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BC-AP Americas Digest

December 10, 2013

TOP STORIES:

PLASTIC GUNS

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congress votes to renew an expiring ban on plastic firearms that can evade airport detection machines. But Republicans block an effort to toughen the restrictions — the latest defeat for gun-control forces in the year since the grade school massacre in the state of Connecticut. By Alan Fram. AP Photo.

OBAMA-MANDELA

CENTURION, South Africa — The comparisons are perhaps inevitable. President Barack Obama and former South African leader Nelson Mandela each served as their nation’s first black president, living symbols of struggles to overcome deep-seated racial tensions. Each was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But as Obama prepares to honor Mandela at a memorial service Tuesday in South Africa, people close to the U.S. president say he is well-aware that his rapid rise through America’s political ranks pales in comparison to Mandela’s 27 years in prison fighting against a repressive government that brutally enforced laws that enshrined racial discrimination. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photos. AP Video.

UNITED STATES-NKOREA

WASHINGTON — The dramatic ouster of the uncle of North Korea’s young ruler has sidelined the reputed second-most powerful official in the secretive hierarchy but Washington is not banking on a radical shift in Pyongyang’s nuclear policy. By Matthew Pennington. AP Photos.

NKOREA-DETAINED AMERICAN

SAN FRANCISCO — The 85-year-old U.S. veteran who was detained for weeks by North Korea says that the videotaped confession in which he apologized for killing North Koreans during the war was given involuntarily and under duress. By Lisa Leff. AP Photo.

KERRY

WASHINGTON — John Kerry leaves on his ninth trip to the Mideast as Secretary of State to resume talks with Israel and the Palestinians aimed at crafting a final status agreement to end the decades-long conflict. By Deb Riechmann.

URUGUAY-MARIJUANA

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguay’s plan to set up a legal, regulated marijuana market has reached its final legislative stage, with the Senate expected to approve the plan by late Tuesday and send it to President Jose Mujica for his signature. By Leonardo Haberkorn. AP Photos.

WINTRY WEATHER

MINNEAPOLIS — Snow and bitter cold snarl traffic and prompt another 1,650 U.S. flight cancellations, and tens of thousands of people are still without power after January-like weather barges in a month early. AP Photos. AP Video.

ARGENTINA-POLICE LOOTING

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Mobs swarm into streets abandoned by striking police in many parts of Argentina, smashing into stores and carrying off whatever they can carry, from baby carriages to beer, and in one case a refrigerator unit full of ice cream. By Michael Warren. AP Photos.

LA-SHERIFF CORRUPTION

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials say 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies saw themselves as being “above the law” when they engaged in crimes that included beating inmates and jail visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to obstruct an FBI probe of the nation’s largest jail system. By Tami Abdollah and Greg Risling. AP Photos.

CLIMATE CHANGE-RESPONSE

WASHINGTON — When it comes to climate change, local officials have a message for Washington: lead or get out of the way. Local governments act as first responders in emergencies, and increasingly they are working to identify ways to plan for sea level rise, floods, hurricanes and other extreme events associated with climate change. As a presidential task force prepares for its first meeting on Tuesday, local officials have some advice for their federal counterparts. “The first thing the feds should do is stop making things worse,” said Boulder, Colo., Mayor Matthew Appelbaum. By Matthew Daly. Moving about 3:30 a.m. 800 words.

NSA SURVEILLANCE-TECH

WASHINGTON — Silicon Valley is escalating pressure on President Barack Obama to curb the U.S. government surveillance programs that vacuum personal information off the Internet and threaten the technology industry’s financial livelihood. By Marcy Gordon and Michael Liedtke. AP Photo.

CANADA-ARCTIC SOVEREIGNTY CLAIMS

TORONTO — Canada plans to make a claim to the North Pole in an effort to assert its sovereignty in the resource-rich Arctic, the country’s foreign affairs minister says. By Charmaine Noronha. AP Photo.

CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING

NEWTOWN, Connecticut — The Connecticut town of Newtown asks for privacy during the upcoming anniversary of the school shooting that killed 20 children and six staffers. By Stephen Singer and Pat Eaton-Robb. AP Photos.

VENEZUELA-MAYORAL ELECTIONS

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro weathers Venezuela’s mayoral elections, winning the biggest share of votes and thwarting hopes of the opposition to undermine his rule, but now he faces a bigger challenge: fixing the economy. By Joshua Goodman. AP Photos.

GUANTANAMO-PRISONER SEARCHES

WASHINGTON — U.S. appeals court judges question whether the government has gone too far by searching the genital areas of Guantanamo detainees who want to meet with their lawyers. By Frederic J. Frommer.

PUERTO RICO-FREEDIVING

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The death of a New Yorker while freediving in the Bahamas highlights the dangers of the sport, with some 70 freediving deaths recorded worldwide last year. Yet the sport is growing in popularity as more people seek to test the limits of human endurance. By Danica Coto. AP Photos

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY-MENINGITIS

PRINCETON, New Jersey — Princeton University has begun vaccinating nearly 6,000 students to try to stop an outbreak of type B meningitis in an unusual federal government-endorsed administration of a drug not generally approved for use in the United States. By Geoff Mulvihill.

