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Update September 2016


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Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Sept. 18, the 262nd day of 2016. There are 104 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 18, 1793, President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.

On this date:

In A.D. 14, the Roman Senate officially confirmed Tiberius as the second emperor of the Roman Empire, succeeding the late Augustus.

In 1759, the French formally surrendered Quebec to the British.

In 1810, Chile made its initial declaration of independence from Spain with the forming of a national junta.

In 1927, the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System (later CBS) made its on-air debut with a basic network of 16 radio stations.

In 1931, an explosion in the Chinese city of Mukden damaged a section of Japanese-owned railway track; Japan, blaming Chinese nationalists, invaded Manchuria the next day. 

In 1947, the National Security Act, which created a National Military Establishment and the position of Secretary of Defense, went into effect.

In 1959, during his U.S. tour, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the grave of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Khrushchev called on all countries to disarm.

In 1961, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (dahg HAWM'-ahr-shoold) was killed in a plane crash in northern Rhodesia.

In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died in London at age 27.

In 1975, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was captured by the FBI in San Francisco, 19 months after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

In 1981, a museum honoring former President Gerald R. Ford was dedicated in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In 1990, the city of Atlanta was named the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Ten years ago: An Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur, Anousheh Ansari (ah-NOO'-shuh an-SAH'-ree), took off on a Russian rocket bound for the international space station, becoming the world's first paying female space tourist. Aboard the space station, an oxygen generator overheated and spilled a toxic irritant, forcing the crew to don masks and gloves in the first emergency ever declared aboard the 8-year-old orbiting outpost.

Five years ago: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, broke his silence four months after a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, calling his encounter with the woman a "moral failing" he deeply regretted, but insisting in an interview on French television that no violence was involved. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook northeastern India and Nepal, resulting in some 100 deaths. For a second year, Emmy Awards for drama and comedy went to "Mad Men" and "Modern Family."

One year ago: The Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen had intentionally skirted clean air laws by using software that enabled about 500,000 of its diesel cars to emit fewer smog-causing pollutants during testing than in real-world driving conditions; the EPA ordered VW to fix the cars at its own expense. President Barack Obama announced he would nominate longtime Pentagon official Eric Fanning to be the Army's new secretary; Fanning became the nation's first openly gay leader of a military service. Authorities in Boston announced that they had identified "Baby Doe," a young girl whose body was found on Deer Island in Winthrop the previous June, as two-year-old Bella Bond. (The boyfriend of Bella's mother was charged with murder while the mother was accused of helping conceal the body; both have yet to stand trial.)

Today's Birthdays: Voice actress June Foray is 99. Singer Jimmie Rodgers is 83. Actor Robert Blake is 83. Actor Fred Willard is 83. Actor Eddie Jones is 82. Gospel singer Bobby Jones is 78. Singer Frankie Avalon is 76. Actress Beth Grant is 67. Rock musician Kerry Livgren is 67. Actress Anna Deavere Smith is 66. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino is 64. College Football Hall of Famer and retired NFL player Billy Sims is 61. Movie director Mark Romanek is 57. Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is 57. Alt-country-rock musician Mark Olson is 55. Singer Joanne Catherall (Human League) is 54. Actress Holly Robinson Peete is 52. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ricky Bell (Bell Biv Devoe and New Edition) is 49. Actress Aisha Tyler is 46. Former racing cyclist Lance Armstrong is 45. Opera singer Anna Netrebko is 45. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith is 45. Actor James Marsden is 43. Actress Emily Rutherfurd is 42. Actor Travis Schuldt is 42. Rapper Xzibit is 42. Comedian-actor Jason Sudeikis is 41. Actress Sophina Brown is 40. Actor Barrett Foa is 39. Talk show co-host Sara Haines (TV: "The View") is 39. Actress Alison Lohman is 37. Actors Brandon and Taylor Porter are 23. Actor C.J. Sanders is 20.

Thought for Today: "We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions." — Jessamyn West, American author (1902-1984).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


European leaders look at 6 months for rebuilding EU dream

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference after the EU summit in Bratislava Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.
(AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

George Jahn, Raf Casert

Bratislava, Slovakia (AP) — With policy splits among European Union countries putting their bloc under existential threat, national leaders agreed Friday on a six-month time table to come up with solutions for the multiple crises hobbling their union. But they delivered few concrete commitments on ways to bridge the deep differences.

While not on the agenda, Britain's decision to leave the EU hung over the meeting, reinforced by the absence of British Prime Minister Theresa May. But the 27 leaders attending talks in the Slovak capital had plenty of other divisive issues to discuss: Migration, a common European defense policy, worrying unemployment and the anemic state of the economy

In the end, the leaders committed to have a clear roadmap of the way ahead and some practical results when they meet in late March to mark the 60th anniversary of the EU founding Treaty of Rome in the Italian capital.

"Europe can, must move forward, as long as it has clear priorities: protection, security, prosperity and the future of the youth," said French President Francois Hollande in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel called the current situation in the EU "critical," not only because Britain voted in June to leave the EU, the first ever member to do so.

She noted the migration crisis and economic problems that have fed growing disenchantment with the EU among many member states. Still, she said there was a common willingness to bounce back beyond the many issues that divide and even anger individual EU nations.

EU Council President Donald Tusk agreed, saying the mood in the EU now was "sober but not defeatist."

