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Update September 2017


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Update September 11, 2017

Myanmar accused of laying mines, causing Rohingya injuries

An injured elderly woman and her relatives rush to a hospital on an autorickshaw, near the border town of Kutupalong, Bangladesh.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Myanmar's military has been accused of planting land mines in the path of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in its western Rakhine state, with Amnesty International reporting two people wounded Sunday.

Refugee accounts of the latest spasm of violence in Rakhine have typically described shootings by soldiers and arson attacks on villages. But there several cases that point to anti-personnel land mines or other explosives as the cause of injuries on the border with Bangladesh, where 300,000 Rohingya have fled in the past two weeks.

AP reporters on the Bangladesh side of the border on Monday saw an elderly woman with devastating leg wounds: one leg with the calf apparently blown off and the other also badly injured. Relatives said she had stepped on a land mine.

Myanmar has one of the few militaries, along with North Korea and Syria, which has openly used anti-personnel land mines in recent years, according to Amnesty. An international treaty in 1997 outlawed the use of the weapons; Bangladesh signed it but Myanmar has not.

Lt. Col. S.M. Ariful Islam, commanding officer of the Bangladesh border guard in Teknaf, said on Friday he was aware of at least three Rohingya injured in explosions.

Bangladeshi officials and Amnesty researchers believe new explosives have been recently planted, including one that the rights group said blew off a Bangladeshi farmer's leg and another that wounded a Rohingya man. Both incidents occurred Sunday. It said at least three people including two children were injured in the past week.

"It may not be land mines, but I know there have been isolated cases of Myanmar soldiers planting explosives three to four days ago," Ariful said Friday.

Myanmar presidential spokesman Zaw Htay did not answer phone calls seeking comment Sunday. Military spokesman Myat Min Oo said he couldn't comment without talking to his superiors. A major at the Border Guard Police headquarters in northern Maungdaw near the Bangladesh border also refused to comment.

Amnesty said that based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analysis by its own weapons experts, it believes there is "targeted use of landlines" along a narrow stretch of the northwestern border of Rakhine state that is a crossing point for fleeing Rohingya.

"All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points," Amnesty official Tirana Hassan said in a statement Sunday. She called it "a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution."

The violence and exodus began on Aug. 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar police and paramilitary posts in what they said was an effort to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority Buddhist country.

In response, the military unleashed what it called "clearance operations" to root out the insurgents. Accounts from refugees show the Myanmar military is also targeting civilians with shootings and wholesale burning of Rohingya villages in an apparent attempt to purge Rakhine state of Muslims.

Bloody anti-Muslim rioting that erupted in 2012 in Rakhine state forced more than 100,000 Rohingya into displacement camps in Bangladesh, where many still live today.

Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and persecution in Myanmar and are denied citizenship despite centuries-olds roots in the Rakhine region. Myanmar denies Rohingya exist as an ethnic group and says those living in Rakhine are illegal migrants from Bangladesh.


305 Syrian migrants reach Cyprus; 313 are stopped in Turkey

Ammar Hammasho, migrant from Edlib in Syria who lives in Cyprus, kisses one of his four children.(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus police arrested a 36-year-old man Sunday for allegedly driving one of two boats that brought 305 Syrian refugees to the Mediterranean island's northwestern coast.

Another 29-year-old man was also taken into custody on suspicion of migrant trafficking.

Police spokesman Michalis Ioannou said the 202 men, 30 women and 73 children arrived about midnight in what is thought to be the largest number of migrants to reach Cyprus in a single day. He said they departed from Mersin, Turkey, on Saturday.

The passengers reported paying up to $2,000 (1,658 euros) each to smugglers for the trip. Some with relatives in Cyprus have expressed a desire to remain, while others want to go to Germany or Scandinavia.

Among those waiting for the migrants at a reception center in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia was Ammar Hammasho. The 35-year-old Syrian said he felt both joy and relief at seeing his four small children and wife behind the center's chain-link fence after fearing for their safety during the trip.

Hammasho came to Cyprus a year ago from the Syrian city of Idlib where he said his home was destroyed by airstrikes that killed one of his children.

"It's getting worse," Hammasho told The Associated Press. "Everyone on either side is telling their own lies."
In Turkey, the coast guard stopped an unnamed fishing boat carrying 93 Syrians and one Afghan migrant Sunday off the coast of Istanbul on the Black Sea. The authorities also caught an alleged Turkish smuggler.

Turkish authorities also announced late Saturday that coast guard boats had prevented two separate migrant landings in the Black Sea. In one, 68 Syrians and two Iranians were stopped in a sailboat with an alleged Turkish smuggler east of Bulgaria.

In the other, Turkish coast guard intercepted 149 Syrian migrants and two Ukrainians thought to be smugglers in a fishing boat east of Romania. The migrants and suspects were brought to northwestern Kirklareli province in Turkey for processing.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in March 2016 to curb the flow of migrants to Greek islands on the Aegean Sea. A million people crossed the sea in the year before the agreement, with hundreds drowning along the way.
 


US calls for Monday vote on new North Korea sanctions

A man watches a TV news program on a public screen showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States called for a vote Monday on new U.N. sanctions against North Korea, though exactly what measures would be in the resolution remained a mystery.

Security Council diplomats, who weren't authorized to speak publicly because talks have been private, said the U.S. and China were still negotiating the text late Sunday.

Previous U.N. sanctions resolutions have been negotiated between the United States and China — North Korea's main trading partner and ally — and have taken weeks, and in some cases months, to finalize.

But the Trump administration adopted a totally new approach with this resolution, presenting its draft to China and all other Security Council members last Tuesday and demanding a vote in six days. Diplomats said China's U.N.

ambassador, Liu Jieyi, who was on a Security Council trip to Ethiopia, flew back to New York on Thursday to take part in negotiations.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it was watching the United States' moves closely and warned that it was "ready and willing" to respond with measures of its own. It said the U.S. would pay a heavy price if the sanctions proposed by Washington are adopted.

Ethiopia's U.N. mission, the current Security Council president, said late Sunday that members would vote on a North Korea resolution following a meeting Monday afternoon on implementing existing sanctions against the Pyongyang government.

The draft circulated by the United States called for imposing the toughest-ever U.N. sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to the country and a freeze of all foreign financial assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The U.S. is also seeking to ban all countries from hiring workers from the North and from importing textiles from the northeast Asian nation — two key sources of foreign currency.

In another key measure, the U.S. draft identified nine ships that have carried out activities prohibited by previous U.N. sanctions resolutions. The draft would authorize the 192 other U.N. member states to stop these ships on the high seas to check their cargo without their consent. It would permit the use of "all necessary measures," which in U.N. language includes force, to carry out an inspection and direct the vessel to a port.

Whether those provisions would remain in any resolution put to a vote Monday remained to be seen.

Beijing and Moscow have called for a resolution that focuses on a political solution and proposed a freeze-for-freeze that would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea stopping their joint military exercises. That initiative was rejected by the Trump administration.

Russia argues that sanctions aren't working and President Vladimir Putin expressed concern last week that a total oil cutoff could hurt the North Korean people.

Britain's U.N. ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, backed the tough U.S. measures and demand for a speedy vote, saying Thursday that "maximum possible pressure" must be exerted on North Korea to change course and give diplomacy a chance to end the crisis.

Professor Joseph DeThomas of Pennsylvania State University, a former U.S. ambassador and State Department official who dealt with North Korea, told The Associated Press on Friday that the U.S. demand for quick council action was "an indicator of how the administration thinks time has run out."

"My sense is they believe that they don't have time for a delicate diplomatic dance," he said. "The other possibility ... is they want to see the color of China's money. They're putting down the marker here and saying, 'OK, are you prepared to do what is necessary to put pressure on North Korea at a moment when we're simply out of time?'"


Miss North Dakota Cara Mund is new Miss America

New Miss America Cara Mund poses for a photo with contestants during Miss America 2018 pageant, Sunday, Sept.10, 2017, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/ Noah K. Murray)

By Wayne Parry, Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Miss North Dakota, a 23-year-old who said President Donald Trump was wrong to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, was named Miss America 2018 Sunday night in Atlantic City.

Cara Mund topped a field of 51 contestants to win the crowd in the New Jersey seaside resort, where most of the 97 Miss Americas have been selected.

In one of her onstage interviews, Mund said Trump, a Republican, was wrong to withdraw the U.S. from the climate accord aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

"It's a bad decision," she said. "There is evidence that climate change is existing and we need to be at that table."
In an interview with The Associated Press before preliminary competition began, Mund, who lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, said her goal is to be the first woman elected governor of her state.

She said she wants to see more women elected to all levels of government.

"It's important to have a woman's perspective," Mund, who had an internship in the U.S. Senate, told the AP. "In health care and on reproductive rights, it's predominantly men making those decisions."

The first runner up was Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis; second runner up was Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel; third runner up was Miss District of Columbia Briana Kinsey, and fourth runner up was Miss Texas Margana Wood.

Earlier Sunday, as a deadly hurricane was slamming her home state, Miss Florida Sara Zeng sent a message of support to those in harm's way — and was then eliminated from the competition.

As judges were narrowing the field of 51 contestants (each state plus the District of Columbia), they interviewed Zeng, a 22-year-old from Palm Coast, Florida, who noted that her family is safe.

But she expressed concern and support for friends and strangers endangered by Hurricane Irma, which was tearing its way up the Florida gulf coast on Sunday.

"I'm thinking about everyone in Florida every single day, but I know that regardless what happens, we'll all get through this together," Zeng said.

Shortly after her speech, judges read the names of the remaining Top 15 finalists, which did not include her.
Earlier in the week, Miss Texas Margana Wood gave a shout-out to her flooded hometown, Houston; she won Wednesday night's swimsuit preliminary.

Zeng won Friday's swimsuit prelim, and promised she'd be part of the post-Irma cleanup and recovery effort, whether as Miss America or not.

The competition took place at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, where it originated as a way to extend summer tourism to the weekend after Labor Day.

They were vying to succeed the outgoing Miss America Savvy Shields, who won the title last September as Miss Arkansas.

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC


Today in History - Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Sept. 11, the 254th day of 2017. There are 111 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed as 19 al-Qaida hijackers seized control of four jetliners, sending two of the planes into New York's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in western Pennsylvania.

On this date:

In 1297, Scottish rebels led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated English troops in the Battle of Stirling Bridge during the First War of Scottish Independence.

In 1714, the forces of King Philip V of Spain overcame Catalan defenders to end the 13-month-long Siege of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.

In 1789, Alexander Hamilton was appointed the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

In 1814, an American fleet scored a decisive victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.

In 1857, the Mountain Meadows Massacre took place in present-day southern Utah as a 120-member Arkansas immigrant party was slaughtered by Mormon militiamen aided by Paiute Indians.

In 1936, Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) began operation as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a key in Washington to signal the startup of the dam's first hydroelectric generator.

In 1941, groundbreaking took place for the Pentagon. In a speech that drew accusations of anti-Semitism, Charles A. Lindbergh told an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, that "the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration" were pushing the United States toward war.

In 1954, the Miss America pageant made its network TV debut on ABC; Miss California, Lee Meriwether, was crowned the winner.

In 1967, the comedy-variety program "The Carol Burnett Show" premiered on CBS.

In 1974, Eastern Airlines Flight 212, a DC-9, crashed while attempting to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 72 of the 82 people on board.

In 1985, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds cracked career hit number 4,192 off Eric Show (rhymes with "how") of the San Diego Padres, eclipsing the record held by Ty Cobb. (The Reds won the game, 2-0).

In 1997, Scots voted to create their own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.

Ten years ago: A new Osama bin Laden videotape was released on the sixth anniversary of 9/11; in it, the al-Qaida leader's voice is heard commemorating one of the suicide hijackers and calling on young Muslims to follow his example by martyring themselves in attacks. China signed an agreement to prohibit the use of lead paint on toys exported to the United States.

Five years ago: A mob armed with guns and grenades launched a fiery nightlong attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney toned down the campaign rhetoric and pulled negative ads amid commemorations of the 9/11 attacks, saying it was not a day for politics.

One year ago: The U.S. marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with the solemn roll call of the dead at ground zero. Hillary Clinton abruptly left after feeling "overheated," according to her campaign, and hours later her doctor disclosed that the Democratic presidential nominee had pneumonia. Stan Wawrinka wore Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) down and beat the defending champion 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 for his first U.S. Open title and third Grand Slam trophy overall. Savvy Shields of Arkansas was crowned Miss America 2017 at the pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, is 93. Actor Earl Holliman is 89. Comedian Tom Dreesen is 78. Movie director Brian De Palma is 77. Singer-actress-dancer Lola Falana is 75. Rock musician Mickey Hart (The Dead) is 74. Singer-musician Leo Kottke is 72. Actor Phillip Alford is 69. Actress Amy Madigan is 67. Rock singer-musician Tommy Shaw (Styx) is 64. Sports reporter Lesley Visser is 64. Actor Reed Birney is 63. Singer-songwriter Diane Warren is 61. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson is 60. Musician Jon Moss (Culture Club) is 60. Actor Scott Patterson is 59. Rock musician Mick Talbot (The Style Council) is 59.

Actress Roxann Dawson is 59. Actor John Hawkes is 58. Actress Anne Ramsay is 57. Actress Virginia Madsen is 56. Actress Kristy McNichol is 55. Musician-composer Moby is 52. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is 52. Business reporter Maria Bartiromo is 50. Singer Harry Connick Jr. is 50. Rock musician Bart Van Der Zeeuw is 49. Actress Taraji P. Henson is 47. Actress Laura Wright is 47. Rock musician Jeremy Popoff (Lit) is 46. Blogger Markos Moulitsas is 46. Singer Brad Fischetti (LFO) is 42. Rapper Mr. Black is 40. Rock musician Jon Buckland (Coldplay) is 40. Rapper Ludacris is 40. Rock singer Ben Lee is 39. Actor Ryan Slattery is 39. Actress Ariana Richards is 38. Country singer Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum) is 36. Actress Elizabeth Henstridge is 30. Actor Tyler Hoechlin (HEK'-lihn) is 30. Actress Mackenzie Aladjem is 16.

Thought for Today: "I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance." — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet and author (1772-1834).


Update September 9 - 10, 2017

Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Sept. 10, the 253rd day of 2017. There are 112 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 10, 1813, an American naval force commanded by Oliver H. Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. (Afterward, Perry sent the message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours.")
On this date:

In 1608, John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia.

In 1846, Elias Howe received a patent for his sewing machine.

In 1919, New York City welcomed home Gen. John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers who'd served in the U.S. First Division during World War I.

In 1935, Sen. Huey P. Long died in Baton Rouge two days after being shot in the Louisiana state Capitol, allegedly by Dr. Carl Weiss.

In 1939, Canada declared war on Germany.

In 1945, Vidkun Quisling was sentenced to death in Norway for collaborating with the Nazis (he was executed by firing squad in October 1945).

In 1955, the Western series "Gunsmoke," starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, began a 20-season run on CBS-TV.

In 1963, 20 black students entered Alabama public schools following a standoff between federal authorities and Gov. George C. Wallace.

In 1977, convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant, became the last person to date to be executed by the guillotine in France.

In 1979, four Puerto Rican nationalists imprisoned for a 1954 attack on the U.S. House of Representatives and a 1950 attempt on the life of President Harry S. Truman were freed from prison after being granted clemency by President Jimmy Carter.

In 1987, Pope John Paul II arrived in Miami, where he was welcomed by President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan as he began a 10-day tour of the United States.
In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ten years ago: Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, told Congress he envisioned the withdrawal of roughly 30,000 U.S. troops by the summer of 2008, saying the surge in U.S. troops had met its military objectives "in large measure." Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman, 90, died in Palm Springs, California.

Five years ago: An airstrike killed al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in a breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the terror network's operations in the impoverished Arab nation. Chicago teachers began a seven-day strike, idling nearly 400,000 students in the nation's third-largest school district. Andy Murray became the first British man since 1936 to capture a Grand Slam title, beating defending champion Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich), 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 to win the U.S. Open in five grueling sets.

One year ago: John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was released from a Washington mental hospital for good. Angelique Kerber won her first U.S. Open title and the second Grand Slam trophy of her breakthrough season, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Philip Baker Hall is 86. Actor Greg Mullavey is 84. Jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers is 77. Actor Tom Ligon is 77. Singer Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) is 75. Singer Jose Feliciano is 72. Actress Judy Geeson is 69. Former Canadian first lady Margaret Trudeau is 69. Political commentator Bill O'Reilly is 68. Rock musician Joe Perry (Aerosmith) is 67. Actress Amy Irving is 64. Actor-director Clark Johnson is 63. Country singer Rosie Flores is 61. Actress Kate Burton is 60. Movie director Chris Columbus is 59. Actor Colin Firth is 57. Rock singer-musician David Lowery (Cracker) is 57. Actor Sean O'Bryan is 54. Actor Raymond Cruz is 53. Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson is 54. Rock musician Robin Goodridge (Bush) is 52. Rock musician Stevie D. (Buckcherry) is 51. Rock singer-musician Miles Zuniga (Fastball) is 51. Actress Nina Repeta is 50. Rapper Big Daddy Kane is 49.

Movie director Guy Ritchie is 49. Actor Johnathan Schaech is 48. Contemporary Christian singer Sara Groves is 45. Actor Ryan Phillippe is 43. Actor Kyle Bornheimer is 42. Actor Jacob Young is 38. Rock musician Mikey Way (My Chemical Romance) is 37. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Timothy Goebel is 37. Ballerina Misty Copeland is 35. Rock musician Matthew Followill (Kings of Leon) is 33. Singer Ashley Monroe (Pistol Annies) is 31. Singer Sanjaya Malakar ("American Idol") is 28. Actor Chandler Massey is 27. Actress Hannah Hodson is 26. Actor Gabriel Bateman is 13.

Thought for Today: "History is the great dust-heap ... a pageant and not a philosophy." — Augustine Birrell, English author and statesman (1850-1933).


UN: 'Alarming number' of 270,000 Rohingya in Myanmar exodus

Rohingya scuffle to get clothes from local volunteers Kutupalong, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

By Muneeza Naqvi

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — The U.N. said that an "alarming number" of 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar by crossing into Bangladesh in the last two weeks.

The new figure confirmed Friday by U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan is much higher than the 164,000 the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees had previously estimated had arrived since Aug. 25.

"This is an alarming number," Tan said. "The existing camps are full to the capacity. There is a lot of pressure on relief agencies to accommodate the rising numbers."

She said the new number was still a "rough estimate," and based on an assessment that involved a host of aid agencies operating in the area. Some aid groups also had identified "new pockets of people that we did not know about before, mainly in villages" where Bangladeshi communities had taken them in, but also some new settlements and clusters in difficult-to-access areas.

Makeshift camps were quickly appearing and expanding along roadsides, Tan said.

She said it was possible some people who received help from multiple agencies could have been counted twice.

The exodus from Myanmar's northern Rakhine state began Aug. 25 after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts. The military responded with what it called "clearance operations" to root out any fighters it said might be hiding in villages of Rakhine state.

The Myanmar government says nearly 400 people have been killed in fighting it blames on insurgents, though Rohingya say they Myanmar troops and Buddhist mobs attacked them and destroyed their villages.

It's not known how many Rohingya remain in Rakhine state. Previously the population had been thought to be roughly 1 million.

Journalists in northern Rakhine state saw active fires in areas Rohingya had abandoned, adding to doubts over government claims that Rohingya themselves were responsible for setting them.

Associated Press reporters who have been in Rohingya camps all week saw a surge in the number of people entering Bangladesh on Thursday and Friday.

An increasing number of Rohingya were also arriving by boat, with 300 boats reaching the Bangladesh town of Cox's Bazar from Myanmar on Wednesday alone, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"Sea routes are particularly dangerous this time of year, when boats are known to frequently capsize in rough seas," the IOM said in a statement.

Dozens of Rohingya have died in capsizings since the exodus began, and there are other dangers as well. On Monday, the AP saw an elderly woman whose leg had been blown off when she set off a land mine.

Land mines were planted years ago along parts of the border. Bangladeshi officials say Myanmar soldiers have planted new explosives since the latest wave of violence began, though the Myanmar military denies it.

