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January 10, 2014 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - Zach Iscol was a Marine captain in 2004 when his platoon - a combined unit of 30 Iraqis and 20 Americans - seized the railroad station on the first night of the bloody battle of Fallouja. They spent a week kicking in doors and fighting house to house, block by block, in some of the toughest urban combat of America's eight-year war in Iraq. Half a dozen of Iscol's men were wounded, but dozens of Marines in other squads were killed. Today, with ground that Marines fought and died for under control of insurgents flying the banner of Al Qaeda, and growing fears of another civil war, Iscol admits he has deeply conflicting views about the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.
January 9, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
The idea of treating murder as entertainment isn't at all new. Roman coliseums and Aztec ball courts witnessed plenty of blood. But the horror-action film "Raze" makes the idea feel rather modern, even urgent. Perhaps that's because director Josh C. Waller's self-assured debut coincides with the reign of the "Hunger Games" franchise. In fact, the unrelenting, fist-into-skull violence in "Raze" boasts all the realism missing from the PG-13 series while featuring a slew of young, athletic women, any of whom could be a cousin of Katniss.
January 8, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey
"Lone Survivor," director Peter Berg's hard-charging war drama starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, is very much about the physical damage wrought by fierce, face-to-face combat. It is also a movie about the unexpected humanity that finds a way to exist even when battle lines are drawn. The film is loosely based on a 2005 special ops mission in Afghanistan that went terribly wrong, and the unraveling begins when the operation's leader, played by Kitsch, makes a controversial decision to release a trio of unarmed goat herders.
January 2, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - For nearly two decades, warfare in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has resulted in millions of deaths and cast the resource-rich region as the world capital of rape and crimes against humanity. One reason for the epidemic of violence is the greed that goes along with the gold, tin and coltan mined from its steep, green hillsides. An additional factor is the military interference by neighbors to the east, Rwanda and Uganda. Yet there's also an underlying cause that is rarely addressed: land rights, and conflicts over it, problems as enduring as the soil under one's feet, analysts say, complicated by factors present in so many of Africa's conflicts: years of chaos, fighting and displacement.
December 24, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon and Carol J. Williams
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The United Nations Security Council authorized an urgent increase in peacekeeping forces for South Sudan on Tuesday in a bid to keep the world's newest country from sliding into prolonged ethnic bloodletting only two years after gaining independence. International officials said they had found a mass grave and cited reports of several more. Tens of thousands of people were seeking shelter in or near U.N. bases. Regional analysts said the number killed in the remote, impoverished country probably was already in the thousands.
December 24, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The United Nations Security Council voted Tuesday to send 5,000 more troops to South Sudan to tackle a wave of ethnic and political violence that has killed hundreds of people, perhaps thousands, and driven at least 81,000 from their homes. The action by the world body will boost the U.N. troop presence to 12,500, as soon as peacekeepers can be redeployed from other African missions for the temporary buildup. The extra troops, as well as more than 400 more U.N. police, are expected to temporarily transfer to South Sudan from missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Darfur region in neighboring Sudan, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
December 24, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM-- Israeli military forces launched a series of attacks in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to suspected Palestinian sniper fire that killed an Israeli civilian doing repair work on the border fence, military authorities said. A 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and members of her family were injured in an airstrike on the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza,  according to local reports . They were some of the heaviest strikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since a weeklong Israeli military campaign ended with a November 2012 cease-fire.
December 18, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Five high school students waiting for a bus were killed Wednesday when a pickup truck being chased by Mexican army forces careened out of control and plowed into them in the violent northern border city of Reynosa, authorities said. The pickup's occupants, thought to be likely drug cartel henchmen, escaped, authorities said. The youths ranged in age from 13 to 15. A woman and a 5-year-old girl, waiting in cars nearby, were injured. Hours after the incident, dozens of parents and teachers from local schools blocked a main Reynosa highway to protest.
December 17, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon and Amro Hassan
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Dozens of soldiers were killed as clashes continued for a second day in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, as more than 13,000 civilians took refuge at a U.N. peacekeepers' base. The fragile state is confronting its greatest crisis since independence in 2011, after clashes erupted late Sunday and President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy, Riek Machar, of launching a coup attempt. Kiir swapped his trademark American cowboy hat for military fatigues when he made Monday's television address.
December 16, 2013 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
A new study that zeroed in on a single city in Michigan found that where men are scarce, youth were more likely to commit assaults. Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed youth arrests and U.S. Census Bureau data for Flint, Mich., an industrial city whose fortunes have risen and fallen with General Motors Corp. They found that "adult male scarcity" - a low ratio of adult men to women - was closely tied to the share of households that had meager incomes or were getting government assistance, as well as the share of single parents.
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