Sunday, May 29
Tropical depression dumps heavy rain on South Carolina
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Heavy rains from Tropical Depression Bonnie have closed part of one of the busiest highways along the East Coast.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has closed the southbound lanes on Interstate 95 in Jasper County, about 20 miles north of the Georgia state line. Troopers say water is covering the road and they don't know when the highway will reopen.
The National Weather Service says up to 8 inches of rain fell in the area overnight.
Bonnie was downgraded to a tropical depression Sunday morning and made landfall on the Isle of Palms just north of Charleston, South Carolina.
In North Carolina, rescue crews in Carolina Beach, south of Wilmington, are looking for a 21-year-old man who disappeared in the waves around 7:30 p.m. Saturday while swimming with two friends who made it back to shore safely.
Inmates being evacuated, searches continue for 3 missing
HOUSTON (AP) — Slowly rising rivers in southeastern Texas have led to numerous evacuations, including two prisons.
Floods that followed days of torrential rain have killed at least four people in Texas, and two are missing after their vehicle was swept off a flooded roadway.
In Kansas, the search has resumed for an 11-year-old boy who fell into a swollen creek on Friday.
Texas prison officials are evacuating about 2,600 inmates from two prisons near the rain-swollen Brazos River.
The Department of Criminal Justice says the inmates started to be moved Sunday morning from the Terrell and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon, about 30 miles south of Houston. They're being transferred by buses to other prisons that have available space. At a third prison in the area, Ramsey Unit inmates in a low-level security camp are being moved to the main prison building.
Child in critical condition after Paris lightning strike
PARIS (AP) — A child remains in critical condition after a lightning bolt disrupted a birthday party in a Paris park, injuring several.
Eight children and three adults were struck by lightning Saturday in Park Monceau as they hid under a tree from a sudden spring storm. The children were around 9 years old.
An official at Paris City Hall said the child's condition was unchanged Sunday. The official would not say how many of the other 10 remained hospitalized.
An off-duty firefighter has been credited with keeping the child alive and getting quick medical help to the others. Commandant Pascal Gremillet told French television the child was in cardiac arrest when he arrived.
Lightning also struck a children's soccer match Saturday in Germany, sending the referee into cardiac arrest. He was revived.
ZOO GORILLA-CHILD HURT
Ohio zoo closes gorilla exhibit for now after boy falls in
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Zoo has temporarily closed its gorilla exhibit after a special zoo response team shot and killed a 17-year-old gorilla that grabbed and dragged a 4-year-old boy who fell into a moat.
Zoo officials say the boy fell after he climbed through a public barrier at the Gorilla World exhibit Saturday afternoon. He was picked up out of the moat and dragged by the gorilla for about 10 minutes.
Authorities say the child, who has not been identified, fell 10 to 12 feet. He was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where he's expected to recover.
Zoo Director Thane Maynard says the zoo's dangerous animal response team decided the boy was in "a life-threatening situation" and that they needed to put down the 400-pound-plus male gorilla named Harambe.
NEW: Woman fleeing robbery in Chicago hit by truck, dies
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman who was fleeing from an armed robbery with her boyfriend has died after being hit by a truck on Lake Shore Drive.
Chicago Police Officer Laura Amezaga says a 32-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man were approached by a group of males in the Gold Coast neighborhood early Sunday morning. The group announced a robbery and one of the males had a handgun.
The woman and her boyfriend tried to run away. Both were hit by a pickup truck in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive.
Amezaga says the woman was pronounced dead at a hospital, and the man is in stable condition.
No one is in custody and authorities are investigating.
The incident happened a few blocks east of the city's Magnificent Mile shopping area.
CHURCH CLOSING DISPUTE
Parishioners to leave closed church after 11-year protest
SCITUATE, Mass. (AP) — Parishioners of a church closed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston plan to hold a final service before leaving the church they've occupied in an around-the-clock vigil since 2004.
The service set for Sunday at St. Frances X. Cabrini in Scituate — a suburb of Boston — is being called a "celebration of faith and transition."
The parishioners agreed to leave after the Supreme Court refused to hear their final appeal earlier this month. They say they will form an independent Catholic church outside of archdiocese control.
For more than 11 years, a die-hard group of parishioners kept a constant vigil in the church building in hopes of reversing an archdiocese decision to close it as part of a broad restructuring plan that closed dozens of other parishes.
Driver's family press charges over US drone hit on Pakistan
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani officer says police have registered a case against unknown U.S. officials, seeking to press murder charges over a May 21 drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour and a driver.
Abdul Wakil Mengal said Sunday police registered the case on behalf of the family of the driver, Mohammad Azam.
Azam's family says he is innocent, and was a sole breadwinner and father of four. They say they want justice.
The identity of the U.S. officials involved in the drone strike is unknown, and it is unclear if the charges will relate to those who ordered the attack or the U.S. servicemen who carried it out.
Azam's family may be seeking a trial in absentia and a symbolic victory or they may attempt to push for compensation.
