Posted: Oct 12, 2013 4:00 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2013 4:00 AM
Massive Indian cyclone weakens after landfall; officials say few lives lost
BEHRAMPUR, India (AP) India began sorting through miles of wreckage Sunday after Cyclone Phailin roared ashore, flooding towns and villages and destroying tens of thousands of thatch homes, but officials said massive evacuation efforts had spared the east coast from widespread loss of life.
The storm, the strongest to hit India in more than a decade, destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of crops, but more than 18 hours after it made landfall in Orissa state, officials said they knew of only nine fatalities.
The final death toll will almost certainly climb, and parts of the cyclone-battered coast remain isolated by downed communication links and blocked roads, but the evacuation of nearly 1 million people appeared to have saved many lives.
"Damage to property is extensive," said Amitabh Thakur, the top police officer in the Orissa district worst-hit by the cyclone. "But few lives have been lost," he said, crediting the mass evacuations.
A cargo ship carrying iron ore, the MV Bingo, sank Saturday as the cyclone barreled through the Bay of Bengal, coast guard officials said. The crew of 18 including 17 Chinese and one Indonesian got into a lifeboat but had not been located by midday Sunday.
Senate leaders take the lead in hunt for deal on shutdown and debt limit as clock ticks down
WASHINGTON (AP) Racing the calendar and the financial markets, Senate leaders have taken the helm in the search for a deal to end the partial government shutdown and avert a federal default.
"This should be seen as something very positive, even though we don't have anything done yet, and long ways to go," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Saturday, describing his opening conversation hours earlier with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"The real conversation that matters now is the one taking place between McConnell and Reid," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., were also involved in the high-level bargaining.
Sunday marked the 13th day of a federal shutdown that has continued to idle 350,000 government workers, left hundreds of thousands of others working without pay and curtailed everything from veterans' services to environmental inspections.
Deal for US troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 still faces troop jurisdiction issue
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) The U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai reached an agreement in principle Saturday on the major elements of a deal that would allow American troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014.
However, U.S. officials said a potentially deal-breaking issue of jurisdiction over those forces must still be worked out with some political and tribal leaders in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials traveling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal negotiated with Karzai meets all American conditions, including on the jurisdiction issue, and that all that remains is for Karzai to win political approval for it.
During the talks, Kerry made frequent phone calls back to Washington, speaking with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and national security adviser Susan Rice multiple times, the officials said.
The American contingent was hopeful that a national consultative assembly of tribal elders, or Loya Jirga, and the Afghan parliament would approve the agreement, the officials said. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the agreement by name.
Across the country, donors chip in to help programs hurt by federal government shutdown
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) As the partial government shutdown rolls on, programs that rely on federal money are feeling the strain and so are the people who depend on their services.
For 16-year-old Alishe'ah Sockwell, federal money makes a big difference.
It helps put a roof over her head. It allows her mother, Nia, to undergo job training. And it pays for childcare for Sockwell's young daughter so that Sockwell can go to high school every day in Little Rock, Ark.
But with some federal funds out of reach because of the shutdown, Sockwell may have to stay home from school in order to watch her daughter. If the shutdown drags on much longer, her housing could be in jeopardy, too.
So, to fill in the gaps, the nonprofit organization that provides Sockwell and other homeless people in Little Rock with childcare, shelter and other assistance, has asked community members to chip in.
With suicide blasts and waves of car bombs, al-Qaida picking up tempo of attacks in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) First came the fireball, then the screams of the victims. The suicide bombing just outside a Baghdad graveyard knocked Nasser Waleed Ali over and peppered his back with shrapnel.
Ali was one of the lucky ones. At least 51 died in the Oct. 5 attack, many of them Shiite pilgrims walking by on their way to a shrine. No one has claimed responsibility, but there is little doubt al-Qaida's local franchise is to blame. Suicide bombers and car bombs are its calling cards, Shiite civilians among its favorite targets.
Al-Qaida has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group has shown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks several times a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest level in half a decade. It sees each attack as a way to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos that weakens the Shiite-led government's authority.
Recent prison breaks have bolstered al-Qaida's ranks, while feelings of Sunni marginalization and the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria are fueling its comeback.
"Nobody is able to control this situation," said Ali, who watches over a Sunni graveyard that sprang up next to the hallowed Abu Hanifa mosque in 2006, when sectarian fighting threated to engulf Iraq in all-out civil war.
Activists: Shelling by Syrian regime forces kills at least 11 in southern city
BEIRUT (AP) Tank shells fired by Syrian government forces slammed into a building in a southern city, killing at least 11 people there, including women and children, activists said Sunday.
