National News

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (left) tours Tikrit after it was retaken by the security forces Wednesday, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.

Iraq Claims Victory Over Militants In Strategic City Of Tikrit

The Iraqi government says its security forces have retaken the city of Tikrit from militants with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Recapturing the strategic city after a month-long battle is considered a major setback for the jihadist group, also known as ISIS.

State police officers patrol a highway between Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros, in northeast Mexico, in 2011. Mexico's drug and turf wars have descended on the once tourist-friendly border town of Matamoros.

Matamoros Becomes Ground Zero As Drug War Shifts On Mexican Border

Matamoros, which sits across the bridge from Brownsville, Texas, used to be a laid-back border town famed for margaritas and manufacturing.

But for at least the last five years, it's grown more and more violent: first, when the Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel, and more recently as a new feud has broken out between two factions within the Gulf.

Madison, Wis., Council Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Atheism

In what is believed to be a first in the United States, the common council of Madison, Wis., has voted to amend the city's equal opportunities ordinance "to add nonreligion as a protected class."

11 Former Atlanta Public School Employees Found Guilty In Cheating Scandal

Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

Dollar bills are reflected in a computer hard drive.

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

The U.S. wants to slap sanctions on cybercriminals. President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday creating the nation's first sanctions program to combat "malicious" cyberattacks and cyberspying.

President Obama said cyberthreats pose one of "the most serious economic and national security challenge" to the U.S., and that the executive order offers a "targeted tool" for countering that threat.

Malaysian pro driver Leona Chin took several driving instructors for a spin for their first day on the job.

'Girl Drifter' Race Driver Freaks Out Instructors In Prank

"It's my brother's car." That's what Leona Chin told four instructors about her high-powered sports car. She then stalled the stick-shift car in first gear and randomly turned the wipers on — before unleashing the skills she has honed as a professional driver. Havoc, and some panic, ensued.

Pew: 'Smartphone-Dependents' Often Have No Backup Plan For Web Access

Looking back on the clunky desktops of home offices, smartphones have expanded the definition of what it means to "go online." With all of the apps and mobile capabilities available to us now, it's no surprise that smartphone ownership has grown.

Thailand Lifts Martial Law, But Critics Say Its Replacement Is Worse

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has approved a request from the country's junta to lift martial law.

The announcement, which was made on television today, goes into effect immediately. But, as reporter Michael Sullivan is telling our Newscast unit, while the lifting of martial law is good news, critics say what it's being replaced with is worse.

Dry, cracked earth is visible on a cantaloupe farm near Firebaugh, Calif., last August. Record-low snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mean most Central California farmers will face another year without water from the federal Central Valley Project.

Scary Times For California Farmers As Snowpack Hits Record Lows

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

Patton Oswalt Tweets In Defense Of Comedy — And Trevor Noah

We've been following the story of the criticism directed at South African comedian Trevor Noah, who was named this week to succeed Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

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