Myanmar Buddhists seek tougher action against Rohingya
of nationalist Buddhist monks display banners during a protest rally
demanding to give wider powers to Myanmar military to crackdown on Muslim
Rohingya militants in Yangon, Myanmar, Wednesday, Aug. 30,2017. (AP Photo)
BANGKOK (AP) — Several hundred
Buddhist nationalists, including monks, rallied in Myanmar's largest city on
Wednesday to urge stronger action against insurgents from the Muslim
Rohingya minority for attacks on police last week.
The attacks in Rakhine state in western Myanmar have spiraled into chaotic
violence, with more than 100 dead and villages torched.
At least 18,000 Rohingya have fled the violence and crossed into Bangladesh
in less than a week, with hundreds stranded in a no man's land at the
countries' border, the International Organization for Migration said.
The army, responding to last Thursday's attacks, launched what it called
clearance operations against the insurgents, but advocates for the Rohingya
say they are attacking and burning Rohingya villages, shooting civilians and
causing others to flee.
The government blames Rohingya insurgents and their sympathizers for the
continuing violence. Government figures put the death toll since last week
at a minimum of 103, including 12 members of security forces, 77 people
described as insurgents and 14 civilians. There were reports of additional
Rohingya advocates fear the death toll for civilians is much higher.
Most of Myanmar's estimated 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine
state. They face severe persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, which
refuses to recognize them as a legitimate native ethnic minority, leaving
them without citizenship and basic rights.
Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine
Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012. That set off a surge of
anti-Muslim feeling throughout the country.
Wirathu, a Buddhist monk and leader of the anti-Muslim movement who is known
for virulent sermons, told Wednesday's protesters in Yangon that only the
military can control the situation in northern Rakhine.
He criticized the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi for not responding
quickly to the army's call Tuesday for a meeting of the National Security
and Defense Council, which could declare a state of emergency in Rakhine and
give the military absolute authority to enforce it. The military holds a
majority on the council, which was created by the 2008 military-drafted
"Only the military's commander in chief can protect the lives and the
properties of the people," Wirathu said. "The military is the only one that
can give a lesson to tame the Bengali terrorists."
Myanmar nationalists use the term Bengali for Rohingya because of a belief
they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, even though many families have been
in Myanmar for generations.
Wirathu also denounced international aid groups that the government has
accused, without evidence, of giving assistance to the Rohingya insurgents.
The allegations have circulated widely on social media.
The Information Ministry said Wednesday that 45 homemade bombs were
detonated and seven villages, one security post and two neighborhoods in the
township of Maungdaw were burned down on Sunday and Monday.
Maungdaw, in the northern part of Rakhine state, is a center of the
violence, though villages over a much wider area were also hit.
Sanjukta Sahany, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for
Migration in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on the border with Myanmar, said the
Rohingya crisis was not just an issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh but of
At the United Nations, the Security Council got an emergency, closed-door
update Wednesday on Myanmar, at Britain's request. The council didn't issue
any statement as a whole, but British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said
members condemned the violence and called on all the parties involved to
The U.N. refugee organization on Tuesday urged Bangladesh to continue to
allow Rohingya fleeing violence to seek safety. It said it was ready to help
Bangladesh with assistance for the refugees.
Ali Hossain, Cox's Bazar district's top government official, told The
Associated Press that its resources were under huge stress after some 87,000
Rohingya entered Bangladesh since October last year and another 18,000 since
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the United States on Wednesday
to pressure Myanmar so its government would stop pushing Rohingya toward
Bangladesh, her spokesman said.
Hasina made the request during talks with Alice Wells, U.S. acting assistant
secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said Ihsanul Karim, Hasina's
The insurgent raids last Thursday were deadlier than an attack by the
militants on three border posts last October that killed nine policemen and
set off months of brutal counterinsurgency operations against Rohingya
Human rights groups accused the army of carrying out massive abuses,
including killing, rape and burning down more than 1,000 homes and other
Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz at the United Nations contributed
to this report.
Will North Korea make missiles over Japan the new normal?
the square of the main railway station to watch a televised news broadcast
of the test-fire of an inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,
Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.(AP Photo/Kim Kwang
By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The language from North Korea on Wednesday
is as familiar as it is chilling, a declaration to the world to expect more
missile tests. But there are important clues about North Korea's ambitious
push to send its missiles farther into the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to
make them an accepted part of life in the region, as leader Kim Jong Un
expands the weapons program he sees as his country's best chance of survival
against encircling enemies.
By firing a missile over Japan and putting the Asia-Pacific, including Guam
and its major U.S. military base, on notice for more tests, North Korea may
have won itself greater military space in a region dominated by enemies.
It's still too early to see if Kim can create new rules without crossing a
line that the United States won't tolerate.
Here's a look at the possible meaning of Kim's comments carried by state
media after North Korea sent a missile potentially capable of carrying a
nuclear bomb over Japan on Tuesday:
WHAT NORTH KOREA SAID
Because North Korea's "current ballistic rocket launching drill ... is the
first step of the military operation ... in the Pacific and a meaningful
prelude to containing Guam, (which is an) advanced base of invasion, he
(Kim) said that it is necessary to positively push forward the work for
putting the strategic force on a modern basis by conducting more ballistic
rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future."
WHAT IT MAY MEAN
This refers to North Korea's attempt to strengthen its weapons capabilities
and use them to test its bargaining power against the United States. To this
end, North Korea is signaling that it may soon turn the Pacific Ocean into
its own ballistic missile training ground and make its launches over Japan
an accepted norm.
This might have been Kim's plan all along as he sought what to do next after
North Korea's weapons development reached a point where it could test
intercontinental ballistic missiles meant to reach deep into the U.S.
mainland. North Korea threatened earlier this month to fire a salvo of
Hwasong-12s — the same missile it sent over Japan on Tuesday — to create
"enveloping fire" near Guam.
The U.S. territory of Guam is home to key military bases and strategic
long-range bombers that North Korea finds threatening. Still, it's unclear
whether the North will ever act on its threat to fire missiles at the
"advanced base of invasion." This could risk triggering a military
retaliation from the United States if something goes wrong. But the threat
and the subsequent launch Tuesday may have won North Korea space to stage
more weapons tests because anything less than targeting Guam would draw a
sigh of relief from the United States.
"There were times when even a short-range ballistic missile launch drew a
heated response and sanctions from the international community, but the
world didn't do anything about North Korea's short-range ballistic missile
launches on Saturday" ahead of Tuesday's longer launch, said Du Hyeogn Cha,
a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies. "North
Korea will try to do the same with midrange ballistic missile launches in
the Pacific, making them part of the new normal."
WHAT NORTH KOREA SAID
Kim Jong Un "sternly" said that "the drill conducted by the (North's)
Strategic Force is a curtain-raiser of its resolute countermeasures" against
joint military exercises being conducted by the U.S. and South Korea.
WHAT IT MAY MEAN
Before Tuesday's launch, it appeared North Korea was backing away from its
threat to fire missiles toward Guam. Some took this as a sign that it was
willing to talk and wouldn't let things get too tense during the annual
joint military drills between Washington and Seoul that run through
Tuesday's events killed such optimism. Most experts now say North Korea will
likely continue its torrid pace of weapons tests until it perfects ICBMs and
submarine-launched ballistic missile systems, and that it probably won't
show serious interest in talks before then.
Kim is clearly seeking a real nuclear deterrent against the United States
and likely believes that will strengthen his negotiating position when North
Korea returns to talks. And if it does, North Korea will likely demand a
halt of the U.S.-South Korean drills and perhaps the withdrawal of U.S.
troops from the Korean Peninsula in any talks involving a moratorium on its
missile launches, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert from Seoul's
North Korea condemns the annual U.S.-South Korea war games as rehearsals for
an invasion, and Washington and Seoul faced calls to postpone or downsize
this year's drills to ease tensions.
There might also be a simpler reason Kim attributed Tuesday's launch to the
China, North Korea's only major ally, has been calling for a "dual
suspension" in which the North stops its nuclear and missile tests and
Washington and Seoul halt their military exercises to lower tensions and
lead to talks. By publicly linking the launch to the drills, Kim is
attempting reduce the possibility that Beijing supports more punitive
measures against North Korea at the United Nations over the launch, Cha
WHAT NORTH KOREA SAID
Kim Jong Un said his nation has drawn a lesson "again that it should show
action, not talk, to the U.S. imprudently denying the (North's) initiative
measure for easing the extreme tension" and stressed that it will continue
to watch America's demeanor toward the North and decide its future actions
WHAT IT MAY MEAN
The problem here is that Washington won't be very interested in displaying
the kind of "demeanor" that North Korea is likely to want.
A U.S. military solution to North Korea's missile tests is also unlikely.
Making a highly difficult intercept of North Korean missiles would be a
tough call because failure would seriously dent the credibility of the
expensive U.S. missile defense system.
So the question is whether North Korea will put some checks on itself as it
seeks to expand its weapons tests in the Pacific. Some experts believe the
next North Korean launches will be bolder unless Washington makes serious
But Hwang Ildo, a professor at Seoul's Korea National Diplomatic Academy,
disagrees, saying North Korea probably won't risk infuriating the United
States. He says the North Korean threat toward Guam is more about winning
greater freedom of military action than about deterring flyovers of U.S.
bombers or stopping the U.S.-South Korean war games.
"The North's intention was to push the boundaries of its military presence
farther from the Korean Peninsula and Japan and into the wider Pacific, and
they practically drew the line at Guam with their missile threat," he said.
Motorists, gawkers line up to see new bridge in Scotland
The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Motorists and
gawkers jammed onto Scotland's new bridge over the Firth of Forth, anxious
to see the new expanse on its first full day of operation.
Cars began trying out the Queensferry Crossing beginning at 2 a.m. By rush
hour Wednesday, delays in both directions hampered movement on the new 1.35
billion pound ($1.74 billion) bridge that links the Lothians and Fife. The
bridge is 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) long.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown says travelers won't miss the "absence of the
'slap, slap, slap' that you get on the existing bridge."
The new crossing — the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world
— will be closed again Friday so some 50,000 pedestrians can cross it over
the weekend. Queen Elizabeth II will visit the new expanse on Monday.
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gives $1M to Harvey relief
In this Feb.
28, 2016 file photo, actor Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the Vanity Fair Fair
Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Evan
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has donated $1 million to the newly established
United Way Harvey Recovery Fund which will go toward short and long term
relief and recovery efforts.
United Way Worldwide said Wednesday that the national fund will distribute
100 percent of donations to recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane
"We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Leonardo DiCaprio and his
foundation," said United Way Worldwide President and CEO Brian Gallagher in
a statement. "Responding to Hurricane Harvey requires the best of all of us
— and that's what this gift represents."
United Way is the world's largest privately-funded non-profit and
anticipates Harvey recovery efforts will take several years.
The $1 million from DiCaprio's foundation represents the inaugural donation
to the fund. It is the latest disaster relief support from the
Oscar-winner's namesake foundation. DiCaprio and his foundation have
previously donated to recovery efforts following the 2004 tsunami, the Haiti
earthquake and Hurricane Sandy.
"We hope others will step up and support the United Way and other
organizations," foundation CEO Terry Tamminen said in the press release.
Many celebrities have pulled out their pocketbooks to help Harvey victims in
recent days including Sandra Bullock, who on Tuesday donated $1 million to
the American Red Cross.
Today in History - Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017
Today is Thursday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2017. There are 122 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 31, 1997, Prince Charles brought Princess Diana home for the last
time, escorting the body of his former wife to a Britain that was shocked,
grief-stricken and angered by her death in a Paris traffic accident earlier
On this date:
In 1867, French poet Charles Baudelaire, 46, died in Paris.
In 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated
Charleston, South Carolina, killing at least 60 people, according to the
U.S. Geological Survey.
In 1916, the musical revue "The Big Show," featuring the song "Poor
Butterfly" by Raymond Hubbell and John Golden, opened at New York's
In 1939, the first issue of Marvel Comics, featuring the Human Torch, was
published by Timely Publications in New York.
In 1941, the radio program "The Great Gildersleeve," a spinoff from "Fibber
McGee and Molly" starring Harold Peary, debuted on NBC.
In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states; Connecticut,
Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which
resulted in some 70 deaths.
In 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to
establish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, American swimmer Mark Spitz won his
fourth and fifth gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter
freestyle relay; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut won gold medals in floor
exercise and the balance beam.
In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small
private plane collided over Cerritos, California. The Soviet passenger ship
Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing
both to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.
In 1987, the Michael Jackson album "Bad" was released by Epic Records.
In 1991, Uzbekistan (ooz-bek-ih-STAHN') and Kyrgyzstan (keer-gih-STAHN')
declared their independence, raising to ten the number of republics seeking
to secede from the Soviet Union.
In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered to authorities in Naples,
Idaho, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents that had claimed the lives
of Weaver's wife, son and a deputy U.S. marshal. (Weaver was acquitted of
murder and all other charges in connection with the confrontation; he was
convicted of failing to appear for trial on firearms charges and was
sentenced to 18 months in prison but given credit for 14 months he'd already
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush met privately at the Pentagon with
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who conveyed their concern about a growing strain
on troops and their families from long and repeated combat tours in Iraq.
President Bush announced a set of modest proposals to deal with an alarming
rise in mortgage defaults. Mike Nifong, the disgraced former district
attorney of Durham County, North Carolina, was sentenced to a day in jail
after being held in criminal contempt of court for lying to a judge when
pursuing rape charges against three falsely accused Duke University lacrosse
Five years ago: In a speech to an annual Federal Reserve conference in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message that the
Fed would do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy, but did not
specify exactly what, or when. Writer Richard Bach, author of "Jonathan
Livingston Seagull," was seriously hurt after his small plane went down in
One year ago: On Mexican soil for the first time as the Republican
presidential nominee, a firm, but measured Donald Trump defended the right
of the United States to build a massive border wall along its southern
flank, standing up for the centerpiece of his immigration plan during a
joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The first
commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than a half
century, a JetBlue Airbus A320, landed in the central city of Santa Clara,
re-establishing regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War.
Brazil's Senate voted to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office
(Rousseff was accused of breaking fiscal laws in her management of the
Today's Birthdays: Japanese monster movie actor Katsumi Tezuka ("Godzilla")
is 105. Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson is 82. Actor Warren Berlinger
is 80. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 78.
Actor Jack Thompson is 77. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 72. Singer Van
Morrison is 72. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 69. Actor
Richard Gere is 68. Actor Stephen Henderson is 68. Olympic gold medal track
and field athlete Edwin Moses is 62. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is
60. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go's) is 60. Singer Tony DeFranco (The
DeFranco Family) is 58. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint
Condition) is 54. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 52. Baseball pitcher Hideo Nomo is
49. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 48. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson
is 47. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 47. Actor Zack Ward is
47. Golfer Padraig Harrington is 46. Actor Chris Tucker is 45. Actress Sara
Ramirez is 42.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 40.
Thought for Today: "Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess." — Edna
Woolman Chase, American fashion editor (1877-1957).
UN Security Council 'strongly condemns' North Korea missile test
Nations Security Council hold a meeting on North Korea, Tuesday Aug. 29,
2017 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
By Jennifer Peltz, Associated
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned
North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday,
reiterating demands that Pyongyang halt its ballistic missile and nuclear
After an emergency meeting on the missile test, the U.N.'s most powerful
body called North Korea's actions "outrageous," saying it was deliberately
undermining peace and stability in the region. The council called for North
Korea to take "immediate, concrete actions" to "reduce tensions in the
Korean Peninsula and beyond."
The missile flight came less than a month after the council imposed its
toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea, and it's not immediately clear
whether any further actions could follow.
"We'll be talking about next steps starting now," Japanese Ambassador Koro
Bessho said after the meeting.
For now, he said, the statement sends the North a strong message "that the
international community will not accept its reckless behavior."
North Korea isn't on the 15-member council. While the was meeting was
underway in New York, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said
leader Kim Jong Un expressed "great satisfaction" with the launch and called
for more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean.
Going into a closed session that evolved into an open meeting, ambassadors
from several countries said they wanted to discuss how to respond, but first
of all to show that the international community was united in firmly
rebuking the missile test. The missile — designed to carry a nuclear payload
— traveled almost 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) into the Pacific and
triggered alert warnings as it soared over northern Japan.
"It is time for the North Korean regime to recognize the danger they are
putting themselves in," said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose country has
traded threats with North Korea in recent weeks. "The United States will not
allow their lawlessness to continue, and the rest of the world is with us."
Still, the discussion was a reminder that members have different approaches
to the issue.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi called on all parties to "avoid any rhetoric or
action that might exacerbate tension" on the Korean Peninsula.
Both he and his Russian counterpart noted their countries had previously
proposed a suspension of both North Korean nuclear and missile development
and of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which are currently
"The exercises being conducted must be scaled down," Russian Ambassador
Vassily Nebenzia said. "There is an urgent need to create an atmosphere of
trust among states in the region."
The Pyongyang news agency said Tuesday's missile launch was a
"muscle-flexing" response to the war games, which the North views as
rehearsals for an invasion. North Korea had requested a Security Council
meeting about the exercises last week.
