Blanchard, Feb 12 (AP/UNB) — Sheriff's officials say five members of an East Texas family, including a 15-month-old child, have been found dead at the family's home.
Polk County sheriff's officials say two men were found dead inside the house while two women and the infant girl were discovered outside the residence.
Chief Deputy Byron Lyons identified the deceased as Ashley Delaney and husband Randy Horn, as well as Delaney's in-laws, Carlos and Lynda Delaney. The child's identity hasn't been released, but Lyons says a woman was found safe locked in a bedroom closet. She told investigators that she awoke about 5:30 a.m. Monday to a disturbance described as popping noises. She called her son, who alerted authorities about 10:30 a.m.
Lyons says a firearm was recovered from the house about 75 miles northeast of Houston and that no suspects were being sought. However, he declined to characterize the incident as a multiple homicide and suicide.
Bridgeton, Feb 12 (AP/UNB) — A New Jersey woman accused of killing her toddler son told police she struck the boy because he wouldn't eat or listen, according to a criminal complaint.
Nakira Griner is charged with murder and other counts in the death of 23-month-old Daniel Griner Jr. It was not known Monday if she has retained an attorney.
Cumberland County prosecutors have said the Bridgeton woman initially reported that her son had been abducted Friday night. A response team began a search aided by city and state police, prosecutors, and bloodhounds from New Jersey State Park Police.
The child's burned and dismembered remains were found around 3 a.m. Saturday, buried under a shed in the yard of Griner's home.
Griner told police she hit the boy because he wouldn't "eat nor listen to her," according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint said Griner admitted striking the child so hard that she left bruises on his face and also said he fell down a flight of stairs. After striking the child, she didn't call for help, but placed him in a stroller and left him alone.
Griner told police responding to the abduction report that a stranger had attacked her while she was walking with her toddler in a stroller and her infant son strapped to her chest, according to the complaint. She said her assailant kicked her and she fell to the ground as the attacker continued to kick her in the head and right side.
When she looked up, the stroller and Daniel was gone, she told police. Officers soon found the stroller, containing only a pair of red sneakers, a few blocks away. Griner's story began to change during subsequent interviews with police, authorities said.
Griner is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a detention hearing.
Caracas, Feb 11 (Xinhua/UNB) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro led military exercises on Sunday, pledging to strengthen the country's anti-aircraft defensive system.
As part of the drill, Venezuelan air force troops at Guicaipuro Fort, in northern state of Miranda, deployed Russian-made 9M317 and Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.
The 9M317 is a medium-range missile that can hit targets up to 50 km away, while the Igla-S is a man-portable missile with a 6 km reach.
Maduro said he will make "the sufficient investment for Venezuela" to strengthen its anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system, and equip the militia with "even the most modern missiles in the world."
"These Igla-S and the thousands and thousands coming will be in the hands of the people, armed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense, to make our cities and towns impenetrable," he added.
The militia is a civilian force founded in 2008 to supplement the armed forces.
The military exercises, which mark the 200th anniversary of the historic Battle of Angostura, will continue through Friday.
London, Feb 11 (AP/UNB) — With Brexit just 47 days away, the British government asked lawmakers on Sunday to give Prime Minister Theresa May more time to rework her divorce deal with the European Union.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said Parliament would get to pass judgment on May's Brexit plan "no later than Feb. 27."
The promise is a bid to avert a showdown on Thursday, when Parliament is set to debate and vote on next moves in the Brexit process. Some lawmakers want to try to seize control and steer the country toward a softer exit from the bloc.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but Parliament has rejected May's divorce bill, leaving the prime minister to seek changes from the EU. The U.K.'s bid for last-minute changes has exasperated EU leaders, who insist the legally binding withdrawal agreement can't be changed.
The impasse risks a chaotic "no deal" departure for Britain, which could be painful for businesses and ordinary people on both sides of the Channel.
British businesses fear a no-deal Brexit will cause gridlock at ports by ripping up the trade rulebook and imposing tariffs, customs checks and other barriers between the U.K. and the EU, its biggest trading partner.
Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl told the BBC that a "disorderly exit" was now the most likely option.
Opponents of the government accuse May of deliberately wasting time so that Parliament will face a last-minute choice between her deal and no deal.
Carolyn Fairbairn of business group the Confederation of British Industry said failure to secure a deal in good time was "negligence on behalf of our political institutions and leaders."
Beirut, Feb 11 (AP/UNB) — Iran's foreign minister extended an offer for Iranian military assistance to the U.S.-backed Lebanese army on Sunday, saying Iran is ready to assist in all sectors should the Lebanese government want it.
Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to reporters Sunday at Beirut's airport shortly after his arrival in the Lebanese capital for a two-day official visit.
"We are always ready (to support Lebanon militarily) and we have announced that on many occasions. This tendency does exist in Iran, but we are waiting for this desire to be there on the Lebanese side," he said.
The comments came a few days after the leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group urged Lebanon's government to accept anti-aircraft weapons from Iran to confront Israeli warplanes. He also said Iran was ready to provide Lebanon with electricity and medicine.
"Will the Lebanese government be brave enough to accept an Iranian offer? Why should Lebanon be afraid to cooperate with Iran?" Nasrallah asked during a speech marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution this week.
The United States, which lists Hezbollah as an armed terrorist group, backs the Lebanese army through a program that aims to strengthen the military as the sole military force defending the country.
Lebanon's Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri formed a government late last month, after a nine-month vacuum that exacerbated the country's economic woes. Hezbollah has three ministers in the new cabinet, reflecting the gains made by the powerful group in parliament elections held in May last year. The group named the health minister, marking the first time it controls a ministry with a large budget.
Zarif is the first senior official from the region to visit Lebanon since the new government was formed. He was met at the airport by a minister from Hezbollah and other officials from the Shiite group, which is deeply ingrained in Lebanese politics in addition to its role as an anti-Israel armed group.
In his comments, Zarif congratulated Lebanese politicians and said Iran is ready to support the government in any way possible.
Mahmoud Qomati, a Hezbollah member and state minister for parliamentary affairs, said later that his group appreciates there is international pressure on Lebanon but that shouldn't stand in the way of accepting Iran's offer to help the country's struggling economy.
He urged the government to take a "brave" stand and accept the offer extended to it.
Zarif is scheduled to meet with the Lebanese president, prime minister and foreign minister on Monday.