"It may not be land mines, but I know there have been isolated cases of Myanmar soldiers planting explosives three to four days ago," Lt. Col. S.M. Ariful Islam, commanding officer of the Bangladesh border guard in Teknaf, said Friday. He added that he was aware of at least three Rohingya injured in explosions.

There are now massive crowds of Rohingya in the streets of towns including Cox's Bazar and Teknaf, with relatively few soldiers or police and even fewer signs of aid agencies.

At a small makeshift mosque made of bamboo sticks and plastic sheets, a small group of new arrivals offered prayers Friday, the holiest day of the week in Islam.

Later, members of a local organization were seen distributing aid, throwing packets of puffed rice and old clothes into huge crowds of Rohingya. There are no clearly organized points of distribution.

Tan, of the refugee agency, said it was distributing aid through a local organization that preferred to keep a low profile.

U.N. agencies have released $8 million in emergency aid in the area, but were pleading for millions more.
___
Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Katy Daigle in Bangkok contributed to this report.


Death toll rises to 60 in powerful Mexico earthquake

 

A man sits in his wheelchair backdropped by a building damaged in a massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.(AP Photo/Luis Alberto Cruz)

By Mark Stevenson, Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country's southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night. At least 60 people were reported dead.

The quake that hit minutes before midnight Thursday was strong enough to cause buildings to sway violently in the capital city more than 650 miles (1,000 kilometers) away. As beds banged against walls, people still wearing pajamas ran out of their homes and gathered in frightened groups.

Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, the state nearest the epicenter, said his house "moved like chewing gum."

The furious shaking created a second national emergency for Mexican agencies already bracing for Hurricane Katia on the other side of the country. The system was expected to strike the Gulf coast in the state of Veracruz late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 2 storm that could bring life-threatening floods.

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency confirmed the deaths of 45 people in the southern state of Oaxaca. Another 12 people died in Chiapas and three more in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

The worst-hit city appeared to be Juchitan, on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus. About half of the city hall collapsed in a pile of rubble, and streets were littered with the debris of ruined houses.

President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the area, where he met with residents amid the debris of crumbled buildings.
"The priority in Juchitan is re-establishing supply of water and food, as well as medical attention for those affected," Pena Nieto said via Twitter.

Mexico City escaped major damage, but the quake terrified sleeping residents, many of whom still remember the catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed thousands and devastated large parts of the city.

Families were jerked awake by the grating howl of the capital's seismic alarm. Some shouted as they dashed out of rocking apartment buildings. Even the iconic Angel of Independence Monument swayed as the quake's waves rolled through the city's soft soil.

Elsewhere, the extent of destruction was still emerging. Hundreds of buildings collapsed or were damaged, power was cut at least briefly to more than 1.8 million people and authorities closed schools Friday in at least 11 states to check them for safety.

The Interior Department reported that 428 homes were destroyed and 1,700 were damaged in various cities and towns in Chiapas.

"Homes made of clay tiles and wood collapsed," said Nataniel Hernandez, a human rights worker living in Tonala, Chiapas, who warned that inclement weather threatened to bring more down.

"Right now it is raining very hard in Tonala, and with the rains it gets much more complicated because the homes were left very weak, with cracks," Hernandez said by phone.

The earthquake's impact was blunted somewhat by the fact that it was centered 100 miles offshore. It hit off Chiapas' Pacific coast, near the Guatemalan border, with a magnitude of 8.1 — equal to Mexico's strongest quake of the past century. It was slightly stronger than the 1985 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter was in a seismic hotspot in the Pacific where one tectonic plate dives under another. These subduction zones are responsible for producing some of the biggest quakes in history, including the 2011 Fukushima disaster and the 2004 Sumatra quake that spawned a deadly tsunami.

The quake struck at 11:49 p.m. Thursday (12:49 a.m. EDT; 4:49 a.m. GMT Friday). Its epicenter was 102 miles (165 kilometers) west of Tapachula in Chiapas, with a depth of 43.3 miles (69.7 kilometers), the USGS said.

Dozens of strong aftershocks rattled the region in the following hours.

Three people were killed in San Cristobal, including two women who died when a house and a wall collapsed, Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco said.

"There is damage to hospitals that have lost energy," he said. "Homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged."
In Tabasco, one child died when a wall collapsed, and an infant died in a children's hospital when the facility lost electricity, cutting off the ventilator, Gov. Arturo Nunez said.

The quake triggered tsunami warnings and some tall waves, but there was no major damage from the sea. Authorities briefly evacuated a few residents of coastal Tonala and Puerto Madero because of the warning.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves of 3.3 feet (1 meter) above the tide level off Salina Cruz, Mexico. Smaller tsunami waves were observed on the coast or measured by ocean gauges elsewhere.

In neighboring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales appeared on national television to call for calm while emergency crews surveyed damage. Officials later said only four people had been injured and several dozen homes damaged.
The quake occurred near the point of collision between three tectonic plates, the Cocos, the Caribbean and the North American.

The area has seen at least six other quakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater since 1900. Three of those occurred within a nerve-wracking nine-month span in 1902-1903, according to Mexico's National Seismological Service.

Scientists were still reviewing data, but a preliminary analysis indicated the quake was triggered by the sudden breaking or bending of the Cocos plate, which dives beneath Mexico. That type of process does not happen often in subduction zones. Usually, big quakes in subduction zones occur along the boundary between the sinking slab and the overriding crust.

"It's unusual, but it's not unheard of," said seismologist Susan Hough of the USGS, describing how stresses on the seafloor can produce big earthquakes.

The new quake matched the force of a magnitude 8.1 quake that hit the country June 3, 1932, roughly 300 miles (500 kilometers) west of Mexico City.

A study by the seismological service concluded that that quake killed about 400 people and caused severe damage around the port of Manzanillo. A powerful aftershock that hit 19 days later caused a tsunami that devastated 15 miles (25 kilometers) of coastline, killing 75 people.

In Veracruz, tourists abandoned coastal hotels as winds and rains picked up ahead of Hurricane Katia's expected landfall. Workers set up emergency shelters and cleared storm drains, and forecasters warned that the storm threatened to bring torrential rainfall, high winds and a dangerous storm surge off the Gulf of Mexico.

Katia had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph) and was located about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southeast of the city of Tampico in the evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

"The arrival of Katia may be particularly dangerous for slopes affected by the earthquake. Avoid these areas," Pena Nieto tweeted.
___
Associated Press Writer Frank Griffiths in London contributed to this report.


2 US students accuse Italian police of rape in Florence

By Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press

ROME (AP)
— Florence prosecutors on Friday were investigating allegations by two U.S. students that they were raped by Carabinieri policemen who escorted them home in a patrol car from a nightclub, allegations the U.S. State Department said it was taking very seriously.

Italian authorities said the 21-year-old students were questioned by prosecutors for several hours Thursday about their allegations. The women accused the officers of raping them early Thursday morning in their apartment building.
Italy has two main police forces that patrol its streets — the paramilitary Carabinieri, which are under the defense ministry, and the state police, who report to the interior ministry.

Italy's defense minister said the two policemen will be immediately suspended if rape charges are lodged against them.

"Investigation is still underway, but there is some basis in respect to the allegations," Minister Roberta Pinotti said Friday evening at a forum about women's issues in Milan. "Rape is always something grave. But it's of unprecedented gravity if it is committed by Carabinieri in uniform, because citizens turns to them and to their uniform to have assurances and security."

Italian media say three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight. Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained. The women, who reportedly spent the evening in the nightclub, told authorities that the officers drove them to their apartment building and raped them.

News reports described witnesses as confirming that they saw the women enter the patrol car.

The U.S. consul general in Florence met for about an hour with Florence's state police chief Friday morning about the case, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome refused to comment "due to the sensitive nature of this case and to protect the privacy of those involved."

The women reportedly arrived in Florence several months ago to study Italian at a language institute.

Florence, with its many museums and churches full with Renaissance masterpieces, is a popular destination for many Americans, especially university students.

One heavily followed crime case involved the murder of American Ashley Olsen in her apartment in January 2016. Later that year, a court in Florence convicted a Senegalese man of killing the 35-year-old and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. An autopsy had determined that she had been strangled and suffered skull fractures.

Witnesses said Olsen and her attacker had met at a Florence nightclub a few hours before she was killed.


Lady Gaga says she's taking a 'rest' from music

Lady Gaga speaks during a press conference for "Gaga: Five Foot Two" on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Lady Gaga says that she's planning to take a "rest" from music and "slow down for a moment for some healing."

The pop star was at in Toronto on Friday for a pair of concerts and to premiere a Netflix documentary about herself, "Gaga: Five Foot Two." The film, playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, chronicles her life, February's Super Bowl performance and her struggle with chronic pain.

Gaga teared up speaking to reporters about her health issues. "It's hard," she said, "but it's liberating too."
The singer said that she'll still be creating during a break from music. "It doesn't mean I don't have some things up my sleeve," said Gaga.

Gaga recently shot a remake of "A Star is Born," co-starring Bradley Cooper.


Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Sept. 9, the 252nd day of 2017. There are 113 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 9, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since Reconstruction, a measure primarily concerned with protecting voting rights and which also established a Civil Rights Division in the U.S. Department of Justice.

On this date:

In 1776, the second Continental Congress made the term "United States" official, replacing "United Colonies."

In 1850, California became the 31st state of the union.

In 1893, Frances Cleveland, wife of President Grover Cleveland, gave birth to a daughter, Esther, in the White House; it was the first (and, to date, only) time a president's child was born in the executive mansion.

In 1919, some 1,100 members of Boston's 1,500-man police force went on strike. (The strike was broken by Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge with replacement officers.)

In 1926, the National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) was incorporated by the Radio Corp. of America.

In 1942, during World War II, a Japanese plane launched from a submarine off the Oregon coast dropped a pair of incendiary bombs in a failed attempt at igniting a massive forest fire; it was the first aerial bombing of the U.S. mainland by a foreign power.

In 1956, Elvis Presley made the first of three appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In 1967, the comedy show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" aired as a onetime special on NBC; its success led to a regular series beginning in January 1968.

In 1971, prisoners seized control of the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, beginning a siege that ended up claiming 43 lives.

In 1976, Communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong died in Beijing at age 82. JVC unveiled its new VHS videocassette recorder during a presentation in Tokyo.

In 1986, Frank Reed, director of a private school in Lebanon, was taken hostage; he was released 44 months later.

In 1997, Sinn Fein (shin fayn), the IRA's political ally, formally renounced violence as it took its place in talks on Northern Ireland's future. Actor Burgess Meredith died in Malibu, California, at age 89.

Ten years ago: Seemingly taunting Osama bin Laden, President George W. Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, said in Sunday talk-show appearances that the fugitive al-Qaida leader was "virtually impotent" beyond his ability to hide away and spread anti-American propaganda. Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4 to win his fourth straight U.S. Open championship. Britney Spears performed her new single "Gimme More" in a much-criticized comeback attempt at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Five years ago: Iraq sentenced fugitive Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi to death on charges he masterminded death squads against rivals in a trial that fueled sectarian tensions in the country. Two points from defeat, Serena Williams regained her composure and her game to come back to beat Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, for her fourth U.S. Open championship. Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL regular-season game, serving as a line judge in the St. Louis Rams-Detroit Lions game. (Detroit beat St. Louis 27-23.)

One year ago: Defying the White House, Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation giving the families of victims of the September 11 attacks the right to sue Saudi Arabia. (Obama vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode his veto.) Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, speaking at an LGBT fundraiser in New York City, described half of Republican Donald Trump's supporters as "a basket of deplorables," a characterization she ended up expressing regret over. Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, along with international star Yao Ming, WNBA great Sheryl Swoopes, coach Tom Izzo, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf, an architect in the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls championship teams of the 1990s.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Sylvia Miles is 83. Actor Topol is 82. Rhythm-and-blues singer Luther Simmons is 75. Singer Inez Foxx is 75. Singer Dee Dee Sharp is 72. Rock singer-musician Doug Ingle is 71. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Joe Theismann is 68. Rock musician John McFee (The Doobie Brothers) is 67. Actor Tom Wopat is 66. Actress Angela Cartwright is 65. Musician-producer Dave Stewart is 65. Actor Hugh Grant is 57. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., is 54. Actor-comedian Charles Esten (formerly Chip) is 52. Actress Constance Marie is 52. Actor David Bennent is 51. Actor Adam Sandler is 51. Rock singer Paul Durham (Black Lab) is 49. Actress Julia Sawalha is 49. Model Rachel Hunter is 48.
Actor Eric Stonestreet is 46. Actor Henry Thomas is 46. Actor Goran Visnjic (VEEZ'-nihch) is 45. Pop-jazz singer Michael Buble' (boo-BLAY') is 42. Latin singer Maria Rita is 40. Actress Michelle Williams is 37. Actress Julie Gonzalo is 36. Neo-soul singer Paul Janeway (St. Paul & the Broken Bones) is 34. Actress Zoe Kazan is 34. Author-motivational speaker-businessman Farrah Gray is 33. Contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle is 26. Country singer-songwriter Hunter Hayes is 26.

Thought for Today: "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal." — Hannah More, English author and social reformer (1745-1833).


Update September 8, 2017

Nations rush to help islands devastated by Hurricane Irma

 

This Sept. 6, 2017 photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows a few of the homes that remained intact.(Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP)

By Evens Sanon and Danica Coto,Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — French, British and Dutch military authorities rushed aid to a devastated string of Caribbean islands Thursday after Hurricane Irma left at least 11 people dead and thousands homeless as it spun toward Florida for what could be a catastrophic blow this weekend.

Warships and planes were dispatched with food, water and troops after the fearsome Category 5 storm smashed homes, schools and roads, laying waste to some of the world's most beautiful and exclusive tourist destinations.

Hundreds of miles to the west, Florida braced for the onslaught, with forecasters warning that Irma could slam headlong into the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people, punish the entire length of the state's Atlantic coast and move into Georgia and South Carolina.

More than a half-million people in Miami-Dade County were ordered to leave as Irma closed in with winds of 165 mph (270 kph).

"Take it seriously, because this is the real deal," said Maj. Jeremy DeHart, a U.S. Air Force Reserve weather officer who flew through the eye of Irma at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters).

The first islands hit by the storm were scenes of terrible destruction.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said four people were confirmed dead and about 50 injured on the French side of St. Martin, an island split between Dutch and French control, where homes were splintered and road signs scattered by the fierce winds. The cafes and clothing shops of the picturesque seaside village of Marigot were submerged in brown floodwaters. The toll could rise because rescue teams had yet to get a complete look at the damage.

The U.S. Consulate General in Curaçao said it believes about 6,000 Americans are stranded on St. Martin and is collecting their names and locations. It said it was working with the U.S. and other governments to try to figure out how to get the Americans off the island either by air or boat. Frantic Americans were calling home to relatives to try to get them off the island, especially because Hurricane Jose threatened a second blow to the tourist Mecca.

At least four people were killed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and officials said they expected to find more bodies.

Authorities described the damage as catastrophic and said crews were struggling to reopen roads and restore power.

Three more deaths were reported on the British island of Anguilla, as well as Barbuda and the Dutch side of St. Martin.

Irma also slammed the French island of St. Barts, tearing off roofs and knocking out electricity in the high-end tourist destination.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said 100,000 food rations were sent to St. Barts and St. Martin, the equivalent of four days of supplies.

"It's a tragedy. We'll need to rebuild both islands," he said. "Most of the schools have been destroyed."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the storm "caused wide-scale destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses."

"There is no power, no gasoline, no running water. Houses are under water, cars are floating through the streets, inhabitants are sitting in the dark in ruined houses and are cut off from the outside world," he said.

The hurricane was still north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday evening, sweeping the neighboring nations on Hispaniola island with high winds and rain while battering the Turks and Caicos islands on its other side.

Big waves smashed a dozen homes into rubble in the Dominican fishing community of Nagua, but work crews said all the residents had left before the storm. Officials said 11,200 people in all had evacuated vulnerable areas, while 55,000 soldiers had been deployed to help the cleanup.

In Haiti, two people were injured by a falling tree, a national roadway was blocked by debris and roofs were torn from houses along the northern coast but there were no immediate reports of deaths. Officials warned that could change as Irma continued to lash Haiti, where deforested hillsides are prone to devastating mudslides that have wiped out entire neighborhoods of precariously built homes in flood zones.

"We are vulnerable. We don't have any equipment to help the population," Josue Alusma, mayor of the northern city of Port de Paix, said on Radio Zenith FM.

This Sept. 6, 2017 photo shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Martin.(Jonathan Falwell via AP)

About a million people were without power in Puerto Rico after Irma sideswiped the island overnight, and nearly half the territory's hospitals were relying on generators. No injuries were reported.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth Mapp said the U.S. military was sending troops to aid relief efforts.
The primary focus for now is "making sure people have meals, water and shelter," Mapp said. "An event of this magnitude is very chilling."

The territory's two islands were battered by 150 mph (241 kph) winds for four hours. Two fire stations, two fire police stations and the hospital on St. Thomas were destroyed. A curfew was ordered for St. John and St. Thomas that also covered about 5,000 tourists who were unable to leave before the storm.

Farther out in the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose strengthened into a Category 3 storm with 120 mph (195 kph) winds and posed a potential threat for Saturday to some of the same islands ravaged by Irma.

Irma, the most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded, appeared increasingly likely to rip into heavily populated South Florida on Sunday afternoon after threatening parts of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas on Thursday night and Friday and sweeping along Cuba's northern coast on Saturday.

People in Florida rushed to board up their homes, take their boats out of the water and gas up their cars. With gasoline running out and tensions rising, the Florida Highway Patrol escorted tanker trucks sent to replenish gas stations.

"It is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast. Regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate," Gov. Rick Scott said.

This Sept. 6, 2017 photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath. (Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said he would go to the islands as soon as the weather permits it. Saying he was "grief-stricken," Macron called for concerted efforts to tackle global warming to prevent similar natural disasters.

Two Dutch navy ships were in St. Martin with vital supplies. And two Dutch military aircraft were being sent to the island of Curacao and on to St. Martin to deliver food and water intended to last the population of 40,000 five days. The aircraft were carrying 100 extra troops to deliver aid, repair infrastructure and restore order.

Britain was sending hundreds of troops and the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean to Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands.

In Anguilla, officials reported extensive damage to the airport, hospitals, shelters and schools and said 90 percent of roads were impassable.

On Barbuda, nearly every building was damaged when the hurricane's core crossed almost directly over the island early Wednesday. About 60 percent of its roughly 1,400 residents were left homeless, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

He said roads and telecommunications systems were wrecked and recovery will take months, if not years.

"It is just really a horrendous situation," Browne said.
___
Associated Press writer Evens Sanon reported this story in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and AP writer Danica Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. AP writers Ezequiel Lopez Abiu in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Anika Kentish in St.

John's, Antigua; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Michael Weissenstein in Havana; Samuel Petrequin in Paris and Ben Fox in Miami contributed to this report.


New fires in empty Rohingya village challenge Myanmar claims

 

Smoke rises from a burned house in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. (AP Photo)

BANGKOK (AP) — Journalists saw new fires burning Thursday in a Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and pages ripped from Islamic texts that were left on the ground. That intensifies doubts about government claims that members of the persecuted minority have been destroying their own homes.

About two dozen journalists saw the fires in Gawdu Zara village in northern Rakhine state on a government-controlled trip.

About 164,000 Rohingya from the area have fled across the border into Bangladesh in less than two weeks since Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police outposts in Gawdu Zara and several other villages, the U.N. refugee agency said Thursday.

The military has said nearly 400 people, mostly Rohingya, have died in clashes and that troops were conducting "clearance operations." It blames insurgents for setting the villages on fire, without offering proof.

Rohingya who have fled Myanmar, however, have described large-scale violence perpetrated by Myanmar troops and Buddhist mobs — setting fire to their homes, spraying bullets indiscriminately, stabbing civilians and ordering them to abandon their homes or be killed.

On the Myanmar side of the border, reporters saw no Rohingya in any of the five destroyed villages they were allowed to tour Thursday, making it unlikely they could have been responsible for the new fires.

An ethnic Rakhine villager who emerged from the smoke said police and Rakhine Buddhists had set the fires. The villager ran off before he could be asked anything else.

