China reports no major collapses following powerful quake
Paramilitary policemen carry boxes of supplies
past a section of road blocked by a landslide after an earthquake in
Jiuzhaigou county in southwestern China's Sichuan province, Wednesday, Aug.
9, 2017. (Chinatopix via AP)
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese monitors say they've detected multiple
landslides but no major building collapses following a powerful earthquake
in the country's mountainous southwest that killed at least 19 people.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the Institute of Remote Sensing and
Digital Earth under the Chinese Academy of Sciences drew the conclusion from
satellite imagery collected after the magnitude 6.5 quake struck Tuesday
Another 247 people were injured, 40 seriously, by the temblor, which China's
earthquake monitoring agency measured at magnitude 7.0.
At least five of those killed were tourists and thousands of visitors had
been evacuated by Thursday amid continuing aftershocks.
Most of the deaths and injuries were recorded in Zhangzha township, near the
famed Jiuzhaigou national park that is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage
Key facts about Guam, the center of US-North Korea tension
In this May 15, 2017, file photo, tourists walk
through a shopping district in Tamuning, Guam. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The North Korean army's announcement that it is
examining operational plans for attacking Guam after rising tensions with
President Donald Trump has brought more global attention to the tiny U.S.
territory in the Pacific than it has had in decades. Here is a rundown on
the island and it strategic importance.
The strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean is roughly the size of
Chicago, and just 4 miles (6 km) wide at its narrowest point. It is about
2,200 miles (3,500 km) southeast of North Korea, much closer than it is to
any of the United States. Hawaii is about 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to the
east. Its proximity to China, Japan, the Philippines and the Korean
Peninsula has long made the island an essential possession of the U.S.
Guam was claimed by Spain in 1565 and became a U.S. territory in 1898 during
the Spanish-American War. Japan seized it for about 2ฝ years during World
War II. In 1950, an act of Congress made it an unincorporated organized
territory of the United States. It has limited self-government, with a
popularly elected governor, small legislature, and non-voting delegate in
the U.S. House of Representatives. Residents do not pay U.S. income taxes or
vote in the general election for U.S. president. Its natives are U.S.
citizens by birth.
The U.S. keeps a Naval base and Coast Guard station in the south, and an Air
Force base in the north that saw heavy use during the Vietnam War. While
already taking up 30 percent of the island, the American military has been
seeking to increase its presence by relocating to Guam thousands of Marines
who are currently based in Okinawa, Japan. Protecting the island is the U.S.
Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which is used to shoot
down ballistic missiles. Last month, the U.S. twice flew a pair of
supersonic bombers that took off from Guam over the Korean Peninsula in a
show of force after two North Korean tests of intercontinental ballistic
missiles. While there has been some resistance and displeasure from the
people of Guam over the U.S. military's presence, it is also essential to
the island's economy, second only to tourism in importance.
PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT
The island was first populated about 4,000 years ago by the ancestors of the
Chamorros, still the island's largest ethnic group. Now, about 160,000
people live on Guam. Its capital city is Hagatna and its largest city is
Dededo. Its chief languages are English and Chamorro. It has seen various
popular movements pushing for greater self-government or even U.S.
statehood, most notably a significant but failed effort in the 1980s to make
it a commonwealth on par with Puerto Rico.
Ricky Martin defends Versace murder drama as truthful
Ricky Martin, left, a cast
member in the FX series "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American
Crime Story," answers a reporter's question as fellow cast members
Darren Criss, center, and Edgar Martinez look on during the 2017
Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at 20th Century Fox
Studios on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ricky Martin says he
reassured Gianni Versace's longtime partner that their relationship is
treated respectfully in a TV drama about Versace's 1997 murder.
The pop star plays Antonio D'Amico in FX's "The Assassination of Gianni
Versace: American Crime Story," debuting in January.
Martin spoke by phone to D'Amico after he had publicly criticized the
unfinished series for what he called inaccuracies.
Executive producer Ryan Murphy said D'Amico may have been judging the
drama based on a paparazzi photo taken during filming outside Versace's
Miami Beach mansion, where the famed designer was killed.
Martin said Wednesday he told D'Amico that he will make people fall in
love with his relationship with Versace.
Edgar Ramirez plays Versace, with Darren Criss as
serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who shot himself after Versace's murder.
It's Not Delivery. It's DiGiorno Pizza spilled on interstate
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas highway officials shut down
westbound lanes of a cross-country interstate for four hours so crews could
pick up pizza.
An 18-wheeler containing DiGiorno and Tombstone frozen pizzas scraped a
bridge support and sliced open its trailer Wednesday, spilling them across
Interstate 30 in front of the Arkansas Department of Transportation office.
Agency spokesman Danny Straessle said the bridge had only cosmetic damage.
I-30 was closed for a time in both directions while crews picked up the
DiGiorno and Tombstone brand pies. The highway, which goes around the south
side of Little Rock, is part a major link that connects Dallas and points
west to Memphis, Tennessee, and points north and east.
There was no word on who missed out on pizza deliveries because of the
Today in History Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017
Today is Thursday, Aug. 10, the 222nd day of 2017. There are 143 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 10, 1977, postal employee David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers,
New York, accused of being "Son of Sam," the gunman who killed six people
and wounded seven others in the New York City area. (Berkowitz is serving
six consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences.)
On this date:
In 1680, Pueblo Indians launched a successful revolt against Spanish
colonists in present-day New Mexico.
In 1792, during the French Revolution, mobs in Paris attacked the Tuileries
(TWEE'-luh-reez) Palace, where King Louis XVI resided. (The king was later
arrested, put on trial for treason, and executed.)
In 1821, Missouri became the 24th state.
In 1846, President James K. Polk signed a measure establishing the
In 1874, Herbert Clark Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, was
born in West Branch, Iowa.
In 1921, Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio at his summer home on
the Canadian island of Campobello.
In 1949, the National Military Establishment was renamed the Department of
In 1962, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated in
West Branch, Iowa, on the 88th birthday of the former president, who
attended the ceremony along with former President Harry S. Truman. Marvel
Comics superhero Spider-Man made his debut in issue 15 of "Amazing Fantasy"
(cover price: 12 cents).
In 1969, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were murdered in their Los Angeles home
by members of Charles Manson's cult, one day after actress Sharon Tate and
four other people were slain.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a measure providing $20,000 payments
to still-living Japanese-Americans who were interned by their government
during World War II.
In 1991, nine Buddhists were found slain at their temple outside Phoenix,
Arizona. (Two teen-agers were later arrested; one was sentenced to life in
prison, while the other received 281 years.)
In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the second female justice on
the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ten years ago: Three men being lowered into a southern Indiana coal mine
were killed when a nylon sling attached to the bucket the men were riding in
got caught, causing the bucket to tip and sending them plummeting more than
500 feet to their deaths.
Five years ago: A man in an Afghan army uniform shot and killed three
American service members in southern Afghanistan; the Taliban claimed the
shooter joined the insurgency after the attack. At the London Olympics, the
United States won the women's 4x100-meter track relay in a world-record time
of 40.82 seconds to give the Americans their first victory in the event
One year ago: During a raucous campaign rally outside Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, Republican Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama of being the
"founder" of the Islamic State group. (Trump later said he was "being
sarcastic" before adding, "but not that sarcastic, to be honest with you.")
Lonnie Franklin Jr., the Los Angeles serial killer known as the "Grim
Sleeper," was sentenced to death for the murders of nine women and a teenage
girl. At the Rio Olympics, Katie Ledecky turned in another overpowering
performance to carry the United States to victory in the 4x200-meter
freestyle relay. John Saunders, the versatile sportscaster who hosted ESPN's
"The Sports Reporters" for 15 years, died in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York,
at age 61.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Rhonda Fleming is 94. Singer Ronnie Spector is
74. Actor James Reynolds is 71. Rock singer-musician Ian Anderson (Jethro
Tull) is 70. Country musician Gene Johnson (Diamond Rio) is 68. Singer Patti
Austin is 67. Actor Daniel Hugh Kelly is 65. Folk singer-songwriter Sam
Baker is 63. Actress Rosanna Arquette is 58. Actor Antonio Banderas is 57.
Rock musician Jon Farriss (INXS) is 56. Singer Julia Fordham is 55.
Journalist-blogger Andrew Sullivan is 54. Actor Chris Caldovino is 54.
Singer Neneh Cherry is 53. Singer Aaron Hall is 53. Boxer Riddick Bowe is
50. Actor Sean Blakemore is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lorraine Pearson
(Five Star) is 50. Singer-producer Michael Bivins is 49. Actor-writer Justin
Theroux is 46. Actress Angie Harmon is 45. Country singer Jennifer Hanson is
44. Actor-turned-lawyer Craig Kirkwood is 43. Actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher
is 38. Singer Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels & Rope) is 38. Rhythm-and-blues
singer Nikki Bratcher (Divine) is 37. Actor Aaron Staton is 37.
Actor Ryan Eggold is 33. Actor Charley Koontz is 30. Actor Lucas Till is 27.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner is 20.
Thought for Today: "There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against
the impact of a new idea." — Percy Williams Bridgeman, American scientist
Strong quake strikes southwest China, 13 dead, 175 injured
photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work at a tourist
site in Zhangzha in Jiuzhaigou county in southwestern China's Sichuan
province, Wednesday, Aug. 9.(Zheng Lei/Xinhua via AP)
By Gillian Wong, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP) — A strong earthquake shook a mountainous region in
southwestern China near a famous national park, killing 13 people, injuring
175 others and knocking out power and phone networks.
At least five of the dead were tourists, China's official Xinhua News Agency
said. At least 28 people had serious injuries, according to the Aba
prefecture government in Sichuan province.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for rapid efforts to respond to the
quake and rescue the injured. Authorities sent medical teams, rescuers and
The quake around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday struck a region bordered by the provinces
of Sichuan and Gansu. The area is on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and
home to many Tibetan and other ethnic minority villages. It's also near
Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular
waterfalls and karst formations.
The U.S. Geological Survey said it was magnitude-6.5 and just 9 kilometers
(5.5 miles) deep, while the China Earthquake Networks Center measured the
earthquake at magnitude-7.0 and said it struck at a depth of 20 kilometers
(12 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.
A man surnamed Song who answered the phone at a local emergency office in
Aba prefecture, where the Jiuzhaigou national park is located, said the
nearby town of Zhangzha reported the deaths and injuries. Song did not say
where the five tourists who died were from.
The epicenter was about 39 kilometers (24 miles) from the county of
Jiuzhaigou, which has a population of around 80,000, and was 285 kilometers
(177 miles) from Chengdu, the densely populated capital of Sichuan province,
according to the Chinese quake center.
Xinhua said strong tremors could be felt in Chengdu. The Sichuan provincial
government's news website said that after the quake struck, a number of
train services to Chengdu and other cities were suspended.
Jiuzhaigou county had a massive power outage following the quake, Song said.
Local officials were being sent to the town of Zhangzha, which was closest
to the quake's epicenter.
"The tremors were very strong," said a woman in Jiuzhaigou town who gave
only her surname, Wang, and said she worked for a travel company. She said
the damage in the town center seemed minimal other than the suspension of
"People from other regions are a pretty frightened," Wang said.
Xinhua said more than 30,000 tourists at Jiuzhaigou were relocated to safety
with help from tourist buses and private vehicles.
Yu Qian, a local taxation bureau official, told Xinhua that she felt strong
shaking that sent her and her two children rushing from their home on the
fifth floor. Yu said the quake cut off power in her neighborhood and
disrupted telephone service.
"I was getting into a car at the time of the quake, and it felt like a
heavy-duty truck roaring past," said Liu Yanrong, a local township official,
Xinhua cited a worker at the Jiuzhaigou park named Sangey as saying that
some houses in the tourist site collapsed or cracked following the quake and
that authorities were organizing evacuations of residents.
Images on Chinese social media sites showed rocks scattered on roads and
people running out of bars and cafes in Jiuzhaigou town onto the street.
A report on the news site's official microblog also cited Zhao Wei, the
party secretary of the Communist Youth League's Jiuzhaigou division, as
saying some telephone communications networks were down, making it difficult
to determine the scale of the damage.
On Wednesday morning, another strong earthquake struck in far northwestern
China, some 2,200 kilometers (1,360 miles) away. It was measured at
magnitude 6.3 by USGS and 6.6 by China's agency and was in a sparsely
populated area of the Xinjiang region near the Kazakhstan border. There were
no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Earthquakes are common in China's west, although the low population density
there often means casualties are low. China's deadliest earthquake this
century, a magnitude-7.9 temblor, struck Sichuan province in May 2008,
killing nearly 90,000 people.
Associated Press writer Louise Watt and researcher Fu Ting contributed to
Trump, North Korea trade escalating threats of fire
Donald Trump talks about North Korea during a briefing on the opioid crisis,
Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP
By Foster Klug, Mathew
Pennington, Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea and the United States traded
escalating threats, with President Donald Trump warning it would be met
"with fire and fury like the world has never seen" and Pyongyang claiming
Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam.
The comments follow reports that North Korea has mastered a crucial
technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.
Despite regular North Korean threats against Guam, a U.S. territory in the
Pacific about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) from the Korean Peninsula, it
is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang would risk the assured annihilation of
its revered leadership with a pre-emptive attack on U.S. citizens.
Still, the competing threats and Trump's use of North Korea-style rhetoric —
Pyongyang has long vowed to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire" — raise the
already high animosity and heightens worries that a miscalculation might
spark conflict between the nuclear-armed nations.
The North Korean army said in a statement distributed by the state-run news
agency that it is studying a plan to create an "enveloping fire" in areas
around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. The statement
described Andersen Air Force Base on Guam as a "beachhead" for a potential
U.S. invasion of North Korea it needed to neutralize. It was unlikely the
North's threat was a direct response to Trump's comments to the camera at
his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Trump spoke hours after reports were published that indicate North Korea can
now wed nuclear warheads with its missiles, including its longest-range
missiles that may be able to hit the American mainland. The North has
strived for decades to have the ability to strike the U.S. and its Asian
allies, and the pace of its breakthroughs is having far-reaching
consequences for stability in the Pacific and beyond.
The nuclear advances were detailed in an official Japanese assessment
Tuesday and a later Washington Post story that cited U.S. intelligence
officials and a confidential Defense Intelligence Agency report. The U.S.
now assesses the North Korean arsenal at up to 60 nuclear weapons, more than
double most assessments by independent experts, according to the Post's
"North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States," said
a stern-looking Trump, seated with his arms crossed and with his wife beside
him. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
"He has been very threatening beyond a
normal state. And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly
power the likes of which this world has never seen before."
The remarks appeared scripted, with Trump glancing at a paper in front of
him. They evoked President Harry Truman's announcement of the U.S. atomic
bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, in which he warned of "a rain of
ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."
But it wasn't clear what Trump, who is prone to hyperbole and bombast in far
less grave situations, meant by the threat. White House officials did not
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement afterward saying,
"We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric
is not a strategy to keep America safe."
The Trump administration considers North Korea to be America's greatest
national security threat and tensions have steadily escalated this year.
Pyongyang responded angrily to the U.N. Security Council's adoption this
weekend of new, tougher sanctions spearheaded by Washington. The sanctions
followed intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, the second of
which was estimating as having a range that could reach more of the U.S.
mainland. The newly revealed U.S. intelligence assessment indicates those
missiles can carry nuclear warheads.
Denouncing the U.N. sanctions through state media, the North warned: "We
will make the U.S. pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it
commits against the state and people of this country."
For North Korea, having a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike America
would be the ultimate guarantee against U.S. invasion.
It is an ambition decades in the making. North Korea began producing fissile
material for bombs in the early 1990s and conducted its first nuclear test
explosion in 2006. Four subsequent nuclear tests, the latest a year ago,
have accelerated progress on miniaturizing a device — something North Korea
already claimed it could do. Over that span, multiple U.S. presidents have
tried and failed to coax or pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear
The secrecy of the North's nuclear
program and the underground nature of its test explosions make it very
difficult to properly assess its claims. But the new assessments from Japan
and the U.S. suggest that doubts over the North's abilities are receding.
In an annual report, Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday concluded that "it
is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear
weapons and has developed nuclear warheads." Japan, a key U.S. ally, is a
potential, front-line target of North Korean aggression.
The Post story, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, went further. It
said the Defense Intelligence Agency analysis, completed last month,
assessed North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile
delivery, including by intercontinental missiles.
Officials at the agency wouldn't comment Tuesday. The Office of the Director
of National Intelligence also wouldn't discuss the report.
It's unclear how North Korea's new capabilities will immediately affect how
the U.S. approaches the country's regular missile launches and occasional
nuclear tests. The U.S. military has never attempted to shoot a North Korean
missile out of the sky, deeming all previous tests to pose no threat to the
United States. The U.S. could weigh military action if the threat perception
The calculation of North Korea's nuclear arsenal at 60 bombs exceeds other
assessments, which range from around one dozen to about 30 weapons. The
assessments are typically an estimate of the amount of plutonium and
enriched uranium North Korea has in its inventory rather than how much of
that material has been weaponized. It's unclear how many, if any,
miniaturized warheads North Korea has built.
Last month's ICBM tests highlighted the growing threat. Both missiles were
fired at highly lofted angles and landed at sea near Japan, but analysts
said the weapons could reach Alaska, Los Angeles or Chicago if fired at a
normal, flattened trajectory.
North Korea threatened to hit Guam with its Hwasong-12 missiles, which it
says can carry a heavy nuclear warhead and before the two ICBM launches had
demonstrated the longest potential range of the missiles test-fired by the
Not all technical hurdles have been overcome, however. North Korea is still
believed to lack expertise to ensure a missile could re-enter the Earth's
atmosphere without the warhead burning up. And it's still working on
striking targets with accuracy.
Pennington reported from Washington. Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, Deb Riechmann
in Washington and Catherine Lucey in New Jersey contributed to this report.
DJ in groping case says he may have touched Swift's ribs
In this Feb.
28, 2016 file photo, singer Taylor Swift attends the Vanity Fair Fair Oscar
Party in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP,
By JAMES ANDERSON and TATIANA
FLOWERS, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — A former radio disc jockey accused of groping Taylor
Swift before a concert testified Tuesday that he may have touched the pop
superstar's ribs with a closed hand as he tried to jump into a photo with
her but insisted he did not touch her backside as she claims.
David Mueller told jurors at the civil trial on dueling lawsuits filed by
Mueller and Swift that he and the singer-songwriter were trying to reach
around one another and "our hands touched and our arms touched" during a
photo opportunity he estimated lasted no more than 40 seconds.
Under questioning by his attorney, Mueller said he may have touched Swift's
"rib cage, or rib, or ribs."
