Los Angeles airport gun suspect charged with murder
The U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles charged Paul Ciancia with murdering Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, Gerardo Hernandez, and committing violence at Los Angeles International Airport. Last Friday morning, Ciancia entered the airport’s Terminal 3, fatally shot Hernandez with an assault rifle and wounded several other TSA officials and a passenger. Ciancia wrote that he intended to die after killing at least one TSA officer in a note he wrote following the incident. Ciancia wanted to “instill fear into their traitorous minds” and accused the TSA of treating U.S. citizens like terrorists. He also pointed out the weaknesses of airport security. Police had visited Ciancia’s house after worried relatives alerted them, but Ciancia left just 45 minutes before they arrived. If convicted of murder and violence, Ciancia will face execution or life in prison without parole.
Federal Court of Appeals upholds key part of Texas abortion law
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans voted to allow the Texas abortion law to take effect, reversing the decision of a lower court three days earlier to block the law. The part of the law that the court reinstated requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they’re providing abortion services, making the Texas abortion law one of the strictest in the country. As a result of the court’s decision, as many as 13 of the 36 clinics providing abortions in the state will have to halt their abortion services immediately. The lawsuit was originally filed by Planned Parenthood on behalf of over a dozen women’s health care providers in Texas, and alleges that the provision is a violation of women’s constitutional rights. The requirement will remain in place while the case is argued in the months to come.
U.S. drone strike kills leader of Pakistani Taliban
On Friday, a U.S. drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, dealing a significant blow to the militant group that has ravaged Pakistan for years. Mehsud’s death marks a victory for the controversial C.I.A. drone program, which has come under fire for the civilian casualties associated with the use of drones. However, the strike has drawn much criticism from the Pakistani government and has threatened to derail peace talks between the Pakistani government and Islamist militant groups. The Taliban buried Mehsud in the early hours of the morning under the cover of darkness out of fear that U.S. drones would strike the funeral. Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman, vowed that there would be revenge on the United States and its allies for Mehsud’s death. “Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry smooths over rifts with Saudi Arabia
In Riyadh, Secretary Kerry praised U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia as “enduring” after speaking with Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Monday. Kerry sought to ease recent tensions sparked by disagreements between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the ousting of democratically elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The U.S. froze $1.3 billion in aid after a military coup removed Morsi from office, while Saudi Arabia supported the new military-backed government. Kerry says that the two countries agreed on the civil war in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program and attempts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but did not discuss the recent protest against the restriction that prevents women from driving. After leaving Riyadh, Kerry will travel to Poland, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Morocco as part of a 10-day tour before returning to Washington.