Afghanistan

American soldiers killed as violence picks up

Two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan as violence has intensified amid peace talks, and American casualties have risen with it. A statement by the U.S. military command announcing the deaths did not provide details. But Afghan and U.S. officials said the soldiers were from an Army Special Forces unit carrying out an operation in restive Faryab Province in the north and had most likely died during a firefight. The deaths bring U.S. military fatalities in the country this year to 14, up from 13 deaths in 2018 and 11 in 2017.

Yemen

Houthi rebels shoot down U.S. military drone

A U.S. military drone was shot down Tuesday in Yemen, southeast of the capital, Sana, officials said, in the second such episode this summer. Iranian-backed Houthi forces claimed credit for the downing of the drone, an MQ-9 Reaper. In a statement, the U.S. Central Command said it was investigating the incident, which it said occurred in “authorized airspace over Yemen.” The shooting down of the drone comes as Human Rights Watch reported that the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting in Yemen carried out at least five deadly attacks on Yemeni fishing boats in 2018, killing at least 47 Yemeni fishermen, including seven children.

Texas

Man is executed for student’s slaying in 1998

Texas executed a man in the abduction, rape and murder of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years ago. Larry Swearingen, who maintained his innocence, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. The 48-year-old was condemned for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Her body was found nearly a month after she was last seen leaving her community college in Conroe. Swearingen argued that his conviction was based on junk science. Prosecutors said they stood behind the “mountain of evidence” used to convict Swearingen in 2000.

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