The U.S. says the decades-old drills' only purpose is to improve readiness
to defend South Korea and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.
This year, the exercises come weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump warned
he could unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued threatening the
United States, and the North then said it was considering firing missiles
into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.
The Security Council said Tuesday it was committed to a peaceful, diplomatic
and political solution to the situation and called for strict implementation
of its existing sanctions.
The latest sanctions include a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron,
lead and seafood products, together worth over $1 billion for a country with
total exports valued at just $3 billion last year. The U.S. had suggested in
July that the council could do more, including restricting oil to the North
Korean military and boosting air and maritime restrictions.
Former loyalists lose faith in Myanmar's democracy icon
In this Oct.
17, 2015 photo, Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a campaign rally for her
National League for Democracy party in Thandwe, western Rakhine state,
Myanmar. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
By DENIS D. GRAY, Associated
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — As Aung San Suu Kyi launched a national
struggle against decades of harsh military rule, one medical student worked
tirelessly at her side, facing down gun-wielding soldiers trying to crush
the surging pro-democracy movement. For her activism and loyalty, Ma Thida
suffered six years of mostly solitary imprisonment and nearly died of
Now a medical doctor, novelist and recipient of international human rights
awards, Ma Thida has few kind words for the former mentor she once called
"my sister who always remained in my heart."
The criticism by Ma Thida and other formerly ardent supporters is manifold:
they accuse Suu Kyi of ignoring state violence against ethnic minorities and
Muslims, continuing to jail journalists and activists, cowing to Myanmar's
still-powerful generals, and failing to nurture democratic leaders who could
step in when she, now 72, exits the scene. Instead, they say her government
is creating a power vacuum that could be filled again by the military.
Some conclude that Suu Kyi, who espoused democracy with such passion, always
possessed an authoritarian streak which only emerged once she gained power.
"We can't expect her to change the whole country in one-and-a-half years,
but we expect a strong human rights-based approach," Ma Thida says of the
Nobel Peace Prize winner once hailed as "Myanmar's Joan of Arc" and spoken
of in the same breath as South Africa's Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi of
International criticism has focused on Suu Kyi's lack of action or
condemnation of violence targeting the country's approximately 1 million
Rohingya Muslims, who have been brutalized since 2012 by security forces and
zealots among the Buddhist majority in western Myanmar.
More than 1,000 Rohingya have been killed, while some 320,000 are living in
squalid camps in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, according to estimates
by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and the United Nations. Thousands more
embarked on perilous sea voyages to other Southeast Asian countries.
After a new wave of violence and humanitarian crisis erupted last week, with
ethnic Rohingya militants attacking police posts and leaving 12 security
personnel and 77 Rohingya Muslims dead, her office said military and border
police had launched "clearance operations." She herself condemned the
militants for what she called "a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts
of those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine state."
As usual, she did not address the insurgents' counter-allegations — that the
attacks were aimed at protecting Rohingya villagers from "intensified
atrocities" perpetrated by "brutal soldiers."
"The violence against the Rohingya is not an isolated event," says Stella
Naw, an analyst from the ethnic Kachin minority focusing on national
reconciliation. "We know the game the army is playing. But as a politician
elected by the people, she is accountable for her inaction and failure to
condemn the army."
Suu Kyi's government has banned a U.N. investigation team from entering the
afflicted region, and earlier this month rejected the world body's assertion
that the regime's actions "very likely" amounted to crimes against humanity
and ethnic cleansing. The February report alleged security forces had
perpetrated mass killings, hurled children into fires and gang-raped Muslim
women. The government has mostly blamed the latest round of blood-letting on
Islamist militants. Suu Kyi's official Facebook page last year flashed a
message reading "Fake Rape."
"We don't have a second choice. People still support her party and
government. People must lower their expectations because the problems are so
deeply rooted," says Thant Thaw Kaung, executive director of the Myanmar
Book Aid and Preservation Foundation, an initiative to improve the country's
woeful education system.
For years, Suu Kyi had courageously defied the military, suffering 15 years
of house arrest and separation from her British husband and two sons to helm
her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in 2015 elections.
Often referred to as "The Lady," she retains popularity among the general
public as the liberator from half a century of military oppression.
"When she was in the opposition she was so articulate, so vocal, but
suddenly now we are faced with silence. Now that Myanmar is back on the
democratic path, everyone expects that there should be more openness, but
this has not happened," says Khin Zaw Win, a political prisoner for 11 years
who now heads the Tampadipa Institute, a civil society think tank.
Since assuming office in April 2016, Suu Kyi has earned a reputation for
being aloof and controlling of information.
Explanations for why she's changed, or
faltered in upholding previously avowed goals, are starkly disparate: she is
variously cast as a tragic heroine fighting impossible odds, and a closet
authoritarian with a soft spot for the military.
Suu Kyi herself has often said she inherited an affinity for the armed
forces from her father Gen. Aung San, a military hero who fought for
independence from Britain.
Reflecting this puzzlement, a satirical Internet site called Burma Tha Din
Network joked that the Suu Kyi in office now was a clone created by Russian
geneticists hired by Myanmar's generals to remove her democratic genes, and
that the real Suu Kyi was being held by the military and wondering, "How the
hell can people believe I'd do that?"
Perhaps the most widespread view is that she simply can't push her
democratic agenda or human rights demands, lest the military oust her from
power. Although her post as government leader places her above the
president, the military retains its grip on three key ministries controlling
law enforcement, local administration and embattled frontier areas as well
as a mandated 25 percent of seats in Parliament.
"She may shake hands with the military across a table, but under it they are
kicking her," says That Thaw Kaung.
Some disagree, and say her popular
mandate gives her the force to challenge the generals who are unlikely to
upset an arrangement that still allows them to wield power with seeming
impunity while also being able to blame problems on Suu Kyi's civilian
"The litany, the excuse that is repeated, 'Oh, the military is still in
politics, still dominates the Constitution ... so we are hamstrung.' I don't
buy that argument," says Khin Zaw Win. "She is not a prisoner of the
military." What is lacking, he says, is moral courage in addressing human
rights and the ability to tackle other problems outside the power grid of
the military, such as the economy. Meanwhile, the military is preparing
itself for the 2020 elections.
Mark Farmaner of the human rights group Burma Campaign UK says that while
Suu Kyi may be constrained by the political situation, there are many areas
where she has the freedom to act and has not done so.
"There are problems which will take years to resolve, but freeing political
prisoners, repealing repressive laws and ending aid restrictions to
displaced Rohingya can be done now," he says. The Assistance Association for
Political Prisoners reported that 225 persons were still in prison or
awaiting trial last month for political activities.
Suu Kyi has often stressed that her highest priority is ending decades of
warfare between the central government and a welter of ethnic minorities.
Last week, her government welcomed a report from a commission led by former
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommending rapid economic development
and social justice to counter the deadly violence between Buddhists and
Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
But Suu Kyi has also publicly ignored the army's continuing attacks and
atrocities against ethnic groups in the Kachin and Shan states, further
eroding their trust in her government.
"Her concept of national reconciliation seems to focus mostly on the
relationship between the military and her party, with the ethnic minorities
being an inconvenient side-issue," says Ashley South, an expert on Myanmar's
ethnic minorities. Farmaner contends Suu Kyi views Myanmar principally as a
country of the ethnic Burman Buddhist majority, rather than a multi-ethnic,
Some critics say Suu Kyi is trapped not by the generals, but by her own
history and that of Myanmar, which has endured centuries of kings, British
colonials and military dictators. By contrast, the country has experienced a
mere 15 years of democracy.
Suu Kyi has expelled dissident party members, neglected to groom successors,
spoken rarely to the press and apparently made command decisions rather than
seeking help from capable advisers.
Khin Zaw Win notes that Gen. Ne Win, who ruled with an iron fist for 26
years, initially enjoyed some connection with the populace but grew
increasingly remote and autocratic, surrounding himself with "yes men."
"She seems to be following almost exactly in his footsteps," he says. "I
call it the 'courtier mentality' and that is exactly what is happening now."
Having reached the pinnacle of power, he says, Suu Kyi believes she can go
"It is such a tragedy," says Naw, the
Kachin analyst. "She has lost so much, her family, her years under arrest,
and to have come to a stage where she has disconnected herself from people
who went to prison for her, who would have given their lives for her — it
breaks their hearts to see what she has become."
Denis D. Gray has covered Thailand and Southeast Asia for The Associated
Press for more than 40 years.
Deputies visit relative of 6 presumed dead in Harvey floods
photo provided by Virginia Saldivar shows her mother- and father-in-law,
Belia and Manuel Saldivar, presumed dead after their van sank into Greens
Bayou on Houston's eastside. (Virginia Saldivar via AP)
By Emily Schmall, Associated
DALLAS (AP) — When two Harris County Sheriff's deputies found him
clinging to a tree branch, water up to his neck, Samuel Saldivar was
distraught and in tears, describing how he watched a van carrying his
elderly parents and his brother's grandchildren sink into Greens Bayou, a
Saldivar's sister-in-law, Virginia, told The Associated Press Tuesday that
the same deputies came to the suburban Houston home where she and her
husband have stayed since volunteers evacuated them Monday for information
about the children, aged 6 to 16, and her in-laws.
"They wanted to make sure that we understood how they found Sammy," she
After his parents' northeast Houston home began to flood early Sunday,
Samuel Saldivar borrowed his brother's van and drove to pick up the
relatives. He told deputies that while crossing a bridge, a strong current
lifted the van and pitched it forward into a drainage channel.
Saldivar climbed out of the driver-side window but the van's sliding door
was partially submerged and would not open, Virginia Saldivar said. He
yelled at the children to try to escape out the back, but they were unable.
Virginia Saldivar said her brother-in-law could only watch as the van
Saldivar believes her husband's parents, Manuel Saldivar, 84, and Belia
Saldivar, 81, drowned along with her grandchildren: Daisy, Xavier, Dominic
The Harris County Sheriff's Office could not confirm the deaths because no
bodies had been recovered, Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.
"The water levels are so high, we can't find anything," he said.
Virginia Saldivar said she lives in the same neighborhood as her relatives,
but she and her husband left during a calm spell Saturday to watch the
boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. The children's
mother had left the four at home, she said. The widespread flooding
prevented them from getting home until Sunday afternoon.
Virginia and her husband fled their home Monday evening when water rose to
about 8 feet (2.44 meters) outside their front door. Volunteers helped get
the couple to dry land.
Twice since Sunday, the children's mother went to the site where Samuel
Saldivar told deputies the van disappeared, but the Coast Guard wouldn't let
people through, Saldivar said. The children's father, her son, who she said
is in prison for violating parole, first heard about the incident Tuesday.
She told him during an allotted 10-minute phone call.
As soon as it is safe to return to Houston, Saldivar said, she and her
family will go looking for the bodies themselves. She said the sheriff's
deputies told her the strength and direction of the current meant that the
van could have been carried as far as the Port of Houston, about 8 miles
(12.87 kilometers) southwest.
"The hope is that we find the bodies," she said. "It's the last thing I can
do for them."
John Steinbeck's relatives by marriage in copyright dispute
file photo shows American author John Steinbeck, winner of the 1940 Pulitzer
Prize for his novel "The Grapes of Wrath."(AP Photo, File)
By Brian Melley, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Film remakes of "The Grapes of Wrath" and "East of
Eden" fell apart because John Steinbeck's son and daughter-in-law impeded
the projects, the writer's stepdaughter told jurors in federal court
Waverly Scott Kaffaga alleges that long-running litigation over the author's
estate has prevented her from making the most of Steinbeck's copyrights at a
time when marquee names such as Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lawrence were
interested in bringing some his masterpieces back to the screen.
"The catalog has been dirtied by these legalities," Kaffaga said. "The whole
Steinbeck canon has been put into doubt."
Kaffaga, daughter of the late author's third wife, Elaine, is suing the
estate of stepbrother Thomas Steinbeck, who died last year, and his widow
and their company.
The lawsuit follows a decades-long dispute between Thomas Steinbeck and
Kaffaga's mother over control of the author's works.
Thomas Steinbeck has lost most rounds in court, including a lawsuit he and
the daughter of his late brother, John Steinbeck IV, brought that spurred
Kaffaga to countersue in the current case.
A judge already ruled the couple breached a contract with Kaffaga. Jurors
must decide if Thomas and Gail Steinbeck interfered with deals and should
Attorneys for Kaffaga did not name a price in court, but Gail Steinbeck said
they previously asked the judge for $6.5 million plus punitive damages.
Gail Steinbeck's lawyer said she never intentionally interfered in deals she
and her husband would have benefited from and that would have served their
interest promoting the Nobel Prize winner's legacy.
An attorney for Kaffaga said Gail Steinbeck caught wind of projects and then
threatened movie makers that she and her husband had legal rights to the
work and also cut secret side deals without notifying Kaffaga.
In one instance, Thomas Steinbeck secretly signed a $650,000 deal with
DreamWorks to be an executive producer on a film remake of "The Grapes of
Wrath," the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that starred Henry Fonda on the
silver screen that won two Oscars.
Producers and directors later dropped the remakes because they feared
litigation by the Steinbecks, Kaffaga's attorney Susan Kohlmann said in her
Kohlmann put Gail Steinbeck on the witness stand early in the case and
displayed emails that she wrote suggesting that a reported remake of "East
of Eden" starring Lawrence would be "litigation city."
Another email Gail Steinbeck wrote after her husband lost a related court
case in New York suggested litigation wouldn't end until "I draw my last
Steinbeck laughed off that comment in testimony, saying, "Oh, that was
Defense attorney Matthew Berger noted that Kaffaga was never adopted by John
Steinbeck and was not one of his heirs. He said Thomas Steinbeck was a
co-owner of his father's copyright and received royalties.
Gail Steinbeck estimated conservatively that her husband received $120,000 a
year in publishing royalties from the author's work — and as much as
$200,000 in some years.
Berger said Kaffaga's claim had no merit and she wasn't entitled to any
damages because most movies optioned are never made and that estimated
revenue from unproduced projects was pure speculation.
Berger suggested Kaffaga was using Thomas' inheritance to sue his widow.
Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2017. There are 123 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 30, 1997, Americans received word of the car crash in Paris that
claimed the lives of Princess Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their
driver, Henri Paul. (Because of the time difference, it was August 31 where
the crash occurred.)
On this date:
In 1861, Union Gen. John C. Fremont instituted martial law in Missouri and
declared slaves there to be free. (However, Fremont's emancipation order was
countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln).
In 1862, Confederate forces won victories against the Union at the Second
Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia, and the Battle of Richmond in
In 1905, Ty Cobb made his major-league debut as a player for the Detroit
Tigers, hitting a double in his first at-bat in a game against the New York
Highlanders. (The Tigers won, 5-3.)
In 1945, U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to set up Allied
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Atomic Energy Act of
1954, which was intended to promote private development of nuclear energy.
In 1963, the "Hot Line" communications link between Washington and Moscow
went into operation.
In 1967, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the
first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1983, Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut to
travel in space as he blasted off aboard the Challenger.
In 1984, the space shuttle Discovery was launched on its inaugural flight.
In 1986, Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff, a correspondent for
U.S. News and World Report, as a spy a week after American officials
arrested Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations, on
espionage charges in New York. (Both men were later released.)
In 1989, a federal jury in New York found "hotel queen" Leona Helmsley
guilty of income tax evasion, but acquitted her of extortion. (Helmsley
ended up serving 18 months behind bars, a month at a halfway house and two
months under house arrest.)
In 1991, Azerbaijan (ah-zur-by-JAHN') declared its independence, joining the
stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.
Ten years ago: In a serious breach of nuclear security, a B-52 bomber
mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles took off from Minot
Air Force Base in North Dakota and flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in
Louisiana; the Air Force later punished 70 people. Taliban militants in
Afghanistan released the last seven of its South Korean hostages.
Five years ago: Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House
with a rousing, personal speech to the Republican National Convention in
Tampa, Florida, proclaiming that America needs "jobs, lots of jobs." Earlier
in the evening, actor-director Clint Eastwood offered an endorsement of
Romney that entailed using an empty chair to represent President Barack
Obama. The U.S. Justice Department announced it had ended its investigation
into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal
charges. Twin satellites were launched by NASA on a quest to explore Earth's
treacherous radiation belts and protect the planet from solar outbursts.
One year ago: Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Rep.
Patrick Murphy each easily won their Florida Senate primaries; Rubio won the
election the following November. U.S. Sen. John McCain beat back an Arizona
primary challenge from a Republican tea party activist, Kelli Ward, to win
the right to seek a sixth Senate term in November (McCain went on to defeat
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Green Party candidate Gary Swing). The European
Union ordered Apple to pay nearly $15 billion in back taxes to Ireland, plus
billions more in interest (both Apple and Ireland are fighting the ruling).
Today's Birthdays: Actor Bill Daily is 90. Actress Elizabeth Ashley is 78.