The 2013 photo of Swift, Mueller and Mueller's girlfriend taken at the
pre-concert event in Denver is a key piece of evidence in Mueller's suit
claiming he was fired after being falsely accused by Swift. He is seeking at
least $3 million.
The photo shows Mueller with his hand behind Swift, just below her waist.
Both are smiling.
Her lawyers have called the photo "damning" proof that Mueller groped her.
Mueller's lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, showed jurors the photograph during his
opening remarks. Two jurors stared at the photo on their computer monitors
while a few others kept glancing at it as McFarland spoke.
"If you look at that photograph, his hand is not underneath Miss Swift's
skirt, and her skirt is not rumpled in any fashion," McFarland said, noting
that no one on Swift's concert team saw anything amiss.
Mueller also testified that one of his station bosses, Hershel Coomer, told
him that he had met Swift earlier before the show and that "he told me that
he had his hands on her butt."
Mueller said, "I thought he was just telling me one of his stories."
Under cross-examination, Mueller couldn't explain why he didn't tell a boss
investigating the incident about the exchange with Coomer.
Swift has said she is positive it was Mueller who groped her.
Swift has countersued Mueller, claiming sexual assault. She is seeking a
symbolic $1, saying she wants to serve as an example to other women who have
Proceedings ended for the day Tuesday and were set to resume Wednesday.
In his opening statement, Douglas Baldridge, an attorney for Swift, told
jurors that his superstar client is "absolutely certain" she was sexually
assaulted and will prove it in court.
Baldridge also asked what possible reason Swift would have to make up an
"That's the one and only story we have to tell you — that Mr. Mueller
grabbed her rear end," he said.
Mueller's attorney told jurors that inappropriate touching is wrong, but
falsely accusing someone of the offense is equally unacceptable.
Mueller, wearing a smoke gray jacket and a white shirt, sat in court with
his back to Swift and her mother, Andrea Swift.
Taylor Swift had her hair in a bun and wore a conservative black dress with
tights. She is expected to testify later in the trial.
Mueller testified that he wants to clear his name and recover earnings he
lost after being fired. He said he hasn't been able to get a job in radio
since the incident.
"It's a humiliating experience to be accused of something that despicable,"
Baldridge repeatedly interrupted Mueller during an aggressive
cross-examination and noted that Mueller has said he lost an audio recording
of a meeting he had with his bosses before they fired him.
"We'll never know what's on it, will we?" Baldridge asked.
"No, we won't," Mueller responded. "They're gone."
Baldridge repeatedly asked Mueller if he could grasp "any reason, incentive
or motive for Miss Swift" to make up the allegation or be involved in 2
years of litigation.
"I cannot," Mueller replied.
Baldridge did get Mueller to concede that various supervisors with KYGO and
its parent firm had discussed the possibility of letting him go even before
the encounter with Swift.
Associated Press writer P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.
Glen Campbell, 'Rhinestone Cowboy' singer, dies at age 81
In this July
27, 2011 photo, musician Glen Campbell poses for a portrait in Malibu,
California.(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
By Kristein M. Hall, Associated
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Glen Campbell, the affable superstar singer
of "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Wichita Lineman" whose appeal spanned country,
pop, television and movies, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 81.
Campbell's family said the singer died Tuesday morning in Nashville and
publicist Sandy Brokaw confirmed the news. No cause was immediately given.
Campbell announced in June 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease and that it was in its early stages at that time.
"Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business and he
was one of the greatest musicians," said Dolly Parton in a video statement.
"He was a wonderful session musician as well. A lot of people don't realize
that. But he could play anything and he could play it really well."
Tributes poured in on social media. "Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing
your talent with us for so many years May you rest in peace my friend You
will never be forgotten," wrote Charlie Daniels. One of Campbell's
daughters, Ashley, said she was heartbroken. "I owe him everything I am, and
everything I ever will be. He will be remembered so well and with so much
love," she wrote on Twitter.
"You were a shining light in so many ways," Brad Paisley tweeted.
In the late 1960s and well into the '70s, the Arkansas native was seemingly
everywhere with his boyish face, wavy hair and friendly tenor. He won five
Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart
hits, including No. 1 songs with "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights."
His performance of the title song from the 1969 film "True Grit," in which
he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an
Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the
Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement.
His last record was "Adios," released in June, featured songs that Campbell
loved to sing but never recorded, including tunes made famous by Bob Dylan,
Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash. Ashley Campbell, also a musician, made a
quest appearance and said making the album was "therapeutic."
Campbell was among a wave of country crossover stars that included Johnny
Cash, Roy Clark and Kenny Rogers, and like many of his contemporaries, he
enjoyed success on television. Campbell had a weekly audience of some 50
million people for the "Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," on CBS from 1969 to
1972. He gained new fans decades later when the show, featuring his cheerful
greeting "Hi I'm Glen Campbell," was rerun on cable channel CMT.
"I did what my Dad told me to do — 'Be nice, son, and don't cuss. And be
nice to people.' And that's the way I handled myself, and people were very,
very nice to me," Campbell told The Telegraph in 2011.
He released more than 70 of his own albums, and in the 1990s recorded a
series of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell album, "Ghost On the Canvas," included
contributions from Jacob Dylan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Corgan
of Smashing Pumpkins.
The documentary "Glen Campbell ... I'll Be Me" came out in 2014. The film
about Campbell's 2011-12 farewell tour offers a poignant look at his decline
from Alzheimer's while showcasing his virtuoso guitar chops that somehow
continued to shine as his mind unraveled. The song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"
won a Grammy for best country song in 2015 and was nominated for an Oscar
for best original song.
Campbell's musical career dated back to the early years of rock 'n roll. He
toured with the Champs of "Tequila" fame when the group included two singers
who formed the popular '70s duo Seals & Crofts. He was part of the house
band for the ABC TV show "Shindig!" and a member of Phil Spector's "Wrecking
Crew" studio band that played on hits by the Ronettes, the Righteous
Brothers and the Crystals. He played guitar on Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In
the Night," the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" and Elvis Presley's "Viva Las
"We'd get the rock 'n' roll guys and play all that, then we'd get Sinatra
and Dean Martin," Campbell told The Associated Press in 2011. "That was a
kick. I really enjoyed that. I didn't want to go nowhere. I was making more
money than I ever made just doing studio work."
A sharecropper's son who was one of 12 children, he was born outside of
Delight, Arkansas, and grew up revering country music stars such as Hank
"I'm not a country singer per se," Campbell once said. "I'm a country boy
He was just 4 when he learned to play guitar. As a teenager, anxious to
escape a life of farm work and unpaid bills, he moved to Albuquerque, New
Mexico to join his uncle's band and appear on his uncle's radio show. By his
early 20s, he had formed his own group, the Western Wranglers, and moved to
Los Angeles. He opened for the Doors and sang and played bass with the Beach
Boys as a replacement for Brian Wilson, who in the mid-'60s had retired from
touring to concentrate on studio work. In 1966, Campbell played on the Beach
Boys' classic "Pet Sounds" album.
"I didn't go to Nashville because Nashville at that time seemed
one-dimensional to me," Campbell told the AP. "I'm a jazzer. I just love to
get the guitar and play the hell out of it if I can."
By the late '60s, he was a performer on his own, an appearance on Joey
Bishop's show leading to his TV breakthrough. Tommy Smothers of the Smothers
Brothers saw the program and asked Campbell if he'd like to host a
summertime series, "The Summer Brothers Smothers Show." Campbell shied from
the Smothers Brothers' political humor, but still accepted the offer. He was
out of the country when the first episode aired.
"The whole lid just blew off," Campbell told the AP. "I had never had
anything like that happen to me. I got more phone calls. It was awesome. For
the first couple of days I was like how do they know me? I didn't realize
the power of television."
His guests included country acts, but also the Monkees, Lucille Ball, Cream,
Neil Diamond and Ella Fitzgerald.
He was married four times and had eight
children. As he would confide in painful detail, Campbell suffered for his
fame and made others suffer as well. He drank heavily, used drugs and
indulged in a turbulent relationship with country singer Tanya Tucker in the
He is survived by his wife, Kim; their three children, Cal, Shannon and
Ashley; and his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane
and Dillon. He had 10 grandchildren.
In late 2003, he was arrested near his home in Phoenix after causing a minor
traffic accident. He later pleaded guilty to "extreme" DUI and leaving the
scene of an accident and served a 10-day sentence.
Among Campbell's own hits, "Rhinestone Cowboy" stood out and became his
personal anthem. Written and recorded by Larry Weiss in 1974, "Rhinestone
Cowboy" received little attention until Campbell heard it on the radio and
quickly related to the story of a veteran performer who triumphs over
despair and hardship. Campbell's version was a chart topper in 1975.
"I thought it was my autobiography set to song," he wrote 20 years later, in
his autobiography, titled "Rhinestone Cowboy."
Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 9, the 221st day of 2017. There are 144 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan,
a U.S. B-29 Superfortress code-named Bockscar dropped a nuclear device ("Fat
Man") over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.
On this date:
In 1854, Henry David Thoreau's "Walden," which described Thoreau's
experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, was first
In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of Britain following the death of his
mother, Queen Victoria.
In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the
United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.
In 1942, British authorities in India arrested nationalist Mohandas K.
Gandhi; he was released in 1944.
In 1967, Ethel Le Neve, the mistress of notorious convicted wife killer
Hawley Harvey Crippen, died in Croydon, England, at age 84.
In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally slain
at Tate's Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his
followers were later convicted of the crime.
In 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation's 38th chief
executive as President Richard Nixon's resignation took effect.
In 1982, a federal judge in Washington ordered John W. Hinckley Jr., who'd
been acquitted of shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others by
reason of insanity, committed to a mental hospital.
In 1992, closing ceremonies were held for the Barcelona Summer Olympics,
with the Unified Team of former Soviet republics winning 112 medals, the
United States 108.
In 1997, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was brutalized in a Brooklyn, New
York, stationhouse by Officer Justin Volpe, who raped him with a broken
broomstick. (Volpe was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) An Amtrak
train with more than 300 people aboard derailed on a bridge near Kingman,
Arizona; 183 people were injured.
In 2002, Oscar-winning actor and National Rifle Association president
Charlton Heston, 78, revealed that doctors had told him he had symptoms
consistent with Alzheimer's disease (Heston died in April 2008). Barry Bonds
of the San Francisco Giants hit his 600th homer, becoming the fourth major
leaguer to reach the mark (the Pittsburgh Pirates won the game, 4-3.)
In 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot to
death by a police officer following an altercation in Ferguson, Missouri;
Brown's death led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush held a news conference in which he
publicly prodded Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, his embattled
war-on-terror partner, to hold free presidential elections, share
intelligence and take "swift action" against terrorist leaders pinpointed in
his country. China banned exports by two toy manufacturers whose products
were subject to major recalls in the United States. David Beckham made his
long-awaited Major League Soccer debut, entering in the 72nd minute of the
Los Angeles Galaxy's 1-0 loss to D.C. United.
Five years ago: The United States began a landmark project to clean up
dioxin left from Agent Orange at the site of a former U.S. air base in
Danang in central Vietnam, 50 years after the defoliant was first sprayed by
American planes on Vietnam's jungles to destroy enemy cover. At the London
Games, Usain Bolt won the 200 meters in 19.32 seconds, making him the only
man with two Olympic titles in that event. The U.S. women's soccer team won
the gold medal, avenging one of its most painful defeats with a 2-1 victory
over Japan. Actor Al Freeman Jr., 81, died in Washington, D.C. Mel Stuart,
83, an award-winning film documentarian who also directed "Willy Wonka & the
Chocolate Factory," died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: Gunfire broke out during a demonstration in Ferguson,
Missouri, on the second anniversary of Michael Brown's death, disrupting
what had been a peaceful gathering but apparently wounding no one. House
Speaker Paul Ryan defeated Paul Nehlen, a longshot Republican challenger
praised by Donald Trump, in a Wisconsin congressional primary. At the Rio
Games, Michael Phelps earned the 20th and 21st Olympic gold medals of his
career as he won the 200-meter butterfly and anchored the United States to
victory in the 4x200 freestyle relay. Katie Ledecky earned her second gold
in Rio by winning the 200-meter freestyle. The U.S. women's gymnastics team
won gold for a second consecutive Olympics.
Today's Birthdays: Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is 89. Actress Cynthia
Harris is 83. Tennis Hall of Famer Rod Laver is 79. Jazz musician Jack
DeJohnette is 75. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 75. Actor Sam Elliott
is 73. Singer Barbara Mason is 70. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Bill Campbell
is 69. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player John Cappelletti
is 65. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Doug Williams is
62. Actress Melanie Griffith is 60. Actress Amanda Bearse is 59. Rapper
Kurtis Blow is 58. Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull is 53. TV host Hoda Kotb
(HOH'-duh KAHT'-bee) is 53. Actor Pat Petersen is 51. Pro and College
Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is 50. Actress Gillian Anderson is 49.
Actor Eric Bana is 49. Producer-director McG (aka Joseph McGinty Nichol) is
49. NHL player-turned-assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour is 47. TV anchor Chris
Cuomo is 47. Actor Thomas Lennon is 47. Rock musician Arion Salazar is 47.
Rapper Mack 10 is 46.
Actress Nikki Schieler Ziering is 46. Latin rock singer Juanes is 45.
Actress Liz Vassey is 45. Actor Kevin McKidd is 44. Actress Rhona Mitra
(ROH'-nuh MEE'-truh) is 42. Actor Texas Battle is 41. Actress Jessica
Capshaw is 41. Actress Ashley Johnson is 34. Actress Anna Kendrick is 32.
Thought for Today: "The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make
anything." — Edward John Phelps, American lawyer and diplomat (1822-1900).
Philippine president on human rights: "Don't go there"
Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, poses with Philippine President Rodrigo
Duterte during the former's courtesy call at Malacanang Palace in Manila,
Philippines, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
By Josh Lederman, Associated
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met
Monday with America's top diplomat, where he voiced solidarity with the U.S.
amid global concerns over North Korea's nuclear program and angrily
dismissed media questions about human rights abuses by his government.
Duterte and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met in Manila at a
regional Asia gathering. It was the highest-level interaction to date
between a member of President Donald Trump's administration and Duterte,
accused by human rights groups of flagrant abuses in his bloody war against
If the two leaders discussed those or other U.S. concerns about Duterte's
government, they didn't do so in public. Instead, the two focused on the
alliance between the two countries and on the North Korea issue as reporters
were allowed in briefly for the start of their meeting.
Entering an ornate, wood-paneled hall in the Philippine leader's palace,
Tillerson was introduced to members of Duterte's Cabinet, shaking hands with
each. Duterte welcomed the American and said he said he knew the U.S. was
concerned about Pyongyang's missile program.
"You come at a time when I think the world is not so good, especially in the
Korean Peninsula," Duterte said.
Earlier, as they shook hands, the two ignored a shouted question about
whether they'd discuss human rights. And at a news conference after their
meeting, Duterte bristled but didn't answer directly when asked whether
human rights had come up.
"Human rights, son of a bitch," Duterte said, arguing he shouldn't be
questioned about alleged violations given the challenges he's facing.
"Policemen and soldiers have died on me. The war now in Marawi, what caused
it but drugs? So human rights, don't go there."
But ahead of the meeting, Duterte's presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella,
said the topic would indeed come up, along with other pressing matters such
as global terrorism threats, economic cooperation and security in Marawi,
the city that has been under siege by pro-Islamic State group militants for
more than two months.
"We also welcome the opportunity to address concerns such as human rights if
and when raised," Abella said in a statement. "We have always included this
issue in our discussions and engagements with foreign governments,
particularly Western democracies."
The U.S., too, said ahead of the meeting that human rights would be among
the topics on the agenda.
Human rights groups have questioned the Trump administration's willingness
to engage with Duterte. But Tillerson argued there's no contradiction
presented by the U.S. decision to help his country fight the militants,
whose insurgency in the Philippines has stoked global fears about the
Islamic State group exporting violence into Southeast Asia and beyond.
Nearly 700 people have died in the intense fighting, including 528 militants
and 122 soldiers and policemen, since hundreds of black flag waving gunmen
stormed into buildings and homes in the business district and outlying
communities of mosque-studded Marawi, a center of Islamic faith in the
southern third of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.
"I see no conflict — no conflict at all in our helping them with that
situation and our views of the human rights concerns we have with respect to
how they carry out their counter narcotics activities," Tillerson told
reporters before the meeting. He added that it appeared the Philippines was
"beginning to get that situation under control."
To that end, Tillerson said the U.S. has been providing the Philippines with
surveillance capabilities, training, information and aircraft to help it
fight the militants. He said the equipment includes a few Cessna aircraft
and a few drones.
"The real challenge is going to come with once they have the fighting
brought to an end how to deal with the conditions on the ground to ensure it
does not re-emerge."
Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.
Australian official says gay marriage could be law this year
marriage equality advocates Alex Greenwich, Anna Brown and Teirnan Brady
address the media at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Monday, Aug.
7, 2017. (AP Photo/ Rod McGuirk)
By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's Parliament could legalize gay
marriage this year if the government was allowed to poll the public on their
opinions, a senior minister said on Tuesday.
The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition was narrowly re-elected in July
2016 with a promise to let voters decide whether Australia should recognize
same-sex marriage through a popular vote. But the Senate in November blocked
the so-called plebiscite, which would have cost 160 million Australian
dollars ($127 million) and promoted a divisive public debate.
The Liberal Party held a crisis meeting late Monday to resolve in-fighting
and rejected a push to allow lawmakers to decide the issue now.
The party decided to ask the Senate this week to reconsider allowing the
plebiscite, which the government now estimates would cost AU$170 million.
Voting on the plebiscite would be compulsory and failure to vote would be
punishable by a fine.
The result would not be legally binding and some lawmakers have already
declared it would not sway their vote on gay marriage legislation.
If the Senate again blocks the plebiscite, the party proposes a voluntary
postal plebiscite in which voters mail in their opinions instead of using
ballot boxes as a cheaper option that would not need the Senate to approve
the expense. Responses would be voluntary and therefore less indicative of
Opponents argue that the postal plebiscite would also need Senate approval
and have threatened a court challenge if it proceeds.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, the government's deputy Senate leader and
an opponent of same-sex marriage, said on Tuesday some type of plebiscite
was essential if Parliament was to decide the marriage equality question.
Parliament would only get to decide the issue if the plebiscite found most
Australians supported gay marriage.
"The truth is that there is a diversity of strongly and sincerely held views
on both sides of the argument in our community and that is reflected in our
party room," Cormann told reporters.