No police were seen in the village beyond those who were accompanying the journalists. But about 10 Rakhine men with machetes were seen there. They looked nervous and the only one who spoke said he had just arrived and did not know how the fires started.

Among the buildings on fire was a madrassa, an Islamic school. Copies of books with texts from the Quran, Islam's holy book, were torn up and thrown outside. A nearby mosque was not burned.

Another village the journalists visited, Ah Lel Than Kyaw, was blackened, obliterated and deserted. Cattle and dogs wandered through the still-smoldering remains.

Local police officer Aung Kyaw Moe said 18 people were killed in the village when the violence began last month.

"From our side, there was one immigration officer dead, and we found 17 dead bodies from the enemy side," he said.

He said the fires were set Aug. 25, though some continued to burn Thursday. Virtually all buildings in the village seen by journalists had been burned, along with cars, motorbikes and bicycles that fleeing villagers left behind. A mosque was also damaged.

Columns of smoke could be seen rising in the distance, and distant gunshots could be heard.

"They burned their own houses and ran away," Aung Kyaw Moe said. "We didn't see who actually burned them because we had to take care of the security for our outpost. ... But when the houses were burned, Bengalis were the only ones in the village."

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refers to Rohingya as Bengalis, contending they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, though many Rohingya families have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Burning the homes of Rohingya can make it less likely they will return. Tens of thousands of Rohingya were driven from their homes in another wave of violence in 2012. Many are now confined to camps, while the land they once held is either vacant or occupied by Buddhist squatters.

A Rohingya boy, an ethnic minority from Myanmar, carries a sack of belongings on his head and walks through rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox's Bazar's Teknaf area.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya activist and blogger based in Europe with contacts in northern Rakhine, said that according to witnesses, the Myanmar military, border guard police and Rakhine villagers came to Ah Lel Than Kyaw and burned the houses from Monday to Wednesday.

On Aug. 25, he said, young men with swords and knives tried to attack the border guard outpost in Aley Than Kyaw but failed. The authorities took away all Buddhist villagers, and many Rohingya villagers fled on their own.
Nay San Lwin said the remaining villagers left after the military warned them they would be shot if they did not leave.

Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has dismissed the Rohingya crisis as a misinformation campaign.
According to her office, she said such misinformation helps promote the interests of "terrorists," a reference to the Rohingya insurgents who attacked security posts on Aug. 25.

The crisis response director for Amnesty International called Suu Kyi's response "unconscionable."

On Thursday, Suu Kyi told reporters her government was working to improve security and livelihoods for Rohingya, but that "it's a little unreasonable to expect us to resolve everything in 18 months" since her administration took office.

With Rohingya fleeing by the thousands daily across the border, pushing existing camps in Bangladesh to the brink, the government in Dhaka pledged to build at least one more.

The International Organization for Migration has pleaded for $18 million in foreign aid to help feed and shelter tens of thousands now packed into makeshift settlements or stranded in a no man's land between the two countries' borders.

U.N. agencies said they were distributing food to new arrivals, about 80 percent of whom were women and children, joining about 100,000 who had already been sheltering in Bangladesh after fleeing earlier convulsions of violence in Myanmar.

Aid workers said many were arriving with violence-related injuries, severe infections or childbirth complications.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Thursday that her country offered refuge to Rohingya on humanitarian grounds, but called it a "big burden for us".

The "international community must take the responsibility," she said.

Hasina's government has taken an initiative to identify the refugees to prevent terrorists from entering Bangladesh under disguise, the local Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported, quoting the prime minister's Press secretary Ihsanul Karim.

With so many Rohingya fleeing, it is unclear how many remain in Myanmar amid reports of soldiers burning villages and killing civilians.

Before the recent violence, aid experts estimated about 1 million Rohingya were living in northern Rakhine state. But aid agencies have been unable to access the area since.

Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited a Rohingya camp in Bangladesh and then met with Hasina.

They said Myanmar agreed to allow its aid officials to enter Rakhine state with a ton of food and goods for Rohingya. They also pledged continuing support for the Rohingya.
___
Associated Press writers Muneeza Naqvi in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Grant Peck in Bangkok, Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.


Dry Jordan launches project to grow crops from seawater

Jordan's King Abdaullah II and Norway's Crown Prince Haakon (to the right of and right behind Abdullah) listened to a briefing.(AP Photo/Omar Akour)

By Fares Akram, Associated Press

AQABA, Jordan (AP) — Water-poor Jordan on Thursday launched a project using seawater to produce crops with clean energy.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, which contributed most of the $3.7 million cost, inaugurated the facility in the kingdom's Red Sea port city of Aqaba.

Haakon told reporters he was "impressed by the way innovative ideas have been translated into a plant the size of four football fields."

The facility, part of the Sahara Forest Project (SFP), produces "energy, freshwater and food and all this in an arid desert," he said.

The facility, surrounded by rocky desert, uses seawater to cool greenhouses. A solar-powered plant then desalinates the water for irrigation.

Inside the greenhouses, pesticide-free cucumbers flourish.

The project is set to produce 130 tons of vegetables a year and 10,000 liters of freshwater a day.

"This is just the start," said Joakim Hauge, head of SFP. He said the organization selected Jordan because it has the required abundance of sunlight and seawater.

Last month, a report by Stanford University suggested that Jordan, one of the world's driest countries, could face more severe droughts unless new technologies are applied in farming and other sectors.

"Future adaptation to extreme droughts in Jordan will be an immense challenge," said the report by the university's School of Earth Science. "The projected negative impacts of more severe droughts of greater duration calls for essential alternatives."


Christ statue mutilated by war to receive papal blessing

In this file frame grab made from video taken on May 8, 2002, a broken statue of Christ lays on the floor of a church in Bojaya, Colombia.(AP Photo/APTN, File)

By Alba Tobella, Associated Press

VILLAVICENCIO, Colombia (AP) — A mutilated Christ statue rescued from a bombed-out church will take center stage Friday when it will be blessed by Pope Francis at a symbol-filled ceremony meant to heal wounds fresh from a conflict that is winding down but still bitterly dividing Colombians.

The modest plaster statue, without legs or arms, traveled several days by boat, plane and bus from its altar in the impoverished western town of Bojaya to reach Villavicencio, a city chosen by Francis to deliver a message of reconciliation because of its proximity to some of the heaviest fighting during the half-century armed conflict.

The Friday meeting and prayer of reconciliation are perhaps the highlights of Francis' five-day visit to Colombia, bringing together some 6,000 victims of the conflict as well as a former guerrillas and members of state security forces. The pope is to beatify two Colombian priests killed during guerrilla warfare, declaring them martyrs who were killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith.

Presiding over the event will be Bojaya's Christ statue — perhaps the most powerful reminder of the senseless political violence that left an estimated 220,000 people dead.

Some 300 Afro-Colombian residents were sheltering in the church — the town' only concrete building — when it was hit by a mortar launched by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia during a three-way firefight in 2002 with right-wing militias and the army. At least 79 people died and 100 were injured.

"This is the Christ of peace," said Rosa Mosquera, a 52-year-old Bojaya resident who still has wounds from the day.

"It's an image that says 'look at me,' despondent, without arms or legs, and shedding blood like its people," Mosquera told The Associated Press during a brief stop in Bogota while on her own personal pilgrimage to Villavicencio for the meeting with Francis. "But we've got to keep going, not remain on our knees crying."
Father Antun Ramos, then the priest at the church built by local farmers in the 1960s, pulled the Christ from the rubble a day after the bombing and with combat still raging all around.

"The floor was really humid. I grabbed the Christ and gave it a cleaning. It was the only thing I took and from that moment I felt it would become a symbol for posterity," said Ramos, who himself exemplifies the prominent role the Roman Catholic clergy has played in Colombia's conflict, especially in far-flung areas neglected by the state, such as Bojaya. "The way it was left is the way people felt."

Today, Bojaya's church has been rebuilt, and as in many towns hardest hit by the conflict, residents seem to have let go of any bitterness. In a referendum last year, 96 percent of the town's residents voted in favor of the peace deal — a far cry from national results, where Colombians, many of them far removed from the conflict, voted by a narrow margin to defeat the original deal. Later, the accord was modified and approved by congress.

President Juan Manuel Santos visited Bojaya shortly after winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year, attending a Mass where he said he would donate his almost $1 million prize to assist victims of the conflict. In a show of appreciation for his pursuit of peace, residents gave him a replica of the Christ statue. FARC leaders also visited the town twice, seeking forgiveness and discussing projects to help the community.

Many of the victims present at Friday's ceremony come from battle-weary towns near Villavicencio — a jungle-covered area still marred by unexploded land mines, unmarked mass graves and abandoned semi-destroyed hamlets.

Flor Sosa said her two children, ages 11 and 12, were taken from her by the FARC in 1998 as peace talks were taking place nearby her hometown of La Macarena. When she pleaded for their safe return, local commanders threatened to kill her and hit her in the stomach even though she was several months pregnant.

A year later she fled to Villavicencio, adding to the ranks of the estimated 7 million Colombians displaced by the conflict. She never saw her children again, but believes they died because the rebels sometimes took children and trained them for war, though it's not clear that happened to Sosa's.

Like many victims, she's grateful for the pope's support and thinks his presence can help Colombia heal. But she also has serious doubts about the FARC's commitment to abiding by the accord's requirements that they confess their crimes and compensate victims. She also fears for threats from other armed groups still lurking.

"Reconciliation is very difficult. I first want them to turn over the bodies of my children and tell me the truth," said Sosa, holding back tears. "You can pray for reconciliation, but if the other person doesn't admit what they did, take responsibility for their many mistakes, then it's hard to believe them and forgive."
--
Follow Tobella on Twitter: https://twitter.com/albatobella


Today in History - Friday, Sept. 8, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Sept. 8, the 251st day of 2017. There are 114 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 8, 1892, an early version of "The Pledge of Allegiance," written by Francis Bellamy, appeared in "The Youth's Companion." It went: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

On this date:

In 1504, Michelangelo's towering marble statue of David was unveiled to the public in Florence, Italy.

In 1761, Britain's King George III married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz a few hours after meeting her for the first time.

In 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.

In 1921, Margaret Gorman, 16, of Washington, D.C., was crowned the first "Miss America" in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 1935, Sen. Huey P. Long, D-La., was shot and mortally wounded inside the Louisiana State Capitol; he died two days later. (The assailant was identified as Dr. Carl Weiss, who was gunned down by Long's bodyguards.)

In 1941, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II.

In 1951, a peace treaty with Japan was signed by 49 nations in San Francisco.

In 1966, the science-fiction series "Star Trek" premiered on NBC; the situation comedy "That Girl," starring Marlo Thomas, debuted on ABC.

In 1974, President Gerald R. Ford granted a "full, free, and absolute pardon" to former President Richard Nixon covering his entire term in office.

In 1985, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds tied Ty Cobb's career record for hits, singling for hit number 4,191 during a game against the Cubs in Chicago.

In 1987, former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart admitted during an interview on ABC's "Nightline" that he had committed adultery, and said he had no plans to resume his White House bid.

In 1994, USAir Flight 427, a Boeing 737, crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board.

Ten years ago: Sheriff's deputies in Logan County, West Virginia, removed Megan Williams, a 20-year-old black woman, from a house in Big Creek, where she'd endured what authorities described as days of torture. (Seven white men and women pleaded guilty in connection with the case. In a strange twist, Williams recanted her accusations in 2009; however, one of the defendants, Frankie Brewster, said, "It did happen.") Top-ranked Justine Henin (EH'-nen) overwhelmed Svetlana Kuznetsova (svet-LAH'-nah kooz-NET'-so-vah) 6-1, 6-3 to win her second U.S. Open women's title and seventh Grand Slam championship.

Five years ago: Strong storms pummeled the East Coast, spawning a pair of tornadoes in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, while temperatures at Washington Dulles International Airport plunged 25 degrees in one hour, falling from 89 degrees to 64. A suicide bomber struck near NATO headquarters in Kabul, killing at least six Afghan civilians in an attack that officials blamed on the Haqqani network.

One year ago: California and federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a combined $185 million, alleging the bank's employees illegally opened millions of unauthorized accounts for their customers in order to meet aggressive sales goals. U.S. aviation safety officials took the extraordinary step of warning airline passengers not to turn on or charge a new-model Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, during flights following numerous reports of the devices catching fire. Serena Williams was upset in the U.S. Open semifinals for the second year in a row, beaten 6-2, 7-6 (5) by 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Greta Zimmer Friedman, identified as the woman in an iconic photo seen kissing an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II, died in Richmond, Virginia, at age 92.

Today's Birthdays: Ventriloquist Willie Tyler is 77. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is 76. Actor Alan Feinstein is 76. Pop singer Sal Valentino (The Beau Brummels) is 75. Author Ann Beattie is 70. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is 67. Cajun singer Zachary Richard (ree-SHARD') is 67. Musician Will Lee is 65. Actress Heather Thomas is 60. Singer Aimee Mann is 57. Pop musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals) is 57. Actor Thomas Kretschmann is 55. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gordon (Levert) is 53. Gospel singer Darlene Zschech (chehk) is 52. Alternative country singer Neko (NEE'-koh) Case is 47. TV personality Brooke Burke-Charvet is 46. Actor Martin Freeman is 46. Actor David Arquette is 46. TV-radio personality Kennedy is 45. Rock musician Richard Hughes (Keane) is 42. Actor Larenz Tate is 42. Actor Nathan Corddry is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Pink is 38. Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson is 37. Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 36. Rapper Wiz Khalifa is 30.

Dance music artist AVICII is 28. Actor Gaten Matarazzo (TV: "Stranger Things") is 15.

Thought for Today: "Censorship is the height of vanity." — Martha Graham, American modern dance pioneer (1893-1991).


Update September 7, 2017

How can US stop North Korea nukes? 3 experts have ideas

This undated file photo distributed on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, by the North Korean government, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, at an undisclosed location. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — If the U.S. attacks North Korea, the world could see another nuclear war. Yet negotiations won't work — leader Kim Jong Un won't live up to his promises even if he were to make any. And China — if only it would help more!

Those sentiments have produced a collective shrug from many as they watch the North make rapid strides toward developing nuclear missiles capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

But Washington hasn't tried everything yet.

Below, three experts offer ideas on how the U.S. might get out of its policy box on North Korea.

And none of them require firing a shot.
___
DETERRENCE: A FAMILIAR GAME FOR U.S.

Deterrence is about making sure your opponent has no good military moves. Kim Jong Un has proven to be pretty good at it.

Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategy and nonproliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes U.S. policymakers need to let that sink in.

"Saying that this nuclear program has not augmented or improved North Korea's ability to deter particular actions, especially regime change or invasion or disarmament, is simply denying reality and putting our head in the sand," he said.

The good news is deterrence is a game the United States has played before.

"We know how to do this," he said. "We did it with China and the Soviet Union and managed to reassure West Germany and Europe during the Cold War. There is no logical reason we cannot do it with North Korea. Kim is not crazy or irrational and responds to strategic and domestic incentives."

Upping the game will require two things Narang believes are now lacking: a coherent and unified message to Pyongyang from President Donald Trump's administration, and strong, believable reassurances to America's regional allies.

Along with preventing a U.S. attack, North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile tests are intended to create discord among the U.S., Japan and South Korea — and, though it's not an American ally — China. If America's ability to handle North Korea is in doubt, there is more pressure for South Korea and Japan to pursue independent strategies and even consider developing nuclear weapons of their own.

Moreover, the different messages coming from the White House, State Department and Department of Defense — ranging from Trump threatening "fire and fury" to the more conciliatory tone of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Pyongyang has more incentive to push ahead quickly to either take advantage of what it sees as weakness or bolster its capabilities ahead of what it fears to be a looming invasion.

"So long as this incoherence persists, it becomes very difficult to craft deterrent positions clearly and effectively," Narang said. "At this point, the way forward it seems to me is to always keep the channel for negotiations open while simultaneously practicing deterrence and reassurance to our allies."

And maybe one more thing. Tone down the tweets.

"When President Trump tweets the day after the alleged H-bomb test that South Korea should stop 'appeasement' of North Korea, Pyongyang can be nothing short of delighted at its strategy working," Narang said.
___
NOT CHINA'S JOB

Previous efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons have leaned heavily on Beijing, and to a lesser extent Moscow, to enforce sanctions and apply political pressure. It's an approach Trump seems to support wholeheartedly. Right after the North's nuclear test Sunday, he tweeted that Pyongyang has become "a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success."

But China's and Russia's national interests aren't the same as Washington's. Shifting the onus to them for a solution diminishes U.S. leadership and control, said Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department official who developed strategies to deal with the crisis over North Korea's weapons program in the 1990s.

"Under the best of circumstances, China can play a supporting role, both in supporting limited pressure on the North and in supporting diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang," he said. "But it has not and will not do what Washington wants — solve this problem for the United States by creating overwhelming pressure."

Even if Beijing went along, Wit said it still wouldn't work: "The North Koreans are not going to roll over and play dead when faced with an existential threat to their regime. They will lash out."

Wit also said the Trump administration will have "virtually no prospect of securing Chinese cooperation" if it insists that reining in North Korea is mainly a Chinese problem. He believes North Korea is already taking advantage of the growing split between Washington and Beijing to "sprint to the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) finish line."

He said that instead of pointing fingers, Washington needs to accept that the core problem is between the U.S. and North Korea and firmly take the wheel.

"The idea that this is the land of no good options leads everyone to move on," he said. "Almost every foreign policy challenge facing the U.S. could be called the same thing. But this fatalistic attitude has permeated U.S. policy for over a decade and has led us to where we are today."
___
THE ART OF THE DEAL

If the U.S. is going to get what it wants, it has to know what it wants. And it will probably need to give up something to get it.

John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, believes the most realistic path forward involves three steps: "dialogue, negotiation, settlement."

"Without talking to Kim Jong Un or his senior advisers, we just don't know who we are dealing with, what their positions are, what we can give them that they really want, and what we can get in return. That moves us into the negotiation, for short-term steps that reduce risks, decrease hostility, even build a little confidence."

Washington's focus should be clear and specific. Negotiators should push for a missile and nuclear test moratorium, a freeze on the production of nuclear weapons, the return of nuclear inspectors and increased transparency. There must also be nonproliferation commitments.

Delury stresses there must also be some give and take.

"For these things, things that are in U.S. interests, the Trump administration, in close consultation with Seoul and Tokyo, will have to consider what it is willing to do, or forego," he said.

Pyongyang says it wants some sort of security guarantee and the removal of the U.S. nuclear threat from the Korean Peninsula. Neither would seem to be a good starter topic, but another item on Pyongyang's list — scaling back or canceling the U.S. military's annual wargames with the South — might be an area the two could at least talk about.

In the longer term, Delury says, the U.S. must directly address "the true heart of the matter, which is working on a political settlement" that fundamentally transforms the U.S.-North Korea relationship.

"Let's call those 'peace talks,' for lack of a better phrase," he said.

Technically, the countries have remained at war since 1953, when an armistice rather than a peace treaty ended fighting in the Korean War.

Delury said negotiations "should also involve a heavy dose of economic cooperation, since the only alternative to the status quo that might appeal to Kim Jong Un is a North Korea that is not only secure, but also prosperous."

The hope is that more political and economic engagement would over time prompt the North to ease its authoritarian controls. But the negotiation process would undoubtedly be fraught with ambivalence and resistance on both sides.

"It's true there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, no silver bullets," he said. "Even if we made a determined effort to improve the relationship, it would be hard and slow going.

"So being realistic about dealing with North Korea is prudent. But the current level of fatalism is counterproductive to coming up with a better approach."
___
Talmadge has been the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief since 2013. Follow him on Twitter at EricTalmadge and on Instagram @erictalmadge.


Explosive used by IS militants found in apartment near Paris

French police officers stand outside a building in Villejuif, south of Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

By Philippe Sotto and Lori Hinnant, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A peroxide-based explosive that has been employed by Islamic extremists was found Wednesday in an apartment outside Paris that authorities suspect might have been in use as a lab for possible attacks, two French officials said.

A police official told The Associated Press that some 100 grams of usable triacetone triperoxide, better known as TATP, were found in the Villejuif apartment where a police operation was carried out earlier in the day, leading to the detention of two suspects.

