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Egyptian warships move into key strait off Yemen as Saudi-led airstrikes widen

SANAA, Yemen — As airstrikes in Yemen intensified on their second day Friday, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were considering an intervention on the ground, aimed at giving the president a secure foothold to return to the country, while backing Sunni tribesmen to fight against Shiite rebels and their allies, military officials said.

A likely entry point for troops from the Saudi-led Arab coalition was the southern port of Aden, the Yemeni and Egyptian military officials told The Associated Press. But that could be a tough prospect: The city is already a battleground, and on Friday forces loyal to the rebels’ top ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, were advancing toward it. READ

At least 9 killed, more dead feared as militants attack popular hotel in the Somali capital

Al-Shabab militants blasted their way into a Mogadishu hotel on Friday and took up positions inside, killing at least nine people and exchanging fire with security forces seeking to recapture the facility, a Somali police official said. READ

Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appeared happy and healthy to acquaintances, but a picture emerged Friday of a man who hid evidence of an illness from his employers — including a torn-up doctor’s note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountainside. READ

Germanwings co-pilot 'intentionally’ set plane on path to destruction

The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. READ

Governor signs law making Utah only state to use firing squads if lethal drugs are unavailable

Utah became the only state to allow firing squads for executions when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law approving the method for use when no lethal injection drugs are available, even though he has called it “a little bit gruesome.” READ

Thousands of protesters flood Afghan capital to demand justice over mob killing woman

Thousands marched through the Afghan capital Tuesday, demanding justice for a woman who was beaten to death by a mob after being falsely accused of burning a Qur’an. READ

Obama announces U.S. will slow troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. will slow its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, maintaining 9,800 troops in the country through the end of 2015 instead of cutting the number by about half as originally planned. READ

Jet crashes in French Alps with 150 on board; Official says airline assumes it was an accident

A Germanwings jet carrying 150 people from Barcelona to Duesseldorf slammed into a remote section of the French Alps on Tuesday, sounding like an avalanche as it scattered pulverized debris across a rocky mountain and down its steep ravines. All aboard were assumed killed. READ

Afghan protesters demand justice for woman attacked and killed by Kabul mob

Hundreds marched Monday in the Afghan capital, demanding justice for a woman beaten to death last week by a Kabul mob over false allegations she had burned a Qur’an — a vicious killing that shocked many Afghans and renewed calls for authorities to ensure women’s rights to equality and protection from violence. READ

Having struck out in the US, Israel seeks an ally in France in its opposition to Iran deal

Unable to find support from its U.S. allies, Israel is turning to France to help head off what it sees as a bad and dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. READ

Canadian soldier, his wife and their infant son killed in South Carolina crash

A Canadian soldier, his wife and their infant son have been killed in a fiery weekend crash on an interstate highway in South Carolina. READ

Harper meets NATO chief to talk about war against ISIL, crisis in Ukraine

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg met today to discuss the war in Iraq and the crisis in Ukraine. READ

Syria says it is investigating circumstances of US aircraft crashed over Latakia

BEIRUT — A Syrian military official said Wednesday that an investigation is underway into the alleged downing of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft by Syrian air defences along the country’s Mediterranean coast. READ

Sierra Leone plans another three-day, countrywide shutdown to stop Ebola’s spread

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone is planning another three-day, countrywide shutdown later this month to ferret out Ebola cases, remind people how to protect themselves from the disease and control its transmission. READ

American worker who contracted Ebola in Africa now in critical condition at DC-area hospital

WASHINGTON — An American health care worker who contracted Ebola while volunteering in a Sierra Leone treatment unit has been downgraded to critical condition at the National Institutes of Health, doctors said Monday. READ

A documentary prompts a murder charge: The saga of millionaire Robert Durst continues

NEW ORLEANS — Wealthy eccentric Robert Durst agreed Monday to face a murder charge in Los Angeles in the shooting 15 years ago of a mobster’s daughter who vouched for him after his wife disappeared. READ

Canada, U.S. sign new border agreement to speed crossings

WASHINGTON — Travel to the United States by road, rail and sea could undergo a major revamp as the result of a new agreement between Canada and the U.S. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson have signed a customs pre-clearance agreement that was years in the making. READ

New York City, Dublin fill with revelers as St. Patrick’s Day dyes the world green

NEW YORK — Global celebrations of the Emerald Isle’s patron saint culminated in parades and celebrations in Dublin, New York and scores of other cities Tuesday. Here are St. Patrick’s Day events happening worldwide: READ

2 officers shot outside Ferguson PD; chief calls attack ’an ambush’ that could have been fatal

FERGUSON, Mo. — Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday while demonstrators were gathered across the street — an attack the county police chief described as “an ambush” that could easily have killed both men. The shots were fired just as a small crowd of protesters began to break up after holding a demonstration in the wake of the resignation of the Ferguson police chief, who stepped down Wednesday. READ

France identifies man, boy in IS video of Palestinian’s killing as citizens

PARIS — A man and a boy featured in an Islamic State group propaganda video that threatens Jews and shows the killing of a Palestinian have been identified as French citizens, and investigators are looking into whether the man is related to an extremist who attacked a Jewish school in southern France in 2012, an official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. READ

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