"The government has a timetable that would facilitate resolution of this
issue by the end of the year, but ultimately there are some factors that are
outside of the government's control," he added, referring to the hostile
Sen. Nick Xenophon, whose minor party opposed the plebiscite in the November
vote, said gay marriage would become an election issue if the plebiscite was
blocked by the Senate or courts.
"This is something that ought not to be put to a plebiscite, this is
something that parliamentarians are paid for to decide and our position
hasn't changed," Xenophon told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Anti-gay marriage advocates support the plebiscite, despite opinion polls
showing that most Australians agree with marriage equality. Gay-rights
advocates are concerned that referendums rarely change the status quo in
Lyle Shelton, managing director of the
Australian Christian Lobby, said his advocacy group had collected 55,000
signatures on a petition demanding a plebiscite.
Sheldon handed the petition to Sen. Cory Bernardi, leader of the minor
Australian Conservatives party, to present to the Senate. Bernardi has said
he would vote against gay marriage regardless of what the plebiscite found.
Sheldon was concerned that renegade Liberal Sen. Dean Smith had proposed a
bill this week that allowed people who did not identify as either a man or
woman to marry.
Sheldon said that furthered a gay agenda "queer theory" that gender was
fluid. Marriage equality would also cast doubt on whether religious schools
could teach children that marriage was exclusively between a man and a
woman, Sheldon said.
"This is not just about loving couples, if that was all that it was about,
well, probably none of us would have too much concern," Sheldon said.
UN chief supports UN commission on Syria despite resignation
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 file photo, Carla del Ponte, Member of the
Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, attends a
press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in
Geneva, Switzerland. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres supports the
work of the U.N.'s independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria in gathering
evidence of alleged crimes against civilians during the 6ฝ-year civil war
and regrets the resignation of Carla del Ponte, the U.N. said Monday.
Del Ponte announced she was resigning from the commission in frustration at
the Security Council's inaction to hold criminals accountable in
war-battered Syria where she said "everyone is bad." In comments published
Sunday by the Swiss magazine Blick, she criticized President Bashar Assad's
government, his opponents and the international community.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general considers
accountability "critical" and "supports the continued work of the commission
as an important and integral part of the accountability process."
As for del Ponte, he said Guterres "is grateful for her service and her
contribution to the important work of the commission, also as a tireless
advocate for the cause of accountability throughout her career."
Del Ponte, who gained fame as the prosecutor for the international tribunals
that investigated atrocities in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, has repeatedly
decried the Security Council's refusal to appoint a similar court for the
Permanent members Russia, a key backer of Assad's government, and ally China
vetoed a U.N. resolution in May 2014 to refer the situation in Syria to the
International Criminal Court, the world's permanent war crimes tribunal.
"Believe me, the terrible crimes committed in Syria I neither saw in Rwanda
nor ex-Yugoslavia," del Ponte told Blick. "We thought the international
community had learned from Rwanda. But no, it learned nothing."
"I give up. The states in the Security Council don't want justice," Del
Ponte said. "I can't any longer be part of this commission which simply
doesn't do anything."
The commission was set up in August 2011 by the Geneva-based Human Rights
Council to investigate crimes in Syria, no matter who committed them. Since
then, it has compiled thousands of interviews and keeps a list of suspected
war criminals under lock and key at the offices of the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Del Pointe, who was appointed to the commission in September 2012, said she
will take part in the commission's September meeting, her last.
The commission issued a statement saying it was aware since mid-June of del
Ponte's plans to leave and insisted that its work "must continue" to help
bring perpetrators in Syria to justice.
Del Ponte's resignation shrinks the commission to two members — chair Paulo
Sergio Pinheiro and Karen AbuZayd.
Dujarric said "the commission will continue its work" and questions about a
replacement for del Ponte should go to the Human Rights Council and the
remaining commission members.
He stressed that accountability takes time.
"Information needs to be gathered in a way that will stand up wherever and
whatever circumstances people will have to face justice," Dujarric said.
"It's something we can understand is deeply frustrating to the victims first
With Security Council action blocked, the U.N. General Assembly, where there
are no vetoes, voted last December to establish an investigative body that
will assist in documenting and prosecuting the most serious violations of
international law in Syria, including possible war crimes and crimes against
Dujarric noted that the new head of this body, French judge Catherine
Marchi-Uhel, who was the ombudsperson considering appeals by individuals and
entities subject to U.N. sanctions for links to al-Qaida and the Islamic
State extremist group, starts work on Tuesday.
"It is no secret to anyone that the deadlock in the Security Council, I
think, has been a source of frustration not only for the secretary-general
but for others inside the U.N.," Dujarric said. "There's no getting around
the Security Council, and I think we have repeatedly called for greater
unity of purpose from Security Council members on the issue of Syria."
Hackers demand millions in ransom for stolen HBO data
released by HBO shows Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in an episode
of "Game of Thrones," which aired Sunday, Aug. 6.(Macall B. Polay/HBO via
By Tali Arbel, Frank
Bajak, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Hackers using the name "Mr. Smith" posted a fresh
cache of stolen HBO files online Monday, and demanded that HBO pay a ransom
of several million dollars to prevent further such releases.
The data dump included what appear to be scripts from five "Game of Thrones"
episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month's worth of email from
the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO's vice president for film programming.
There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims
against the network and job offer letters to top executives.
HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of "proprietary information,"
said it's continuing to investigate and is working with police and
cybersecurity experts. The network said Monday that it still doesn't believe
that its email system as a whole has been compromised.
This is the second data dump from the purported hacker. So far the HBO leaks
have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in
2014. In that attack, hackers unearthed thousands of embarrassing emails and
released personal information, including salaries and social security
numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees.
Those behind the HBO hack claim to have more data, including scripts,
upcoming episodes of HBO shows and movies, and information damaging to HBO.
In a video directed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, "Mr. Smith" used white text
on a black background to threaten further disclosures if HBO doesn't pay up.
To stop the leaks, the purported hackers demanded "our 6 month salary in
bitcoin," which they implied is at least $6 million.
Today in History - Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 8, the 220th day of 2017. There are 145 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon, facing damaging new revelations
in the Watergate scandal, announced he would resign the following day.
On this date:
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for St. Helena to spend the remainder
of his days in exile.
In 1911, President William Howard Taft signed a measure raising the number
of U.S. representatives from 391 to 433, effective with the next Congress,
with a proviso to add two more when New Mexico and Arizona became states.
In 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan completed its occupation
In 1942, during World War II, six Nazi saboteurs who were captured after
landing in the U.S. were executed in Washington, D.C.; two others who
cooperated with authorities were spared.
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed the U.S. instrument of
ratification for the United Nations Charter. The Soviet Union declared war
against Japan during World War II.
In 1953, the United States and South Korea initialed a mutual security pact.
In 1963, Britain's "Great Train Robbery" took place as thieves made off with
2.6 million pounds in banknotes.
In 1968, the Republican national convention in Miami Beach nominated Richard
Nixon for president on the first ballot.
In 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew branded as "damned lies" reports he
had taken kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland, and vowed not to
resign — which he ended up doing.
In 1992, AIDS activist Alison Gertz died in Westhampton Beach, Long Island,
New York, at age 26.
In 1994, Israel and Jordan opened the first road link between the two
In 2009, Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as the U.S. Supreme Court's first
Hispanic and third female justice.
Ten years ago: Space shuttle Endeavour roared into orbit with
teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan on board. Screenwriter-director Mel
Shavelson died in Studio City, California, at age 90.
Five years ago: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi fired his intelligence
chief for failing to act on an Israeli warning of an imminent attack days
before militants stormed a border post in the Sinai Peninsula and killed 16
soldiers. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States
became the first three-time gold medalists in Olympic beach volleyball
history, beating Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16 in the
One year ago: A fire and power outage at a Delta Air Lines data center in
Atlanta resulted in the cancellation of 2,300 flights over a four-day
period. Japan's 82-year-old emperor, Akihito, expressed concern about
fulfilling his duties in a public address that was remarkable for its rarity
and its suggestion that he would like to abdicate. At the Rio Olympics, Ryan
Murphy gave the Americans their sixth straight gold medal in the men's
100-meter backstroke, winning with a time of 51.97 seconds; Lilly King of
the United States has won gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke in 1
minute, 4.93 seconds.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Richard Anderson is 91. Actress Nita Talbot is 87.
Singer Mel Tillis is 85. Actor Dustin Hoffman is 80. Actress Connie Stevens
is 79. Country singer Phil Balsley (The Statler Brothers) is 78. Actor Larry
Wilcox is 70. Actor Keith Carradine is 68. Movie director Martin Brest is
66. Radio-TV personality Robin Quivers is 65. Percussionist Anton Fig is 64.
Actor Donny Most is 64. Rock musician Dennis Drew (10,000 Maniacs) is 60. TV
personality Deborah Norville is 59. Actor-singer Harry Crosby is 59. Rock
musician The Edge (U2) is 56. Rock musician Rikki Rockett (Poison) is 56.
Rapper Kool Moe Dee is 55. Rock musician Ralph Rieckermann is 55. Middle
distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton is 49. Rock singer Scott Stapp is 44.
Country singer Mark Wills is 44. Actor Kohl Sudduth is 43. Rock musician Tom
Linton (Jimmy Eat World) is 42. Singer JC Chasez ('N Sync) is 41. Actress
Tawny Cypress is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Drew Lachey (lah-SHAY') (98
Degrees) is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marsha Ambrosius is 40. Actress
Lindsay Sloane is 40. Actress Countess Vaughn is 39. Actor Michael Urie is
37. Tennis player Roger Federer is 36. Actress Meagan Good is 36. Actress
Jackie Cruz (TV: "Orange is the New Black") is 33. Britain's Princess
Beatrice of York is 29. Actor Ken Baumann is 28. Pop singer Shawn Mendes is
19. Actress Bebe Wood (TV: "The Real O'Neals") is 16.
Thought for Today: "The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." —
Sydney J. Harris, American journalist (1917-1986).
Eiffel Tower suspect says he was in touch with IS member
In this Friday, June 10, 2016 file photo, French
riot police officers patrol under the Eiffel Tower, in Paris. (AP
Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)
By Angela Charlton, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — A young French man who recently was discharged from a
psychiatric hospital is under investigation for an attempted terrorist
attack after he brandished a knife and tried to breach security at the
Eiffel Tower, authorities said Sunday.
No one was hurt in the incident late Saturday, though the tower was briefly
evacuated, according to a statement from the company that manages the
monument. The tower reopened as usual Sunday morning.
It is the latest of several attempted attacks on security forces guarding
prominent sites in France as part of heightened protective measures prompted
by deadly attacks since 2015. Monuments in the French capital are
occasionally evacuated for security reasons as part of those measures.
In Saturday's incident, the suspect tried to force his way into the secure
zone beneath the tower, held out a knife and said "Allahu akbar," the Arabic
phrase for "God is great," an official close to the investigation said. He
quickly was surrounded by security forces and surrendered, the official
said. A Paris police official said no shots were fired. Both officials
weren't authorized to be publicly named.
The suspect later told police that he had wanted to attack a soldier and had
been in touch with a member of the Islamic State group who encouraged him to
do so, according to the official close to the investigation.
The official said the claim prompted investigators to upgrade the
seriousness of the alleged offense, which originally they classified as a
common crime by someone with a history of psychiatric problems. As a result,
the probe has been handed to counterterrorism prosecutors.
The man is now under investigation for involvement in a terrorist enterprise
and an attempted terrorism-related attack on security forces.
The suspect was born in Mauritania in 1998, but has French citizenship, the
official said. His name wasn't released.
The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Saturday night in the colors of the
Paris-Saint Germain soccer club and with lights welcoming star Brazilian
striker Neymar to the team.
Fire strikes another tower in the Dubai Marina
authorities close down the road in front of the Tiger Tower after a fire
broke out on the building's 53rd floor in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Basel Radwan)
By Adam Schreck, Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A fire broke out Sunday at another
high-rise tower in the Dubai Marina, just days after a blaze struck one of
the world's tallest residential towers in the same neighborhood.
Authorities quickly extinguished Sunday's fire at the Tiger Tower and said
it injured no one. But it rattled nerves after Friday's fast-burning inferno
at the Torch Tower, which is across the street.
The fire Sunday began on clothes left on a balcony on the tower's 53rd
floor, said Capt. Amer Abdulwahab al-Qahtani of the Dubai Civil Defense. He
said investigators believe either an improperly disposed cigarette or
combustion caused by the late morning heat, which was a sunny 43 degrees
Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), ignited the blaze.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, al-Qahtani said. The Dubai Media
Office, a government agency, said the "minor fire" caused no injuries.
Early on Friday, an intense fire raged in the 86-story Torch Tower nearby.
It was the second time in 2 ฝ years that the more than 1,100-foot-tall (335
meters) tower has been ravaged by fire. The Torch, located in Dubai's
popular waterfront Marina district, also caught fire in February 2015. There
were no major casualties reported in either blaze.
The Abu Dhabi-based state-linked daily The National reported Sunday that
residents of the Torch tower were informed in June that authorities had
approved repairs to damage caused by the first fire, and that the building's
insurer was processing the claim.
No work appears to have been done so far to replace any of the building's
exterior cladding. The tower's developer and management company have not
responded to queries into whether the siding was replaced.
Dubai passed new fire safety rules earlier this year requiring buildings
with quick-burning side paneling to replace it with more fire-resistant
cladding. Authorities have previously acknowledged that at least 30,000
buildings across the UAE have cladding or paneling that safety experts have
said accelerates the rapid spread of fires.
Associated Press writer Malak Harb contributed to this report.
Rolling Stones guitarist feared the worst with cancer call
In this file
photo dated Friday March 25, 2016, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood
performs during a Rolling Stones concert in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Enric
LONDON (AP) — Rolling Stones
guitarist Ronnie Wood has revealed that he feared the worst after being
diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.
The 70-year-old guitarist says he thought it might be "time to say goodbye,"
after a doctor performing routine tests offered the news that he "had this
supernova burning away on my left lung." The musician says he just told the
doctor to get it out of him.
Wood told The Mail on Sunday that he had decided not to have chemotherapy if
results turned out to be bad. He says he decided, "I wasn't going to lose my
hair. This hair wasn't going anywhere."
He thanked doctors in May for treating a small lesion in his lung and will
undergo checks every three months.
'Dark Tower' tops slow weekend, 'Detroit' disappoints
released by Sony Pictures shows Idris Elba, left, and Matthew McConaughey in
the Columbia Pictures film, "The Dark Tower." (Ilze Kitshoff/Columbia
Pictures/Sony via AP)
By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — After a decade of development and several
postponements, the long-awaited Stephen King adaptation "The Dark Tower"
debuted with an estimated $19.5 million in North American ticket sales,
narrowly edging out the two-week leader "Dunkirk."
The modest result for "The Dark Tower," starring Idris Elba and Matthew
McConaughey, was in line with expectations heading into the weekend but well
shy of initial hopes for a possible franchise-starter.
J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard are among the directors who previously tried to
tackle King's magnum opus, a seven-book series that melds sci-fi with horror
and other genres.
But the long battle to make "The Dark Tower" ended with poor reviews and few
fireworks. Still, the movie was made for a relatively modest amount: about
$60 million, or half of what many other summer movies cost. Sony Pictures
also split costs with Media Rights Capital.
"It was always an ambitions and bold undertaking but it was made at the
right price," said Adrian Smith, president of domestic distribution for Sony
By comparison, the recent flop "Valerian and the City of a Thousand
Planets," which opened with $17 million, cost at least $180 million to make.
Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk" slid to second with $17.6
million in its third week. It's now made $133.6 million domestically. Other
holdovers — "The Emoji Movie" ($12.4 million in its second week) and "Girls
Trip" ($11.4 million in its third week) followed.
Another long-delayed film also made its debut. The Halle Berry thriller
"Kidnap" opened with $10.2 million. The film, styled after the Liam Neeson
"Taken" series," was released by the new distributor Aviron Pictures after
it bought the North American rights from Relativity. Before entering
bankruptcy, Relativity had scheduled the film's release for 2015.
But "Kidnap" still outperformed the week's other new wide release, the far
more anticipated "Detroit." The Kathryn Bigelow-directed docudrama is also
the first release for an upstart distributor.
The first film distributed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, "Detroit"
debuted with a disappointing $7.3 million after a limited release last week.
As a producer, Ellison, the Oracle heiress, has been behind some of the most
acclaimed films in recent years, including "Foxcatcher" and "American
"Detroit," the third collaboration between Bigelow and screenwriter Mark
Boal ("The Hurt Locker," ''Zero Dark Thirty"), reimagines the terror-filled
events around the Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots.
"We wish more people had showed up this weekend but we are really, really
proud of the movie," said Erik Lomis, Annapurna's distribution chief. "The
movie got an A-minus CinemaScore and the reviews have been spectacular."
Though hard-hitting, auteur-driven films are typically fall material,
Annapurna timed the release of "Detroit" to the 50th anniversary of the
riots. Lomis said the intention was to bring the film to as broad an
audience as possible.
"We believe that smart audiences actually want and will see great movies all
year round," he said.
In limited release, Taylor Sheridan's Indian reservation thriller "Wind
River," starring Jeremy Renner, debuted with a strong per-screen average of
$13,053 in four theaters. The Weinstein Co. release was written and directed
by Sheridan, the screenwriter behind the Oscar-nominated "Hell or High
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian
theaters according to comScore. Where available, the latest international
numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Dark Tower," $19.5 million ($8 million international).
2. "Dunkirk," $17.6 million ($25 million international).
3. "The Emoji Movie," $12.4 million ($12 million international).
4. "Girls Trip," $11.4 million ($1.7 million international).
5. "Kidnap," $10.2 million.
6. "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $8.8 million ($9.6 million international).
7. "Atomic Blonde," $8.2 million ($5 million international).
8. "Detroit," $7.3 million.
9. "War for the Planet of the Apes," $6 million ($31.5 million
10. "Despicable Me 3," $5.3 million ($21.2 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters
(excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. "Wolf Warrior 2," $163 million.
2. "Once Upon a Time," $38 million.
3. "War for the Planet of the Apes," $31.5 million.
4. "A Taxi Driver," $25.2 million.
5. "Dunkirk," $25 million.
6. "Despicable Me 3," $21.2 million.
7. "The Emoji Movie," $12 million.
8. "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," $11 million.
9. "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $9.6 million.
10. "Cars 3," $9.6 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:
Today in History - Monday, Aug. 7, 2017
Today is Monday, Aug. 7, the 219th day of 2017. There are 146 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 7, 1942, U.S. and other allied forces landed at Guadalcanal,
marking the start of the first major allied offensive in the Pacific during
World War II. (Japanese forces abandoned the island the following February.)
On this date:
In 1782, Gen. George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a
decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and noncommissioned officers.
In 1789, the U.S. Department of War was established by Congress.