Still, comments by some leaders as they left the meeting suggested hard work ahead.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the staunchest opponent of liberal EU migration policies, again blamed Germany for refusing to set limits on migrant arrivals under Merkel. Unless Berlin caps arrivals, he said, the flood will continue "because everyone sees ... that there is a place in Europe where the good life can be achieved, where they are welcomed and where their needs are taken care of."

Orban said Hungary should be praised instead of criticized for erecting a razor-wire barrier at its southern borders. "Our job is to stop at the Hungarian border the negative consequences of the suction effect of German domestic politics," he said.

The refugee emergency has been particularly divisive and Orban has been one of the most abrasive voices as he makes common cause with other countries to the East — Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland — to oppose solutions coming out of EU headquarters in Brussels.

At the end of a "difficult day" of consultations, Orban said the good news is that all 27 remaining EU members said they would stay in the union and work together to improve it. But he complained that the current "self-defeating and naive" migration policies would remain.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, frankly acknowledged the divisions. "There are different views, different ideas," he said. "We need to be more concrete in the future."

Still, some of Orban's allies noted recent give by Brussels on the notion of mandatory refugee resettlement.

"It is of great importance that we are leaving today with a new political agenda that will open the process of EU reforms," Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said. "We are opening the process of reforming Europe."

Others also noted some progress in discussions on how to heighten security and defense cooperation, secure external borders and get Europe's unemployed youth back to work.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a decision was taken to award 108 million euros ($121 million) in emergency funding to Bulgaria for border management at one of the most porous borders, with Turkey — a decision praised by Orban. Other EU nations committed extra equipment and personnel.

Added urgency for EU reform comes from planned elections in France and Germany next year where far-right and populist parties are seeking to exploit uncertainty generated by Britain's decision to become the first country to walk out of the EU.

Hollande is trailing in the polls ahead of next May's French presidential elections. His far-right opponent from the National Front, Marine Le Pen, has already said she will call for an in-out referendum on EU membership if she wins.

Europe's weak economy also hampers EU efforts to make common cause. Greece remains in the zone of EU nations using the euro after its third international bailout. But it is still struggling to deliver on its promises to creditors. How to deal with the euro's problems remains divisive — on one side are pro-austerity countries led by Germany, on the other, more social-minded governments.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose country has been at the center of the region's debt crisis and seen the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly from Turkey, over the last year, said things cannot continue as they are.

"What Europe should not do is to continue sleepwalking in the wrong direction," he said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country was one of the EU's founders, insisted internal quarrels were not new.

"When we started with six nations, they were there too," he said. "We have to make sure we can fix them."


Powell discusses secret Israeli nukes in leaked 2015 email

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is shown in this Nov. 9, 2011 file photo. (AP Photo/Eric Reichbaum)

Michael Biesecker

Washington (AP) — In a private email exchange last year leaked this week by hackers, former Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed Israel's nuclear weapons capability with a friend, saying the country has 200 warheads.

Though Israel is widely believed to have developed nukes decades ago, it has never declared itself to be a nuclear state. The existence of its weapons program is considered classified information by both the Israeli and U.S. governments.

Powell, a retired Army general who has served as White House national security adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Associated Press on Friday through a spokeswoman he was referring to public estimates of Israel's nukes.

"Gen. Powell has not been briefed nor had any knowledge from U.S. sources on the existence and or size of an Israeli nuclear capability," the statement said. "He like many people believe that there may be a capability and the number 200 has been speculated upon in open sources." It added: "This email was written 10 years after he left government and has not received briefings on classified matters."

Powell, 79, would not say whether he still retains a security clearance.

In the March 2015 exchange from his personal Gmail account, Powell was discussing a speech that day to a joint session of Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The conservative Israeli leader staunchly opposed the deal then proposed by President Barack Obama to curb Iran's nuclear weapons program.

"Iranians can't use one if they finally make one," Powell wrote to Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds, a hedge-fund founder who serves on the board of the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York. "The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands."

Itai Bardov, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, declined to discuss Powell's email or his nation's policy of not commenting on whether it has nuclear weapons.

Asked about the issue at a briefing Friday, State Department spokesman John Kirby also declined to comment.

"I'm not going to discuss matters of intelligence," Kirby said. "We support the nuclear nonproliferation treaty."

Powell is not the first top-level U.S. government official to publicly discuss Israel's nukes. Former President Jimmy Carter has said in interviews and speeches that Israel has between 150 and 300 warheads.

But the issue is not supposed to be discussed openly by those who work for the U.S. government and hold active security clearances. Even members of Congress are routinely admonished not to even mention the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal, said Avner Cohen, a professor at the James Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

"It's noteworthy that someone like Colin Powell said that," said Cohen, who has written extensively about Israel's nuclear program. "Obviously, he was privy to all kinds of intelligence on this issue. It's kind of considered by everybody to be a public fact, but the United States government as a matter of policy has never said that."

Cohen said U.S. intelligence on Israel's nuclear program carries "top level" classification. As an indication of the subject's sensitivity, he pointed to the recent case James Doyle, a political scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico who lost his job after publishing an academic paper in 2013 that included Israel on a list of nations that either "possess nuclear arms or are in alliance with nuclear powers."

Powell's leaked email, which was among thousands of his messages posted earlier this week to the website DCLeaks.com, provides fodder for defenders of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The Democratic presidential nominee has faced withering criticism from Republicans for exchanging emails with her aides that contained sensitive government information.

Powell also used a private America Online email account to communicate with senior U.S. officials and foreign dignitaries while serving as the nation's top diplomat under President George W. Bush. A Republican, Powell said he never discussed classified information over his private account.

