An Iraqi force has begun a large-scale operation to recapture Tikrit, according to state TV. Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, lies between Baghdad and Mosul, a city in northern Iraq that's in the heart of territory claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
The push is relying on artillery and air strikes, as well as militia that reportedly include both Shiite and Sunni fighters.
When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money.
Take a look at a congressional district map, and it can look like a madman's jigsaw puzzle. The reason is, in part, that the district lines are drawn by state legislators seeking to maximize partisan advantage. It's a process that critics say is responsible for much that's wrong with Washington.
That's why some states have tried setting up independent commissions to draw the map. Arizona voters created such a commission in 2000. But when the commission chair displeased the governor and state Senate, they tried, unsuccessfully, to remove her.
There's a lot to celebrate in Liberia: The number of new Ebola cases have been declining, kids are going back to school and life is returning to some semblance of normalcy.
Last year, Ebola struck the country and since then, it has killed more than 4,000 Liberians. But among the three hardest-hit countries in West Africa, Liberia has been the fastest at containing the outbreak. Just last week, the region reported 99 new cases of Ebola. Only one of those came out of Liberia.
At 2.5 percent, Lincoln, Neb., has one of the lowest jobless figures in the country. But that's nothing new — the city has ranked at or near the top of the nation with one of the lowest unemployment rates for years, even during the Great Recession.
But on a recent visit, it's clear that Lincoln is not resting on its laurels. It's working hard at keeping and drawing talent to this city of nearly 300,000.
Julissa Arce was born in Mexico, and came to the United States on a tourist visa when she was 11. It expired a few years later — but Arce didn't leave. Instead, she excelled in high school and college, then secured a job at Goldman Sachs. Her ascent was dramatic: she rose quickly from analyst to associate to vice president.
But Arce was scared to go to work every day, worried that her undocumented status would be uncovered and she'd be escorted out.
When Alex Tran went off to Sierra Leone to work as an epidemiologist, his parents were worried. His mom was "a wreck," according to his sister Jen, who followed him into the Ebola hot zone a few weeks later.
Last fall as the Ebola outbreak raged in West Africa, Alex, 28, was working at USAID. Jen, who's a registered nurse, was deployed with the U.S. Navy on a ship in the Arabian Gulf. They both were itching to get to the front lines of the epidemic to help.
In the 1960s, Pittsburgh, like most cities, was segregated by race. But people of all colors suffered from lack of ambulance care. Police were the ones who responded to medical emergency calls.
"Back in those days, you had to hope and pray you had nothing serious," recalls filmmaker and Hollywood paramedic Gene Starzenski, who grew up in Pittsburgh. "Because basically, the only thing they did was pick you up and threw you in the back like a sack of potatoes, and they took off for the hospital. They didn't even sit in the back with you."
Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently hoping to patch a rift sparked by GOP lawmakers' decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress without first consulting the White House, says the administration doesn't want the speech to become a political football.
Massive avalanches in a valley not far from the Afghan capital have reportedly killed nearly 200 people, adding to a total of almost 250 deaths from the worst such snow slides in three decades in the country's mountainous northeast.
Rescue workers using bulldozers worked to clear roads to the Panjshir Valley area just northeast of Kabul — an area where villagers have been cut off for almost a week.
Nearly two-thirds of Millennials who identify as Republican support legalizing marijuana, while almost half of older GOP Gen-Xers do, according to a recently released Pew survey that could be an indicator of where the debate is heading.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced a reduction in U.S. diplomatic staff in the country and restrictions on travel by U.S. citizens there –- as he accused Washington of "gringo" meddling.
For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree into the wife's cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to get, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.
A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.
The film is a drama called Gett: The trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband's permission.
Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 10:08 am
Updated at 10:08 a.m. ET
Tens of thousands of people are gathering in the Russian capital to mourn Boris Nemtsov, the former deputy prime minister turned harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin who was gunned down on a Moscow street last week.
The march, originally scheduled to oppose Russian involvement in Ukraine, was to have been led by Nemtsov himself. Following his murder, however, the gathering has turned into a wake for the fallen opposition leader.
Wendy Lee, an anti-fracking activist and philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has always protested peacefully. So she was stunned last winter when a state trooper came to her home to ask her about eco-terrorism and pipe bombs.
The trooper was investigating an alleged trespassing incident that involved Lee and two other activists visiting a gas compressor in Pennsylvania's Lycoming County in June 2013. Lee says they stayed on a public road and left when security guards told them to go away.
Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 10:36 am
Spain's Mediterranean coast is home to the country's biggest Muslim community. And in one town there, local politicians have proposed new zoning laws that have people pondering what it means to be Spanish, or Muslim, or both.
Ruling conservatives in the town of Tarragona want to limit the number of kebab shops and Internet cafes in the town center, keeping them 500 yards apart to "protect traditional Spanish businesses" and prevent what they call ghettos.