BC-AP Americas Digest
WASHINGTON — The degree to which President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama will interact Thursday during the National Prayer Breakfast is unclear, but at least a chance encounter is possible, and such a meeting would almost certainly draw the ire of China. Obama is to sit at the head table with other speakers for the annual event, which brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and faiths for one spiritual hour. Eds: Breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT).
AP POLL-GAY MARRIAGE
SALT LAKE CITY — While finding that Americans narrowly favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, a new Associated Press-GfK poll also shows most believe wedding-related businesses should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples for religious reasons. By Emily Swanson and Brady McCombs.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A three-time convicted robber who helped engineer the biggest prison break in Texas history is executed for killing a suburban Dallas police officer while the notorious gang was on the run. By Michael Graczyk.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Embattled Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, while on a state visit to China seeking badly needed investment, causes a furor by joking about her hosts’ accents on Twitter.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian oil company Petrobras says the company’s chief executive officer and five other top figures stepped down amid a long-running and massive kickback scandal at the firm. By Jenny Barchfield and Brad Brooks.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Archbishop Oscar Romero was labeled in life as a communist agitator and killed on a church altar at the start of El Salvador’s civil war. Even before Pope Francis declared Romero a martyr, his former opposition praised him as a social activist, promising to build a monument to him in the capital’s center if they win the mayor’s seat. By Marcos Aleman.
CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — The U.S. Consulate in Matamoros warns that gun battles between Mexican government forces and gunmen on roads between that border city and Reynosa were likely to continue. The death toll from fighting in the area stands at nine.
BRAZIL-AMAZON MUSSEL THREAT
RIO DE JANEIRO — The world’s mightiest waterway, the Amazon River, faces a dangerous threat from the most diminutive of foes — a tiny invasive mussel. While too small for human consumption, the golden mussel quickly gobbles up new territory and could decimate the river’s indigenous flora and fauna. By Jenny Barchfield.
BUSINESS & FINANCE:
DETROIT — If it weren’t for the recalls, 2014 would have been a stellar year for General Motors. Even with $2.8 billion in pretax costs to fix more than 42 million recalled vehicles worldwide and $400 million set aside for death and injury claims, GM still managed to turn a $2.8 billion profit. By Tom Krisher.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
MONROEVILLE, Alabama — Hometown friends and fans of “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee are struggling to reconcile a publisher’s sensational announcement — that her decades-old manuscript for a sequel had been rediscovered and will be released — with the image of the reclusive writer at her sister’s recent funeral. By Jay Reeves.
BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN-FIRST RESPONSE
ATLANTA — An attorney says that it was his client who found Bobbi Kristina Brown face-down in a bathtub last week and called emergency services, not Brown’s partner. By Jonathan Landrum.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING RUN-UP
NEW YORK — An Australian woman wins the annual race up the Empire State Building’s stairs for the sixth time, a record for the women’s event. The men’s race was won by German runner Christian Riedel, a first-time winner who came in at 10 minutes and 16 seconds.