BC-AP Americas Digest,1st Ld-Writethru
May. 13, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas will carry out on Tuesday the first U.S. execution since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month unless attorneys for a man convicted of murdering a bank teller can convince a court that he runs the same risk of the punishment going awry. By Michael Graczyk.
TORONTO — Three employees and the railway company involved in last summer's massive explosion of a runaway oil train that incinerated much of a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people, will face criminal negligence charges, provincial prosecutors announce.
WASHINGTON — The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured. AP Photo.
UNITED STATES-INDIA-REPAIRING RELATIONS
WASHINGTON — Indian elections results due Friday provide a chance to repair relations with the U.S. that were strained by the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York. But there's a big catch: Washington's uneasy relationship with the man expected to become India's next prime minister.
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — More than 200 gay couples obtain marriage licenses in the conservative southern state of Arkansas after a judge tossed out its 10-year-old same-sex marriage ban, but only at a handful of courthouses as an overwhelming majority of county clerks say they first wanted the state Supreme Court to weigh in. By Christina Huynh. AP Photos.
It was an eventful weekend: A gay American football player kissed his boyfriend on national TV after being drafted by the National Football League; gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt; a bearded cross-dresser won one of the biggest TV song competitions in the world. All indications of a civilization on the move — but where is it going? On a march toward equality, or a descent into a moral Wild West? It depends on your point of view. By Jesse Washington. AP Photos.
He was one of the most beloved teachers in the small world of international schools that serve the children of diplomats, well-off American expatriates and local elites. He was often the first to arrive, and the last to leave. He led students on class trips to exotic places. That was Bill Vahey's public persona, carefully crafted over four decades — until a maid stumbled on a trove of pictures showing the model teacher had molested scores of adolescent boys, possibly more, in a career spanning 10 schools on four continents. By Michael Weissenstein and Tami Abdollah. AP Photos. With glance.
SAN ANTONIO — The top Republican in Congress has delivered the strongest hints about his preference for the White House. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner says that he's "nudged" former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to seek the party's nomination for president in 2016. AP Photos.
WASHINGTON — A widely popular, bipartisan energy savings bill falls victim in the U.S. Senate to election-year politics and the Obama administration's continued indecision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. AP Photo.
HUMAN RIGHTS PROSECUTION
ARLINGTON, Virginia — The Ethiopian jail guard suspected of torturing and maiming political prisoners during that country's "Red Terror" era came to the United States in 2004 under a false identity, seeking asylum and claiming he would be persecuted if he returned home. He lived comfortably in Denver until one day in 2011 when another Ethiopian who recognized him outside a cafe confronted him with the words, "I think I know you." And that's how Kefelegn Alemu Worku, convicted last year of identity theft and immigration fraud, came to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities. The Justice Department is encouraging refugees to help it find and prosecute human rights abusers from their country who are hiding in the U.S. By Eric Tucker. AP Photos.
WASHINGTON — "Benghazi" has been a political rallying cry since just weeks before President Barack Obama's re-election in November 2012. With the launch of a new congressional investigation, Benghazi is shaping up as a byword of this November's midterm election and the presidential race in 2016, especially if former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the ballot.
CONDOMS AS EVIDENCE
NEW YORK — The New York Police Department will no longer confiscate unused condoms from suspected sex workers to be used as evidence of prostitution, ending a longstanding practice that had been criticized by civil rights groups for undermining efforts to combat AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
NYC TERROR LAWYERS
NEW YORK — People in the courthouse sometimes shun them. Friends, and even family, question their principles. For the small band of lawyers who defend the most despised terror suspects, the ones accused of hatching al-Qaida plots to kill Americans around the world, this is the highly uncomfortable life they chose. They are the true believers in the legal principle that everybody deserves representation in court, even if it means they get the same scorn and sometimes the same scrutiny as the people they represent.
WASHINGTON — The towering symbol that honors the first U.S. president and hero of the American Revolution reopened to the public Monday, nearly three years after an earthquake cracked and chipped the 130-year-old Washington Monument's stone obelisk. AP Photos.