Actor Ben Jones is 76. Cartoonist R. Crumb is 74. Olympic gold medal skier
Jean-Claude Killy is 74. Actress Peggy Lipton is 71. Comedian Lewis Black is
69. Actor Timothy Bottoms is 66. Actor David Paymer is 63. Jazz musician
Gerald Albright is 60. Actor Michael Chiklis is 54. Music producer Robert
Clivilles is 53. Actress Michael Michele is 51. Country musician Geoff
Firebaugh is 49. Country singer Sherrie Austin is 46. Rock singer-musician
Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) is 46. Actress Cameron Diaz is 45. Rock musician
Leon Caffrey (Space) is 44. TV personality Lisa Ling is 44. Rock
singer-musician Aaron Barrett (Reel Big Fish) is 43. Actor Raul Castillo is
40. Actor Michael Gladis is 40. Rock musician Matt Taul (Tantric; Days of
the New) is 39. Tennis player Andy Roddick is 35. Singer Rachael Price (Lake
Street Dive) is 32. Rock musician Ryan Ross is 31. Actress Johanna Braddy is
30. Actor Cameron Finley is 30.
Thought for Today: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." —
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
North Korea fires missile over Japan in aggressive test
People watch a TV screen showing a file footage
of North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul,
South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
By Foster Klug and Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a ballistic missile from
its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before plunging into the northern
Pacific Ocean, officials said Tuesday, an aggressive test-flight over the
territory of a close U.S. ally that sends a clear message of defiance as
Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled around 2,700
kilometers (1,677 miles) and reached a maximum height of 550 kilometers (341
miles) as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The launch,
which appears to be the first to cross over Japan since 2009, will rattle a
region worried that each new missile test puts the North a step closer
toward its goal of an arsenal of nuclear missiles that can reliably target
the United States.
It appeared to be the North's longest-ever missile test, but South Korean
officials couldn't immediately confirm.
North Korean missile launches have been happening at an unusually fast pace
this year, and some analysts believe the North could have viable long-range
nuclear missiles before the end of President Donald Trump's first term in
The South Korean military said it is analyzing the launch with the United
States and has strengthened its monitoring and preparation in case of
further actions from North Korea. Analysts speculate the North may have
tested a new intermediate-range missile that Pyongyang recently threatened
to fire toward the U.S. territory of Guam, which hosts a major military
base. This missile landed nowhere near Guam, which is about 2,500 kilometers
(1,550 miles) south of Tokyo, but the length of Tuesday's launch may have
been designed for the North to show it could follow through on its threat.
Seoul says the missile was launched from Sunan, which is where Pyongyang's
international airport is, opening the possibility that North Korea launched
a road-mobile missile from an airport runway.
It was North Korea's 13th launch of ballistic missiles this year, said Roh
Jae-cheon, spokesman of Seoul's JCS.
North Korea will no doubt be watching the world's reaction to see if it can
use Tuesday's flight over Japan as a precedent for future launches. Japanese
officials said there was no damage to ships or anything else reported.
Japan's NHK TV said the missile separated into three parts. "We will do our
utmost to protect people's lives," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.
"This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an
unprecedented, serious and important threat."
Tuesday's launch comes days after the North fired what was assessed as three
short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and a month after its second
flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts say
could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry warned that the North will face a "strong
response" from the U.S.-South Korean alliance if what it called nuclear and
missile provocations continue. The ministry also urged Pyongyang to accept
talks over its nuclear program and acknowledge that abandoning its nuclear
ambitions is the only way to guarantee its security and economic
South Korea also said its air force also conducted a live-fire drill
involving four F-15 fighters dropping eight MK-84 bombs that accurately hit
targets at a military field near the country's eastern coast. Park Su-hyun,
spokesman of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said the exercise was
conducted after Moon directed the military to "display a strong capability
to punish" the North.
Park also said Moon's national security director Chung Eui-yong and Seoul's
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa called Trump's national security adviser
H.R. McMaster and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, respectively, to
discuss the launch.
The launch over Japan isn't a total surprise. Earlier this month, when
threatening to lob four Hwasong-12s, which are new intermediate-range
missiles, into the waters near Guam, North Korea specifically said they
would fly over Japanese territory. North Korea in June also angrily reacted
to the launch of a Japanese satellite it said was aimed at spying on the
North and said Tokyo was no longer entitled to fault Pyongyang "no matter
what it launches or whether that crosses the sky above Japan."
North Korea typically reacts with anger to U.S.-South Korean military
drills, which are happening now, often testing weapons and threatening Seoul
and Washington in its state-controlled media. But animosity is higher than
usual following threats by Trump to unleash "fire and fury" on the North,
and Pyongyang's stated plan to consider firing some of its missiles near
Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst
at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the early flight data
suggests the North Korean missile was likely a Hwasong-12. Other
possibilities, he said, include a midrange Musudan, a missile with a
potential 3,500-kilometer (2,180-mile) range that puts much of the
Asia-Pacific region within reach, or a Pukguksong-2, a solid-fuel missile
that can be fired faster and more secretly than weapons using liquid fuel.
South Korea's military didn't immediately confirm whether the North Korean
missile was fired from Pyongyang's airport. Moon Seong Mook, a former South
Korean military official and current analyst for the Seoul-based Korea
Research Institute for National Strategy, said the airport's runways could
provide the ideal space to launch a road-mobile missile like the Hwasong-12.
By launching from its capital, the North might have been trying to
demonstrate the ability to launch its missiles from anywhere, Moon said.
"The launch doubled as a threat to Washington, not only because of the U.S.
military bases in Japan, but also that the North showed it has the real
capability to fire missiles to waters near Guam if it chose to shoot them in
that direction," Moon said.
North Korea first fired a rocket over Japanese territory in August of 1998
when a multistage rocket that outside experts called "Taepodong-1" flew
about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) before landing in the Pacific Ocean. The
North later said it launched a satellite.
North Korea flew another rocket over Japan again in April 2009 and said
that, too, was carrying a satellite. The North claimed success, but the U.S.
North American Aerospace Defense Command says no satellite reached orbit.
The United Nations has repeatedly condemned North Korean satellite launches
as covers meant to test banned long-range missile technology. Some parts of
a space launch vehicle reportedly flew over Okinawa last year after
separating from the rocket.
Pyongyang regularly claims the U.S.-South Korean military exercises are an
invasion rehearsal, although analysts say the North's anger is partly
because the impoverished country must react with its own expensive drills
and weapons tests. The allies say the war games are defensive and meant to
counter North Korean aggression.
North Korea's U.N. ambassador, Ja Song Nam, wrote recently that the
exercises are "provocative and aggressive" at a time when the Korean
Peninsula is "like a time bomb."
Associated Press journalist Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this
Activists blame Mexican government for near-loss of porpoise
In this July
8, 2017 file photo, a young woman with the World Wildlife Fund carries a
papier mache replica of the critically endangered porpoise known as the
vaquita marina, during an event in front of the National Palace calling on
the Mexican government to take additional steps to protect the world's
smallest marine mammal, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
By Mark Stevenson, Associated
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Conservation groups said Monday that the Mexican
government's lack of action is to blame for the near-extinction of the
critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise.
The groups said the National Fisheries Commission didn't supervise fishing
season rules and improperly increased catch quotas in the upper Gulf of
California. They said the commission also failed to provide fishermen with
better nets to avoid trapping vaquitas.
The head of the fisheries body disputed the report's contentions.
The vaquita is the world's smallest porpoise and is found only in the gulf,
which is also known as the Sea of Cortez.
Mexico has banned most gill net fishing in the upper gulf, but the actions
appear to have been too little, too late.
Experts say there are probably fewer than 30 of the porpoises remaining.
Vaquitas are often killed in nets set for totoaba fish, whose swim bladders
are prized in China.
Monday's report by Greenpeace, the Defenders of Wildlife and others came one
day after Mexico said it had reached agreements with China and the United
States to combat totoaba fishing.
But the groups said the fisheries council has increased catch limits for
corvina, another species frequently caught in nets that can trap vaquitas.
Corvina boats may also provide cover for fishermen who illegally fish for
The report claimed the commission had not carried out supervision of fishing
bans on several protected species in the upper gulf. The report also said
the council had improperly increased corvina catch limits by 86 percent
between 2012 and 2017.
Finally, the report said authorities had not fulfilled promises to provide
fishermen with safer nets, saying "the fishery authorities have not
implemented alternatives for these communities."
The head of the fisheries council, Mario Aguilar, denied his agency hadn't
done enough, saying that no permits at all were issued for corvina this
season. Aguilar also said work had been done on small cast nets that were
safer for vaquitas.
The council said any lack of fishing-season enforcement was due to budgetary
Aguilar said Mexico was taking the unusual step of requiring even small
boats to carry location devices that work somewhat like cellphones, to allow
authorities to keep tabs on them.
He said the council was actively working with environmental agencies to
enforce the rules and paying fishermen affected by the bans.
Those payments have also come in for criticism. The Center for Biological
Diversity has found there has been a grossly unequal distribution of the
government compensation funds for not setting out gillnets. Most of the
2,700 local fishermen received just $220 to $440 a month while a handful got
as much as $63,000, according to documents obtained through a freedom of
Aguilar said that was a problem dating back to the number of permits each
fisherman holds and that the system is being reviewed in a bid to ensure
more equity in payments.
Over the weekend, Mexico, China and the United States agreed to create a
tri-national task force to combat the illegal trafficking of totoaba
bladders. The fish are caught in Mexico and usually trafficked through the
United States before reaching markets in China. The cooperation agreement
aims to identify trafficking routes and modalities.
Experts and the Mexican government have announced a plan to catch the few
remaining vaquitas and enclose them in floating pens for protection and
possible breeding. That effort is expected to begin in October.
Breeding in captivity has successfully saved species such as the red wolf
and California condor, but the vaquita has only been scientifically
described since the 1950s and has never been bred or even held in captivity.
There are worries the few remaining vaquita females could die during
capture, dooming the species, but experts say the plan is the best option.
Scores treated after mystery 'chemical haze' hits UK coast
LONDON (AP) — A mysterious
chemical haze that left scores of people on the English coast with streaming
eyes, sore throats and breathing problems has dissipated, but its cause
remains a mystery, police and emergency services said Monday.
The gas cloud appeared Sunday, sending people fleeing from the beach and
cliffs at Birling Gap, a popular coastal spot 60 miles (100 kilometers)
south of London.
Life boats were dispatched to help clear people from the beaches there.
Eastbourne District General Hospital said it had treated more than 130
people. Sussex Police said the injuries were mostly minor.
"Whatever it was, it smelled like burnt plastic," said Bob Jefferey of the
Royal National Lifeboat Institution's Eastbourne division. "It hung about
and didn't move yesterday because there was no wind. The cloud seems to have
dispersed today, though."
Pollution has been known to drift to Britain from industrial plants in
France, but police said the wind direction made that unlikely in this case.
"Neither the gas nor its source have been established, but agencies are
continuing to investigate and have not ruled out either on-shore or
off-shore locations," Sussex Police said.
Meteorological Office weather forecaster Jay Merrell said a ship in the
English Channel may have been responsible, but stressed nothing conclusive
had been proven yet.
Toxicologist John Hopkins said the haze might have been photochemical smog
caused by sunshine reacting with vehicle pollution.
"It's just a function of we've got too much traffic on the roads and too
much sunshine," he told Sky News.
Europe-Africa summit yields new approach to asylum claims
from NGO Open Arms conduct a rescue operation in the waters some 25 Nautical
miles (29 miles, 46 kilometers) north of the Libyan coast, Sunday, Aug. 27,
2017. Some 120 migrants were rescued during the operation. (AP Photo/Darko
By Sylvie Corbet, Associated
PARIS (AP) — The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain agreed
Monday on a new policy to grant asylum to vulnerable migrants who apply for
protection while in Africa instead of their destination countries.
At a Europe-Africa summit in Paris aimed at finding long-elusive solutions
to illegal migration, the European leaders also agreed to help the African
countries through which Europe-bound migrants usually pass with border
French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit's host, called it the most
effective and far-reaching migration meeting in months, though he didn't say
how much the new measures would cost and many specifics remained unclear.
In a joint statement, the four leaders acknowledged the need to initiate a
process in Chad and Niger that would lead to the resettlement of
"particularly vulnerable migrants" in Europe.
They announced they plan to carry out "protection missions" in the African
nations in cooperation with the United Nations' refugee and migration
The process would allow migrants to immigrate legally to Europe if they are
on an eligibility list provided by the UN refugee agency and registered with
authorities in Niger and Chad.
The pre-asylum centers would receive European financing, according to a top
French diplomat. The official, in keeping with French presidential policy,
requested anonymity and would not provide details on the precise locations
and procedures for the missions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European countries must clearly define
which asylum-seekers have legitimate humanitarian needs and who is fleeing
poverty. She called it "very, very important" that the possibility of
resettlement is coupled "with an end to illegal migration."
The African leaders at the summit — the prime minister of Libya's
U.N.-backed government, Fayez Serraj, Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno and
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou — stressed that fighting poverty must
be a central part of any migration strategy. They asked for Europe's help in
giving human smugglers legal ways of making money.
Issoufou said that poverty is what drives people to emigrate to Europe and
into trafficking, and that it's important "to find alternatives for the
smugglers to leave criminal activity," such as commerce or farming.
Helping chaotic Libya was a key part of Monday's meetings, and Serraj asked
for more support to fight migrant trafficking and in monitoring his
country's southern border.
Merkel said Europe also needs to "urgently" rethink its asylum system, which
requires migrants to seek refugee status in the first country they reach.
The requirement has put a burden on Greece and Italy, where waves of rickety
boats carrying smuggled migrants have arrived in recent years.
The seven world leaders also discussed security cooperation before the
Europeans held separate talks focused on European Union matters.
The interior ministers from Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali, who were meeting
with Italy's interior minister in Rome on Monday, said the Paris summit's
agenda "can constitute the beginning of a new relationship between Europe
The ministers also renewed a pledge to back peace accords among Libya's
southern tribes and to stress the importance of backing Libya in the
creation of a border guard force.
Angela Charlton in Paris, Frances D'Emilio in Rome and David Rising in
Today in History - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 29, the 241st day of 2017. There are 124 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 29, 1967, the series finale of "The Fugitive," starring David
Janssen as a doctor on the run after being wrongly convicted of murdering
his wife, aired on ABC-TV, drawing an estimated 78 million viewers.
On this date:
In 1533, the last Incan King of Peru, Atahualpa (ah-tuh-WAHL'-puh), was
executed on orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro.
In 1877, the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints, Brigham Young, died in Salt Lake City, Utah, at age 76.
In 1910, Korean Emperor Sunjong abdicated as the Japan-Korea Annexation
Treaty went into effect.
In 1944, 15,000 American troops of the 28th Infantry Division marched down
the Champs Elysees (shahms ay-lee-ZAY') in Paris as the French capital
continued to celebrate its liberation from the Nazis.
In 1952, the composition 4'33" ("Four Minutes, Thirty-three Seconds") by
avant-garde composer John Cage premiered in Woodstock, New York, as David
Tudor sat down at a piano, and, for four minutes and 33 seconds, played ...
In 1957, the Senate gave final congressional approval to a Civil Rights Act
after South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond (then a Democrat) ended a
filibuster that had lasted 24 hours.
In 1958, pop superstar Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana.
In 1965, Gemini 5, carrying astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles "Pete"
Conrad, splashed down in the Atlantic after 8 days in space.
In 1972, swimmer Mark Spitz of the United States won the third of his seven
gold medals at the Munich Olympics, finishing first in the 200-meter
In 1987, Academy Award-winning actor Lee Marvin died in Tucson, Arizona, at
In 1996, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated Al Gore for
a second term as vice president. Earlier in the day, President Bill
Clinton's chief political strategist, Dick Morris, resigned amid a scandal
over his relationship with a prostitute.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast near Buras, Louisiana,
bringing floods that devastated New Orleans. More than 1,800 people in the
Ten years ago: Fellow Republicans called on Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to resign
and party leaders pushed him from senior committee posts as fallout
continued over his arrest at a Minneapolis airport restroom and guilty plea
to disorderly conduct. Prayers, protests and a lingering disgust with the
government's response to Hurricane Katrina marked the disaster's second
anniversary in New Orleans. Taliban militants in Afghanistan released 12
South Korean captives, part of a deal with Seoul to free all 19 hostages.
Richard Jewell, the former security guard who was wrongly linked to the 1996
Olympic bombing, was found dead in his west Georgia home; he was 44.
Five years ago: Seizing the Republican National Convention spotlight in
Tampa, Florida, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan promised Mitt Romney
would "not duck the tough issues" if he were to win the White House and that
their party would move forcefully to solve the nation's economic woes.
Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans, sending the worst of its howling
wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages. The NFL
announced it would open the regular season with replacement officials.
One year ago: Huma Abedin (HOO'-muh AB'-uh-deen), a top aide to Hillary
Clinton, announced she was separating from her husband, Anthony Weiner,
after the former congressman was accused in yet another sexting scandal.
Actor Gene Wilder, the frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic
touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in "The
Producers" and the deranged animator of "Young Frankenstein," died in
Stamford, Connecticut, at age 83.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Betty Lynn (TV: "The Andy Griffith Show") is 91.
Movie director William Friedkin is 82. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is 81.
