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Update August 2017


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Update August 17, 2017

Ecuador: 300 tons of marine animal remains found on ship

In this Aug. 13, 2017 handout photo provided by Galapagos National Park a park ranger takes part in the inspection of a Chinese flag ship.(Galapagos National Park via AP)

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Authorities in Ecuador have detained 20 Chinese crewmembers on a ship found near the Galapagos holding 300 tons of frozen marine animals — some from species in danger of extinction.

Ecuador's navy stopped the ship Sunday near San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos archipelago treasured for its unique animal species.

Environment Minister Tarsicio Granizo says a large portion of the animal parts found aboard the ship consisted of frozen shark fins. Endangered hammerhead shark remains were also discovered. Shark fin soup is a Chinese delicacy.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve is among the world's largest and designed to protect the region's substantial number of sharks and other marine life.

It was not immediately clear whether the sharks were caught in the reserve.

Ecuador's navy was guarding the ship Wednesday.


Scientists potentially narrow MH370 search area to 3 spots

In this March 31, 2014 file photo, HMAS Success scans the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia, as a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion flies over, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Scientists have potentially narrowed the search area for the missing Malaysian airliner to three specific locations in the southern Indian Ocean through new satellite and drift analysis of the 2014 crash released Wednesday.

But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau cautioned that the drift analysis by Australian science agency CSIRO is based on French satellite images of "probably man-made" floating objects without evidence that they were from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Still, the locations could provide potential starting points to search within a 25,000-square-kilometer (9,700-square-mile) expanse identified by a panel of experts in November as the most likely resting place of the Boeing 777 and the 239 passengers and crew on board.

That expanse adjoins the original search zone far southwest of Australia that was identified through satellite analysis of the final hours of the flight, which apparently ended when the plane ran out of fuel.

Malaysia, China and Australia agreed to suspend the deep-sea sonar search in January after 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) of seabed were combed without finding any trace of Flight 370.

The new analysis is based on French military satellite images gathered on March 23, 2014 — two weeks after Flight 370 mysteriously veered far off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing — that were taken near the original underwater search zone.

The Australian bureau took over the search for Flight 370 from Malaysia a week later. Satellite experts at Geoscience Australia were not asked to analyze the images until March this year. The experts concluded that a dozen objects appeared to be man-made.

CSIRO then investigated where the objects might have originated before drifting for two weeks. CSIRO identified three potential crash sites — 35.6 degrees S, 92.8 degrees E; 34.7 degrees S, 92.6 degrees E and 35.3 degrees S, 91.8 degrees E.

"So that is a way of potentially narrowing down the search area with the very important caveat that, of course, we can't be totally sure that those objects seen in the images are actual pieces of plane," CSIRO oceanographer David Griffin said.

"This might be a really good clue. It might be a red herring. But if you are going to search, then you'd be silly to ignore this potential clue," he added.

The Australian bureau's chief commissioner, Greg Hood, said in a statement, "Clearly we must be cautious" of the lack a definite link to Flight 370.

Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi said the civil aviation department would need to evaluate the data since it's based on satellite images from a few years ago. "We will need to verify the data to see if it's credible before we make any decision," Aziz told The Associated Press.

Malaysia, China and Australia have decided that the search will remain suspended unless new evidence pinpoints the wreckage's whereabouts.

But seabed exploration company Ocean Infinity, based in Houston, Texas, said last week it has offered to launch a private search for the Malaysian-registered airliner.

Voice370, a support group for victim's families, said under the terms of the offer made to Malaysia in April, Ocean Infinity "would like to be paid a reward if and only if it finds the main debris field." They urged Malaysia to accept the offer.

Aziz said Wednesday that the offer was still being negotiated. He said there were some other "monetary terms" set by the firm that were unacceptable to the government.

"There are three categories of findings in the offer. The terms are a bit ambiguous," Aziz said. "The government wants the terms to be transparent and clear." He declined to give details.
___
Associated Press writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.


Families wait in rain to ID lost loved ones in Sierra Leone

Family of victims of heavy flooding and mudslides that killed more than 300 people in Regent wait to identify their bodies at Connaught hospital morgue in Sierra Leone, Freetown, Wednesday, Aug. 16 , 2017.

By Alhaji Manika Kamara, Clarence Roy-Macaulay, Associated Press

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Hawa Stevens spoke through tears of the 28 family members she lost after surging mudslides and floodwaters swept through Sierra Leone's capital, killing hundreds and leaving hundreds more missing.
"Mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins all gone. My life has been shattered. ... Please help me God," she sobbed as she waited in a long line in the pouring rain Wednesday outside Freetown's overwhelmed mortuary to try to identify the corpses of her loved ones.

She was surrounded by hundreds of others, some wearing face masks to try to ward off the smell of death and blue hospital booties over their shoes. Many clutched photos in the desperate hope that they would be among those fortunate enough to find their loved ones and give them a proper burial.

For Stevens, the wait brought only disappointment. "I was only able to identify two of my entire family," she said in anguish.

More than 300 people were confirmed dead — a third of them children — from the devastating mudslides that struck before dawn on Monday, triggered by days of heavy rain. Red Cross officials estimated some 600 others remained missing more than 48 hours after the storm hit while most of the victims slept. Thousands of people lost their homes.

On Wednesday, crews continued the grim work of digging out bodies from the tons of mud and debris that came roaring down the hillsides onto impoverished, low-lying areas of Freetown and surrounding settlements. Many were volunteers who dug with shovels, pick axes and, at times, only their hands.

At the city's Connaught Hospital morgue, firefighters, military personnel, police and volunteers tried to help grieving survivors with the difficult process of finding their dead relatives, many too mangled and decomposed to be identified. President Ernest Bai Koroma's office has said that all unidentified corpses will be given a "dignified burial" in the coming days. He called for seven days of mourning starting Wednesday.

Amara Kallon held up photos of his 3-year-old daughter, Hawa, who had been spending her school holidays with her mother in Freetown when a wall of mud hit their home, killing them both. In one, the wide-eyed girl held a microphone as she sang; in another she was dressed in festive bright pink native garb, her hair braided with beads.

With the help of hospital porters, who used the photos to find the child's body among the hundreds at the morgue, he was able to identify her corpse.

"The present condition of my daughter is nothing good to talk about," he said. "I've spoken with other family members and we have decided to allow the government to go ahead with dignified burial process."

Mortuary officials said mass burials would begin Thursday.

Amid the chaos of rescue efforts, the government has said contingency plans were being put in place to try to stem the outbreak of diseases such as cholera.

Sierra Leone's government has pleaded for international assistance as it reels from the disaster. With rain forecast for at least the coming week, the threat of further mudslides around Freetown remained. Many poor areas of the capital are near sea level and have poor drainage systems, which makes flooding worse during the rainy season.

Freetown also is plagued by unregulated construction of large residential houses in hilltop areas. Deforestation for firewood and charcoal is another leading contributor to flooding and mudslides.

Forty-year-old Brima Mundeh, who escaped the disaster with his two children, said he feared that three missing family members were buried under the mud. Three other relatives have already been confirmed dead.

"I can't describe the magic that took me and my family out of my house," he said. "But I believe it's the work of God because I don't know where the strength and power came from to get us out."


Lucky carrot: Alberta woman finds mother-in-law's lost ring

In an undated photo provided by Iva Harberg, Mary Grams, 84, holds a carrot that grew through her engagement ring in Alberta, Canada.(Iva Harberg/The Canadian Press via AP)

CAMROSE, Alberta (AP) — A Canadian woman who lost her engagement ring 13 years ago while weeding her garden on the family farm is wearing it proudly again after her daughter-in-law pulled it from the ground on a misshapen carrot.

Mary Grams, 84, said she can't believe the lucky carrot actually grew through and around the diamond ring she had long given up hope of finding.

Grams said she never told her husband, Norman, that she lost the ring, but told her son. Her husband died five years ago.

"I feel relieved and happy inside," Grams said this week. "It grew into the carrot. I still can't figure it out."

Her daughter-in-law, Colleen Daley, found the ring while harvesting carrots for supper with her dog Billy at the farm near Armena, Alberta, where Grams used to live. The farm has been in the family for 105 years.

Daley said while she was pulling the carrots and noticed one of them looked strange. She almost fed it to her dog but decided to keep it and just threw it in her pail. When she was washing the carrots she noticed the ring and spoke to her husband, Grams' son, about what she had found.

They quickly called Grams. "I said we found your ring in the garden. She couldn't believe it," Daley said. "It was so weird that the carrot grew perfectly through that ring."

Grams said she was eager to try the ring on again after so many years. With family looking on she washed the ring with a little soap to get the dirt off. It slid on her finger as easily as it did when her husband gave it to her.

"We were giggling and laughing," she said. "It fit. After that many years it fits."


Today in History - Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2017. There are 136 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 17, 1807, Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.

On this date:

In 1863, Federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.

In 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who'd maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)

In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

In 1945, Indonesian nationalists declared their independence from the Netherlands. The George Orwell novel "Animal Farm," an allegorical satire of Soviet Communism, was first published in London by Martin Secker & Warburg.

In 1962, East German border guards shot and killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 U.S. deaths, three in Cuba.

In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.

In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA's "The Visitors," were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.

In 1985, more than 1,400 meatpackers walked off the job at the Geo. A. Hormel and Co.'s main plant in Austin, Minnesota, in a bitter strike that lasted just over a year.

In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide. The musical drama "Dirty Dancing," starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, premiered in New York.

In 1996, the Reform Party announced Ross Perot had been selected to be its first-ever presidential nominee, opting for the third-party's founder over challenger Richard Lamm.

In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.

Ten years ago: Hurricane Dean roared into the eastern Caribbean, tearing away roofs, flooding streets and causing at least three deaths on small islands as the powerful storm headed on a collision course with Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Five years ago: In Moscow, a judge sentenced three punk rock-style activists, members of the band Pussy Riot, to two years in prison for hooliganism for briefly taking over a cathedral in a raucous prayer for deliverance from Russian President Vladimir Putin; the court decision drew protests around the world. (One of the three defendants was later released on probation; the other two were released several months short of their two-year sentence in December 2013.)

