White House alleges Russia breached missile treaty

An unnamed White House official says the United States has notified Russia of its determination that it broke a 1987 nuclear missile treaty by testing a new ground-launched cruise missile.

The issue has simmered for a few years, but until Monday the United States had not made the accusation public.

The treaty confrontation comes at a strained time between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. The New York Times said Obama wrote Putin about the violation Monday.

Taliban suspected of getting guns sent to Afghan forces.

The Pentagon has shipped Afghan security forces tens of thousands of excessive AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons since 2004 and many have gone missing, raising concerns that they’ve fallen into the hands of Taliban or other insurgents.

John F. Sipko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found in a report just released that shoddy record-keeping by the Pentagon, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police has contributed to the failure to track the small arms.

The Pentagon is still sending Afghanistan weapons based on its peak 2012 levels of army and police personnel, even as those numbers have declined, Sipko found.

Blackwater defense says much evidence suppressed

Lawyers for Blackwater security guards said that the government has suppressed evidence favorable to defendants who are on trial in the killings of 14 Iraqis in Nisoor Square in Baghdad.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen says that “a series of innocent oversights” led to the problem.

Lawyers for the four former Blackwater guards say the suppressed evidence consists of photos of eight spent shell casings that would fit an AK-47 – the weapon of choice used by insurgents as well as Iraqi authorities. The attorneys say insurgents fired on the Blackwater convoy and that the guards returned fire in self-defense.


Most serious charges in teen’s school plot dismissed

A judge has dismissed the most serious charges against a 17-year-old boy accused in April of plotting to kill his family and attack his southern Minnesota school.

KEYC-TV reports Waseca County Judge Gerald Wolf dismissed four counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted damage to property.

Wolf said prosecutors didn’t show sufficient evidence that the boy had moved beyond the preparation stage to substantial preparation needed to support the charges. The judge did allow six counts of possession of explosives to stand.


Suspect in fatal carjacking admits role, seeks ‘to atone’

A 19-year-old man has admitted his role in a carjacking that ended with the hit-and-run deaths of three children in Philadelphia, after deciding to cooperate “to atone for what happened,” his lawyer said.

The suspect, Johnathan Rosa, claims a second man initiated the carjacking Friday and was driving the SUV when it struck a family selling fruit at a church fundraiser, said his attorney, Christopher Warren.

Police said they were questioning two men in the deaths but hadn’t filed charges.

Keiearra Williams, 15, and her brothers, Thomas Reed, 10, and Terrence Moore, 7, were killed. Their mother, Keisha Williams, 34, was also struck and remains in critical condition.


Pope breaks ground with visit to Pentecostal church

Pope Francis has become the first pope to visit a Pentecostal church, pressing his outreach to evangelicals who represent Catholicism’s greatest competition for Christian souls.

Francis flew by helicopter Monday to visit the under-construction Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation in the southern city of Caserta. He met privately with a Pentecostal preacher who is an old friend, Giovanni Traettino.

Speaking to some 350 Pentecostal faithful in the church, Francis apologized for Catholic persecution of Pentecostals during Italy’s fascist regime and stressed that there was unity in diversity within Christianity.

He acknowledged the remarkable nature of his visit, saying: “Someone will be surprised: ‘The pope went to visit the evangelicals?’ But he went to see his brothers.”

— From news service reports