Posted: Nov 1, 2013 4:00 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2013 4:00 AM
Chaos at LAX as gunman with hate for TSA kills officer, wounds 2 others
LOS ANGELES (AP) A man toting a semi-automatic rifle, some 150 rounds of ammunition and a grudge against "pigs" and TSA agents shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport in a deadly rampage that sent hundreds of travelers fleeing in terror.
When the shooting stopped, a Transportation Security Administration officer was dead. Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer in the agency's 12-year history to be killed in the line of duty.
Five other people were hurt, including two other TSA employees and the gunman, identified as Paul Ciancia, 23, of Pennsville, N.J. He was shot four times by airport police and remained hospitalized but there was no word on his condition.
Ciancia apparently had been living in Los Angeles for about 1 years, authorities said.
As gunshots rang out in Terminal 3 on Friday morning, swarms of passengers screamed, dropped to the ground or ran for their lives.
Los Angeles airport shooting suspect had sent suicidal text to sibling, NJ police chief says
PENNSVILLE, N.J. (AP) The father of the young man suspected of carrying out a fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport called his local police chief around the time of the shooting to report that his son had sent a suicidal text message to a sibling and he needed to find him, a New Jersey police chief said.
Paul Ciancia, the owner of an auto-body shop in southern New Jersey and father of the 23-year-old suspect of the same name, called Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings in the early afternoon to tell him one of his children had received a text message from the younger Ciancia "in reference to him taking his own life," the chief told The Associated Press.
Across the country and around the same time Friday, authorities say, his son was shooting his way past a security checkpoint at the airport with a semi-automatic rifle, killing a security officer and wounding other people. Ciancia was injured in a shootout and taken into custody, police said.
A motive wasn't clear, but Ciancia was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a handwritten note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs," according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Cummings said his police department in Pennsville, N.J., had never had dealings with the younger Ciancia, and neighbors in the working-class city of about 14,000 across the broad Delaware River from Wilmington, Del., didn't have a clue anything might have been wrong.
Pakistani Taliban meet to choose new leader after chief killed in US strike, militants say
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) The Pakistani Taliban's top council met Saturday to choose a new leader to replace the militant movement's chief, killed in a U.S. drone strike the day before, intelligence officials and commanders in the movement said.
The death of Hakimullah Mehsud, a ruthless leader known for attacking a CIA base in Afghanistan and a bloody campaign that killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and members of the security forces, is a heavy blow for the militant group.
But the drone strike came as the Pakistan government was trying to negotiate a peace agreement with the Tehreek-e-Taliban, as the militant group Mehsud headed was formally called. Already the strike threatened to worsen U.S.-Pakistan relations as some Pakistani politicians called the strike an attempt to sabotage the peace talks.
The Taliban's Shura Council, a group of commanders representing various wings of the militant group from across the tribal region and Pakistan, gathered at an undisclosed location Saturday in the North Waziristan tribal area, the same region where a U.S. drone strike killed Mehsud Friday, said the commanders and officials.
Drones were still flying over North Waziristan Saturday. Witnesses in the towns of Mir Ali and Miran Shah reported that Mehsud's supporters were firing at them in anger.
GOP, Democratic support boosts chances in Senate for anti-discrimination bill sought by gays
WASHINGTON (AP) Gay rights advocates Republicans and Democrats are newly upbeat about the prospects for Senate passage of a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The outlook for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act the first test vote is Monday reflects the nation's growing tolerance of homosexuality and the GOP's political calculation as it looks for supporters beyond its core base of older voters.
"I think society continues to evolve on the issue of gay rights," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a co-sponsor of the measure. "As more and more gay individuals are open about their sexual orientation, people come to realize that they are their neighbors, their family members, their friends, their co-workers. That's made a big difference."
Opinion polls underscore Collins' assessment. A Pew Research survey in June found that more Americans said homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged by society by a margin of 60 to 31 percent, or nearly 2-to-1. Opinions were more evenly divided 10 years ago.
In a sign of the times, the anti-bias legislation has traditional proponents such as the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, plus the backing of a relatively new group, the American Unity Fund. That organization has the financial support of big-name Republican donors hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer, Cliff Asness, Dan Loeb and Seth Klarman and former GOP lawmakers Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Tom Reynolds of New York.
Myanmar's 'God's Army' guerrilla twins reunite; 1 seeks new life, the other, fallen comrades
SANGKHLABURI, Thailand (AP) When they were kids, Johnny and Luther Htoo were bulletproof and invulnerable to land mines or so went the story that briefly made them famous as hundreds of guerrillas followed and even worshipped them in the southeastern jungles of Myanmar. Today, well over a decade later, their "God's Army" is no more, and the twins' greatest accomplishment may be that both are still alive.
Luther lives in Sweden. Johnny remains at an unofficial refugee camp inside Thailand, not far from where the brothers were sent after they surrendered to Thai authorities in 2001. Now 25, Johnny has hopes of reuniting with family in New Zealand, and Luther has questions about their former comrades that may never be answered.
