Bergdahl may be spared jail time
An Army officer is recommending that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a lower-level court martial and be spared the possibility of jail time for leaving his post in Afghanistan, his lawyer said Saturday. Defense attorney Eugene Fidell said Lt. Col. Mark Visger has decided Bergdahl’s case should go to a military system similar to civilian courts that handle misdemeanor charges. It limits the maximum punishment to reduction of rank, a bad conduct discharge and a short jail term, though that isn’t being sought. Military prosecutors charged Bergdahl in March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a charge that could carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Heat wave shatters records
A Southern California heat wave that’s shattered records also left thousands of people without electricity. The Department of Water and Power says an outage sparked by high demand left about 1,000 west Los Angeles residents without power Friday night. Another 3,000 Southern California Edison customers also briefly lost service. Friday saw triple-digit heat in many areas. Camarillo hit 108 degrees, its hottest day ever. The previous high of 103 was set in September 1978. Records for the date were set in Long Beach, which hit 105; Burbank with 104; Santa Ana with 106, and Escondido with 102.
President launches probe in Kunduz
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appointed a team of investigators to look into the Taliban’s brief capture of the northern city of Kunduz as well as a U.S. airstrike that destroyed a hospital and killed 22 people there. The delegation will conduct a probe into how the insurgents were able to overrun the city and hold it for three days. Part of the team’s mandate will include looking into the Oct. 3 airstrike on a trauma center run by Doctors Without Borders. The Pentagon said it will issue payments to the families of the civilians killed and injured during that strike.
More violence erupts over Old City’s holy site
Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police, while another two Palestinians were killed during a violent demonstration near the Gaza border fence. Jerusalem has seen a wave of stabbing attacks linked to tensions over a sensitive holy site in the Old City that is sacred to Jews and Muslims. In recent days, the attacks have spread to the rest of Israel, while violent protests have erupted in the West Bank and along the Gaza border, where seven Palestinians were killed on Friday.
CIA-backed Syrian rebels under Russian blitz
CIA-backed rebels in Syria, who had begun to put serious pressure on President Bashar Assad’s forces, are now under Russian bombardment with little prospect of rescue by their American patrons, U.S. officials say. Over the past week, Russia has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded groups and other moderate opposition in a concerted effort to weaken them, the officials say. The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly armed and trained.