• Woman Gets 7th Chance to Take NY City Fire Department’s Physical Test

    A female firefighter who has repeatedly failed the fitness test is being given an unprecedented seventh try. Wendy Tapia, 34, was allowed to conditionally graduate from the FDNY’s Randall’s Island training academy in May 2013 – despite failing the required running test. Typically firefighters who fail the exam at the end of academy training don’t graduate and are forced to re-take the entire course in the next academy class. – Daily Mail

  • China Passes Controversial New Counter-Terrorism Law

    China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law on Sunday that requires technology firms to help decrypt information, but not install security “backdoors” as initially planned, and allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations. Chinese officials say their country faces a growing threat from militants and separatists, especially in its unruly Western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in violence in the past few years. The law has attracted deep concern in Western capitals, not only because of worries it could violate human rights such as freedom of speech, but because of the cyber provisions. U.S. President Barack Obama has said that he had raised concerns about the law directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping. – Reuters

  • Somali Commander Killed in Ambush

    Gunmen shot dead Somali military Commander Col. Anshur Araye in an early raid on Saturday, a government official confirmed. The Somali Army Commander was killed in Dharkenlay district in the capital Mogadishu by gunmen believed to be Al-Shabaab militants, said Ahmed Meyro Mo’aw, the District Commissioner of Dharkenlay in Benadir Region. “Col. Araye, a government military commander, was killed early today. Al-Shabaab militants often carry out such attacks. Our forces are pursuing the case. We will bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mo’aw told Xinhua. – Harar24

  • Moscow’s Terrorist Is Washington’s Freedom Fighter

    An international campaign to exclude militant groups in Syria from participating in U.N.-sponsored peace talks descended into something of a diplomatic brawl last week, with Iran’s top diplomat threatening to push for the CIA to be designated a terrorist organization after a rival country’s government recommended that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be given the same label, according to several U.N.-based diplomats. The dispute — which erupted Friday during closed-door, high-level talks over Syria at the Lotte New York Palace hotel — is unlikely to result in either organization actually being classified as terrorists. But it underscored the challenges that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration and other key powers are facing in their attempt to choose among the whopping 167 groups that stand accused of terrorism by at least one member of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which is managing international efforts to end Syria’s nearly five-year-long civil war.  – Foreign Policy

[Featured image: Paul Martinka | Splash News]