US warns of rising threat from al-Qaida in Iraq
WASHINGTON — Top U.S. and Iraqi diplomats warned Thursday of a rising threat in Iraq from al-Qaida, which is carrying out suicide and car bombings with greater frequency nearly two years after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also discussed how to stop Iraqi airspace from being used to ferry weapons and illicit cargo from Iran to the embattled Syrian government and how to stem the flow of weapons and extremist fighters into Iraq from neighboring Syria.
“It’s a two-way street. It’s a dangerous street,” Kerry said.
The two met on the same day that a wave of car bombs hit the Iraqi capital, killing 33 people and wounding dozens.
More than 3,000 people have been killed during the past few months, including 69 who died last weekend in a series of car bombings targeting those celebrating the end of Ramadan.
Boston Marathon bombing survivor, 7, using new prosthetic leg as family mourns her brother
BOSTON — A 7-year-old girl who lost part of her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombings is learning to use a prosthetic leg as her family still mourns the death of her older brother in the April attack.
The family of Jane Richard and the late 8-year-old Martin Richard said Thursday she already is dancing on her prosthetic leg and “struts around on it with great pride.”
“While we have made progress with our physical injuries, the emotional pain seems every bit as new as it was four months ago,” the Richard family said in a statement Thursday.
Parents Bill and Denise Richard also were hurt in the attack April 15, when two shrapnel-loaded pressure cookers exploded near the marathon’s finish line, killing three people and injuring about 260 others.
Denise Richard lost sight in one eye, and Bill Richard suffered hearing loss. Their 11-year-old son, Henry Richard, was uninjured.
Man charged in Zumba prostitution case says he thought he was in a romance
ALFRED, Maine — The first man to go trial on charges that he patronized a prostitute who worked out of her Zumba dance studio contends he thought he was engaged in a romance.
Alexis Wright, the fitness instructor who pleaded guilty to running a prostitution business, doesn’t have to answer questions from prosecutors at the trial of the alleged client, a judge said Thursday.
Prosecutors had wanted the 30-year-old Wright to testify in next week’s trial of Donald Hill, a former Kennebunk High School hockey coach. Under oath Thursday,
Wright declined to answer questions about him, other than to point him out.
“He thought he had a relationship with her,” said his lawyer, Gary Prolman.
Hill pleaded not guilty to a single misdemeanor charge. If convicted, he could be fined as much as $1,000.
New mammal species discovered
WASHINGTON — Imagine a mini-raccoon with a teddy bear face that is so cute it’s hard to resist, let alone overlook. But somehow science did — until now.
Researchers announced Thursday a rare discovery of a new species of mammal called the olinguito. The reddish-brown animal is about 14-inches long with an equally long tail and weighs about 2 pounds.
It belongs to a grouping of large creatures that includes dogs, cats and bears.
The critter leaps through the trees of mountainous forests of Ecuador and Colombia at night, according to a Smithsonian researcher who has spent the past decade tracking them.
By wire sources