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BC-AP Americas Digest

February 4, 2015

TOP STORIES:

TRAIN-CAR COLLISION

VALHALLA, New York — A packed commuter train slams into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks at a crossing, killing seven people, injuring several others and sending hundreds of passengers scrambling to get to safety as the front of the train and the SUV burst into flames. The impact was so forceful the electrified third rail buckled and pierced the train, authorities say. By Kiley Armstrong. AP Photos.

UNITED STATES-ISLAMIC STATE

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Jordanian King Abdullah II vow not to let up in the fight against the Islamic State group, as Jordanians mourn the death of a military pilot held captive by the militants. By Nedra Pickler. AP Photos. AP Video.

PENTAGON CHIEF

WASHINGTON — Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama’s pick as Pentagon chief for his final two years in office, says Congress needs to restore stability to the defense budget and the Pentagon must do its part by ending wasteful practices that undermine public confidence in military spending. The Senate Armed Services Committee opens Carter’s confirmation hearing Wednesday. SENT: 800 words, photo. UPCOMING: 900 words after 9:30 a.m. hearing.

VACCINE POLITICS

WASHINGTON — The increasingly contentious debate over childhood vaccination spilled over into the 2016 campaign with two presidential hopefuls getting a lesson on how unexpected issues can become stumbling blocks. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photos.

NSA SURVEILLANCE-CHANGES

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has announced a series of modest changes in the use of private data collected for intelligence purposes, a move that underscores how little the Edward Snowden revelations have impeded the National Security Agency’s exploitation of global Internet communications. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian.

ARGENTINA-PROSECUTOR KILLED

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Investigators examining the death of a prosecutor who accused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of agreeing to shield the alleged masterminds of a 1994 terror bombing say they have found a draft document he wrote requesting her arrest. By Peter Prengaman. AP Photos.

ARGENTINA-SPY AGENCY REFORM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s clandestine spy agency has a notoriously dark past that includes its failure to prevent a major attack on a Jewish community center, then allegedly sabotaging the investigation into what happened. By Peter Prengaman. AP Photos.

BOOKS-HARPER LEE

NEW YORK — “To Kill a Mockingbird” will not be Harper Lee’s only published book after all. Publisher Harper announced Tuesday that “Go Set a Watchman,” a novel the Pulitzer Prize-winning author completed in the 1950s and put aside, will be released July 14. Rediscovered last fall, “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier. By National Writer Hilel Italie. AP Photos.

With: BOOKS-HARPER LEE-MOVIE.

TEXAS EXECUTION

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A convicted robber who was already a three-time felon with a violent history when he was locked up, was serving a 99-year prison term when he joined six fellow convicts in Texas’ biggest prison break ever. Now, Donald Newbury is set for execution Wednesday for the shooting death of a suburban Dallas police officer during a sporting goods store robbery the fugitives carried out after their escape in 2000. By Michael Graczyk. AP Photo.

COLOMBIA-EXTORTION BOOM

BOGOTA, Colombia — No target is too small for extortion rackets that are the new face of organized crime in Colombia following the government’s success in breaking up drug cartels. By Joshua Goodman.

CANADA-FOREIGN MINISTER

TORONTO — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who helped Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper nudge a liberal-leaning country further to the right, unexpectedly resigned Tuesday with plans to work in the private sector. By Rob Gillies. AP Photos.

UNITED STATES-THAILAND-MILITARY EXERCISE

WASHINGTON — The United States will conduct live-fire training at an upcoming military exercise in Thailand despite saying it would be focusing the drills on nonlethal security cooperation, a U.S. official says. By Matthew Pennington.

VENEZUELA-SHORTAGES

CARACAS, Venezuela — National guardsmen and state price adjusters fan out across Venezuela to impose a military-style occupation with an unusual goal: Making sure shoppers can buy enough sugar. By Hannah Dreier. AP Photos.

CANADA-TERROR ARREST

TORONTO — Canadian police arrest one man who they say was part of an Islamic State recruiting cell and charge two more men who are overseas — one of whom may be dead. By Rob Gillies. AP Photos.

UNITED STATES-CUBA

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s lead negotiator with Cuba is vowing to maintain U.S. support for democracy and human rights activists there as she pushes to restore embassies between the countries after a half-century interruption. An Associated Press-GfK poll finds broad support in the United States for warmer ties with Cuba. By Bradley Klapper and Emily Swanson. With AP Photos.

MEXICO-PRESIDENT’S HOUSE

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto pledges to open a government investigation into purchases of luxury homes made by himself, his wife and his finance secretary from government contractors. By E. Eduardo Castillo. AP Photos.

TEXAS EXECUTION

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A convicted robber who was already a three-time felon with a violent history when he was locked up, was serving a 99-year prison term when he joined six fellow convicts in Texas’ biggest prison break ever. Now, Donald Newbury is set for execution Wednesday for the shooting death of a suburban Dallas police officer during a sporting goods store robbery the fugitives carried out after their escape in 2000. By Michael Graczyk. AP Photo.

CANADA-AVIATION SAFETY SUMMIT

MONTREAL — A United Nations agency is hoping to quickly introduce new measures to keep closer tabs on planes following last year’s disappearance of a flight in Asia and shooting down of a passenger plane in Europe. By Benjamin Shingler.

