suppress Palestinian rocket fire or seal off the territory's smuggling tunnels.

So why is Israel launching another major ground incursion now, and is there any reason to think the outcome will be different this time?

The new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he is reviewing scores of incidents in which agents have used deadly force.

R. Gil Kerlikowske made that statement during an exclusive interview with NPR's Morning Edition. It was his first extended conversation about controversial incidents in which the Border Patrol has killed civilians without apparent accountability. (Click here for a full transcript of the interview.)

Concha García Hernández / Creative Commons

One in three women nationwide say they've been in an abusive dating relationship while in college.

With that in mind, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and Hartford Hospital have released a report examining what policies exist at state colleges and universities to address the problem.

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