Twisters hit central Florida, killing two

Severe weather sparked a pair of tornadoes that ripped through central Florida before dawn Sunday. A couple was killed and their son and four grandchildren were injured when one of the twisters destroyed their mobile home in Duette. The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down there at 3:45 a.m. Minutes later, another twister struck near the beach community of Siesta Key, with damage to homes reported.


Evicted from shelter, man kills worker

A man who had been evicted from a Philadelphia homeless shelter for being intoxicated fatally shot one employee and wounded another after returning for his belongings Sunday morning. The man, who had been evicted Friday night, got into an argument with an employee at Station House shelter in north Philadelphia, pulled a gun and opened fire, police said.

Ex-DA likely to testify at Cosby hearing

An ex-prosecutor is expected to testify that he promised Bill Cosby would never be charged over a 2005 sex-assault complaint, but a judge must decide if that constitutes an immunity deal. Then-prosecutor Bruce Castor will be a key witness for the defense at a Feb. 2 hearing. The defense argues that prosecutors who charged Cosby unfairly used his deposition testimony from the accuser's lawsuit against him.


Bomber hits tribal elder's home; 13 dead

A suicide bomber struck the home of an important tribal elder in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, killing at least 13 people. It was the latest attack in the increasingly volatile province of Nangarhar. The attacker targeted the home of Malik Usman Shinwari, the father of two prominent government officials, said Attaullah Khogeyanai, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor. Shinwari was injured. At least 14 civilians were wounded, three of them critically.


Leader calls for vote on joining E.U.

Serbia will have early elections this year, which will serve as a sounding board for voters to say whether they approve of the country's tilt toward European Union membership, said Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic. He said that he needs a full four-year term for reforms that will put Serbia firmly on the path to E.U. membership. He did not say when the elections will be held, but media speculated that April 24 was the most likely date.

Eastern Europe

Blizzards sweep across several nations

Blizzards battered parts of Eastern Europe, forcing roads to close and trains and flights to be canceled, and producing power outages. The snow blanketed parts of Romania, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland, while Croatia's Adriatic coast was hit by unseasonably low temperatures and high winds. Romania's transportation ministry said 12 major roads were closed because of heavy snow and three Black Sea ports had to shut down; 20 trains were canceled.

United Nations

$40B needed to aid in humanitarian crisis

An estimated $40 billion is needed annually to help the rapidly growing number of people needing humanitarian aid as a result of conflicts and natural disasters — and one possibility to help fill the $15 billion funding gap is a small voluntary tax on tickets for soccer games and other sports, concerts and entertainment events, airline travel, and gasoline, a U.N.-appointed panel said.

news services