The attack was part of the latest push by President Bashar Assad's troops to recapture land lost to rebels in the southern province and city of Daraa, the birthplace of Syria's uprising. It was there in 2011 that several youths were arrested for scrawling graffiti calling for Assad's downfall.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said at least four women and three children, including a baby, were among those killed in the attack late Saturday.
Syria's official news agency said that rebels fired mortars toward a government building in Daraa, but offered no further details.
Videos posted on social networking sites by opposition activists showed bodies of the victims on the floor of a darkened room.
World financial leaders see glimmers of hope for economic recovery beyond US debt impasse
WASHINGTON (AP) Worries about a possible U.S. debt default cast a pall over weekend meetings of global financial leaders in Washington. But they ended with some hope over signs that the U.S. and European economies are pulling out of long slumps.
During three days of talks revolving around meetings of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending agency, the World Bank, top officials pressed the U.S. to resolve the political impasse over the debt ceiling. The standoff has blocked approval of legislation to increase the government's borrowing limit before a fast-approaching Thursday deadline.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has warned that he will exhaust his borrowing authority Thursday and the government will face the prospect of defaulting on its debt unless Congress raises the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit.
"We are now five days away from a very dangerous moment," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim warned at the closing news conference on Saturday. "I urge U.S. policymakers to quickly come to a resolution before they reach the debt ceiling deadline. The closer we get to the deadline, the greater the impact will be for the developing world."
Kim said a default would be a "disastrous event" for poorer countries. It would also be certain to derail the already fragile global economic recovery.
Arrest in 'Baby Hope' case brings closure to 2 NYC detectives 22 years after girl's body found
NEW YORK (AP) The announcement of an arrest in one of New York City's most notorious cold cases was an especially relieving moment for two hardened investigators, who for 22 years had been working to identify the girl they nicknamed "Baby Hope," after discovering her body stuffed in a picnic cooler along a Manhattan highway.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges, who was the original prosecutor in the 1991 case and is now chief of the cold case unit, told a Manhattan judge that Conrado Juarez, 52, was charged with felony murder late Saturday.
The charge came shortly after police announced the Bronx man was a relative of the tiny victim, 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo. Police revealed her name for the first time earlier in the day.
Juarez, wearing a white, short sleeve button-down shirt and blue pants, pleaded not guilty but said nothing else after he was remanded to custody. Attorney information was not immediately available.
"Over the years, the optimism was always there except the frustration would grow," said Detective Joseph Reznick, now an NYPD assistant chief who, in 1993, read the eulogy at the girl's burial in the Bronx before hundreds of mourners. "I think reflecting back on what we named this little girl, Baby Hope, I think it's the most accurate name we could have come up with."
From fetid garage, a face of aging China looks out: She sued children for care, still suffers
FUSHENG, China (AP) As the daughter-in-law rolls open the rusted doors to her garage, light spills onto a small figure on a straw mattress. A curious face peers out.
It's the face of Kuang Shiying's 94-year-old mother-in-law better known as the little old lady who sued her own children for not taking care of her.
The drama playing out inside this house reflects a wider and increasingly urgent dilemma. The world's population is aging fast, due to longer life spans and lower birth rates, and there will soon be more old people than young for the first time in history. This has left families and governments struggling to decide: Who is responsible for the care of the elderly?
A few countries, such as India, Singapore, France and Ukraine, now require adult children to financially support their parents. Twenty-nine U.S. states have similar laws, though they are rarely enforced because the government provides aid.
In China, where family loyalty is a cornerstone of society, more than 1,000 parents have sued their children for financial support over the last 15 years. But in December, the government went further, amending its elder care law to require that children also support their parents emotionally. Children who don't visit their parents can be sued by mom and dad.
Nava breaks up combo no-hit bid in 9th, but Tigers beat Red Sox 1-0 in ALCS opener
BOSTON (AP) Lose the no-hitter, win the game.
That's a trade Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers were happy to make to take the lead over the Boston Red Sox in the AL championship series.
Sanchez and four relievers came within two outs of the first combined no-hitter in postseason history, striking out 17 to beat Boston 1-0 in the series opener on Saturday night.
"At this point, especially in this series, it's not about throwing a no-hitter," said Sanchez, who was pulled after 116 pitches in six innings. "As soon as you get some zeroes ... it's more important. It's more important than the no-hitter at this point."
Sanchez struck out 12 including a record-tying four in the first inning but also walked a season-high six and was pulled after six innings and 116 pitches. Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Benoit stretched the no-hitter through eight innings.