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BC-AP Americas Digest

April 15, 2014

TOP STORIES:

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak for the first time in more than two weeks but show little sign of agreement, with the U.S. leader urging pro-Russian forces to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and Putin denying that Moscow was interfering in the region. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photo.

With: UNITED STATES-RUSSIA SHIP.

OBAMA-RUSSIA

WASHINGTON — With the White House asserting that Russia is stoking instability in eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama is once again faced with the complicated reality of following through on his tough warnings against overseas provocations. Obama has vowed repeatedly to enact biting sanctions against Russia’s vital economic sectors if the Kremlin tries to replicate its actions in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine, elsewhere in the former Soviet republic. Despite those warnings, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be testing Obama’s limits, instigating protests in eastern Ukraine, the White House says, and massing tens of thousands of troops on the border, but so far stopping short of a full-scale military incursion. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photos.

UNITED NATIONS-SYRIA-TORTURE

UNITED NATIONS — The bodies of the young men in the photographs are emaciated, their bones protruding. Some bear the marks of strangulation. Others have bruises and welts from being beaten. The U.N. Security Council will meet privately Tuesday to view projected slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of the Syrian civil war. It is part of a Western push for Syria’s referral to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. By Peter James Spielmann.

FATAL SHOOTING-KANSAS

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — The Army veteran and retired trucker with Ku Klux Klan links accused of killing three people outside a Jewish community center was never one to keep his hatred for himself, though there is scant evidence he had ever resorted to violence before. By Maria Sudekum. AP Photos. AP Video.

With: FATAL SHOOTING-VICTIMS.

FATAL SHOOTING-WHITE SUPREMACIST

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Just days before the fatal shooting of three people outside two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City, a group monitoring anti-Semitic violence in the United States optimistically noted a sharp decline in such incidents. The contrast between the Anti-Defamation League’s 2013 audit and Sunday’s killings highlights what hate-group monitors say is a larger trend: more overall tolerance disrupted by periodic bursts of violence from a disenfranchised fringe. By Alan Scher Zagier and Bill Draper. AP Photos.

PULITZER PRIZES

NEW YORK — The Washington Post and The Guardian win the Pulitzer Prize in public service for revealing the U.S. government’s sweeping surveillance efforts in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents supplied by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. By Meghan Barr. AP Photos.

With: PULITZER PRIZES-SNOWDEN; PULITZER PRIZES-BOSTON GLOBE; PULITZERS-LIST.

PULITZER PRIZES-NSA SURVEILLANCE

WASHINGTON — Coverage of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance program that won the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday follows a tradition of bucking the U.S. government on matters of secret intelligence. By Brett Zongker. AP Photos.

SEVEN DEAD BABIES

PROVO, Utah — Authorities say a U.S. woman accused of killing six babies that she gave birth to over 10 years told investigators that she either strangled or suffocated the children and then put them inside boxes in the garage of her home in the western state of Utah. By Brady McCombs. AP Photos.

CHILE-VALPARAISO FIRE

VALPARAISO, Chile — With all of Valparaiso under military rule, 5,000 firefighters, police, forest rangers, soldiers, sailors and civil defense workers join in a mammoth fight against wildfires licking around the hilltop shantytowns of this picturesque port city. By Eva Vergara. AP Photos. AP Video.

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING-ANNIVERSARY

BOSTON — The anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing will be a day of tributes to the three people who died, those who were hurt, and the first responders, doctors and nurses who helped them. Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Deval Patrick and former Boston Mayor Tom Menino will be among the dignitaries who will honor the victims during a program at the Hynes Convention Center. A formal flag-raising ceremony and moment of silence will take place between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. at the marathon finish line. By Denise Lavoie. AP Photos.

With: OBAMA-BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING; BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING-THE INVESTIGATION.

NYC TERROR

NEW YORK — A jury is chosen for the federal trial of an Egyptian Islamic preacher extradited from Great Britain on charges he conspired to support al-Qaida, setting the stage for the second major terrorism trial in Manhattan in two months. By Larry Neumeister. AP Photos.

NICARAGUA-QUAKE

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Thousands of Nicaraguans wake up in the streets after a sleepless night rocked by two strong earthquakes, part of a string of tremors that have kept the Central American country on edge since late last week. By Alberto Arce and Luis Manuel Galeano. AP Photos.

SERIAL MURDERS-ARRESTS

ANAHEIM, California — Two parolees raped and killed at least four women while wearing GPS trackers, and there may be more victims, a California police chief alleged Monday. By Gillian Flaccus. AP Photos.

GAY MARRIAGE-OHIO

CINCINNATI — A federal judge orders Ohio to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states, and civil rights attorneys and gay marriage supporters immediately began looking ahead to their next fight: a lawsuit seeking to force Ohio to allow gay couples to marry. AP Photos.

