In the backwaters of Eastern Europe, authorities working with the FBI have interrupted four attempts in the past five years by gangs with suspected Russian connections that sought to sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists, The Associated Press has learned.
The latest known case came in February this year, when a smuggler offered a huge cache of deadly cesium — enough to contaminate several city blocks — and specifically sought a buyer from ISIS.
Criminal organizations, some with ties to the Russian KGB's successor agency, are driving a thriving black market in nuclear materials in the tiny and impoverished Eastern European country of Moldova, investigators say. The successful busts, however, were undercut by striking shortcomings: Kingpins got away, and those arrested evaded long prison sentences, sometimes quickly returning to nuclear smuggling, AP found.
Get More at NBC News
Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent fact-finding mission under rules of the Geneva Conventions into a U.S. air strike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that killed at least 22 people.
The medical aid group, known by its French language acronym MSF, said its call would mark the first time such a fact-finding mission would be commissioned under the Conventions.
The group's international president, Joanne Liu, told reporters Wednesday that the weekend strike "was not just an attack on our hospital, it was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated."
Liu said MSF is "working on the assumption of a possible war crime," but said the group's real goal is to establish facts about the incident and the chain of command, and clear up the rules of operation for all humanitarian organizations that operate in conflict zones.
Police are investigating the murder of a transgender woman overnight in Philadelphia.
Police say 22-year-old Kiesha Jenkins, of North Philadelphia, was dropped off on the 1300 block of Wingohocking Street around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. As she got out of the vehicle she was approached by at least five men who began to attack and beat her, according to investigators. After Jenkins fell to the ground, one of the men pulled out a gun and fired two shots, police said.
The super PAC urging Vice President Joe Biden to run for president is launching its first television ad. Draft Biden says it's spending upward of $100,000 to air the 90-second ad on national cable networks. The ad uses audio from a speech Biden gave in May at Yale University in which he recalls the car crash that killed his wife and daughter just after he was first elected senator in 1972. Biden hasn't announced whether he'll enter the 2016 race. The super PAC is legally barred from coordinating with a campaign.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday Russia is using warships in the Caspian Sea to target the Islamic State group in Syria.
Russia last week began carrying out airstrikes in Syria in what it said was a pre-emptive operation against terrorism in the Middle East.
Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks that Russia on Wednesday morning carried out 26 missile strikes from four warships of its Caspian Sea flotilla. Shoigu insisted the operation destroyed all the targets and did launch any strikes upon civilian areas.
Meanwhile, a Syrian official said a ground offensive has been launched in central regions of the country amid intense shelling and Russian airstrikes.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company have doubled their ownership of Twitter's publicly traded shares in the past six weeks. A joint statement released Wednesday by the prince and the Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Company says their combined shares represent more than 5 percent of Twitter's common stock, with a market value of $1 billion.
See photos of extreme weather from the U.S. and around the world.
See Full Gallery »
A 17-year-old has died after being placed in a chokehold while wrestling with another teen at a sleepover, according to police in Central Texas. San Marcos police said Elijah Hernandez died early Sunday morning after he and another 17-year-old started wrestling. Hernandez passed out after another teen put him in a chokehold, according to police.
Capt. William Hoey
Federal investigators looking into the ill-fated voyage of a 790-foot freighter believed to have sunk in the Atlantic during Hurricane Joaquin will focus on the communications between the captain and the vessel's owner.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to Jacksonville on Tuesday to begin the agency's inquiry, which will help determine why the captain, crew and owners of El Faro decided to risk sailing in stormy waters.
Along South Carolina's coast, residents were preparing for a second round of flooding as rivers swollen from days of devastating rains make their way toward the Atlantic.
In Georgetown, one of America's oldest cities, Scott Youngblood was putting more sandbags Tuesday by the door of the Augustus & Carolina furniture store on Front Street, the popular tourist attraction that runs along the Sampit River.
Getty Images/Tetra images RF
There should be enough pumpkins for Halloween this year, but that might not be the case for the canned pumpkin used in pies come Thanksgiving, according to crop experts in Illinois, the country's top pumpkin-producing state.
"I would not wait until Nov. 20," University of Illinois professor Mohammad Babadoost said, referencing the Nov. 26 holiday. "I'd buy it whenever it comes to the store."
Large canned-pumpkin manufacturer Libby says yields could be off by as much as a third this year in Illinois, where about 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the U.S. come from within a 90-mile radius of Peoria.
The mother of the Oregon college shooter wrote that she was a gun enthusiast in online postings years ago, NBC News reported.
"I keep all my mags full. I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags," Laurel Harper wrote in a posting on Yahoo! Answers, referring to magazines of ammunition, a Glock handgun and military-style rifles.
She also wrote that her son, Christopher Harper-Mercer had a form of autism. Harper-Mercer, 26, shot and killed himself after going on a shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday, authorities have said.
Laurel Harper did not return calls to NBC News.
Both stories illustrate the struggles parents face caring for a deeply troubled child, struggles that can inadvertently lead to a volatile outcome made easier by ready access to weaponry.
Get More at NBC News
The discovery of a handwritten note found in a woman’s washroom led to the shutdown of Southern Oregon University’s main campus on Wednesday, NBC News reported.
The school canceled classes on Wednesday.
University officials would not say what was written in the message, but police called it a “potential threat.”
"The investigation is ongoing right now so we've been asked not to release specifics about it at this point," Ryan Brown, head of community and media relations for SOU, told NBC News early Wednesday.
SOU said there would be a "highly increased presence" of police and security officials.
Get More at NBC News
The woman who was videotaped by a passing motorist being punched by a California Highway Patrol officer as she wandered along the side of the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles was detained on Tuesday in the same area where the 2014 incident took place, according to a CHP report.
Marlene Pinnock, who settled a lawsuit for $1.5 million in connection with the case, was taken into custody by CHP officers on Tuesday.
Volkswagen plans to launch in January a recall of vehicles with software at the center of the emissions-rigging scandal and aims to fix them all by the end of next year, the company's new chief executive says.
Volkswagen has said up to 11 million vehicles worldwide across several of its brands contain the diesel engine with the software used to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. CEO Matthias Mueller told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "It will hopefully be fewer, but in any case still far too many."