Syrian rebels counter IS offensive, retake 2 villages
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian rebels have retaken two villages from Islamic State militants as they fight to undo gains made by the extremist group in a surprise offensive in Syria's north Friday that displaced over 100,000 people.
The Local Coordination Committees, an activist network inside Syria, says rebels retook the villages of Kafr Shoush and Braghida on Sunday, expanding their buffer around the rebel-held town of Azaz, home to tens of thousands of war refugees.
The IS advance threatened to swallow up the northern town, sparking alarm from leading international relief organizations.
The rebel pocket around Azaz, which connects to the Turkish border, used to form a supply corridor to opposition-held quarters in Aleppo, Syria's largest city.
Aleppo-based media activist Ahmad Primo confirmed the rebel gains.
Iraqi forces complete buildup around IS-held Fallujah
TARIQ CAMP, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's special forces have completed a troop buildup around Fallujah ahead of an operation to retake the Islamic State-held city west of Baghdad.
Maj. Dhia Thamir, of the Special Forces Service, says the last battalion arrived at dawn Sunday at the sprawling Tariq Camp outside Fallujah. Thamir declined to comment on troop numbers or the timing of the expected assault.
He says troops have recaptured 80 percent of the territory around the city since the operation began a week ago.
Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, is one of the last major IS strongholds in Iraq. The extremist group still controls territory in the country's north and west, including Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.
UN: 700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwrecks
POZZALLO, Italy (AP) — The UN refugee agency says over 700 migrants may have drowned in Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks south of Italy in the last few days as they tried to reach Europe.
Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for UNHCR, told The Associated Press by phone Sunday an estimated 100 people are missing from a smugglers' boat that capsized Wednesday.
She said about 550 others are missing from a smuggling boat that capsized Thursday morning. She says refugees say that boat, carrying about 670 people, didn't have an engine and was being towed by another smuggling boat before it capsized. About 25 people from it survived, 79 others were rescued by patrol boats and 15 dead bodies were recovered.
Sami says 45 more bodies were recovered from a shipwreck Friday and many more are reported missing.
UK Coastguard rescues 19 people in dinghy in English Channel
LONDON (AP) — The British Coastguard says it has rescued 19 people from the English Channel after their inflatable boat started to take on water.
The Home Office said Sunday they were taken to the port of Dover and are being quizzed by British border officials. It is not yet clear if the people were migrants trying to enter Britain from France or other parts of Europe.
They were rescued late Saturday night after an operation that included a search-and-rescue helicopter and lifeboats dispatched from several English ports.
The Coastguard received a rescue call shortly before midnight Saturday when the boat was off the coast of Dymchurch, 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of London. They were traveling in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and it took rescuers several hours to locate the small craft.
EUROPE-WORLD WAR I
Hollande, Merkel visit Verdun, WWI battle site
VERDUN, France (AP) — French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have traveled to Verdun, to honor the martyred city in eastern France that was almost entirely in ruins at the end of World War I.
In a speech at city hall, Merkel says "Verdun is the more than the name of your town — Verdun is also one of the most terrible battles humanity has experienced."
She describes Hollande's invitation to join in the centenary of the 1916 Battle of Verdun as "a great honor." She says "we are all called upon to keep awake the memory (of Verdun) in the future, because only those who know the past can draw lessons from it."
Hollande praises the city of Verdun as "the capital of peace."
The French leader says "Verdun is a city that represents — at the same time — the worst, where Europe got lost, and the best, a city being able to commit and unite for peace and French-German friendship."
US bomb from World War II defused at German airport
BERLIN (AP) — An American bomb dropped during World War II has been defused at the airport in the northern German city of Hannover in an operation that forced dozens of flights to be diverted.
Local authorities decided last week to search for possible bombs on Sunday after experts carrying out soundings of the soil ahead of apron resurfacing work detected magnetic interference at two sites. A 1,000-meter (1,100-yard) radius was sealed off and 54 flights diverted to other airports.
The town council in Langenhagen, where the airport is located, said experts unearthed and defused a 250-kilogram (551-pound) U.S. bomb. A second suspect object turned out to be a metal pipe.
More than 70 years after the end of the war, unexploded bombs are still regularly discovered during construction work in German cities.
NEW: Storm safe rooms as a wedding gift? Sure, in Tornado Alley
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Forget toasters, blenders and slow cookers. Some engaged couples in Tornado Alley have a more practical gift request: Donations toward safe rooms.
Sales of safe rooms are on the rise since a series of devastating twisters hit the Midwest and South in recent years.
The pre-fabricated rooms feature thick steel walls and doors that can withstand winds up to 250 mph. Most are small and built in a garage or closet and cost $3,000 to $7,000.
Kayla and Ricky Smith of Joplin, Missouri, were able to pay for a $5,200 safe room with wedding gift donations in 2013. The couple already had plenty of household goods that typically make up wedding gifts, and Kayla Smith says their main concern was staying safe in the next big storm.