MEXICO-MONEY LAUNDERING

MEXICO CITY — Mexico has announced plans to fight money laundering by using “kingpin” lists like those issued by the United States, but at least one expert warns it still isn’t clear how the process will work. By E. Eduardo Castillo.

MANNING-WIKILEAKS

An Army general has upheld Private Chelsea Manning’s conviction and 35-year prison sentence for giving reams of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Army said Monday. By David Dishneau.

WOMEN IN COMBAT

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — On the edge of a large field, under a canopy of trees, soldiers from Bravo Battery are lying in a circle, poring over targeting charts. Nearby, others are preparing the howitzer cannon as helicopters swoop overhead. At the edge of the circle, the Army lieutenant in charge of a platoon watches as the field artillerymen go through their training exercise. No one seems to notice the small knot of hair at the base of the lieutenant’s helmet, or that 1st Lt. Kelly Requa is the only woman on the field at Campbell’s Crossroads. The integration comes as the military struggles with an increase in reports of sexual harassment and assault and as Congress battles with the Pentagon over how those cases are prosecuted. Some of those concerns were reflected in how senior commanders are preparing the men as women arrive — and what the men say concerns them, from whether women can keep up to whether the men’s salty language will be too much. By Lolita C. Baldor. AP Photos. AP Video.

GUANTANAMO-SEPT 11 TRIAL

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A lawyer for one of five defendants in the Sept. 11 war crimes tribunal says FBI agents questioned a member of his defense team, apparently in an investigation on the handling of evidence — a revelation that brings an abrupt halt to proceedings. By Ben Fox. AP Photos.

SHOE THROWER-HILLARY CLINTON

LAS VEGAS — U.S. federal authorities have lodged two criminal charges against a woman accused of throwing a shoe at Hillary Rodham Clinton while she gave a convention speech at a Las Vegas Strip resort. AP Photos. AP Video.

HUNGRY AND ANGRY

WASHINGTON — A quick candy bar may stave off more than hunger. It could prevent major fights between husbands and wives, at least if a new study that used voodoo dolls is right. That’s because low blood sugar can make spouses touchy, researchers propose. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

BUSINESS & FINANCE:

WALL STREET

U.S. stocks mounted a modest rally on Monday, helping investors recover some of the ground lost after a rough finish last week.

EARNS-CITIGROUP

NEW YORK — Citigroup’s first-quarter earnings rose, helped by declines in expenses and provisions for bad loans. The earnings improved even as revenue from mortgage refinancing and bond trading fell. By Business Writer Steve Rothwell.

RETAIL SALES

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales in March rose by the largest amount in 18 months, led by strong gains in sales of autos, furniture and a number of other products. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger. AP Photo.

SMARTPHONE DURABILITY

NEW YORK — Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year’s model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun. AP Photos.

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-WINDOWS CORTANA ASSISTANT

NEW YORK — “Yay, it’s Nick! How can I help?” Thanks for asking, Cortana. And thanks for making the Windows phone software better, Microsoft. With the new Cortana virtual assistant, Windows catches up with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in a major way. Microsoft takes some of the best parts of Apple’s and Google’s virtual assistants and adds a few useful tools of its own. The result is Cortana, named after an artificial-intelligence character in Microsoft’s “Halo” video games. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun. AP Photos.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

PULITZERS-ARTS

NEW YORK — Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” already among the most popular and celebrated novels of the past year, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. One of the country’s top colonial historians, Alan Taylor, has won his second Pulitzer, for “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War In Virginia.” By National Writer Hillel Italie. AP Photos.

PULITZERS-ARTS-DRAMA

NEW YORK — Annie Baker’s “The Flick” has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama, a play set in a rundown movie theater that was hailed by the judges as a “thoughtful drama with well-crafted characters” with “lives rarely seen on the stage.” By Drama Writer Mark Kenned. AP Photo.

MTV MOVIE AWARDS

LOS ANGELES — Last year, the MTV Movie Awards moved up its broadcast date from June to April to incorporate a summer movie plug-fest. Sunday night’s show cemented that change as clips from anticipated blockbusters debuted at the madcap ceremony. Now in its 22nd year, the MTV Movie Awards show has become an important event for Hollywood studios. And, oh yes, there were some awards, too. By Film Writer Jessica Herndon. AP Photos. AP Video.

With: MTV-MOVIE AWARDS-LIST.

JACKSON-AEG SUIT

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s mother should pay more than $800,000 in trial costs to a concert promoter that she targeted in a failed negligent hiring lawsuit involving the death of her son, a judge says. By Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney. AP Photo.

TV-FARGO-THORNTON

NEW YORK — After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put “Fargo” on series TV. The 10-episode season premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT on FX. And it mesmerizes. As a furtherance of the 1996 crime classic by Joel and Ethan Coen that starred Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, the TV adaptation is a wonder. By Television Writer Frazier Moore.

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