A judicial official confirmed that TATP, an explosive used by Islamic State group militants in the past, was found in the unit, but didn't specify in what quantity.

The two officials with knowledge of the probe spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
A tip from a repairman led police to the apartment on Wednesday morning, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement. He was doing a job in the Villejuif building and informed authorities after noticing suspicious products in an apartment.

Police found substances that "may be used to make explosives" in the unit, Collomb said, praising the "civic reflex" of the worker.

The Paris prosecutor's office said its counter-terrorism section has opened an investigation under potential charges of "criminal terrorist association" and "possession, transportation and production of explosive substances in relation with a terrorist action by an organized gang."

A bomb-disposal operation was carried out in the apartment, three police officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Associated Press reporters in Villejuif saw forensic officers moving around in white uniforms and police vans blocking a large street in the city, which is located just 3 kilometers (less than two miles) south of Paris.
___
Nicolas Garriga in Villejuif contributed to the report


Seeking home's comforts, Rohingya couple make deadly choice

Kefayet Ullah wipes his eyes as he speaks in Bandarban, Bangladesh.(AP Photo)

By Muneeza Naqvi, Associated Press

BANDARBAN, Bangladesh (AP) — The young Rohingya couple fleeing violence in Myanmar had escaped with their family to nearby Bangladesh, where they spent days living in a hastily built shelter on a muddy hill. For the sake of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, they decided to return home briefly, for a quick bath and clean clothes.

The man's brother soon followed them — to retrieve their bodies.

"Kefayet Ullah's brother has been slaughtered near the fence!" a man shouts in a cellphone video as a cousin carries Jarullah's body, blood from the corpse pouring down his back. "They cut his hands and legs and belly also."

Kefayet Ullah carried his dead sister-in-law. Wailing and moans — "Oh, Allah!" — can be heard in the video as the group encounters villagers along the wooded path.

Ullah said he couldn't bear the thought of leaving his loved ones behind, and so risked his life to bring back their bodies so they could be buried in peace. There was also one life left to save: the couple's 2-year-old son, who was found near his parents' bodies.

Like untold numbers of people, Ullah and his family have been caught up in the latest violence to ravage Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine state, in the northwest corner of majority-Buddhist Myanmar. Many have seen their homes burned to the ground. More than 120,000 have fled for safety in neighboring Bangladesh in less than two weeks since the violence began.

The Myanmar government said it conducted security "clearance operations" to root out Rohingya insurgents who attacked at least two dozen police posts with machetes and rifles.

Rohingya see the violence that followed the insurgent attacks as something more: a campaign to rid the country of a minority seen by Myanmar's authorities as unwanted outsiders. They were denied citizenship and rights by the country's former military rulers. And life has only gotten worse for many since an elected government headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi took over.

On Aug. 28, three days after the violence began, Ullah and his family fled, leaving behind their ancestral home, a shop and 10 acres of farmland.

"The government ordered the military to come to our villages and to shoot the people who were older than 8," Ullah said in a small forest clearing near the refugee-packed seaside city of Bandarban where he buried his brother and sister-in-law.

Two simple mounds of earth marked the spot. He brushed fallen leaves from the unmarked graves.
In some areas, he said, "they started attacking people and raping the girls and women. They were burning down the houses."

He paused to fill in holes left in the earth by the hooves of cattle that had wandered through the makeshift cemetery. Across the road, his parents, pregnant wife and three sons huddled under a sheet of plastic propped haphazardly up on bamboo poles.

For the moment, they are safe — one of many families occupying a muddy patch sticking out of the Naf River in what is essentially a no-man's-land between the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh. But Ullah said he wasn't sure how long they could manage in their squalid shelter. There is no clean water, and no access to toilets.

Refugee camps in Bangladesh have filled beyond capacity, and tens of thousands are squatting in the open. Meanwhile, Rohingya continue to pour in through several open areas along the barbed-wire border fence, or aboard smugglers' rickety wooden boats.

Even now, the family yearns to go back to their village near the border, the only home Ullah has known.
"Even my grandfather's father was born there," he said. But said he has realized they may never return. Ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks call his people "Bengali" — meant as a derogatory term implying they were illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

"The monks say that we came from Bangladesh and India. They say you are not the people of this land. 'You go from this place,'" he said.

"They think, 'If we burn down Rohingya houses and kill the Rohingya people and slit their throats, then the number of Rohingya people will decrease,'" he said, his voice breaking. "That's why they say there's no need to give us citizenship."

Ullah's home in Maungdaw township is fairly close to the barbed-wire fence that marks much of the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. In other places, the Naf River separates the countries.

The home was close enough that Jarullah, 25, and his 21-year-old wife, Ayesha Bibi, decided to return Saturday morning.

Kefayet Ullah said Jarullah called within minutes of their return and told him soldiers and monks had surrounded their home.

Then, the phone went silent.

Ullah said a terrified cousin managed to escape behind some bushes and watched. He told Ullah the mob first looted the house of its valuables, then killed the couple after demanding money and gold from them.

Ullah said he felt he had no choice but to bring the bodies back. He and his cousin snuck across the border once again to do it.

They buried them later Saturday, the main day of Eid al-Adha.
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Follow Muneeza Naqvi on Twitter at twitter.com/mnaqvi10


Dali group: Artist's exhumed DNA disproves paternity claim

 

In this May 21, 1973 file photo, Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France.(AP Photo/Eustache Cardenas, File)

By Aritz Parra, Associated Press

MADRID (AP) — A paternity test has disproved a Spanish woman's claim that she is the daughter of surrealist artist Salvador Dali, the deceased painter's foundation announced Wednesday.

The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation said in a written statement that the Madrid court that ordered the DNA test informed it that Pilar Abel, a 61-year-old tarot card reader, has no biological relationship with Dali.

Abel has long alleged her mother had an affair with Dali and claimed she had the right to part of his vast estate.

The foundation said it was happy the "absurd" claim had been resolved.

Calls to Abel's lawyer rang unanswered.

A judicial spokesman told The Associated Press the court has not made the test results public but has informed the parties in the lawsuit. He spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with court rules.

The high-profile paternity claim led to the exhumation of Dali's embalmed remains so genetic samples could be taken. Forensic experts removed hair, nails and two long bones in July.

The foundation, which manages Dali's estate on behalf of the Spanish state, said at the time of the exhumation that Dali's remains — including his famous mustache — were well-preserved and mummified after an embalming process almost three decades ago.

The foundation said the painter's remains will be returned to his coffin, which is buried in the Dali Museum Theater in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, Dali's birthplace. Dali died at age 84 in 1989.

Abel claimed her mother had an affair with Dali while working as a domestic helper in Figueres. She said her grandmother revealed the family secret when Abel was still young and that her mother confirmed the story years later.


Today in History - Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Sept. 7, the 250th day of 2017. There are 115 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 7, 1927, American television pioneer Philo T. Farnsworth, 21, succeeded in transmitting the image of a line through purely electronic means with a device called an "image dissector" at his San Francisco laboratory.

On this date:

In 1892, James J. Corbett knocked out John L. Sullivan to win the world heavyweight crown in New Orleans in a fight conducted under the Marquess of Queensberry rules.

In 1916, the Federal Employees Compensation Act, providing financial assistance to federal workers who suffer job-related injuries, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1936, rock-and-roll legend Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas.

In 1940, Nazi Germany began its eight-month blitz of Britain during World War II with the first air attack on London.

In 1957, the original animated version of the NBC-TV peacock logo, used to denote programs "brought to you in living color," made its debut at the beginning of "Your Hit Parade."

In 1963, the National Professional Football Hall of Fame was dedicated in Canton, Ohio.

In 1964, the controversial "Daisy" commercial for President Lyndon Johnson's election campaign, featuring a girl plucking flower petals followed by a nuclear explosion, aired on NBC-TV.

In 1967, the situation comedy "The Flying Nun," starring Sally Field as a novice nun who finds that she can fly, debuted on ABC.

In 1977, the Panama Canal treaties, calling for the U.S. to eventually turn over control of the waterway to Panama, were signed in Washington by President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos (toh-REE'-hohs). Convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy was released from prison after more than four years.

In 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its cable TV debut.

In 1987, the syndicated TV talk show "Geraldo," hosted by Geraldo Rivera, began an 11-season run.

In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and mortally wounded on the Las Vegas Strip; he died six days later.

Ten years ago: Osama bin Laden appeared in a video for the first time in three years, telling Americans they should convert to Islam if they wanted the war in Iraq to end. A federal judge ruled that Iran had to pay $2.65 billion to the families of the 241 U.S. service members killed in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. A jury in St. Francisville, Louisiana, acquitted Sal and Mabel Mangano, the owners of a nursing home where 35 patients died after Hurricane Katrina, of negligent homicide and cruelty charges. Shawn Johnson won the women's all-around title at the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, Germany; among the men, China's Yang Wei won his second straight title.

Five years ago: The Labor Department reported that employers added just 96,000 jobs in August 2012, down from 141,000 in July; the dismal finding prompted Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to say, "We're going in the wrong direction," while President Barack Obama, fresh off his nomination for a second term in office, said: "We know it's not good enough." Twin earthquakes and a spate of aftershocks struck southwestern China, toppling thousands of houses and killing more than 80 people. Dorothy McGuire Williamson, 84, who teamed with sisters Christine and Phyllis as the popular McGuire Sisters, died in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

One year ago: In back-to-back appearances, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton confronted their perceived weaknesses during a national security forum in New York, with Clinton, who went first, arguing that her email practices did not expose questionable judgment while Trump, who went second, defended his preparedness to be commander in chief. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Laos, pledged to help to clear away the 80 million unexploded bombs the U.S. dropped on the Southeast Asian country a generation ago.

Today's Birthdays: Jazz musician Sonny Rollins is 87. Actor Bruce Gray is 81. Singer Gloria Gaynor is 74. Singer Alfa Anderson (Chic) is 71. Actress Susan Blakely is 69. Rock musician Dennis Thompson (MC5) is 69. Actress Julie Kavner is 67. Rock singer Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) is 66. Rock musician Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 64. Actor Corbin Bernsen is 63. Actor Michael Emerson is 63. Pianist Michael Feinstein is 61. Singer Margot Chapman is 60. Actress J. Smith-Cameron is 60. Actor W. Earl Brown is 54. Actor Toby Jones is 51. Actress-comedian Leslie Jones (TV: "Saturday Night Live") is 50. Model-actress Angie Everhart is 48. Actress Diane Farr is 48. Country singer Butter (Trailer Choir) is 47. Actress Monique Gabriela Curnen is 47. Actor Tom Everett Scott is 47. Rock musician Chad Sexton (311) is 47. Actress Shannon Elizabeth is 44. Actor Oliver Hudson is 41. Actor Devon Sawa (SAH'-wuh) is 39. Actor JD Pardo is 38. Actor Benjamin Hollingsworth (TV: "Code Black") is 33.

Actress Alyssa Diaz (TV: "Ray Donovan"; "Zoo") is 32. Singer-musician Wes Willis (Rush of Fools) is 31. Actress Evan Rachel Wood is 30. Actor Ian Chen (TV: "Fresh Off the Boat") is 11.

Thought for Today: "Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other." — Ann Landers, American advice columnist (1918-2002).
 


Update September 6, 2017

Putin: North Korea will 'eat grass' before giving up nukes

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaks during his news conference in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday condemned North Korea's latest nuclear test, but also warned against using military force against the country, calling it a "road to nowhere" that could lead to a "global catastrophe."

Russia condemns North Korea's nuclear test as "provocative," Putin told a televised news conference in China. But he stopped short of expressing willingness to impose more sanctions on North Korea, saying Moscow viewed them as "useless and ineffective."

Putin said North Korea's neighbors should engage with it, not whip up "military hysteria."

"It's a road to nowhere. Whipping up military hysteria — this will lead to no good," he said. "It could cause a global catastrophe and an enormous loss of life."

North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date on Sunday, triggering warnings from the United States of a "massive military response." Rattled by the test, South Korea on Tuesday conducted live-fire exercises at sea in its second straight day of military displays.

The Russian president, who was in China for a summit of leading emerging economies, told reporters that he had remarked to one of his counterparts at the talks that North Korea "will eat grass but will not give up the (nuclear) program, if they don't feel safe."

Putin said it was important that all parties affected by the crisis, including North Korea, not face "threats of annihilation" and "step on the path of cooperation."

Russia's United Nations ambassador echoed Putin's remarks later in the day. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Russia said sanctions against North Korea aren't working and Moscow wants a new U.N. resolution on North Korea to focus more on a political solution.

Nebenzia said the only initiative on paper is a Chinese-Russian suspension-for-suspension proposal that would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea halting their joint military exercises.

He told reporters at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday that Russia would welcome other initiatives, saying that the Swiss have offered mediation services and "if that works, I'll be happy."

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Monday that the United States wants a new U.N. resolution with tougher sanctions adopted by Sept. 11.

Nebenzia said he hasn't seen the draft resolution and told reporters Haley's deadline is "a little premature" especially since the Security Council was on a visit to Ethiopia and isn't scheduled to meet again until Sept. 11.
He stressed that a military option should be "ruled out of any discussions." Nebenzia also said the U.N. Security Council may need "a separate political resolution that stresses diplomacy rather than sanctions."

Asked about a possible oil embargo or ban on North Koreans working abroad, he said: "We wouldn't like to see the ordinary people, the citizens of North Korea, suffering for what the leadership is doing."

"And unfortunately, economic measures that might be adopted — they will definitely fall on the Korean people themselves, not on the Korean nuclear or ballistic (missile) problem," Nebenzia said.


France: Court finds topless photos violated royal's privacy

 

In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they arrive at the memorial garden in Kensington Palace, London.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

By Philippe Sotto, Associated Press

NANTERRE, France (AP) — A French court ruled Tuesday that photographers and gossip magazine executives violated the privacy of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge by taking and publishing photographs of the former Kate Middleton sunbathing topless.

The court in a Paris suburb fined two executives of French gossip magazine Closer — owner Ernesto Mauri and executive editor Laurence Pieau — each the maximum of 45,000 euros ($53,500) for such an offense.

The Closer executives, along with two photographers for a celebrity photo agency, were collectively ordered to pay 50,000 euros ($59,500) in damages to Kate and the same amount to her husband, Prince William.

The damage award was substantially below the figure that the magazine's lawyer said the royals had requested, but the timing of the court's finding of privacy invasion had particular resonance in Britain.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the death of William's mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car accident that occurred while she was being pursued by paparazzi.

The royal couple did not attend the hearing where the verdict was announced. Their office at Kensington Palace said they were pleased the court ruled in their favor and now consider the matter closed.

Kate and William "wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen," the palace said in a statement.

The pictures of the duchess were taken in September 2012 with telephoto lenses while she and her husband — an heir to the British throne — were on a patio at a private estate in France's southern Provence region.

Their publication in Closer and a French regional newspaper outraged the royal family. The Closer spread included a caption reading, "On holidays I forget everything, the London grayness, and even the swimsuit left in her Highness' suitcase."

Using lists of hotel customers and cellphone data, investigators found photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides were in the vicinity of the castle where Kate and William vacationed in September 2012. Surges in the paparazzi's incomes were also recorded after the photos appeared in Closer.

Moreau and Jacovides, who work for Paris-based celebrity photo agency Bestimage, denied taking the most contentious pictures published in Closer. They each were fined 10,000 euros ($11,920), but the court suspended 5,000 euros ($5,958) of their penalties.

Jean Veil, the lawyer for the British royals, did not disclose how much in damages he had sought on behalf of his clients. Closer magazine lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins told reporters that the couple had requested damages worth 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million dollars.)

Iweins called the fines the court imposed "a bit exaggerated," but said he was pleased the damages awarded were in line with similar French cases of privacy invasion.

Christopher Mesnooh, a corporate lawyer in France who often comments on the country's legal system, said he was not surprised the court sided with William and Kate on the privacy question.

"France has very strict privacy laws. And the photographs that have been published back in 2012 in Closer magazine were clearly taken while the royal couple was on a personal holiday, so there was no way of saying that this was in a public domain," Mesnooh said. "So it was clear that the magazine was going to be found guilty of invasion of privacy."

Neither was Mesnooh surprised that the court awarded damages in the low six-figure range instead of "an American-style award."

"The French court clearly decided not to award them with a million and a half, which really would have been completely disproportionate in the context of the French legal system," he said.

Pauline Maclaran, co-author of "Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture," thinks the ruling must have disappointed the prince and duchess since the court failed to make a distinction between the rights of royalty and the privacy to which garden-variety celebrities are legally entitled.

"They would have been hoping for a much bigger sum to reflect the importance of royalty," Maclaran said. "They just got allocated what any old celebrity would have gotten."

Perhaps more significant, she said, is that the amount is so small that it is "a drop in the ocean. It's not going to deter (the paparazzi) from trying again."

French regional newspaper La Provence also published a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge wearing a full swimsuit on the same estate patio.

The prosecutor at the trial in May said that the Provence's picture, unlike the ones in Closer, was neither "indecent" nor "vulgar," but that it still shouldn't have been published.

The court gave La Provence's former publisher, Marc Auburtin, and photographer Valerie Suau suspended fines and ordered them to pay collectively 3,000 euros ($3,576) in damages to Kate and William.

Associated Press Writer Danica Kirka contributed from London.


UK Brexit chief faces jeering lawmakers during talks update

A pro-remain supporter of Britain staying in the EU, wears an EU flag mask whilst taking part in a protest to coincide with politicians returning to work after the summer recess, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

By Danica Kirka, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Britain's chief Brexit negotiator faced a jeering House of Commons on Tuesday, as lawmakers returning from summer recess challenged government plans to "intensify" talks with the European Union.

David Davis ticked off what he described as accomplishments thus far in the negotiations and described Britain's position as "flexible and pragmatic." As the heckles rose, a languid Davis leaned against the dispatch box and said his message to the European Commission had always been to "put people above process."

"Ultimately, businesses and citizens on both sides want us to move swiftly on to discussing the future partnership and we want that to happen after the European Council in October, if possible," he said.

Britain wants to persuade the 27 other EU nations to start negotiating a future relationship that would include a free trade deal between Britain and the EU by the fall.

The EU says those negotiations can't start until sufficient progress has been made on three initial issues: how much money the U.K. will have to pay to leave the bloc; whether security checks and customs duties will be instituted on the Irish border; and the status of EU nationals living in Britain.

Brussels has expressed frustration on the course of the talks.

As Davis argued progress had been made on citizens' rights, financial settlements, Ireland and Northern Ireland, the chamber erupted into laughter and still more jeers. Unfazed, Davis pressed on.

"Nobody has ever pretended this would be simple or easy," he said.

The opposition Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, argued that "too many promises" had been made about Brexit which "can't be kept."

"It is a fantasy to think that you can have a deep and comprehensive trade deal without shared institution and the sooner we face up to that the better," Starmer said.

Prime Minister Theresa May is bracing for the first test of the government's new term of office. Lawmakers this week will begin debating the Brexit Repeal Bill, which will effectively transfer EU law to U.K. statute books on the day Britain leaves the bloc.

Opposition Labour Party members have said they will vote against the bill, arguing it would allow ministers to "grab power from Parliament."

Some members of May's Conservative Party are suggesting they may vote against the bill in the later stages of the legislative process.


Jennifer Lawrence hits Venice with horror story 'mother!'

Actress Jennifer Lawrence poses for photographers at the premiere of the film 'mother!' at the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press

VENICE, Italy (AP)
— Director Darren Aronofsky says his film "mother!" — a delirious nightmare starring Jennifer Lawrence — is a "roller-coaster ride."

Fittingly, it thrilled some viewers at the Venice Film Festival, and left others a bit queasy.

A horror story that travels from menace to mind-bending mayhem, the movie was greeted with a mix of applause and boos from journalists Tuesday at the Italian festival, where it's one of 21 movies competing for the Golden Lion prize.

Lawrence and Javier Bardem play a couple — identified only as Mother and Him — living in that horror-flick staple, an isolated old house. He's a poet with writer's block, while she devotes herself to restoring the house after a devastating fire.

Mysterious houseguests, played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, trigger unsettling events that get progressively weirder. Imagine a cross between "Rosemary's Baby" and the teeming hell-scapes of medieval artist Hieronymus Bosch.
Aronofsky, who won the Golden Lion in 2008 for "The Wrestler," acknowledged the movie was "a very, very strong cocktail."

