Posted: Jul 14, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2012 4:01 AM
Clinton meets with military, political leaders as US seeks to define its role in Egypt
CAIRO (AP) Having pressed the new Egyptian president, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday will seek to mobilize what influence the United States still has with the army chief whose key role in post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt is splitting the country between those who see the military as a threat to democracy and those clinging to it as a guarantor of stability.
The United States sees it as a bit of both.
Clinton's demand to the military will be simple: Work with Egypt's new Islamist leaders on a full transition to civilian rule.
But with the U.S. having already approved yet another massive delivery of military aid, it is unclear what leverage the Obama administration has as it seeks to stabilize Egypt and build a new relationship with America's once ironclad Arab ally.
The meeting with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi in Cairo comes with Egypt's transformation from dictatorship to democracy in peril.
Russian Soyuz rocket starts mission to space station with 3-person international crew onboard
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) A Russian Soyuz craft launched into the morning skies over Kazakhstan on Sunday, carrying three astronauts on their way to the International Space Station, where they will quickly start preparing for a frenzy of incoming traffic.
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and Japan's Akihito Hoshide are set to travel two days before reaching their three colleagues already at the permanent space outpost.
Families and colleagues watched the launch from an observation platform in the Russian-leased cosmodrome in the dry southern steppes of this sprawling Central Asian nation.
Liftoff took place at the exact scheduled time of 08:40 a.m. local time (0240 GMT), sending a deafening roar as the craft gained height.
Despite withstanding intense G-force pressure, the three astronauts looked relaxed in televised footage as they performed a series of routine operations.
Syria denies heavy weapons used in latest violence in Tremseh
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) Syria has denied that government forces used heavy weapons during a military operation that has brought widespread international condemnation.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters in Damascus on Sunday the violence in Tremseh was a military operation targeting armed fighters, not a massacre.
He said no heavy weapons were used in the violence Thursday.
That directly contradicts accounts by activists and the U.N., which said monitors saw the army use heavy weaponry and attack helicopters.
U.N. observers have found pools of blood in homes and spent bullets, mortars and artillery shells. Dozens of people have already been buried in a mass grave.
Up, but not far away: Lawn chair balloonists get 30 miles before weather ends flight to Mont.
BEND, Ore. (AP) Hours into their lawn-chair balloon flight, two men made a hard landing after they were hit by hail and snow as thunderstorms swept into central Oregon. But their back-yard aircraft floated away.
Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta were about seven hours into their flight Saturday when they descended, coming down near the community of Post, about 30 miles east of their starting point. But after they scrambled out of the contraption, it floated away, flight organizer Mark Knowles said.
"They came down hard," Knowles said by cellphone. "The craft went back up. It's sitting up in the sky right above us."
A flight website tracker showed it continuing east across Oregon.
Couch, a gas station owner, and Lazfta, an Iraqi adventurer, were trying to fly from Oregon to Montana in tandem lawn chairs suspended from party balloons.
Obama unrelenting in bashing Romney's jobs record; campaign ad answers Romney's apology plea
CLIFTON, Va. (AP) An unrelenting President Barack Obama jabbed at Mitt Romney's record with a private equity firm in an ad Saturday that aimed to keep his rival on the defensive just as the Republican challenger's campaign hoped to take advantage of poor economic data to gain an edge on the incumbent.
Obama met Romney's plea for an apology for the attacks with a mocking ad that charged that the firm shipped American jobs to China and Mexico, that Romney has personal wealth in investments in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, and that as Massachusetts governor, he sent state jobs to India.
"Mitt Romney's not the solution. He's the problem," the ads says as Romney is heard singing "America the Beautiful."
Pressure was building on Romney from within his own party to be more forthcoming with his finances, a day after he declared he would not release past income tax returns beyond his 2010 tax records and, before the November election, his 2011 taxes
On the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Alabama's Republican governor, Robert Bentley, called on Romney to release all the documents requested of him.
AP NewsBreak: In victory for GOP, Florida wins access to Homeland Security list of noncitizens
WASHINGTON (AP) In a victory for Republicans, the federal government has agreed to let Florida use a law enforcement database to challenge people's right to vote if they are suspected of not being U.S. citizens.