Actor Elliott Gould is 79. Movie director Joel Schumacher is 78. TV
personality Robin Leach is 76. Actress Deborah Van Valkenburgh is 65. Former
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is 62. Dancer-choreographer Mark Morris is 61.
Country musician Dan Truman (Diamond Rio) is 61. Actress Rebecca DeMornay is
58. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is 50. Singer Me'Shell NdegeOcello
(n-DAY'-gay-OH'-chehl-oh) is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Carl Martin (Shai)
is 47. Actress Carla Gugino is 46. Rock musician Kyle Cook (Matchbox Twenty)
is 42. Actor John Hensley is 40. Actress Kate Simses is 38. Rock musician
David Desrosiers (Simple Plan) is 37. Rapper A+ is 35. Actress Jennifer
Landon is 34. Actor Jeffrey Licon is 32. Actress-singer Lea Michele is 31.
Actress Charlotte Ritchie is 28. Actress Nicole Gale Anderson is 27. Rock
singer Liam Payne (One Direction) is 24.
Thought for Today: "Don't be 'consistent,' but be simply true." — Oliver
Wendell Holmes, Sr., American author (1809-1894).
Divers find remains of all missing from USS McCain collision
In this Aug.
22, 2017 file photo. the damaged port aft hull of the USS John S. McCain is
visible while docked at Singapore's Changi naval base in Singapore. (AP
Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
SINGAPORE (AP) — Divers have
recovered the remains of all 10 sailors who went missing after the USS John
S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore last week, the U.S. Navy
Navy and Marine Corps divers had been searching in flooded compartments of
the destroyer for days after the damaged ship docked in Singapore. The cause
of the Aug. 21 collision is under investigation.
The crash ripped a gash in the McCain's hull, flooding crew berths and
machinery and communications rooms.
The commander of the Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet was fired last week after
a series of accidents this year raised questions about its operations. The
firing of Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, a three-star admiral, was a rare
dismissal of a high-ranking officer for operational reasons.
The Navy also ordered an operational pause for its fleets worldwide to make
sure all steps are being taken to ensure safe and effective operations. The
Pacific Fleet will also carry out a ship-by-ship review of its vessels,
looking at navigation, mechanical systems, bridge resource management and
The victims ranged in age from 20 to 39 years old and came from eight U.S.
— Charles Nathan Findley, 31, Electronics Technician 1st Class, from
— Abraham Lopez, 39, Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class, from El
— Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from
— Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from Cable, Ohio
— Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class,
from Manchester, Maryland
— Corey George Ingram, 28, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, from
Poughkeepsie, New York
— Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Suffield,
— John Henry Hoagland III, 20, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from
— Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class,
from Decatur, Illinois
— Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Cherry
Hill, New Jersey
Ongoing Myanmar clashes leave 96 dead, including 6 civilians
woman cries after being stopped by Bangladeshi border guards at a makeshift
shelter at Ghumdhum, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Sunday, Aug.27, 2017. (AP
BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar's
government and advocates for the country's Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority
traded charges Sunday of killing civilians, burning down buildings and
planting land mines, as clashes that began last week when insurgents
launched attacks against police posts continued.
An announcement posted online by the office of the country's leader, State
Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, said the death toll from the violence that
started Thursday night had reached 96, mostly alleged Rohingya attackers but
also 12 security personnel.
The announcement was the first by the government to list civilians among the
dead — six people identified as Hindu said to have been killed by the
Myanmar is overwhelmingly Buddhist, but about 1 million Muslim Rohingya live
in the northern part of Rakhine, the western state where the violence is
Advocates for the Rohingya suggest many more civilians have died in army
attacks on villages, but they have not given a total. They also say the
attacks have caused villagers to flee to the mountains for shelter or to try
to cross the border into Bangladesh.
Senior Rakhine state officials who visited the troubled area said Sunday
evening that government forces were trying to restore peace.
"We are trying our best to bring stability and now we can see the areas are
stabilizing," said Nyi Pu, the state's chief minister. "But anything can
happen at any time, so I can't say what will happen."
Dr. Win Myat Aye, union minister of social welfare, relief and resettlement,
said: "We are now focusing strongly on the security matters to make the area
more secure. And we are also we are increasing our military strength."
The two men spoke to reporters in the state capital, Sittwe, in the southern
part of the state, far from the fighting. They also said the government was
trying to protect members of international aid organizations in the area, or
evacuate them if they desired. The government has allowed only a limited
number of foreign aid organizations to work in northern Rakhine state, and
due to long-standing communal tensions, some Buddhists resent their helping
Witnesses and refugees on the Bangladesh border said Sunday that the
situation there was tense, with thousands of Rohingya trying to flee Myanmar
but unable to leave. Witnesses said they heard the sound of gunshots.
Bangladeshi villagers said they could see military helicopters hovering in
the Myanmar sky.
Several hundred Rohingya got stuck in a "no man's land" at one border point
in Bangladesh's Bandarban district, barred from moving farther by
Bangladeshi border guards. Lt. Col. Manzurul Hasan Khan of Border Guards
Bangladesh said they cordoned off about 1,000 Rohingya after they attempted
to enter Bangladesh.
Still, more than 2,000 Rohingya entered Bangladesh overnight through two
points at Teknaf in Cox's Bazar district, said Jalal Ahmed, a local
government official at the Kharangakhali border point.
A Rohingya insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA,
took responsibility for Thursday night's attacks on more than 25 locations,
saying they were in defense of Rohingya communities that had been brutalized
by government forces.
Suu Kyi's office accused the insurgents of "torching police outposts and
monasteries, killing innocent people and planting mines."
ARSA, meanwhile, accused the army of using civilians as human shields.
Clashes were continuing on Sunday, with witnesses contacted by phone in the
northern Rakhine town of Maungdaw saying they could hear gunshots.
Independent confirmation of the situation is difficult because the
government bars journalists from the area.
Suu Kyi's office issued an official warning to media on Sunday, saying "some
media" have been referring to the group as "insurgents" instead of
"terrorists." On Friday, the government declared ARSA a terrorist
organization, which means most contacts with it are illegal. Sunday's
announcement specifically said "we warn the media to avoid writing in
support of the group."
The government refuses to recognize Rohingya as a legitimate native ethnic
minority, calling them Bengalis to reflect the position that they are mostly
illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Most Rohingya are denied
citizenship and its rights.
The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of
violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people -
predominantly Rohingya - from their homes to camps for the internally
displaced, where most remain.
Suu Kyi has called Thursday's attacks "a calculated attempt to undermine the
efforts of those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine state." The
attacks were also generally condemned by Western nations and rights groups,
who also warned the government against violent retaliation.
The clashes were deadlier than an attack by the militants on three border
posts last October that killed nine policemen and set off months of brutal
counterinsurgency operations by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya
communities in Rakhine state. Human rights groups accused the army of
carrying out massive human rights abuses, including killing, rape and
burning down more than 1,000 homes and other buildings.
The army's abuses fueled further resentment toward the government among the
Muslim Rohingya. ARSA took advantage of the resentment by stepping up
recruitment of members.
Police arrest 2nd man in Buckingham Palace terror incident
A police cordon outside Buckingham Palace where
a man has been arrested after an incident, in London, Friday Aug. 25, 2017.
(Lauren Hurley/PA via AP)
By Sylvia Hui, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — London police arrested a second man Sunday in
connection with a suspect who drove up to a police van not far from
Buckingham Palace then reached for a 4-foot (1.2-meter) sword, an incident
detectives called a terrorism attempt.
Scotland Yard said three officers were slightly injured when they confronted
the 26-year-old man who allegedly drove at the police van then stopped in a
restricted area outside the gates of Queen Elizabeth II's London residence
The driver reached for the sword in his car and repeatedly shouted "Allahu
akbar!" ("God is great" in Arabic) during the incident, police said. The
officers used tear gas to incapacitate the man and arrested him at the
No one other than the man and the officers were injured. Two of the officers
were treated for minor cuts in the hospital, while the third did not require
Police said a second suspect, a 30-year-old man, was detained Sunday in west
London on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. Officers were searching an
address in the area as part of the probe.
Police had said Saturday they believed the first suspect was acting alone
and were not looking for potential accomplices. The force has obtained a
warrant to detain him until Sept. 1.
"This is a timely reminder that the threat from terrorism in the U.K.
remains severe," Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Dean Haydon
said. "While we cannot speculate on what the man was intending to do — this
will be determined during the course of the investigation — it is only right
that we investigate this as a terrorist incident at this time."
Palace officials declined to comment. British media reported that no members
of the royal family were in Buckingham Palace, one of London's top
attractions, at the time. The queen typically spends the month of August at
her Balmoral estate in Scotland.
Palm oil kills orangutans in Indonesia peat swamp
veterinarian of Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) Pandu
Wibisono examines a tranquilized male orangutan being rescued from a forest
located too close to a palm oil plantation at Tripa peat swamp in Aceh
province, Indonesia.(AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
By Binsar Bakkara, Associated
TRIPA PEAT SWAMP, Indonesia (AP) — The Tripa peat forest has been
called the orangutan capital of the world, but its great apes are under
threat by palm oil plantations gobbling up thousands of acres of native
vegetation to instead grow the trees that produce the most consumed
vegetable oil on the planet.
Palm oil is used in everything from cookies and lipstick to paint, shampoo
and instant noodles, and Indonesia is the world's top producer. As demand
soars, plantations are expanding. In Tripa, companies drain the swamp,
releasing planet-warming carbon into the atmosphere and clear the forest of
its native trees, often setting illegal fires.
This robs orangutans and other endangered species of their habitats, leaving
the animals marooned on small swaths of forest, boxed-in on all sides by
plantations. They starve or they are killed by plantation workers when they
emerge from the jungle in search of food. Mothers often die protecting their
babies, which are taken and sold as illegal pets.
On Aug. 10, a rescue team from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program,
accompanied by the Indonesia's Nature Conservation Agency, hiked into the
Tripa peatlands to look for a mother and baby orangutan that had been
reported in an area being overtaken by oil palms. The plan was to sedate and
relocate them, but when the team arrived, there was no sign of the duo.
Instead, they encountered a 50-kilogram (110-pound) male orangutan that was
about 20 years old.
He too was suffering, and the team managed to tranquilize him and carry him
out of the jungle in a stretcher net.
He was named "Black," and driven about eight hours to an orangutan
reintroduction center in Jantho, Aceh Besar. He joined about 100 other
primates that have been released in the jungle to establish a new wild
population. Only an estimated 6,600 critically endangered Sumatran
orangutans remain. Less than 200 are believed to be living in the Tripa
swamp, but it is still one of the densest concentrations of orangutans. The
great apes are only found on two islands, Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo,
which Indonesia shares with Malaysia. Both support separate species.
"Capturing wild orangutans is not something we like to do. It is difficult,
highly stressful and risky for all concerned," said the rescue group's
director, Ian Singleton, who has been studying Sumatran orangutans since the
1990s. "It really is a last resort, and a reflection of the dire situation
many of these animals are in as a result of the ongoing destruction of their
The Tripa peat swamp is part of the 2.6 million hectare (6.4 million acre)
Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, which is the last place on earth where
orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos live together in the wild. The
entire area is also under threat from logging, pulp and paper plantations
and mining. In 2012, huge fires that were intentionally set to clear the
land for palm oil ripped through the swamp, killing wildlife and blanketing
surrounding areas in a thick haze.
The Indonesian government filed a lawsuit against palm oil firm P.T.
Kallista Alam in 2012 for illegally burning 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of
the Tripa swamp. Three years later, it was ordered to pay $26 million in
fines and reparation. A manager was sentenced to three years in prison.
However, the company filed a lawsuit against the government in July and so
far no fines have been paid and no prison time has been served.
Today in History - Monday, Aug. 28, 2017
Today is Monday, Aug. 28, the 240th day of 2017. There are 125 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 28, 1917, ten suffragists demanding that President Woodrow Wilson
support a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote were
arrested as they picketed outside the White House.
On this date:
In 1609, English sea explorer Henry Hudson and his ship, the Half Moon,
reached present-day Delaware Bay.
In 1862, the Second Battle of Bull Run (also known as Second Manassas) began
in Prince William County, Virginia, during the Civil War; the result was a
In 1916, Italy declared war on Germany during World War I.
In 1922, the first-ever radio commercial aired on station WEAF in New York
City; the 10-minute advertisement was for the Queensboro Realty Co., which
had paid a fee of $100.
In 1947, legendary bullfighter Manolete (man-oh-LEH'-tay) was fatally gored
during a fight in Linares, Spain; he died early the next day at age 30.
In 1955, Emmett Till, a black teen-ager from Chicago, was abducted from his
uncle's home in Money, Mississippi, by two white men after he had supposedly
whistled at a white woman; he was found brutally slain three days later.
In 1963, more than 200,000 people listened as the Rev. Martin Luther King
Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial
in Washington, D.C.
In 1968, police and anti-war demonstrators clashed in the streets of Chicago
as the Democratic National Convention nominated Hubert H. Humphrey for
In 1972, Mark Spitz of the United States won the first two of his seven gold
medals at the Munich Olympics, finishing first in the 200-meter butterfly
and anchoring the 400-meter freestyle relay. The Soviet women gymnasts won
the team all-around.
In 1987, a fire damaged the Arcadia, Florida, home of Ricky, Robert and
Randy Ray, three hemophiliac brothers infected with AIDS whose court-ordered
school attendance had sparked a local uproar. Academy Award-winning movie
director John Huston died in Middletown, Rhode Island, at age 81.
In 1988, 70 people were killed when three Italian stunt planes collided
during an air show at the U.S. Air Base in Ramstein (RAHM'-shtyn), West
In 1996, Democrats nominated President Bill Clinton for a second term at
their national convention in Chicago. The troubled 15-year marriage of
Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially ended with the
issuing of a divorce decree.
Ten years ago: After reports surfaced of his June arrest at the Minneapolis
airport, Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho, told a news conference the only thing
he'd done wrong was to plead guilty to disorderly conduct after a police
complaint of lewd conduct in a men's room; Craig also declared, "I am not
gay. I never have been gay." A military court at Fort Meade, Maryland,
acquitted Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan of failing to control U.S. soldiers
who'd abused detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but found him guilty of
disobeying an order not to discuss the investigation. (That conviction was
later thrown out.) Oscar-winning actress Miyoshi Umeki died in Licking,
Missouri, at age 78.
Five years ago: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney swept to the
Republican presidential nomination at a storm-delayed national convention in
Tampa, Florida. Hurricane Isaac spun into the southern Louisiana coast,
sending floodwaters surging and unleashing fierce winds, as residents
hunkered down behind boarded-up windows.
One year ago: Six scientists completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii,
where they emerged after living in a dome in near isolation on a Mauna Loa
mountain. Ryan Harlost led Endwell, New York, to the Little League World
Series title, striking out eight and limiting South Korea to five hits in
six innings in a 2-1 victory. Beyonce received eight honors at the MTV Video
Music Awards in New York. Juan Gabriel, a superstar Mexican songwriter and
singer who was an icon in the Latin music world, died at his home in
California at age 66.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Sonny Shroyer is 82. Actor Ken Jenkins is 77.
Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen is 77. Actor David Soul is 74.
Former pop singer-musician Honey Lantree (The Honeycombs) is 74. Former MLB
manager and player Lou Piniella is 74. Actress Barbara Bach is 71. Actress
Debra Mooney is 70. Singer Wayne Osmond (The Osmonds) is 66. Actor Daniel
Stern is 60. Olympic gold medal figure skater Scott Hamilton is 59. Actor
John Allen Nelson is 58. Actress Emma Samms is 57. Actress Jennifer Coolidge
is 56. Movie director David Fincher is 55. Actress Amanda Tapping is 52.
Country singer Shania (shah-NY'-uh) Twain is 52. Actor Billy Boyd is 49.
Actor Jack Black is 48. Actor Jason Priestley is 48. Actor Daniel Goddard
(TV: "The Young and the Restless") is 46. Olympic gold medal swimmer Janet
Evans is 46. Actor J. August Richards is 44. Rock singer-musician Max
Collins (Eve 6) is 39. Actress Carly Pope is 37. Country singer Jake Owen is
36. Country singer LeAnn Rimes is 35.
Actress Kelly Thiebaud is 35. Actor Alfonso Herrera is 34. Actress Sarah
Roemer is 33. Actor Armie Hammer is 31. Rock singer Florence Welch (Florence
and the Machine) is 31. Actress Shalita Grant is 29. Country-pop singer
Cassadee Pope (TV: "The Voice") is 28. Actress Katie Findlay is 27.
Actor/singer Samuel Larsen is 26. Actor Kyle Massey is 26.
Actress Quvenzhane (kwuh-VEHN'-zhah-nay) Wallis is 14. Reality TV star Alana
Thompson, AKA "Honey Boo Boo," is 12.
Thought for Today: "The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an
exception of one's self." — Jane Addams, American social worker and Nobel
Peace laureate (1860-1935).