One year ago: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced a shake-up of his campaign leadership, naming Stephen Bannon of the conservative Breitbart News website as chief executive officer and promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Caster Semenya of South Africa made her debut at the Rio Olympics amid questions about how track and field can deal with hyperandrogenic women; Semenya qualified for the 800 semifinals, an event she won three days later. Movie director Arthur Hiller ("Love Story") died in Los Angeles at age 92.

Today's Birthdays: Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (jahng zuh-MEEN') is 91. Author V.S. Naipaul is 85. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 76. Actor Robert DeNiro is 74. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 71. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 70. Actor-screenwriter-producer Julian Fellowes is 68. Actor Robert Joy is 66. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 65. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) is 64. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 62. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 62. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 60. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 59. Author Jonathan Franzen is 58. Actor Sean Penn is 57. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 56. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 55. Singer Maria McKee is 53. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 52. Rock musician Jill Cunniff (kuh-NIHF') is 51. Actor David Conrad is 50. Actress Helen McCrory is 49. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 48. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 48. Rapper Posdnuos (PAHS'-deh-noos) is 48. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 47. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 46. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 43. Actor Mark Salling is 35. Actor Bryton James is 31. Actor Brady Corbet (kohr-BAY') is 29. Actress Taissa Farmiga is 23. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 22.

Thought for Today: "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." — Edith Wharton, American author (1862-1937).


Update August 16, 2017

Korea fight is latest conflict for indigenous people of Guam

In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, Eva Aguon Cruz, 30, holds a cup with burnt flower as a ritual to call for protections from the spirits as about a hundred people gathered at Chief Kepuha Park in Hagatna, Guam for a rally for peace. (AP Photo/Tassanee Vejpongsa, File)

By Grace Garces Bordallo, Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The threatened missile attack by North Korea on Guam has prompted calls for peace from the island's indigenous people, who are weary of yet another conflict after enduring centuries of hostilities.

About one-third of the U.S. territory's 160,000 people identify as Chamorro, the indigenous group that is believed to have migrated to Guam from Indonesia and the Philippines an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 years ago. It is believed to be one of the world's first seaward migrations.

They have since endured colonization by Spanish settlers, bloody skirmishes during World War II and a steady escalation of American military presence on the island. An expert on Guam says it would be "disastrous and tragic beyond words" for the island's indigenous culture if it were targeted in a war between the U.S. and North Korea.

"These islands are the home of the Chamorro people," said Michael Lujan Bavacqua, an assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam. "Literally our bones are buried in the soil."

Chamorros have their own traditions, including open ocean navigation of the kind recently highlighted in the Disney animated movie "Moana" and a Roman Catholic religious heritage introduced by colonizers and missionaries. The Spanish influence began after explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived on the island in the 16th century.

Some Chamorros gathered at a peace rally this week to try to teach the world about their struggle to protect their ancestors' land, assert their rights as indigenous people and pursue some form of self-governance.

Some women wore traditional floral head crowns called mwarmwars. Some men wore loincloths and traditional carved jewelry around their necks. One person blew a shell trumpet, as a summons to rise up.

"It's a call to stand in solidarity not just Chamorro people of this land, but for people all over the world because peace for Guam means peace for the world," said Monaeka Flores, 39, an artist and lawmaker's aide. "If anything should happen here, that's going to be a global war. It's a call to respect the people. And respect the land and to stand in solidarity with us."

The battle for Guam between the United States and Japan during World War II almost completely destroyed Hagatna, the capital city. Not much effort was made to restore during the post-war years.

"You have erased the historical connections of these people. You have destroyed what they have been walking through for centuries," Malia Tony Ramirez, a historian with the Guam Department of Parks and Recreation, said of the three-week battle.

The military's buildup of bases after the war destroyed more historical sites, he said, as did the development of hotels and resorts.

The Chamorro name refers to descendants of the initial people who settled on Guam and smaller, neighboring islands in the Marianas island chain. The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. The Navy ruled the island until Japan took control in 1941. The U.S. installed civilian leadership and granted citizenship to Guam residents in 1950.

Today, some Chamorros and others on Guam want the island to be independent or perhaps establish a "free association" relationship like some of its island neighbors have. The free association island states allow the U.S. exclusive military access to their land and waters while their citizens have the right to live and work in the U.S.

Adrian Cruz, an activist and chairman of the Free Association Task Force, said the Chamorro language and traditions have kept his people together for 4,000 years. He said Chamorros will be fine regardless what happens, just like they were during World War II and under the Spanish.

"The Chamorro people are resilient people, and we will survive," Cruz said.

McAvoy reported from Honolulu.


More than 300 dead, 600 missing in Sierra Leone mudslides

Volunteers wait at the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. (AP Photo/ Kabba Kargbo)

Volunteers search for bodies. (AP Photo/ Manika Kamara)

By Clarence Roy-Macauly, Associated Press

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Fatmata Kamara had just stepped outside her house before dawn Monday when she saw the muddy hillside collapsing above her. The only thing she could do was run.

She was one of the survivors, those who managed to escape the surging mudslides and floodwaters in and around Sierra Leone's capital that killed more than 300 people, many of them trapped as they slept. Another 600 people are missing, the Red Cross said Tuesday, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Thousands lost their homes in the disaster, which was triggered by heavy rains.

"I ran away from the house, leaving behind my family," a grieving Kamara told The Associated Press. "I am the only one that has survived, as my house and dozens of others were covered with mud and boulders."

Rescuers dug with their bare hands through the thick, reddish mud to try to find any survivors in the debris of the homes. Heavy equipment was later brought in, said government spokesman Cornelius Deveaux. The military also was deployed to help.

Late Tuesday, Deveaux said that 297 bodies have been recovered so far, including 109 males, 83 females and 105 children.

Some bodies were swept into the sea off the coast of the West African nation and have begun washing back ashore.

The mortuary of the Connaught Hospital in central Freetown was overwhelmed with the dead. More than 300 bodies of men, women and children were brought there, and many were laid out on the floor. Deveaux said an exact death toll was unknown, and many of the bodies were horribly mangled.

President Ernest Bai Koroma said Sierra Leone was in a state of grief and mourning, with many survivors still in shock. He called for seven days of mourning starting on Wednesday.

Radio journalist Gibril Sesay said he lost his entire family.

"I am yet to grasp that I survived, and my family is gone," he said through sobs, unable to continue.

Ahmed Sesay, caretaker of a two-story house near the Guma Valley Dam east of the capital, said he was sleeping around 6 a.m. when he felt a vibration.

"It was like an earthquake. I ran out of my quarters to the gate of the compound," he said. "The ground shook and I had to stay outside the compound until daybreak."

An estimated 9,000 people have been affected in some way by the disaster, said Abdul Nasir, program coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"I have never seen anything like it," he said. "A river of mud came out of nowhere and swallowed entire communities, just wiped them away. We are racing against time, more flooding and the risk of disease to help these affected communities survive and cope with their loss."

Charles Mambu, a civil society activist and resident of one affected area, Mount Sugar Loaf, said the magnitude of the destruction indicated that hundreds more people could be dead.

In one sign of hope, two people were pulled alive from the debris Monday evening, Mambu said.
The U.N. said it is providing emergency response assistance.

Contingency plans are being put in place to try to stem the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, Deveaux told radio station FM 98.1.

The bodies that have been recovered will begin to be buried in the next 48 hours, said Sulaiman Parker, environmental protection officer for the Freetown City Council.

Many of the poor areas of Freetown are near sea level and have poor drainage systems, which makes flooding worse during the rainy season. The capital also is plagued by unregulated construction of large residential houses in hilltop areas.

Thousands of makeshift settlements in and around the city were severely affected.

"The government has been warning people not to construct houses in these areas. When they do this, there are risks," Nasir said. "People don't follow the standard construction rules, and that is another reason that many of these houses have been affected."

Deforestation for firewood and charcoal is one of the leading contributors to the flooding and mudslides.

Associated Press writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal, contributed.


13 killed when huge tree crashes down on Portuguese festival

Firefighters hold a blanket as bodies are removed from the scene where a tree fell on a large crowd on the outskirts of Funchal, the capital of Madeira island, Portugal, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (ASPRESS via AP)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A huge oak tree crashed down on a popular religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira Tuesday, killing 13 people and injuring 49 others, officials said.

The tree fell while a large crowd was gathered near the island's capital of Funchal as part of the Nossa Senhora do Monte festival. It's Madeira's biggest annual festivity and was being held Monday and Tuesday, drawing large crowds to a church on Funchal's outskirts.

The tree was a towering oak, which local media reports said was more than 200 years old. Regional authorities say they are investigating what caused it to come down.

Regional health chief Pedro Ramos said seven people had serious injuries. Of the fatalities, 10 people died at the site of the accident. A child died en route to a local hospital, where a woman later died. It was not clear where the last victim died.

RTP public television showed images of emergency workers gathered under a group of tall trees on the Atlantic island. Ambulances were shown pulling away from the site while workers wielding chain saws cut away limbs from an enormous tree on the ground.

More televised images showed some people attending to the injured. Others appeared visibly shaken.

Miguel Albuquerque, the head of the regional government of Madeira, declared three days of mourning for the victims.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa shared his condolences on his Twitter account.

"My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims," he said.

Costa said the central government made contact with local authorities on the island to offer support.

"The government has provided medical support given the high number of victims," he said.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa traveled to the island and visited the site of the accident.

Before arriving, he said in a statement that he wanted "to learn more about what has happened, and, of course, to bring words of encouragement and comfort to those who have lost their loved ones."


Defying Europe's egg scare, Belgian town makes giant omelet

MALMEDY, Belgium (AP) — Defying rain and a tainted egg scandal that has shaken European consumers, a Belgian town has turned nearly 10,000 eggs into a giant omelet for the whole community.

Cooks and volunteers whipped up the massive concoction Tuesday using enormous wooden utensils, an oversized and oiled pan, bacon and green onions. They then distributed it to a hungry public.

It's an annual event in the town of Malmedy that took on greater meaning this year, as several European countries have reported receiving eggs or egg products contaminated by a pesticide.

Several Dutch and Belgian poultry producers are under investigation, though no one has fallen ill from the eggs and health risk is considered low.

Omelet event co-founder Benedicte Mathy says organizers verified the sourcing for all the eggs used and deemed them danger-free.


Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 16, the 228th day of 2017. There are 137 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley died at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 42.

On this date:

In 1777, American forces won the Battle of Bennington in what was considered a turning point of the Revolutionary War.

In 1812, Detroit fell to British and Indian forces in the War of 1812.

In 1858, a telegraphed message from Britain's Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.

In 1937, the American Federation of Radio Artists was chartered.

In 1948, baseball legend Babe Ruth died in New York at age 53.

In 1954, Sports Illustrated was first published by Time Inc.

In 1956, Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

In 1967, Louis Armstrong recorded "What a Wonderful World" by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss for ABC Records.

In 1977, a judge in New York ruled that Renee Richards, a male-to-female transgender, had the right to compete in the U.S. Open without having to pass a sex chromosome test. (In the opening round of the Open, Richards lost to Virginia Wade in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4). The Debby Boone recording of "You Light Up My Life" by Joseph Brooks was released by Warner Bros./Curb Records.

In 1987, 156 people were killed when Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed while trying to take off from Detroit; the sole survivor was 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan (SHEE'-an).

In 1987, people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the "harmonic convergence," which heralded what believers called the start of a new, purer age of humankind.

In 1991, Pope John Paul II began the first-ever papal visit to Hungary.

Ten years ago: Jose Padilla (hoh-ZAY' puh-DEE'-uh), a U.S. citizen held for 3ฝ years as an enemy combatant, was convicted in Miami of helping Islamic extremists and plotting overseas attacks. (Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb," was later sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison on the unrelated terror support charges, but that sentence was later increased to 21 years.) A cave-in killed three rescuers in the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah; the search for six trapped miners was later abandoned. Master jazz percussionist Max Roach died in New York at age 83.

Five years ago: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney declared he had paid at least 13 percent of his income in federal taxes every year for the previous decade; President Barack Obama's campaign shot back: "Prove it." A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in southern Afghanistan, killing seven Americans and four Afghans. Ecuador decided to identify WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a refugee and give him asylum in its London embassy. Actor William Windom, 88, died in Woodacre, California.

One year ago: Democrat Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's first elected female attorney general, announced her resignation a day after being convicted of abusing the powers of the state's top law enforcement office to smear a rival and lying under oath to cover it up. (Kane, who was succeeded by Republican Bruce L. Castor Jr., was later sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail, but remains free while she appeals.) Simone Biles captured her fourth gold of the Rio Games with an electric performance in the floor exercise. Political commentator and TV host John McLaughlin, 89, died in Washington, D.C.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Ann Blyth is 89. Actor Gary Clarke is 84. Actress Julie Newmar is 84. Actress-singer Ketty Lester is 83. Actor John Standing is 83. College Football Hall of Famer and NFL player Bill Glass is 82. Actress Anita Gillette is 81. Actress Carole Shelley is 78. Country singer Billy Joe Shaver is 78. Movie director Bruce Beresford is 77. Actor Bob Balaban is 72. Ballerina Suzanne Farrell is 72. Actress Lesley Ann Warren is 71. Actor Marshall Manesh is 67. Rock singer-musician Joey Spampinato is 67. Actor Reginald VelJohnson is 65. TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer J.T. Taylor is 64. Movie director James Cameron is 63. Actor Jeff Perry is 62. Rock musician Tim Farriss (INXS) is 60. Actress Laura Innes is 60. Singer Madonna is 59. Actress Angela Bassett is 59. Actor Timothy Hutton is 57. Actor Steve Carell (kuh-REHL') is 55. Former tennis player Jimmy Arias is 53. Actor-singer Donovan Leitch is 50. Actor Andy Milder is 49. Actor Seth Peterson is 47. Country singer Emily Robison (The Dixie Chicks) is 45. Actor George Stults is 42. Singer Vanessa Carlton is 37. Actor Cam Gigandet is 35. Actress Agnes Bruckner is 32. Singer-musician Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) is 32. Actress Cristin Milioti is 32. Actor Shawn Pyfrom is 31. Country singer Ashton Shepherd is 31. Country singer Dan Smyers (Dan & Shay) is 30. Actor Kevin G. Schmidt is 29. Actress Rumer Willis is 29. Actor Parker Young is 29. Actor Cameron Monaghan is 24. Singer-pianist Greyson Chance is 20.

Thought for Today: "In politics people give you what they think you deserve and deny you what they think you want." — Cyril Northcote Parkinson, British historian and author (1909-1993).


Update August 15, 2017

Both Korean leaders, US signal turn to diplomacy amid crisis

A woman walks by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting about North Korean military's plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam, with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

By Foster Klug, Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Even as North Korea presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam and "wring the windpipes of the Yankees," both Koreas and the United States signaled their willingness to avert a deepening crisis Tuesday, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations.

The tentative interest in diplomacy follows unusually combative threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea amid worries that Pyongyang is nearing its long-sought goal of accurately being able to send a nuclear missile to the U.S. mainland. Next week's start of U.S.-South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year make it unclear, however, if diplomacy will prevail.

During an inspection of the North Korean army's Strategic Forces, which handles the missile program, Kim praised the military for drawing up a "close and careful plan" and said he would watch the "foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said. Kim appeared in photos sitting at a table with a large map marked by a straight line between what appeared to be northeastern North Korea and Guam, and passing over Japan — apparently showing the missiles' flight route.

The missile plans were previously announced, and Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the "Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity" and that the United States should "think reasonably and judge properly" to avoid shaming itself, the news agency said.

Lobbing missiles toward Guam, a major U.S. military hub in the Pacific, would be a deeply provocative act from the U.S. perspective, and a miscalculation on either side could lead to a military clash. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United Sates would take out any such missile seen to be heading for American soil and declared any such North Korean attack could mean war.

Kim's comments, however, with their conditional tone, seemed to hold out the possibility that friction could ease if the United States made some sort of gesture that Pyongyang considered a move to back away from previous "extremely dangerous reckless actions." This might be difficult as the United States and South Korea prepare for their military drills next week.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, a liberal who favors engagement with the North, urged North Korea to stop provocations and to commit to talks over its nuclear weapons program.

Moon, in a televised speech Tuesday on the anniversary of the end of World War II and the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule, said that Seoul and Washington agree that the crisis over the North's nuclear program should "absolutely be solved peacefully," and that no U.S. military action on the Korean Peninsula could be taken without Seoul's consent.

Moon says solving the crisis could begin with freezing the North's nuclear weapons program, and the North could create conditions for talks by stopping nuclear and missile tests.

"Our government will put everything on the line to prevent another war on the Korean Peninsula," Moon. "Regardless of whatever twist and turns we could experience, the North Korean nuclear program should absolutely be solved peacefully, and the (South Korean) government and the U.S. government don't have a different position on this."

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, on Monday met with senior South Korean military and political officials and the local media, and made comments that appeared to be an attempt to ease anxiety while also showing a willingness to back Trump's warnings if need be.

Dunford said the United States wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea, but Washington is also ready to use the "full range" of its military capabilities in case of provocation.

Dunford is visiting South Korea, Japan and China after a week in which Trump declared the U.S. military "locked and loaded" and said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.

North Korea's military had said last week it would finalize and send to Kim for approval the plan to fire four ballistic missiles near Guam, which is about 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Pyongyang.

The plans are based on the Hwasong-12, a new missile the country successfully flight-tested for the first time in May. The liquid-fuel missile is designed to be fired from road mobile launchers and has been previously described by North Korea as built for attacking Alaska and Hawaii.

The North followed the May launch with two flight tests of its Hwasong-14 ICBM last month. Analysts said that a wide swath of the continental United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, could be within reach of those missiles, once they're perfected.

The North's latest report said Kim ordered his military to be prepared to launch the missiles toward Guam at any time. If the "planned fire of power demonstration" is carried out because of U.S. recklessness, Kim said it will be "the most delightful historic moment when the Hwasong artillerymen will wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks," the North reported.

North Korea is angry about new United Nations sanctions over its expanding nuclear weapons and missile program and the upcoming military drills between Washington and Seoul.

Kim said that the United States must "make a proper option first and show it through action, as it committed provocations after introducing huge nuclear strategic equipment into the vicinity of the peninsula" and that it "should stop at once arrogant provocations" against North Korea, state media said.

AP writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Bob Burns in Washington contributed to this report.


US WWII vet in Japan to return flag to fallen soldier family

In this Aug. 13, 2017 photo, former U.S. Marine Marvin Strombo, right, holds a Japan's national flag during a press conference in Tokyo.(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press

HIGASHISHIRAKAWA, Japan (AP) — The former U.S. Marine knew the calligraphy-covered flag he took from a fallen Japanese soldier 73 years ago was more than a keepsake of World War II. It was a treasure that would fill a void for the dead man's family. But Marvin Strombo did not know how deep that void was.

The flag he is to hand over to Sadao Yasue's younger brother Tatsuo and his relatives Tuesday will be the first trace of their brother. The Japanese authorities only gave them a wooden box containing a few rocks, a substitution for the remains that have never been found.

Strombo has said he also wanted to tell the family his observation of their brother at the scene.

Strombo, 93, who was part of an elite scout-sniper platoon fighting a 1944 battle on Saipan, spotted a dead Japanese soldier lying on the ground, with something white poking out from his jacket. He could tell it was "something special." He initially hesitated, but took it because if he didn't someone else would or it may get lost forever. He told the soldier he would return it to his family someday.

The flag's white background is filled with signatures of 180 friends and neighbors in this tea-growing mountain village of Higashishirakawa, wishing Yasue's safe return. "Good luck forever at the battlefield," a message on it reads. Looking at the names and their handwriting, Yasue clearly recalls their faces and friendship with his brother.

"The flag will be our treasure," Tatsuya Yasue, a younger brother of the fallen soldier, told the Associated Press at his 400-year-old house. The 89-year-old farmer says the return of the flag brings a closure to him and his brother.
"It's like the war has finally ended and my brother can come out of the limbo," he said.

Yasue last saw his older brother alive the day before he left for the South Pacific in 1943. Tatsuya and two siblings had a small send-off picnic for the oldest brother outside his military unit over sushi and Japanese sweet mochi, which became their last meal together. At the end of the meeting, his brother lowered his voice, asking Tetsuya to take good care of their parents, as he would be sent to the Pacific islands, harsh battlegrounds where chances of survival were low.

