A satellite cellphone rings for rebel commander Bashar al-Zawi, at home with his family in the Jordanian city of Irbid. It's a rare domestic break for this wealthy businessman turned rebel commander. But he is anxious to get back to his battalion of 5,000 fighters in southern Syria.
They are taking part in a rebel offensive that is squeezing the Syrian army around the city of Dera'a. Military analysts say the fight is one of the most strategically important battles in Syria's civil war, because Dera'a, close to Damascus, is President Bashar Assad's stronghold in the southwest.
A crude oil storage tank lies on its side in floodwaters along the South Platte River, in Weld County, Colo., on Sept. 17. Hundreds of natural gas and oil wells along with pipelines are shut down by flooding, as state and federal inspectors gauge the damage and look for potential contamination from inundated oil fields.
The heavy floodwaters in Colorado this month caused more than 37,000 gallons of oil to spill into or near rivers, and the state's oil and gas industry is rushing to fix equipment damaged during the storm. It comes at a time when there's growing public concern about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.
Something is wrong in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.
Over the past year, record numbers of dolphins, manatees and pelicans have turned up dead in the 150-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Bouts of algal blooms have flourished in the waters. All the signs point to an ecosystem that is seriously out of balance. The crisis has mobilized scientists, residents and elected officials in Florida.
Homeless people rest on a public sidewalk early this year in downtown skid row area of Los Angeles. The United Way of Greater Los Angeles is attempting to end "chronic homelessness" by 2016 with a model that identifies the neediest cases and provides them with permanent homes.
An initiative in Los Angeles County is trying to help the homeless by first connecting them with a place to live. The "housing first" model has been used in cities across the country in recent years to combat long-term homelessness.
In L.A. County, the Home For Good project focuses on those who are most at risk, aiming to end chronic homelessness in the area by 2016. Homeless-services providers are gathering information about the population and ranking individuals' vulnerability. Then, the goal is to move the most in need into permanent housing, quickly.
Just a few months ago, most Greeks had never heard of a teenager named Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At 6-foot-9, the baby-faced athlete was the towering star of a minor-league basketball team in an Athens suburb. Born in Greece to a Nigerian soccer player and a high-jumper, he was raised and educated in Athens. He only received his citizenship this May.
And then, on June 27 in New York, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that the Milwaukee Bucks had used the 15th pick in the first round of the NBA draft to select Antetokounmpo, who recently turned 19.
Alan Jackson has achieved huge success in country music, but he's not above trashing his own industry. The platinum-selling star once voiced his frustration with the narrow range of country music that receives radio play by writing a spot-on parody — "Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up-Tempo Love Song" — that hit all the mainstream marks on the nose.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 2:48 pm
Neither got much national attention, but two elections worth watching took place Tuesday: a House special election primary in southwest Alabama and a mayoral primary in Boston.
In Alabama's 1st District GOP primary — the only one that really matters in the conservative, Mobile-based seat — former state Sen. Bradley Byrne and real estate developer Dean Young emerged from a nine-candidate field. They'll go head to head in a Nov. 5 runoff primary that pits the GOP establishment against Tea Party forces.
Showtime's critically acclaimed series Homeland starts its third season next week; the spies and terrorists who weave its tangled storyline will be back roaming the halls of CIA headquarters and the streets of D.C.
Or so you'll think. But Homeland is actually filmed in Charlotte, N.C. And it's all because of money.
About 40 states offer some sort of incentive to lure Hollywood productions to their precincts. But some have begun to wonder if they're getting their money's worth.