DCLeaks.com has been alleged to be an outlet for hackers tied to Russian intelligence. The website, which says it intends to expose the misuse of political power, has released emails from other Washington political figures.

The release of Powell's emails is the latest in a string of leaks that appear intended to influence the 2016 presidential election. The FBI is investigating how thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were hacked and published, an embarrassing breach that Clinton's campaign maintains was committed by Russia to benefit Donald Trump.

In his emails leaked this week, Powell called the GOP presidential nominee "a national disgrace" and suggested his own Republican Party is "crashing and burning." He also lamented Clinton's attempt to equate her use of private email at the State Department with his.


Bombing in northwest Pakistan mosque kills 24, wounds 28

A Pakistani child who was injured in a suicide bombing is treated at a local hospital in Khar, Pakistan, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Anwarullah Khan)

Anwarullah Khan

Khar, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber attacked a Sunni mosque in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 24 worshippers and wounding 28 others, officials said. Several children were also among those killed or wounded in the deadly attack.

A breakaway Taliban group later claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The attacker shouted "God is Great" as he entered the mosque in the village of Ambar in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal region, government administrator Naveed Akbar told The Associated Press. He said rescuers had transported the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals, where some of the wounded were listed in critical condition.

Akbar said about 200 worshippers were inside the mosque at the time of attack.

Pashin Gul, the head of local tribal police, confirmed that it was a suicide attack. He said the bombing took place during Friday prayers, adding that several of the wounded were in a critical condition.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar — the breakaway Taliban faction — claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to media. He claimed the attacker targeted members of a pro-government militia.

The White House in a statement Friday condemned the attack, saying it is an "appalling reminder that terrorism threatens all countries in the region" and said the U.S. would continue to work with the Pakistani government to fight terrorism.

Saeed Khan, in charge of the hospital in the town of Khar, said an army helicopter was being used to transport the critically wounded to Peshawar, the main city in northwestern Pakistan.

One of the wounded, 41-year-old Ghulam Khan, 41, said he heard a deafening explosion during the prayers and then he fell down. "I cried for help, but no one came to me ... there were other bodies ... wounded worshippers, who were reciting verses from Quran and waiting for help," he told The Associated Press from his hospital bed.

Khan said local residents and tribal police helped ferry the wounded to hospital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, which targeted a Sunni mosque. Previous such large-scale attacks have usually targeted Shiite mosques.

The country has witnessed several large-scale militant attacks this year, claimed by an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State group. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan issued a statement, condemning the attack.

Pakistan's tribal regions, which border Afghanistan, were considered to be strongholds of Pakistani Taliban militants until 2014, when the military launched a major operation there, evicting and killing large numbers of insurgents. However, violence has continued in some of the tribal regions.

Friday's attack came hours after army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss security issues. According to a government statement, Sharif pledged to continue the war against terrorism.

The military says some 18,000 civilians and 5,000 soldiers have been killed in militant attacks in Pakistan since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, when Islamabad threw its support behind Washington in the war on terror.


Daredevil successfully powers rocket over Snake River Canyon

Stuntman Eddie Braun flies the "Evel Spirit" rocket on Friday, Sept. 16, over the Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls, Idaho.
(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)

Twin Falls, Idaho (AP) — Professional stuntman Eddie Braun successfully jumped over the Snake River Canyon Friday afternoon in an ode to his boyhood idol, Evel Knievel.

Braun soared over the southern Idaho canyon in a custom-built rocket dubbed "Evel Spirit."

It launched off a steep ramp on the edge of the canyon rim just before 4 p.m. as hundreds of onlookers watched.

The rocket reached an estimated 400 mph (644 kph) before its parachute deployed, allowing Braun and the ship to land safely in fields on the other side of the 1,400 foot-wide (427 meters-wide) canyon. He didn't appear to grant any interviews immediately following his flight; members of his team had earlier announced that he would instead be available for interviews on Monday morning in New York City.

Braun has said the rocket was identical to the model Knievel used for his failed canyon attempt on Sept. 8, 1974. Knievel landed at the bottom of the canyon when his parachute prematurely deployed partway across the canyon, but walked away with only minor injuries. The spot where Knievel jumped was 1,600 feet (488 meters) wide.

Braun hoped his effort would prove that Knievel could have made it across the canyon if his parachute had deployed at the correct time.

Before the jump, the 54-year-old Braun said he was optimistic he would make it across the canyon.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I thought it couldn't be done," he said.

Still, he had prepared for the worst in the days before the stunt, asking his young son to one day walk his sisters down the aisle at their wedding if Braun died in his attempt.

Months of testing was performed on the rocket designed by Scott Truax, whose father constructed the original "X2 Skycycle" for Knievel.

Truax followed his father's blueprints down to the last bolt and deviated only by updating the parachute system.

Braun had trouble finding corporate sponsors for the stunt, and said he spent about $1.5 million of his own money on the jump.

He looked at the stunt as a way to pay homage to Knievel, who inspired him to become a stuntman.

"I like to say I'm not doing something that Evel Knievel couldn't do," he told the Idaho Statesman before making the jump. "I'm simply finishing out his dream. How many people get to finish the dream of their hero?"

Not all in the southern Idaho town of Twin Falls have such fond memories of Knievel. Many residents remember Knievel's promise of a weeklong festival complete with celebrities and a golf tournament.