A year later, the wooden box containing the stones arrived. Months after the war ended, the authorities told Yasue his brother died somewhere in the Marianas on July 18, 1944, at age 25.

"That's all we were told about my brother, and we could only imagine what might have happened," he said. Yasue and his relatives wondered Sadao might have died at sea off Saipan. About 20 years ago, Yasue visited Saipan with his younger brother, imagining what their older brother might have gone through.

Strombo is the only person who can provide those answers. He can roughly show where he found Yasue's body on the outskirts of Garapan and can tell the siblings that their brother likely died of a concussion from a mortar round. At least the flag and his story suggest Yasue died on the ground, which raises hopes of retrieving his remains.

The remains of nearly half of 2.4 million Japanese war-dead overseas have yet to be found 72 years after the World War II ended. It's a pressing issue as the bereaved families reach old age and memories fade.

Allied troops frequently took the flags from the bodies of their enemies as souvenirs. But to the Japanese bereaved families, they have a much deeper meaning, especially those, like Yasue, who never learned how their loved ones died and never received remains. Japanese government has requested auction sites to stop trading wartime signed flags.

Strombo had the flag hung in a glass-fronted gun cabinet in his home in Montana for years, a topic of conversation for visitors. He was in the battles of Saipan, Tarawa and Tinian, which chipped away at Japan's control of islands in the Pacific and paved the way for U.S. victory.

In 2012, he was connected to an Oregon-based nonprofit Obon Society that helps U.S. veterans and their descendants return Japanese flags to the families of fallen soldiers. The group's research traced it to the tea-growing village of 2,300 people in central Japan by analyzing family names.

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi
Her work can be found at APNews at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi


18 dead in suspected jihadist attack on Burkina Faso eatery

This image taken from video, early Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, shows an armoured vehicle driving down a street after an attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (@Yabsi1er via AP)

By Brahima Ouedraogo, Associated Press

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Hours after suspected Islamic extremists opened fire as patrons dined at the popular restaurant where she worked as a waitress, Amy Sawadogo was still wandering around barefoot at a crisis center asking about her colleagues.

"I just want to go to the hospital and see who is still alive," the distraught young woman, who was still dressed in her uniform, said early Monday. "I am calling them in vain, no response."

The death toll rose to 18 and authorities said many of the victims were children dining with their families on a Sunday night at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant when horror struck once again in Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou. At least 22 people were wounded.

Less than two years ago, jihadists killed 30 people in a similar attack at the nearby Cappuccino cafe, which only recently reopened in a city where fear of another attack has been high.

Eight of the dead in Sunday's attack were citizens of Burkina Faso, authorities said. Three Lebanese and two Canadians were also killed, according to the victims' respective foreign ministries. Other victims came from Kuwait, Senegal, Nigeria, Turkey and France, state prosecutor Maizan Sereme said.

The attack began around 9 p.m. Sunday when the Aziz Istanbul, an upscale Turkish restaurant patronized by many foreigners, was packed with diners. Two young men wearing jeans and jackets drove up on motorcycles and began indiscriminately shooting at the people inside with Kalashnikovs, witnesses told The Associated Press.

"I heard a noise when they smashed a car with their motorbike and before I understood what happened they started shooting at the customers on the terrace," said Assane Guebre, who had been keeping an eye on customers' cars parked outside.

"They were close to me, and I still don't know how they did not hit me first," said Guebre, whose hands were still bleeding from the cuts he suffered when he threw himself to the ground to avoid the bullets.

Gunfire rang out long into the night before the country's special forces ended the attack after nearly seven hours. Initially authorities had said there were three or four assailants. However, government spokesman Remy Danguinou told reporters early Monday that two attackers had been killed by the authorities.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bore the hallmarks of the January 2016 assault on the Cappuccino — gunmen opening fire on diners at a restaurant popular with foreigners, prompting a massive search for the culprits as gunfire and explosions continued into the night.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore declared three days of national mourning. "The fight against terrorism is a long-term battle," he said in a statement Monday. "That's why I'm calling for vigilance, solidarity and unity of the whole nation in order to face the cowardice of our adversaries."

The U.N. Security Council issued a statement Monday night condemning the attack, which it called it "barbaric and cowardly." It added that "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

In Paris, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said he discussed the attack in a call with his Burkina Faso counterpart. The leaders agreed it was urgent to accelerate the deployment of a new 5,000-strong anti-terror force in the Sahel, a statement said. With contributions from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad — known as the G5 — the force is to deploy by September.

At least five members of Burkina Faso's security forces were among the wounded, and another member on leave at the time was among the dead, the state prosecutor said.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

In the 2016 attack the attackers were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility for those killings along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region near Mali is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalized and has claimed responsibility for recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government.

Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, John Leicester in Paris and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.


Stunt driver dies while filming 'Deadpool 2' in Vancouver

A police officer photographs a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie "Deadpool 2" died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday Aug. 14, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — "Deadpool 2" star Ryan Reynolds is mourning the death of a motorcycle stunt driver killed during production Monday.

Reynolds released a statement on Twitter a few hours after the accident near the waterfront in downtown Vancouver.

"Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming Deadpool," the actor wrote. "We're heartbroken, shocked and devastated ... but recognize nothing can compare to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment."

Reynolds, a native of Vancouver playing the Marvel Comics superhero Deadpool in the 20th Century Fox movie, said his heart "pours out to them — along with each and every person she touched in this world."

The motorcycle crash happened near the Shaw Tower office building, where a crumpled motorcycle was seen lying on its side and a window was smashed.

Nathan Kramchynski, who works on the seventh floor of the building, said he watched rehearsals for the stunt outside the Vancouver Convention Centre. The stunt woman had been riding the motorcycle down a set of stairs from the center and stopped when she reached the street, he said.

But when the accident happened, the driver appeared to pick up speed, crossed the street and swerved to avoid pedestrians before disappearing from his view, Kramchynski said.

"She lost control really quickly. It happened in a split second," he said. "She was going full throttle and then there's a building there."

Another witness, Sharmina Kermalli, said she had just walked into a Starbucks next door to where the accident happened when she heard a loud crash. She ran outside and saw glass still falling on the body of the motorcycle driver.

The name of the stunt woman was not immediately released.

Police said WorkSafeBC, the British Columbia provincial workplace safety agency, and the coroner's service were investigating. Trish Knight Chernecki of WorkSafe BC said some investigators are looking at any possible occupational health and safety issues while others examine the cause of the crash and prevention in the future.

The last stunt death in British Columbia was in 1996, when a person jumped from a helicopter and a parachute failed to open, she said.

In March 2016, actor Dylan O'Brien suffered injuries on the British Columbia set of the latest instalment of the "Maze Runner" film series. WorkSafe BC said Fox Productions Inc. didn't rehearse a stunt sequence properly, but Fox said the stunt was thoroughly rehearsed.

A stuntman was fatally injured last month in Georgia during production of "The Walking Dead." He fell head-first onto concrete about 22 feet (7 meters) below after appearing to try to grab a railing to stop his fall.


Today in History - Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2017. There are 138 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 15, 1947, India became independent after some 200 years of British rule.

On this date:

In 1057, Macbeth, King of Scots, was killed in battle by Malcolm, the eldest son of King Duncan, whom Macbeth had slain.

In 1483, the Sistine Chapel was consecrated by Pope Sixtus IV.

In 1812, the Battle of Fort Dearborn took place as Potawatomi warriors attacked a U.S. military garrison of about 100 people. (Most of the garrison was killed, while those who remained were taken prisoner.)

In 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened as the SS Ancon crossed the just-completed waterway between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow in the Alaska Territory.

In 1939, the MGM musical "The Wizard of Oz" opened at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

In 1945, in a pre-recorded radio address, Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced that his country had accepted terms of surrender for ending World War II.

In 1965, the Beatles played to a crowd of more than 55,000 at New York's Shea Stadium.

In 1967, a 50-foot-tall sculpture by Pablo Picasso was dedicated in Daley Plaza in Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley.
In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York.

In 1974, a gunman attempted to shoot South Korean President Park Chung-hee during a speech; although Park was unhurt, his wife, Yuk Young-soo, was struck and killed, along with a teenage girl. (The gunman was later executed.)

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as acting president of South Africa, one day after P.W. Botha resigned as the result of a power struggle within the National Party.

Ten years ago: Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy (DAH'-nuh-hee) pleaded guilty to felony charges for taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games he'd officiated in a scandal that rocked the league. (Donaghy, sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, was released in November 2009.) A magnitude-8 earthquake in Peru's southern desert killed 596 people.

Five years ago: Felix Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners' first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0; it was the third perfect game and sixth no-hitter of the season. The United States soccer team broke a 75-year winless streak at Mexico's intimidating Azteca Stadium with an 80th minute goal and a series of saves that delivered a 1-0 victory.

One year ago: Republican Donald Trump called for "extreme" ideological vetting of immigrants seeking admission to the United States, vowing during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, to significantly overhaul the country's screening process and block those who sympathized with extremist groups or didn't embrace American values. President Barack Obama, in Chilmark, Massachusetts, urged Democrats to campaign aggressively for the next 80 days to elect Hillary Clinton, saying "if we do not do our jobs, then it's still possible for her to lose."

Today's Birthdays: Actress Rose Marie is 94. Actress Abby Dalton is 85. Actress Lori Nelson is 84. Civil rights activist Vernon Jordan is 82. Actor Jim Dale is 82. Actress Pat Priest is 81. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is 79. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is 79. Musician Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) is 75. Author-journalist Linda Ellerbee is 73. Songwriter Jimmy Webb is 71. Rock singer-musician Tom Johnston (The Doobie Brothers) is 69. Actress Phyllis Smith is 68. Britain's Princess Anne is 67. Actress Tess Harper is 67. Actor Larry Mathews is 62. Actor Zeljko Ivanek (ZEHL'-koh eh-VON'-ehk) is 60. Actor-comedian Rondell Sheridan is 59. Rock singer-musician Matt Johnson (The The) is 56. Movie director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (ihn-YAH'-ee-tu) is 54. Philanthropist Melinda Gates is 53. Country singer Angela Rae (Wild Horses) is 51. Actor Peter Hermann is 50. Actress Debra Messing is 49. Actor Anthony Anderson is 47. Actor Ben Affleck is 45. Singer Mikey Graham (Boyzone) is 45. Actress Natasha Henstridge is 43. Actress Nicole Paggi is 40. Christian rock musician Tim Foreman (Switchfoot) is 39. Actress Emily Kinney is 33. Figure skater Jennifer Kirk is 33. Latin pop singer Belinda (cq) is 28. Rock singer Joe Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 28. Actor-singer Carlos PenaVega is 28. Actress Jennifer Lawrence is 27. Rap DJ Smoove da General (Cali Swag District) is 27.