"Of course there are going to be people who are not going to want that type of an experience. And that's fine," he told reporters.

"I've been making it clear that this is a roller-coaster ride: only come on it if you are really prepared to do the loop-the-loop a few times."

Some critics were impressed by what a review in the Hollywood Reporter called the "madhouse bacchanal" of the film's final stretch. Others wondered what it all meant. Variety found it impressive but empty, a "baroque nightmare that's about nothing but itself."

Aronofsky said the point of the film "is that it's a mystery."

"It's constantly surprising the audience," he said. "You don't know where it's going to go. And we didn't want to make the audience ever feel safe, because Jennifer's character in the movie never feels safe."

It's easy to see an environmental allegory in the film, about a house that is invaded, besieged, flooded and set on fire.

Aronofsky said the movie is his "howl to the moon," provoked by anguish at the state of society and particularly the environment.

He said that while most of his films take years, he wrote the first draft of the script in just five days.
"It just sort of poured out of me," he said.

"It came out of living on this planet and sort of seeing what's happening around us and not being able to do anything," the director added. "I just had a lot of rage and anger and I just wanted to sort of channel it."

Viewers expecting naturalism should probably stay home. Aronofsky said the film is an allegory. Before becoming "mother!" the movie's working title was "Day Six" — the day in the book of Genesis on which God created humanity and gave it dominion over the Earth.

That makes the characters as much archetypes as people — a challenge for the cast. Lawrence, who has portrayed a string of strong women, here plays a meek helpmeet who seems destined to suffer.

"It was a completely different character from anything I've ever done before, but it was also a different side of myself that I wasn't in touch with and I didn't really know, yet," said Lawrence, who is in a real-life relationship with Aronofsky. "There is a part of me that Darren really helped me get in touch with.

"It was difficult. It was the most I've ever had to pull out of myself," she said.

Like Aronofsky's ballet movie "Black Swan," the film depicts creative artists as in some ways monstrous, using and consuming those around them. And it touches on the way success and fame can be devouring, in bloody and disturbingly literal images.

Lawrence — who drew crowds of fans in Venice, as she does everywhere — said she tries in her life to "find the balance in myself" between being accessible and protecting her private space.

She said the film spoke "to the insatiable need that we all have now, especially with the internet. We just want more and more and more."

Though the movie is dark and disturbing, Aronofsky says he is an optimist about the fate of the planet.

"America is schizophrenic," he said. "We go from backing the Paris climate (accord) to eight months later pulling out.

"It's tragic, but in many ways we have revealed who the enemy is and now we can attack it."
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Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless


Today in History - Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 6, the 249th day of 2017. There are 116 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded by anarchist Leon Czolgosz (CHAWL'-gawsh) at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. (McKinley died eight days later; Czolgosz was executed on October 29.)

On this date:

In 1861, Union forces led by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant occupied Paducah, Kentucky, during the Civil War.

In 1916, the first self-serve grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders.

In 1925, the silent film horror classic "The Phantom of the Opera," starring Lon Chaney, had its world premiere at the Astor Theater in New York.

In 1939, the Union of South Africa declared war on Germany.

In 1943, 79 people were killed when a New York-bound Pennsylvania Railroad train derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.

In 1954, groundbreaking took place for the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in western Pennsylvania.

In 1966, birth control advocate Margaret Sanger died in Tucson, Arizona, at age 86, eight days before her birthday. South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd (fehr-FOORT') was stabbed to death by an apparently deranged page during a parliamentary session in Cape Town.

In 1970, Palestinian guerrillas seized control of three U.S.-bound jetliners. (Two were later blown up on the ground in Jordan, along with a London-bound plane hijacked on Sept. 9; the fourth plane was destroyed on the ground in Egypt. No hostages were harmed.)

In 1975, 18-year-old tennis star Martina Navratilova of Czechoslovakia, in New York for the U.S. Open, requested political asylum in the United States.

In 1985, all 31 people aboard a Midwest Express Airlines DC-9 were killed when the Atlanta-bound jetliner crashed just after takeoff from Milwaukee's Mitchell Field.

In 1997, a public funeral was held for Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey in London, six days after her death in a car crash in Paris.

In 2002, meeting outside Washington, D.C. for only the second time since 1800, Congress convened in New York to pay homage to the victims and heroes of September 11.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao (hoo jin-tow), in Sydney, Australia, for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, called for greater international cooperation in tackling climate change without stifling economic growth. Death claimed opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, Italy, at age 71 and author Madeleine L'Engle ("A Wrinkle in Time") in Litchfield, Connecticut, at age 88.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama conceded only halting progress toward solving the nation's economic woes, but vowed in a Democratic National Convention finale, "Our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met." Drew Peterson, the former Illinois police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger wife, Stacy, vanished in 2007, was convicted of murdering a previous wife, Kathleen Savio. (Peterson was later sentenced to 38 years in prison.) Rihanna won video of the year at the MTV Awards for "We Found Love." One Direction won best pop video, best new artist and most share-worthy video for "What Makes You Beautiful."

One year ago: On the campaign trail, Democrat Hillary Clinton accused Republican Donald Trump of insulting America's veterans and pressing dangerous military plans, while Trump declared "our country is going to hell" because of policies he said Clinton would make even worse. Hospital officials in northern France announced the death the previous April of Isabelle Dinoire, a Frenchwoman who received the world's first partial face transplant; she was 49.

Today's Birthdays: Comedian JoAnne Worley is 82. Country singer David Allan Coe is 78. Rock singer-musician Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) is 74. Actress Swoosie Kurtz is 73. Comedian-actress Jane Curtin is 70. Rock musician Mick Mashbir is 69. Country singer-songwriter Buddy Miller is 65. Actor James Martin Kelly is 63. Country musician Joe Smyth (Sawyer Brown) is 60. Actor-comedian Jeff Foxworthy is 59. Actor-comedian Michael Winslow is 59. Rock musician Perry Bamonte is 57. Actor Steven Eckholdt is 56. Rock musician Scott Travis (Judas Priest) is 56. Pop musician Pal Waaktaar (a-ha) is 56. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is 55. Rock musician Kevin Miller is 55. ABC News correspondent Elizabeth Vargas is 55. Country singer Mark Chesnutt is 54. Actress Betsy Russell is 54. Actress Rosie Perez is 53. Rhythm and blues singer Macy Gray is 50. Singer CeCe Peniston is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Anthony (Az Yet) is 48. Actress Daniele Gaither is 47. Rock singer Dolores O'Riordan (The Cranberries) is 46. Actor Dylan Bruno is 45. Actor Idris Elba is 45. Actress Justina Machado is 45. Actress Anika Noni (ah-NEE'-kuh NOH'-nee) Rose is 45. Rock singer Nina Persson (The Cardigans) is 43. Actor Justin Whalin is 43. Actress Naomie Harris is 41. Rapper Noreaga is 40. Actress Natalia Cigliuti is 39. Rapper Foxy Brown is 39. Actor Howard Charles is 34. Actress Lauren Lapkus is 32. Rock singer Max George (The Wanted) is 29.

Thought for Today: "We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality." — Iris Murdoch, Anglo-Irish author and philosopher (1919-1999).


Update September 5, 2017

Wounded and 'afraid,' Rohingya seek Bangladesh hospital aid

Rohingyas living in no man's land cross a stream carrying supplies donated by local Bangladeshis, near Cox's Bazar's Tumbru area, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

By Muneeza Naqvi, Associated Press

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — With thousands of Rohingya refugees streaming daily across the swampy border into Bangladesh, one hospital was struggling to treat dozens of men who had arrived with broken bones, bullet wounds and horrific stories of death.

Already, some 87,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh, fleeing violence in western Myanmar that erupted Aug. 25. They have filled three older refugee camps set up in the 1990s.

"The existing refugees have taken in the new arrivals into their homes," UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan said Monday. Thousands more were sheltering in local villages, or in open fields — wherever they could find space.

"What we desperately need is for land to be made available to get more emergency shelters up," as well as help with other aid supplies, Tan said.

"These people have been walking for days. They likely have not eaten since they left their homes," Tan said. Many needed medical attention for respiratory diseases, infections and malnutrition. "They are exhausted, they are traumatized ... There are babies, some newborns, who've been exposed to the elements."

On Monday, at the Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital about two hours from the border, doctors were treating 31 men who arrived "distressed and afraid" with broken bones and bullet wounds, mostly to their limbs, according to the resident medical officer Dr. Shaheen Abdur Rahman Choudhury.

They all told similar stories of Myanmar soldiers opening fire randomly on their villages in western Myanmar on Aug. 26-27 and setting buildings aflame, Choudhury said.

One family that crossed into the border town of Kutupalong on Monday told the Associated Press a land mine had blew off the right leg of their elderly relative. The woman was bleeding profusely as her wailing relatives bundled her into an autorickshaw and rushed to a hospital. The woman's lower right leg had been blown away by the impact of the explosion. Her left leg and parts of her hands also appeared seriously wounded.

The hospital, already "hugely overburdened," was expecting to receive many more wounded refugees, said the doctor, Choudhury. "What we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg."

On Aug. 25, Rohingya insurgents attacked at least two dozen Myanmar police and paramilitary posts in coordinated attacks they said were intended to protect their ethnic minority from persecution by security forces in the majority-Buddhist country. The military responded with what it called "clearance operations" to root out the insurgents it calls ethnic terrorists. The violence led the U.N. World Food Program last week to halt aid deliveries to some 250,000 people in Rakhine state.

The Rohingya have long faced discrimination in Myanmar but bloody rioting in 2012 forced more than 100,000 into displacement camps in Bangladesh, where many still live today.

On Monday, Pakistani rights advocate Malala Yousafzai condemned the violence against Rohingya, in a Twitter statement. "I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same," she said of Myanmar's leader.

In several cities internationally, Rohingya, other Muslims and activists protested the violence and called on their own governments to take a tougher stance against Myanmar's government. Some of the protesters denounced Suu Kyi by name and even burned or defaced posters bearing her image.

Myanmar security officials and Rohingya insurgents have accused each other of atrocities. The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in clashes. Bangladesh police say dozens of Rohingya have died attempting to cross the river separating the two countries.

Myanmar's government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing Buddhists in Rakhine state.
Outside the hospital in Cox's Bazar, three Rohingya men and a teenage boy who had been treated for bullet wounds described soldiers shooting at people and burning buildings.

Mohammad Irshad, 27, told AP he saw at least eight bodies after his village near the coastal town of Maungdaw was visited by at least 30 soldiers, who he said opened fire indiscriminately and then set fire to homes and other buildings.

The 16-year-old Mohammed Osama said he'd tried to flee into the forest when soldiers entered his village on Aug. 26, but was shot by one of them in the thigh. With a gaping bullet wound in his leg, he was carried by his father and some of his 11 siblings across the border. His family joined thousands now packed into the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip.

But Osama and others were squatting behind the hospital in Cox's Bazar, their only belongings a few bedsheets and personal documents in plastic bags.

Yet another Myanmar village near Maungdaw was destroyed by about 50 soldiers, according to 25-year-old Mohammad Arafat.

"I started running when the firing started and lost track of both my parents. I don't know if they're dead or alive," Arafat said. "They're cutting up people, shooting people. I'm very afraid. I never want to go back."

His wife and mother-in-law were sheltering in the border area of Teknaf, but Arafat sought treatment for his wound. He was told he needed further treatment at a hospital in the city of Chittagong, he said. "I have no money. I don't know what to do."
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Associated Press writer Nirmala George in New Delhi contributed to this report.

Follow Muneeza Naqvi at www.twitter.com/mnaqvi10.


106-year-old Afghan woman faces deportation from Sweden

106-year-old Afghan refugee Bibihal Uzbeki rests in bed attended by her son Mohammadollah and daughter-in-law Ziba, in Hova, Sweden. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

By David Keyton, Associated Press

HOVA, Sweden (AP) — A 106-year-old Afghan woman who made a perilous journey to Europe, carried by her son and grandson through mountains, deserts and forests, is facing deportation from Sweden after her asylum application was rejected.

Bibihal Uzbeki is severely disabled and can barely speak. Her family has appealed the rejection.

Their journey made headlines in 2015, when they were part of a huge influx of people who came to Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. They traveled by foot and on trains through the Balkans before finally reaching Sweden.

Two years later, she and her 11 family members are living in the small village of Hova, in central Sweden.

Her rejection letter came during Ramadan. While the family avoided telling her, the constant grief from her granddaughters made her suspicious.

"My sisters were crying," explained 22-year-old Mohammed Uzbeki. "My grandmother asked, 'Why are you crying?'" The family says that soon after she understood her request was denied, her health started deteriorating and she suffered a debilitating stroke.

The Swedish Migration Agency confirmed in a statement to the AP they had "taken a decision regarding an expulsion in the case," adding "generally speaking, high age does not in itself provide grounds for asylum."

People whose applications are rejected are allowed up to three appeals, a process that can take a long time. The applications of other family members are in various stages of appeal.

The family feels the plight of Afghans is being ignored by Swedish authorities. Many countries in Europe deny asylum to Afghans from parts of the country considered safe.

"The reasoning from the migration agency is that it's not unsafe enough in Afghanistan," said Sanna Vestin, the head of the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups. But she said many of the big cities cited as safe are not at the moment.

Before their journey to Sweden, the family had been living illegally in Iran for eight years. They left Afghanistan because of an ongoing war and insecurity, but Mohammed Uzbeki said it's difficult to prove that the family faces a specific enemy if they return.

"If I knew who was the enemy, I would have just avoided them," he said, citing the Islamic State group, the Taliban and suicide bombers as possible dangers.

In the Uzbeki home, Bibihal's daughter-in-law gently readjusts the elderly woman's veil as Mohammed Uzbeki watches over her.

"She still cannot speak properly, she has hallucinations," he laments. "She says they are coming to kill us, we should run away."


Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant again; a look at the family

In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 file photo Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they walk through the memorial garden in Kensington Palace, London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

LONDON (AP) — Prince William's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant with her third child. The new baby will be fifth in line to the British throne.
Here's a brief look at the rest of the family.

THE NEXT GENERATION:
Two older siblings will welcome the new arrival.
Prince George, born July 22, 2013, is the first child of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton. Princess Charlotte, born May 2, 2015, will be bumped to middle child status after the new baby is born.
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NOT THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY:
When children, Prince William and Prince Harry had often been chided as the "royal heir" and the "royal spare," respectively. But having a larger family might take the pressure off the children in the succession stakes. Changes to the rules of succession mean that male siblings aren't allowed to jump ahead of their older sisters, so Princess Charlotte's place in the line will not be affected.

The order now is as follows: Prince Charles is first in line, followed by Prince William, who is second, and then Prince George, who is third, and Princess Charlotte, who is fourth.

As a great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the new arrival will be fifth in line to the throne, bumping uncle, Prince Harry, out of the top five.
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ALL ABOUT HARRY:
Prince Harry says the news of Kate's latest pregnancy is "fantastic." Though Harry is pushed down the line of accession, this may not be unwelcome news. Harry suggested earlier this year that no one really strives to be the monarch, but carries the role out of a sense of duty to the nation.
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THE REST OF THE FAMILY:
The family's latest addition will be Queen Elizabeth II's sixth great-grandchild.


Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' screens in 3-D at Venice

Director John Landis arrives for a photocall of his 'Michael Jackson's Thriller 3D' during the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Claudio Onorati/ANSA via AP)

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Director John Landis said Monday that he is still upset by Michael Jackson's death, but a Venice Film Festival screening dedicated to "Thriller" is a chance to celebrate the musician's life.

An enhanced version of the landmark Landis-directed music video, "Michael Jackson's Thriller 3-D," is screening alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary that has never been shown in cinemas before.

Landis told reporters in Venice on Monday that Jackson's death aged 50 in 2009 was a tragedy for his family, his friends and the world.

"Truly great performers are rare, and he was brilliant — and a tragic figure, I think," Landis said. "I was horrified, and I'm still upset about it.

The 14-minute "Thriller" video, released in 1983, stemmed from Jackson's love of Landis' film "An American Werewolf in London" and the King of Pop's desire to turn into a monster onscreen.

Landis says modern technology has let him remix the sound and improve the visuals while converting the film to 3-D, so audiences can now "experience it the way Michael wanted you to."

"My only disappointment is that Michael is not here to see it and hear it, because I think he would love it," Landis said.

Landis says the accompanying backstage documentary shows Jackson "happy and joyous" and at his creative peak.

"It's a celebration of Michael I didn't expect, and very emotional for me," he said.


Today in History - Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Sept. 5, the 248th day of 2017. There are 117 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On September 5, 1997, breaking the royal reticence over the death of Princess Diana, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivered a televised address in which she called her former daughter-in-law "a remarkable person." Mother Teresa died in Calcutta, India, at age 87; conductor Sir Georg Solti (johrj SHOL'-tee) died in France at age 84.

On this date:

In 1774, the first Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia.

In 1836, Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas.

In 1882, the nation's first Labor Day was celebrated with a parade in New York. (Although Labor Day now takes place on the first Monday of September, this first celebration occurred on a Tuesday.)

In 1914, the First Battle of the Marne, resulting in a French-British victory over Germany, began during World War I.

In 1939, four days after war had broken out in Europe, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation declaring U.S. neutrality in the conflict.

In 1945, Japanese-American Iva Toguri D'Aquino, suspected of being wartime broadcaster "Tokyo Rose," was arrested in Yokohama. (D'Aquino was later convicted of treason and served six years in prison; she was pardoned in 1977 by President Gerald R. Ford.)

In 1957, the novel "On the Road," by Jack Kerouac, was first published by Viking Press.

In 1972, the Palestinian group Black September attacked the Israeli Olympic delegation at the Munich Games; 11 Israelis, five guerrillas and a police officer were killed in the resulting siege.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford escaped an attempt on his life by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a disciple of Charles Manson, in Sacramento, California.

In 1977, West German industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer (SHLY'-ur) was kidnapped in Cologne by the Baader-Meinhof gang. (Schleyer was later killed by his captors.) The U.S. launched the Voyager 1 spacecraft two weeks after launching its twin, Voyager 2.

In 1986, four hijackers who had seized a Pan Am jumbo jet on the ground in Karachi, Pakistan, opened fire when the lights inside the plane failed; a total of 20 people were killed before Pakistani commandos stormed the jetliner.

In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts to succeed the late William Rehnquist as chief justice of the United States. An Indonesian jetliner crashed, killing 149 people, including 49 on the ground; 17 passengers survived.

Ten years ago: German officials announced that three militants from an Islamic group linked to al-Qaida were planning "imminent" bomb attacks against Americans in Germany when an elite anti-terrorist unit raided their small-town hideout. Fred Thompson announced on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" that he was running for the Republican presidential nomination; his candidacy lasted less than five months. Alicia Sacramone's floor routine rallied the United States to the world women's gymnastics title in Stuttgart, Germany.

Five years ago: In an impassioned speech that rocked the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, former President Bill Clinton proclaimed, "I know we're coming back" from the worst economic mess in generations, and he appealed to hard-pressed Americans to stick with Barack Obama for a second term in the White House; in a roll call that lasted past midnight, Obama was officially nominated.

One year ago: Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) announced the close of the G-20 summit in the eastern city of Hangzhou (hahn-joh), saying it had contributed to encouraging new progress in boosting global growth. Hugh O'Brian, the actor who shot to fame as Sheriff Wyatt Earp in what was hailed as television's first adult Western, died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 91. Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, died in St. Louis at age 92.

Today's Birthdays: Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul A. Volcker is 90. Comedian-actor Bob Newhart is 88. Actress-singer Carol Lawrence is 85. Actor William Devane is 78. Actor George Lazenby is 78. Actress Raquel Welch is 77. Movie director Werner Herzog is 75. Singer Al Stewart is 72. Actor-director Dennis Dugan is 71. College Football Hall of Famer Jerry LeVias is 71. Singer Loudon Wainwright III is 71. "Cathy" cartoonist Cathy Guisewite (GYZ'-wyt) is 67. Actor Michael Keaton is 66. Country musician Jamie Oldaker (The Tractors) is 66. Actress Debbie Turner-Larson (Marta in "The Sound of Music") is 61. Actress Kristian Alfonso is 54. Rhythm-and-blues singer Terry Ellis is 54. Rock musician Brad Wilk is 49. TV personality Dweezil Zappa is 48. Actress Rose McGowan is 44. Actress Carice Van Houten is 41. Actor Andrew Ducote is 31. Actress Kat Graham is 31. Olympic gold medal figure skater Yuna Kim is 27. Actor Skandar Keynes is 26.

