Florida sinkhole — In a matter of seconds, the earth opened under Jeff Bush's bedroom and swallowed him up like something out of a horror movie. About the only thing left was the TV cable running down into the hole. Bush, 37, was presumed dead Friday, the victim of a sinkhole — a hazard so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. The sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, caused the home's concrete floor to cave in around 11 p.m. Thursday.
Kerry criticizes Turkish PM — Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Turkey's prime minister had made “objectionable" remarks when he cast Zionism as a crime against humanity in comments earlier this week. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a U.N. meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, “Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity." Kerry indirectly chastised the Turkish leader for the statement in his opening remarks following a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, saying that it was important for all leaders to encourage a spirit of tolerance.
Bangladesh unrest — The death toll from violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Bangladesh reached at least 44 on Friday, one day after a special war crimes tribunal handed down a death sentence to an Islamic leader for crimes against humanity committed 42 years ago, during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. The verdict against Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party, was celebrated by the hundreds of thousands of young protesters who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to condemn Jamaat and demand justice in the war crimes cases against other party leaders.
Japan rape case — A Japanese court sentenced two U.S. Navy sailors to lengthy terms on Friday after they pleaded guilty to the rape of a woman on Okinawa last year, a case that outraged local residents and forced the U.S. military to impose a curfew on all its personnel in Japan. The court in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, sentenced one sailor, Christopher Browning, 24, to 10 years in prison, and the other, Skyler Dozierwalker, 23, a petty officer third class, to nine years for the October 2012 rape.
China broadcasts smugglers' last hours — In an unusual action that quickly sparked debate online, Chinese authorities showed a live broadcast Friday of four foreign drug smugglers in their last hours before execution for killing 13 fishermen. A shocking and apparently unprecedented form of reality TV for China, the program on state-run television featured all the staples of modern current events coverage — experts, pundits, instant analysis. It cut away as the convicted men were being led from their cells, hands tied up with rope, toward their lethal injections.
Malaysia, Philippines clash — An obscure, centuries-old territorial dispute between Malaysia and the Philippines erupted in violence Friday, leaving at least 12 dead and straining relations between the close Southeast Asian neighbors. Malaysian security forces battled Friday with about 180 Filipinos, some of whom were armed, in an effort to remove them from a remote coastal village they had occupied for two weeks in the northeastern Malaysian state of Sabah.
Polar bear protection — A federal appeals court has rejected the state of Alaska's attempt to remove polar bears from the threatened species list. Friday's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has major implications, because polar bears were the first species to be listed solely on the basis of threats to their survival from global warming. The D.C. appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to put polar bears on the federal threatened list.
SpaceX capsule — A commercial craft carrying a ton of supplies for the International Space Station ran into thruster trouble shortly after liftoff Friday. Flight controllers managed to gain control, but were forced to delay its arrival at the orbiting lab. The earliest the Dragon capsule could show up is Sunday, a full day late, said top officials for NASA and the private company SpaceX.
British elections — Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives took a harsh pummeling on Friday after results of a by-election showed surging support for the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party. Such deep inroads into the Conservative vote, if sustained at a general election in two years' time, could oust the Conservatives from power and usher the Labour Party back into No. 10 Downing St. Observers attributed the Independence Party's surge to its relentless campaigning on two issues that have a powerful resonance among right-of-center voters: high levels of immigration and Britain's membership in the 27-nation European Union.
— From wire reports