Thought for Today: "To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problem of contentment." — George Edward Woodberry, American poet, critic and educator (1855-1930).


Update August 14, 2017

In Colombia, Pence tries to strike balance on Venezuela

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a joint press conference with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos at the presidential guesthouse in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

By Jill Colvin,Associated Press

CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) — Demonstrating the delicate balancing act that has come to define his vice presidency, Mike Pence tried to strike a balance Sunday in Colombia between Latin American opposition to possible U.S. military intervention in neighboring Venezuela, and President Donald Trump's surprising refusal to rule out that option.

Speaking during a joint news conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos shortly after his arrival in Latin America, Pence also declined to rule out possible military action against Venezuelan President Nicolแs Maduro, whose efforts to consolidate power in the country have drawn alarm. Still, Pence stressed the U.S. would much prefer what he called a "peaceable" solution to the growing political and humanitarian crisis.

"President Trump is a leader who says what he means and means what he says," Pence said. "But the president sent me here to continue to marshal the unprecedented support of countries across Latin America to achieve by peaceable means the restoration of democracy in Venezuela, and we believe it is achievable by those means."

Trump's startling comments Friday sparked backlash across the region, including from Venezuela's chief opposition coalition and the Colombian government.

Standing at Pence's side in Cartagena after a joint meeting, Santos said he had repeatedly told Pence in no uncertain terms that the U.S. must not even consider military action in response to Venezuela's crisis.

The two countries are important allies, Santos said. "But since friends have to tell each other the truth, I have told Vice President Pence that the possibility of a military intervention shouldn't even be considered, neither in Colombia nor in Latin America," Santos said through a translator. "America is a continent of peace. It is the land of peace. Let us preserve it as such."

Analysists said Trump's comments played into Maduro's hands by awakening dark memories of U.S. intervention in the region and making it harder for other Latin American countries to join the anti-Maduro coalition. "The phantom of military interventions in Latin America disappeared a long time ago, and we don't want it to return," Santos said.
Pence emphasized the U.S. will work together with many nations in Venezuela's "neighborhood" to pressure Maduro so that Venezuela's democracy can be restored.

"We simply will not accept the emergence of a dictatorship in our hemisphere," he said, continuing the tough talk that has been Trump's approach to Maduro. "The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles," he said.

Pence also addressed the deadly violence that broke out Saturday during a march by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, using words the president would not. "We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists or neo-Nazis or the KKK," Pence said. "These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms."

Trump has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for not singling out those groups directly in a lengthy Saturday statement and instead blaming "many sides" for the violence.

Pence insisted the president had "clearly and unambiguously condemned the bigotry, violence and hatred which took place on the streets of Charlottesville" and blamed the media for the criticism. "We should be putting the attention where it belongs, and that is on these extremist groups that need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely," he said.

Pence also addressed the spike in coca production in the Colombia, saying the worsening crisis required "swift action to protect the people of both our countries." A July report from the United Nations showed that coca production in Colombia had reached levels not seen in two decades, complicating Colombia's efforts to make its vast, lawless countryside more secure.

Pence and his wife, Karen, arrived Sunday in Colombia for a six-day, four-country trip through the region. Pence has other stops scheduled in Argentina, Chile and Panama, giving speeches and meeting with leaders.

White House officials tried Sunday to explain Trump's decision to raise the prospect of possible military action in Venezuela.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Trump was trying "to give the Venezuelan people hope and opportunity to create a situation where democracy can be restored." Pompeo told "Fox News Sunday" that Venezuela "could very much become a risk" to the U.S. if it descended into further chaos.

Yet a Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee who calls himself "a pretty hawkish guy" expressed skepticism about the idea of American troops in Caracas.

"I have no idea why we would use military force in Venezuela. I'm open-minded to a reason, but at the end of the day, our military should be deployed when there's a national security interest that can be articulated to the American people," South Carolina's Lindsey Graham told "'Fox News Sunday," adding: "I don't see one in Venezuela in terms of the military force."

Trump's national security adviser, who has previously warned against military talk, said the Trump administration wants to get a handle on the current situation under Maduro's embattled government and "understand better how this crisis might evolve."

"The president never takes options off the table in any of these situations and what we owe him are options," McMaster told ABC's "This Week."

The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Maduro and more than two dozen current and former officials in response to a crackdown on opposition leaders and the recent election of a pro-government assembly given the job of rewriting the country's constitution.

Venezuela's chief opposition coalition issued a restrained criticism of Trump's talk of using a "military option." The coalition rejected "the use of force or threats of applying the same in Venezuela on the part of any country." But the coalition's statement didn't directly mention Trump's remarks.

Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.

Reach Jill Colvin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/colvinj


Will North Korea's Kim pull the trigger? Possible signs to watch

In this July 21, 2017, file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a B1-B Lancer bomber assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flies over the 73rd Guam Liberation Day parade, at Andersen Air Force Base in Hagata, Guam.(Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Tensions between the United States and North Korea tend to flare suddenly and fade almost as quickly — but the latest escalation won't likely go away quite so easily.

Events closer to home, including deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia, could demand more of President Donald Trump's attention in the days ahead and cut into the volume and frequency of his fiery North Korea rhetoric.

But North Korea has yet to back away from its biggest threat: a plan to lob missiles toward U.S. military bases on the island of Guam that Pyongyang says should be ready for leader Kim Jong Un to review anytime now.

Will it all stop there?

Or, despite the extremely high risks, will Kim really give the go order? And, regardless of what Kim does or doesn't do, will the tough-talking Trump feel compelled to take matters into his own hands?
Unpredictable as the situation is, some potential flashpoints to watch for:

BOMBER FLIGHTS

This could be the biggest trigger.

North Korea says it was compelled to put the Guam plan together because it feels threatened by a squadron of B-1B bombers on the island that the U.S. has increasingly sent to fly in Korean airspace in symbolic shows of force during times of particular tension.

But that may be only a pretense.

North Korea is certainly sensitive to the bombers, which could cause a lot of devastation if a war did start. But it also might just want an excuse to fully test the capabilities of its new Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles.

Either way, it's a cagey tactic: If Trump orders the B-1Bs to stay on the ground, Pyongyang can claim victory. If he orders them to fly, North Korea has its excuse to launch. If, of course, that's what it really wants to do — Pyongyang wisely left itself a lot of wiggle room and hasn't committed itself one way or the other.

LIBERATION DAY

Aug. 15 is the anniversary of the end of World War II in 1945 and the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Pyongyang likes to use big anniversaries to make high-profile statements with military activity or political provocations. It launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, for example, on July 4 — Independence Day in the United States.

This week's World War II anniversary isn't linked so closely to veneration of North Korea's ruling Kim family, the primary days for demonstrating national power. But it's a national holiday just the same and could be an opportune moment for the North to make some kind of a move.

So far, however, there haven't been any telltale signs of anything brewing in Pyongyang. The day could just be marked with small celebrations and the distribution of free treats — or maybe more rhetoric about the Guam missile plan.

WAR GAMES

This is another likely trigger, if Pyongyang is going to actually do anything.

Tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops are expected to kick off the annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises on Aug. 21. North Korea sees these exercises and larger ones held every spring as a rehearsal for invasion. Getting Washington to halt them has long been one of Pyongyang's key demands, and it regularly stirs the pot around the time they're held.

North Korea carried out its biggest nuclear test just after last year's UFG drills ended and fired four Scud ER missiles into waters off Japan to coincide with the spring exercises this past March.

This year's UFG exercises are expected to last around 10 days.

Eric Talmadge is the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter at EricTalmadge and Instagram @erictalmadge.


Town hall by ex-Malaysian leader Mahathir marred by violence

Flares hurled by protesters rise during a forum of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017.(AP Photo/Daniel Chan)

By Eileen NG, Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A town hall meeting with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who now heads an opposition coalition, was marred by violence Sunday, with several people hurling flares, chairs and shoes at the stage.

The chaos erupted while the 92-year-old Mahathir was answering questions at the forum, which was hosted by the new political party he established to try to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak in elections due by mid-2018. Shoes, water bottles and chairs were flung at the stage before two flares were lit, filling the hall with smoke and turning it bright pink.

Mahathir was safely escorted out of the hall. Forum organizer Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said several people were injured but couldn't give details on the exact number or their condition.

Police said three people, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were detained.

Syed Saddiq slammed the disruption as "sabotage," saying officials from Mahathir's Bersatu party had earlier noticed a group of youths wearing T-shirts with fake logos of Bersatu's youth wing.

Opposition lawmaker Azmin Ali said: "Najib is using gangsterism to shut Mahathir's mouth. It's a cowardly act."
Several government ministers denounced the violence and said it was irresponsible for Azmin to blame Najib.

"I have condemned what took place but wait for police to conclude investigations before you start pointing fingers," Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted.

Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak said there was no evidence to show Najib was behind the fracas.
"Let's remember that gangsterism is not our political culture," he wrote on his blog.

While it was unclear who was behind the fracas, it highlights that Mahathir — Malaysia's prime minister for 22 years before stepping down in 2003 — is seen as a political threat.

Mahathir has been spearheading calls for Najib to resign over a multibillion-dollar scandal involving indebted state fund 1MDB, which is being investigated in several countries for money laundering. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Mahathir came out of retirement to set up Bersatu last year and was recently appointed chairman of a fractured opposition coalition.

Earlier at Sunday's forum, which was dubbed "Nothing to Hide" and attended by more than 1,000 people, Mahathir said Najib is unfit to be prime minister, calling him a "liar and a thief" over the 1MDB scandal.