Update August 26 - 27, 2017
Calm returns after 30 die in India riots over guru verdict
A man lifts
a motorbike in a vandalized area by Dera Sacha Sauda sect members in
Panchkula, India, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
By Shonal Ganguly and Nirmala
George, Associated Press
PANCHKULA, India (AP) — Security forces on Saturday patrolled the
streets of a north Indian state where rampaging mobs left at least 30 people
dead and more than 250 others injured, after a court declared a
quasi-religious sect leader guilty of raping two of his followers.
Authorities lifted the curfew in the town of Panchkula, the main trouble
spot, after the night passed relatively peacefully and the area was cleared
of protesters, said police officer Pradeep Kumar.
On Friday, mobs set fire to government buildings and attacked police and TV
journalists in the town, smashing the windshields of news vans and breaking
Police initially used tear gas and water cannons and then fired bullets in
the air in an attempt to control the surging mobs as they vandalized bus
stations and government vehicles.
Haryana state police chief B S Sandhu said 28 people died, six of them due
to bullet wounds, and more than 250 others were injured. More than 1,000 of
the guru's supporters were detained in on charges of arson and destruction
of public property, he said.
The Press Trust of India news agency said another two people were killed in
the town of Sirsa, where the headquarters of the sect is located.
The special court announced the guilty verdict after hearing closing
arguments in the 15-year-old case against the guru, who calls himself Saint
Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan.
The guru, who had denied the charges of raping the two women at his ashram
in 2002, was flown by helicopter to a jail in the nearby town of Rohtak
because district officials feared they would be overrun by his supporters.
His sentence will be announced Monday.
Violence also broke out elsewhere in Haryana and the neighboring state of
Punjab, as well as in the capital, New Delhi, police said. Railway stations
in the towns of Malout and Balluana were ablaze, and two coaches of an empty
train parked in New Delhi's Anand Vihar station were set on fire.
A curfew was imposed in at least four districts of Punjab, said Amrinder
Singh, the state's chief minister.
A spokesman for the guru's sect, Dera Sacha Sauda, urged his supporters to
"I just want to request everyone to maintain peace at the moment," said
Dilawar Insan. "We will explore what legal options are available to us."
The sect claims to have about 50 million followers and campaigns for
vegetarianism and against drug addiction. It has also taken up social causes
such as organizing the weddings of poor couples. Such sects have huge
followings in India. It's not unusual for their leaders to have small,
heavily armed private militias protecting them.
Clashes in 2007 between Dera Sacha Sauda followers and members of the Sikh
faith left at least three people dead in north India.
In 2014, six people were killed when followers of another religious leader,
guru Rampal, fought pitched battles with police who were attempting to
arrest him after he repeatedly failed to appear in court in connection with
a murder trial.
In a televised appeal on Thursday, Ram Rahim Singh asked his supporters not
to resort to violence, but some said they would not tolerate a verdict that
went against their leader.
"I consider guru-ji to be only next to God," farmer Malkit Singh said as he
squatted on the ground in a park, saying Ram Rahim Singh had cured him of a
decadelong addiction to drugs.
"There is a God above," he said. "Our guru-ji follows the path of truth."
George reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New
Delhi contributed to this report.
Student charged with assaulting 4 at Australian university
image made from video, injured students are attended to at Australian
National University in Canberra, Australia, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.
(Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A
Canberra court has ordered an 18-year-old student to undergo a mental health
assessment after he was charged with attacking his teacher and three of his
fellow students with a baseball bat at one of Australia's most prestigious
Alex Ophel was charged in the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court
on Saturday with several violent offenses including intentionally inflicting
grievous bodily harm, which carries a potential maximum of 20 years in
prison, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which carries a maximum
Police say Ophel stood up from his seat in an Australian National University
classroom armed with a bat and attacked the teacher and three students on
The four victims were hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening
injuries, including broken bones.
US urges Myanmar to avoid reprisals after attacks kills 71
In this image made from video, a man lying on a
bed with a bandaged hand is cared for in a hospital in Buthidaung township,
Myanmar, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (DVB via AP)
By Esther Htusan, Associated
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — An attack by ethnic Rohingya militants in
western Myanmar left 12 security personnel and 59 Rohingya Muslims dead in a
dramatic escalation of communal violence that has plagued the region, as the
United States urged authorities to avoid a response that would inflame the
The office of the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said Friday that
military and border police responded to the attacks by launching "clearance
Police fought off groups of as many as 100 Rohingya attackers armed with
guns, machetes and homemade grenades. The captured weapons were shown in
photos posted online by the government.
A witness in Maungdaw township in Rakhine state, contacted by phone, said
soldiers entered her village at about 10 a.m. Friday, burned homes and
property, and shot dead at least 10 people.
The witness, who asked to be identified by her nickname, Emmar, because of
fear of retribution, said villagers fled in many directions but mostly to a
nearby mountain range. She said gunshots and explosions could be heard and
smoke could still be seen Friday evening.
A militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, took
responsibility for the Thursday night attacks on more than 25 locations,
saying they were in defense of Rohingya communities that had been brutalized
by government forces. It issued its statement on Twitter on an account
deemed legitimate by advocates of Rohingya rights.
Suu Kyi called the attacks "a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts of
those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine state."
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in Washington that as
security forces act to prevent further violence and bring the perpetrators
to justice, they should respect the rule of law and protect human rights and
She said the attacks underscored the importance of the government
implementing recommendations of a commission chaired by former U.N. chief
Kofi Annan, which published its final report on Thursday recommending that
the government act quickly to improve economic development and social
justice in Rakhine state to resolve violence between Buddhists and the
Suu Kyi's office said on its Facebook page that the attacks were intended to
coincide with the release of Annan's report.
The clashes were deadlier than an attack by the militants on three border
posts last October that killed nine policemen and set off months of brutal
counterinsurgency operations by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya
communities in Rakhine state. Human rights groups accused the army of
carrying out massive human rights abuses including killing, rape and burning
down more than 1,000 homes and other buildings.
The army's abuses fueled further resentment toward the government among the
Muslim Rohingya, most of whom are considered by Myanmar's Buddhist majority
to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and are denied
citizenship and its rights. ARSA took advantage of the resentment by
stepping up recruitment of members.
The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of
violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people —
predominantly Rohingya — from their homes to camps for the internally
displaced, where most remain.
According to the United Nations, more than 80,000 Rohingya have fled to
Bangladesh since last October's clashes.
Annan also condemned the new attacks, saying "no cause can justify such
brutality and senseless killing" and urging the government to exercise
restraint and "ensure that innocent civilians are not harmed."
Peru discovers in pre-Incan site tomb of 16 Chinese migrants
An archeologist works at the site where 16 tombs
belonging to 19th century Chinese immigrants were discovered, at Huaca
Bellavista in Lima, Peru. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian archeologists have discovered in a sacred
pre-Incan site the bodies of 16 men from China who arrived to South America
almost two centuries ago as semi-enslaved workers.
The secret tomb in Lima is the biggest burial site of Chinese migrants ever
found in Peru and was presented Thursday to journalists. Found alongside the
bony remains were opium pipes and other personal objects used by the
As many as 100,000 Chinese migrants arrived to Peru in the second half of
the 19th century and for little pay performed back-breaking work on farms,
building railroads and removing guano, which is bird excrement coveted as
The Chinese were discriminated against even in death, having to be buried in
the pre-Incan sites after being barred from cemeteries reserved for Roman
Today in History - Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017
Today is Sunday, Aug. 27, the 239th day of 2017. There are 126 days left in
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 27, 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was found dead in
his London flat from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills; he was 32.
On this date:
In 1776, the Battle of Long Island began during the Revolutionary War as
British troops attacked American forces who ended up being forced to retreat
two days later.
In 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa erupted with a series of cataclysmic
explosions; the resulting tidal waves in Indonesia's Sunda Strait claimed
some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra.
In 1892, fire seriously damaged New York's original Metropolitan Opera
In 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, was
born near Stonewall, Texas.
In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris, outlawing war and
providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes.
In 1939, the first turbojet-powered aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, went on
its first full-fledged test flight over Germany.
In 1949, a violent white mob prevented an outdoor concert headlined by Paul
Robeson from taking place near Peekskill, New York. (The concert was held
eight days later.)
In 1957, the USS Swordfish, the second Skate Class nuclear submarine, was
launched from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.
In 1962, the United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew
past Venus in December 1962.
In 1979, British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten and three other people,
including his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas, were killed off the coast of
Ireland in a boat explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Army.
In 1989, the first U.S. commercial satellite rocket was launched from Cape
Canaveral, Florida — a Delta booster carrying a British communications
satellite, the Marcopolo 1.
In 2008, Barack Obama was nominated for president by the Democratic National
Convention in Denver.
Ten years ago: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation
after a controversy over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. Atlanta Falcons
quarterback Michael Vick apologized for "using bad judgment and making bad
decisions" and vowed to redeem himself after pleading guilty in Richmond,
Virginia, to a federal dogfighting charge (Vick ended up serving 19 months
in federal prison).
Five years ago: Republicans opened their national convention in Tampa,
Florida, a day late, then immediately recessed as Tropical Storm Isaac
surged toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast.
One year ago: Republican Donald Trump warned of a "war on the American
farmer," telling a crowd in Iowa that rival Hillary Clinton wanted "to shut
down family farms" and implement anti-agriculture policies; Trump's speech
at the annual "Roast and Ride" fundraiser for GOP Sen. Joni Ernst came just
hours after Clinton received her first national security briefing as the
Democratic presidential nominee.
Today's Birthdays: Author Lady Antonia Fraser is 85. Actor Tommy Sands is
80. Bluegrass singer-musician J.D. Crowe is 80. Musician Daryl Dragon is 75.
Actress Tuesday Weld is 74. Actor G.W. Bailey is 73. Rock singer-musician
Tim Bogert is 73. Actress Marianne Sagebrecht is 72. Country musician Jeff
Cook is 68. Actor Paul Reubens is 65. Rock musician Alex Lifeson (Rush) is
64. Actor Peter Stormare is 64. Actress Diana Scarwid is 62. Rock musician
Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols) is 61. Golfer Bernhard Langer is 60. Country
singer Jeffrey Steele is 56. Gospel singer Yolanda Adams is 56. Movie
director Tom Ford (Film: "Nocturnal Animals") is 56. Country musician
Matthew Basford (Yankee Grey) is 55.
Writer-producer Dean Devlin is 55. Rock musician Mike Johnson is 52. Rap
musician Bobo (Cypress Hill) is 50. Country singer Colt Ford is 48. Actress
Chandra Wilson is 48. Rock musician Tony Kanal (No Doubt) is 47. Actress
Sarah Chalke is 41. Actor RonReaco (correct) Lee is 41. Rapper Mase is 40.
Actress-singer Demetria McKinney is 39. Actor Aaron Paul is 38. Rock
musician Jon Siebels (Eve 6) is 38. Actor Shaun Weiss is 38. Contemporary
Christian musician Megan Garrett (Casting Crowns) is 37. Actor Kyle Lowder
is 37. Actor Patrick J. Adams is 36. Actress Karla Mosley is 36. Actress
Amanda Fuller is 33. Singer Mario is 31. Actress Alexa PenaVega is 29. Actor
Ellar Coltrane is 23. Actress Savannah Paige Rae is 14.
Thought for Today: "In order to have wisdom we must have ignorance." —
Theodore Dreiser, American author (born this date in 1871, died 1945).
Today in History - Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017
Today is Saturday, Aug. 26, the 238th day of 2017. There are 127 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
guaranteeing American women's right to vote, was certified in effect by
Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
On this date:
In 1789, France's National Assembly adopted its Declaration of the Rights of
Man and of the Citizen.
In 1817, the University of Michigan was founded.
In 1939, the first televised major league baseball games were shown on
experimental station W2XBS: a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and
the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. (The Reds won the first game, 5-2, the
Dodgers the second, 6-1.)
In 1944, French Gen. Charles de Gaulle braved the threat of German snipers
as he led a victory march in Paris, which had just been liberated by the
Allies from Nazi occupation.
In 1957, the Soviet Union announced it had successfully tested an
intercontinental ballistic missile.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for a term of office in
his own right at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New
In 1968, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago; the four-day
event that resulted in the nomination of Hubert H. Humphrey for president
was marked by a bloody police crackdown on antiwar protesters in the
In 1972, the summer Olympics games opened in Munich, West Germany.
In 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani (al-BEE'-noh loo-CHYAH'-nee) of Venice was
elected pope following the death of Paul VI; the new pontiff took the name
Pope John Paul I. (However, he died just over a month later.)
In 1986, in the so-called "preppie murder case," 18-year-old Jennifer Levin
was found strangled in New York's Central Park; Robert Chambers later
pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served 15 years in prison.
In 1996, Democrats opened their 42nd national convention in Chicago.
In 2015, Alison Parker, a reporter for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, and her
cameraman, Adam Ward, were shot to death during a live broadcast by a
disgruntled former station employee who fatally shot himself while being
purused by police.
Ten years ago: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree
ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) lashed out at American critics, saying Sen. Hillary
Clinton and other Democrats who were calling for his ouster should "come to
their senses" and stop treating Iraq like "one of their villages." The $95
million Hawaii Superferry made its maiden run from Oahu to Maui, the first
passenger ferry service between the islands. (However, the ferry went out of
business two years later.) Warner Robins, Georgia, won the Little League
World Series title with a 3-2 victory over Tokyo.
Five years ago: In the face of approaching Tropical Storm Isaac, Republicans
pushed back the start of their national convention in Tampa, Florida, by a
day. Lydia Ko, a 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander, won the
Canadian Women's Open to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history and
only the fifth amateur champion. Japan limited Tennessee's potent lineup to
two hits in a 12-2 victory in the Little League World Series title game.
One year ago: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to
stand for the national anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay
Packers in an exhibition game, saying he believed the United States was
oppressing African Americans and other minorities. (The Packers won, 21-10.)
NBA star Dwayne Wade's 32-year-old cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was shot to death
while pushing her baby in a stroller near a Chicago school where she
intended to register her children; Wade denounced the killing as an "act of
senseless gun violence." (Two brothers were charged with Aldridge's
slaying.) A SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth with scientific gifts
from the International Space Station, parachuting into the Pacific just off
Mexico's Baja California coast loaded with 3,000 pounds of research and
Today's Birthdays: Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is 72.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Valerie Simpson is 72. Pop singer Bob Cowsill is 68.
Broadcast journalist Bill Whitaker is 66. Actor Brett Cullen is 61. NBA
coach Stan Van Gundy is 58. Jazz musician Branford Marsalis is 57. Country
musician Jimmy Olander (Diamond Rio) is 56. Actor Chris Burke is 52.
Actress-singer Shirley Manson (Garbage) is 51. Rock musician Dan Vickrey
(Counting Crowes) is 51. TV writer-actress Riley Weston is 51. Rock musician
Adrian Young (No Doubt) is 48. Actress Melissa McCarthy is 47. Latin pop
singer Thalia is 46. Actress Meredith Eaton is 43. Rock singer-musician
Tyler Connolly (Theory of a Deadman) is 42. Actor Mike Colter is 41. Actor
Macaulay Culkin is 37. Actor Chris Pine is 37. Actor Johnny Ray Gill is 33.
Country singer Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line) is 32. Rhythm-and-blues
singer Cassie Ventura is 31. Actor Evan Ross is 29. Actor Dylan O'Brien is
26. Actress Keke Palmer is 24.
Thought for Today: "Suffering belongs to no language." — Adelia Prado,
South Korean court to rule in Samsung heir bribery case
In this Aug.
7, 2017, file photo, Lee Jae-yong, center, vice chairman of Samsung
Electronics Co., arrives for his trial at the Seoul Central District Court
in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A
court will rule Friday in a bribery case against the billionaire heir to the
Samsung empire that fed public anger leading to the ouster of Park Geun-hye
as South Korea's president.
Prosecutors have sought a 12-year prison term for the 49-year-old Lee
Jae-yong Lee, princeling of South Korea's richest family and its biggest
company, is accused of offering $38 million in bribes to four entities
controlled by a friend of Park in exchange for government help with a merger
that strengthened Lee's control over Samsung at a crucial time.
Park, who was embroiled in a tumultuous series of scandals, was removed from
office in March and is being tried separately. Her friend Choi Soon-sil also
is on trial.
Lee has denied the allegations against him.
More than 200 doomed Puerto Rico dogs saved by airlift to US
In this Aug.
22, 2017 photo, a dog sits inside his kennel at the Villa Michelle Animal
Shelter in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
By Ricardo Arduengo, Associated
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — They were a mix of breeds and sizes,
ranging from puppies to seniors. All faced a grim future in Puerto Rico
animal shelters, where chronic overcrowding results in many dogs being
That changed Wednesday for 205 abandoned canines that arrived on the U.S.
mainland in an airlift organized by animal welfare advocates working to ease
"The shelters in Puerto Rico have no choice," said Kimberly Alboum, director
of policy engagement and shelter outreach for the Humane Society of the
United States. "They run out of room and, unfortunately, they have to
euthanize for space. It's heartbreaking for the staff and it's devastating
because these animals are all highly adoptable."
The island territory has struggled with dog overpopulation for years due to
factors such as poorly funded shelters and low spaying and neutering rates.