In 1882, the famous feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the
McCoys of Kentucky erupted into full-scale violence.
In 1927, the already opened Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York, and
Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, was officially dedicated.
In 1947, the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, which carried a six-man crew 4,300
miles across the Pacific Ocean, crashed into a reef in a Polynesian
archipelago; all six crew members reached land safely.
In 1957, Oliver Hardy (the heavier half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team)
died in North Hollywood, California, at age 65.
In 1959, the United States launched the Explorer 6 satellite, which sent
back images of Earth.
In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President
Lyndon B. Johnson broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese
attacks on U.S. forces.
In 1974, French stuntman Philippe Petit (fee-LEEP' peh-TEET') repeatedly
walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York's World Trade
In 1989, a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 14 others
disappeared over Ethiopia. (The wreckage of the plane was found six days
later; there were no survivors.)
In 1998, terrorist bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224
people, including 12 Americans.
In 2010, Elena Kagan was sworn in as the 112th justice and fourth woman to
serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ten years ago: San Francisco's Barry Bonds hit home run No. 756 to break
Hank Aaron's storied record with one out in the fifth inning of a game
against the Washington Nationals, who ended up winning, 8-6.
Five years ago: Jared Lee Loughner agreed to spend the rest of his life in
prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Arizona
political gathering in 2011 and sparing the victims a lengthy, possibly
traumatic death-penalty trial. Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first
appearance on state TV in nearly three weeks. Aly Raisman became the first
U.S. woman to win Olympic gold on floor, and picked up a bronze on balance
beam on the final day of the gymnastics competition at the London Games.
Movie critic Judith Crist, 90, died in New York.
One year ago: An accident on a 17-story waterslide at Schlitterbahn
Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy. Jim
Furyk became the first golfer to shoot a 58 in PGA Tour history during the
Travelers Championship in Connecticut with a 12-under 58 in the final round.
(Furyk finished tied for fifth at 11 under, three strokes behind winner
Russell Knox.) Ichiro Suzuki tripled off the wall for his 3,000th hit in the
major leagues, becoming the 30th player to reach the milestone as the Miami
Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 10-7. At the Rio Games, British swimmer
Adam Peaty cruised to victory in the 100-meter breaststroke with a world
record time of 57.13 seconds. Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom also turned in a
world-record performance in the 100 butterfly, touching in 55.48. Katie
Ledecky of the U.S. crushed her own world record in the 400 freestyle with a
time of 3:56.46.
Today's Birthdays: Magician, author and lecturer James Randi is 89. Former
MLB pitcher Don Larsen is 88. Actress Verna Bloom is 79. Humorist Garrison
Keillor is 75. Singer B.J. Thomas is 75. Singer Lana Cantrell is 74. Former
FBI Director Robert Mueller is 73. Actor John Glover is 73. Actor David
Rasche is 73. Former diplomat, talk show host and activist Alan Keyes is 67.
Country singer Rodney Crowell is 67. Actress Caroline Aaron is 65. Comedian
Alexei Sayle is 65. Actor Wayne Knight is 62. Rock singer Bruce Dickinson is
59. Marathon runner Alberto Salazar is 59. Actor David Duchovny is 57.
Country musician Michael Mahler (Wild Horses) is 56. Actress Delane Matthews
is 56. Actor Harold Perrineau is 54. Jazz musician Marcus Roberts is 54.
Country singer Raul Malo is 52. Actor David Mann is 51. Actress Charlotte
Lewis is 50. Actress Sydney Penny is 46. Actor Michael Shannon is 43.
Actress Charlize Theron (shahr-LEES' THAYR'-ehn) is 42. Rock musician Barry
Kerch (Shinedown) is 41. Actor Eric Johnson is 38.
Actor Randy Wayne is 36. Actor-writer Brit Marling is 35. Actor Liam James
Thought for Today: "Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things:
first, in being where you belong, and second — and best — in comfortably
going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night's sleep and
not being hurt by new shoes." — Theodor Fontane, German author (1819-1898).
Update August 5 - 6 , 2017
Today in History - Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017
Today is Sunday, Aug. 6, the 218th day of 2017. There are 147 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 6, 1945, during World War II, the U.S. B-29 Superfortress Enola
Gay dropped an atomic bomb code-named "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, Japan,
resulting in an estimated 140,000 deaths. (Three days later, the United
States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki; five days after that,
Imperial Japan surrendered.)
On this date:
In 1813, during the Venezuelan War of Independence, forces led by Simon
Bolivar recaptured Caracas.
In 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war against Russia and Serbia declared war
In 1917, actor Robert Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel,
arriving in Kingsdown, England, from France in 14 1/2 hours. Warner Bros.
premiered its Vitaphone sound-on-disc movie system in New York with a
showing of "Don Juan" featuring synchronized music and sound effects.
In 1930, New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Force Crater went
missing after leaving a Manhattan restaurant; his disappearance remains a
In 1942, Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands became the first reigning queen
to address a joint session of Congress, telling lawmakers that despite Nazi
occupation, her people's motto remained, "No surrender."
In 1956, the DuMont television network went off the air after a decade of
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the second man to orbit Earth
as he flew aboard Vostok 2; his call sign, "Eagle," prompted his famous
declaration: "I am Eagle!"
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.
In 1978, Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo at age 80.
In 1986, William J. Schroeder (SHRAY'-dur) died at at Humana
Hospital-Audubon in Louisville, Kentucky, after living 620 days with the
Jarvik 7 artificial heart.
In 1997, Korean Air Flight 801 crashed into a hillside a short distance from
Guam International Airport, killing 228 of the 254 aboard the Boeing 747.
Ten years ago: The Crandall Canyon Mine in central Utah collapsed, trapping
six coal miners. (All six miners died, along with three would-be rescuers.)
President George W. Bush wrapped up two days of talks with Afghan President
Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) at Camp David. Baron Elie Robert de
Rothschild, who helped France's Rothschild winemaking and banking dynasty
recover from the ravages of World War II, died near Scharnitz, Austria, at
Five years ago: Syria's prime minister, Riad Hijab, defected two months
after being forced into the position by President Bashar Assad. Marvin
Hamlisch, 68, who composed or arranged the scores for dozens of movies
including "The Sting" and the Broadway smash "A Chorus Line," died in Los
Angeles. Art critic and historian Robert Hughes, 74, died in New York.
One year ago: The White House released a version of President Barack Obama's
3-year-old guidance on the use of lethal force against terrorists overseas,
laying out what it said were safeguards to minimize civilian deaths and
errant strikes while preserving the capability to take quick action with
drone attacks and other means. A fire swept through a birthday party at a
bar in the French city of Rouen, killing 14 people. At the Rio Olympics,
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu stormed to a world-record victory in the women's
400 individual medley on the first evening of the swimming competition,
finishing in a time of 4:26.36. Virginia Thrasher of the United States won
the first gold medal of the Games in the women's 10-meter air rifle. Brett
Favre, Tony Dungy (DUHN'-jee) and Marvin Harrison were among an eight-member
class inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Clarinetist Pete
Fountain, a Dixieland jazz virtuoso, died in New Orleans at age 86.
Today's Birthdays: Children's performer Ella Jenkins is 93. Actor-director
Peter Bonerz is 79. Actress Louise Sorel is 77. Actor Michael Anderson Jr.
is 74. Actor Ray Buktenica is 74. Actor Dorian Harewood is 67. Actress
Catherine Hicks is 66. Rock singer Pat MacDonald (Timbuk 3) is 65. Country
musician Mark DuFresne (Confederate Railroad) is 64. Actress Stepfanie
Kramer is 61. Actress Faith Prince is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Randy
DeBarge is 59. Actor Leland Orser is 57. Actress Michelle Yeoh (yoh) is 55.
Country singers Patsy and Peggy Lynn are 53. Basketball Hall of Famer David
Robinson is 52. Actor Jeremy Ratchford is 52. Actor Benito Martinez is 49.
Country singer Lisa Stewart is 49. Movie writer-director M. Night Shyamalan
(SHAH'-mah-lahn) is 47. Actress Merrin Dungey is 46. Singer Geri Halliwell
Horner is 45. Actor Jason O'Mara is 45. Singer-actor David Campbell is 44.
Actress Vera Farmiga is 44. Actress Ever (cq) Carradine is 43. Actress
Soleil (soh-LAY') Moon Frye is 41. Actress Melissa George is 41. Rock singer
Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes) is 36. Actor Leslie Odom Jr. is 36. Actress
Romola Garai is 35. Rock musician Eric Roberts (Gym Class Heroes) is 33.
Thought for Today: "No man ever got very high by pulling other people down.
The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker
does not work those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock
your enemies. Don't knock yourself." — Alfred, Lord Tennyson, British poet
Huff, puff, pass? AG's pot fury not echoed by task force
General Jeff Sessions attends a news conference at the Justice Department in
Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Andrew Harnik)
By Sadie Gurman, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The betting was that law-and-order Attorney General
Jeff Sessions would come out against the legalized marijuana industry with
guns blazing. But the task force Sessions assembled to find the best legal
strategy is giving him no ammunition, according to documents obtained by The
The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors
and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy
recommendations to advance the attorney general's aggressively
anti-marijuana views. The group's report largely reiterates the current
Justice Department policy on marijuana.
It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the
Obama administration's more hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance
that has allowed the nation's experiment with legal pot to flourish. The
report was not slated to be released publicly, but portions were obtained by
Sessions, who has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and blamed it
for spikes in violence, has been promising to reconsider existing pot policy
since he took office six months ago. His statements have sparked both
support and worry across the political spectrum as a growing number of
states have worked to legalize the drug.
Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals, who object to the human
costs of a war on pot, and some conservatives, who see it as a states'
rights issue. Some advocates and members of Congress had feared the task
force's recommendations would give Sessions the green light to begin
dismantling what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar pot
industry that helps fund schools, educational programs and law enforcement.
But the tepid nature of the recommendations signals just how difficult it
would be to change course on pot.
Some in law enforcement support a tougher approach, but a bipartisan group
of senators in March urged Sessions to uphold existing marijuana policy.
Others in Congress are seeking ways to protect and promote pot businesses.
The vague recommendations may be intentional, reflecting an understanding
that shutting down the entire industry is neither palatable nor possible,
said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies
marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force.
"If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney
general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney
general that the recommendations are the best they can do without
embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails," he
The task force suggestions are not final, and Sessions is in no way bound by
them. The government still has plenty of ways it can punish weed-tolerant
states, including raiding pot businesses and suing states where the drug is
legal, a rare but quick path to compliance. The only one who could override
a drastic move by Sessions is President Donald Trump, whose personal views
on marijuana remain mostly unknown.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Rather than urging federal agents to shut down dispensaries and make mass
arrests, the task force puts forth a more familiar approach.
Its report says officials should continue to oppose rules that block the
Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in
states where it is allowed. Sessions wrote to members of Congress in May
asking them — unsuccessfully so far — to undo those protections. The Obama
administration also unsuccessfully opposed those rules.
The report suggests teaming the Justice Department with Treasury officials
to offer guidance to financial institutions, telling them to implement
robust anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious transactions
involving businesses in states where pot is legal. That is already required
by federal law.
And it tells officials to develop "centralized guidance, tools and data
related to marijuana enforcement," two years after the Government
Accountability Office told the Justice Department it needs to better
document how it's tracking the effect of marijuana legalization in the
Most critically, and without offering direction, it says officials "should
evaluate whether to maintain, revise or rescind" a set of Obama-era memos
that allowed states to legalize marijuana on the condition that officials
act to keep it from migrating to places where it is still outlawed and out
of the hands of criminal cartels and children. Any changes to the policy
could impact the way pot-legal states operate.
The recommendations are not surprising because "there's as much evidence
that Sessions intends to maintain the system and help improve upon it as
there is that he intends to roll it back," said Mason Tvert, who ran
Colorado's legalization campaign. He pointed to Sessions' comment during his
Senate confirmation hearing that while he opposed legalization, he
understood the scarcity of federal resources and "echoed" the position of
his Democratic predecessors.
But in July, he sent letters to Colorado and Washington that stirred
concern, asking how they would address reports they were not adequately
regulating the drug.
It remains unclear how much weight Sessions might give the recommendations.
He said he has been relying on them to enact policy in other areas. Apart
from pot, the task force is studying a list of criminal justice issues. The
overall report's executive summary says its work continues and its
recommendations "do not comprehensively address every effort that the
Department is planning or currently undertaking to reduce violent crime."
China sentences ex-provincial leader to life for corruption
Wang Min, the former Communist Party leader of
Liaoning Province, appears in court in Luoyang in central China's Henan
Province. (Xinhua via AP)
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court sentenced the ex-Communist Party chief
of a rust-belt province that had been hit by massive electoral fraud to life
imprisonment for accepting bribes worth more than $22 million.
A court in the central city of Luoyang on Friday handed down the sentence to
Wang Min, the former party leader of Liaoning province, after convicting him
of bribery, corruption and negligence of duty, the official People's Daily
Wang was accused of accepted money and valuables worth more than 146 million
yuan ($22 million) and abusing his power when he served as a senior official
in Jilin and Liaoning provinces between 2004 and 2016, state media reported.
He was also found guilty of negligence that was "responsible for serious
election fraud including vote buying."
Allegations of electoral fraud led to the removal of many of the Liaoning
legislature's nearly 600 members in September last year. The legislature
nominally oversees the province, though all key decisions are made by the
ruling Communist Party.
President Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a hallmark of his
administration in an effort to bolster his legitimacy. In 2016 alone,
prosecutions were reportedly launched against 48 officials at the provincial
level and above.
In June, the former head of China's statistics bureau was sentenced to life
in prison after being convicted of taking bribes equivalent to more than $22
million over more than two decades.
Diplomat: $1 billion in NKorea exports would be banned by UN
In this July
28, 2017, file photo shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14
intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North
Korea.(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A proposed new U.N. sanctions resolution would
significantly increase economic pressure on North Korea to return to
negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs by banning mineral and
seafood exports worth over $1 billion — a third of its total exports last
year, a Security Council diplomat said Friday.
The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, would also ban
countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers —
another source of money for Kim Jong Un's regime. And it would prohibit all
new joint ventures with North Korean companies, and ban new foreign
investment in existing joint ventures.
Egypt, which holds the Security Council presidency, said a vote on the draft
resolution has been scheduled at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
The proposed new sanctions follow North Korea's first successful tests of
intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States on
July 3 and July 27. The Security Council has already imposed six rounds of
sanctions that have failed to halt North Korea's drive to improve its
ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.
The draft resolution condemns the launches "in the strongest terms" and
reiterates previous calls for North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile
launches and abandon its nuclear weapons and nuclear program "in a complete,
verifiable, and irreversible manner."
The United States spent weeks following the initial ICBM launch negotiating
the text with China, North Korea's neighbor and ally.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to speak publicly, called it the "most impactful and expansive
set of sanctions to date" and said the resolution is expected to be approved
Agreement on the draft to be put to a vote followed U.S. Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson's comments Wednesday reassuring North Korea that Washington
isn't seeking regime change or an accelerated reunification of the Korean
Peninsula — comments welcomed by China's foreign minister.
Tillerson also said the U.S. wants to talk eventually with North Korea, but
doesn't think discussions would be productive if the North comes with the
intention of maintaining its nuclear weapons. North Korea has repeatedly
said it will never give up its nuclear arsenal, which it sees as a guarantee
of its security.
The draft resolution reiterates language in previous Security Council
resolutions supporting a return to six-party talks with the goal of
denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, expressing the Security Council's
commitment "to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the
situation," and reiterating the importance of maintaining peace and
stability in northeast Asia.
It also expresses regret at North Korea's "massive diversion of its scarce
resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of
expensive ballistic missile programs" noting U.N. findings that well over
half the population lacks sufficient food and medical care and a quarter of
the population suffers from chronic malnutrition.
While the draft resolution would impose biting economic sanctions, the U.S.
didn't get everything it wanted.
In early July, U..S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that
if it was united, the international community could cut off major sources of
hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons
programs, increase air and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials
Oil was not included in the draft resolution and neither are new air
But the draft resolution would ban all exports of coal, iron, lead and
According to the diplomat, coal has been North Korea's largest export,
earning $1.2 billion last year which was then restricted by the Security
Council to a maximum $400 million. This year, Pyongyang was estimated to
earn $251 million from iron and iron ore exports, $113 million from lead and
lead ore exports, and $295 million from seafood exports, the diplomat said.
That total's over $1 billion. It's unclear exactly how much money North
Korea earns from sending workers overseas but in 2015 the U.N. special
investigator on human rights in North Korea, Marzuki Darusman, estimated it
was earning between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion annually.
Under the draft, countries would be unable to hire any new North Korean
The proposed resolution would also add nine North Koreans, mainly officials
or representatives of companies and banks, to the U.N. sanctions blacklist,
banning their travel and freezing their assets. It would also impose an
asset freeze on two companies and two banks.
The diplomat called the Foreign Trade Bank "a very critical clearing house
for foreign exchange." The Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies,
which was also added to the list, is described in the draft resolution as
engaged in exporting workers for construction, including of monuments, in
Africa and Southeast Asia.
The draft resolution asks the Security Council committee monitoring
sanctions against North Korea to ban the import of many more so-called
"dual-use items" that have commercial use but can also be used in
conventional weapons or biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
It would also give a green light for the committee to designate specific
vessels that are breaking sanctions from entering ports all over the world,
and to work with INTERPOL to enforce travel bans on North Koreans on the
Hit song 'Despacito' becomes most viewed video on YouTube
April 27, 2017 file photo, singers Luis Fonsi, left and Daddy Yankee perform
during the Latin Billboard Awards in Coral Gables, Fla. On Friday, Aug. 4,
2017.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
By Mesfin Fekadu, AP Music Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The music video for the No. 1 hit song "Despacito"
has a new record — it's become the most popular clip on YouTube of all-time
with more than three billion views.
YouTube announced Friday that Luis Fonsi's ubiquitous song with Daddy Yankee
has surpassed previous record holder "See You Again," the song by Wiz
Khalifa and Charlie Puth from the "Furious 7" soundtrack.
"Despacito" became an international smash hit this year, topping the
Billboard Hot 100 chart. The record-breaking video does not include the
popular remix with Justin Bieber; that version has been viewed more than 464
"Despacito" is on track to become the first video to reach three billion
views on YouTube. The video is also the most "liked" video on YouTube.
Today in History - Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017
Today is Saturday, Aug. 5, the 217th day of 2017. There are 148 days left in
Today's Highlights in History:
On August 5, 1957, the teenage dance show "American Bandstand," hosted by
Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC-TV. The British cartoon character
Andy Capp, created by Reginald Smythe, first appeared in the Daily Mirror.