Mahathir said the four-party coalition he heads has set aside differences to focus on ousting Najib. "We are united and our focus is clear: to oust Najib and set up a new government," he said.

Malaysia's government has said it found no criminal wrongdoing at 1MDB. But the fund has been at the center of investigations in the U.S. and other countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

Najib started the fund shortly after taking office in 2009 to promote economic development projects, but it accumulated billions of dollars in debt.


Warren Beatty on 'Bonnie and Clyde' at 50

 

In this Jan. 24, 1968, file photo, Fay Dunaway, left, and Warren Beatty appear at the Paris premiere of their film, "Bonnie and Clyde." (AP Photo/Michel Lipchitz, File)

By Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — "Bonnie and Clyde" might have indelibly captured the spirit of the anti-authoritarian'60s with a pair of devil-may-care bank robbers from the '30s. But it didn't exactly roar into theaters when it opened 50 years ago.

The film, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the fatalistic outlaws, would become a cultural sensation, one of the biggest box office hits up until that point and a 10-time Oscar nominee. But on its initial release on August 13 in the midst of the Summer of Love, "Bonnie and Clyde" was virtually gunned down by bad reviews and a tepid reception at the box office.

"Sometimes you make a movie where everyone gets the joke immediately," said Warren Beatty in an interview looking back on "Bonnie and Clyde." ''And then you have a different situation with other movies."

"Bonnie and Clyde" returned to theaters Sunday to mark its 50th anniversary and it will again play nationwide on Wednesday as part of Fathom Events' TCM Big Screen Classics series. It remains an epochal landmark in American movies: the first bullet fired in the coming storm of the American New Wave — the "New Hollywood" of Coppola, Scorsese, Altman and others.

It's fitting, in a way, that "Bonnie and Clyde" should be celebrated with a re-release. That's how it established itself, in the first place.

"Bonnie and Clyde" made a small dent in its 1967 release, but it sparked a delayed response. This was before the days of wide release, and critics had considerable influence on the months-long rollout of films. Most outlets slammed the film, with many objecting to its cavalier violence. The New York Times called it "a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cutups in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie.'"

But "Bonnie and Clyde" caught on with others, notably Pauline Kael. Her 9,000-word New Yorker review called it the most exciting American movie since "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962). "The audience is alive to it," wrote Kael.

Others flip-flopped. Months after Time magazine labeled it "a strange and purposeless mingling of fact and claptrap that teeters uneasily on the brink of burlesque," the magazine put it on its Dec. 8 cover ("The New Cinema: Violence ... Sex ... Art"), calling it a "watershed picture." After making $2.5 million in 1967, "Bonnie and Clyde" grossed $16.5 million in its 1968 re-release, making it one of the top 20 highest grossing films.

"The general opinion at the time was that if you have that kind of violence, you can't mix it with humor. Well, we did," said Beatty.

The film is connected with Beatty for far more than his leading performance. Beatty, after hearing from Francois Truffaut about Robert Benton and David Newman's script, optioned it. Though actors now routinely produce their films, it was then unheard of. The gangster film was seen as a little passe then, too, especially by then-Warner Bros. head Jack Warner.

But Beatty — an up-and-coming star then thanks to "Splendor in the Grass" — fought for it. He developed the film and negotiated himself a remarkable 40 percent of the profits. He brought in Robert Towne ("Chinatown") to doctor the script and cast, among others, a young actor he had previously shot one scene with: Gene Hackman.

"In the case of Bonnie and Clyde,' it was important for me to have control," said Beatty.

Few thought there was much money to be made, including the nearly dozen directors that turned down Beatty, including George Stevens, William Wyler and the man who eventually relented, Arthur Penn.

Beatty, now 80, isn't much inclined to diagnose the considerable influence of "Bonnie and Clyde."

"I thought that it was good," Beatty said. "But I'm really of the opinion — and it seemed to me even then — when you make a movie, you don't really know what you've made until years later. It takes time to separate one's opinion from the gamble of the moment. It's impossible to factor out all of the nonsense that accompanies trying to sell something."

But Beatty does believe strongly that the patience required to let audiences catch up to "Bonnie and Clyde" holds important lessons for today's opening-weekend-centric Hollywood.

"The way movies were released in those times gave the public the time to become interested," he said. "Now that has been eliminated with what we call mass release. We've now reached a point in the movie business where the marketing of a low-cost picture costs quite a bit more than the making of the movie. I think the chaos that has resulted from that is leading us to different approaches."

It's a subject that over the course of more than an hour's conversation Beatty returned to frequently. It was no doubt a factor in the disappointing reception for Beatty's last film and — his first time directing in nearly two decades — "Rules Don't Apply," a '60s-set film much inspired by Beatty's own arrival to Hollywood.

As to whether the notoriously indecisive Beatty will make another movie, he quickly answered, "Sure." ''I've always been fortunate enough to not rush and get away with it," he said. "I've never made movies until I couldn't avoid it any longer."

But Beatty has grave misgivings about the effect digital technologies have had on both the movie business and politics.

"There are so many changes brought about in the new technology that it makes you think about Guttenberg more often than you would like," said Beatty. "I don't think the general public has come to grips with the need to command attention in this new technology. The requisite narcissism needed to gain attention in the entertainment business is somewhat dwarfed by what we see happening in all fields."

And it's the current political climate that Beatty alludes to when asked about the best-picture flub at the Academy Awards in February. It was, after all, the anniversary of "Bonnie and Clyde" that prompted the film academy to put Beatty and Dunaway on the stage for that moment.

"It was kind of silly," said Beatty. "I feel bad for the people who made the mistake. But I don't think it's an earth-shaking matter."

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP .


Today in History - Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Aug. 14, the 226th day of 2017. There are 139 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 14, 1947, Pakistan became independent of British rule.

On this date:

In 1848, the Oregon Territory was created.

In 1900, international forces, including U.S. Marines, entered Beijing to put down the Boxer Rebellion, which was aimed at purging China of foreign influence.

In 1917, China declared war on Germany and Austria during World War I.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced that Imperial Japan had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II.

In 1951, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, 88, died in Beverly Hills, California.

In 1967, folk singer Joan Baez performed a free concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument a day after she'd been denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution because of her opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1969, British troops went to Northern Ireland to intervene in sectarian violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

In 1973, U.S. bombing of Cambodia came to a halt.

In 1980, workers went on strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk (guh-DANSK'), Poland, in a job action that resulted in creation of the Solidarity labor movement. Actress-model Dorothy Stratten, 20, was shot to death by her estranged husband and manager, Paul Snider, who then killed himself.

In 1992, the White House announced that the Pentagon would begin emergency airlifts of food to Somalia to alleviate mass deaths by starvation. Federal judge John J. Sirica, who had presided over the Watergate trials, died in Washington at age 88.

In 1997, an unrepentant Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Ten years ago: Teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan transformed the space shuttle Endeavour and space station into a classroom for her first educational session from orbit, fulfilling the legacy of Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986.

Five years ago: Vice President Joe Biden sparked a campaign commotion, telling an audience in southern Virginia that included hundreds of black voters that Republican Mitt Romney wanted to put them "back in chains" by deregulating Wall Street. (Biden later mocked Republican criticism over the remark while conceding he'd meant to use different words.) Ron Palillo, the actor best known as the nerdy high school student Arnold Horshack on the 1970s sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter," died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, at age 63.

One year ago: At the Rio Olympics, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte and three teammates reported being robbed at gunpoint; police later said the men were not robbed, and instead vandalized a gas station bathroom. (Lochte was charged with filing a false robbery report, but a Brazilian court dismissed the case.) Usain Bolt of Jamaica became the first person to win three straight Olympic 100-meter titles, blowing down the straightaway in 9.81 seconds. Actor Fyvush Finkel, 93, died in New York City.

Today's Birthdays: Broadway lyricist Lee Adams ("Bye Bye Birdie") is 93. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Russell Baker is 92. College Football Hall of Famer John Brodie is 82. Singer Dash Crofts is 79. Rock singer David Crosby is 76. Country singer Connie Smith is 76. Comedian-actor Steve Martin is 72. Movie director Wim Wenders is 72. Actor Antonio Fargas is 71. Singer-musician Larry Graham is 71. Actress Susan Saint James is 71. Actor David Schramm is 71. Author Danielle Steel is 70. Rock singer-musician Terry Adams (NRBQ) is 69. "Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson is 67. Actor Carl Lumbly is 66. Olympic gold medal swimmer Debbie Meyer is 65. Actress Jackee Harry is 61. Actress Marcia Gay Harden is 58. Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson is 58. Singer Sarah Brightman is 57. Actress Susan Olsen is 56. Actress-turned-fashion/interior designer Cristi Conaway is 53. Rock musician Keith Howland (Chicago) is 53. Actress Halle Berry is 51. Actor Ben Bass is 49. Actress Catherine Bell is 49. Country musician Cody McCarver (Confederate Railroad) is 49. Rock musician Kevin Cadogan is 47. Actor Scott Michael Campbell is 46. Actress Lalanya Masters is 45. Actor Christopher Gorham is 43. Actress Mila Kunis is 34. Actor Lamorne Morris is 34. TV personality Spencer Pratt is 34. NFL quarterback-turned-baseball player Tim Tebow is 30.

Thought for Today: "The old forget. The young don't know." — Japanese proverb.


Update August 11 - 13, 2017

Today in History - Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Aug. 13, the 225th day of 2017. There are 140 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 13, 1967, the crime caper biopic "Bonnie and Clyde," starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, had its U.S. premiere; the movie, directed by Arthur Penn, was considered shocking as well as innovative for its graphic portrayal of violence.

On this date:

In 1624, King Louis XIII of France appointed Cardinal Richelieu (ree-shuh-LYOO') his first minister.

In 1792, French revolutionaries imprisoned the royal family.

In 1846, the American flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles.

In 1910, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, died in London at age 90.

In 1923, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was again elected Speaker of Turkey's Grand Assembly.

In 1934, the satirical comic strip "Li'l Abner," created by Al Capp, made its debut.

In 1942, Walt Disney's animated feature "Bambi" had its U.S. premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York, five days after its world premiere in London.

