Gunmen kill Kurdish activists — Three Kurdish activists, including reportedly one of the founding members of a militant separatist group, were shot dead in what authorities called an “execution" in central Paris. The slayings prompted speculation that the long- running conflict between insurgents from the minority group and Turkey was playing out on French shores. The slayings came as Turkey was holding peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which seeks self-rule for Kurds in the country’s southeast, to try to persuade it to disarm. The conflict between the group, known as the PKK, and the Turkish government has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984. The killings set off a round of accusations, with each side accusing the other of being behind the deaths.
Syria backs away from peace envoy — Syria’s government appeared to distance itself from further engagement with the special peace envoy of the United Nations and Arab League on Thursday, declaring him “flagrantly biased" even as his efforts aimed at a political transition to end the nearly two-year Syrian conflict were accelerating. A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Damascus denouncing envoy Lakhdar Brahimi appeared to be a response to remarks he had made to Western news agencies the day before in which he suggested that President Bashar Assad must relinquish power and could not be part of any replacement government in Syria.
Alleged shooter could be arraigned today — James Holmes’s preliminary hearing in the July shooting rampage in a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead ended with the judge saying he will rule today on whether to send the case to trial. Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester, in state court in Centennial, said there may be an arraignment today. Holmes is charged with first-degree murder, which can carry the death penalty, and more than 100 counts of attempted murder. He hasn’t entered a plea.
Boy abducted in 1994 found in Minnesota — A boy abducted 19 years ago in northeastern Indiana by his paternal grandparents has been found living in Minnesota under a different name, police said Thursday. Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was 5 years old when he and his grandparents, who were upset over custody arrangements, disappeared from Wolcottville, a town about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne. Indiana State Police said the now 24-year-old Landers was found in Long Prairie, Minn. His grandparents were living under aliases in a nearby town and confirmed his identity, investigators said. Police declined to say whether the couple would face charges, citing the ongoing investigation.
Minister pulls out of inauguration ceremony — An evangelical minister asked to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony pulled out of the event Thursday after a controversy about comments he made against homosexuality in the 1990s. On Tuesday, the presidential inaugural committee announced that it had invited the Rev. Louie Giglio, head pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, to participate in the Jan. 21 ceremony. Soon afterward, the liberal website ThinkProgress posted excerpts and an audio file of a sermon Giglio gave in the “mid-1990s," in which he criticizes homosexuality as profoundly antithetical to Christianity.
New Chavez term starts without Chavez — Thousands of cheerful supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rallied outside his presidential palace Thursday in Caracas in an alternative inauguration for a leader too ill to return home for the real thing. The government organized the unusual show of support for the cancer-stricken leader on the streets outside Miraflores Palace on what was supposed to be his inauguration day. A swearing-in ceremony has been indefinitely postponed, despite opposition complaints.