On this date:
In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut led his fleet to
victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama.
In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty's pedestal was laid on
Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
In 1924, the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" by Harold Gray made its
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Labor
Board, which was later replaced with the National Labor Relations Board.
In 1936, Jesse Owens of the United States won the 200-meter dash at the
Berlin Olympics, collecting the third of his four gold medals.
In 1953, Operation Big Switch began as remaining prisoners taken during the
Korean War were exchanged at Panmunjom.
In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home;
her death was ruled a probable suicide from "acute barbiturate poisoning."
South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was arrested; it was
the beginning of 27 years of imprisonment.
In 1967, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," the first Pink Floyd album, was
released in the United Kingdom on the Columbia label.
In 1969, the U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mars, sending back
photographs and scientific data.
In 1974, the White House released transcripts of subpoenaed tape recordings
showing that President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman,
had discussed a plan in June 1972 to use the CIA to thwart the FBI's
Watergate investigation; revelation of the tape sparked Nixon's resignation.
In 1986, it was revealed by Arts & Antiques magazine that artist Andrew
Wyeth had, over a 15-year period, secretly created some 240 drawings and
paintings of a woman named Helga Testorf, a neighbor in Chadds Ford,
In 1991, Democratic congressional leaders formally launched an investigation
into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign had secretly conspired with Iran
to delay release of American hostages until after the presidential election,
thereby preventing an "October surprise" that supposedly would have
benefited President Jimmy Carter. (A task force later concluded there was
"no credible evidence" of such a deal.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai
(HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) began meeting at Camp David to discuss security
issues in Afghanistan. Lorena Ochoa (lohr-AY'-nah oh-CHOH'-uh) won the
Women's British Open — the first women's professional tournament played at
venerable St. Andrews — for her first major title. Cardinal Jean-Marie
Lustiger (zhahn mah-REE' loos-tih-ZHAY'), one of the most influential Roman
Catholic figures in France, died in Paris at age 80. Comedian Stanley Myron
Handelman died in Panorama City, California, at age 77.
Five years ago: A gunman opened fire, killing six people at a Sikh temple
near Milwaukee before shooting himself dead during an exchange of fire with
one of the first officers to respond. The robotic explorer Curiosity blazed
through the pink skies of Mars, steering itself to a gentle landing inside a
giant crater. Jamaica's Usain Bolt pulled away from the pack and crossed the
finish line to claim consecutive gold medals in the marquee track and field
event at the Summer Games in London. Britain's Andy Murray cruised past
Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the men's tennis singles final. Serena and
Venus Williams won the women's doubles title, beating Andrea Hlavackova and
Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. A visibly disappointed
McKayla Maroney took silver in the women's vault; Sandra Izbasa of Romania
won the gold.
One year ago: The opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics took place in Rio
de Janeiro as Brazil laced its high-energy party with a sobering message of
the dangers of global warming.
Today's Birthdays: Actor John Saxon is 81. College Football Hall of Famer
and former NFL player Roman Gabriel is 77. Country songwriter Bobby Braddock
is 77. Actress Loni Anderson is 72. Actress Erika Slezak is 71. Rock singer
Rick Derringer is 70. Actress Holly Palance is 67. Singer Samantha Sang is
64. Rock musician Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister) is 62. Actress-singer Maureen
McCormick is 61. Rock musician Pat Smear is 58. Author David Baldacci is 57.
Actress Tawney Kitaen is 56. Actress Janet McTeer is 56. Country musician
Mark O'Connor is 56. Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing is 55. Actor
Mark Strong is 54. Director-screenwriter James Gunn is 51. Actor Jonathan
Silverman is 51. Country singer Terri Clark is 49. Retired MLB All-Star John
Olerud is 49. Rock musician Eicca Toppinen (EYE'-kah TAH'-pihn-nehn)
(Apocalyptica) is 42. Country musician Will Sellers (Old Dominion) is 39.
Actor Jesse Williams is 37. Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett is 31. Actress Meegan
Warner (TV: "TURN: Washington's Spies") is 26. Actor Albert Tsai is 13.
Thought for Today: "What worries you, masters you." — John Locke, English
Trump says he hopes for 'honest' outcome of Russia probe
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign-style rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena
in Huntington, W.Va., Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
By Darlebe Superville, Associated
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday he
hopes for a "truly honest" outcome from the Russia investigation that has
consumed the opening months of his presidency, and he challenged Democrats
to either continue their "obsession with a hoax" or begin serving the
interests of the American people.
At a boisterous campaign rally in Trump-friendly West Virginia, Trump
slammed the investigation as a "fake story that is demeaning to all of us
and most of all demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution."
He commented hours after news broke that Robert Mueller, the special counsel
leading the investigation, had empaneled a grand jury in the case.
"I just hope the final determination is a truly honest one, which is what
the millions of people who gave us our big win in November deserve and what
all Americans who want a better future want and deserve," Trump told
thousands of cheering, sign-waving supporters packed into an arena in
Trump overwhelmingly won the state in the November election, partly due to
his promises to revive a slumping coal industry.
The president, who remains agitated over the investigation into allegations
of coordination between his campaign associates and Russian government
officials, said Democrats have a decision to make.
"They can continue their obsession with the hoax or they can serve the
interests of the American people," he said.
Trump maintains there were no ties between his campaign and Russia and says
no wrongdoing was committed. His frustration over the investigation peaked
in recent weeks as he began attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions for
recusing himself from the investigation. Sessions, most recently a U.S.
senator, was an early and ardent Trump supporter.
"Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign. We didn't win
because of Russia. We won because of you," he told the cheering crowd in
Trump argued that Democrats are pushing the "totally made-up Russia story"
because "they have no message, no agenda and no vision."
"The Russia story is a total fabrication. It's just an excuse for the
greatest loss in the history of American politics," he said, referring to
his victory over Hillary Clinton. "It just makes them feel better when they
have nothing else to talk about."
His suggestion for Democrats: "Try winning at the voter booth. Not going to
be easy, but that's the way you're supposed to do it."
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
Toyota, Mazda plan EV partnership, possible US plant
In this May 13, 2015 file photo, Toyota Motor
Corp. President Akio Toyoda, left, and Mazda Motor Corp. President Masamichi
Kogai pose for photographers prior to a press conference in Tokyo.(AP
Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
By Tom Krisher, Yuri Kageyama, AP
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor
Corp. are partnering in electric vehicles with a deal that may lead to
setting up an assembly plant in the U.S.
The Japanese Nikkei business daily reported Friday the agreement will
include working toward setting up a U.S. joint-venture plant and cooperation
on electric vehicle technology.
Toyota said in a statement that it plans to propose to its board a
partnership with Mazda. It gave no further details. Mazda declined comment.
A person briefed on the matter, who did not want to be identified because an
official announcement hasn't been made, confirmed the partnership.
President Donald Trump has been urging Toyota and other Japanese automakers
to invest and build more vehicles in the U.S.
Using the same plant to build vehicles can improve cost-efficiency.
EVs have become an increasingly competitive market segment because of
concerns about global warming and the environment.
Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co., which is allied with Renault SA of France
and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., is the global leader in electric vehicles.
In the past, Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus
luxury models, was not overly bullish on electric vehicles, noting the
limited cruise range of the technology. But recent breakthroughs in
batteries allows for longer travel per charge.
The Nikkei reported that two Japanese automakers are negotiating an
agreement in which Toyota will take about a 5 percent stake in Mazda.
Mazda, which makes the Miata roadster, would also take a stake in Toyota,
according to the report.
In 2015, Toyota and Mazda agreed to find new areas where they can work
together, but they had not announced specifics.
Toyota already provides hybrid technology to Mazda, which also makes compact
cars for Toyota at its Mexico plant.
Mazda, based in Hiroshima, Japan, used to have a powerful partner in
Dearborn-based Ford Motor Co., which bought 25 percent of Mazda in 1979, and
raised it to 33.4 percent in 1996. But Ford began cutting ties in 2008, and
has shed its stake in Mazda.
Toyota is vying for the spot of the world's No. 1 automaker in global
vehicle sales against Nissan-Renault and Volkswagen AG of Germany, as the
industry gradually consolidates.
A capital tie-up with Mazda would be the latest addition to Toyota's
sprawling empire, which includes Japanese truck maker Hino Motors and
minicar maker Daihatsu Motor Co. It is also the top shareholder in Fuji
Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars.
Krisher reported from Detroit.
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama
Australia police: Men tried to get bomb on Sydney plane
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner
Michael Phelan, right, and New South Wales state Police Deputy Commissioner
David Hudson discuss details of the charging of two men with terrorism
offenses in Sydney, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
By Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press
SYDNEY (AP) — Two men facing terrorism charges in Australia were
involved in an aborted attempt to place an improvised explosive device on an
Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney last month in a plot directed by the
Islamic State group, police said Friday.
One of the men, a 49-year-old from Sydney, brought the device to Sydney
airport on July 15 in a piece of luggage that he had asked his brother to
take with him on the flight — without telling the brother that the bag
contained explosives, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael
Phelan told reporters. But for reasons still unclear, the bag never got past
the check-in counter. Instead, Phelan said, the man left the airport with
the bag, and his brother continued onto the flight without it.
"This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on
Australian soil," Phelan said. "If it hadn't been for the great work of our
intelligence agencies and law enforcement over a very quick period of time,
then we could well have a catastrophic event in this country."
The details Phelan provided on Friday are the first that officials have
released since four men were arrested in a series of raids in Sydney last
weekend. Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, have been charged with
two counts of planning a terrorist act. A third man remains in custody,
while a fourth was released without charge. Khaled Khayat's brother has not
been charged in connection with the plot, because police believe he had no
idea the bag contained explosives, Phelan said.
Lawyer Michael Coroneos appeared on behalf of Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat at a
brief court hearing on Friday, and the case was adjourned until Nov. 14.
Police have not detailed the men's relationship.
"They're entitled to the presumption of innocence," Coroneos said outside
court, declining to answer any other questions.
The components for the device, including what Phelan described as a
"military-grade explosive," were sent by a senior Islamic State member to
the men in Sydney via air cargo from Turkey. An Islamic State commander then
instructed the two men who have been charged on how to assemble the device,
which police have since recovered, Phelan said.
After the July 15 bid failed, the men changed tactics and were in the early
stages of devising a chemical dispersion device, which they hoped could
release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide, Phelan said. No specific targets had
been chosen, though an Islamic State member overseas had given the men
suggestions about where such devices could be placed, such as crowded areas
or on public transport.
"Hydrogen sulfide is very difficult to make, so I want to make it quite
clear that while it may be a hypothetical plot, we were a long way from
having a functional device," Phelan said. "There were precursor chemicals
that had been produced, but we were a long way from having a functioning
Police had no idea either of the plans were in the works until they received
a tip through intelligence agencies on July 26, Phelan said. They arrested
the men on July 29.
The allegation that the Islamic State was able to ship explosives to
Australia undetected was troubling, Phelan acknowledged.
"All the security agencies and those responsible for security of cargo and
so on have put in place extra measures since that time," Phelan said. "It is
a concern that it got through, yes, it's hard to deny that."
Phelan said police still don't know precisely why the bag containing the
explosives never made it past the check-in counter. Some theories are that
it was too heavy, or that Khaled Khayat simply chickened out. After learning
of the plot, Phelan said police made a similar mock IED and ran it through
the airport's luggage system, and it was detected by security.
One of the men charged was put in touch with the Islamic State commander
police believe directed the plot in April, Phelan said. He declined to
release the Islamic State commander's name.
If convicted, the men could face a sentence of life in prison.
Vietnam regrets Germany's accusation it kidnapped exile
image provided on Aug. 2, 2017 shows Trinh Xuan Thanh, a businessman and
former functionary of Vietnam's Communist Party sitting on a park bench in
Berlin, Germany. (dpa via AP)
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam
said Thursday that it regretted comments by the German Foreign Ministry
accusing Vietnamese intelligence services of kidnapping a former Vietnamese
oil executive who's wanted back home on embezzlement charges.
German authorities believe Trinh Xuan Thanh was snatched in Berlin and gave
the Vietnamese intelligence attache 48 hours on Wednesday to leave the
Thanh faces embezzlement charges, which carry the death penalty. He had
sought asylum in Germany but his application had not been processed yet
while Vietnamese authorities sought his extradition.
Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters that
the comments were "very regrettable" and that Thanh turned himself in to
police in Vietnam on July 31.
"Vietnam always attaches importance to and wishes to develop strategic
relations with Germany," she said, without elaborating.
Thanh, 51, disappeared in July last year after he was initially accused of
mismanagement at a subsidiary of national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam,
resulting in losses of some $150 million. Vietnamese police issued an arrest
warrant in September. In March, police opened an investigation into
embezzlement over his alleged involvement in a property development project.
Thanh was chairman of PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corporation
until 2013, when he was appointed to several senior government positions,
including vice chairman of Hau Giang province in the southern Mekong Delta.
He was elected to the National Assembly in May 2016, but was dismissed from
the Communist-dominated legislature before its first session the following
month. He was also stripped of his Communist Party membership.
Vietnam's ambassador to Germany was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on
Tuesday and was told that Germany demanded that Thanh be returned so that
the asylum and extradition proceedings could be conducted properly.
Today in History - Friday, Aug. 4, 2017
Today is Friday, Aug. 4, the 216th day of 2017. There are 149 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 4, 1892, businessman Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby, were axed
to death in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden, Andrew's
daughter from a previous marriage, was accused of the killings, but
acquitted at trial.
On this date:
In 1782, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber at St.
Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.
In 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard had its beginnings as President George
Washington signed a measure authorizing a group of revenue cutters to
enforce tariff and trade laws and prevent smuggling.
In 1792, English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born at Field Place
near Horsham, England.
In 1830, plans for the city of Chicago were laid out.
In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany for invading Belgium; the United
States proclaimed its neutrality in the mushrooming world conflict.
In 1936, Jesse Owens of the U.S. won the second of his four gold medals at
the Berlin Olympics as he prevailed in the long jump over German Luz Long,
who was the first to congratulate him.
In 1942, the Irving Berlin musical "Holiday Inn," starring Bing Crosby, Fred
Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds, and featuring the song "White Christmas,"
premiered in New York.
In 1944, 15-year-old diarist Anne Frank was arrested with her sister,
parents and four others by the Gestapo after hiding for two years inside a
building in Amsterdam. (Anne and her sister, Margot, died at the
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.)
In 1964, the bodies of missing civil rights workers Michael Schwerner,
Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were found buried in an earthen dam in
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a measure establishing the Department
In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 to abolish the
Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and television stations to present
balanced coverage of controversial issues.
In 1991, the Greek luxury liner Oceanos sank in heavy seas off South
Africa's southeast coast; the 402 passengers and 179 crew members all
survived, largely through the efforts of ship's entertainers who oversaw
(Capt. Yiannis Avranas and other officers faced criticism for leaving the
ship while some passengers were still on board.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush toured the site of a collapsed
highway bridge in Minneapolis, pledging to cut red tape that could delay
rebuilding. Three students, Iofemi Hightower, Terrance Aeriel and Dashon
Harvey, were shot to death execution-style in a Newark, New Jersey,
schoolyard. (Six people have since been sentenced to long prison terms.)
NASA launched the Phoenix Mars Lander, a robotic dirt and ice digger, toward
the red planet (it arrived in May 2008). Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's 755
career home runs as his San Francisco Giants lost 3-2 to the San Diego
Padres. Alex Rodriguez became at age 32 the youngest player in major league
history to date to hit 500 home runs with a first-inning homer in a 16-8
Yankees victory over Kansas City.
Five years ago: Michael Phelps won the 18th Olympic gold medal of his career
as the United States won the medley relay at the London Games. The United
States set a world record to win the women's medley relay. Serena Williams
beat Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to join Steffi Graf as the only women to
complete the Golden Slam — winning the Olympics and the four majors. Three
British athletes won gold medals in Olympic Stadium: Jessica Ennis in
heptathlon; Greg Rutherford in men's long jump; and Mo Farah in the men's
One year ago: Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, President Barack Obama
vigorously denied that a $400 million cash payment to Iran was ransom to
secure the release of four Americans jailed in Tehran. During a practice
session on the eve of the Rio Olympics, South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-ju took
a smiling selfie with North Korean gymnast Hong Un Jong in a warmly received
scene captured by journalists.
Today's Birthdays: Actress-singer Tina Cole is 74. Actor-comedian Richard
Belzer is 73. Football Hall of Famer John Riggins is 68. Former Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales is 62. Actor-screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton is 62.
Actress Kym Karath (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 59. Hall of Fame track
star Mary Decker Slaney is 59. Actress Lauren Tom is 58. Former President
Barack Obama is 56. Producer Michael Gelman (TV: "Live with Kelly & Ryan")
is 56. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens is 55. Actress Crystal
Chappell is 52. Author Dennis Lehane is 52. Rock musician Rob Cieka (Boo
Radleys) is 49. Actor Daniel Dae Kim is 49. Actor Michael DeLuise is 48.
Race car driver Jeff Gordon is 46. Rapper-actress Yo-Yo is 46. Country
singer Jon Nicholson is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Marques (MAR'-kus)
Houston is 36. Actress Meghan Markle is 36. Actress Abigail Spencer is 36.
Actress Greta Gerwig is 34. Country singer Crystal Bowersox (TV: "American
Idol") is 32. Rock singer Tom Parker (The Wanted) is 29. Actors Dylan and
Cole Sprouse are 25. Singer Jessica Sanchez (TV: "American Idol") is 22.
Thought for Today: "When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start
coming out." — Elizabeth Bowen, Irish author (1899-1973).
Pentagon: 2 US service members killed in Afghanistan blast
shout slogans during a demonstration in western Herat province of
Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)
By Kathy Gannnon, Associated
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bombing attack on a NATO convoy
in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday left two American service members dead,
a Pentagon spokesman said, despite repeated refusals by the U.S. military in
Afghanistan to say whether there were any deaths in the assault claimed by
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed the casualties in the attack near Kandahar
city. The Pentagon's decision to release the figures seemed to contradict
orders issued two months ago by Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S.
commander in Afghanistan, barring information about U.S. combat deaths until
days after the incident.
There was no information on the number of troops wounded.
U.S. military officials in Afghanistan refused to give any information about
casualties, even after the Pentagon released the casualty figures.
Nicholson's orders stifling information from the U.S. military in
Afghanistan was met with opposition from within the Pentagon, where
officials reportedly tried to resolve the impasse. However, the decision by
the Pentagon to release Wednesday's casualty figures would seem to indicate
that the issue has gone unresolved two months into the order.