MERS-2nd US CASE
NEW YORK — Health officials have confirmed a second U.S. case of a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.
VIRTUAL HOUSE CALLS
WASHINGTON — Mark Matulaitis holds out his arms so the Parkinson's specialist can check his tremors. But this is no doctor's office: Matulaitis sits in his rural home as a neurologist a few hundred miles (kilometers) away examines him via the camera in his laptop. Welcome to the virtual house call, the latest twist on telemedicine. It's increasingly getting attention as a way to conveniently diagnose simple maladies, such as whether that runny nose and cough is a cold or the flu. One company even offers a smartphone app that lets tech-savvy consumers connect to a doctor for $49 a visit. AP Photos.
BUSINESS & FINANCE:
NEW YORK — The stock market returns to record levels as investors regain their appetite for riskier stocks. After beating down Internet and small companies for two months, investors decided that those stocks had fallen enough. By Markets Writer Steve Rothwell.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. government ran a big surplus in April, thanks to a flood of tax payments that helped keep the budget on track for the lowest annual deficit in six years. AP Photo.
DETROIT — Chrysler Group saw big sales gains in the first quarter thanks to the new Jeep Cherokee and Ram pickup, but it lost money because of charges related to its merger with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. By Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin. AP Photo.
APPLE-DIFFERENT THINKING CEO
SAN FRANCISCO — "Think different" became Apple's creed during the late Steve Jobs' reign as CEO. Now, chief executive Tim Cook is embracing the idea while making decisions that would have seemed crazy to his fabled predecessor. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. AP Photos. AP Video.
PORTLAND, Oregon — After emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico, Dona Paula Asuncio worked on farms in Oregon and in minimum wage jobs at fast-food restaurants — a widow raising six children living in cramped apartments. But two years ago, she joined a program that helps immigrants open small culinary businesses, and she now runs a catering service, employs other immigrants, and has bought a home for her family. The economic downturn brought new interest in self-employment, especially among immigrants who are low income and have less access to jobs. By Gosia Wozniacka. AP Photos.
NEW YORK — Hillshire Brands is pushing further outside the deli case with a deal to buy the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, Duncan Hines cake mixes and Hungry-Man frozen dinners. The Chicago-based company, which makes Hillshire Farm lunch meats, Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks, said Monday that it would buy Pinnacle Foods in a deal valued at $4.23 billion. The move extends Hillshire's reach into other sections of the supermarket as more Americans watch how much meat they're eating. AP Photos.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
He spews radioactive fire, razes cities and pummels creatures from Earth and beyond, but even Godzilla needs a good lawyer sometimes. After all, you don't survive 60 years in the movie business without taking some fights to court. For decades, attorneys acting on behalf of Godzilla's owners, Tokyo-based Toho Co. Ltd., have amassed a string of victories, fighting counterfeiters and business titans such as Comcast and Honda along the way. The opponents have come from all corners of pop culture: TV commercials, video games, rap music and even the liquor industry. AP Photos.
MICHAEL SAM-THE CAMERAS
NEW YORK — The handsome football player gets drafted by an NFL team, plants an emotional kiss on his sweetheart and gives sportscasts a feel-good video clip. It's a scene that plays out for dozens of draft picks. But when a sobbing Michael Sam celebrated his selection by the St. Louis Rams by hugging and kissing his partner, another man, it made real and physical that an openly gay athlete had taken an unprecedented step toward an NFL career. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. AP Photo.
LOS ANGELES — The widow of the man who was driving a Porsche sports car that crashed and killed "Fast & Furious" actor Paul Walker sued the automaker on Monday, claiming design flaws caused both men to die in a fiery crash in November.
NEW YORK — Fox will cut "American Idol" to one night for several weeks next spring, part of a reset for a struggling network that will have 12 new series in the coming year including the much-awaited "Batman" prequel "Gotham." AP Photo.