Syria

Drone strike targets Al-Qaida leader

A U.S. military drone strike killed Muhsin al-Fadhli, the head of a shadowy cell of veteran Al-Qaida operatives known as the Khorasan Group that sought to attack Western targets, Pentagon officials said. The 34-year-old Kuwaiti’s vehicle was hit July 8 as it traveled near the Turkish border in the Syrian town of Sarmada. Al-Fadhli reportedly had long-term relationships with top-ranking Al-Qaida leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri, the Egyptian who took over the terrorist network after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

 

Germany

Payments to parents are ruled illegal

Germany’s highest court ruled that it was illegal for the federal government to pay parents who chose to care for their toddlers at home, rather than send them to publicly subsidized day care, striking down a program that was touted by conservatives. The benefit, which was a touchstone issue even before it was made law in 2013, was envisioned as a way to encourage parents to remain home and raise their children, ages 15-36 months, once maternity leave benefits expire. About 455,000 parents, mostly mothers, now receive the payments. Critics, who derisively referred to the program as the “stove bonus,” argued that it rewarded them for staying at home.

Nigeria

President ready to take on Boko Haram

Nigeria’s president said a multinational African force will be in place within 10 days to take the fight to the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram that has killed thousands and was behind the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls. Muhammadu Buhari said that Boko Haram would be defeated in 18 months or less. But he conceded that Nigerian authorities lack intelligence about the girls still missing after the mass-kidnapping from the northern town of Chibok in April 2014 that stirred international outrage. He said his government is open to freeing detained militants in exchange for the girls’ freedom, but only if it finds credible Boko Haram leaders with whom to negotiate.

California

Los Angeles County raises wages

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 over the next few years. The action followed an identical boost adopted by the city of Los Angeles in June. The vote was 3-2 to approve the wage for workers in unincorporated areas.

 

Illinois

Some Blagojevich charges overturned

An appeals court overturned some convictions of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The Democrat is serving a 14-year sentence after jurors convicted him of 18 corruption counts.

News services