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BC-AP Americas Digest

February 7, 2014

TOP STORIES:

UNITED STATES-UKRAINE-PHONE CALL

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senior American diplomats, thinking their conversation about the Ukraine was secure and private, are caught disparaging the European Union in a phone call that was apparently bugged, and U.S. officials say they strongly suspect Russia of leaking the conversation. By Matthew Lee. AP Photos.

UNITED STATES-IRAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is temporarily waiving sanctions on Iran’s state broadcaster, a senior Obama administration official says. The move could be seen as a confidence-building measure as the U.S., Iran and five other world powers prepare to open talks this month on a final agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program. By Julie Pace.

UN-SYRIA-CHEMICAL WEAPONS

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council calls on Syria to speed up the removal of its most harmful chemical weapons agents from the country, expressing “growing concern” at several missed deadlines. By Edith M. Lederer.

VIOLIN THEFT-MILWAUKEE

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The mystery of what happened to a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius violin stolen in a stun gun attack is answered when Milwaukee police recover the instrument and blame the heist at least in part on an art thief who once stole a statue from a gallery and then tried to sell it back. By Dinesh Ramde and M.L. Johnson. AP Photos.

OBAMA-HAITI

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four years after a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti, President Barack Obama praises the rebound taking place in the impoverished Caribbean nation but say there is more work to be done. He pledges that America will remain a partner in that process. By Darlene Superville. AP Photos.

SALVADORAN TORTURE-GENERAL

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia (AP) — In the ’80s, the U.S. government considered Salvadoran Gen. Eugenio Vides Casanova a hero, twice awarding him the Legion of Merit for leading a battle against left-wing rebels in his country. Now, the U.S. government considers him a pariah, and wants him deported for his role in a series of human rights abuses. By Matthew Barakat.

SYRIAN SURVIVORS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears welling in her eyes, Syrian refugee Amineh Sawan says that Americans are too focused on the use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad. By Henry Jackson. AP Photos.

CANADA-TORONTO MAYOR

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose admitted crack cocaine use and bizarre antics made him a favorite of late-night comedians, now has a video channel of his own. By Rob Gillies. AP Photos.

BAUCUS-CHINA

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate easily confirms longtime Sen. Max Baucus to become ambassador to China, handing the job to a lawmaker who is familiar with U.S. trade policy but has little expertise about military and other issues that have caused tensions in recent years with Beijing. By Alan Fram. AP Photos.

BRAZIL-PROTEST

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police and protesters violently clash in Rio de Janeiro’s main train station in a demonstration against a 10-cent hike in bus fare. A cameraman for Band TV was hit in the head by either a stun grenade launched by police or a homemade explosive tossed by protesters; it was not immediately clear which. By Renata Brito. AP Photos.

THREAT WARNING-AIRLINES

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department is banning all liquids from carry-on luggage for nonstop flights from the U.S. to Russia. By Alicia A. Caldwell. AP Photos.

MEXICO-SEA SURVIVOR

MEXICO CITY — Members of the family of Mexican fisherman Ezequiel Cordoba, who died during a 13-month sea odyssey, say they don’t blame the survivor who turned up in the Marshall Islands. AP Photos.

MED-STROKE-WOMEN

UNDATED — Just as heart attack symptoms may differ between men and women, so do stroke risks. Now, the American Heart Association has issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women. They focus on birth control, pregnancy, depression and other risk factors that women face uniquely or more frequently than men do. By Marilynn Marchione. AP Photos.

PUERTO RICO-RETIREMENT REGRETS

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — For many elderly people of Puerto Rican descent, returning to the island of their childhood, or of their parent’s childhood, has long been a nostalgic dream. Unfortunately for many who achieved the dream, it’s turning into a struggle because life in Puerto Rico has become anything but idyllic in the midst of an eight-year recession. By Danica Coto. AP Photos.

CUBA-BURIED ALIVE-PHOTO GALLERY

SANTIAGO DE LAS VEGAS, Cuba — Villagers take part in the annual tradition of staging a mock funeral and burial of a local amid a musical, rum-soaked party atmosphere. By Anne-Marie Garcia. Photos and TV.

NANNY-BABY KILLED

WOBURN, Massachusetts (AP) — Lawyers for an Irish nanny accused of killing a Massachusetts baby says that medical experts hired by prosecutors have concluded the child suffered bone fractures weeks before her death when she was not in the nanny’s care.

WINTER WEATHER

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Americans spend a second chilly day without electricity as utility crews from as far away as Canada and Arkansas scramble to restore power lost when a heavy coating of ice took down trees and limbs in the mid-Atlantic. By Mark Scolforo. AP Photos.

BUSINESS and FINANCE:

INSIDER TRADING ARREST

NEW YORK (AP) — A former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager was convicted Thursday of helping the company owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen earn more than a quarter-billion dollars illegally through trades based on secrets about the testing of a potential breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug. By Larry Neumeister.

CASINO DEBT-CANADA BUSINESSMAN

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Canadian real estate businessman and gambling high-roller is sought in Nevada on charges that he failed to repay $12.9 million in debts to two Las Vegas-area casinos more than five years ago, authorities say. By Ken Ritter.

RUSSIA-GAY RIGHTS-GOOGLE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With the Winter Games underway in Sochi, Google Inc. quietly but vibrantly added its voice Thursday to the chorus of U.S. companies speaking out against Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities by updating its iconic search page logo to depict illustrations of athletes skiing, sledding, curling and skating against a rainbow-colored backdrop.

ARGENTINA-INFLATION APP

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A free smartphone application has encouraged more than 70,000 Argentines to become citizen-cops as they shop. Argentina’s government blames escalating inflation on speculators and greedy businesses, and has pressured leading supermarket chains to keep selling more than 80 key products at fixed prices. President Cristina Fernandez wants citizens to report any overpriced items to the consumer protection agency. By Paul Byrne. AP Photos.

GOOGLE-VIDEOCONFERENCE BOX

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California (AP) — Google is introducing a videoconferencing tool designed to make it easier and less expensive to hold face-to-face business meetings even if the participants are scattered in different locations. By Michael Liedtke.

ENTERTAINMENT:

HOFFMAN-WAKE

NEW YORK (AP) — Mourning for Philip Seymour Hoffman continues as family and close friends pay their respects to the actor at a wake in Manhattan. AP Photos.

TV-LENO’S LAST

BURBANK, California (AP) — Jay Leno said farewell to “The Tonight Show” once before, but that turned out to be just a rehearsal. Leno is stepping down for the second and presumably last time, making way for successor Jimmy Fallon in New York. By Lynn Elber. AP Photos.

FASHION-DELPOZO

NEW YORK (AP) — Luxury fashion can sometimes look like a fast-food business, Josep Font says, with items that are mass-produced and mediocre quality despite high prices. The creative director of the Spanish fashion brand DelPozo works hard to avoid that. By Claudia Toreens. AP Photos.

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