Knievel's attempt drew plenty of spectators, and the resultant partying, fighting and mischief upset locals. The daredevil was later accused of leaving town without paying debts to area businesses.

But the mystique of Knievel's failed stunt has lived on, with would-be daredevils showing up every decade or so to propose similar jumps. Knievel's son Robbie visited Twin Falls in the 1990s and in 2010 to float the idea of a possible jump, though it never came to fruition.

Braun appears to have been the first to actually try the stunt since Knievel's attempt.


15 people dead after typhoon that hit China, Taiwan

A man carries belongings away from a destroyed home after Typhoon Meranti hit Xiamen in southeastern China's Fujian province Friday, Sept. 16. (Chinatopix via AP)

Beijing (AP) — At least fifteen people have been reported dead after a powerful typhoon lashed much of southeastern China and Taiwan.

China's Ministry of Civil Affairs on Saturday updated the number of deaths to thirteen as a result of Typhoon Meranti, which struck Fujian province early Thursday. Nine people in China are still missing.

Taiwanese authorities reported that two people died in the storm.

According to Chinese officials, Meranti forced the relocation of 33 million people and destroyed 1,600 homes. Images shared by state news media showed power lines and destroyed vehicles downed on streets in the coastal city of Xiamen. Taiwanese media reported that parts of southern Taiwan remain flooded.

But even as the cleanup is underway there, another typhoon, Malakas, is expected to hit Taiwan this weekend.


Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016

The Associated Press 

Today is Saturday, Sept. 17, the 261st day of 2016. There are 105 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 17, 1978, after meeting at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (men-AH'-kem BAY'-gihn) and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a framework for a peace treaty.

On this date:

In 1787, the Constitution of the United States was completed and signed by a majority of delegates attending the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

In 1862, more than 3,600 men were killed in the Civil War Battle of Antietam (an-TEE'-tum) in Maryland.

In 1908, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge of the U.S. Army Signal Corps became the first person to die in the crash of a powered aircraft, the Wright Flyer, at Fort Myer, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C.

In 1937, the likeness of President Abraham Lincoln's head was dedicated at Mount Rushmore.

In 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland during World War II, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany had launched its assault.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied paratroopers launched Operation Market Garden, landing behind German lines in the Netherlands. (After initial success, the Allies were beaten back by the Germans.)

In 1955, Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded "Sixteen Tons" by Merle Travis for Capitol Records in Hollywood.

In 1966, "Mission: Impossible" premiered on CBS.

In 1971, citing health reasons, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, 85, retired. (Black, who was succeeded by Lewis F. Powell Jr., died eight days after making his announcement.)

In 1984, Progressive Conservative leader Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO'-nee) took office as Canada's 18th prime minister.

In 1986, the Senate confirmed the nomination of William H. Rehnquist to become the 16th chief justice of the United States.

In 1996, Former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew died in Berlin, Maryland, at age 77.

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply sorry" his recent remarks on Islam and violence had offended Muslims, but the unusual expression of papal regret drew a mixed reaction from Islamic leaders, some of whom said it wasn't enough. Five Duquesne (doo-KAYN') basketball players were shot and wounded during an apparent act of random violence on the Pittsburgh campus. (Four people later pleaded guilty in connection with the shootings; the two who wielded guns received prison sentences.) Patricia Kennedy Lawford, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and ex-wife of actor Peter Lawford, died in New York City at age 82.

Five years ago: A demonstration calling itself Occupy Wall Street began in New York, prompting similar protests around the U.S. and the world. Charles H. Percy, 91, a Chicago businessman who became a U.S. senator and was once widely viewed as a top presidential contender, died in Washington.

One year ago: General Motors agreed to pay $900 million to fend off criminal prosecution over the deadly ignition-switch scandal, striking a deal that brought criticism down on the Justice Department for not bringing charges against individual employees; GM also announced it would spend $575 million to settle the majority of the civil lawsuits filed over the scandal. The Federal Reserve kept U.S interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.

Today's Birthdays: Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is 83. Retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is 77. Singer LaMonte McLemore (The Fifth Dimension) is 81. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni is 73. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is 71. Singer Fee Waybill is 66. Actress Cassandra Peterson ("Elvira, Mistress of the Dark") is 65. Comedian Rita Rudner is 63. Muppeteer Kevin Clash (former voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street") is 56. Director-actor Paul Feig is 54. Movie director Baz Luhrmann is 54. Singer BeBe Winans is 54. TV personality /businessman Robert Herjavec (TV: "Shark Tank") is 53. Actor Kyle Chandler is 51. Director-producer Bryan Singer is 51. Rapper Doug E. Fresh is 50. Actor Malik Yoba is 49. Rock singer Anastacia is 48. Rock musician Keith Flint (Prodigy) is 47. Actor Matthew Settle is 47. Rapper Vinnie (Naughty By Nature) is 46. Actor Felix Solis is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marcus Sanders (Hi-Five) is 43. Actress-singer Nona Gaye is 42. Singer-actor Constantine Maroulis is 41. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson is 41. Pop singer Maile (MY'-lee) Misajon (Eden's Crush) is 40. Country singer-songwriter Stephen Cochran is 37. Rock musician Chuck Comeau (Simple Plan) is 37. Actor Billy Miller is 37. Country singer Desi Wasdin (3 of Hearts) is 33. Rock musician Jon Walker is 31. Actress Danielle Brooks is 27. Actress-singer Denyse Tontz is 22.

