Gov. hospitalized after thrown from horse
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was hospitalized Monday in Richmond with complications from being tossed by a horse and breaking seven ribs during a holiday trip to Africa with his family. McAuliffe was expected to spend the night at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and recover for two or three days, spokesman Brian Coy said. Doctors had expected the ribs to heal on their own, but medical monitoring identified increased fluid around his lungs.
Salamander bill killed over overreach fears
Lawmakers worried that special recognition of the Idaho giant salamander could lead to federal protections have rejected a grade school student's request that it be named the state amphibian. The House State Affairs Committee voted 10-6 against 14-year-old Ilah Hickman's plan. It was her fifth attempt in as many years to convince lawmakers that students made a good choice for state amphibian. An Idaho attorney general's opinion advised lawmakers that approving the salamander as a state symbol wouldn't do anything in the way of encouraging federal protections. But lawmakers remained wary.
U.N. condemns Boko Haram's attacks
The U.N. Security Council condemned the recent escalation of attacks by Boko Haram, in its first formal reaction to the activities of the Nigerian terrorist group that seized the world's attention last year with the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls. In a presidential statement approved by all 15 members, the council expressed deep concern that Boko Haram's activities are undermining peace and stability in central and west Africa. The statement was sponsored by Nigeria, which had been reluctant to have the council discuss the Islamic militant group despite being a member of the Security Council.
Both sides claim to control Donetsk airport
Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government troops fought pitched battles for control of Donetsk airport, while residential areas nearby were caught in intensive crossfire. The airport, reduced to a wreck by months of heavy fighting, has been the epicenter of hostilities due to its symbolic importance and strategic location on the edge of the main rebel-controlled city. The airport has become a symbol of Ukrainian combat valor and its loss would be a major blow to national pride. The rebels say they have fully seized the airport in recent fighting, but Ukrainian officials reject the claim.
Fierce fighting boosts fears of coup
Intense clashes erupted in the Yemeni capital amid an apparent push by Houthi insurgents to seize more power from the country's embattled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a key U.S. ally against Al-Qaida. Witnesses described plumes of smoke and deserted streets across Sanaa as government security forces battled the insurgents in clashes that were especially heavy near the presidential palace. The Houthi, followers of the Zaydi branch of Shiite Islam, seized the city in a surprise attack in September and have consolidated power in a southward advance that threatens to further destabilize an impoverished country already beset by multiple conflicts.