President Barack Obama said the U.S. is prepared to take targeted military actions in Iraq if they would help fight a growing threat from extremist militants. He also said the U.S. is ready to send as many as 300 military advisers to Iraq.
In an attempt to stop the juggernaut advance of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, Iraq's central government says the fight for the country's largest oil refinery is far from over. A military official says 40 militants have been killed.
"Iraqi government officials say an elite special operations force is holding off ISIS militants at the Beiji refinery 160 miles north of the capital," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Erbil. "But local police report ISIS is tightening a grip on the facility."
This post was updated at 9:40 p.m. ET to reflect the Obama administration's pressure on the Iraqi government.
A week ago, it would have been difficult to find anyone in the U.S. arguing for renewed U.S. military action in Iraq. Now there's a furious debate about what the U.S. should, or shouldn't, do in the latest Iraqi crisis.
The drama seemed to erupt out of nowhere as Islamist extremists captured Mosul, one of the country's largest and most important cities, and kept pushing south toward the capital Baghdad.
Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:06 am
The Sunni militant group that has stormed across Iraq invaded the country's largest oil refinery today, hitting it with mortars. The government is using limited air attacks to strike back at ISIS, which now controls large areas of Iraq's north.
"The oil refinery in Beiji has been under siege since the militant fighters of ISIS seized the town of Beiji in their sweep through northern Iraq," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Irbil, Iraq. "In an offensive at dawn, ISIS fighters attacked the refinery with machine-gun fire and mortars, according to Iraqi security forces."
An explosion has rocked a northeastern Nigeria town where people had gathered to watch World Cup soccer on television, security officials say.
There were reports of casualties, but it was not immediately clear how many or whether anyone had been killed. Reuters quotes witnesses to the blast at the town of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, as saying they saw several trucks carry bodies to a local hospital.
People in northern Iraq are getting their first taste of life under ISIS — the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that captured the large Iraqi city of Mosul last week with shocking speed.
The Sunni extremist group holds much of the mainly Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq.
Over the weekend it launched a bloody takeover of Tal Afar, an ethnically and religiously mixed Iraqi city near the Syrian border.
President Obama has informed Congress that 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel will go to Iraq to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as a militant Sunni group continues its offensive in the country, seizing control of the northern town of Tal Afar.
A new product is out called the Bodyguard blanket, designed to provide protection for children and teachers while at school. It's a bullet and tornado-projectile resistant item, resembling a yoga mat, that a child or adult can fasten around the shoulders and waist.
One day after it was the scene of a terrorist assault that left at least 23 people dead, the largest airport in Pakistan reopened for business Monday afternoon.
Gunmen who were reportedly disguised as security guards attacked Karachi's international airport in the middle of the night Sunday, and several explosions were heard in the fighting that followed.
The 10 attackers are among the dead at Jinnah International Airport, officials say. Several airport workers and at least 10 members of the security force also were killed, according to Pakistani media.
Militants in Ukraine shot down a military helicopter near the eastern city of Slovyansk Wednesday, killing 14 soldiers that included an Army general. The incident comes days after Ukraine stepped up its operations against pro-Russian rebels this week.
From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:
An NPR interview in Chicago included an all-too-real example of the city's violence when a burst of gunfire erupted down the street from where NPR's David Schaper was conducting an interview Wednesday. He had been speaking to a neighborhood activist when a gunman opened fire nearby.
The father of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary has posted an open letter to Richard Martinez, who tearfully lashed out at "irresponsible politicians and the NRA" after his son Chris was killed on Friday in the shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The misogynistic manifesto written by Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who police say killed six people before taking his own life Friday, quickly led to an outpouring on Twitter under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Women and men alike used the hashtag to share stories and statistics about harassment and sexual assault.
The grieving father of a college student at the University of California, Santa Barbara who was killed last Friday in a mass shooting said his child died because lawmakers failed to respond to the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Pro-Russian rebels who had taken over an international airport in Donetsk have been pushed back, Ukraine's government says. Violent clashes erupted Monday and Tuesday; at least 35 people have died.
From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:
"The battle for Donetsk airport appears to symbolize the government's tougher stance on the pro-Russian insurgents in the east. Using fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the military says it has retaken control of the airport, though rebels dispute that claim.
A coordinated attack on an outdoor market in northwest China has left 31 people dead and dozens wounded, prompting promises of a vigorous government response. Bombs and cars were used to inflict damage on people at the market.
The Chinese government called the early morning attack in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, a "serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature," according to The Associated Press. Previous violent attacks have been blamed on the area's Muslim Uighur minority.
Domestic violence affects a third of women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In many cases nobody knows of the suffering, and victims aren't able to get help in time.
That's why in many countries, including the U.S., there's been a push to make screening for domestic violence a routine part of doctor visits. Last year, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians ask all women of childbearing age whether they're being abused.