Lawyer: Soldier to plead guilty in killing of 16 Afghan villagers
May 29th, 2013
07:26 PM ET

Lawyer: Soldier to plead guilty in killing of 16 Afghan villagers

By Michelle Richmond and Barbara Starr

In order to avoid the death penalty, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales intends to plead guilty in the killing of 16 Afghan villagers, his lawyer said Wednesday.

A plea deal - which Bales' lawyer John Henry Browne told CNN about by text message, as he was meeting with his client - must be approved by a judge and a commanding general.

In addition to those killed, six Afghans were wounded in the March 2012 attack near a small U.S. base in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

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U.S. Syria envoy likely to leave post
U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford
May 29th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

U.S. Syria envoy likely to leave post

By Elise Labott, reporting from Jerusalem

Robert Ford, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, is expected to leave his post in July, a senior State Department official said.

The move was expected and does not signify a policy shift on Syria, as his term was due to end, the official said.

His departure from the post is considered part of the regular shuffle of ambassadors, which takes place during the summer, the official said.

Ford was pulled from Damascus in October 2011 due to "credible threats against his personal safety," the State Department said at the time.
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May 29th, 2013
06:31 PM ET

Israel braces for the worst

As Israel finds itself drawn into the Syrian conflict, CNN's Elise Labott examines efforts to prepare for a possible confrontation.  Labott, CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter, is based in Washington but currently reporting from Jerusalem.

Is Ft. Hood suspect physically fit enough to be his own lawyer?
May 29th, 2013
01:49 PM ET

Is Ft. Hood suspect physically fit enough to be his own lawyer?

By Larry Shaughnessy

The judge hearing the court-martial of Ft. Hood massacre suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan has ordered a medical evaluation to determine if the Army psychiatrist is physically fit to act as his own attorney.

Col. Tara Osborn noted at a hearing on Wednesday that a prior examination determined Hasan was mentally capable of conducting his own defense in his murder case stemming from the November 2009 shooting spree at the Texas military base.

But she ordered a doctor to administer an exam to see if he can hold up physically if he were to represent himself, according to a statement.

Hasan was shot and paralyzed from the chest down on the day of the massacre in which he is accused of killing 13 people.

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Filed under: Fort Hood • Nidal Hasan
Human error blamed in deaths of 7 Marines during training
May 29th, 2013
01:40 PM ET

Human error blamed in deaths of 7 Marines during training

By Barbara Starr

Human error is to blame for a mortar round explosion that killed seven U.S. Marines and injured eight other service members during a training exercise in Nevada this year, the Marines said on Wednesday.

An investigation of the March 18 incident at Hawthorne Army Depot revealed that "the Marines employing one of the mortars did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high explosive round at the mortar position," the Marines said in a statement.

"The investigation also determined that the mortar section had not conducted appropriate preparatory training leading up to" the nighttime training session, the Marines said.

Read the full story here.