Live Coverage

Today's News: March 25, 2017

Iraqi government forces paused the push to take back Mosul from ISIS over fears of high civilian casualties, Trump’s laptop ban begins, and the U.S. grants asylum to Singapore blogger Amos Yee, who fled his home country after being jailed for criticizing Muslims and Christians.

Displaced Iraqis flee their homes as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul. Reuters

—Iraqi government forces paused their push to retake Mosul from ISIS over concerns of high civilian casualties.

—Trump’s laptop ban begins. The ban outlaws electronic devices onboard planes entering the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.  

—The U.S. grants asylum to Singapore blogger Amos Yee, who was jailed several times in his home country for comments he made about the Christian and Muslim religions.

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


This live blog has concluded

A Police Standoff WIth a Gunman on the Las Vegas Strip Comes to an End


A gunman who shot and killed one person and injured another Saturday afternoon on the Las Vegas strip was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff with police. The man, whose identity has not been released, barricaded himself on a public double-decker bus just outside the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino, shooting indiscriminately. Both victims were taken to the hospital, where one died and the other is said to be in fair condition. The man then barricaded himself in the bus while officers closed down the normally busy strip. SWAT, robots, crisis negotiators, and an armored vehicle were on the scene. The man eventually surrendered and was found with a handgun. Police described him as a local in his 50s. It is not being investigated as an act of terror.

Trump's Laptop Ban Takes Effect


The Trump administration’s ban on laptops and electronic devices larger than a cell phone in flights from eight countries to the U.S. officially takes effect Saturday. The Department of Homeland Security announced the ban earlier this week, and it outlaws travelers from carrying the devices in cabin baggage while flying to the U.S. from Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey. Travelers can still take their laptops and electronics with them, but only in checked luggage. In its reasoning for the ban, DHS said: “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.” The United Kingdom imposed a similar ban, although it only covers six countries. The restrictions could hurt airlines’ earnings, but some have taken the ban lightheartedly, like Royal Jordanian, which has made trolling Trump quite lucrative.

Iraqi Forces Pause the Battle for Mosul Over Concerns of Civilian Deaths

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

Iraqi government forces fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS paused their push into the city Saturday over fears of civilian casualties. The halt came after the United Nations expressed concern over reports that U.S.-led coalition forces injured or killed dozens of innocent people during a battle on March 17. There are also wide concerns over air strikes, at least one of which set off an explosion last week that has reportedly buried more than 100 civilians beneath collapsed buildings. ISIS has also used civilians as human shields, or fired on them as they retreat. The assault on Mosul, taken by ISIS in 2014, is now in its six month. About 600,000 people remain in the city, although thousands are fleeing each day.

The U.S. Grants Asylum to Singapore Blogger Amos Yee

Wong Maye-E / Reuters

A U.S. immigration judge in Chicago granted asylum to Singapore blogger Amos Yee, who was jailed twice in his home country for comments he made about the Muslim and Christian religions. Yee landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in December with the intent of requesting asylum, and since landing he has lived in a detention center while immigration authorities reviewed his request. “Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore,” the judge wrote in the decision. Yee, who is 18, is an outspoken atheist, and many of his blogs and social media posts have criticized religion and Singapore’s leaders. He was first arrested in 2015 after he posted a video that compared the recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s much adored first prime Minister, to Jesus, saying both men deceived people to gain power. Singapore has strict hate speech laws, and Yee pleaded guilty to the charges against him, which amounted to hurting the feelings of Christians and Muslims in the country. The Department of Homeland Security opposed Yee’s asylum application, but the judge’s ruling means Yee will be released from detention and allowed to stay in the U.S.