The agreement, made in a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration that was obtained by The Associated Press, grants the state access to a list of resident noncitizens maintained by the Homeland Security Department. The Obama administration had denied Florida's request for months but relented after a judge ruled in the state's favor in a related voter-purge matter.
Voting rights groups, while acknowledging that noncitizens have no right to vote, have expressed alarm about using such data for a purpose not originally intended: purging voter lists of ineligible people. They also say voter purges less than four months before a presidential election might leave insufficient time to correct mistakes stemming from faulty data or other problems.
Democrats say that the government's concession is less troubling than some GOP-controlled states' push to require voters to show photo identification.
But Republicans count it as a victory nonetheless in their broad-based fight over voter eligibility, an issue that could play a big role in the White House race. That's especially true in pivotal states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina.
Comic-Con crowd goes crazy for 'Hobbit' footage as Peter Jackson offers sneak peek of prequel
SAN DIEGO (AP) If reaction to "The Hobbit" footage at Comic-Con is any indication, Peter Jackson has another couple of blockbusters on his hands.
The crowd attending Jackson's "Hobbit" preview at the fan convention Saturday went wild over a 12-minute reel the filmmaker and his colleagues screened.
Broken into two films, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," the 3-D epic is Jackson's prequel to his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, whose finale won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and director.
"An Unexpected Journey" arrives in theaters Dec. 14, with "There and Back Again" following in December 2013.
The films are based on J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel novel, chronicling how tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) acquired the ring of power that causes all the ruckus in "The Lord of the Rings," Jackson's three-part adaptation of Tolkien's fantasy saga.
They're not kitten around: Alaska town says its cat mayor is purr-fect for tourism
TALKEETNA, Alaska (AP) The mayor of a sleepy Alaska town is feline fine.
The part-Manx cat clawed his way onto the political scene of Talkeetna, Alaska, through a write-in campaign shortly after he was born 15 years ago.
KTUU-TV reported (http://bit.ly/LYvzBVhttp://bit.ly/LYvzBV ) Friday that residents didn't like the mayoral candidates years ago, so they encouraged enough people to elect Stubbs as a write-in candidate. The town has nearly 900 residents.
Although his position is honorary, Stubbs' popularity is real. His election earned him enough press to catapult the town at the base of Mount McKinley into a tourist destination.
Residents say they're happy that their stubby-tailed mayor is promoting tourism. The general store where Stubbs hangs out says it gets dozens of tourists a day asking for him.
Felton returning to Knicks, who have another point guard option if they let Lin leave
Raymond Felton is returning to New York, calling into question whether the Knicks plan to re-sign fellow point guard Jeremy Lin.
Felton's agent confirmed a Yahoo Sports report Saturday that Felton would be signed and traded by Portland to New York.
Lin has signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, and the Knicks have repeatedly said they would match any offer for their breakout star. But with the third year of the contract worth about $15 million, they can certainly pass now after signing Jason Kidd and getting Felton back.
Felton played well in half a season in New York, averaging 17.1 points before the Knicks sent him to Denver as part of the package for Carmelo Anthony in February 2011. He struggled this season with the Trail Blazers, scoring 11.4 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting and briefly losing his starting job.
Still, he was considered an option as a veteran backup to Lin if the Knicks didn't get Steve Nash or Kidd. They signed Kidd, and still pursued Felton.
Column: NCAA's only choice is to punish Penn State football for allowing cult of Joe to exist
Joe Paterno is dead and so is what was left of his good name, shredded to pieces by investigators who didn't seem terribly impressed by anything the coach once did on Saturday afternoons.
Jerry Sandusky will spend what is left of the rest of his life in prison, paying for crimes so despicable they are hard to even comprehend. Some former Penn State administrators could be heading there, too. After Louis Freeh's damning report, they might want to think twice about taking their chances before a jury of their peers.
The cult allowed to fester at State College has been exposed, with a once-proud university looking like a backwater institution where worshipping at the statue of Joe was more important than protecting young boys exposed to horrors that will haunt them the rest of their lives.
Paterno's family can protest all it wants, but there is no way to spin this: He hurt a place where his word was gospel, and it may be decades before anyone outside Pennsylvania hears the words "Penn State" and doesn't immediately think of naked boys being abused in the same showers used by the young men who brought the university glory on the football field.
His name has already come off a Nike child care center in Oregon. His statue outside Beaver Stadium should come down next.