In 1961, East Germany sealed off the border between Berlin's eastern and western sectors before building a wall that would divide the city for the next 28 years.

In 1979, Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals became the 14th player in major league baseball history to reach the 3,000th career hit plateau as his team defeated the Chicago Cubs, 3-2.

In 1981, in a ceremony at his California ranch, President Ronald Reagan signed a historic package of tax and budget reductions.

In 1989, searchers in Ethiopia found the wreckage of a plane which had disappeared almost a week earlier while carrying Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 14 other people — there were no survivors.

In 1997, the animated comedy series "South Park" began airing on Comedy Central. The British comedy-drama "The Full Monty" was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush's political strategist, Karl Rove, announced his resignation. A bridge under construction in the ancient Chinese city of Fenghuang collapsed, killing 64 people. Two women among the 23 South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan were freed. Philanthropist Brooke Astor died in Briarcliff Manor, New York, at age 105. Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto died in West Orange, New Jersey, at age 89.

Five years ago: A routine serving of an eviction notice to a man living near the Texas A&M University campus turned deadly when the resident opened fire, leading to the death of a law enforcement officer and another man before the gunman was killed. Helen Gurley Brown, 90, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, died in New York. The Boston Red Sox's unofficial goodwill ambassador, Johnny Pesky, died at age 92.
One year ago: Violence erupted in Milwaukee following the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black man, by a black police officer, Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who was later acquitted of first-degree reckless homicide. An imam, Maulana Alauddin Akonjee, and his assistant were shot to death as they left a mosque in Queens, New York; a suspect has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges. Michael Phelps closed out the Rio Olympics with another gold medal, the 23rd of his career, as he put the United States ahead to stay on the butterfly leg of the 4x100 medley relay and Nathan Adrian finished it off. Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in the "Star Wars" movies, died in Preston, England, at age 81.

Today's Birthdays: Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders is 84. Actor Kevin Tighe is 73. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is 71. Opera singer Kathleen Battle is 69. High wire aerialist Philippe Petit is 68. Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke is 68. Golf Hall of Famer Betsy King is 62. Movie director Paul Greengrass is 62. Actor Danny Bonaduce is 58. TV weatherman Sam Champion is 56. Actress Dawnn (correct) Lewis is 56. Actor John Slattery is 55. Actress Debi Mazar is 53. Actress Quinn Cummings is 50. Actress Seana Kofoed is 47. Country singer Andy Griggs is 44. Actor Gregory Fitoussi is 41. Country musician Mike Melancon (Emerson Drive) is 39. Actress Kathryn Fiore is 38. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is 35. Actor Sebastian Stan is 35. Pop-rock singer James Morrison is 33. Actress Lennon Stella is 18.

Thought for Today: "It is always too late, or too little, or both. And that is the road to disaster." — David Lloyd George, English statesman (1863-1945).


Today in History - Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Aug. 12, the 224th day of 2017. There are 141 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 12, 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, with whom he had clashed over Reconstruction policies. (Johnson was acquitted by the Senate.)

On this date:

In 1898, fighting in the Spanish-American War came to an end.

In 1915, the novel "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, was first published in the United States, a day before it was released in England.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1944, during World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.

In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.

In 1960, the first balloon communications satellite — the Echo 1 — was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.

In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely Aug. 15.

In 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating, then touching down in California's Mojave (moh-HAH'-vee) Desert.

In 1981, IBM introduced its first personal computer, the model 5150, at a press conference in New York.

In 1985, the world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people. (Four people survived.)

In 1992, after 14 months of negotiations, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced in Washington that they had concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement. Avant-garde composer John Cage died in New York at age 79.

In 1994, Woodstock '94 opened in Saugerties, New York.

Ten years ago: A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church, killing a pastor and two worshippers. (A suspect later pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and four counts of assault, and received three life sentences without parole, plus four 30-year sentences for the assaults.) Tiger Woods captured the PGA Championship to win at least one major for the third straight season and run his career total to 13. Crooner, talk show host and game show producer Merv Griffin died in Los Angeles at age 82.

Five years ago: With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on the Olympic Games with a spectacular pageant. Before the closing ceremony, the U.S. men's basketball team defended its title by fighting off another huge challenge from Spain, pulling away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and its second straight Olympic championship. The victory by the men's basketball team gave the United States its 46th gold medal in London; the U.S. initially won 104 medals overall, but was later stripped of a silver medal after a men's relay team member tested positive for steroids. Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship with a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

One year ago: The Pentagon said that Hafiz Saeed Khan, a top Islamic State group leader in Afghanistan, had been killed in a U.S. drone strike the previous month. A judge in Milwaukee overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, who was found guilty of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case profiled in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer," ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. Katie Ledecky won her fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics, shattering her own mark in the 800-meter freestyle; fellow American Anthony Ervin won the men's 50-meter freestyle.

Today's Birthdays: Actor George Hamilton is 78. Actress Dana Ivey is 76. Actress Jennifer Warren is 76. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 68. Actor Jim Beaver is 67. Singer Kid Creole is 67. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 63. Actor Sam J. Jones is 63. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 61. Country singer Danny Shirley is 61. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 56. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 54. Actor Peter Krause (KROW'-zuh) is 52. Actor Brent Sexton is 50. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras is 46. Actor-comedian Michael Ian Black is 46. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown is 46. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 46. Actor Casey Affleck is 42. Rock musician Bill Uechi is 42. Actress Maggie Lawson is 37. Actress Dominique Swain is 37. Actress Leah Pipes is 29. Actor Lakeith Stanfield is 26. Actress Cara Delevingne (DEHL'-eh-veen) is 25. Actress Imani Hakim is 24.
Thought for Today: "Wisdom is born, stupidity is learned." — Russian proverb.


Bus crash in China's northwest kills at least 36, hurts 13

First responders work at the site of the accident.(Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — A long-distance passenger bus crashed into the wall of an expressway tunnel in China's northwest, killing at least 36 people and injuring 13 others, official media reported Friday.

The front end of the red bus was left mangled after it ploughed into the wall at the entrance to the tunnel on a four-lane highway, according to photos published by state media.

The crash occurred in Shaanxi province shortly before midnight Thursday as the bus with a legal carrying capacity of 51 people was on its way to Luoyang, a city in central China, from Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Such long-distance buses are a common mode of transport, particularly for migrant workers and other Chinese with low incomes.

The Xinhua News Agency and other media outlets said the bus was the only vehicle damaged, although it wasn't clear if any other vehicles were involved in causing the crash. Photos on news websites showed it being towed out of the tunnel with no sign of it having caught fire. Two children were among those killed, and all the injured had been taken to a hospital, the reports said.

Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun ordered a swift investigation into the accident, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

Highway accidents are common in China because of high speeds, aggressive driving and a failure to leave adequate braking distance. The World Health Organization estimates that traffic accidents kill around 260,000 people in mainland China each year — a rate of 18.8 in every 100,000 people.


Asian stocks slump on profit-taking after US-NKorea tensions

One World Trade Center, left, and 7 World Trade Center, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

By Youkyung Lee, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets slumped on Friday following overnight losses on Wall Street as U.S. President Donald Trump's bellicose remarks prompted investors to unload shares in companies that have been on the rise in recent months.

KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi sank 1.8 percent to 2,316.88 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.5 percent to 27,041.83. Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7 percent to 3,238.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.1 percent to 5,696.80. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were also lower. Japan was closed on a public holiday.

FIRE AND FURY: Keeping up his tough talk, Trump told reporters that Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild. The remarks, following North Korea's earlier revelation of a plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, gave investors a reason to pocket profit in the sectors, such as technology, that have been the biggest gainers in recent months, analysts said.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The tensions between North Korea and the U.S. is an excuse for profit-taking," Seo Sang Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Had investors believed a real war was on the horizon, all sectors would have declined." He added that in China, the U.S. and South Korea, stocks that are showing the biggest declines since the rise of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are the companies that have risen most since June.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday led by technology companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 1.4 percent to 2,438.21. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.9 percent to 21,844.01. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 2.1 percent to 6,216.87. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 12 cents to $48.47 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 23 cents to $51.67 per barrel in London. It slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $51.90 per barrel on Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.05 yen from 109.20 while the euro weakened to $1.1763 from $1.1773.


Pyongyang challenge: Should US shoot Kim's missiles down?

 

The "Hwasong-12," a new type of ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — With North Korea threatening to send a salvo of ballistic missiles close to a U.S. military hub in the Pacific, pressure could grow for Washington to put its multibillion-dollar missile defense system into use and shoot them out of the air before they can pose a real threat.

But should it? Could it?

That's no easy call.

North Korea claims it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters just off the island of Guam, where about 7,000 U.S. troops are based.

Guam is a launching point for U.S. strategic bombers that the North, virtually flattened by U.S. bombs during the 1950-53 Korean War, sees as particularly threatening. U.S. bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula several times to show American strength after Pyongyang's missile tests.

Unlike past missile launches that landed much closer to North Korean territory, firing a barrage toward Guam would be extremely provocative, almost compelling a response. Trying to intercept the missiles, however, would open up a whole new range of potential dangers.
Here's the calculus.

THE PROS

Each missile North Korea launches brings it closer to having a reliable nuclear force capable of striking the United States mainland, or its allies and military facilities in Asia. Kim Jong Un has radically accelerated the pace of the North's missile development, and many experts believe it could have an intercontinental ballistic missile able to hit major American cities within a year or two.

It already has ballistic missiles that can strike Japan, a key ally and host to roughly 50,000 U.S. troops. It's very possible the North could attack Japan and U.S. bases there with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads. But the North clearly still needs to conduct more tests to hone its technical skills.

In particular, doubts remain over whether it has perfected re-entry technology for its warheads. It also needs to train its troops to operate effectively in the field to handle nuclear warheads and missiles on short notice.

Shooting down the North's missiles would hamper its ability to glean the flight data it needs. And if his missiles prove no match for U.S. interceptors, Kim Jong Un might be chastened into thinking twice before conducting any more.

Intercepting a missile over the open ocean has the added benefit of not being a direct attack on North Korea itself.

It would send a very strong message but leave more room for de-escalation than a pre-emptive strike against military facilities or other targets on the ground.

THE CONS

A big problem is that failure would not only be humiliating, but could actually weaken the U.S. position more than doing nothing at all.