Nicholson said the reason for the delay was to allow time for notification
of family. Yet it upends Pentagon practice since the Vietnam era, and gives
the public less information and transparency into a war that has raged for
16 years, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries.
The Taliban quickly took responsibility for the attack, and a spokesman for
the insurgents said the bombing allegedly killed 15 soldiers but the Taliban
routinely exaggerate their gains and casualty figures.
In their claim of responsibility, the Taliban also said the attack destroyed
two armored tanks. The insurgents' spokesman for southern Afghanistan, Qari
Yusuf Ahmadi, said fighter Asadullah Kandahari was the "hero" who carried
out the attack with a small pick-up truck packed with explosives.
Kandahar province was the Taliban spiritual heartland and the headquarters
of their leadership during the five-year rule of the Taliban, which ended
with the U.S. invasion in 2001.
The service members were part of an international force referred to as the
Train, Advise and Assist Command south, a reference to their location in the
country. Five other countries besides the United States are stationed in the
south __ Australia, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, said U.S.
military spokesman in Afghanistan Lt. Damien E. Horvath.
Ghulam Ali, who runs a mechanics shop near the attack site on the outskirts
of the city of Kandahar, said the intensity of the blast knocked him out.
When he came to, he saw a military vehicle on fire on the road. He stepped
out of his shop but a sudden burst of gunfire drove him back inside, he
said. Then, helicopters arrived and he saw soldiers being taken away from
the scene but could not determine the extent of their injuries.
The combined U.S. and NATO troop contingent currently in Afghanistan is
about 13,500. The Trump administration is deciding whether to send about
4,000 or more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan in an attempt to stem Taliban
Nicholson's orders to withhold
information about troop casualties distance him from U.S. military
commanders in all of the other combat regions of the world - including Iraq
The attack in southern Kandahar came as thousands of demonstrators in the
western city of Herat transported 31 bodies, the victims of a horrific
suicide attack on a Shiite mosque a day earlier, to the residence of the
Protesters were outraged at the audacity of Tuesday evening's attack, barely
150 feet (50 meters) from a police station. The suicide bomber first sprayed
gunfire at the private guards, who were protecting the mosque before running
inside firing until his rifle jammed, said witnesses. He then detonated the
explosives strapped to his body.
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan took responsibility for the
attack saying they had deployed two suicide bombers. Witnesses reported a
second explosion 10 minutes after the first bomber blew himself up.
When the carnage ended 32 people were dead and 66 injured, said the
provincial governor's spokesman Jilani Farhad.
The IS said in a statement that the two men, whom it identified as Amir
Qassim and Tayeb al-Kharasani, also used automatic rifles in the Shiite
mosque before they detonated themselves.
The statement claimed that the attack killed nearly 50 and wounded more than
The U.N. Security Council condemned "the heinous and cowardly terrorist
attack" in Herat "in the strongest terms." In a statement late Wednesday,
council members underlined the need "to bring perpetrators, organizers,
financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan on Monday had warned it would
strike Shiites after taking credit for an attack on the Iraq Embassy in the
heart of the Afghan capital Kabul. The Sunni militant group considers Shiite
Muslims as apostates.
Tuesday's attack in Herat targeting Afghanistan's minority Shiites, just a
day after the Kabul attack, has frightened Shiites and put further pressure
on the Afghan government that is increasingly seen to be impotent to stop
Also on Wednesday the Taliban ambushed and killed Jaghatu District Gov.
Manzur Hussain and a passenger in his car, Ghazni provincial police chief
Mohammad Mustafa Mayar said.
The Taliban have stepped up their attacks in recent weeks hitting district
headquarters, government officials and Afghan National Security Forces with
Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, Mir Wais Khan in
Kandahar, Afghanistan, Bassem Mrouse in Beirut and Lolita Baldor in
Washington contributed to this report.
Congress OKs big boost in GI Bill college aid for veterans
By Hope Yen, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress sent President Donald Trump legislation to
provide the biggest expansion of college aid for military veterans in a
The Senate cleared the bill by voice vote on Wednesday, passing the second
piece of legislation aimed at addressing urgent problems at the beleaguered
Department of Veterans Affairs in as many days. The House passed the
bipartisan college aid legislation last week.
The measure is a broad effort to better prepare veterans for life after
active-duty service amid a rapidly changing job market.
Building on major legislation passed in 2008 that guaranteed a full-ride
scholarship to any in-state public university — or a similar cash amount for
private college students — the bill removes a 15-year time limit to tap into
GI benefits and increases money for thousands in the National Guard and
Veterans would get additional payments if they complete science, technology
and engineering courses. The bill also would restore benefits if a college
closed in the middle of the semester, a protection added when thousands of
veterans were hurt by the collapse of for-profit college giant ITT Technical
Institute and Corinthian Colleges.
Purple Heart recipients, meanwhile, would be fully eligible for benefits,
regardless of length of time in service.
"This bill invests in the proven success of our veterans," said Sen. Johnny
Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. "When our
veterans return home, they should have every opportunity available to them
to pursue their desired profession and career."
The panel's top Democrat, Jon Tester of Montana, says the bill "also does
right by Guardsmen and Reservists by getting them the education, housing and
health care that they have earned. I look forward to working with President
Trump to quickly sign our bill into law."
Tester is one of the more vulnerable Democrats up for re-election next year,
seeking another term in a state Trump won last year.
The Senate on Tuesday backed a measure that authorizes $3.9 billion in
emergency spending to avert imminent bankruptcy in the VA's Veterans Choice
Program of private-sector care. About $1.8 million of that money would
bolster core VA programs, including 28 leases for new VA medical facilities.
The education benefits would take effect for enlistees who begin using their
GI Bill money next year.
For a student attending a private university, the additional benefits to
members of the Guard and Reserve could mean $2,300 a year more in tuition
than they are receiving now, plus a bigger housing allowance.
A wide range of veterans' groups had supported the expanded GI Bill
benefits. The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, hailed
the proposal as launching a "new era" for those who served in uniform.
According to Student Veterans of America, only about half of the 200,000
service members who leave the military each year go on to enroll in a
college, while surveys indicate that veterans often outperform peers in the
Veterans of Foreign Wars estimates that hundreds of thousands of veterans
stand to gain from the new benefits.
The expanded educational benefits would be paid for by bringing living
stipend payments under the GI Bill down to a similar level as that received
by an active-duty member, whose payments were reduced in 2014 by 1 percent a
year for five years. Total government spending on the GI Bill is expected to
be more than $100 billion over 10 years.
Follow Hope Yen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hopeyen1
Trump blasts Russia sanctions bill _ but still signs it
In this July
31, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White
House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
By Vivian Salama, Richard
Lardner, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dealt a striking congressional rebuke, Donald Trump
grudgingly signed what he called a "seriously flawed" package of sanctions
against Russia on Wednesday, bowing for the moment to resistance from both
parties to his push for warmer ties with Moscow.
Trump signed the most significant piece of legislation of his presidency
with no public event. And he coupled it with a written statement, resentful
in tone, that accused Congress of overstepping its constitutional bounds,
impeding his ability to negotiate with foreign countries and lacking any
ability to strike deals.
"Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of
talking," he said scornfully of lawmakers' recent failure to repeal
"Obamacare" as he and other Republicans have promised for years. "As
president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than
Still, he said, "despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake
of national unity."
It was powerful evidence of the roadblock Congress has erected to Trump's
efforts to reset relations with Russia at a time when federal investigators
are probing Moscow's interference in the U.S. presidential election and
possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
The legislation is aimed at penalizing Moscow for that interference and for
its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed
President Bashar Assad.
The law also imposes new financial sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Trump said the law will "punish and deter bad behavior" by the governments
of Iran and North Korea as well as enhance existing sanctions on Moscow. But
he made no secret of his distaste for what the bill does to his ability to
"The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on
the executive branch's authority to negotiate," he said.
Last week, the House overwhelmingly backed the bill, 419-3, and the Senate
rapidly followed, 98-2. Those margins guaranteed that Congress would be able
to beat back any veto attempt.
Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusions of U.S. intelligence
agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 campaign with the intention of
tipping the election in his favor.
He's blasted the federal investigation as a "witch hunt."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the president's concerns over the bill
"Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our
democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea and destabilizing
Ukraine," McCain said. "Going forward, I hope the president will be as vocal
about Russia's aggressive behavior as he was about his concerns with this
Trump's talk of extending a hand of cooperation to Putin has been met by
skeptical lawmakers looking to limit his leeway. The new measure targets
Russia's energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from
easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.
Russia wasn't pleased. Putin responded on Sunday by announcing the U.S.
would have to cut 755 of its embassy and consular staff in Russia. And Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an emotional Facebook post Wednesday that
"Trump's administration has demonstrated total impotence by surrendering its
executive authority to Congress in the most humiliating way."
The congressional review section of the bill that Trump objects to was a key
feature for many members of Congress.
Trump will be required to send a report explaining why he wants to suspend
or terminate a particular set of the sanctions on Russia. Lawmakers would
then have 30 days to decide whether to allow that.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed the president's sentiments that the
measure poses more diplomatic hindrances than solutions.
"Neither the president nor I are very happy about that," Tillerson said
Tuesday. "We were clear that we didn't think that was going to be helpful to
our efforts, but that's the decision they made."
Sean Kane, a former official with the Treasury Department's Office of
Foreign Assets Control, said the Obama administration had sought similar
wiggle room when negotiating Iran sanctions with lawmakers.
"These issues have come up before where an administration wants flexibility
in place in a deal that would potentially lift sanctions, and Congress wants
to tie the administration's hands in some ways," said Kane, now at the law
firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
Trump said that Congress had "included a number of clearly unconstitutional
Last winter, just before Trump was sworn in, a bipartisan group of senators
unveiled a bill designed to go beyond the punishments already levied against
Russia by the Obama administration and to demonstrate to Trump that
forcefully responding to Moscow's election interference wasn't a partisan
Action on Russia sanctions didn't really pick up until late May, when Sen.
Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, threw his
support behind the effort. The bill underwent revisions to avoid
inadvertently undercutting U.S. firms or interfering with how European
allies acquire energy.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle celebrated the passage and signing.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the bill sends a "powerful message to
our adversaries that they will be held accountable for their actions."
But the House's top Democrat said Trump's statement calling the bill
"seriously flawed" raises questions about whether his administration will
follow the law. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Republican-led
Congress must not allow the White House to "wriggle out of its duty to
impose these sanctions for Russia's brazen assault on our democracy."
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report from
Crowd-funded animated short about gay love goes viral
released by Ringling College of Art and Design shows a scene from the
animated short, "In a Heartbeat," by filmmakers Beth David and Esteban
Bravo. David and Bravo released the film online Monday where it quickly
began trending on Twitter. (Ringling College of Art and Design via AP)
Joseph Longo, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An animated short film about an adolescent gay
couple has gone viral, roughly 8 million views on YouTube in just two days.
"In a Heartbeat" follows an elementary school boy addressing his sexuality
after falling in love with a male classmate. Filmmakers Beth David and
Esteban Bravo released the film Monday online.
The short quickly began trending, gaining a particular following amongst
LGBT advocates including singer Adam Lambert and actor Ashton Kutcher. The
Human Rights Campaign posted the video on Twitter Tuesday afternoon and
praised the film for its relatability.
Hayley Miller, the organization's senior digital media manager, said the
film is a testament to saying, "Love is love."
"We've all had a crush or a broken heart," Miller wrote in an email. "Using
no words, it validates this young boy's experience and the way all LGBTQ
youth should be embraced."
The filmmakers launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2016 to fund the
project, reaching the initial goal of $3,000 in three hours. A total of
$14,000 was raised.
"In a Heartbeat" is a semi-finalist for best animated domestic film at the
2017 Student Academy Awards. The filmmakers produced the short at Ringling
College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida as their senior thesis. They
did not respond to online messages seeking an interview.
Paul Dergarabedian, comScore senior media analyst, said it's not surprising
the film found success through the crowd-funding website. Calling the short
a picture-perfect scenario, he said the most successful Kickstarter
campaigns go viral.
"It shows the power of utilizing social media as a way to provide resources
to realize people's creative vision," he said.
Research shows young LGBT characters and storylines are way underrepresented
in both short and feature length films.
In 2016, only three out of 4,544 speaking characters in the top 100 grossing
films were LGBT teenagers or younger, according to a report released Monday.
There was just one out of 4,370 in 2015, according to data compiled by the
Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern
California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Project administrator Marc Choueiti said younger LGBT characters are also
rarely seen in short films.
In a separate study, the researchers evaluated films screening at Lunafest,
a national short film festival. They found that between 2002 and 2015, 115
short films had four characters who identified themselves as LGBT teenagers.
Lead researcher Stacy L. Smith said shorts often showcase different
worldviews than in top grossing full-length features.
Smith said "In A Heartbeat" is an outlier along with "The Imitation Game,"
''Moonlight" and the Freeform show "The Fosters" in showcasing experiences
of LGBT youth.
"People aren't seeing rich, complex and compelling LGBT youth," she said.
"The short should be applauded for representing the world we live in."
Follow Joseph Longo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/josephlongo_
Today in History - Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017
Today is Thursday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2017. There are 150 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a
voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.
On this date:
In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr went on trial before a federal
court in Richmond, Virginia, charged with treason. (He was acquitted less
than a month later.)
In 1916, Irish-born British diplomat Roger Casement, a strong advocate of
independence for Ireland, was hanged for treason.
In 1921, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis refused to reinstate
the former Chicago White Sox players implicated in the "Black Sox" scandal,
despite their acquittals in a jury trial.
In 1936, Jesse Owens of the United States won the first of his four gold
medals at the Berlin Olympics as he took the 100-meter sprint.
In 1943, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army
hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. (Patton was later ordered by
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar
In 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed as a merger of the
Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League.
In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel
to cross the North Pole underwater.
In 1966, comedian Lenny Bruce, whose raunchy brand of satire and dark humor
landed him in trouble with the law, was found dead in his Los Angeles home;
he was 40.
In 1972, the U.S. Senate ratified the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between
the United States and the Soviet Union. (The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from
the treaty in 2002.)
In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from
President Ronald Reagan they would be fired, which they were.
In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29
witnesses tying President Ronald Reagan directly to the diversion of
arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.
In 1994, Arkansas carried out the nation's first triple execution in 32
years. Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest justice
in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's Vermont summer
Ten years ago: Toyota said its April-June 2007 profit had jumped 32.3
percent to a then-record high for a quarter, lifted by strong overseas sales
and a weaker yen. Iraqis welcomed home their soccer team, which had won the
Five years ago: The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Syria's
crackdown on dissent in a symbolic effort meant to push the deadlocked
Security Council and the world at large into action on stopping the
country's civil war. Michael Phelps rallied to win the 100-meter butterfly
for his third gold of the London Games and No. 17 of his career. Missy
Franklin set a world record in the 200 backstroke for the 17-year-old's
third gold in London. Falling at speeds of up to 220 mph, 138 skydivers
shattered the vertical skydiving world record as they flew heads-down in a
massive snowflake formation in northern Illinois. (This record was in turn
eclipsed in 2015 by 164 skydivers plunging over central Illinois.)
One year ago: President Barack Obama cut short the sentences of 214 federal
inmates, including 67 life sentences, in what the White House called the
largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century. An
Emirates Boeing 777 crash-landed in Dubai and caught fire; all 300 people on
board survived, but one firefighter was killed.
Today's Birthdays: Football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy is 92. Singer Tony
Bennett is 91. Actor Martin Sheen is 77. College and Pro Football Hall of
Famer Lance Alworth is 77. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 76. Singer
Beverly Lee (The Shirelles) is 76. Rock musician B.B. Dickerson is 68. Movie
director John Landis is 67. Actress JoMarie Payton is 67. Actor Jay North
(TV: "Dennis the Menace") is 66. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne is 66.
Country musician Randy Scruggs is 64. Actor Philip Casnoff is 63. Actor John
C. McGinley is 58. Rock singer-musician Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats) is 56.
Actress Lisa Ann Walter is 56. Rock singer James Hetfield (Metallica) is 54.
Rock singer-musician Ed Roland (Collective Soul) is 54. Actor Isaiah
Washington is 54. Country musician Dean Sams (Lonestar) is 51. Rock musician
Stephen Carpenter (Deftones) is 47. Hip-hop artist Spinderella (Salt-N-Pepa)
is 46. Actress Brigid Brannagh is 45. Actor Michael Ealy is 44. Country
musician Jimmy De Martini (Zac Brown Band) is 41. NFL quarterback Tom Brady
is 40. Actress Evangeline (ee-VAN'-gel-een) Lilly is 38. Actress Mamie
Gummer is 34. Olympic gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte is 33. Country singer
Whitney Duncan is 33. Actor Jon Foster is 33. Actress Georgina Haig is 32.
Singer Holly Arnstein (Dream) is 32. Actress Tanya Fischer is 32. Pop-rock
musician Brent Kutzle (OneRepublic) is 32. Rapper D.R.A.M. is 29.
Thought for Today: "The man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness
before he decides, never decides." — Henri Frederic Amiel (ahn-REE'
fred-deh-REEK' ah-mee-EL'), Swiss critic (1821-1881).
Man freed after airline plot arrest shocked to be questioned
In this Sunday, May 4, 2014 file photo, an
Etihad Airways plane prepares to land in Abu Dhabi Airport, United Arab
Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A man arrested over the weekend in Sydney
has been released without charge and was shocked to be questioned about a
plot to bring down an airliner, his lawyer and police said Wednesday.
Four Lebanese-Australian men had been arrested late Saturday by police who
also reportedly seized a meat grinder that investigators thought may be the
basis of a bomb.
Abdul Merhi, 50, was released from police custody on Tuesday night,
Australian Federal Police said. "This investigation remains ongoing and
further information will be provided at an appropriate time," the police
Merhi's lawyer Moustafa Kheir said his client had endured intense
questioning. "There's a lot of stress associated there, and not knowing, and
he was shocked that he was being questioned," Kheir said.
The lawyer said Merhi's family was also in shock and his life had been
"turned upside down" but he wanted to return to as normal a life as
"It's just unfathomable that he would be associated with anything like
this," Kheir added.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters he would not draw any
conclusions beyond one man's release. "I know my circumspection is
disappointing, but you can understand there are very big issues of public
safety at stake here so you'll forgive me if I'm circumspect. More will be
said, more will be revealed, at the appropriate time," he added.
A court has allowed police to hold the men for seven days without charge
under counterterrorism laws designed to prevent an attack.
Australian officials will not comment on reports that the arrests followed a
tip from U.S. or British intelligence agencies that had intercepted
communications from Syria.