Thought for Today: "History may be divided into three movements: what moves rapidly, what moves slowly and what appears not to move at all." — Fernand Braudel, French historian (1902-1985).


Update September 4, 2017

BRICS countries meet to map path to increase their roles

From left, Brazil's President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Wu Hong/Pool Photo via AP)

By Louise Watt, Associated Press

XIAMEN, China (AP) — Five major developing countries opened a summit Monday to map out their future course after host Chinese President Xi Jinping called on them to stand up together against a growing tide of protectionism across the world.

Leaders of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are meeting in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen through Tuesday.

Ahead of the summit, Xi gave a speech to BRICS business leaders on Sunday calling for those nations to work with others around the world to deal with problems arising from globalization.

BRICS was formed as an association of fast-growing large economies about a decade ago to advocate for better representation for developing countries and challenge the Western-dominated world order that has prevailed since the end of World War II. It soon achieved agreement to increase the share of voting rights for emerging markets in world financial bodies the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. It has also started operating its own development bank.

Xi wants BRICS to play a more important role in international affairs, even as some observers suggest its power is waning given rivalry between China and India and the economic woes of Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

"BRICS country cooperation is not a talking shop but a task force that gets things done," Xi said in his speech Sunday. "Our goal is to build a big market of trade and investment, promote smooth flow of currency and finance, improve connectivity of infrastructure and build close bonds between the peoples."
All broadly support free trade and oppose protectionism, although particularly China, the world's second-largest economy, has been accused of erecting barriers to foreign competition.

Yet clear political and economic differences exist among the countries. They range from democratic to autocratic, with some maintaining heavy government control over the economy and civil society. And the economies of Brazil, Russia and South Africa are driven largely by raw material exports and have been hit by slumping commodity prices, while China and India are oriented more toward manufacturing and services.

Suggesting disagreements lie ahead in Xiamen, South African President Jacob Zuma said that despite a doubling of his nation's trade with BRICS countries from $15 billion in 2010 to $31.2 billion in 2016, it had been "inequitable."

"The character of trade has been highly inequitable," he said in remarks to the BRICS Business Council on Sunday.

"Exports from South Africa have been driven particularly by raw materials. This dominance of raw material exports has adversely impacted South Africa."

He called on the other BRICS nations to invest in supply and development programs in Africa and skills development and technology transfer, and engage in projects "that would support inclusive development and equal partnerships."

He also called on the New Development Bank, which was created by BRICS in 2014 and started operating last year, to lend more to Africa.

A meeting between Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to take place Tuesday. Last week, the two hurriedly concluded a 10-week border stand-off over disputed land in the Himalayas, which was their most serious confrontation in decades, to smooth the way for Modi's participation in the summit. The two greeted each other smiling and with a firm handshake at Monday's welcoming ceremony.

Some observers say admitting other countries to BRICS would answer some of its problems. While no formal progress is expected on that at this summit, China has invited the leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to attend a dialogue with the BRICS' presidents and prime ministers on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Xi met on the sidelines with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed North Korea's latest nuclear test — its sixth and most powerful yet, which has cast a shadow over the summit hosted by its only major ally, China. The official Xinhua News Agency said they agreed to "appropriately deal with" it, without elaborating.

Xinhua also reported that Xi and Putin had agreed to enhance military cooperation between China and Russia.
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Follow Louise Watt on Twitter at twitter.com/louise_watt


What North Korea's Kim Jong Un may be trying to prove

A man watches a TV news report about a possible nuclear test conducted by North Korea at the Seoul Railway station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — North Korea put on an extraordinary two-part show of its nuclear ambitions, releasing photos of leader Kim Jong Un next to what it described as a hydrogen bomb for an intercontinental ballistic missile, then actually detonating a device in its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test to date.

The underground test, a major nose-thumb at Washington, Beijing and all of the North's neighbors, follows an intense few months that have seen Kim launching missiles at record clip and in ways that are much more provocative than usual.

It was almost certainly intended to get under the skin of one man in particular: President Donald Trump, whose first salvo back, in a tweet, was: "North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States."
Indeed.

Here's a closer look at what the North did Sunday, and some of the possible reasons why.
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THE MORNING TEASER

Bright and early, North Korea's state media started posting photos of Kim visiting the country's Nuclear Weapons Institute to see what state media described as "a signal turn in nuclear weaponization."

A front-page story in the ruling-party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, carried photos of Kim watching a shiny, peanut-shaped device it said was a hydrogen bomb designed to be mounted into the North's new "Hwasong-14" intercontinental ballistic missile. The North's official news agency, KCNA, also released the photos, which were clearly intended to be seen by a global audience.

Whether the North can make a nuclear warhead small and light enough to put on top of a long-range missile has long been a matter of heated debate among foreign experts. This was clearly an attempt to address those doubts. The North in July had demonstrated for the first time that it has — or is very close to having — an operational ICBM, though experts still believe it could at best reach Chicago and will probably require another year or two to perfect.

The photos created a stir among missile and nuclear weapons experts on Twitter, with the general consensus being that the design appeared to look about right for a sophisticated thermonuclear warhead. The peanut shape is created by two rounded "stages" within the device that give it an extra boost and a far higher yield than simpler nuclear bombs.

The state media reports stressed that the bomb was made with domestic parts and workmanship, suggesting that more could be made without outside experts or imports.
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BIGGEST BLAST YET

Before North Korea watchers had a chance to digest the photos, seismographs recorded a big tremor around noon North Korea time.

Ground motion is a great indicator of an underground nuclear test, and sometimes the only one. North Korea has proven itself adept at masking other telltale signs, such as the leakage of radioactive materials. The power of the blast, its location at the North's nuclear testing site and the shallow epicenter left little doubt.

North Korea has repeatedly stated that it will continue to pursue nuclear weapons and long-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S. because it sees that strategy as its only protection against what it believes is a hostile superpower bent on regime change or possibly outright invasion.

To that end, it must test its weapons to both perfect technologies and dispel doubts. Sunday's test went a long way toward doing that.

Although it doesn't prove a nuclear warhead can be fitted onto the Hwasong-14, thermonuclear devices can be lightweight and still produce tremendously high yields. The device that was detonated on Sunday is believed to have a much bigger yield than anything the North has demonstrated — possibly 70 kilotons according to Japan's defense minister.

That's far more than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima (15 kilotons) and Nagasaki (around 20).
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A CURTAIN RAISER

Starting with the launches of two ICBMs in July that are believed to have the range to strike the U.S. mainland, North Korea has been far more aggressive in its military activities over the past few months than usual.

It's possible Kim Jong Un — feeling either threatened or emboldened by Trump — has decided to hurry to get that nuclear deterrent his country wants.

But tensions on the Korean Peninsula rise every year in the spring and late summer, when the U.S. and South Korea hold annual military exercises.

North Korea has stated it is, at least in part, responding to Washington's decision to hold the exercises, which ended last week. It has also protested a new round of sanctions recently approved by the U.N. and the repeated dispatch of B-1B bombers from the island of Guam to the skies of South Korea — a show of force from Washington to reassure allies in Seoul and Tokyo.

North Korea's state media reported that Kim said the launch of an intermediate range missile over Japan just a week ago was a "curtain-raiser" for more activity ahead.

Sunday's test would certainly fit that bill.

But it will almost certainly raise the curtain on something else — a tougher response, either in sanctions, diplomatic isolation or a bolstered U.S. military presence — that Kim and his top lieutenants will have to take into consideration as well.
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Talmadge has been The AP's Pyongyang bureau chief since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @EricTalmadge and on Instagram @erictalmadge.


Huge WWII-era bomb successfully defused in Frankfurt

Disposers Dieter Schwaetzler, left, and Rene Bennert sit next to 1.8 ton WWII bomb right after they defused it, in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

By Michael Probst, Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bomb disposal experts defused a huge unexploded World War II-era bomb in the German financial capital Frankfurt that forced the evacuation of more than 60,000 residents, police said Sunday.

Hospital patients and the elderly were among those affected in what was Germany's biggest evacuation in recent history.

Construction workers found the 1.8-ton (4,000-pound) British bomb Tuesday. Officials ordered residents to evacuate homes within a 1.5-kilometer (nearly a mile) radius of the site in Germany's financial capital. Dozens of ambulances lined up early Sunday to pick up anyone unable to independently leave the danger zone.

The high capacity bomb, also dubbed a Blockbuster, was one of thousands dropped over Germany by the Royal Air Force during the final years of World War II to cripple the Nazi war machine and demoralize the German population.

Authorities warned that if the bomb had exploded, the shock wave could have caused widespread damage throughout the western part of the city.

Unexploded bombs are still found regularly across Germany, even 72 years after the war ended. About 20,000 people were evacuated from the western city of Koblenz before specialists disarmed a 500-kilogram U.S. bomb there Saturday.


Judi Dench rules the Venice waves in 'Victoria & Abdul'

Actress Judi Dench, left, and director Stephen Frears pose for photographers upon arrival at the press conference for the film 'Victoria and Abdul' during the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

By Jill Lawless, Associated Press

VENICE, Italy (AP) — It was a day of queens at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday — a real British monarch on the screen and two queens of acting, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, on the red carpet.

Dench plays long-reigning Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears' "Victoria & Abdul," which charts the relationship between the monarch and Abdul Karim, an Indian man who became her servant and teacher.

Ahead of the film's gala premiere, Dench said she owes her movie career to Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901.
The 82-year-old actress told reporters "I had no film career really to speak of" before playing the monarch in the 1997 drama "Mrs. Brown," which gained Dench the first of her seven Academy Awards nominations.

She said revisiting the role and working again with Frears — who directed her to an Oscar nomination in "Philomena" — was "an irresistible proposition."

If Dench needs any advice on playing royalty, she could turn to Helen Mirren, in Venice Sunday with Paolo Virzi's road-trip movie "The Leisure Seeker." Mirren has played Britain's current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in movie "The Queen" and play "The Audience."

"It's good to be queen," Mirren said at a news conference for her film. "You always get very nice costumes when you're the queen, and you usually get quite a lot of lines. Or if you don't get a lot of lines you have very few lines but everybody looks at you."

Dench's two films about Victoria both center on close relationships the widowed monarch struck with men who were her servants.

In "Mrs. Brown" it was Scottish outdoorsman John Brown; in "Victoria & Abdul" it's Karim (played by Indian actor Ali Fazal), a young man brought to Britain to present the monarch with a gift for her Golden Jubilee in 1887.

The film depicts the queen's growing fascination with India, then part of the vast British empire. Victoria filled one of her homes with Indian artworks and under Karim's tutelage even learned Urdu.

The film — based largely on real events — depicts a royal court and British government horrified at the monarch's growing relationship with an Indian Muslim.

It's a story that feels strongly relevant to modern times, despite its 19th-century setting.

Frears joked that he asked himself before making it: "What film would Donald Trump most like to see?"

Eddie Izzard, who plays Victoria's eldest son, the future King Edward VII, said "Victoria & Abdul" is "an edgy story because of what we did to the Indian nation back then," when Britain was India's colonial master.

"This story has been suppressed for 100 years, so it's good to get it out," Izzard said.

The film marks a return to royal subject matter for Frears, who had one of his biggest successes in 2006 with "The Queen."

Frears also has a gritty side to his repertoire, exemplified by films like "My Beautiful Laundrette," ''The Grifters" and "Dirty Pretty Things."

Izzard said the new film had more in common than might first appear with "My Beautiful Laundrette," the story of a relationship between a Pakistani-British man and a white former skinhead in Thatcher-era London. It's a landmark of 80s British cinema, and gave Daniel Day-Lewis one of his first big screen roles.

Izzard said the new movie "is essentially 'My Beautiful Laundrette' done with kings and queens."

Added Frears: "Except that we no longer have Daniel Day-Lewis — we have Judi Dench."
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Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless


Today in History - Monday, Sept. 4, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Sept. 4, the 247th day of 2017. There are 118 days left in the year. This is Labor Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 4, 1917, the American Expeditionary Forces in France suffered their first fatalities during World War I when a German plane attacked a British-run base hospital in Camiers.

On this date:

In 1781, Los Angeles was founded by Spanish settlers under the leadership of Governor Felipe de Neve.

In 1886, a group of Apache Indians led by Geronimo (also known as Goyathlay, "One Who Yawns") surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona.

In 1888, George Eastman received a patent for his roll-film box camera, and registered his trademark: "Kodak."

In 1948, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicated after nearly six decades of rule for health reasons.

In 1951, President Harry S. Truman addressed the nation from the Japanese peace treaty conference in San Francisco in the first live, coast-to-coast television broadcast.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus used Arkansas National Guardsmen to prevent nine black students from entering all-white Central High School in Little Rock. Ford Motor Co. began selling its ill-fated Edsel.

In 1967, Detroit TV station WKBD aired an interview with Michigan Gov. George Romney in which the Republican presidential hopeful attributed his previous support for the war in Vietnam to a "brainwashing" he'd received from U.S. officials during a 1965 visit.

In 1971, an Alaska Airlines jet crashed near Juneau, killing all 111 people on board.

In 1972, U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won a seventh gold medal at the Munich Olympics in the 400-meter medley relay.

In 1987, a Soviet court convicted West German pilot Mathias Rust of charges stemming from his daring flight to Moscow's Red Square, and sentenced him to four years in a labor camp. (Rust was released in August 1988.)

In 1998, Internet services company Google filed for incorporation in California.

In 2014, comedian Joan Rivers died at a New York hospital at age 81, a week after going into cardiac arrest in a doctor's office during a routine medical procedure.

Ten years ago: Hurricane Felix slammed into Nicaragua's coast, the first time on record that two Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes hit land in the same year. Toy maker Mattel Inc. recalled 800,000 lead-tainted, Chinese-made toys worldwide, a third major recall in just over a month.

Five years ago: Democrats opened their national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, by ridiculing Republican Mitt Romney as a millionaire candidate who "quite simply doesn't get it"; first lady Michelle Obama lovingly praised her husband as a devoted spouse and caring father at home and a "man we can trust" to revive the nation's weak economy as president. The Treasury Department reported the national debt had topped $16 trillion.

One year ago: Elevating the "saint of the gutters" to one of the Catholic Church's highest honors, Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa, praising her radical dedication to society's outcasts and her courage in shaming world leaders for the "crimes of poverty they themselves created."

Today's Birthdays: Actress Mitzi Gaynor is 86. Actor Kenneth Kimmins is 76. Singer Merald "Bubba" Knight (Gladys Knight & The Pips) is 75. TV personality and veterinarian Dr. Jan Pol (TV: "The Incredible Dr. Pol") is 75. World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd is 75. Actress Jennifer Salt is 73. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson is 68. Rhythm-and-blues musician Ronald LaPread is 67. Actress Judith Ivey is 66. Rock musician Martin Chambers (The Pretenders) is 66. Actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs is 64. Actress Khandi Alexander is 60. Actor-comedian Damon Wayans Sr. is 57. Rock musician Kim Thayil is 57. Actor Richard Speight Jr. is 48. Actor Noah Taylor is 48. Actress Ione (eye-OH'-nee) Skye is 47. Actor-singer James Monroe Iglehart is 43. Pop-rock singer-DJ-musician-producer Mark Ronson is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Richard Wingo (Jagged Edge) is 42. Rock musician Ian Grushka (New Found Glory) is 40. Actor Wes Bentley is 39. Actor Max Greenfield is 38. Singer Dan Miller (O Town) is 37.

Singer Beyonce Knowles is 36. Country singer-musician Tom Gossin (Gloriana) is 36. Actress-comedian Whitney Cummings is 35. Actor-comedian Kyle Mooney (TV: "Saturday Night Live") is 33. Folk-rock musician Neyla Pekarek (NEE'-lah peh-KAYR'-ehk) (The Lumineers) is 31. Pop-rock singer-songwriter James Bay is 27. Actor Carter Jenkins is 26. Actor Trevor Gagnon is 22.

Thought for Today: "I am one of the people who love the why of things." — Catherine the Great, Russian czarina (1729-1796).


Update September 2 - 3, 2017

What's on US astronaut's wish list after 9 months in space?

In this Wednesday, Oct 10, 2007 file photo, U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, center, commander of the 16th mission for the International Space Station, smiles just before the launch of the Russian Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.(AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

By Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — After 9 ฝ months in orbit, what's on Peggy Whitson's wish list? Will the record-setting NASA astronaut miss anything about space life?

Whitson was scheduled to answer reporters' question during her final news conference from space this week, days before her scheduled return to Earth. But it was called off because of Harvey: Houston is home to Johnson Space Center and Mission Control for the International Space Station
Instead, NASA relayed questions from The Associated Press to Whitson by email.
The questions and answers have been edited and condensed.

Q: What are your thoughts as you get ready to close out your mission? Has the flight hurried by or seemed to have dragged?

A: Actually, most of the flight has gone by very quickly. In fact, I would say that it didn't feel any longer than my previous two flights of 6 months in duration. I would say the slowest time has been the last week or so. I think it has to do with switching in your mind where you want/need to be. Once the switch is thrown to go home, time seems to move a lot slower.

Q: You will be arriving back to a storm-crippled Houston. How has the catastrophe there affected your mindset? How did you and your husband's home fare?

A: Our home is fine, but so many friends and co-workers have been impacted. For example, in order to keep Mission Control running, the team (three shifts of a skeleton support crew) were sleeping on cots in the backup Mission Control rooms. Their sacrifices for the station and keeping things running up here are amazing.  Any trepidations I might have about returning in the aftermath of a hurricane are entirely eclipsed by the all those folks keeping our mission going and physically putting themselves out there to help folks who were less fortunate than us.  

Q: Besides family and friends, what have you missed most about Earth?

A: Flush toilets. Trust me, you don't want to know the details. Pizza has been on my mind for a month or two, since (U.S. astronaut) Jack (Fischer) told the ground we weren't a pizza delivery place when he was joking with them.

Q: What will you miss most about space?

A: Things I will miss: I know that I will hugely miss the freedom of floating and moving with the lightest of touch, especially those first few days after my return when gravity will especially SUCK. I will miss seeing the enchantingly peaceful limb of our Earth from this vantage point. Until the end of my days, my eyes will search the horizon to see that curve.

I will miss seeing and working within this awe-inspiring creation that we, as a people, have constructed here in space, travelling at 17,500 mph. I still can't believe the incredible level of detail that was required to imagine this place, let alone to build it! I will also miss the ability to "go for a walk" in a spaceship built for one.

And mostly, I will miss that incredible sense of satisfaction, gratitude and pride that comes from working with the NASA team from on orbit.

Q: You broke quite a few records on this mission. What are your thoughts about being a space superwoman?

A: I have noted in more than a few interviews that I am not overly comfortable with the praise about the records. I honestly do think that it is critical that we are continuously breaking records, because that represents us moving forward in exploration. I am working on paying forward some of the advice and mentoring that I received on my journey, in hopes that one day those young people will do the same, and look back on a life in which they leapt at the opportunities and broke their own records.

Q: How much longer could you envision yourself staying up there, if you had to? An entire year? Longer?

A: Yes, I do think I could have flown in space longer. The resistive exercise device is much better than the previous versions, and does a fantastic job of keeping us fit from a bone and muscle perspective.

Q: Is this your last spaceflight, in all likelihood? What's next for you?

A: I am not sure what the future holds for me personally, but I envision myself continuing to work on spaceflight programs. My desire to contribute to the spaceflight team as we move forward in our exploration of space has only increased over the years.


Mystery continues after removal of object off beach

Peter Brockmann, left, president of the East Beach Association, gets help assembling pieces of a mystery object that was removed from the surf on East Beach in Westerly, R.I. (Harold Hanka/The Sun via AP)

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — Questions are still swirling after a mysterious object was removed from the waters off a Rhode Island beach.

The circular metal object was taken out of the waters off East Beach in Westerly by an excavator Thursday, and it's much bigger than originally thought.

