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BC-AP Americas Digest

February 25, 2014

TOP STORIES:

DRUG WAR-MEXICO-CARTEL FUTURE

MEXICO CITY — The powerful Sinaloa cartel is expected to go right on selling billions of dollars of illegal drugs despite the takedown of its legendary leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who leaves in place a sophisticated distribution network and business plan. By Katherine Corcoran. AP Photos.

With: US-DRUG WAR-MEXICO-EXTRADITION Q&A.

PROSECUTING THE KINGPIN

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors across the U.S. are already jockeying over who will handle any case against drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, even though it’s far from clear whether he’ll ever be brought to this country to face charges. By Eric Tucker and Alicia A. Caldwell. AP Photos.

DEFENSE BUDGET

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposes shrinking the U.S. Army to its smallest size in 74 years, closing military bases and making other military-wide savings as part of a broad reshaping after more than a decade of war. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. AP Photos.

ARIZONA GAY RIGHTS

PHOENIX — Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer faces intensifying pressure from CEOs, politicians in Washington and state lawmakers in her own party to veto a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays and lesbians. By Bob Christie. AP Photos.

US-UKRAINE

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration signals it no longer recognizes Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine’s president. The shift of support for opposition leaders in Kiev came even as U.S. officials sought to assure Russia that it does not have to be shut out of a future relationship with a new Ukrainian government. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes. AP Photos.

BIDEN-UKRAINE

WASHINGTON — In the hours before he fled Ukraine’s capital, President Viktor Yanukovych huddled on the phone for more than hour with Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime associate and close contact throughout the political crisis gripping the former Soviet republic. Biden and Yanukovych held nine lengthy phone calls during the crisis, building up a level of trust that U.S. officials say was crucial to getting the Ukrainian leader to sign an agreement paving the way for a fragile peace. Biden’s prominent role in the diplomatic wrangling comes at a time when his foreign policy credentials have been called into question by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who wrote in a recent memoir that the vice president has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates’ criticism, coming as Biden contemplates a presidential run in 2016, was a sharp blow to the vice president, for years the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photo.

VENEZUELA-PROTESTS

CARACAS, Venezuela — A meeting billed as a national dialogue for local and state officials in troubled Venezuela convenes without the country’s most prominent opposition leader. By Ben Fox and Christopher Sherman. AP Photos.

SUPREME COURT-GREENHOUSE GASES

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appears divided over the sole Obama administration program already in place to limit power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. By Mark Sherman. AP Photo.

DRUGS ON HIGH SEAS

SAN DIEGO — While security has tightened at the U.S. border, drug smugglers are increasingly turning to the high seas. The area where boats were seized off California and the northwest coast of Mexico tripled during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended in September. Off South America, traffickers over the years have been traversing territory so big the continental United States could be dropped inside of it. By Julie Watson and Elliot Spagat. AP Photos.

JAMAICA-SLUM STANDOFF

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica appoints a fact-finding panel to examine a May 2010 operation by security forces that killed more than 70 citizens in gritty slums during a state of emergency on the Caribbean island. By David McFadden. AP Photo.

MEXICO-VIGILANTES

AJUCHITLAN, Mexico — Hundreds of vigilantes gather to celebrate the anniversary of a movement that chased a violent drug cartel out of many of its strongholds in Michoacan state, and largely ended a reign of terror for farmers, ranchers and businessmen.

GAY BASKETBALL PLAYER

LOS ANGELES — Basketball veteran Jason Collins becomes the first openly gay active player in North America’s major pro sports leagues when he walked onto the court for a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, breaking a barrier in team sports as the continent’s acceptance of gay athletes continues to grow. AP Photos.

CANCER-OVARIES

WASHINGTON — For women who carry a notorious cancer gene, surgery to remove healthy ovaries is one of the most protective steps they can take. New research suggests some may benefit most from having the operation as young as 35. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard.

3 PARENT EMBRYOS-FDA

WASHINGTON — U.S. government health regulators will consider this week whether to green light a provocative new fertilization technique that could eventually create babies from the DNA of three people, with the goal of preventing mothers from passing on debilitating genetic diseases to their children. By Health Writer Matthew Perrone.

HISPANIC HEALTH

CHICAGO — The U.S. government’s largest-ever study of Hispanics’ health may help answer why they live longer than other Americans but the first results suggest that for some, the trend might be in jeopardy. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. AP Photo.

BUSINESS

NETFLIX-COMCAST-CONSUMER Q&A

SAN FRANCISCO — After years of bickering, online video purveyor Netflix and media giant Comcast, the largest U.S. broadband service, are working together to provide their subscribers with a more enjoyable experience when they’re watching movies and old television shows over high-speed Internet connections. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. AP Photo.

US-ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — Business economists are almost equally divided over whether the Federal Reserve will pare its bond purchases at the current pace through year’s end or pause to let the economy recover further.

WIRELESS SHOW-DIGITAL LIFE-SAMSUNG GADGETS

NEW YORK — Samsung is banking on people shaping up this spring. The company has unveiled its new Galaxy S5 smartphone, which is set to go on sale in April, along with a pair of fitness-themed watches. And many of the features included on the devices focus on fitness. By Bree Fowler. AP Photos.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

OBIT-RAMIS

CHICAGO — Harold Ramis, the bespectacled “Ghostbusters” sidekick to Bill Murray whose early grounding in live comedy led to such classics as “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” ″Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day,” dies. He was 69. By Tammy Webber. AP Photos. AP Video.

With: OBIT-RAMIS-CLASSIC COMEDIES.

OSCARS-LONG ROAD TO SCREEN

NEW YORK — This year’s Academy Awards nominees reflect a Hollywood truism: The margin between the dust bin and the Oscar red carpet is often razor thin. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. AP Photos.

OSCARS-THE SHOW

LOS ANGELES — With less than a week to go before the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood is on lockdown. Guards stand at every door, and handlers with walkie-talkies keep a close eye on any visitors. By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen. AP Photos.

MUSIC-Q&A-IMAGINE DRAGONS

NEW YORK — Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds has been enjoying rock stardom from a relevantly sane place. Despite recently winning a Grammy, reaching double platinum status with its debut album and having three international hits, some folks still wonder who — or what — the band is. By Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu. AP Photos.

ELVIS EXHIBIT-PRISCILLA PRESLEY

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The telegram sent by Elvis Presley to his parents in November 1954 gives a glimpse into the young singer’s sense of responsibility and his optimism, as he begins what will become an influential career as a rock ‘n’ roll icon and cultural phenomenon. The note is being displayed in an exhibit at Graceland, Presley’s longtime Memphis home that today serves as a museum and tourist attraction. The exhibit, which opened Monday, commemorates the 60 years since Presley cut his first record, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Studio in July 1954. It was played on the radio days later, and many believe its release marked the birth of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll. By Adrian Sanz. AP Photos.

URUGUAY-OBIT-PAEZ VILARO

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Carlos Paez Vilaro, a self-trained painter, sculptor, screenwriter, musician and architect who championed Afro-Uruguayan Candombe music and dance, created colorful murals, and built a “living sculpture” that became a 50-room hotel, dies at age 90. By Leonardo Haberkorn. AP Photos.

JAMAICA-REGGAE CLASSROOM

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Barefoot and dressed in donated clothes, 12-year-old Renaldo Brown methodically plays scales on a flute under the canopy of trees at a Jamaican vocational school renowned for nurturing many of this music-steeped island’s top instrumentalists. By David McFadden. AP Photos.

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