It's common to see packs of what locals refer to as "satos" roaming through
Puerto Rican communities, and one stretch of coast near the town of Yabucoa
became so infamous for abandoned and abused pets that it was dubbed Dead Dog
Activists in Puerto Rico and on the mainland have been working on the
problem and say there are signs of improvement.
Christina Beckles, founder of the Puerto Rico-based Sato Project, said fewer
dogs are ending up on Dead Dog Beach thanks in part to a campaign to spay
and neuter in Yabucoa.
But there have also been setbacks, including a deep economic crisis that led
many islanders to decamp for the mainland and leave their pets behind.
"People are leaving the island in droves because they can't afford to live
here," Beckles said. "I would never condone someone abandoning an animal,
but I understand."
While various organizations have airlifted dogs out of Puerto Rico in recent
years, this latest effort is believed to be the largest number in a single
Many of the animals came from two shelters: One in the hills above Mayaguez
that has a hard time finding people to adopt its animals because it is so
remote, and another in a condemned building with no power or water near Cabo
Rojo that had to clear its entire population for a badly needed renovation.
Dellymar Bernal Martinez, president of the Saint Francis of Assis Animal
Sanctuary in Cabo Rojo, cried as she hugged a departing beige, medium-sized
dog that had been born at the shelter three years earlier. "It's
bittersweet. I'm sad she is leaving but she is going to a better place."
The dogs were checked by veterinarians, taken to the San Juan airport and
then flown in two planes provided by a group called Wings of Rescue.
They landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, dogs peeking nervously out of their
carriers as volunteers unloaded them and transferred them to waiting vans.
One planeload of dogs was destined for shelters around the state. The other
aircraft refueled and went on to North Carolina, with its canines continuing
on to various shelters including Animal Haven in New York City.
About two dozen ended up at a facility run by the Humane Society of Broward
County in Fort Lauderdale.
"They'll all get adopted," shelter
director Mary Steffen said. "They will go fast."
Associated Press writer Ben Fox in Miami contributed to this report.
Tony Abbott was once too drunk for Parliament
Sept. 19, 2014, file photo, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
speaks during a press conference, in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) —
Australia's prime minister confirmed Friday that his predecessor and
intra-party rival Tony Abbott had once been too drunk to vote in Parliament,
an incident that's been a poorly kept secret in political circles for eight
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW on Friday that he
was opposition leader in 2009 when Abbott was incapable of voting against
government legislation to massively increase economic stimulus spending.
Abbott replaced Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party late in
2009 and became prime minister before Turnbull ousted Abbott in a party
ballot in 2015.
"I was disappointed, but you've got to move on with these things," Turnbull
told Melbourne Radio 3AW of Abbott's inebriation.
"I can't remember anyone else missing a vote because they were too drunk to
get into the chamber," he added.
Turnbull told the truth over the episode after media reported that Abbott
had finally confessed in a television interview that will be screened on
Abbott said he had gone to sleep on his office couch after he'd been
drinking wine with two party colleagues.
"The impact was rather greater than it should have been," the Herald Sun
newspaper quoted him as saying.
"I lay down, and the next thing knew it
was morning," he added.
Turnbull said party officials responsible for making sure lawmakers were
available for votes, known as whips, could not wake Abbott.
"There was nothing we could do," Turnbull said.
"The whips tried to rouse him to get him down into the chamber to vote but
they were unable to move him," he added.
Turnbull said the need for lawmakers to
attend every vote was now even greater, since the ruling coalition has a
single-seat majority in the House of Representatives, where parties need a
majority to govern.
Abbott previously said he had missed the vote because he was tired after
days of working as a volunteer firefighter. He dismissed a journalist's
question of whether he had been drunk as "impertinent."
Abbott remains a government lawmaker and retains strong support from his
party's hard-right faction. He has become a vocal critic of the Turnbull
administration's policy direction, as the government lags behind the
center-left opposition Labor Party in successive opinion polls.
Abbott and Turnbull are now on opposite sides of Australia's gay marriage
debate. Abbott is campaigning against same-sex marriage ahead of a national
postal survey on the subject next month, while Turnbull supports marriage
Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
18 dead in Brazil boat accident, 2nd fatal sinking this week
worker carries an unconscious 1-year-old to a waiting ambulance. (Xando
Pereira/A Tarde/Futura Press via AP)
By Peter Prengaman, Stan
Lehman, Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A commuter boat carrying more than 100
passengers flipped and sank Thursday in northeast Brazil, killing at least
18 people and leaving dozens missing in rough ocean waters.
It was the second fatal accident involving passenger boats this week in the
South American nation, where aquatic travel of all kinds is common.
Navy Lt. Col. Flavio Almeida told The Associated Press that the vessel went
down in the morning while traversing the Bay of All Saints off the coast of
the city of Salvador.
Twenty-one people were rescued by naval teams, and private boats also
motored in and helped an unknown number of survivors.
"Some passengers were able to swim to shore. Others were picked up," Almeida
said. "An investigation into what happened will be launched, but at this
point we are still in the middle of the rescue."
Authorities reported earlier that 22 people had died but later lowered the
toll to 18.
Globo News showed rescuers pulling people from the bay and anxious family
members waiting for news in the Salvador terminal where the boat was
In a statement the Bahia state health department said 34 people were being
treated for injuries. An unconscious 1-year-old who initially responded to
resuscitation efforts died in an ambulance en route to a hospital, it added.
Survivor Edvaldo Santos de Almeida told
the G1 news portal that a large wave tipped the boat during a heavy
"There were a lot of people" on board, he said. "It took a long time to be
rescued. We were in the water for two hours."
Authorities said there were 120 people on board when the boat sank.
Matheus Ramos told the daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo he was sitting down
the boat suddenly flipped on top of him, banging his left shoulder.
"When I came up, a tarp was on top of my face," Ramos said. "I had to rip it
Salvador, one of Brazil's most famous cities, is located on a peninsula near
a handful of islands. Each day thousands of workers, students and other
people commute on boats between the city and the
The vessel was traveling between Vera Cruz on Itaparica Island and Salvador,
about an 8-mile (13-kilometer) stretch.
The accident took place two days after a passenger boat sank on the Xingu
River in the northern state of Para, leaving at least 21 dead.
Authorities initially said more than 70 were on that boat when it sank late
Tuesday. But on Thursday, as recovery efforts continued, authorities revised
the number of passengers down to 48. Of those, 23 had been rescued, meaning
at least four were still missing.
Associated Press writer Peter Prengaman reported from Rio de Janeiro and
Stan Lehman reported from Sao Paulo.
Today in History - Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
Today is Friday, Aug. 25, the 237th day of 2017. There are 128 days left in
Today's Highlights in History:
On August 25, 1967, the Beatles boarded a train in London bound for Bangor,
Wales, to attend a conference on transcendental meditation led by the
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; the visit was cut short two days later when the group
got word of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. George Lincoln
Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, was shot to death at a
shopping center in Arlington, Virginia; former party member John Patler was
convicted of the killing. Actor Paul Muni, 71, died in Montecito,
On this date:
In 1718, hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some
settling in present-day New Orleans.
In 1825, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act establishing the National
Park Service within the Department of the Interior.
In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.
In 1944, during World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after
four years of Nazi occupation. Romania declared war on former ally Germany.
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure providing pensions
for former U.S. presidents and their widows.
In 1960, opening ceremonies were held for the Summer Olympics in Rome.
In 1975, the Bruce Springsteen album "Born to Run" was released by Columbia
In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn's
cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.
In 1989, Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Neptune, its final planetary
In 1997, former East German leader Egon Krenz was convicted of manslaughter
in the deaths of citizens trying to flee to the West during Cold War; he was
sentenced to 6 1/2 years' imprisonment. (Krenz was released in 2003 after
serving less than four years.)
In 2009, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died at age 77 in Hyannis Port,
Massachusetts, after a battle with a brain tumor.
Ten years ago: The government of Greece declared a nationwide state of
emergency as the death toll from wildfires rose to at least 49. Bombs blamed
on Islamic extremists killed at least 43 people at a park and a street-side
food stall in Hyderabad, India.
Five years ago: Neil Armstrong, 82, who commanded the historic Apollo 11
lunar landing and was the first man to set foot on the moon in July 1969,
died in Cincinnati, Ohio. A huge explosion rocked Venezuela's biggest oil
refinery and unleashed a ferocious fire, killing at least 42 people. Alpha
and long-shot Golden Ticket finished in a historic dead heat in the $1
million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
One year ago: Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump had unleashed the
"radical fringe" within the Republican Party, dubbing the billionaire
businessman's campaign as one that will "make America hate again"; Trump
rejected Clinton's allegations, defending his hard-line approach to
immigration while trying to make the case to minority voters that Democrats
had abandoned them. The bodies of two nuns, Sisters Margaret Held and Paula
Merrill, both 68, were found in their home in Durant, Mississippi; a suspect
has been charged with capital murder. Actor Marvin Kaplan, 89, died in
Today's Birthdays: Game show host Monty Hall is 96. Actor Sean Connery is
87. Actor Page Johnson is 87. TV personality Regis Philbin is 86. Actor Tom
Skerritt is 84. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 84. Movie director Hugh
Hudson is 81. Author Frederick Forsyth is 79. Movie director John Badham is
78. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 78. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is 75.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O'Jays) is 74. Actor Anthony
Heald is 73. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 68. Actor John Savage is 68.
Author Martin Amis is 68. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Outlaws;
Blackhawk) is 68. Rock singer Rob Halford is 66. Rock musician Geoff Downes
(Asia) is 65. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 63. Movie director Tim Burton is
59. Actor Christian LeBlanc is 59. Actress Ashley Crow is 57. Actress Ally
Walker is 56. Country singer Cyrus (AKA Billy Ray Cyrus) is 56. Actress
Joanne Whalley is 56. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 55.
Actor Blair Underwood is 53. Actor Robert Maschio is 51.
Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 51. Alternative country singer Jeff
Tweedy (Wilco) is 50. Actor David Alan Basche (BAYSH) is 49. Television chef
Rachael Ray is 49. Actor Cameron Mathison is 48. Country singer Jo Dee
Messina is 47. Model Claudia Schiffer is 47. Country singer Brice Long is
46. Actor-writer-director Ben Falcone is 44. Actor Eric Millegan is 43.
Actor Alexander Skarsgard is 41. Actor Jonathan Togo is 40. Actor Kel
Mitchell is 39. Actress Rachel Bilson is 36. Actress Blake Lively is 30.
Actor Josh Flitter is 23.
Thought for Today: "No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps
you." — Althea Gibson, American tennis champion (born this date in 1927,
Swedish journalist's torso found in submarine death mystery
This is a Dec. 28, 2015 file handout photo
portrait of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall taken in Trelleborg,
Sweeden.(Tom Wall via AP, File)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 photo, a private
submarine sits on a pier in Copenhagen harbor, Denmark.(Jens Dresling/Ritzau
Foto via AP)
By Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Journalist Kim Wall had reported on
conflicts, crises and natural disasters around the world. Earlier this
month, she set out to sea from laid-back Copenhagen for a story about an
eccentric Danish inventor and his home-made submarine.
She never returned. On Wednesday, police confirmed that Wall's headless
torso had been found on a beach near the Danish capital. The inventor, Peter
Madsen, has been arrested on suspicion of killing her.Wall, 30, was last
seen alive on the evening of Aug. 10 on Madsen's submarine, named UC3
Nautilus. The freelance journalist's family says she was working on a story
about Madsen, 46, a celebrity entrepreneur and engineer who dreamed of
launching a manned space mission.
Early the next day, Wall's boyfriend reported her missing. Madsen was
rescued from his sinking vessel south of Copenhagen hours later. Wall was
nowhere to be found.
Madsen, who remains in police custody on suspicion of manslaughter,
initially told police he had let Wall off on an island several hours into
the trip. Later, he said she had died accidentally and he had "buried" her
On Monday, a cyclist discovered a torso on a beach on Copenhagen's southern
Amager island, near where Wall was believed to have died. Copenhagen police
said Tuesday that the body's head, arms and legs had "deliberately been cut
Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moeller Jensen told reporters Wednesday
that DNA tests had confirmed the torso was Wall's.
Dried blood found inside the submarine was also a match to DNA obtained from
Wall's toothbrush and hairbrush, he said.
Moeller Jensen said the torso "washed ashore after having been at sea for a
while," and was attached to a piece of metal "likely with the purpose to
make it sink."
The investigator said marks on the torso indicated that someone had tried to
press air out of the body so that it wouldn't float.
The cause of the journalist's death is not yet known, police said. They are
still looking for the rest of her body.
Madsen's defense lawyer said her client still maintains that Wall died
accidentally, and that the discovery of her torso doesn't mean he's guilty
of killing her.
"It doesn't change my client's explanation that an accident happened,"
Betina Hald Engmark told Danish tabloid BT.
"No matter what, we find it very positive that she has been found now," she
Wall's boyfriend alerted authorities early on Aug. 11 that the 40-ton,
nearly 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) sub hadn't returned from a test run.
The Danish navy launched a rescue operation, scrambling two helicopters and
three ships for the search.
The navy said the sub had been seen sailing, but sank shortly afterward.
Madsen was picked up by a private boat.
Police say they believe Madsen deliberately scuttled the submarine.
Authorities later found it and brought it onto land for investigation.
A self-taught aerospace engineer, Madsen was one of a group of entrepreneurs
who founded Copenhagen Suborbitals, a private consortium to develop and
construct submarines and manned spacecraft.
Madsen made headlines when he launched the Nautilus — billed as the world's
largest privately built sub — on May 3, 2008.
In 2011, Copenhagen Suborbitals launched a homemade 30-foot (nine-meter)
rocket five miles (eight kilometers) into the sky over the Baltic Sea, a
step toward its unrealized goal of launching a person into space.
The group split in 2014, and Nautilus is currently owned by Madsen's company
Rocket Madsen Space Lab, billed on its website as "a place where nothing is
impossible and where science and innovation meet practical engineering."
Wall grew up in southern Sweden, just across a strait from Copenhagen. She
studied at the Sorbonne university in Paris, the London School of Economics
and at Columbia University in New York, graduating with a master's degree in
journalism in 2013.
She lived in New York and Beijing, her family said, and had written for The
New York Times, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post and Vice
Magazine, among other publications. She had reported from Cuba, Sri Lanka,
Uganda, China and the Marshall Islands.
Her family said that she had worked in many dangerous places as a
journalist, and it was unimaginable "something could happen ... just a few
miles from the childhood home."
In an email to The Associated Press, the family said it received the
confirmation of her death "with boundless sadness and dismay," adding "the
tragedy has hit not only us and other families, but friends and colleagues
all over the world."
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was "shocked and saddened" by
"Wall's death on a seemingly low-risk assignment underscores the dangers
that journalists face around the world every day," said the group's Europe
and Central Asia Program Coordinator, Nina Ognianova.
Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.
10 dead, dozens missing after boat sinks on Brazil river
surround the boat "Comandante Ribeiro" that sank while carrying 70 people
during a search and rescue mission in the Xingu River, Para state, Brazil,
Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.(Alexandre Cardoso via AP)
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A boat
carrying 70 people sank on a major river in northern Brazil leaving at least
10 dead and dozens missing, authorities said Wednesday.
The public security office of the state of Para said 15 people made it to
the shore and 10 bodies were recovered, while the rest were unaccounted for.
Earlier the office had reported that 25 reached the shore.
Authorities said the boat was traveling on the Xingu River when it sank late
Tuesday. The cause was not immediately clear.
The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said the vessel left Monday night from
Santarem and was heading to Vitoria do Xingu.
Survivor Bruno Costa, a 29 year-old
disc jockey, described a chaotic scene as the boat cracked apart and quickly
sank. He told the G1 news portal that a tarpaulin sheltering passengers from
a heavy downpour made it escape difficult.
"The tarp prevented many people from leaving. I managed to rescue a child of
about 2, but neither I nor the child had a life jacket on," Costa said.
Costa said a man trying to get off the boat suddenly jumped on his back and
grabbed the child away from him. He last saw the man sinking in the river
and did not know what happened to the child. He told G1 he found a life
jacket and used it to stay afloat, but he saw many others in the water who
"failed to make it."
Travel by river is common in Brazil's northern states, which include the
Amazon rainforest and have relatively fewer major roads.
In early August a cargo vessel collided with a tugboat on the Amazon River,
also in the state of Para. Only two people were rescued out of 11 aboard the
Study: Arsenic poisoning a risk for 50M in Pakistan
People at a filtration plant fill their bottles
with water from a tube well, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 23,
2017. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
By Kathy Gannon Katy Daigle, Associated Press
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Some 50 million people are at risk of
arsenic poisoning from contaminated groundwater in Pakistan's Indus Valley —
far more than previously thought, according to a new study.
Pakistan is aware of the growing problem, with arsenic levels rising in some
areas as people increasingly and indiscriminately draw from the country's
underground aquifers, said Lubna Bukhari, who heads the government's Council
for Research in Water Resources.