UN-GROWTH OF CITIES

UNITED NATIONS — The number of city dwellers is at an all-time high of about 3.5 billion and will nearly double in the next 30 to 40 years, with almost all the growth in developing countries, the head of the U.N. agency focusing on cities says. By Edith M. Lederer.

HARMLESS LUNG CANCER

CHICAGO — A provocative study found that nearly 1 in 5 lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems. By Medical Writer Lindsey Te

BRAZIL-FAN VIOLENCE

SAO PAULO — As video of Brazilian fans kicking, beating and using metal bars to pummel supporters of a rival team spread around the globe, officials seek to assure people thinking of coming to the 2014 World Cup that they won’t see that type of violence. By Tales Azzoni. AP Photo.

NEW COCKROACH

NEW YORK — The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side into one of New York’s newest tourist attractions, may have brought a different kind of visitor: a cockroach that can withstand harsh winter cold and never seen before in the U.S. By Frank Eltman. AP Photos.

COLOMBIA-BOGOTA MAYOR

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s inspector-general orders Bogota’s left-leaning mayor removed from office for alleged unconstitutional behavior in a showdown last year with private garbage collectors. By Vivian Sequera. AP Photos.

MORMON CHURCH-BLACK PRIESTS

SALT LAKE CITY — More than three decades after reversing its prohibition of black priests, the Mormon church has disavowed the ban, saying it was put into place during an era of great racial divide that influenced early teachings of the church. By Brady McCombs.

HAITI-US AID

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The U.S. Agency for International Development will shift from building houses to financing them for people displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the agency’s chief for the Caribbean nation says. By Trenton Daniel. AP Photo.

COLDEST EVER

WASHINGTON — Newly analyzed data from East Antarctica say the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold. The record is minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 94.7 Celsius). By Seth Borenstein.

CUBA-ELIAN GONZALEZ

HAVANA — Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy who survived a boat sinking and became a political football during the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign as the subject of an international custody fight, is on his first trip overseas since being reunited with his father. By Peter Orsi. AP Photo.

BUSINESS:

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — The stock market notches another record close after a big acquisition in the food industry. Hope for a longer-term budget deal in Washington also helped. By Markets Writer Steve Rothwell. AP Photo.

NASDAQ HANGOVER

NEW YORK — It takes a long time to recover from a bad hangover, especially when you party like it’s 1999. The Nasdaq is up 35 percent this year. But while other major indexes like the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 have celebrated all-time highs again and again, the Nasdaq remains nearly 20 percent below its dot-com peak. That’s a good thing because the biggest beneficiary of the late 90s internet mania was also its biggest victim. By Markets Writer Ken Sweet. AP Photos.

SYSCO-US FOODS

HOUSTON — One of the largest food supply companies is buying one of its key rivals, creating an even larger, global distribution company. Sysco is buying privately held US Foods for about $3.5 billion in cash and stock. When the deal closes, Sysco expects the addition of US Foods to boost its annual sales by about 46 percent to around $65 billion.

THE NEW RICH

WASHINGTON — Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding extensive influence over America’s economy and politics, according to new survey data. By Hope Yen.

With: US-NET WORTH.

GENERAL MOTORS-GOVERNMENT STOCK

DETROIT — The U.S. government ended up losing $10.5 billion on the General Motors bailout, but it says the alternative would have been far worse. The Treasury Department sold its final shares of the Detroit auto giant on Monday, recovering $39 billion of the $49.5 billion it spent to save the dying automaker at the height of the financial crisis five years ago. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher.

AIRLINE-MERGER

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines emerged from bankruptcy protection and US Airways culminated its long pursuit of a merger partner as the two completed their deal to create the world’s biggest airline. By Airlines Writer David Koenig. AP Photos.

With: AIRLINE MERGER-SUMMARY BOX.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

FILM-OBIT-ELEANOR PARKER

LOS ANGELES — Eleanor Parker, who was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strong-willed women and played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music,” has died at 91. By Film Writer Jessica Herndon. AP Photo.

SEAWORLD-ENTERTAINERS CANCELING

ORLANDO, Florida — The rock bands Heart and Barenaked Ladies along with country singer Willie Nelson have canceled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida, citing the recent documentary “Blackfish,” which raises questions about the effects of captivity on whales. By Mike Schneider. AP Photo.

FILM REVIEW-THE HOBBIT

Sleeping dragons, as we know from our childhood literature, eventually awaken. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a story. So it’s hardly news that in the second installment of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy, the dragon rouses from his slumber. What IS news: the franchise wakes up, too. By Jocelyn Noveck. AP Photos.

FILM REVIEW-AMERICAN HUSTLE

Underscoring deeply conflicted characters, who are on a mission to reconceive their unsatisfying circumstances, has become director David O. Russell’s sweet spot. From his raw 1996 film, “Flirting with Disaster,” to last year’s acclaimed “Silver Linings Playbook,” he effectively unravels the disarray. In the 1970s-set con artist tale “American Hustle,” Russell’s ability to depict an audacious take on a bedlam breakdown peaks, making this his most entertaining jaunt yet. By Film Writer Jessica Herndon. AP Photos.

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