The U.S. has pumped billions of dollars into its missile defense systems and sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth to its allies, including the very controversial deployment of a state-of-the-art system known by its acronym, THAAD, in South Korea. The U.S. military has also conducted two ICBM interceptor tests since May. Officials called them successes, but critics say they don't replicate actual conditions close enough to be a fair gauge.

Taking out Guam-bound missiles would require successful intercepts by ship-based SM-3 "hit-to-kill" missiles over the Sea of Japan or land-based PAC-3 "Patriot" missiles on Guam. The ship-based defenses are designed to kill a missile that's in midflight, while the ground-based ones take out whatever missiles make it through and are in the final stage.

But it's highly questionable whether either or both would be able to take down the full salvo of four North Korean missiles. President Donald Trump hinted the defense system still needs beefing up on Thursday when he told reporters the U.S. will be spending billions more on them.

A failed intercept would likely embolden the North to move ahead even faster. It could also have a chilling psychological impact on allies like Japan and South Korea, which might seek to build up their own nuclear forces independently of Washington. Rival powers China and Russia, meanwhile, might see the exposed weakness as an opportunity to push forward more assertive policies of their own.

Even if it were successful, a policy of shooting down missiles would undoubtedly raise tensions, and put an uncomfortable squeeze on American allies on the front lines.

Worst of all, if American intentions aren't clear, an attempt to intercept a missile might be misinterpreted by Pyongyang — or Beijing or Moscow — and escalate into a real shooting war.

On a technical level, just as the North learns valuable information on its capabilities with each launch, so does the U.S. military. Shooting down the missiles would cut that intelligence off.

BOTTOM LINE

If the U.S. were to pursue this strategy, it would have to be hugely confident of success. And it would definitely want its allies fully on board.

Eric Talmadge is the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter at EricTalmadge and Instagram at erictalmadge.


UN: Smugglers throw some 280 migrants into the sea off Yemen

 

Laurent de Boeck the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission for Yemen, talks to The Associated Press in Brussels. (AP Photo)

By Edith M. Lederer, Lorne Cook, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Smugglers have thrown some 280 migrants into the sea off the coast of Yemen in the last two days, causing more than 50 to drown and leaving over 30 missing, the U.N. migration agency said Thursday.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the migrants who were forced from boats in two separate "deeply troubling" incidents were hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via war-torn Yemen.

The International Organization for Migration said Wednesday that up to 50 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia were "deliberately drowned" by a smuggler off Yemen. The U.N. agency said 160 Ethiopian migrants were violently forced into the Arabian Sea on Thursday.

The IOM said in a statement late Thursday that its staff found six bodies on the beach — two male and four female — and 13 people are still missing. It said 84 migrants left the beach before IOM staff arrived while it provided emergency medical assistance as well as food and water to 57 surviving migrants.

Dujarric said the situation for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert are "just as heartbreaking" as the tragedy unfolding off Yemen.

He said 2,405 people have died or disappeared during their attempts to cross the Mediterranean and more than 265 people have died or were missing while traveling across the Sahara trying to reach the sea.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is heartbroken by this continuing tragedy," Dujarric said.

"This is why he continues to stress that the international community must give priority to preventing and resolving a variety of situations which both generate mass movement and expose those already on the move to significant danger," the U.N. spokesman said.

"We must also increase legal pathways for regular migration and offer credible alternative to these dangerous crossings for people in need of international protection," Dujarric said.

The narrow waters between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have been a popular migration route despite Yemen's conflict. Migrants, most of them Ethiopians, try to make their way to oil-rich Gulf countries in hopes of finding jobs.

Laurent de Boeck, the IOM's chief of mission in Yemen, told The Associated Press on Thursday that some of the migrants trying to reach Yemen "are not aware at all that there is a war. Sometimes they don't even believe us when we explain it to them."

Just by making land they feel "they are halfway to wealthy," he said.

In the first drownings on Wednesday, a smuggler forced more than 120 migrants into the sea as they approached Yemen's coast, the IOM said. Its staffers found the shallow graves of 29 migrants on a beach in Shabwa during a routine patrol. At least 22 migrants remained missing.

The passengers' average age was around 16, the IOM said.

"The survivors told our colleagues on the beach that the smuggler pushed them to the sea when he saw some 'authority types' near the coast," de Boeck said earlier. "They also told us that the smuggler has already returned to Somalia to continue his business and pick up more migrants to bring to Yemen on the same route."

De Boeck called the suffering of migrants on the route enormous, especially during the current windy season on the Indian Ocean.

"Too many young people pay smugglers with the false hope of a better future," he said.

The IOM says about 55,000 migrants have left Horn of Africa nations for Yemen since January, most from Somalia and Ethiopia fleeing drought and unrest at home. Many leave from points in Djibouti, with some departing from Somalia. A third of them are estimated to be women.

"Some are coming for the third time. They didn't succeed, they went back home, but the parents didn't agree with the fact that they didn't succeed so they send them back. And they have no choice," de Boeck told the AP. "They are between 12 and 25 years old."

Migrants travelling from Djibouti pay about $150, while migrants travelling from northern Somalia pay between $200 and $250 because the route to Yemen is longer.

De Boeck expressed regret that the European Union is more focused on Mediterranean routes where smugglers have also cast migrants trying to reach Europe adrift.

"They have forgotten us a little bit," de Boeck said.

In Ethiopia, people expressed outrage on social media over the drownings.

"This is an unprecedented level of cruelty," wrote one Facebook user, Behailu Talegeta.

Despite the fighting in Yemen, African migrants continue to arrive in the country where there is no central authority to prevent them from traveling onward. The migrants are vulnerable to abuse by armed trafficking rings, many of them believed to be connected to the armed groups involved in the war.

Yemen's conflict itself is a deadly risk. In March, Somalia's government blamed the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen for an attack on a boat that killed at least 42 Somali refugees off Yemen's coast.

More than 111,500 migrants landed on Yemen's shores last year, up from around 100,000 the year before, according to the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, a grouping of international agencies that monitors migration in the area.

Cook reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia, contributed to this report.


Today in History - Friday, Aug. 11, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2017. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 11, 1997, President Bill Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the veto as unconstitutional.)

On this date:

In 1860, the nation's first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nevada.

In 1909, the steamship SS Arapahoe became the first ship in North America to issue an S.O.S. distress signal, off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras.

In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.

In 1942, during World War II, Pierre Laval, prime minister of Vichy France, publicly declared that "the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war."

In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Viet Minh.

In 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, 44, died in an automobile accident on Long Island, New York.

In 1962, Andrian Nikolayev became the Soviet Union's third cosmonaut in space as he was launched on a 94-hour flight.

In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

In 1975, the United States vetoed the proposed admission of North and South Vietnam to the United Nations, following the Security Council's refusal to consider South Korea's application.

In 1984, during a voice test for a paid political radio address, President Ronald Reagan joked that he had "signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

In 1992, the Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping-entertainment center, opened in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In 2014, Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, died in Tiburon, California, a suicide.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his family's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won an easy and expected victory in a high-profile Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll. Funerals were held in Newark, New Jersey, for three college or college-bound students shot to death in a schoolyard. Big Ben's bongs fell silent as workers began a month of maintenance work on the iconic London clock and its world-famous bell.

Five years ago: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney announced his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Usain Bolt capped his perfect London Olympics by leading Jamaica to victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds in the 4x100 meters. Allyson Felix won her third gold medal as the Americans rolled to an easy victory in the women's 4x400 relay. The heavily favored U.S. women's basketball team won a fifth straight gold medal with an 86-50 victory over France.

One year ago: The Obama administration said it had decided marijuana would remain on the list of most dangerous drugs, rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it would allow more research into its medical uses. Michael Phelps won his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley. Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming with her win in the 100-meter freestyle, upsetting world-record holder Cate Campbell and tying with Penny Oleksiak of Canada. Simone Biles of the U.S. soared to the all-around title in women's gymnastics.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 92. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 74. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 74. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 71. Country singer John Conlee is 71. Singer Eric Carmen is 68. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 67. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 64. Singer Joe Jackson is 63. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 60. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 58. Actress Viola Davis is 52. Actor Duane Martin is 52. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 50. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 49. Actress Anna Gunn is 49. Actress Ashley Jensen is 49. Actress Sophie Okonedo is 49. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 49. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 47. Actor Nigel Harman is 44. Actor Will Friedle is 41. Actor Rob Kerkovich is 38. Actress Merritt Wever is 37. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 34. Rock musician Heath Fogg (Alabama Shakes) is 33. Singer J-Boog is 32. Rapper Asher Roth is 32. Actress Alyson Stoner is 24.

Thought for Today: "A pessimist is a man who looks both ways when he's crossing a one-way street." — Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-born educator and author of "The Peter Principle" (1919-1990).
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Ecuador: 300 tons of marine animal remains found on ship

Scientists potentially narrow MH370 search area to 3 spots

Families wait in rain to ID lost loved ones in Sierra Leone

Lucky carrot: Alberta woman finds mother-in-law's lost ring

Today in History - Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017


Korea fight is latest conflict for indigenous people of Guam

More than 300 dead, 600 missing in Sierra Leone mudslides

13 killed when huge tree crashes down on Portuguese festival

Defying Europe's egg scare, Belgian town makes giant omelet

Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017


Both Korean leaders, US signal turn to diplomacy amid crisis

US WWII vet in Japan to return flag to fallen soldier family

18 dead in suspected jihadist attack on Burkina Faso eatery

Stunt driver dies while filming 'Deadpool 2' in Vancouver

Today in History - Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017


In Colombia, Pence tries to strike balance on Venezuela

Will North Korea's Kim pull the trigger? Possible signs to watch

Town hall by ex-Malaysian leader Mahathir marred by violence

Warren Beatty on 'Bonnie and Clyde' at 50

Today in History - Monday, Aug. 14, 2017


Today in History - Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017

Today in History - Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

Bus crash in China's northwest kills at least 36, hurts 13

Asian stocks slump on profit-taking after US-NKorea tensions

Pyongyang challenge: Should US shoot Kim's missiles down?

UN: Smugglers throw some 280 migrants into the sea off Yemen

Today in History - Friday, Aug. 11, 2017

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