Australian authorities have said they thwarted a credible terrorist plot to
down an airplane by smuggling a device onboard. They have provided few
details, including the precise nature of the threat or any airlines
The United Arab Emirates' national airline said it is working with
Australian police in the ongoing investigation, suggesting one of its planes
may have been targeted in the plot. Etihad Airways, the smallest of three
long-haul Gulf carriers that fly to Australia, refused to confirm, however,
if it had been a target.
"The Etihad Airways aviation security team is assisting the Australian
Federal Police with its investigation and the matter is ongoing," it said.
"Etihad is complying fully with the enhanced security measures at airports
in Australia and monitoring the situation closely. Safety is the airline's
number one priority."
Etihad operates direct flights to four Australian cities: Brisbane,
Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The airline has built strong ties to the
country, buying a stake in alliance partner Virgin Australia, featuring Down
Under stars including Nicole Kidman in advertising and sponsoring
Melbourne's soccer team and its home stadium.
Australian media outlets have reported that the conspirators wanted to
target a flight to the Middle East, possibly the Emirati city of Dubai, but
they failed to get the device onboard, so they changed their focus to an
Australian domestic airline.
Etihad's hub in Abu Dhabi is 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Dubai's main
airport, the world's busiest for international flights.
Dubai-based Emirates, the largest Mideast carrier, said it was cooperating
on the additional security procedures but did not say whether it is involved
in the investigation.
Australia's Nine Network television reported on Tuesday that one of the
suspects had tried to check in on an international flight, and that might
have been a test run to see if they could get a meat grinder on board as
Officials have refused to comment on media reports that the plot was to
conceal explosives or chemicals that would emit toxic gas inside a piece of
Associated Press writer Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
contributed to this report.
Lawsuit: Fox coordinated with White House on false story
headlines scroll above the Fox News studios in the News Corporation
headquarters building in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard
By David Bauder, Jill
Colvin, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawsuit filed Tuesday lays out an explosive tale of
Trump allies, the White House and Fox News Channel conspiring to push a
false story about Democratic leaks and an unsolved killing in order to
distract attention from the Russia investigation that has been swirling
around the president.
The lawsuit was filed against Fox by an investigator who had been looking
into the killing of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff
member killed in 2016 in what police say was a botched robbery. The
investigator alleges that Fox quoted him as saying things he never said and
was willing to show President Donald Trump its story before it was posted
It's the second time in two days that Trump has been accused of being
actively involved in pushing a public narrative to lower the heat of the
Russia story. The Washington Post reported that the president had written a
misleading statement for his son to give to The New York Times about Donald
Trump Jr.'s meeting last summer with a Russian who promised dirt on Democrat
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Rich's death has become fodder for conspiracy theorists, deeply angering the
27-year-old's family. In May, the story was thrust into the headlines again
when Fox posted a story on its website in which investigator Rod Wheeler
said there had been contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, the organization
that posted a trove of DNC emails last year. The story was heavily promoted
by Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has informally advised the president.
In the lawsuit, Wheeler now says that he never made that statement. He also
contends he was told his false comments were put in the story because Trump
wanted it that way.
Rich's family released a statement Tuesday night supporting the lawsuit.
"While we can't speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that
this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in
our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth,"
the family wrote.
Fox says it's "completely erroneous" to suggest it pushed the story to
distract from the Russia investigation. Wheeler has made contradictory
statements regarding the case and is simultaneously filing a racial
discrimination lawsuit against the network, represented by a lawyer who has
other lawsuits against Fox.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had no
knowledge of the false story before it was posted and that it was
"completely untrue" that the White House had any role in shaping it.
Wheeler, a Fox contributor on law enforcement issues, said he was brought
into the Rich case by donor and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky. He says
Butowsky, who has also made occasional guest appearances on Fox News, was
intent on establishing a link between Rich and WikiLeaks.
Two days before the Fox article was published, Wheeler said he got a text
message from Butowsky: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just
read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to
you. But don't feel the pressure."
Butowsky said in a phone interview Tuesday he has never met Trump and his
text message to Wheeler about the president reading the article was
Fox removed the story from its website a week after it was published, saying
"it was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we
require for all of our reporting." Hannity ultimately backed away, saying he
was acting out of respect for Rich's family.
Wheeler also said that he and Butowsky had met with outgoing White House
press secretary Sean Spicer and showed Spicer notes on Wheeler's
investigation. Spicer asked to be kept informed, the lawsuit said.
Spicer plays down the importance of that meeting.
"Ed is a longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in
the media," Spicer said Tuesday. "He asked for a 10-minute meeting, with no
specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a
contributor to Fox News. As Ed himself has noted, he has never met the
president and the White House had nothing to do with his story."
On the day the Fox story was posted, Spicer was asked about the report that
Rich had emailed WikiLeaks. He said, "I'm not aware of that" and did not
mention that he had met with Butowsky and Wheeler a month earlier.
One of Trump's attorneys, Jay Sekulow, also devoted attention to the Rich
story during several Hannity appearances in May, before his hiring by Trump
"There's a lot more to this, I would suspect," Sekulow said on the May 18
show, which Hannity devoted almost entirely to a discussion about Rich. "You
can't ignore the fact that it was a DNC staffer. You can't ignore the fact
that there was nothing taken from the individual's body."
He said that while he hadn't seen "the files" on Rich, the incident
"undercuts" the argument that Russians interfered in the election.
At the time, Trump was facing news stories about the investigations into
Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible ties between his campaign
aides and Moscow. He continues to blast the inquiries as a "witch hunt"
aimed at discrediting his election win and tries to focus attention on
Clinton, who has largely faded from the headlines.
Jay Wallace, Fox News president, says, "The accusation that FoxNews.com
published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the
Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous." Malia Zimmerman was a Fox
producer on the story.
"The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we
have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman," Wallace said.
In May, Wheeler told Fox's local affiliate in Washington that he
"absolutely" had sources at the FBI saying that there was information that
could link Rich to WikiLeaks. But the station noted that Wheeler
subsequently said contradictory things to other news organizations, and the
station could not contact him again.
Fox News Channel's prime-time opinion hosts, particularly Hannity, make no
secret of their admiration for Trump. But any charges that the network
worked with Trump on a false story could harm the reputations of the
Trump has fostered an unusually close relationship with Fox and many of its
personalities, particularly Hannity.
Hannity gave Trump a frequent platform for non-challenging interviews during
the campaign, along with advice on air and behind the scenes. The "Fox and
Friends" morning show also is a Trump favorite.
Jill Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Donna Cassata
in Washington and Shelley Acoca in New York contributed.
Islamic school seeks to steer sons of militants to new path
In this July 22, 2017, photo, former radical
preacher Khairul Ghazali, top, teaches at Al Hidayah Islamic Boarding School
in Sei Mencirim, North Sumatra, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
By Niniek Karmini, Associated Press
SEI MENCIRIM, Indonesia (AP) — The slim boys in Muslim caps and robes
at the Al Hidayah Islamic boarding school are grinning bolts of energy who
love football, need a little coaxing to do their math and Quran lessons
assiduously and aspire to become policemen or respected preachers.
Their school, like many in rural Indonesia, started as a modest affair with
a dusty yard, spartan sleeping quarters and an open-air classroom with a
dirt floor and corrugated iron roofing. The boys, though, have been spoken
to roughly by villagers, the school's banners and billboards trampled and
burned, and its head teacher reported to police.
The 20 pupils are the sons of Islamic militants, reviled by most Indonesians
for killings and other acts of violence that they justified with distorted
interpretations of Islam. Nearly half of the boys' fathers were killed in
police raids, and in some cases the children witnessed the deaths. Most of
the other fathers are in prison for terrorism offenses.
Al Hidayah's founder, Khairul Ghazali, is a former radical preacher whose
involvement in militancy stretches back decades. He was recruited at age 19
by Abdullah Sungkar, the now-deceased leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror
group responsible for attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed
more than 200 people.
Nowadays, the soft-spoken Ghazali, 52, professes to be a changed man who
wants to atone by preventing his young charges, who were ostracized and
taunted at mainstream schools, from becoming the next generation of
Indonesian jihadists. His three sons attend the school.
A turning point, he said, came in 2010 when anti-terror police raided his
home in North Sumatra and shot dead two other militants, wanted for killing
police officers, in front of him, his wife and children. In prison, he dwelt
on his decades of jihad and in the hours spent poring over the Quran found
his past wanting. With the encouragement of prison officials, he wrote
several books against radicalism, earning the enmity of other jihadists who
denounced him as an infidel who deserves death.
"It's hurt our innocent children. It's hurt us," said Ghazali, who was
released in 2015 after serving four years for offenses that included a major
bank robbery to fund attacks. "Stigmatization, poverty and the fact that
many innocent people were killed and the destruction we caused all
accumulated into an inner torment."
Ghazali's school in North Sumatra is supported by counterterrorism officials
but is only a small dent in a largely undiscussed problem. By his reckoning,
there are at least 2,000 sons and daughters of killed and imprisoned
militants at risk of becoming battle fodder for a new wave of jihadism.
Indonesia has had successes in rooting out violent militants but officials
acknowledge risks remain. A 2015 Pew survey of Indonesians showed that 4
percent, or about 10 million people, had a favorable attitude toward the
Islamic State group. A survey by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting in
May this year showed 9 percent support Indonesia, the world's most populous
Muslim nation, changing from a secular to an Islamic state. A few Islamic
boarding schools churn out students susceptible to violent radicalization.
The IS group's declaration of a caliphate over swaths of territory it
temporarily held in Iraq and Syria, and more recently the occupation of the
southern Philippine city of Marawi by IS sympathizers, has provided a
psychological boost to militant networks in Indonesia that had been atomized
by a sustained crackdown. As the group's territory in the Middle East
shrinks, officials fear Indonesians who fought there, or in Marawi, will
return to Indonesia and provide leadership and skills that could help
produce more lethal attacks.
Sitting in a classroom just after dawn with students whose ages range from 9
to 15, Ghazali tells them stories about the life of the Prophet Muhammad to
show them, he said, that Islam is a religion of love and mercy, not an
ideology to justify a war against police, currently the most frequent target
of militant attacks in Indonesia.
Abdullah, 13, and his two younger brothers were sent by their mother to
Ghazali's boarding school last year because of the hostility they faced at
their regular school.
"I can't stand the taunts at school," he said, his lips trembling. "I
dropped out when I was in the third grade and I had to move from place to
place. I was insulted as a terrorist kid when my father was in prison. I was
Abdullah said his favorite activities at school are football and Arabic
lessons. He aspires to become an Islamic teacher because "there are many
people who claim to know Islam but actually they don't know what Islam is
and how to practice it."
The initial hostility the school faced when it opened in 2015 has faded.
Local police talked to villagers, raising awareness about its purpose. A
stream of officials from the district and provincial governments and the
military visited to show their support.
Villager Hendra Widiarto, who lives about 300 meters (yards) from the
school, said lack of information about it and its makeshift appearance made
locals suspicious, and they became confrontational when they learned about
the backgrounds of Ghazali and the students.
Nowadays, Widiarto, a carpenter, helps Ghazali make cabinets and bookshelves
for the school. Every Friday, people from surrounding villages and students
from government schools come to Al Hidayah to pray.
"If ever possible, I want my own two children to learn morals and discipline
at this school," he said.
At the request of the National Agency for Counter-Terrorism, the local
government last year provided 30 hectares of land next to the school and
agency's chief collected donations from companies and businessmen that
allowed a substantial mosque and two sturdy classrooms, painted lime green,
for up to 60 students to be built. The original open-air classroom now has a
tiled floor and construction of better living quarters will start next
month; Ghazali said that will allow the boarding school to also accept the
daughters of militants and kids with ordinary backgrounds.
Another school that can cater to 100 students has been set up with the
counterterrorism agency's assistance in Lamongan, the East Java hometown of
three brothers who assembled a massive bomb used in the 2002 Bali attack.
"These children are victims of their parents' wrong ideology," said Suhardi
Alius, chief of the counterterrorism agency, who wants schools for children
of jihadists to be established in areas known as hotbeds of Islamic
militancy such as Poso in Sulawesi and Bima in West Nusa Tenggara.
"If these children are not rescued they will follow what their parents did,"
Alius said, citing the example of the 19-year-old son of executed Bali
bomber Imam Samudra who police say was killed in a battle in Syria in 2015.
Alius describes Ghazali as "totally changed" and taking the right course by
drawing on his experience to prevent others from taking up violence.
"The state should support him because people become radical not within a day
or two, but it takes a long process, so to deradicalize them we also need a
long process," he said.
Six teachers from provincial schools are voluntarily helping Ghazali and his
wife teach the standard national curriculum plus religious studies, Arabic
and farming at Al Hidayah.
One of them, Muhammad Haris Iskandar, 51, a math teacher and vice director
at a public school in Medan, Indonesia's third-largest city, said he left
his formal job because of the rare challenge offered by Al Hidayah.
"This school is very special for me," he said.
He and the other volunteers are not only educators and motivators, but also
healers and role models for children traumatized by their family's
radicalism and society's reaction to it, Iskandar said.
The teachers also need to be combative and argue persuasively, he said,
because the students sometimes doubt what they are taught about Islam when
they compare it with what they absorbed from their parents.
For example, he said, they have questioned why non-Muslims should not be
regarded as infidels who can be killed.
Dimas, 14, said he regrets the crimes of his father, who was arrested in
2014 for trafficking drugs to fund extremism and is serving a 10-year prison
"I study here because I want to repent as my father was a criminal," said
the teen, who dreams about becoming a policeman and arresting drug
"Many people say that my father likes to hit people and is a murderer," he
said. "I don't understand why he should kill people."
Poles commemorate Warsaw Uprising on 73rd anniversary
People stand on the city's main intersection
holding burning flares to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the 1944
Warsaw Uprising in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Alik
By Vanessa Gera, Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Sirens wailed across Poland's capital on
Tuesday as the country marked the 73rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, a
doomed revolt against the occupying Germans during World War II.
Sirens sounded for about two minutes starting at 5 p.m., the hour the 1944
uprising began, bringing traffic mostly to a standstill while people stopped
to pay respect to the Poles who fought and died.
President Andrzej Duda, veterans, scouts and others took part in ceremonies,
as did several thousand far-right extremists who marched through Warsaw.
The German Embassy in Warsaw flew its flags — a German and a European Union
flag — at half-staff to honor the victims.
The Warsaw Uprising broke out August 1, 1944, with the Polish underground
taking up arms against the powerful Nazi forces, hoping to liberate the city
before the arrival of the Soviet Red Army. They held out for 63 days before
the Germans crushed the revolt.
It was the largest act of resistance in any nation under German occupation
during the war. The heroism of insurgents who fought for national liberation
remains a defining element in Polish national identity.
The Germans suppressed the rebellion brutally, destroying most of Warsaw and
killing around 200,000 people, most of them civilians.
Soviet troops who had arrived on the outskirts of Warsaw in their westward
push against Adolf Hitler's forces remained on the city's outskirts without
helping the Poles who were supposed to be their allies. The Red Army's
inaction was viewed as a deep betrayal.
U.S. President Donald Trump paid homage to the "desperate struggle to
overthrow oppression" during a July 6 visit to Warsaw.
Trump recalled that the Soviets "watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed
the city, viciously murdering men, women and children."
The 1944 uprising by the Polish resistance came more than a year after Jews
confined to the Warsaw Ghetto and about to be sent to death camps took up
arms against the Nazis. That revolt also ended in tragedy for the Jews.
Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 2, the 214th day of 2017. There are 151 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 2, 1776, members of the Second Continental Congress began
attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.
On this date:
In 216 B.C., during the Second Punic War, Carthaginian forces led by
Hannibal defeated the Roman army in the Battle of Cannae.
In 1876, frontiersman "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot and killed while playing
poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, by Jack McCall, who was
In 1892, movie producer Jack L. Warner was born in London, Ontario, Canada.
In 1923, the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in
San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president.
In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge issued a written statement to reporters:
"I do not choose to run for President in nineteen twenty-eight."
In 1939, Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
urging creation of an atomic weapons research program. President Roosevelt
signed the Hatch Act, which prohibited civil service employees from taking
an active part in political campaigns.
In 1943, during World War II, U.S. Navy boat PT-109, commanded by Lt. (jg)
John F. Kennedy, sank after being rammed in the middle of the night by the
Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands. Two crew members were
In 1967, the crime drama "In the Heat of the Night," starring Sidney Poitier
and Rod Steiger, premiered in New York.
In 1974, former White House counsel John W. Dean III was sentenced to one to
four years in prison for obstruction of justice in the Watergate cover-up.
(Dean ended up serving four months.)
In 1985, 137 people were killed when Delta Air Lines Flight 191, a Lockheed
L-1011 Tristar, crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate. (The
Iraqis were later driven out in Operation Desert Storm.)
In 1997, "Naked Lunch" author William S. Burroughs, the godfather of the
"Beat generation," died in Lawrence, Kansas, at age 83.
Ten years ago: Mattel apologized to customers as it recalled nearly a
million Chinese-made toys from its Fisher-Price division that were found to
have excessive amounts of lead in their paint. A Marine Corps squad leader
was convicted at Camp Pendleton, California, of murdering an unarmed Iraqi
man during a frustrated search for an insurgent. (Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins
III was sentenced to 11 years in prison; he served more than half of his
sentence before his conviction was overturned. Although convicted in a 2015
retrial, Hutchins received no additional prison time.) Two small Russian
submarines completed a voyage below the North Pole where they planted the
country's flag on the Arctic Ocean floor.
Five years ago: Kofi Annan resigned as peace envoy to Syria, blaming the
Syrian government's intransigence, the growing militancy of Syrian rebels
and a divided U.N. Security Council that he said failed to forcefully back
his effort. Gabby Douglas became the third American in a row to win
gymnastics' biggest prize when she claimed the all-around Olympic title;
Michael Phelps added to his medal collection with his first individual gold
medal of the London Games in the 200-meter individual medley.
One year ago: President Barack Obama castigated Donald Trump as "unfit" and
"woefully unprepared" to serve in the White House, and challenged
Republicans to withdraw their support for their party's nominee, declaring
"there has to come a point at which you say 'enough.'"
President Obama welcomed Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (lee
shyehn loong) to the White House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of U.S.
diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian city state. A bus plowed into
a highway pole in California's heavily agricultural San Joaquin (san
wah-KEEN') Valley, killing four passengers. Actor David Huddleston ("The Big
Lebowski"), 85, died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Nehemiah Persoff is 98. Former Sen. Paul Laxalt,
R-Nev., is 95. Rock musician Garth Hudson (The Band) is 80. Singer Kathy
Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 74. Actor Max Wright is 74. Actress Joanna
Cassidy is 72. Actress Kathryn Harrold is 67. Actor Butch Patrick (TV: "The
Munsters") is 64. Rock music producer/drummer Butch Vig (Garbage) is 62.