Thought for Today: "Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The loved and the rich need no protection — they have many friends and few enemies." — Wendell Phillips, American abolitionist (1811-1884).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


2 tourists killed in Bali boat explosion, many injured

Police investigators examine the Gili Cat 2 boat following an explosion while it was enroute to nearby island of Lombok, at Padangbai Port in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Thursday, Sept. 15. (AP Photo)

Bali, Indonesia (AP) — Two foreign tourists were killed and about 20 other people were injured in an explosion Thursday on a speedboat that was ferrying them from the Indonesian tourist island of Bali to neighboring Lombok, police said.

Karangasem district police chief Sugeng Sudarso said the "Gili Cat 2" fast boat had about 40 people including crew on board. He said all the passengers have been evacuated and the injured are being treated on the island.

He said the dead are an Austrian woman and a woman of European nationality who police initially said was German.

Police have not yet determined the cause of the explosion, but a member of the forensics team investigating the scene said initial indications are it was an accident. The officer didn't want to be named because he is not an official police spokesman.

Sudarso said the explosion occurred after smoke was seen billowing from an engine.

Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago made up of thousands of islands where regulation of boat services is often lax.

Sudarso said the explosion, which occurred when the boat was about 200 meters (220 yards) from the port of departure, shattered its rear windows and upended seating.

"We are still questioning the boat captain while a forensic team is examining the scene to find the cause of the explosion," he said.

"One of the passengers died from bad injuries after being hit by boat debris that also caused injuries to others," Sudarso said.

A manifest showed that passengers were from several countries including Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

Bali became a byword for tragedy in 2002 when bombings by Jemaah Islamiyah militants killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

A sustained security crackdown since then has weakened JI but counter-terrorism officials say there is still a threat of attacks from militants inspired by the Islamic State group.


Reflective Clinton returns to campaign trail after pneumonia

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives at a rally at University of North Carolina, in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 15. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Julie Pace, Lisa Lerer

 Greensboro, N.C. (AP) — Back on the campaign trail, a reflective Hillary Clinton said Thursday her three-day, doctor-mandated break gave her new perspective on why she's running to be president. She vowed to close her campaign against Donald Trump by giving Americans "something to vote for, not just against."

Clinton made no apologies for keeping her pneumonia diagnosis from the public until a video emerged showing her stumbling and being supported by aides. She also repeatedly sidestepped questions about when her running mate Tim Kaine was informed.

An upbeat Clinton walked onstage at a rally in North Carolina to James Brown's song, "I Feel Good." She said that while sitting at home this week was "pretty much the last place I wanted to be," the time helped clarify how she wants to close her campaign against Trump.

"We're offering ideas, not insults," she said in a jab at her Republican rival. "A plan that will make a real difference in people's lives, not prejudice and paranoia."

The rally marked Clinton's first public appearance since Sunday, when she abruptly left a 9/11 memorial service after getting dizzy and dehydrated. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday, but the campaign informed the public only after the video of an ill Clinton emerged.

The incident prompted fresh questions about both candidates' openness regarding their health. Trump released a new letter from his doctor Thursday detailing his blood pressure, cholesterol and medications, one day after Clinton made public a letter from her physician with similar information. Both candidates' doctors declared them fit to serve as president.

Trump's letter said the Republican is 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds — giving him a body mass index falling into the "overweight" range. The 70-year-old has blood pressure of 116 over 70, and his total cholesterol is 169, his doctor says.

Clinton, 68, has blood pressure of 100 over 70, and her total cholesterol is 189, according to her doctor. Her letter made no mention of her weight, a key part of a medical exam; nor did a similar letter released last year.

Trump's team took a swipe at Clinton's brief absence from the campaign trail in a statement accompanying the new health information.

"We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health, and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States," the campaign said.

Until Thursday, the only information on Trump's health had come in a widely ridiculed letter from his doctor declaring he would be the healthiest person to ever serve as president. Before releasing the new details to the public, Trump turned over a copy to Dr. Mehmet Oz while taping an episode of Oz's TV show.

Clinton mocked Trump's television rollout of his health records, saying, "I'll never be the showman that my opponent is — just look at the show he put on for Dr. Oz today."

With two months until Election Day, the race between Clinton and Trump is far tighter than many in both parties expected. Clinton continues to be dragged down by voters' mistrust, but she still maintains more pathways than Trump to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Clinton's confidence in the electoral map was underscored in her decision to make her first stop this week in North Carolina, the only battleground state President Barack Obama lost in 2012. Trump almost certainly needs to carry the state in order to win the White House, while Clinton's team is eager to block his path.

Clinton slammed North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for signing a law to prevent transgender people from using restrooms in schools and state government buildings that do not correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. The decision has angered businesses in the state, and this week the NCAA announced it was pulling seven sports championships from North Carolina.

"This is where bigotry leads, and we can't afford it, not here or anywhere else," Clinton said.

Later Thursday, Clinton and Obama separately addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington. Clinton ripped Trump for his refusal, in an interview with The Washington Post, to say Obama was born in the United States.

"When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry?" Clinton asked.

Trump, after releasing his health information, spent Thursday laying out plans to lower taxes by $4.4 trillion over a decade and cut regulations, including some of those currently intended to protect the food Americans eat and the air they breathe. The Republican said his plans would raise the nation's economic growth rate to at least 3.5 percent, well above its current rate of about 2 percent, and create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years.

