First on CNN: U.S. to designate Boko Haram a terror group
A poster displayed along the road shows photograph of Imam Abubakar Shekau, leader of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, declared wanted by the Nigerian military with $320,471 reward for information that could lead to his capture in northeastern Nigeria town of Maiduguri May 1, 2013.
November 12th, 2013
06:42 PM ET

First on CNN: U.S. to designate Boko Haram a terror group

By Elise Labott

The State Department will designate Boko Haram, a Nigeria-based extremist group with ties to al Qaeda, and Ansaru, an offshoot, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, U.S. officials told CNN.

The move enables the United States to freeze assets, impose travel bans on known members and affiliates, and prohibit Americans from offering material support.

The United States says Boko Haram has killed thousands since 2009. Human rights groups put the figure at more than 3,000.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa-Fulani language, has launched a self-described "war on Christians" and seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia law across northeastern Nigeria, if not the entire country.
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Caroline Kennedy sworn in as ambassador to Japan
November 12th, 2013
06:34 PM ET

Caroline Kennedy sworn in as ambassador to Japan

By Jill Dougherty

In a private ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the State Department, Caroline Kennedy was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The event was closed to media, but the State Department released a photo showing a smiling Kennedy dressed in a simple black dress, her right hand raised, her left resting on what looked like a Bible held by her husband, Edwin Schlossberg. Nearby, their son John "Jack" Schlossberg looked on, wearing a dark suit, hands in pockets, his shock of dark hair an uncanny reminder of his deceased uncle, John Kennedy Jr., Caroline's brother.

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November 12th, 2013
05:51 PM ET

North Carolina man allegedly tried to help Syrian jihadist group

By Bill Mears

A North Carolina man has become the latest American charged in federal court with attempting to assist an al Qaeda militant group involved in Syria's civil war.

Basit Javed Sheikh is accused of "providing material support" to a designated terrorist group.

A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday says the 29-year-old resident of Cary was arrested at Raleigh International Airport earlier this month, allegedly planning to go to Lebanon.

Prosecutors claim Sheikh was prepared to join the group Jabhat al-Nusrah, or al-Nusrah Front, designated last year by the State Department as a foreign terror organization.
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General asks for U.S. warships in typhoon relief
A man carrying provisions walks through an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan on November 12, 2013 in Leyte, Philippines.
November 12th, 2013
09:08 AM ET

General asks for U.S. warships in typhoon relief

By Barbara Starr

The Marine Corps general in charge of U.S. military aid efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan is asking the Pentagon to urgently send a number of amphibious warships to the Philippines.

Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy tells CNN he needs the Marine Corps amphibious ships specifically because they can carry a variety of small boats, trucks, equipment and supplies needed, as well as making potable water. "They are the Swiss army knife of the U.S. military," Kennedy told CNN in a telephone interview from the Philippines. Kennedy says he believes his request will be approved by the Pentagon in the coming hours. As many as four of the warships could be headed to the Philippines.

The amphibious ships can also carry helicopters and tracked vehicles known as "assault amphibious vehicles." These vehicles can carry supplies and move over and through piles of debris to distribution points where aid is needed most.

The U.S. military will take supplies to distribution points, but it will be then handed out by Philippines forces, Kennedy said. Local forces are in the best position to know community leaders and make sure those in the most need are getting the help, he added.

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