The Taliban have seized a police base in northern Afghanistan and captured scores of officers after three days of fighting, officials say. More than 100 officers surrendered at the base in Badakhshan province. They were released after reportedly handing over their weapons. read more
President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass "common-sense gun safety laws" in the US is the greatest frustration of his presidency. In an interview with the BBC, Obama said it was "distressing" not to have made progress on the issue "even in the face of repeated mass killings." The president said, "If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands. ... For us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing."
The Pentagon has urged U.S. citizens not to carry out armed patrols outside military recruitment centers. Civilians acting as unofficial guards have appeared outside some centers since five service personnel were shot dead last week in Tennessee. The Pentagon says it appreciates the support but armed civilians could pose an unintended security risk. read more
The White House is in the "final stages" of drafting a plan to close the controversial US military prison Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman has said. It was one of the first directives President Barack Obama ordered two months after he was elected in 2008. Inmates have slowly been transferred out and at the start of the year, 122 men were left. The peak population in 2003 was 684. read more
What may be the world's oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham in England. Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence. The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognized in the university library for almost a century. "They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam," said David Thomas, the university's professor of Christianity and Islam. read more