Singer Mojo Nixon is 60. Actress Victoria Jackson is 58. Actress Apollonia
is 58. Actress Cynthia Stevenson is 55. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is 53.
Rock musician John Stanier is 49. Writer-actor-director Kevin Smith is 47.
Actress Jacinda Barrett is 45. Actor Sam Worthington is 41. Figure skater
Michael Weiss is 41. Actor Edward Furlong is 40. Rock musician Devon Glenn
is 37. TV meteorologist Dylan Dreyer (TV: "Today") is 36. Singer Charli XCX
is 25. Actress Hallie Eisenberg is 25.
Thought for Today: "The trouble with this country is that there are too many
people going about saying, 'The trouble with this country is...'" — Sinclair
Lewis, American author (1885-1951).
Kelly shows his clout: Scaramucci out as WH chief moves in
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appears at
event where President Donald Trump was to bestow the Medal of Honor to
retired Army medic James McCloughan during a ceremony in the East Room of
the White House in Washington, Monday, July 31, 2017.(AP Photo/Pablo
By Jonathan Lemire,Catherine Lucey, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Firmly taking charge in an unruly White House,
former Gen. John Kelly moved in Monday as President Donald Trump's new chief
of staff and immediately made sure that Trump's profanity-spouting new
communications director was shown the door, ignominiously ousted after less
than two weeks on the job.
It was the latest head-snapping sequence of events at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, but Trump dismissed any talk of disarray. He insisted in a morning
tweet there was "No WH chaos," then followed up in the evening with a
satisfied "great day at the White House."
Aiming to instill some discipline in the White House, Kelly showed Anthony
Scaramucci the door just days after the new communications director had
unleashed an expletive-laced tirade against senior staff members that
included vulgar broadsides at then-chief of staff Reince Priebus. In short
order, Priebus was pushed aside and replaced by Kelly, whose arrival led in
turn to Scaramucci's departure.
The communication director's tenure was the stuff of Shakespearian drama —
though brief enough to be just a morbid sonnet.
Scaramucci's exit underscored the challenges that Kelly, the former homeland
security chief, faces in bringing order to a West Wing where a wide swath of
aides have reported directly to the president, feeling free to walk into
Trump's Oval Office or buttonhole him in the hallway to lobby for
conflicting agendas. Backstabbing among aides has been rife, and rival camps
have jockeyed for position.
And then there is president himself, who uses tweets at all hours to fling
out new policy announcements, insult critics and even go after fellow
Republicans who don't toe his line.
The ongoing investigation into Russia's meddling in the election is another
source of unease. Monday night, The Washington Post reported that Trump
himself had dictated the July 8 statement in which his son Donald Jr.
described a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.
The statement said Trump Jr. and other top figures in the Trump campaign
"primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" with
the lawyer. Emails released later by Trump Jr. showed that the meeting was
suggested to the Trump campaign as a means to deliver damaging material
about Trump's election opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said Monday night of the Post story, "Apart from
being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate
and not pertinent."
The Associated Press has reported previously that Trump approved of the
statement, which was crafted on the flight back from the Group of 20 summit
in Germany in early July.
On Kelly's first day, the White House put out word that the retired
four-star general had free rein to tighten the chain of command.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Kelly "has the full authority
to carry out business as he sees fit" and that all White House staffers will
report to him, including powerful aides such as Trump's daughter, Ivanka
Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Kelly "will bring new structure, discipline and strength" to the White
House, she said.
The chief of staff took his oath of office early Monday in an Oval Office
ceremony thronged by senior staffers, including Scaramucci. But a short time
later, Kelly told the communications director he was out, leading Scaramucci
to offer his resignation instead, according to four White House staffers and
outside advisers not authorized to speak publicly about personnel matters.
In the brief, cold words of the White House announcement, Scaramucci was
leaving because he "felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a
clean slate and the ability to build his own team." The three-sentence
release concluded, "We wish him all the best."
The statement revived the "clean slate" language that former White House
press secretary Sean Spicer had used to describe his own reason for
resigning on the day Trump brought Scaramucci aboard.
Scaramucci was escorted from the White House grounds, becoming yet another
high-ranking official to leave an administration that is barely beyond the
six-month mark. He was the third person to hold the communications director
title in that time.
While in most administrations the chief of staff closely manages the
president's time and others' access to the Oval Office, Priebus never was
able to prevent Trump from continuing the same disorderly style he had
created atop his business.
Scaramucci had been blocked from joining the administration during the
transition by Priebus, only to eventually be hired by Trump a week-and-half
ago. That decision, over the objections of Priebus and Bannon, led to the
resignation of Spicer and fueled Scaramucci's profane vows of vengeance
against White House staffers who had opposed him or leaked to the press.
Days of negative news coverage of Scaramucci's crass rant did not sit well
with the president, though Trump himself is no stranger to using coarse
language, including boasts of groping women in a 2005 Access Hollywood tape
leaked last year.
"The president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for
a person in his position," Sanders said when asked about the ouster.
Bannon also told allies that the communications director was a negative
distraction. And though Bannon had clashed with Kelly over the
implementation of Trump's first travel ban, he pledged to work closely with
the new chief of staff.
Scaramucci's allies floated the idea of Scaramucci returning to his chief
strategy officer post at the Export-Import Bank. Sanders said he "does not
have a role at this time" with the Trump administration.
As the Scaramucci news spread, Kelly was in the East Room, smiling and
taking pictures with guests who had gathered for a Medal of Honor
presentation. A jovial Spicer also was in attendance, saying he was there to
assist with the communications transition, though Sanders said she was not
aware of any plans for him to resume his old job.
After swearing in Kelly, Trump convened his full Cabinet, including Attorney
General Jeff Sessions, the target of recent public rebukes from the
president. Sanders later brushed aside talk of yet another abrupt shuffle:
the idea of Sessions leaving the Justice Department to replace Kelly at
Homeland Security. The president has no such plans, she said.
Trump, for his part, ignored the turmoil and declared that his
administration was humming along smoothly.
"Overall, I think we're doing incredibly well. The economy is doing
incredibly well, and many other things."
Lemire reported from New York. Additional reporting by Associated Press
writers Jill Colvin, Josh Boak and Vivian Salama.
Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Lucey at
Don't try this: Thieves steal iPhones from moving truck
A Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 file photo of a
customer setting up his new iPhone 7 Plus, right, as he switches from the
iPhone 6 at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL., during the
release of the Apple iPhone 7. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch police arrested five Romanian men
suspected of stealing iPhones worth 500,000 euros ($590,000) in a dangerous
heist on a moving truck, a spokesman said Monday.
The five men, aged from 33 to 43, allegedly stole the iPhones in a
late-night raid a week ago by driving a modified van so close to the
delivery truck that one of the suspects was able to clamber across the van's
hood and break into the truck while it drove along a Dutch road, police
spokesman Ed Kraszewski. He said the suspect then passed boxes of iPhones
back to the van through a hole cut in its roof.
Kraszewski said police have long been investigating thefts from trucks but
remained skeptical that such a heist could succeed. Not anymore.
"The truck was taking its freight from A-to-B and did not stop. Even so,
(the phones) were gone," he said. "So it must have happened that way. And
now we finally have the evidence, with the van and the loot."
The men were arrested Saturday at a holiday park in the central Netherlands,
where police also recovered iPhones and the van they believe was used in the
theft. The suspects were to appear Tuesday before an investigating judge.
Such raids have been reported elsewhere in Europe, almost always targeting
high-end smartphones, but there have been no arrests in the other cases,
Dutch police plan to send fingerprints of the suspects to European
colleagues to check for matches in previous thefts.
Transgender US soldier felt 'fired' by Trump's tweet
In this July 29, 2017
photo transgender U.S. army captain Jennifer Sims stands on a balcony after
an interview with The Associated Press in Beratzhausen near Regensburg,
Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
By Julie Watson, Christoph Noelting, Associated Press
BERATZHAUSEN, Germany (AP) — The subject line read: "Announcing a
The U.S. Army soldier took a deep breath before hitting the button that sent
the email to more than 200 fellow troops.
"All considered, I am, and have been, traversing what is essentially a
personal matter, but is something I must address publicly," the email
stated. "I am transgender."
The April 13 email officially ended the secret that burned inside Capt.
Jennifer Sims, who was known as Jonathan Sims. But the feeling of relief
swiftly turned to unease last week after President Donald Trump tweeted that
transgender troops were no longer welcome.
"I read the tweet while I was at work and you know it was devastating
because I still have work to do and here I am reading basically what sounds
like the president of the United States — who is the commander in chief, he
is the ultimate boss of the military — telling me and anybody else that is
transgender that we are fired," Sims said.
Pentagon officials say the policy allowing transgender troops will remain
unchanged without official White House guidance. But for Sims, the
uncertainty has been upsetting.
"So in the initial moments after the tweet, I saw myself forced into the
state that I was in before I started transitioning — a state of depression,
exhaustion and inability to enjoy things," said Sims, 28, who spoke to The
Associated Press on her own behalf and not on that of the Army.
The reversal of the Obama administration policy that allows transgender
people to serve openly and receive military medical coverage for
transitioning from one gender to another also could affect her physically.
Sims has been on hormone therapy by her military doctor since November. If
she interrupts the treatment, her body will revert to being male.
"It would be very difficult to have to go through that," said Sims, who is
based at Hohenfels, a U.S. Army garrison in the German state of Bavaria.
Growing up in Minnesota and Florida, Sims, a high school football player,
never felt comfortable being male. The son and grandson of military veterans
quietly came to terms with identifying as a woman a year after joining the
Army R.O.T.C., but outwardly kept it a secret "because I wanted to continue
serving," Sims said.
Sims stopped socializing, feeling drained over worries about being masculine
enough, and instead focused on work, serving in Afghanistan, Indonesia and
Germany. Her sister, Natasha Sims, 24, said she saw "emptiness" in her eyes.
After the Defense Department announced in 2015 that it was considering
allowing transgender troops to serve openly, Sims told Natasha and their
parents. When the policy became official in June 2016, Sims said "it was the
best day of my life really."
Sims made an appointment with the behavioral health office, was given a
diagnosis of gender dysphoria and started hormone therapy.
Five months later, she decided to shed her secret, first telling her closest
colleagues, Capt. Brandon Shorter and another infantry officer.
They were at a loss for words.
After Shorter got home, he texted Sims about how that was brave.
"Infantry officers are best described as brutish. So Capt. Sims pulled me
and another brute aside face to face. That took a lot of courage and that's
the first thing that went through my mind, mixed in with surprise," Shorter
Sims then announced the "personal change" to more than 200 other troops.
It was not an emotional email. The seasoned military officer wrote how a
lifetime of discomfort had peaked three years ago. Sims then outlined the
steps she would take to fully transition to a woman.
"Officially in DEERS, my gender will remain male until my medical transition
is complete, which means I will still comport to male standards and use male
facilities," she wrote, referring to the acronym for the Defense Enrollment
Eligibility Reporting System, a kind of HR database for U.S. military
"While it is my preference for people to refer to me with female pronouns,
if you are uncomfortable with this, there is no requirement to do so, I only
respectfully request you refer to me by my proper name, Captain Sims," the
Sims wrote that she will be more productive not having to "live two
Five soldiers sent emails back with words of encouragement. Most didn't
respond. For a few days, there were murmurs of "hey did you see the email?"
Some said they would not use the feminine pronoun until Sims' Army paperwork
made it official.
The force had just undergone training explaining what was expected in
regards to transgender soldiers.
Sims is the first transgender person Shorter has known.
The unit is basically full of "young men wanting to chew on nails and prove
how tough they are," Shorter said. Only about eight women are among the 500
soldiers in the battalion.
Shorter had a lot of questions "being naturally curious and wanting to be a
good friend because we didn't really have a personal relationship. He's,
excuse me, she's — see I still slip up sometimes — a single captain. I'm
married with two daughters. Our lives are different."
Shorter, 32, of Alanson, Michigan, describes himself as conservative. He
said he struggles with his beliefs about what's appropriate. An assistant
operations officer for the battalion, Shorter is concerned about how Sims
cannot deploy while undergoing medical procedures.
But Shorter, speaking on his own behalf and not that of the Army, said he
would be "incredibly disappointed" if Sims, the best signal officer he has
seen, were kicked out.
After Trump's tweet, a few soldiers, including Shorter, asked Sims how she
was doing. She didn't know what to say.
Her pills will run out in three months. Doctors recommend 12 months of
hormone therapy before surgery. The cost of her surgery can run close to
$50,000, which Sims was expecting the military would help cover.
"I had waited so long just to be able to tell the world this is who I am,"
Watson reported from San Diego.
Hawaii allows first lab to begin testing medical marijuana
In this file Feb. 17, 2016, photo, plants grow
at the home of Jeremy Nickle, owner of Hawaiian Holy Smokes, in Honolulu,
By Cathy Bussewitz, Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii approved its first laboratory to begin testing
samples of medical marijuana 17 years after use of the drug was legalized in
On Monday, the state Department of Health certified Honolulu-based lab Steep
Hill Hawaii. That brings Hawaii closer to the long-awaited date when
dispensaries can sell their products.
Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000. But
the state didn't legalize dispensaries until 2015, leaving about 17,000
patients to grow or obtain the drug on their own.
Then medical marijuana dispensaries began opening in Hawaii this summer, but
they could not sell their products because the state had not certified any
labs to conduct the required testing. So they conducted outreach instead.
"This is a big milestone, and it couldn't have come any sooner, because many
people within the industry were getting frustrated and a little angry at the
time it has taken to get to this point," said state Sen. Will Espero, a
Democrat. "But now that we are here, hopefully the next phase in terms of
sales will happen quickly and everything will go smoothly."
Once the lab receives samples, it will take about four days to test and
return products to dispensaries for sale, said Dana Ciccone, owner of Steep
Then the dispensary will undergo one final inspection by the Department of
Health with the product present, department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.
That on-site inspection and accompanying paperwork could take 24 to 48
hours, she said.
Steep Hill worked tirelessly over the past year to receive certification so
patients could finally access safe, legal cannabis, Ciccone said in an
email. "Today is a big step in the right direction for Hawaii's Medical
Cannabis industry," he said.
The product at Honolulu-based dispensary Aloha Green has been ready for
months, and dispensary CEO James H.Q. Lee said he hopes to begin the lab
testing process Tuesday.
"We've been waiting, so that's very good news. I think the patients will be
happy," Lee said.
But Lee still has questions about what size sample to prepare, and he hasn't
gotten a definitive answer from the Department of Health, he said.
Maui Grown Therapies also is ready to begin testing its product, said Teri
Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs at the
"We've been waiting for this day for quite some time, and now that it's here
it's very exciting news for us," she said. "Being on a neighbor island,
there's a little bit of a logistical hurdle that we have to overcome, but
we'll overcome it."
Today in History - Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2017. There are 152 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 1, 1957, the United States and Canada announced they had agreed to
create the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
On this date:
In 1714, Britain's Queen Anne died at age 49; she was succeeded by George I.
In 1876, Colorado was admitted as the 38th state.
In 1907, the U.S. Army Signal Corps established an aeronautical division,
the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force.
In 1913, the Joyce Kilmer poem "Trees" was first published in "Poetry: A
Magazine of Verse."
In 1936, the Olympics opened in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by
In 1944, an uprising broke out in Warsaw, Poland, against Nazi occupation;
the revolt lasted two months before collapsing.
In 1947, Mickey Spillane's first novel, "I, the Jury," featuring the debut
of private eye Mike Hammer, was published.
In 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman, 25, went on an armed rampage at the
University of Texas in Austin that killed 14 people, most of whom were shot
by Whitman while he was perched in the clock tower of the main campus
building. (Whitman, who had also slain his wife and mother hours earlier,
was finally gunned down by police.)
In 1975, a 35-nation summit in Finland concluded with the signing of a
declaration known as the Helsinki Accords dealing with European security,
human rights and East-West contacts.
In 1977, former U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, working as a traffic reporter
for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, was killed with his cameraman, George Spears,
when their helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed; Powers was 47.
In 1981, the rock music video channel MTV made its debut.
In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley confirmed they'd been
secretly married 11 weeks earlier. (Presley filed for divorce from Jackson
in Jan. 1996, citing irreconcilable differences.)
Ten years ago: The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis
artery, collapsed into the Mississippi River during evening rush hour,
killing 13 people.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama made his rival's personal millions a
front-and-center issue in the race for the White House, telling a
swing-state audience in Ohio that Mitt Romney "is asking you to pay more so
that people like him can get a big tax cut." Four teams from China, South
Korea and Indonesia were kicked out of the women's badminton doubles at the
London Olympics for trying to lose on purpose in order to earn an easier
matchup in the knockout round. Host country Britain picked up its first two
gold medals as Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the final of the
women's pair at the rowing regatta and cyclist Bradley Wiggins took the time
One year ago: The United States launched multiple airstrikes against Islamic
State militants in Libya, opening a new front against the group at the
request of the United Nations-backed Libyan government. President Barack
Obama, speaking at the annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans
in Atlanta, said the U.S. had made serious strides in improving services for
military veterans, but that work remained to overcome shortcomings in the
delivery of health care, housing and mental health services. Vice President
Joe Biden officiated a gay wedding, a first for the early proponent of
same-sex marriage as he presided over the union of Joe Mahshie and Brian
Mosteller, both longtime White House aides, at the U.S. Naval Observatory in
Today's Birthdays: Singer Ramblin' Jack Elliott is 86. Former Sen. Alfonse
D'Amato, R-N.Y., is 80. Actor Giancarlo Giannini is 75. Basketball Hall of
Fame coach Roy Williams is 67. Blues singer-musician Robert Cray is 64.
Singer Michael Penn is 59. Rock singer Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) is 58. Rock
singer-musician Suzi Gardner (L7) is 57. Rapper Chuck D (Public Enemy) is
57. Actor Jesse Borrego is 55. Actor Demian Bichir is 54. Rapper Coolio is
54. Actor John Carroll Lynch is 54. Rock singer Adam Duritz (Counting Crows)
is 53. Movie director Sam Mendes is 52. Country singer George Ducas is 51.
Country musician Charlie Kelley is 49. Actress Jennifer Gareis is 47. Actor
Charles Malik Whitfield is 45. Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 44. Actor Jason
Momoa is 38. Actress Honeysuckle Weeks is 38. Singer Ashley Parker Angel is
36. Actress Taylor Fry is 36. Actor Elijah Kelley is 31. Actor James Francis
Kelly is 28. Actress Ella Wahlestedt is 19.
Thought for Today: "Pride, like humility, is destroyed by one's insistence
that he possesses it." — Kenneth Bancroft Clark, American educator and