Members of their Karen ethnic group who have long sought autonomy in Myanmar have laid down their arms since a military dictatorship gave way to a nominally civilian government in 2011. Last month, during his first trip back to Thailand since leaving for Sweden in 2009, Luther said he would fight only if his people were hurt again.
"It's not fun to fight anymore, now that I'm afraid to die. No one wants to fight unless they have to, you know," Luther said.
The legend of the twins began to form in 1997, when Myanmar troops entered their village during a sweep of Karen territory. At the time, the rebel Karen National Union was in sharp decline.
BART union overwhelmingly ratifies contract that ended strike; no word yet on 2nd union's vote
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Members of a Bay Area Rapid Transit labor union that went out on strike twice in recent months overwhelmingly ratified a contract agreement that officials said will increase pay and lead to improved safety conditions.
The Service Employees International Union Local 1021 announced late Friday night that members approved a four-year contract with BART that covers workers responsible for the repair, maintenance and cleaning of the BART system.
The second BART union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, also voted on the contract Friday, but local news reports said the union would not announce the result until later Saturday morning.
ATU President Antonette Bryant said earlier that the union's executive board recommended a yes vote. "But it remains to see what the members' choices are."
If both unions ratify the contract, BART's board of directors would likely then vote on the new contract during a special meeting, BART officials have said.
In letter to German lawmaker, Snowden seeks foreign help to get US spying charges dropped
BERLIN (AP) The U.S. refused to show any leniency to fugitive leaker Edward Snowden on Friday, even as Secretary of State John Kerry conceded that eavesdropping on allies had happened on "automatic pilot" and went too far.
Snowden made his appeal for U.S. clemency in a letter released Friday by a German lawmaker who met with him in Moscow. In it, the 30-year-old American asked for international help to persuade the U.S. to drop spying charges against him and said he would like to testify before the U.S. Congress about the National Security Agency's surveillance activities.
Snowden also indicated he would be willing to help German officials investigate alleged U.S. spying in Germany, said Hans-Christian Stroebele, a lawmaker with the opposition Green Party and a member of the parliamentary committee that oversees German intelligence.
Stroebele met with Snowden for three hours on Thursday, a week after explosive allegations that the NSA had monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone prompted her to complain personally to President Barack Obama. The alleged spying has produced the most serious diplomatic tensions between the two allies since Germany opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In his one-page typed letter, written in English and bearing signatures that Stroebele said were his own and Snowden's, the American complained that the U.S. government "continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense."
Obama says al-Qaida now more active in Iraq, discusses ways US can help stop threat
WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama pledged Friday to help combat an increasingly active al-Qaida in Iraq but stopped short of announcing new commitments of assistance sought by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Al-Maliki came to the Oval Office requesting additional aid, including weapons and help with intelligence, to fight insurgent violence that has spiked in Iraq since American troops left in 2011.
"Unfortunately al-Qaida has still been active and has grown more active recently," Obama said at the end of a nearly two-hour meeting. "So we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organization that operates not only in Iraq, but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States."
Al-Maliki declined to discuss the details of his request for U.S. assistance but said the meeting was "very positive."
"We talked about the way of countering terrorism, and we had similar position and similar ideas," he said.
Reinstatement of Texas abortion law leaves few options for many poor pregnant women
HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) In a Texas abortion clinic, about a dozen women waited Friday to see the doctor, already aware that they would not be able to end their pregnancies there.
A day after a federal appeals court allowed most of the state's new abortion restrictions to take effect during a legal challenge, about a third of Texas' clinics were barred from performing the procedure.
Thursday's ruling made Texas the fourth and largest state to enforce a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital. In places such as the Rio Grande Valley and rural West Texas, the mandate put hundreds of miles between many women and abortion providers.
Anti-abortion groups welcomed the court's surprise decision, which they insisted would protect women's health. The ruling came just a few days after a lower federal court put the law on hold.
If women did not know about the ruling before they arrived at Reproductive Services of Harlingen, clinic administrator Angie Tristan told them. Abortions are a two-day process in Texas. On Fridays, women arrive here for their initial consultation with the doctor. On Saturdays, they return for the procedure.
Derek Jeter gets $12 million from Yankees; Joe Nathan, Johan Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez go free
NEW YORK (AP) Derek Jeter and the Yankees worked out a $12 million, one-year deal that kept the captain from going on the open market, while Joe Nathan, Jose Veras, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kurt Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez were among the players who became free agents Friday.
The Mets declined their option on injured pitcher Johan Santana, while Boston exercised its option on pitcher Jon Lester.
Toronto exercised options on closer Casey Janssen, first baseman Adam Lind and infielder Mark DeRosa and declined an option on infielder Munenori Kawasaki.
Jeter, who turns 40 next June, was limited to 17 games this year after breaking his ankle in the 2012 playoffs. He spent four stints on the disabled list in the most frustrating season of his 19-year career. His deal had included a $9.5 million player option.
Across town, the Mets declined a $25 million option on Santana and will pay the two-time Cy Young Award winner a $5.5 million buyout. Santana, who turns 35 on March 13, went 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA while with the Mets, missing the 2011 and 2013 seasons because of shoulder injuries.