Deadly day. Five American soldiers died in what military officials are describing as a friendly fire incident in a remote southern province of Afghanistan. U.S.-led coalition forces had joined Afghan soldiers in a battle with Taliban insurgents in the Arghandab district. They called in an airstrike for support, but the attack mistakenly targeted the soldiers instead of the enemy. Another coalition soldier died in an unrelated “non-battle” incident Monday, making it the deadliest day for coalition forces in Afghanistan since December.
Prisoner swap debate. The White House again tried to convince senators it did the right thing in trading five top Taliban operatives imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Today’s classified briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee comes just 24 hours before Obama administration officials will testify before the House in a public hearing. After the briefing, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said U.S. negotiators didn’t reach a deal with the Taliban until the day before the swap and didn’t find out where the exchange would take place until a few hours before it happened. Officials have said they feared news of the proposed deal would leak before the exchange, ruining any chance of securing Bergdahl’s release. But lawmakers from both parties have said someone from Congress should have been notified.
On trial. Fifteen crew members from the South Korean ferry that sank in April, killing almost 300 passengers, went on trial today on charges that range from negligence to homicide. When the captain entered the courtroom, victims’ family members shouted, “murderer!” Most of the passengers were teenagers on a school trip to a popular resort island. Capt. Lee Joon-seok, 68, and three others face the death penalty. Officials determined the ferry was carrying too much cargo and made a sharp turn while traveling too fast, which eventually caused it to sink. Divers are still trying to recover bodies from the submerged vessel.
Too radical. The couple suspected of shooting two Las Vegas police officers and another person on Sunday spent time at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada cattle ranch. Bundy became a conservative folk hero after going public with his 20-year fight with the federal government over grazing rights on federal land. Jerad and Amanda Miller allegedly tried in April to join the armed standoff organized by Bundy’s supporters, but Bundy’s son said they were asked to leave because they were “too radical.” Jerad Miller did give one interview to media covering the protest before he and his wife left. “I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around,” he told NBC affiliate KRNV-TV. At the end of the shooting, the Millers killed each other in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide pact.
Take off. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the first drone for commercial use, in Alaska. The permit went to BP to conduct aerial surveys of pipelines and other infrastructure on Alaska’s North Slope. The company is using a Puma AE, a small drone about 4.5 feet long with a wingspan of 9 feet. Officials say the approval, announced today, is the first step toward wider commercial use of drones. Some businesses, including farmers and movie production companies, already are using the unmanned aircraft without government permission. The FAA claims it needs to regulate drone flights to prevent possible collisions with other aircraft.