The winning California ticket was purchased at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, 25 miles from Anaheim outside Los Angeles, says California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso, but none of the winners have yet been identified. The odds of winning the record jackpot was calculated at 1 in 292.2 million. If one person had won, he or she could have chosen between a lump sum of $930 million or annual payments over 29 years. The Associated Press
At least three civilians, one police officer, and four terrorists were killed in a series of attacks in central Jakarta on Thursday, starting at 10:40 a.m. local time, Indonesian National Police Gen. Anton Charliyan said.
The attackers used grenades and guns outside a Starbucks and Burger King near a shopping center on Jalan Thamrin, Jakarta’s main thoroughfare, then attacked a nearby police post and the Pakistani and Turkish embassies among other targets.
Tjahjo Kumolo, the minister of domestic affairs, blamed the attack on suicide bombers, but Gen. Anton said there were no suicide bombers involved. Indonesia is the world’s most populous majority-Muslim country, but it has faced attacks from Islamist militants over the past decade. The New York Times
Ted Cruz failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from the nation’s largest banks when he ran for the Senate in 2012, a potential violation of federal election rules.
Cruz did not report to the Federal Election Commission two personal loans from Citibank and Goldman Sachs, where his wife works, during his come-from-behind win in the Texas Republican primary, campaign spokesman Catherine Frazier confirmed Wednesday. The New York Times was the first to report the error on Wednesday.
The senator did eventually list the loans on personal financial disclosures, but the Cruz campaign acknowledged the mistake after the New York Times report was published.
“These loans have been disclosed over and over and over again,” Cruz told reporters quickly after the news broke. “It is an inadvertent filing question. The facts of the underlying matter have been disclosed for many, many years.” CNN
U.S. special operations forces have arrived in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday, and are set to help Baghdad’s forces target Islamic State (IS) strongholds.
Carter said about 200 commandos “have already established contact” with the Iraqis and expect to look for “new targets, new strikes and new opportunities.”
The U.S. defense chief made the announcement at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, speaking to soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division who will soon deploy to Iraq. He laid out plans to retake extensive Islamic State territory in Iraq and Syria, where the militants have claimed the establishment of a religious caliphate.
The U.S. is seeking to help Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces retake Mosul in northern Iraq and also assist Syrian rebel forces to oust IS fighters in northern Syria and in their self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa.
The deployment of the commandos represents a new U.S. commitment to the campaign against IS, in addition to the hundreds of combat fighter jet and drone attacks the U.S. has been conducting for more than a year, even as President Barack Obama has rejected massive deployment of ground troops. VOA News
Al Jazeera America to shut down in April
The ambitious but little-watched Al Jazeera America news channel will shut down on April 30 after a little more than two years on television. The news was announced at a sudden staff-wide meeting on Wednesday afternoon. As many as 700 staff members could lose their jobs, according to sources at the company.
Kate O’Brian, Al Jazeera America’s president, who tearfully told the assembled staff about severance packages. In a memo, Al Jazeera America CEO Al Anstey applauded the work done at the channel.
“I greatly respect the unrivaled commitment and excellent work of our team, which has created great journalism,” Anstey said in the memo. “We have increasingly set ourselves apart from all the rest, and the achievements of the past two-and-a-half years should be a source of immense pride for everyone.”
Al Jazeera said it would not give up on the American market entirely. The memo indicated that the company plans to “expand its existing international digital services” in the United States, with more details to be released in the coming months. But the television network venture is over.
In prime time the channel only averages between 20,000 and 40,000 viewers on a typical day. CNN, Fox News and other cable news channels have well over ten times as many viewers. The channel’s end appears to have been prompted by the plunging price of oil, which dropped below $30 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in 12 years. That’s significant because Al Jazeera America is owned by Al Jazeera Media Group, which in turn is owned by the government of Qatar. CNN
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