Peter Brockmann, president of the East Beach Association, tells The Westerly Sun (http://bit.ly/2epxvti ) he hopes someone who sees a media report about the object knows what it is.

Before it was removed, the best guess was it is what is called an acoustic Doppler profiler to monitor currents. That device is about 4.5 feet (1.37 meters) long. But the object is about twice that size.

The object was discovered last month at the beach near singer Taylor Swift's oceanfront mansion.


Back from watery grave: car stolen in 1979 in France

A Peugeot 104, which was recovered this week 38 years after it was stolen, is stored in a garage in Chalons-en-Champagne, eastern France. (AP Photo/Chris den Hond)

By John Leicester, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — It's the car coming back from a watery grave.
A blue Peugeot 104 stolen in the heart of France's Champagne country in 1979 is being reunited with its owner — 38 years later — after French police pulled it, in surprisingly good shape but crawling with crayfish, from a murky swamp.

In a Facebook posting, police said the pond owner alerted officers in Chalons-en-Champagne, 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Paris, on Monday about the discovery. The car became visible because drought dropped the water level.

After police divers checked there wasn't a corpse inside, the long-lost vehicle was towed onto dry land.

"lt still looks like a 104. It's still blue and there is still chrome on the bumpers. It's surprising," Franck Menard, a mechanic who hauled it back to the local garage where he works, said in a phone interview. "It's relatively well preserved given that it spent so long in the water."

"The seats are still in good condition, beige," he added.

Police said the compact four-door hatchback — as much a feature of its time as flared trousers and disco — was four years old and on its third owner when it was declared stolen in the Champagne town of Reims in 1979. Too old to figure in computer databases, investigators dusted off paper archives to find the proprietor, who lives in the Reims area.

In their Facebook posting, headlined "Cold Case," police said plans are afoot to reunite car and owner in the next few days.

Menard said that because it was declared stolen, the car technically now belongs to the owner's insurer.

Still, he is expecting the owner to drop by his garage "to come and see the car for nostalgia's sake."

The owner was stunned when officers tracked her down via family and neighbors, said Lt. Col. Pierre-Damien Igau, of the gendarmerie in Chalons-en-Champagne.

"She was surprised that we contacted her because even for her this was very ancient history," he said. "She appeared quite moved by the fact that we had found her car so long after the fact and especially that we had made the effort to contact her."

Menard said he doesn't expect the little Peugeot will ever run again, because the rusty engine block was muddied up.
But he said they scooped up the crayfish that had been living inside and freed them into a canal.
"At least they get a second life," he said.

Chris den Hond in Chalons-en-Champagne contributed to this report.


Fonda and Redford wow Venice; she says sex improves with age

Actor Robert Redford, left, and Jane Fonda pose during the photo call for the film "Our Souls At NIght" at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

By Jill Lawless, Associated Press

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The older stars are shining the brightest at the Venice Film Festival — and having much of the fun.

A playful Robert Redford and Jane Fonda brought undimmed glitter to the festival on Friday along with their late-life romance "Our Souls at Night."

More than five decades after they first shared the screen, they star in the Netflix-produced drama as widowed neighbors who forge a relationship.

Judging by the star-struck reaction from Venice audiences, the chemistry that lit up the 1967 romantic comedy film "Barefoot in the Park" — one of their most memorable pairings — remains strong.

Fonda said she loves the fact "that these films bookend our careers."

In "Barefoot in the Park," she told reporters, "we played that young love just getting married and now we've played old people's love — and old people's sex."

"Although in my opinion Ritesh cut the sex scene too soon," Fonda added, referring to director Ritesh Batra.
Of Redford, she said: "I live for sex scenes with him."

The 81-year-old Redford and 79-year-old Fonda each are receiving a lifetime achievement award from the festival Friday.

They are among a plethora of older stars at the Venice fest, which runs to Sept. 9. Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland and Michael Caine are all due to make appearances onscreen and on the red carpet.

Redford produced "Our Souls at Night," which is based on a novel by Kent Haruf. He said he did it in part because the youth-obsessed movie business doesn't make enough films for older audiences.

Fonda said she thought the representation of older people was improving, pointing to the Netflix show "Grace and Frankie," in which she plays a newly single woman.

"I've had three lovers already in that series," she said. "I'm just so happy we're giving a cultural face to older women. "

And she said love and sex got better with age, "because, first of all, we're braver — what the heck to we have to lose? So my skin sags — so does his."

The two screen icons say they were thrilled to work together again, and it shows in the warmth of their on-screen relationship.

"I wanted to do another film with her before I died," Redford said.

Fonda said her characters were often in love with Redford's, and "I wanted to see what it was like to fall in love with him again."

"It was fun to kiss him in my 20s and then to kiss him again in my almost-80s," she said.


Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Sept. 3, the 246th day of 2017. There are 119 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 3, 1939, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland; in a radio address, Britain's King George VI said, "With God's help, we shall prevail." The same day, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner SS Athenia some 250 miles off the Irish coast, killing more than 100 out of the 1,400 or so people on board.

On this date:

In 1189, England's King Richard I (the Lion-Hearted) was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

In 1658, Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, died in London; he was succeeded by his son, Richard.

In 1783, representatives of the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the Revolutionary War.

In 1868, the Japanese city of Edo was renamed Tokyo.

In 1914, Cardinal Giacomo Della Chiesa became pope; he took the name Benedict XV.

In 1923, the United States and Mexico resumed diplomatic relations.

In 1940, Artie Shaw and his Gramercy Five recorded "Summit Ridge Drive" and "Special Delivery Stomp" for RCA Victor.

In 1951, the television soap opera "Search for Tomorrow" made its debut on CBS.

In 1967, Nguyen Van Thieu (nwen van too) was elected president of South Vietnam under a new constitution. Motorists in Sweden began driving on the right-hand side of the road instead of the left. The original version of the TV game show "What's My Line?," hosted by John Charles Daly, broadcast its final episode after more than 17 years on CBS.

In 1976, America's Viking 2 lander touched down on Mars to take the first close-up, color photographs of the red planet's surface.

In 1989, a Cubana de Aviacion jetliner crashed after takeoff in Havana, killing all 126 aboard and 45 people on the ground.

In 1995, the online auction site eBay was founded in San Jose, California, by Pierre Omidyar under the name "AuctionWeb."

Ten years ago: Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, 63, went missing after taking off in a single-engine plane in western Nevada. (The wreckage of the plane and traces of his remains were found more than a year later.) President George W. Bush, accompanied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, paid a surprise visit to Iraq, where he was briefed by U.S. military commanders and Iraqi leaders. Panama blasted away part of a hillside next to the canal, marking the start of the waterway's biggest expansion since it opened in 1914.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama consoled victims of Hurricane Isaac along the Gulf Coast and stoked the enthusiasm of union voters in the industrial heartland, blending a hard political sell with a softer show of sympathy on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Prolific character actor Michael Clarke Duncan, 54, died in Los Angeles. Sun Myung Moon, 92, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, died in Gapeyeong, South Korea.

One year ago: President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) sealed their nations' participation in the Paris climate change agreement during a ceremony on the sidelines of a global economic summit in Hangzhou (hahn-joh). Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited the Great Faith Ministries International, a predominantly black church in Detroit, to call for a "civil rights agenda for our time." Authorities in Minnesota said they had identified the remains of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy kidnapped by a masked gunman in October 1989 near his home in St. Joseph; the case was solved when a man confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the boy.

Today's Birthdays: "Beetle Bailey" cartoonist Mort Walker is 94. Actress Pauline Collins is 77. Rock singer-musician Al Jardine is 75. Actress Valerie Perrine is 74. Rock musician Donald Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad) is 69. Rock guitarist Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols) is 62. Actor Steve Schirripa is 60. Actor Holt McCallany is 53. Rock singer-musician Todd Lewis is 52. Actor Costas Mandylor is 52. Actor Charlie Sheen is 52. Singer Jennifer Paige is 44. Dance-rock musician Redfoo is 42. Actress Ashley Jones is 41. Actress Nichole Hiltz is 39. Actor Joel Johnstone is 39. Actor Nick Wechsler is 39. Rock musician Tomo Milicevic (30 Seconds to Mars) is 38. Bluegrass musician Darren Nicholson (Balsam Range) is 34. Actress Christine Woods is 34. Actor Garrett Hedlund is 33. Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun White is 31. Hip-hop singer August Alsina is 25.

Thought for Today: "It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles." — Muriel Spark, Scottish author (1918-2006).


NKorea missile fear sets pre-emptive strike debate in Japan

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference after he reshuffled his Cabinet at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

By Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is debating whether to develop a limited pre-emptive strike capability and buy cruise missiles — ideas that were anathema in the pacifist country before the North Korea missile threat. With revisions to Japan's defense plans underway, ruling party hawks are accelerating the moves, and some defense experts say Japan should at least consider them.

After being on the backburner in the ruling party for decades, a possibility of pre-emptive strike was formally proposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by his party's missile defense panel in March, prompting parliamentary debate, though somewhat lost steam as Abe apparently avoided the divisive topic after seeing support ratings for his scandal-laden government plunge.

North Korea's test-firing Tuesday of a missile, which flew over Japan and landed in the northern Pacific Ocean, has intensified fear and reignited the debate.

"Should we possess pre-emptive strike capability?" liberal-leaning Mainichi newspaper asked the following day. "But isn't it too reckless to jump to discuss a 'get them before they get you' approach?"

Japan has a two-step missile defense system. First, Standard Missile-3 interceptors on Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan would shoot down projectiles mid-flight and if that fails, surface-to-air PAC-3s would intercept them from within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) range. Technically, the setup can handle falling debris or missiles heading to Japan, but it's not good enough for missiles on a high-lofted trajectory, those with multiple warheads or simultaneous multiple attacks, experts say.

A pre-emptive strike, by Japanese definition, is a step preceding the two-tier defense. Cruise missiles, such as Tomahawk, fired from Aegis destroyers or fighter jets would get the enemy missile clearly waiting to be fired, or just after blastoff from a North Korean launch site, before it approaches Japan.

Japan's self-defense-only principle under the country's war-renouncing constitution prohibits its military from making a first strike, and officials discussing a limited pre-emptive strike are calling it a "strike-back" instead. Whichever the language, it further loosens postwar Japan's pacifist principle and could strain its relations with China, which is suspicious of Tokyo's intentions. There are gray areas as to how far Japan can go and still justify minimum self-defense.

Some experts are skeptical about how it would work. North Korea's secretive, diversified and mobile launch system makes it extremely difficult to track down and incapacitate the weapons with Japan's limited cruise missile attacks, security expert Ken Jimbo at Keio University said in a recent article. A pre-emptive strike capability would also require trillions of dollars to set up spy satellites, reconnaissance aircraft, cruise missiles, as well as training of special units, experts say.

North Korea flight-tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and has threatened to send missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam, home to key military bases. The North already has short-range missiles that cover Japan and possibly has achieved miniaturized nuclear warheads, the Defense Ministry's annual report says.

"North Korea has demonstrated its capability to hit targets anywhere in Japan," said Narushige Michishita, a defense expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. "It has become even more important for Japan to improve its missile and civil defense capabilities, and seriously think about acquiring limited but meaningful strike capabilities."

Timing of the pre-emptive strike debate is seen in favor of supporters of the option in the ruling party and the Defense Ministry because they are just starting to revise Japan's multi-year defense plans.

Abe called Tuesday's missile firing "unprecedented, grave and serious threat." Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, an advocate of bolstering Japan's missile and strike-back capability, said more provocations by the North are likely and Tokyo must quickly upgrade its missile arsenal.

The Defense Ministry announced Thursday a record 5.26 trillion yen ($48 billion) budget for fiscal 2018, which would cover purchase of upgraded missile defense systems such as land-based Aegis Ashore interceptors or the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, a mobile equipment Washington and Seoul have installed in South Korea. Beijing, which says THAAD's powerful radar can reach deep into China and wants it removed, could react sharply if it is installed in Japan.

Abe, since taking office five years ago, has expanded Japan's military role, allowing it to take on a greater task in international peacekeeping. In 2015, his government allowed Japan to fight for its allies when they come under enemy attack, a condition known as collective self-defense, by re-interpreting part of the constitution and railroading a new security legislation that sparked massive protests.

Pre-emptive strike, however, is even more sensitive and divisive topic and the government may have to prioritize upgrading missile interceptors for now, says Tetsuo Kotani, senior research fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. Polls show most Japanese fear North Korea's missile threat and support bolstering Japan's intercepting capability, but in terms of pre-emptive strike, opponents overwhelmed supporters.

"Prime Minister Abe seems to have turned hesitant about discussing pre-emptive strikes," Kotani said, suggesting Abe's declining popularity is causing his reluctance to push the issue. "Public debate of pre-emptive strikes may slow down."

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Her work can be found in APNews at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi


Myanmar military says death toll in clashes almost 400

Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority members walk through rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox's Bazar's Teknaf area, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

By Bernat Armangue, Associated Press

TEKNAF, Bangladesh (AP) — Almost 400 people have died in violence in western Myanmar that was triggered by attacks on security forces by insurgents from the Rohingya ethnic minority, Myanmar's military said, as both sides exchanged charges of atrocities and thousands of Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh.

The death toll, posted on the Facebook page of Myanmar's military commander Friday, is a sharp increase over the previously reported number of just over 100. The statement said all but 29 of the 399 dead were insurgents.

The statement said there had been 90 armed clashes, including an initial 30 attacks by insurgents on Aug. 25, making the combat more extensive than previously announced. The army, responding to the attacks, launched what it called clearance operations against the insurgents.

Advocates for the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, say security forces and vigilantes attacked and burned villages, shooting civilians and causing others to flee. Hundreds of civilians were killed, they say, posting photos, videos and details on social media as evidence.

The government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing Buddhists in Rakhine. Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 Rohingya into displacement camps, where many still live.

As the refugees poured across the border into Bangladesh, a police official in Cox Bazar's Teknaf area said that 21 bodies of Rohingya were found floating in the Naf River. Mohammed Mohiuddin Khan said two of them had bullet wounds.

On Thursday, three boats with refugees capsized, killing at least 26, including women and children, police said.

Among those fleeing the violence was Sham Shu Hoque, 34, who crossed the border with 17 family members. He said he left his village of Ngan Chaung on Aug. 25 after it was attacked by Myanmar security forces who shot at the villagers. He said troops also used rocket-propelled grenades, and helicopters fired some sort of incendiary device.

Five people were killed in front of his house, he said. His family survived the attack but was told by the soldiers to leave. They took a week to reach Bangladesh, hiding in villages along the way, he said.

Estimates from local and police officials, intelligence sources and Rohingya leaders suggest at least 40,000 have crossed into Bangladesh. In the first six days after the Aug. 25 attacks, the International Organization for Migration said at least 18,000 Rohingya arrived in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi border guards have tried to keep them out, but usually relent when pressured, and thousands could be seen Friday making their way across muddy rice fields. Young people helped carry the elderly, some on makeshift stretchers, and children carried newborns.

Some, carrying bundles of clothes, cooking utensils and small solar panels, said they had walked at least three days to get to the border.

The insurgent group that claimed responsibility for last week's attacks, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army — ARSA — said it acted to protect Rohingya communities.

It is nearly impossible to verify information issued by either the government or Rohingya sympathizers because Myanmar has barred most journalists from the area, except on limited official guided tours.

A human rights group, Fortify Rights, said that witnesses who escaped have supported accusations by Rohingya advocates that government security personnel and civilian vigilantes "committed mass killings of Rohingya Muslim men, women, and children in Chut Pyin village, Rathedaung township, on Aug. 27."

"Survivors and eyewitnesses from Chut Pyin told Fortify Rights that soldiers and armed residents burned every house in the village," the group said in a statement. It said survivors who returned to the village after the attackers left estimated the death toll there to be more than 200.

It quoted a 41-year-old survivor identified by the pseudonym "Abdul Rahman" as saying that soldiers killed and burned his brother along with other victims.

"We found (my other family members) in the fields," it quoted him as saying. "They had marks on their bodies from bullets and some had cuts. My two nephews, their heads were off. One was 6 years old and the other was 9 years old. My sister-in-law was shot with a gun."

Government accusations of atrocities committed by the insurgents are less detailed.

"Some of the ethnic natives while on their way were brutally butchered by the terrorists applying inhuman ways without any reason," Friday's military statement said. It said the insurgents were "using various terrorism tactics under well-hatched plots, attacking security forces on duty with superior force, mingling with villagers after running away from security forces in hot pursuit of them, cutting off communication lines, and spreading false information to get outside help."

Most of Myanmar's estimated 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine state. They face severe persecution, with the government refusing to recognize them as a legitimate native ethnic minority, leaving them without citizenship and basic rights.

The U.S. group Human Rights Watch said it has obtained satellite images that suggest burning villages across a large swathe of Rakhine state. It said the locations match some of the accounts given by people who have fled into Bangladesh of settlements that have been attacked and destroyed by Myanmar soldiers, police and armed civilians.

"The government has to stop this offensive," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. "It has to allow humanitarian assistance and let journalists into this area. We have to actually see what's happened because quite clearly human rights violations have taken place."

He said it was possible that violations had occurred on both sides.

The U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, expressed concern "that many thousands of people are increasingly at risk of grave violations of their human rights."

The U.N. secretary-general also urged restraint by Myanmar security forces, a spokesperson said in a statement.

"The current situation underlines the urgency of seeking holistic approaches to addressing the complex root causes of violence," spokesperson Eri Kaneko said.


4 dead as Tropical Storm Lidia hits Mexico's Baja California

A sinkhole covers an intersection in downtown Mexico City, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. An enormous sinkhole about 30 feet (10 meters) in diameter opened on the street, caused by an accumulation of water, according to civil protection. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

By Ignacio Martinez, Associated Press

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Lidia has caused four deaths in Mexico's Los Cabos, officials said Friday as it continued to lash the resort-studded southern Baja California Peninsula with heavy rains.

Arturo de la Rosa Escalante, mayor of the twin resorts of Los Cabos, said two people were electrocuted by power lines, a woman drowned after being swept away by water on a flooded street and a baby was ripped from its mother's arms as she crossed a flooded area.

Authorities warned that the death toll could rise and De la Rosa said one person was considered missing.

About 1,400 people sought refuge at storm shelters as the storm flooded streets and stranded tourists.

State Tourism Secretary Luis Genero Ruiz said about 20,000 foreign tourists were stranded after airlines suspended flights to the area.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Lidia made landfall early Friday west of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state.

Lidia's wind strength eased slightly to 55 mph (90 kph), and further weakening was forecast over the next few days as the storm reaches mountainous terrain.

The storm was centered about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Cabo San Lazaro and was heading northwest at about 12 mph (19 kph). It was expected to track the Baja California peninsula's coast through Saturday before moving over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday morning.

The center said Lidia could produce accumulations of as much as 6 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of rain across much of Baja California and parts of the mainland, threatening flash floods and landslides.

Lidia earlier spread rains over a broad swath of Mexico including the capital, where it was blamed for flooding that briefly closed the city's airport this week and a 30-foot-wide (10-meter-wide) sinkhole that opened in a downtown street Thursday.

"Some of the tropical moisture from Lidia may reach parts of the desert Southwest this holiday weekend, including southern California, southern Nevada and southwestern Arizona," the hurricane center said.

The storm was expected to travel about halfway up the peninsula before turning out into the Pacific.

Far out over the Atlantic, meanwhile, Category 3 Hurricane Irma was following a course that could bring it near the eastern Caribbean Sea by early next week. It had maximum sustained winds near 120 mph (195 kph) and was moving west near 13 mph (20 kph).

Forecasters said Irma was expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.


Pope saw psychoanalyst to seek 'clarity' years ago

In this Saturday, June 3, 2017 file photo, Pope Francis attends an audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis says that when he was 42 he had sessions weekly with a psychoanalyst who was female and Jewish to "clarify some things."

It wasn't specified what the future pontiff wanted to explore. The revelation came in a dozen conversations Francis had with French sociologist Dominique Wolton, writing a soon-to-be-published book.

La Stampa, an Italian daily, quoting from some of the conversations on Friday, said Francis went to the analyst's home. Francis was quoted as saying: "one day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue."

"She was a good person. For six months she helped me a lot," Francis said.

