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BC-AP Americas Digest

September 25, 2013

TOP STORIES:

UN-IRAN

UNITED NATIONS— Iran’s new president struck a milder tone than his predecessor in his first speech to world leaders, backing off the anti-Israel rhetoric and offering to negotiate with the U.S. and its allies over his country’s disputed nuclear activities. However, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani also took repeated digs at America and the West, much like those that for years have been a staple of Tehran’s messages to the U.N. General Assembly. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes.

UNITED STATES-SYRIA

UNITED NATIONS— U.S. and Russian negotiators remain at odds on a U.N. Security Council resolution that would hold Syria accountable if it fails to live up to pledges to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles, American officials say, as President Barack Obama warns the world body that it risks its credibility and reputation if it does not act. By AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee.

With: OBAMA-LEBANON.

AFGHAN-FOREIGN MINISTER

NEW YORK — Afghanistan’s foreign minister is upbeat about his country’s often-acrimonious relations with its neighbor following Pakistan’s release of a former Taliban deputy leader, a move Kabul had long sought to spur peace talks with the rebels. By Matthew Pennington.

US-ARMS TRADE TREATY

UNITED NATIONS — American officials say Secretary of State John Kerry will sign a landmark treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade during the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting this week. By AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee.

UN-BRAZIL-NSA SURVEILLANCE

UNITED NATIONS — Brazil’s president delivers a stinging rebuke to the United States over its surveillance program that has swept up data from billions of telephone calls and emails that have passed through Brazil — including her own. By AP National Security Writer Lara Jakes. AP Photos.

MEXICO-MASS KIDNAP

MEXICO CITY — The arrest of four police officers in a case that has unsettled Mexico City is tarnishing the image officials have tried to cultivate of the capital as a safe haven from the violence and police corruption that plague other parts of Mexico. By E. Eduardo Castillo. AP Photo.

BUDGET BATTLE

WASHINGTON — A conservative senator begins an old-style speaking marathon over President Barack Obama’s health care law, even though fellow Republicans urge him to back down for fear of a possible government shutdown in a week. By Donna Cassata. AP Photos.

OBAMA-HEALTH CARE

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton take to the same stage to promote the new health care law that Obama championed after Clinton’s own efforts to reform health care years earlier fell flat. By Darlene Superville. AP Photos.

WARMING CERTAINTY

WASHINGTON — Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill. By AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

PUERTO RICO-HUMAN RIGHTS

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The National Lawyers Guild and other groups have filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the U.S. government in a case involving Puerto Ricans living on the island of Vieques, which was once used as a bombing range. By Danica Coto. AP Photos.

NAVY YARD SHOOTER-SECURITY CLEARANCE

WASHINGTON — The man who killed 12 people at a Washington military base lied about a previous arrest when he applied for a security clearance in the Navy. The omission was among several gaps in his record that eventually allowed him to work in the secure building, underscoring weaknesses with the clearance process. AP Photos.

NAVAL ACADEMY-SEXUAL ASSAULT

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — The case of three former U.S. Naval Academy football players accused of sexually assaulting a fellow midshipman at an off-campus toga party has renewed calls for academy leaders to face tough accountability as the military tries to curb what has become a persistent and embarrassing problem. By Brian Witte. AP Photos.

PERU-COCA

LIMA, Peru — Peru has displaced Colombia as the world’s leading producer of coca leaf, although it succeeded for the first time in seven years in cutting output of the illicit plant used to make cocaine, the United Nations says. By Frank Bajak. AP Photo.

With: PERU-AIRPORT DRUG ARRESTS. AP Photos.

CHICAGO VIOLENCE

CHICAGO — Two suspected gunmen and two others have been charged in last week’s shooting of 13 people including a 3-year-old boy in a crowded Chicago park, police said Tuesday. By Jayson Keyser. AP Photos. AP Video.

GUATEMALA MASSACRE

RIVERSIDE, California — A federal prosecutor says a former member of an elite Guatemalan military force helped command the massacre of more than 160 people during the country’s civil war and lied about it on his application to become an American citizen. By Amy Taxin. AP Photo.

MEASURING FIRE

DENVER — U.S. researchers have been working on a system to measure and predict the destructiveness of wildfires — similar to the way officials use the magnitude scale for earthquakes and other tools to rate and evaluate tornadoes and hurricanes. By P. Solomon Banda. AP Photos. AP Video.

CITIZENSHIP DENIED-MISTAKE

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — When an appeals court ruled that immigration officials had wrongly denied U.S. citizenship to a man living just south of Texas, the decision revealed a mysterious legal error that began in 1978. The government had sought to apply an old law that cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution, which supposedly dealt with legitimizing out-of-wedlock births. But the Mexican Constitution has no such article. The mistake went uncorrected for a quarter of a century and resulted in an untold number of people being turned down for citizenship they were entitled to receive. By Christopher Sherman. AP Photos.