The heart of Trump's plan is a revised tax code, which includes a pledge that no business should pay more than 15 percent of its income in taxes, down from the current 35 percent highest corporate tax rate. Few businesses now pay the full 35 percent rate, taking advantage instead of many deductions in the existing tax code.


Lightning bolts in Oklahoma, France deemed world's longest

Researchers at the World Meteorological Organization say the threat of lightning strikes can last long after a storm has passed. (AP Photo)

Kelly P. Kissel

Geneva, Switzerland (AP) - Researchers identified lightning bolts in Oklahoma and France as the longest on record and warn that their discovery could alter traditional thinking of when it's safe to go outside after a storm passes.

A 2007 storm in Oklahoma produced a lightning bolt nearly 200 miles (321.85 kilometers) long, while a 2012 storm in southern France produced a single flash that lasted 7.74 seconds. Both events were added this week to a list of weather extremes kept by the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

"We should be more aware of lightning if we can have lightning that can travel 200 miles," said Randy Cerveny, the WMO's spokesman on weather and climate extremes. "If thunder roars, go indoors."

Timothy Lang, a researcher at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said the record Oklahoma lightning bolt streaked from Tulsa, near the Arkansas border, to near the Oklahoma Panhandle. The bolt started at an altitude of 6 miles (9.66 kilometers) and reached the ground in a number of places, he said. A researcher in Colorado saw the streak, and Lang said its length could change thinking about safety after a storm.

"The lightning can start tens or hundreds of miles away and then come back to where you are," Lang said. "You have to be careful of where the lightning is coming to ground, even though the storm is past."

Meteorologists generally suggest a "30-30" rule when storms are near: Start counting when you see a lightning bolt and if you reach 30 seconds before hearing the thunder, it is generally safe to continue outdoor activities such as games or picnics. If thunder is heard before the 30 seconds are up, stop outdoor activities and wait 30 minutes before resuming.

"These kinds of rules need to be looked at. It's going to depend on the kind of thunderstorm," Lang said. "You really need to know where it (lightning) is occurring. There could be a lower risk — the lower the flash rate — but it's not 'no-risk.'"

Cerveny said not all storms will have lightning as extreme as the Oklahoma and French storms. The Oklahoma storm was in a particularly large complex of bad weather that occurred very early on June 20, 2007. Lightning sensors on the ground tracked the bolt's path.

"Most lightning will strike within the 30-30 rule," he said. "The 30-30 rule is one that we still want to stress and make sure people are aware of ... but it does demonstrate that lightning can hit far from where the storm actually is."

The Oklahoma flash lasted a bit more than five seconds, while the French bolt doubled back on itself, extending its life to 7.74 seconds, said Cerveny, a professor of geographic sciences at Arizona State University.

The aerospace industry has an interest in lightning because it can endanger people in flight, while meteorologists can use spikes in lightning to judge a storm's severity, Lang said. "Oklahoma is a good place to study storms like this."


Witness says Philippine president ordered killings

Former Filipino militiaman Edgar Matobato gestures as he testifies before the Philippine Senate in Pasay, south of Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 15. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Jim Gomez, Teresa Cerojano

Manila, Philippines (AP) — A former Filipino militiaman testified before the country's Senate on Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still a city mayor, ordered him and other members of a liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.

Edgar Matobato, 57, told the nationally televised Senate committee hearing that he heard Duterte order some of the killings, and acknowledged that he himself carried out about 50 deadly assaults as an assassin, including a suspected kidnapper fed to a crocodile in 2007 in southern Davao del Sur province.

Rights groups have long accused Duterte of involvement in death squads, claims he has denied, even while engaging in tough talk in which he stated his approach to criminals was to "kill them all." Matobato is the first person to admit any role in such killings, and to directly implicate Duterte under oath in a public hearing.

Human Rights Watch urged the Philippine government to order an independent investigation into the "very serious allegations" of direct involvement by Duterte "in extrajudicial killings."

Brad Adams, the rights group's Asia director, said: "President Duterte can't be expected to investigate himself, so it is crucial that the United Nations is called in to lead such an effort. Otherwise, Filipinos may never know if the president was directly responsible for extrajudicial killings."

The Senate committee inquiry was led by Sen. Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte's anti-drug campaign that has left more than 3,000 suspected drug users and dealers dead since he assumed the presidency in June. Duterte has accused de Lima of involvement in illegal drugs, alleging that she used to have a driver who took money from detained drug lords. She has denied the allegations.

Matobato said Duterte had once even issued an order to kill de Lima, when she chaired the Commission on Human Rights and was investigating the mayor's possible role in extrajudicial killings in 2009 in Davao. He said he and others were waiting to ambush de Lima but she did not go to a part of a hilly area — a suspected mass grave — where they were waiting to open fire.

"If you went inside the upper portion, we were already in ambush position," Matobato told de Lima. "It's good that you left."

The recent killings of suspected drug dealers have sparked concerns in the Philippines and among U.N. and U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, who have urged Duterte's government to take steps to rapidly stop the killings and ensure his anti-drug war complies with human rights laws and the rule of law.

Duterte has rejected the criticisms, questioning the right of the U.N., the U.S. and Obama to raise human rights issues, when U.S. forces, for example, had massacred Muslims in the country's south in the early 1900s as part of a pacification campaign.

Matobato said under oath that the killings went on from 1988, when Duterte first became Davao city mayor, to 2013, when Matobato said he expressed his desire to leave the death squad. He said that prompted his colleagues to implicate him criminally in one killing to silence him.

"Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers. These are the kind we killed every day," Matobato said. But he said their targets were not only criminals but also opponents of Duterte and one of his sons, Paolo Duterte, who is now the vice mayor of Davao.

Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar rejected the allegations, saying government investigations into Duterte's time as mayor of Davao had already gone nowhere because of a lack of evidence and witnesses.

Philippine human rights officials and advocates have previously said potential witnesses refused to testify against Duterte when he was still mayor out of fear of being killed.

There was no immediate reaction from Duterte. Another Duterte spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said at a news conference that while Matobato "may sound credible, it is imperative that each and every one of us properly weigh whatever he said and respond right."

Matobato said the victims in Davao allegedly ranged from petty criminals to a wealthy businessman from central Cebu province who was killed in 2014 in his office in Davao city, allegedly because of a feud with Paolo Duterte over a woman. The president's son said the allegations were without proof and "are mere hearsay," telling reporters he would "not dignify the accusations of a mad man."

Other victims were a suspected foreign militant whom Matobato said he strangled, then chopped into pieces and buried in a quarry in 2002. Another was a radio commentator, Jun Pala, who was critical of Duterte and was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen while walking home in 2003.

After a 1993 bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Davao city, Matobato said Duterte ordered him and his colleagues to launch attacks on mosques in an apparent retaliation. He testified he hurled a grenade at one mosque but there were no casualties because the attacks were carried out when no one was praying.

Matobato said some of the squad's victims were shot and dumped on Davao streets or buried in three secret pits, while others were disposed of at sea with their stomachs cut open and their bodies tied to concrete blocks.

"They were killed like chickens," said Matobato, who added he that backed away from the killings after feeling guilty and entered a government witness-protection program.

He left the protection program when Duterte became president, fearing he would be killed, and said he decided to surface now "so the killings will stop."

Matobato's testimony set off a tense exchange between pro-Duterte and opposition senators.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano accused Matobato of being part of a plot to unseat Duterte. "I'm testing to see if you were brought here to bring down this government," he said.

De Lima eventually declared Cayetano "out of order" and ordered Senate security personnel to restrain him.

Another senator, former national police chief Panfilo Lacson, warned Matobato that his admissions that he was involved in killings could land him in jail.

"You can be jailed with your revelations," Lacson said. "You have no immunity."

Duterte has immunity from lawsuits as a president, but de Lima said that principle may have to be revisited now. "What if a leader is elected and turns out to be a mass murderer?" de Lima asked in a news conference after the tense Senate hearing.


Galaxy Note 7 recall shows challenges of stronger batteries

Powered-off Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are displayed at the company's service center in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Youkyung Lee

Seoul, South Korea (AP) — Samsung's recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones after several dozen caught fire and exploded may stem from a subtle manufacturing error, but it highlights the challenge electronics makers face in packing ever more battery power into ever thinner phones, while rushing for faster release dates.

Announcing the recall on Sept. 2, Samsung confirmed dozens of cases where Note 7 batteries caught fire or exploded, mostly while charging. It plans a software update that will cap battery recharging at 60 percent capacity to help minimize risks of overheating. But it is urging owners to keep the phones turned off until they can get them replaced, beginning Monday.

U.S. safety regulators stepped in Thursday with an official recall, saying Samsung's voluntary efforts were inadequate. Though Samsung promised replacement devices, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said U.S. customers would be eligible for refunds if they choose. Replacements are expected in stores by next Wednesday.

The Note 7 debuted to rave reviews in August thanks to its speed, new software features and — not least — the estimated nine hours it would run between charges. But all that power comes at a price: Users began reporting the phones were catching fire or exploding, in one case incinerating the SUV it had been left in.

Aviation authorities in the U.S., Australia and Europe have urged passengers not to use or charge Note 7s while flying and not to put them in checked baggage. On Monday, Canada issued an official recall.

Koh Dong-jin, Samsung's mobile president, said in announcing the recall on Sept. 2 that an investigation turned up a "tiny error" in the manufacturing process for the faulty batteries in the Note 7s that was very difficult to identify. The end of the pouch-shaped battery cell had some flaws that increased the chance of stress or overheating, he explained.

That kind of manufacturing error is unimaginable for top-notch battery makers with adequate quality controls, said Park Chul Wan, a former director of the next generation battery research center at the state-owned Korea Electronics Technology Institute.

Samsung and other experts should search for factors outside the battery cells that could have led to overheating, he said.

"If Koh's argument is right, that makes Samsung SDI a third-rate company," Park said. "But it does not appear to be a simple battery problem."

Time also is a factor in marketing and making the phones.

In 2015, Samsung moved up its unveiling of its new Galaxy Note model to August from September, seeking a leg up on Apple's September iPhone upgrades.

Before the issue of battery explosions emerged, supplies were not keeping pace with demand for the Note 7.

Samsung has not recalled Note 7s sold in China, but the company has refused to say which of its two battery suppliers made the faulty batteries or clarify whose batteries are used in which Note 7 smartphones. The company also refused comment on South Korean media reports that it has stopped using batteries from Samsung SDI, one of its two suppliers, in the Note 7.

C.W. Chung, an analyst at Nomura Securities in Seoul, cited SDI officials in estimating that about 70 percent of the batteries for the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones came from SDI.

The other 30 percent are thought to have been supplied by Amperex Technology Ltd., a Chinese-based manufacturer that reportedly also is a main supplier of batteries for the iPhone.