Francis then was a Jesuit official in his native Argentina, which was ruled by military dictatorship.

In the conversations with the French author, Francis speaks highly of the positive influence women have had on his life.

"Those whom I've known helped me a lot when I needed to consult with them," Francis is quoted as saying.

The 80-year-old pope also speaks of his state of mind now. "I feel free. Sure, I'm in a cage here at the Vatican, but not spiritually. Nothing makes me afraid."

What bothers him, he ventured, are people with straitjacket points of view.

He singled out "rigid priests, who are afraid to communicate. It's a form of fundamentalism. Whenever I run into a rigid person, especially if young, I tell myself that he's sick."

But Francis concludes that "in reality, they are persons looking for security."

In past remarks, the pope has indicated he struggled with how to use authority in his first leadership roles as a Jesuit.

The Catholic Church used to project a sense of mistrust regarding psychoanalysis.
But over time, the diffidence seems diminished.

Updated Vatican guidelines for use on seminaries in training future priests describe psychologists as valuable in assessing the psychological health of candidates.


Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Sept. 2, the 245th day of 2017. There are 120 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered in ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II.

On this date:

In 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out.

In 1789, the United States Treasury Department was established.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman's forces occupied Atlanta.

In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt offered the advice, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair.

In 1924, the Rudolf Friml operetta "Rose Marie" opened on Broadway.

In 1935, a Labor Day hurricane slammed into the Florida Keys, claiming more than 400 lives.

In 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent republic. (Ho died on this date in 1969.)

In 1963, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace prevented the integration of Tuskegee High School by encircling the building with state troopers. "The CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite was lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes, becoming network television's first half-hour nightly newscast.

In 1969, in what some regard as the birth of the Internet, two connected computers at the University of California, Los Angeles, passed test data through a 15-foot cable.

In 1972, Dave Wottle of the United States won the men's 800-meter race at the Munich Summer Olympics.

In 1986, a judge in Los Angeles sentenced Cathy Evelyn Smith to three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter for her role in the 1982 drug overdose death of comedian John Belushi. (Smith served 18 months.)

In 1998, a Swissair MD-11 jetliner crashed off Nova Scotia, killing all 229 people aboard.

Ten years ago: Following two days of talks in Geneva, the chief U.S. envoy said North Korea had agreed to account for and disable its atomic programs by the end of the year; the head of the North Korean delegation said his country's willingness to cooperate was clear, but he did not cite any dates. Hurricane Felix strengthened into a dangerous Category 4 storm as it toppled trees and flooded homes on a cluster of Dutch islands before churning its way into the open waters of the Caribbean.

Five years ago: Campaigning his way toward the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama slapped a "Romney doesn't care" label on his rival's health-care views and said Republicans wanted to repeal new protections for millions without offering a plan of their own. Mark Abrahamian, 46, lead guitarist for the rock group Starship, died in Norfolk, Nebraska, of a heart attack after a performance.

One year ago: President Barack Obama departed for China on his final official trip to Asia. Tropical Storm Hermine hit Florida as a Category 1 hurricane, wiping away beachside buildings and toppling trees onto homes. Samsung Electronics recalled all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after finding batteries in some of the flagship gadgets exploded or caught fire. The federal government banned more than a dozen chemicals long-used in antibacterial soaps, saying manufacturers had failed to show they were safe and killed germs.

Today's Birthdays: Dancer-actress Marge Champion is 98. Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., is 86. Actor-comedian Chuck McCann is 83. Former United States Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth is 80. Actor Derek Fowlds (TV: "Yes, Minister"; "Yes, Prime Minister") is 80. Singer Jimmy Clanton is 79. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sam Gooden (The Impressions) is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rosalind Ashford (Martha & the Vandellas) is 74. Singer Joe Simon is 74. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw is 69. Basketball Hall of Famer Nate Archibald is 69. Actor Mark Harmon is 66. Former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is 66. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors is 65. Actress Linda Purl is 62. Rock musician Jerry Augustyniak (10,000 Maniacs) is 59. Country musician Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) is 58. Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson is 57. Actor Keanu Reeves is 53. International Boxing Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis is 52. Actress Salma Hayek is 51. Actor Tuc Watkins is 51.

Actress Kristen Cloke is 49. Actress Cynthia Watros is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer K-Ci is 48. Actor-comedian Katt Williams is 44. Actor Michael Lombardi is 43. Actress Tiffany Hines is 40. Rock musician Sam Rivers (Limp Bizkit) is 40. Actor Jonathan Kite is 38. Actress Allison Miller is 32. Rock musician Spencer Smith is 30. Electronic music DJ/producer Zedd is 28.

Thought for Today: "Life is a tragic mystery. We are pierced and driven by laws we only half understand, we find that the lesson we learn again and again is that of accepting heroic helplessness." — Florida Scott-Maxwell, American writer and psychologist (1884-1979).


Update September 1, 2017

SeaWorld seeks restraining order vs. protesters

In this Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, the entrance to Sea World is seen, in Orlando, Florida.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

By Julie Watson, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — SeaWorld is seeking a restraining order against three animal rights activists who disrupted a killer whale show at its San Diego park last month in a protest led by actor James Cromwell.

The company wants to bar Lyanne Fernandez, Ricky Chavez Rodriguez and Lisa Lange from the San Diego park and SeaWorld's nearby waterslide park, Aquatica, according to court documents filed Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court.

Company officials told The Associated Press that the three were particularly aggressive but the order would not bar them from its other parks in San Antonio and Orlando, Florida. The court plans to hold a hearing before deciding, the documents say.

Lange said SeaWorld's action is retaliation for the complaint the trio filed to press charges against the company's head of security in San Diego. They said some of the protesters were thrown to the ground.

"I think it's an odd reaction for SeaWorld. Instead of saying to their security guy, 'Hey, you're not allowed to beat people up,' they seek a restraining order against us," said Lange, who works for PETA in Los Angeles. "He really roughed us up."

Lange said it won't stop her from protesting against SeaWorld. The two other activists could not be immediately reached for comment.

Wearing a "SeaWorld Sucks" T-shirt, Cromwell and six activists with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals barged in to the "Orca Encounter" show July 24 and spoke through a megaphone demanding SeaWorld release its orcas living in tanks and move them to massive pens in the ocean.

Cromwell, who starred in the movie "Babe," told park visitors that SeaWorld was condemning the orcas to premature deaths unless they are moved immediately to ocean sanctuaries.

When park security asked them to leave, the protesters locked arms, went limp and refused. After they were removed by force, SeaWorld alleges one protester later lashed out at a security guard.

PETA has denied the allegations and said the security guard manhandled the three protesters, wrestled phones away and threw two of them to the ground, sat on them and put a knee on a woman's chest until she yelled that she could not breathe.

PETA said in a statement after the arrests that it was a "non-confrontational protest against cruelty to marine life" and that the protesters obeyed the uniformed officers.

Cromwell, who was handcuffed and escorted out of the park, was separated from the other demonstrators when they were taken away.

Fernandez, Rodriguez and Lange were charged with criminal trespassing last month, and one of them also was charged with assault and battery, according to SeaWorld.

If the order is issued and the trio tries to enter the San Diego parks, the company will call police, said Marilyn Hannes, president of SeaWorld's San Diego park.

"We certainly respect free speech. When they demonstrate on SeaWorld Drive, we are respectful and understand that. But this is not about that at all," Hannes said. "This is really about safety."

PETA has long been known for its stunts to draw attention to its protests. But Hannes said it has been escalating in recent months.

"Now that it's gotten to the point of becoming violent, that is beyond acceptable," she said. "We're very proud of the conduct of our security team under difficult circumstances."

Hannes said the request for a restraining order is the first such action taken by SeaWorld that she knows of in her 20 years working at the San Diego marine park.

The educational attraction called "Orca Encounter" debuted this summer at the San Diego park as part of the Orlando-based entertainment company's move to end its world-famous killer whale shows amid public pressure that has intensified after the 2013 release of "Blackfish," a documentary critical of SeaWorld's orca care.

SeaWorld has said the new "natural orca encounters" will replace the theatrical shows.


Rescuers at India building collapse find 15 injured, 33 dead

Rescue workers clear debris from the site of a building collapse in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

By Rafiq Maqbool, Associated Press

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Rescuers worked through the night removing the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in India's financial capital of Mumbai where at least 33 people have died and nearly a dozen others may still be buried.

Fire officer Prabhat Kumar said Friday that 15 injured survivors have been pulled from the debris so far.

Police said 33 bodies had been recovered from the rubble by early Friday, but hope was fading of finding anyone alive more than 24 hours after the building collapsed. Authorities have no clear idea how many people lived there or were in the ground floor work spaces. But police say nearly a dozen people are missing and feared trapped beneath the huge mound of broken concrete slabs and twisted steel girders.

Rescuers used earth-moving machines to lift concrete slabs and cement blocks as they searched for survivors.

Rescuers at India building collapse find 15 injured, 33 dead.
(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

The rickety 117-year-old, five-story building in congested Bhendi Bazaar in south Mumbai had been declared unsafe to live in six years ago, but some people continued to stay there. The residents of an adjacent building were advised to leave after it developed cracks following the collapse.

The building had housed nine families in apartments above a first-floor nursery school, but the collapse Thursday morning occurred before the toddlers had arrived for the day, police said. The ground floor had warehouses where workers may have been present.

Nearby resident Amina Sheikh tightly held her 4-year-old grandson's hand as they watched the rescue efforts from a safe distance. "This is my grandson. He used to go to school in that building," she said, tearfully pointing at the rubble.

She had been getting the boy ready for school when she heard a loud boom and saw the building had crashed down. It was "an hour before his class began. That's why my grandson's life was saved," she said.

It was the first major building collapse after Mumbai recorded 315-mm (12 inches) rainfall on Tuesday, the city's highest since 2005.

Thousands of buildings in Mumbai are more than a century old, their foundations weakened by years of heavy monsoon rains. The collapse of a four-story building in the city's suburb of Ghatkopar last month killed 17.

Building collapses are common in India during the monsoon season, which is June to September. High demand and lax regulations encourage some builders to use substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors. Property prices and rents in Mumbai are among the highest in India as the city has expanded in the past five decades.

The city is slowly returning to normal after being paralyzed by heavy downpours for two days. Train services and public transport were disrupted by flooding and water seeped into many low-lying buildings.

The city struggles to cope with the monsoon deluge each year, drawing criticism about its poor planning.

Since the start of the season, devastating floods across South Asia have killed at least 1,000 people and affected close to 40 million across northern India, southern Nepal and northern Bangladesh.

The rains have led to wide-scale flooding in a broad arc stretching across the Himalayan foothills in the three countries, causing landslides, damaging roads and electric towers and washing away tens of thousands of homes and vast swathes of farmland.

The rains moved into Pakistan on Thursday, with the heavy downpour flooding streets in Karachi. At least eight deaths were considered flood-related.


Boats carrying fleeing Rohingya sink in Bangladesh; 26 dead

 

Members of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority sit in a boat to cross a canal at Shah Porir Deep, in Teknak, Bangladesh, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Suvra Kanti Das)

By Tofayel Ahmed and Julhas Alam, Associated Press

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Three boats carrying ethnic Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized in Bangladesh and 26 bodies of women and children have been recovered, officials said Thursday.

Bangladesh border guard commander Lt. Col. S.M. Ariful Islam said at least three boats carrying an unknown number of Rohingya Muslims sank in the Naf River at Teknaf in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday. He said the bodies of 15 children and 11 women were recovered, and it was unclear whether anyone was still missing.

The top government official in Cox's Bazar, Mohammad Ali Hossain, said the bodies would be buried because no one had claimed them.

Last week, Rohingya insurgents attacked at least two dozen police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine state, triggering fighting with security forces that left more than 100 people dead and forced at least 18,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

Hundreds of people have been stranded in a no man's land at the countries' border, the International Organization for Migration said. Satellite imagery analyzed by Human Rights Watch indicated that many homes in northern Rakhine state were set ablaze.

Most of Myanmar's estimated 1 million Rohingya Muslims live in northern Rakhine. They face severe persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, which denies them 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.

Some Buddhists and Hindus have also fled the violence.

More than 400 Hindu residents of Rakhine state crossed into Bangladesh after being attacked by armed men, officials and survivors said.

Main Uddin, a government official in Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar, said the survivors reported that about 86 Hindus had been killed by armed groups in three villages since last Friday.

Survivors said Myanmar soldiers were everywhere and "armed people" were also burning houses and killing people.

Nirajan Rudro, a Hindu who fled to Bangladesh, told The Associated Press that masked men armed with guns, sticks and knives had attacked them and set fire to their houses.

Uddin said 412 Hindus are staying in a Hindu neighborhood near Rohingya camps in Ukhiya.

"They have been sheltered in an abandoned poultry farm there. Bangladeshi Hindus are helping them," he said.
___
Alam reported from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Former Colombian rebels change their name ... to FARC?

 

 In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), sit before former guerrillas as they lead the FARC's National Congress where they launched their political party in Bogota, Colombia.AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Former leftist rebels in Colombia have chosen a familiar-sounding, if polarizing, acronym for their fledgling political movement — FARC.

At a meeting Thursday 900 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia voted overwhelmingly to change the group's name to the Alternative Communal Revolutionary Forces, scrubbing any reference to its armed past. Since both names in Spanish carry the acronym FARC, its common use name will remain unchanged.

The decision came as part of a weeklong congress in which the rebels are mapping out their future political strategy after having laid down their weapons as part of a historic peace deal.

While ex-combatants are proud of their insurgent past it remains to be seen if regular Colombians are ready to vote for a party with a name they've grown to associate with violence during the nation's half-century conflict.

On Sunday, the former rebels initiated the launch of their political party, vowing to upend Colombia's traditional conservatism with the creation of an alternative leftist coalition.

Under the terms of the peace deal signed last year, ex-combatants are guaranteed 10 seats in Congress and the same funding the state provides to the nation's 13 other political parties.

The organization has signaled that it will adhere to its Marxist roots and focus on winning votes from poor farmers, workers and the urban middle class, but it faces opposition from many who identify the guerrillas with kidnappings and terrorism.

A poll released in August found that fewer than 10 percent of Colombians said they had total confidence in the rebels as a political party and a large majority said they'd never vote a former guerrilla into Congress.


Today in History - Friday, Sept. 1, 2017

The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2017. There are 121 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On September 1, 1939, World War II began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

On this date:

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was found not guilty of treason. (Burr was then tried on a misdemeanor charge, but was again acquitted.)

In 1897, the first section of Boston's new subway system was opened.

In 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan entered Confederation as the eighth and ninth provinces of Canada.

In 1914, the last passenger pigeon in captivity, "Martha," died at the Cincinnati Zoo.

In 1923, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by an earthquake that claimed some 140,000 lives.

In 1945, Americans received word of Japan's formal surrender that ended World War II. (Because of the time difference, it was Sept. 2 in Tokyo Bay, where the ceremony took place.)

In 1951, the United States, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact, the ANZUS treaty.

In 1969, a coup in Libya brought Moammar Gadhafi to power.

In 1976, U.S. Rep. Wayne L. Hays, D-Ohio, resigned in the wake of a scandal in which he admitted having an affair with "secretary" Elizabeth Ray.

In 1983, 269 people were killed when a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet airspace.

In 1987, peace demonstrator S. Brian Willson lost his lower legs when he was hit by a train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in California while protesting weapons shipments to Central America.

In 1995, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. (The hall opened to the public the next day.)

Ten years ago: Idaho Sen. Larry Craig announced his resignation, saying he would leave office on September 30, 2007, in the wake of fallout over his arrest and guilty plea in a Minnesota airport gay sex sting. (However, Craig later reversed his decision, saying he would serve out the rest of his term.) Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his second major league start, just hours after being called up by the Boston Red Sox. Buchholz struck out nine, walked three and hit one batter to give the Red Sox a 10-0 victory over Baltimore.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama ridiculed the just-completed Republican National Convention as better-suited to an era of black-and-white TV and "trickle-down, you're on your own" economics, and declared that Mitt Romney "did not offer a single new idea" for fixing the economy. Lyricist Hal David, 91, who teamed with Burt Bacharach on dozens of timeless songs for movies, television and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond, died in Los Angeles.

One year ago: A massive fireball and explosion erupted at SpaceX's main launch pad at Cape Canaveral, destroying a rocket as well as a satellite that Facebook was counting on to spread internet service in Africa. Dallas police Chief David Brown, who oversaw the response to a July 2016 sniper attack that killed five of his officers, announced his retirement effective in October. Fred Hellerman, a member of the influential folk music quartet the Weavers, died in Weston, Connecticut, at age 89.

Today's Birthdays: Actor George Maharis is 89. Conductor Seiji Ozawa (SAY'-jee oh-ZAH'-wah) is 82. Attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz is 79. Comedian-actress Lily Tomlin is 78. Actor Don Stroud is 74. Conductor Leonard Slatkin is 73. Singer Archie Bell is 73. Singer Barry Gibb is 71. Rock musician Greg Errico is 69. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw is 67. Singer Gloria Estefan is 60. Former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers is 56. Jazz musician Boney James is 56. Singer-musician Grant Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo) is 54. Country singer-songwriter Charlie Robison is 53. Retired NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway is 51. Rap DJ Spigg Nice (Lost Boyz) is 47. Actor Ricardo Antonio Chavira is 46. Actor Maury Sterling is 46. Rock singer JD Fortune is 44. Actor Scott Speedman is 42. Country singer Angaleena Presley (Pistol Annies) is 41. Actor Boyd Holbrook is 36. Actress Zoe Lister-Jones is 35. Rock musician Joe Trohman is 33. Actress Aisling (ASH'-ling) Loftus is 27.

Thought for Today: "When nothing is sure, everything is possible." — Margaret Drabble, British author.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Myanmar accused of laying mines, causing Rohingya injuries

305 Syrian migrants reach Cyprus; 313 are stopped in Turkey

US calls for Monday vote on new North Korea sanctions

Miss North Dakota Cara Mund is new Miss America

Today in History - Monday, Sept. 11, 2017


Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017

UN: 'Alarming number' of 270,000 Rohingya in Myanmar exodus

Death toll rises to 60 in powerful Mexico earthquake

2 US students accuse Italian police of rape in Florence

Lady Gaga says she's taking a 'rest' from music

Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017


Nations rush to help islands devastated by Hurricane Irma

New fires in empty Rohingya village challenge Myanmar claims

Dry Jordan launches project to grow crops from seawater

Christ statue mutilated by war to receive papal blessing

Today in History - Friday, Sept. 8, 2017


How can US stop North Korea nukes? 3 experts have ideas

Explosive used by IS militants found in apartment near Paris

Seeking home's comforts, Rohingya couple make deadly choice

Dali group: Artist's exhumed DNA disproves paternity claim

Today in History - Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017


Putin: North Korea will 'eat grass' before giving up nukes

France: Court finds topless photos violated royal's privacy

UK Brexit chief faces jeering lawmakers during talks update

Jennifer Lawrence hits Venice with horror story 'mother!'

Today in History - Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017


Wounded and 'afraid,' Rohingya seek Bangladesh hospital aid

106-year-old Afghan woman faces deportation from Sweden

Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant again; a look at the family

Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' screens in 3-D at Venice

Today in History - Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017


BRICS countries meet to map path to increase their roles

What North Korea's Kim Jong Un may be trying to prove

Huge WWII-era bomb successfully defused in Frankfurt

Judi Dench rules the Venice waves in 'Victoria & Abdul'

Today in History - Monday, Sept. 4, 2017


What's on US astronaut's wish list after 9 months in space?

Mystery continues after removal of object off beach

Back from watery grave: car stolen in 1979 in France

Fonda and Redford wow Venice; she says sex improves with age

Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017

NKorea missile fear sets pre-emptive strike debate in Japan

Myanmar military says death toll in clashes almost 400

4 dead as Tropical Storm Lidia hits Mexico's Baja California

Pope saw psychoanalyst to seek 'clarity' years ago

Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017


SeaWorld seeks restraining order vs. protesters

Rescuers at India building collapse find 15 injured, 33 dead

Boats carrying fleeing Rohingya sink in Bangladesh; 26 dead

Former Colombian rebels change their name ... to FARC?

Today in History - Friday, Sept. 1, 2017

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