"It's a real concern," she said. "Because of lack of rules and regulations,
people have exploited the groundwater brutally, and it is driving up arsenic
The authors of the study developed a map highlighting areas of likely
contamination based on water quality data from nearly 1,200 groundwater
pumps tested from 2013 to 2015, and accounting for geological factors
including surface slope and soil contents. They determined some 88 million
people were living in high-risk areas.
Given that about 60-70 percent of the population relies on groundwater, they
calculated that roughly 50 million — maybe even 60 million — were
potentially affected. That's equal to at least a third of the 150 million
already estimated by the World Health Organization to be drinking, cooking
and farming with arsenic-laced water worldwide.
"This is an alarmingly high number, which demonstrates the urgent need to
test all drinking water wells in the Indus Plain," with hotspots around the
densely populated cities of Lahore and Hyderabad, said the study's lead
author, Joel Podgorski, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science
and Technology, known as Eawag.
The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
The high-risk area mapped out in the study broadly covers the middle and
lower reaches of the Indus River and its tributaries, before they empty into
the Arabian Sea.
Scientists had expected this area might be affected. Similar geographical
areas along the Ganges River in neighboring India and Brahmaputra in
Bangladesh also contain pockets of arsenic contamination.
Normally, that arsenic would stay in the ground. But in the last few
decades, South Asian countries concerned with pathogen-infused surface water
have been pumping enormous volumes of groundwater, causing the water tables
to drop drastically and tapping into new water pockets tainted by the
colorless, odorless toxin.
The WHO considers arsenic concentrations above 10 micrograms per liter to be
dangerous. Pakistan's guideline is five times that, and many of its wells
test much higher.
Arsenic is naturally occurring and kills human cells — causing skin lesions,
organ damage, heart disease and cancer. There is no cure for arsenic
"This study is important because it draws attention to an overlooked — yet
solvable — problem of vast magnitude affecting the health of millions of
villagers," said geochemist Alexander van Geen of Columbia University's
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who was not involved in the study. He said
the patterns it identifies are broadly consistent with data he and other
researchers have collected from some 10,000 well tests in the region.
One of those researchers, Abida Farooqui, assistant professor of
environmental sciences at Islamabad's Qaid-e-Azam University, said the new
study's sample size may be too small to draw clear conclusions.
"The study revealed very important and an emerging problem of arsenic in the
country," Farooqui said. But "only 1,193 samples have been used to predict
the situation in the whole Indus Valley, which is unrealistic."
In any case, no map can tell villagers whether a specific well is
contaminated. Arsenic concentration varies widely from pump to pump, and the
only way to know for certain is to test each one.
Shallow wells are less likely to be tainted. Deeper ones, such as those run
by the government's Drinking Water Filtration sites, may be more at risk.
This makes the problem especially acute for thousands of city-dwellers who
have no access to clean water and rely on what the government supplies. At
one Islamabad neighborhood filtration site on Wednesday, resident Ali Hasan
said the struggle was real.
"It's the government's job to provide us with clean drinking water, but
everywhere we have to travel to find clean water," Hasan said while filling
a large plastic jug to take home to his neighborhood.
A survey submitted to Pakistan's parliament last year suggested nearly 80
percent of water sources in 2,807 villages across 24 districts were
contaminated with bacteria or other pollutants, to levels that were unsafe
Now, "the presence of arsenic in drinking water is becoming a widespread
health problem," said Luis Rodríguez-Lado, a chemist with the University of
Santiago de Compostela in Spain who was not involved in the study. Yet
"there is a general lack of information" about which areas in Asia are most
For Pakistan, Bukhari said, the problem is now urgent. Her department is
already working with the U.N. Children's Fund to provide cheap anti-arsenic
water filters to poor villagers in the worst-affected areas.
"We should immediately discourage the indiscriminate ground water
exploitation," she said, noting that even city-dwellers with municipal water
access were digging tube wells "to have a lavish supply of water."
But the country also needs to test countless tube wells and identify which
have tapped into arsenic, possibly determining which depths might be safer,
If researchers can find a depth at which "there is no arsenic, we can dig
wells that stop before the water is contaminated," Bukhari said.
Daigle reported from Bangkok.
Follow Kathy Gannon at www.twitter.com/kathygannon and Katy Daigle at
A map of the study's projections for arsenic contamination in Pakistan can
be found here , along with other maps on groundwater quality generated by
Rod Stewart to perform remotely on MTV Video Music Awards
In this July 12, 2017 file photo, Rod Stewart
performs in Camden, N.J(Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Rod Stewart will perform a reworked version of his
hit "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" remotely from Las Vegas at the MTV Video Music
Awards, to be held in California.
MTV announced Wednesday that Stewart will perform the 1978 song with pop
band DNCE on Sunday. The network said Demi Lovato will also perform remotely
The 2017 VMAs will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Performers include Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Pink, Miley Cyrus, the
Weeknd, Lorde, Shawn Mendes, Fifth Harmony and host Katy Perry.
On Tuesday, MTV announced an additional award — song of summer. Luis Fonsi's
"Despacito" earned a nomination in the late-added category, but the
record-breaking video wasn't included in other VMA categories because it
hasn't been played on MTV or MTV2.
Today in History - Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017
Today is Thursday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2017. There are 129 days left
in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30
billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
On this date:
In A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of
Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
In 1572, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of French Protestants at the
hands of Catholics began in Paris.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C.,
setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the
White House, as well as other public buildings.
In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress
approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post
Office Department, slated to begin on January 1, 1913.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to
Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from
coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act,
outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1967, a group of demonstrators led by Abbie Hoffman caused a disruption
at the New York Stock Exchange by tossing dollar bills onto the trading
floor. American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, 85, died in Honolulu.
In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside
the University of Wisconsin's Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old
researcher Robert Fassnacht.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in
prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH'-tee) banned
Pete Rose from the game for betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no
longer a full-fledged planet, demoting it to the status of a "dwarf planet."
Ten years ago: A judge in Inverness, Florida, sentenced John Evander Couey
to death for kidnapping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raping her and burying
her alive. (Couey died of natural causes in 2009.) James Ford Seale, a
reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was sentenced to three life terms for his role in
the 1964 abduction and murder of two black teenagers in southwestern
Mississippi. (Seale died in 2011.) Major wildfires broke out in Greece,
burning half a million acres and claiming 65 lives in 11 days.
Five years ago: A suit-clad gunman opened fire outside New York's Empire
State Building, killing a former co-worker before being gunned down by
police. A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik guilty of terrorism
and premeditated murder for twin attacks on July 22, 2011 that killed 77
people; he received a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended as long
as he is considered dangerous to society. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wiped
out 14 years of Lance Armstrong's cycling career — including his record
seven Tour de France titles — and barred him for life from the sport after
concluding he'd used banned substances.
One year ago: A 6.2 magnitude earthquake reduced three central Italian towns
to rubble and killed nearly 300 people. Astronaut Jeffrey Williams,
commander of the International Space Station, marked a U.S.
recording-breaking 521st day in orbit, a number accumulated over four
flights (upon his return to earth 13 days later, Williams had logged a grand
total of 534 days in space).
Today's Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 79. Rhythm-and-blues
singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 75. Rock musician Ken Hensley is
72. Actress Anne Archer is 70. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 68. Actor Kevin Dunn
is 62. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 62. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is
60. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 59. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is
57. Actor Jared Harris is 56. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 55. CBS News
correspondent Major Garrett is 55. Rock singer John Bush is 54. Actress
Marlee Matlin is 52. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 52. Broadcast
journalist David Gregory is 47. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SHeDaisy) is
47. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 45. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 44.
Actor James D'Arcy is 44. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 44. Actor Alex
O'Loughlin is 41. Actress Beth Riesgraf is 39. Actor Chad Michael Murray is
36. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 34. Singer Mika is
34. Actor Blake Berris is 33.
Actor Rupert Grint ("Harry Potter" films) is 29.
Thought for Today: "Life begins when a person first realizes how soon it
will end." — Marcelene Cox, American writer.
S. Korea says no to US request to discuss renegotiating FTA
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyung-chong
speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South
Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
By Youkyung Lee, AP Business Writer
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's top trade negotiator said
Tuesday that Seoul will not discuss renegotiation of the free trade
agreement with the U.S. without first looking into what is really causing
the U.S. trade imbalance.
Speaking after a video conference with U.S. trade representative Robert
Lighthizer, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyung-chong said Seoul proposed
a joint study with Washington to evaluate the impact of the 5-year-old
bilateral trade deal and the cause of the U.S. trade deficit.
"We did not agree to the unilateral proposal from the U.S. to amend the
Korea-U.S. FTA," Kim told reporters in a briefing after a talk with U.S.
trade representatives. "We made our position clear that investigation,
analysis and evaluation of the impact of the Korea-U.S. FTA must be
The two sides found they had different views on the impact of the free trade
deal and could not reach any agreement during the talks, he added. Kim said
Seoul will be waiting for Washington's response to its proposal for the
The countries' trade officials held their first talks in Seoul, in what
Washington hoped would lead to discussing amendment or modification of the
trade deal that took effect five years ago under President Barack Obama.
The U.S. trade official said discussions will continue.
"Unfortunately, too many American workers have not benefited from the
agreement," Ambassador Lighthizer said in a statement posted on the USTR
website. "President Trump is committed to substantial improvements in the
Korean agreement that address the trade imbalance and ensure that the deal
is fully implemented."
The Trump administration criticized the pact with its ally, saying that the
U.S. trade deficit with South Korea had doubled since the deal went into
effect. The U.S. trade deficit with South Korea widened from $13.2 billion
in 2011 to $27.6 billion last year.
But South Korea said the deal has been beneficial to both countries. The
U.S. runs a trade surplus with South Korea in services such as banking and
tourism, estimated at $10.7 billion in 2016. South Korea also believes that
the FTA is not the cause of the U.S. trade imbalance, and that other,
complex factors in the global economy are to blame.
The Trump administration is seeking to renegotiate the trade deal with South
Korea as part of its broader efforts to reduce the U.S. trade deficit. It
has begun an effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement
with Mexico and Canada.
South Korea is the sixth-largest trading partner for the U.S., while the
U.S. is South Korea's second-largest trading partner.
Italian boy credited with helping save brother after quake
Rescuers pull out 7-month boy Pasquale from the
rubble of a collapsed building in Casamicciola, on the island of Ischia,
By Colleen Barry, Associated Press
MILAN (AP) — An Italian family of five was "reborn" after all three
children buried in the rubble of their home by a 4.0-magnitude quake were
pulled to safety Tuesday in a painstaking 16-hour rescue operation on the
popular Mediterranean resort island of Ischia.
The Toscano family's happy ending brought cheers from the dozens of
firefighters who worked through the night to extricate the two boys and
their infant brother, trapped alone for hours after their father was rescued
and their pregnant mother managed to free herself from their collapsed
apartment in the hard-hit town of Casamicciola.
"I don't know how to define it if not a miracle," the boys' grandmother,
Erasma De Simone, said after the family was reunited at a hospital. "We were
all dead, and we are reborn."
Though relatively minor in magnitude, the quake Monday night killed two
people, injured another 39 and displaced some 2,600 people in Casamicciola
and the neighboring town of Lacco Ameno on the northern end of the island.
The damage in Ischia focused attention on two recurring themes in
quake-prone Italy: seismically outdated old buildings and illegal new
construction with shoddy materials. One woman was killed by falling masonry
from a church that had suffered damage in a quake centered in Casamicciola
in 1883 that killed more than 2,000 people. Another died in the same
apartment complex where the family was saved.
Rescuers hailed the courage of the older boys, who spent 14 and 16 hours
respectively waiting to be freed, talking with firefighters all the while,
eventually receiving water and a flashlight. One official credited the older
boy, 11-year-old Ciro, with helping save his 8-year-old brother, Mattias, by
pushing him out of harm's way under a bed.
The boys' grandmother described Ciro as shaken by the ordeal. While Mattias
was scared, he also "was sorry because he lost the money in his piggy bank,
and lost his toys," she told the ANSA news agency.
When the quake struck just before 9 p.m. Monday, the boys' father,
Alessandro Toscano, said he was in the kitchen while his wife, Alessia, was
in the bathroom and his two older sons in their bedroom.
His wife managed to free herself through the bathroom window, Toscano told
RAI state television, while he was rescued soon afterward by firefighters.
But the three boys remained trapped when the upper story of the building
In their bedroom, 11-year-old Ciro pushing Mattias under the bed.
"The gesture surely saved them both," said Andrea Gentile of the Italian
police. "Then with the handle of a broom he knocked against the rubble,
making them heard by rescuers."
The baby, 7-month-old Pasquale, was in the kitchen in a playpen, and the
first to be rescued around 4 a.m., seven hours after the quake struck. He
cried as rescuers passed him to safety, but looked alert in his still-white
Firefighters said reaching the two older boys was more delicate, requiring
them to create a hole in the collapsed ceiling without destabilizing the
Mattias was extricated first, emerging seven hours after his baby brother,
covered in cement dust in his underwear as he clung to firefighters. He was
quickly strapped onto a stretcher and whisked into an ambulance.
Finally came Ciro, who rescuers said kept the conversation going throughout
the ordeal even though one of his legs was immobilized by the rubble. At the
hospital emergency room entrance, his parents awaited his arrival, his
mother, who is five months pregnant, sitting in a wheel chair alongside his
father, whose hand was bandaged from a fracture.
"It was a terrible night. I don't have words to explain it," Alessandro
Toscano told RAI television.
Despite their ordeal, hospital officials say the three children were in
remarkably good condition. The two older boys were being treated for
dehydration and Ciro for a fracture to his right foot. They were expected to
be discharged from the hospital Wednesday.
"For three children saved from the rubble, we have witnessed a true miracle.
They are miraculously healthy," said Virginia Scafarto, director of the
island's Rizzoli hospital.
The quake struck just two days shy of the one-year anniversary of a powerful
6.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated several towns in central Italy,
killing more than 250.
The Ischia quake hit the resort island famed for its thermal waters during
the height of the tourist season, with its population of 64,000 swelled by
another 150,000. Many visitors took refuge in parks, sleeping under blankets
in the aftermath while authorities began organizing ferries to bring
tourists back to the mainland. By late Tuesday, some 11,000 had left for
Tourism officials said that the damage was localized to Casamicciola and
Lacco Ameno, with much of the island business as usual by Tuesday. According
to Ermanno Mennella of the Federablberghi hoteliers association in Ischia,
just 10 of the island's 310 hotels were impacted by the quake and only three
or four were closed for inspection.
Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favorite island
getaway for the European jet set and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has
been known to visit at Easter.
The extent of the damage for a relatively light quake raised questions about
the prevalence of illegally built structures, often with shoddy materials,
on the island in the seismically active area off Naples and the active
Fabrizio Pistolesi, the head of Italy's national architecture advisory
board, told SKY television that many buildings on the island were built
before seismic codes were adopted. He also cited the high incidence of
illegal construction on Ischia and generally in the Campagna region that
includes both the resort island and Naples.
"We know well that in Campagna, more than 200,000 homes were illegally
constructed We are talking about homes constructed in absolute scorn of
seismic norms," he told Sky TG24.
Former Naples prosecutor Aldo De Chiara said most of the recently
constructed buildings on Ischia were built without necessary permits, and
many with poor quality cement.
"We warned about the risk of collapses also in the case of not particularly
serious temblors," De Chiara told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"Unfortunately, what we had denounced happened last night."
Attack victims came from around world to celebrate Barcelona
A policeman hugs a boy and his family that he
helped during the terrorist attack, at a memorial to the victims on Las
Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The victims of last week's attacks in
Barcelona and a nearby resort town came from around the world and across
generations. The latest to be identified by name Tuesday were a Portuguese
grandmother and her granddaughter.
Fifteen people were killed and more than 120 others wounded in Barcelona and
the nearby town of Cambrils on Thursday and Friday. The dead and injured
represented nearly three dozen countries, places where loved ones are in
mourning or experiencing a new kinship with the people of Spain.
Here are some details about the victims:
Pau Perez, 34, Spain
Perez was parking his car in Barcelona when the alleged Barcelona van attack
driver attacked and stabbed him while fleeing police after mowing down
dozens of people on Las Ramblas.
The attacker then dumped Perez' in the back seat and drove away, later
crashing through a police barrier and injuring an officer before ditching
the vehicle containing the body in a town outside the Catalan capital.
The confirmation Monday ended days of uncertainty over Perez's exact fate,
although it seems police had already told his family and neighbors in his
hometown of Vilafranca de Penedes he was dead, without giving the full
details during investigations.
Spanish media said Perez was an NGO worker and keen soccer fan.
The town Twitter account announced it deeply lamented his death, declaring
three days of mourning.
Julian Cadman, 7, Australia and Britain
The British and Australian governments and Catalan emergency services
announced the death of 7-year-old Julian Cadman on Sunday. The boy, a dual
citizen of Australia and Britain, had been missing since the attack that
seriously injured his mother.
Julian and his mother, Jom Cadman, were in Barcelona for a family wedding
and enjoying the sights when a van sped down the Las Ramblas promenade
targeting pedestrians. His mother, a 43-year-old from the Philippines who
had been living in Australia, was hospitalized.
"He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our
faces," the child's family said in a statement released by the Australian
department for foreign affairs after his death was announced.