WORLD CUP-PRISONER CENTER

RIO DE JANEIRO — A World Cup stadium being built in the isolated Brazilian state of Amazonas may not become a white elephant after all. At least one judge in the area has come up with a post-World Cup use: a prisoner processing center. By Stephen Wade. AP Photo.

SOLO TREK

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 28-year-old British adventurer becomes the first woman to row solo from Japan to Alaska, arriving at a small town in the Aleutian Islands after 150 days at sea. By Mark Thiessen. AP Photos.

PIRATE TREASURE

BREWSTER, Massachusetts — He calls it “the yellow brick road” because it’s literally sprinkled with gold dust. This road runs along Cape Cod’s shifting seafloor, and undersea explorer Barry Clifford believes it leads to undiscovered treasure from the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah. About two weeks ago, Clifford and his dive team took a previously unplanned trip back to the wreck site, and Clifford returned more convinced than ever that the figurative road he’s exploring is leading to a very real mother lode of riches. Says he: “We think we’re very, very close.” By Jay Lindsay and Rodrique Ngowi. AP Photos. AP Video.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

SMITHFIELD FOODS-SHUANGHUI

RICHMOND, Virginia — Shareholders of Smithfield Foods Inc. approve a plan to sell the world’s largest pork producer and processor to a Chinese company. By AP Business Writer Michael Felberbaum. AP Photo.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

WASHINGTON — Americans’ confidence in the economy fell slightly in September from August, as many became less optimistic about hiring and pay increases over the next six months. By AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger. AP Photo.

With: HOME PRICES.

EARNS-CARNIVAL

NEW YORK (AP) — Lingering images of passengers stranded at sea for days as toilets back up and air conditioners fail has been enough to keep vacationers away from Carnival Cruise Lines, even as the company continues to discount sailings.

ORACLE-CEO-AMERICA’S CUP

SAN FRANCISCO — About 60,000 people have come from all over the world to attend Oracle’s biggest customer conference of the year, but Oracle CEO Larry Ellison left no doubt that his boating team’s defense of the America’s Cup is a higher priority. By AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke.

CUBA-NEW PORT

HAVANA — Cuba has approved tax exemption rules for a special commercial zone at a massive port under construction west of Havana, in hopes of luring more foreign investment as the country tries to lift its economy with a series of reforms. By Andrea Rodriguez.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT:

JACKSON-AEG SUIT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer for Michael Jackson’s family on Tuesday portrayed concert promoter AEG Live LLC and Jackson’s doctor as mercenaries who sacrificed the pop star’s life in a quest to boost their own fortunes. By AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. AP Photos. AP Video.

MUSIC-KINGS OF LEON

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Kings of Leon are having a great time. Problem is, no one really believes them. A very public meltdown in Dallas in 2011 led to some acrimonious tweets, the cancellation of 26 concert dates and a bunch of negative buzz that’s persisted a surprisingly long time. Since then, band members have played dozens of shows without incident, put down roots, married a few supermodels, had children and recorded an album.They’ve moved on, and they’re patiently waiting for their story to update. By AP Music Writer Chris Talbott. AP Photos.

With: MUSIC REVIEW-KINGS OF LEON.

TV-WENDELL PIERCE

NEW YORK — With no fewer than four projects in release, Wendell Pierce will meet himself coming. He has a recurring role on the USA law drama “Suits,” an edgy indie film titled “Four,” and he returns as fancy-free jazz trombonist Antoine Batiste on HBO’s glorious New Orleans series “Treme.” And that’s all on top of Pierce’s new role on “The Michael J. Fox Show,” which premieres on NBC on Thursday in a special hour-long edition. By Television Writer Frazier Moore. AP Photos.

THEATER-SPORTING PRODUCERS

NEW YORK — One night in late 2010, theater producer Fran Kirmser found herself in a Broadway theater beside an unusual guest — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The play that night, “Lombardi,” was the first work in a series of sports-related plays that Kirmser and her producing partner, Tony Ponturo, had planned for the following years. The third is being performed now, based on the New York Yankees. By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. AP Photos.

LOST PICKFORD FILM

KEENE, New Hampshire — Carpenter Peter Massie has come across some interesting finds over the years — antique bottles, old newspapers stuffed in walls. But his biggest discovery is the only known copy of a 1911 Mary Pickford movie that marked a turning point in the silent film star’s career. The Library of Congress is funding a project to restore “Their First Misunderstanding.” By Holly Ramer. AP Photos. AP Video.

PEOPLE-DINA LOHAN

HEMPSTEAD, New York — Lindsay Lohan’s mother enters a not guilty plea on speeding and drunken driving charges. Her license is suspended and she leaves the courthouse in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. By Frank Eltman. AP Photos.

FEATURES:

TRAVEL-TRIP-FLORIDA-FELLSMERE

FELLSMERE, Florida — There are more orange groves and cattle than residents in this cozy rural town an hour from Orlando. It’s a place where folks talk business, while chowing down on alligator tail, in a local restaurant that’s something of an unofficial museum, and where 80,000 people show up for the world’s largest frog leg festival. By Suzette Laboy. AP Photos.

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