ISLAMABAD – Gunmen stormed Pakistan’s main court complex in Islamabad on Monday, cutting down fleeing lawyers before blowing themselves up in a rampage that killed 11 people. It was the worst terror attack in years in the capital, which has largely been spared the violence raging in many parts of the country.
The bloodshed undermined the government’s efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the main militant group, the Pakistani Taliban, just days after the organization announced a one-month cease-fire for the talks.
The Pakistani Taliban denied responsibility for the attack. But the violence underscored the difficulty of negotiations when numerous militant groups are operating in Pakistan. And it raised questions of whether the Taliban can control some of their factions that may oppose talks.
The attack stunned the capital, a normally quiet city of wide, tree-lined boulevards that is home to diplomats, generals, aid workers and government officials. It was the deadliest attack in Islamabad since a 2008 truck bombing at the Marriott Hotel killed 54 people.
Gay marriage study author testifies
The author of a controversial study of adult children often cited by opponents of gay marriage defended it in court Monday but also said it’s too early for social scientists to make far-reaching conclusions about families headed by same-sex couples.
University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus testified for more than three hours as a witness for the state of Michigan, which is defending a ban on gay marriage. The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, is being challenged by two Detroit-area nurses in a rare trial.
Regnerus was the leader of a study that screened thousands of people, ages 18 to 39, and found roughly 250 who said they grew up in a house where a mom or dad eventually had a same-sex relationship. He found they were more likely to have problems – welfare dependence, less education, marijuana use – than young adults from stable families led by heterosexuals.
He later acknowledged that his study didn’t include children raised by same-sex couples in a stable relationship.
Military sued over vets’ PTSD status
The U.S. military has failed to upgrade the discharges of Vietnam veterans who developed post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in stigma and loss of benefits, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
Five Vietnam veterans and three veterans organizations are suing the Army, the Navy and the Air Force in Connecticut. The veterans say they suffered PTSD before it was recognized and were discharged under other-than-honorable conditions that made them ineligible for benefits.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status to represent tens of thousands of veterans, says the military has systematically denied applications for upgrades involving evidence of PTSD.
Once-caged children settle Ohio lawsuit
Eleven children forced to sleep in cages by their adoptive parents reached a $2 million settlement with Stark County in east-central Ohio, where three of them lived before they were placed in the home outfitted with wire and wood enclosures.
The agreement, which still needs a judge’s approval, likely will bring a close to the series of lawsuits and financial settlements that came after the children were taken out of the home in 2005.
The adopted and foster children ranged in age from 1 to 14 when authorities removed them from their home in north-central Ohio. Their adoptive parents, Michael and Sharen Gravelle, spent two years in prison for abusing some of the children.
Officials in Huron County, where the Gravelles lived, agreed to a $1.2 million settlement in 2010.
Prescription abusers supplied by friends
Most people who abuse addictive prescription painkillers get them free from friends or relatives, while drug dealers are a relatively uncommon source for those at highest risk for deadly overdoses, a government study found.
People who abuse the most frequently often doctor-shop; more than 1 in 4 who used these drugs almost daily said they had been prescribed by one or more physicians.
Almost as many said they got them for free from friends or relatives; only 15 percent of the most frequent abusers said they bought the drugs from dealers or other strangers.
Gene quirk cuts risk of diabetes: Study
Scientists have uncovered gene mutations that slash the risk of Type 2 diabetes regardless of age and weight, offering drugmakers a novel target to combat one of the major health threats confronting the modern world.
A drug mimicking the mutations would provide a unique way to hold the disease at bay, the researchers said in a report Sunday in the journal Nature Genetics. While current therapy slows the disease, patients eventually worsen, and many need insulin shots.
About 347 million people globally, including 25.8 million in the United States, have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. The Type 2 form, tied to excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle, is soaring as obesity rates rise.
Women with new wombs get embryos
A Swedish doctor says four women who received transplanted wombs have had embryos transferred into them in an attempt to get pregnant.
He would not say Monday whether any of the women had succeeded. In all, nine women in Sweden have received new wombs since 2012, but two had to have them removed because of complications.
The women received wombs donated by their mothers or other close relatives in an experimental procedure designed to test whether it’s possible to transfer a uterus so a woman can give birth to her own biological child. The women had in vitro fertilization before the transplants, using their own eggs to make embryos.
Fake-emergency ads for movie yield fines
It turns out that using emergency warning tones in a TV commercial with images of the White House blowing up and the flashing words “THIS IS NOT A TEST” is frowned upon by the government.
The Federal Communications Commission said Monday it was fining three media giants $1.9 million for using the official warning tones in an ad for the movie “Olympus Has Fallen” that had some complainants jumping out of bathtubs and racing to the TV screen.
The ad aired 108 times on Viacom Inc. networks like BET and Comedy Central, 38 times on NBCUniversal channels like USA and SyFy and 13 times on The Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in March 2013.
Judge in flap over ‘Messiah’ censured
A former Tennessee magistrate who changed a baby’s first name from Messiah to Martin was censured Monday.
Lu Ann Ballew said at the time that Messiah was a title held only by Jesus Christ. Ballew’s attorneys have argued that she was acting in the child’s best interest because having the name Messiah could make his life difficult.
Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel Tim Discenza said public censure is the probably most serious sanction the board could take against Ballew, who had already lost her position as a magistrate.
Winter-weary DC faces cold record
With accumulations of 4 to 6 inches of snow in Washington, D.C., Monday’s storm would have been the largest in the nation’s capital in all of last year. But in the seemingly endless winter of 2013-2014, it came 2 1/2 weeks after a much bigger storm, and the region settled into a familiar routine of hunkering down, with schools and government offices closed.
If temperatures fell into the single digits Monday night as forecast, it would have been the first time after March 1 since 1873, according to the National Weather Service.
Time to guess when river ice will thaw
Alaska’s biggest annual guessing game has begun in earnest, with workers setting up equipment that will note the time the Tanana River ice starts to move.
Crews set up a tripod Sunday on the icy river in the tiny community of Nenana, 55 miles south of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday. As soon as the ice begins to move, the tripod tips on the shifting ice and stops a clock.
The 98-year-old game is a popular form of wagering in Alaska, drawing entries from across the state and elsewhere. People pay $2.50 a guess to predict the precise minute when the ice will give way. Last year’s classic produced a jackpot of $318,500.