FUR’S FUTURE

LIMINGTON, Maine — Economic forces including market slowdowns in big fur-buying countries like Russia, China and South Korea, and a continuing trend toward distaste for fur as a result of animal welfare concerns, mean a dwindling number of U.S. trappers catching fur-bearing beasts in the wild. By Patrick Whittle. AP Photos.

BUSINESS & FINANCE:

STANDARD & POOR’S-SETTLEMENT

WASHINGTON — More than six years after the financial crisis struck, credit rating giant Standard & Poor’s will be paying a hefty $1.38 billion penalty for its role in fueling the subprime mortgage meltdown. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. By Marcy Gordon, Eric Tucker and Matthew Craft. AP Photo.

TOYOTA-FATAL CRASH

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal jury decides that the design of the 1996 Toyota Camry had a dangerous defect that was partly to blame for a fatal 2006 crash, and the automaker must pay nearly $11 million to victims. By Amy Forliti. AP Photos.

EARNS-WALT DISNEY

BURBANK, California — Disney might be lapping the hugely successful theatrical release of “Frozen,” but magic lives on in its media networks and parks and resorts. Revenue from Disney parks and resorts rose 9 percent to $3.9 billion in the last three months of 2014, as more people visited its California and Florida properties and spent more money there. By Business Writer Mae Anderson.

With: DISNEY-NO MEASLES IMPACT.

COKE-MILK

NEW YORK — Coke is coming out with premium milk that has more protein and less sugar than regular. And it’s betting people will pay twice as much for it. By Food Industry Writer Candice Choi. AP Photos. AP Video.

SANOFI-MANNKING-INHALED INSULIN

TRENTON, New Jersey — Hoping to appeal to millions of needle-phobic Americans with diabetes, drugmakers Sanofi and Mannkind have just launched Afrezza, an insulin that’s inhaled, rather than injected. By Business Writer Linda A. Johnson. AP Photo.

AUTO SALES

DETROIT — With low interest rates and cheaper gasoline to motivate them, and no polar vortex to keep them home, consumers went car-shopping in a big way in January. New vehicle sales rose 14 percent to 1.15 million, according to Autodata Corp. It was the best January in nine years. Car buyers found a few deals, but they were also attracted to popular new vehicles such as the Ford F-150 and Jeep Cherokee. By Auto Writers Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher. AP Photo.

ENERGY-COLD WAR

WASHINGTON — The United States and Russia are once more locked in what could be a generation-defining conflict, and Europe is yet again the core battleground. But this Cold War reprise isn’t about military supremacy. By Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

GRAMMYWATCH-PREDICTIONS

Will Beyonce reign as queen of the Grammys Awards, or will the pop diva be dethroned by newcomer Sam Smith? By Music Writers Mesfin Fekadu and Nekesa Mumbi Moody. AP Photos.

With:

—GRAMMYWATCH-SIA: Sia, who has risen in the pop music ranks thanks to writing hits for female stars and hitting the charts with her own tunes, is a top contender at the Grammy Awards, though she’s not sure she will attend the big show. AP Photos..

—GRAMMYWATCH-SIA-PRODUCER: Greg Kurstin, whose Grammy nominations include non-classical producer of the year thanks to his work with Sia, discusses some of the hits and other songs he’s produced for other starlets, from Kelly Clarkson to Taylor Swift. AP Photos.

—GRAMMYWATCH-SIA-DANCER: The face for Sia’s music — the child dancer Maddie Ziegler who first gained fame as a star on the Lifetime series, “Dance Moms” — says singing could be in her future. AP Photos.

OSCARS-BIRDMAN TITLE

NEW YORK — And the winner is ... a mouthful. Though the full wingspan of the best-picture favorite at the Academy Awards is usually clipped down to simply “Birdman,” the movie many think is destined to fly highest at the Oscars is officially titled “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” If it were to win, it would be the longest-titled best-picture winner, as well as the most grammatically dubious. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. AP Photos.

TV-JOHN OLIVER

NEW YORK — John Oliver says that he’s hired three new researchers to help with what has become his HBO show’s signature, a long-form take on a newsy subject where it’s often hard to figure out where he will find the comedy.Oliver’s show, “Last Week Tonight,” returns Sunday after being on hiatus since November. He’ll make 35 new episodes between now and November 2015. By Television Writer David Bauder. AP Photo.

MUSIC-JAMIE CULLUM

NEW YORK — Singer-pianist Jamie Cullum has always been a “record nerd” at heart. And it’s that passion for digging up obscure recordings that distinguishes his new CD “Interlude” from other retro “standards” collections. By Charles J. Gans.

TV REVIEW-FRESH OFF THE BOAT

NEW YORK — Diversity on TV takes a step forward with ABC’s “Fresh off the Boat,” which boosts Asians’ scant presence in prime time with a sitcom about an Asian-American family pursuing the American dream while holding onto their own ethnicity. By Television Writer Frazier Moore. AP Photos.

CUBA-HOLLYWOOD

LOS ANGELES — Producers expect more U.S. filmmakers will seek to shoot in Cuba and work with local crews after President Barack Obama’s new trade and travel regulations. By Christine Armario. AP Photos.

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