On Friday, Julian's grandfather posted an appeal on Facebook with Julian's
photo asking for help finding him. The Australian prime minister asked
people to pray for him, and the British prime minister said the government
was urgently looking into his situation.
The family statement extended sympathy to others coping with losses and
thanked all those who helped search for Julian, saying "Your kindness was
incredible during a difficult time."
"We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles
and hold his memory dear to our hearts."
Pepita Codina, 75, Spain
Pepita Codina is being honored with a makeshift memorial in Hipolit de
Voldrega, her hometown of 3,000 people near Barcelona.
Mayor Xavier Vilamala tweeted that he was "very sad and distressed" by the
news of her death.
Local media reported that Codina's daughter, Elisabet, was injured in the
attack, but is currently out of danger at Hospital del Marin Barcelona.
Neighbor Enriqueta Ordeig described Codina as a "very good woman" who moved
to the town when her husband retired, according to El Pais newspaper.
Maria de Lurdes Ribeiro, 74, and Maria Correia, 20, Portugal
The granddaughter and grandmother were in Barcelona to celebrate the
grandmother's birthday when they were caught up in the horror on Las
Ramblas, according to Portuguese media reports.
They had arrived in the city for a week's vacation just a few hours before
they were killed, Jose Luis Carneiro, a Lisbon official, told reporters.
The older woman was reported dead Friday, while the younger woman was
initially reported as missing before finally being identified Saturday.
Those hours left her parents in a painful limbo, Carneiro said.
The parents are "broken-hearted," Carneiro said. "Firstly, because they were
caught by surprise by the death of the man's mother and then spent hours not
knowing what had happened to their daughter."
They were due to be buried near Lisbon on Wednesday.
Bruno Gulotta, 35, Italy
A father from Legnano in northern Italy is being praised as a hero who
protected his children during the Barcelona attack.
One of Gulotta's work colleagues, Pino Bruno, told the Italian news agency
ANSA that he saved the life of his two young children — Alessandro, 6, and
Aria, 7 months — by throwing himself between them and the van that mowed
Bruno said he spoke to Gulotta's wife, Martina, and she told him her husband
had been holding the 6-year-old's hand on the tourist-thronged avenue in
Barcelona when "the van appeared suddenly."
"Everyone knelt down, instinctively, as if to protect themselves," Bruno
said, adding that Gulotta put himself in front of his children and was
Gulotta was a sales manager for Tom's Hardware Italia, an online publication
about technology. "Rest in peace, Bruno, and protect your loved ones from up
high," read one tribute on the company's website.
Carmen Lopardo, 80, Italy
Lopardo, apparently the oldest person to die in the attack, was among three
Italians killed in Barcelona, according to Italy's foreign ministry.
In a statement, it said Lopardo was killed in the "vile terrorist attack in
Barcelona," without providing details.
News reports said Lopardo was an Italian who had immigrated to Argentina in
1950 and was visiting Barcelona.
Silvina Alejandra Pereyra, 40, Argentina and Spain
Argentina's Foreign Ministry says Pereyra, an Argentine-Spanish dual citizen
who resided in Barcelona for the last 10 years, is among those who died.
It says in a statement that her death was confirmed through family members
living in Bolivia after a cousin identified her body at a morgue in
The Argentine government expressed its deep regret over the pain caused to
Pereyra's family and friends and said its diplomatic missions in Barcelona
and Madrid are working to assist.
Francisco Lopez Rodriguez, 57, and Javier Martinez, 3, Spain
Francisco Lopez Rodriguez was killed with his 3-year-old grand-nephew,
Javier Martinez, while walking along Las Ramblas.
Lopez was accompanied by his wife, Roser — who is recovering from her wounds
in a hospital — her niece and the niece's two children, one of them Javier.
"He was a lovely man, kind and charitable" and always telling jokes, said
81-year-old Natalia Moreno Perez from Lopez's native Lanteira, a town of 700
inhabitants outside Granada in southern Spain.
Lopez left the town with his family in the 1960s to seek work and was a
metal worker living in Rubi, a migrant town of 75,000 people northwest of
"We are a broken family," niece Raquel Baron Lopez posted on Twitter.
Luca Russo, 25, Italy
One of Italy's three victims in the Barcelona van attack is being mourned as
a brilliant young engineer dragged to his death before his girlfriend's
A determined Luca Russo, 25, already had a job in electronic engineering, no
easy feat in Italy, where youth unemployment runs stubbornly high.
"We were investing in him. We wanted to make him grow professionally," the
Italian news agency ANSA quoted Stefano Facchinello, one of the partners in
the Padua-area company where Russo had worked for a year, as saying.
The girlfriend, Marta Scomazzon, who was hospitalized with a fractured foot
and elbow, told an aunt that "we were walking together, then the van came on
top of us."
Ana Maria Suarez, 67, Spain
The Spanish royal family sent condolences to Ana Maria Suarez's family via
Twitter after she died in the attack in the resort town of Cambrils.
According to local media, Suarez was originally from the city of Zaragoza,
and was on vacation with her family. Suarez's husband and one of her sisters
were injured and being treated at a hospital.
They had just eaten dinner and were celebrating the husband's 69th birthday,
walking in the crowded port area of Cambrils hours after the Barcelona
attack, according to El Mundo newspaper.
Suarez is the only fatal victim in the attack in Cambrils, where five
attackers wearing fake explosives belts were shot dead by police.
Jared Tucker, 42, United States
California resident Jared Tucker, 42, and his wife were ending their
European vacation in Barcelona and on their way to a beach when they decided
to stop at a cafe on Las Ramblas.
Shortly after her husband left to use the restroom, chaos broke out, Heidi
Nunes-Tucker, 40, told The Associated Press.
She said people were running, screaming and crying, and that she never saw
her husband again.
Later, she learned he was among those killed in the truck attack in
Barcelona, the only known American among the 13 people who died.
Nunes-Tucker called her husband the love of her life and says she's
struggling to make sense of the violence.
She said the pair met at an annual art and wine festival in 2012, spent the
night talking and dancing, "and we were pretty much inseparable after that."
"It was an instant connection," she said.
Tucker's father, Daniel Tucker, said the couple had saved for the European
vacation to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary. They also visited
Paris and Venice.
Jared Tucker, who worked with his father in a family business remodeling
swimming pools, also leaves behind three daughters.
Elke Vanbockrijck, Belgium
Vanbockrijck was at the KFC Heur Tongeren soccer club "nearly every day"
ferrying her 10- and 14-year-old boys back and forth to training and
matches, team president Arnould Partoens said.
The family was on vacation in Barcelona. The boys and their father, a
policeman, were unhurt, he said.
Team vice president Herwig Dessers said coaches and players would stand in
silence to remember her over the next few days "and talk to the children
about what happened."
A picture of Vanbockrijck now rests on the bar inside the clubhouse.
Ian Moore Wilson, 53, Canada
Ian Moore Wilson's daughter Fiona described him as an adventurous traveler
and "much-loved husband, father, brother and grandfather."
The Vancouver police department issued a statement from Fiona, a staff
sergeant in the force, saying that Wilson had been killed and his wife,
Valerie, had been injured in the attack.
Fiona Wilson and the Vancouver police thanked the emergency workers and
others who helped her father in his final moments and got medical assistance
for her mother.
"In the midst of this tragedy, my dad would want those around him to focus
on the extraordinary acts of human kindness that our family has experienced
over the past several days, and that is exactly what we intend to do," she
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said four other Canadians were injured in the
Ciaran Giles in Madrid; Danica Kirka in London; Barry Hatton and Helena
Alves in Lisbon, Portugal; Jocelyn Gecker in Walnut Creek, California; Lorne
Cook in Brussels; Nicole Winfield in Rome; Kristen Gelineau in Sydney;
Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles; and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed
to this report.
US says some remains of sailors found on USS John McCain
Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Scott Swift
answers questions during a press conference with the USS John S. McCain and
USS America docked in the background at Singapore's Changi naval base on
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
By Annabelle Liang, Associated Press
SINGAPORE (AP) — Navy divers searching a flooded compartment of the
USS John S. McCain found remains of some of the 10 sailors missing in a
collision between the warship and an oil tanker, the U.S. Pacific Fleet
commander said Tuesday as he promised a full investigation.
Adm. Scott Swift also said at a news conference in Singapore, where the
McCain is now docked, that Malaysian officials had found one body, but it
had yet to be identified and it was unknown whether it was a crew member.
The collision before dawn on Monday near Singapore tore a gaping hole in the
McCain's left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments including crew
berths and machinery and communication rooms. Five sailors were injured.
"The divers were able to locate some remains in those sealed compartments
during their search today," Swift said, adding that it was "premature to say
how many and what the status of recovery of those bodies is."
"We will continue the search and rescue operations until the probability of
discovering sailors is exhausted," Swift said.
He would not say where in the destroyer the bodies were found.
It was the second major collision in two months involving the Pacific-based
7th Fleet, and the Navy has ordered a broad investigation into its
performance and readiness. Seven sailors died in June when the USS
Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan. There were two
lesser-known incidents in the first half of the year. In January, the USS
Antietam guided missile cruiser ran aground near Yokosuka base, the home
port of the 7th Fleet, and in May another cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain
from the Navy's 3rd Fleet, had a minor collision with a South Korean fishing
"While each of these four incidents is unique, they cannot be viewed in
isolation," Swift said.
He said the Navy would conduct an investigation "to find out if there is a
common cause ... and if so, how do we solve that."
He said he had heard some reports speculating that the Navy could have been
a victim of a cyberattack. "We've seen no indications of that as yet, but
... we are not taking any consideration off the table," he said.
Earlier Tuesday, the 7th Fleet said the sea search by aircraft and ships
from the U.S., Singapore and Malaysian navies would continue east of
Singapore where the McCain and the tanker collided.
Megan Partlow of Ohio, who said her fiance was on board the McCain, told The
Associated Press in a Facebook message that they last communicated on Sunday
and she was losing hope of seeing him again.
"My last text to him was 'be safe,' which is the same way we end every
conversation. I'm just ready for answers," she said. The identities of the
missing have not been disclosed but Partlow said her fiance's parents were
in touch with the Navy's family assistance center.
April Brandon of Michigan said her son, Ken Smith, 22, is among the missing
sailors. Brandon told Detroit-area TV stations that she was visited by two
officers Monday at her home.
Navy Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, on Monday ordered
a pause in 7th Fleet operations for the next few days to allow commanders to
get together with leaders, sailors and command officials and identify any
immediate steps that need to be taken to ensure safety.
A broader U.S. Navy review will look at the 7th Fleet's performance,
including personnel, navigation capabilities, maintenance, equipment,
surface warfare training, munitions, certifications and how sailors move
through their careers. Richardson said the review will be conducted with the
help of the Navy's office of the inspector general, the safety center and
private companies that make equipment used by sailors.
"Make no mistake," Swift said Tuesday, "our sailors on these ships are doing
critical work at sea. And for more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has helped
guarantee the security and stability of the western Pacific. ... We owe it
to the sailors that man the 7th Fleet and their families to answer the
questions that flow from the uncertainty of what happened, how could it
happen, and what can be done to prevent such occurrences in the future."
Swift also lauded the crew for righting the listing ship quickly as they
tended to the injured. He said sailors set up watertight boundaries and
shored up the ship's internal structure, and were able to begin evacuating
sailors by helicopter within an hour or two of the collision.
He said it was "quite extraordinary" for the McCain to be "up and running as
an operational ship almost immediately after the collision."
The McCain had been heading to Singapore on a routine port visit after
conducting a sensitive freedom-of-navigation operation last week by sailing
near one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea.
China, Washington's main rival for influence in the Asia-Pacific, seized on
the McCain collision to accuse the Navy of endangering maritime navigation
in the region. This year's string of accidents shows the U.S. Navy "is
becoming a dangerous obstacle in Asian waters," the official China Daily
newspaper said in its online edition.
The McCain and the Alnic MC oil tanker collided about 4.5 nautical miles
(8.3 kilometers) from Malaysia's coast at the start of a designated sea lane
for ships sailing into the busy Singapore Strait.
There was no immediate explanation for the collision. Singapore, at the
southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is one of the world's busiest ports and
a U.S. ally, with its naval base regularly visited by American warships.
The Singapore government said no crew were injured on the Liberian-flagged
Alnic, which sustained damage to a compartment at the starboard, or right,
side at the front of the ship some 7 meters (23 feet) above its waterline.
The ship had a partial load of fuel oil, according to the Greek owner of the
tanker, Stealth Maritime Corp. S.A., but no apparent spill.
Several safety violations were recorded for the oil tanker at its last port
inspection in July, one fire safety deficiency and two safety-of-navigation
problems. The official database for ports in Asia doesn't go into details
and the problems apparently were not serious enough for the tanker to be
AP writers Lolita C. Baldor in Muscat, Oman, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Deb
Riechmann in Washington, Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and Ken Moritsugu in
Tokyo contributed to this report.
Today in History - Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 23, the 235th day of 2017. There are 130 days
left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On August 23, 1927, amid worldwide protests, Italian-born anarchists Nicola
Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two
men during a 1920 robbery.
On this date:
In 1305, Scottish rebel leader Sir William Wallace was executed by the
English for treason.
In 1775, Britain's King George III proclaimed the American colonies to be in
a state of "open and avowed rebellion."
In 1858, "Ten Nights in a Bar-room," a play by Timothy Shay Arthur about the
perils of alcohol, opened in New York.
In 1913, Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue, inspired by the Hans Christian
Andersen story, was unveiled in the harbor of the Danish capital.
In 1914, Japan declared war against Germany in World War I.
In 1926, silent film star Rudolph Valentino died in New York at age 31.
In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to a non-aggression
treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in Moscow.
In 1947, an audience at the Hollywood Bowl heard President Harry S. Truman's
daughter, Margaret, give her first public concert as a singer (she had
previously peformed on the radio).
In 1960, Broadway librettist Oscar Hammerstein (HAM'-ur-STYN') II, 65, died
in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
In 1973, a bank robbery-turned-hostage-taking began in Stockholm, Sweden;
the four hostages ended up empathizing with their captors, a psychological
condition now referred to as "Stockholm Syndrome."
In 1982, Lebanon's parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir
Gemayel president. (However, Gemayel was assassinated some three weeks
In 1989, in a case that inflamed racial tensions in New York, Yusuf Hawkins,
a 16-year-old black youth, was shot dead after he and his friends were
confronted by a group of white youths in the Bensonhurst section of
Brooklyn. (Gunman Joey Fama was convicted of second-degree murder and
sentenced to life in prison; he will be eligible for parole in 2022.)
Ten years ago: A report by top U.S. spy analysts concluded the Iraqi
government was strained by rampant violence, deep sectarian differences
among its political parties and stymied leadership. Reality TV star Nicole
Richie spent 82 minutes in a Los Angeles County jail to complete a four-day
sentence for driving under the influence of drugs.
Five years ago: First lady Michelle Obama consoled relatives of worshippers
gunned down at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee. Lance Armstrong chose
not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency, setting the stage for his Tour de France titles to be
stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport
he once ruled.
One year ago: Standing amid piles of waterlogged debris, President Barack
Obama promised a sustained national effort to rebuild flood-ravaged southern
Louisiana "even after the TV cameras leave" on a visit aimed in part at
stemming campaign-season criticism that he was slow to respond to the
disaster. Prosecutors charged a Tulsa man with first-degree murder and
committing a hate crime in the killing of his Lebanese Christian neighbor —
a culmination of what authorities said was the man's violent feud with the
family that spanned several years and included a regular barrage of racial
insults and personal confrontations. Actor Steven Hill, 94, died in New York
Today's Birthdays: Actress Vera Miles is 87. Actress Barbara Eden is 86.
Political satirist Mark Russell is 85. Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny
Jurgensen is 83. Actor Richard Sanders is 77. Ballet dancer Patricia McBride
is 75. Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello is 73. Pro Football Hall of
Famer Rayfield Wright is 72. Country singer Rex Allen Jr. is 70. Actor David
Robb is 70. Singer Linda Thompson is 70. Actress Shelley Long is 68.
Actor-singer Rick Springfield is 68. Country singer-musician Woody Paul
(Riders in the Sky) is 68. Queen Noor of Jordan is 66. Actor-producer Mark
Hudson is 66. Actor Skipp Sudduth is 61. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Mike
Boddicker is 60. Rock musician Dean DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple
Pilots) is 56. Country musician Ira Dean (Trick Pony) is 48. Actor Jay Mohr
is 47. Actor Ray Park is 43. Actor Scott Caan is 41. Country singer Shelly
Fairchild is 40. Figure skater Nicole Bobek is 40. Rock singer Julian
Casablancas (The Strokes) is 39.
Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant is 39. Actress Joanne Froggatt is 37.
Neo-soul musician Andy Wild is 36. Actress Annie Ilonzeh is 34. Dance
musician Sky Blu is 31. Actress Kimberly Matula is 29. NBA player Jeremy Lin
Thought for Today: "The chains which cramp us most are those which weigh on
us least." — Anne Sophie Swetchine, Russian-French author (1782-1857).