Problems with lithium batteries have afflicted everything from laptops to Tesla cars to Boeing's 787 jetliner, though having so many lithium-ion battery fires in a short time is unheard of, Park said.

The batteries are ubiquitous in consumer electronic devices, favored by manufacturers because they are lightweight and pack much more energy into a small space than other power cells.

But storing so much energy in a tiny space, with combustible components separated by ultra-thin walls, makes them susceptible to overheating if exposed to high temperatures, damage or flaws in manufacturing. If the separators fail, a chemical reaction can quickly escalate out of control.

That's what happened with the Note 7, Samsung's Koh explained.

"The flaw in the manufacturing process resulted in the negative electrodes and the positive electrodes coming together," he told reporters in Seoul.

It is unclear how Samsung failed to discover the battery problem before launching the Note 7. It confirmed delays in shipments for extra quality tests weeks later, in late August, after photos of charred phones began popping up on social media.

South Korean experts suggested Samsung may have been so ambitious with the Note 7's design that it compromised safety.

"There was no choice but to make the separator (between positive and negative anodes) thin because of the battery capacity," said Lee Sang-yong, a professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology who worked more than a decade at LG Chem, a leading lithium battery maker. Thicker separators can improve safety but will not necessarily prevent all overheating issues, he said.

Doh Chil-Hoon, head of the state-run Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute's battery research division, said that based on the limited information provided by Samsung, he believes the push to increase battery power was part of the problem.

"Even with a small manufacturing mistake, if there had been enough elements to ensure safety, it would not explode," Doh said. "It is a roundabout way of admitting weak safety."

The Note 7 phones have a powerful 3,500 milliampere hour battery, whereas the Galaxy S7 smartphone, which has a slightly smaller body than the Note 7, features a 3,000 mAh battery. So does the Note 5, launched in 2015.

Apple does not provide information on the iPhone's battery capacity in milliampere hours. But two research firms that specialize in analyzing tech gadgets and their components said the battery in the iPhone 6S Plus is 2,750mAh. The size of the battery in the newly released iPhone 7 is not yet known.

The 3,500 mAh battery in the Samsung Note 7 is "one of the highest, if not the highest, capacity battery we've seen in a phone," said Wayne Lam, an industry analyst at IHS Markit Technology.

Lam said he thinks the Note 7 battery problem resulted from weak controls in manufacturing, not a poor or unsafe design.

A spokeswoman at iFixit, which publishes repair guides for electronic gadgets, offered a similar view. "We don't think any internal design changes in the Note 7 are responsible for the exploding batteries — more likely just a manufacturing defect," IFixit's Kay-Kay Clapp said in an email.

Apple has tweaked hardware and software it developed itself to make iPhones use power more efficiently, while Samsung has increased the capacity of the batteries in its phones.

That can be done without increasing size by adjusting components or changing the production process, Lam said.

"You have two different trajectories, with Samsung packing in more energy density, versus Apple trying to trim it down by optimizing everything else," he said, adding that the two rivals are "constantly locked in this arms race of improving and one-upping."

While Apple and Samsung are using built-in batteries for their premium phones, LG Electronics, Samsung's smaller South Korean rival, has opted for a replaceable, 3,200 mAh capacity battery for its new premium, jumbo screen smartphone, the V20.

LG chose to make the phone thinner and allow customers to extend battery life by swapping out batteries.

"The security of the battery isn't directly related to whether the battery is replaceable or not," Cho Joon-ho, head of LG's mobile business, told reporters. "But we make efforts to secure safety with quality controlling tests beforehand."


Wing flap found in Tanzania confirmed to be part of MH370

Well wishers write on a wall of hope in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the ill fated Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul/ File)

Kristen Gelineau

Sydney (AP) — A wing flap that washed ashore on an island off Tanzania has been identified as belonging to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian officials said Thursday.

The flap was found in June by residents on Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania, and officials had previously said it was highly likely to have come from the missing Boeing 777. An analysis by experts at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is heading up the search for the plane, subsequently confirmed the part was indeed from the aircraft, the agency said in a statement.

Several pieces of wreckage suspected to have come from the plane have washed ashore on coastlines around the Indian Ocean since the aircraft vanished with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

The wing flap brings to five the number of pieces of debris the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has determined are almost certainly, or are definitely, from Flight 370. Another piece of wing found a year ago on La Reunion Island, near Madagascar, was positively identified by French officials.

Search officials expect more wreckage to wash up in the months ahead. But so far, none of the debris has helped narrow down the precise location of the main underwater wreckage.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau anticipates search crews will complete their sweep of the 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) search zone in the Indian Ocean off Australia's west coast by December.

Meanwhile, oceanographers have been analyzing the wing flaps from La Reunion and Tanzania in the hope of identifying a possible new search area through drift modeling. But a new search would require a new funding commitment, with Malaysia, Australia and China agreeing in July that the $160 million hunt will be suspended once the current stretch of ocean is exhausted unless new evidence emerges that would pinpoint a specific location of the aircraft.

Earlier this week, relatives of some of the passengers on board the plane met with officials from the transport bureau and asked that more potential debris found around the Indian Ocean be examined. The families believe those items may help provide clues to the plane's location.


Today in History - Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

The Associated Press 

Today is Friday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2016. There are 106 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 16, 1966, the Metropolitan Opera officially opened its new opera house at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with the world premiere of Samuel Barber's "Antony and Cleopatra."

On this date:

In 1498, Tomas de Torquemada, notorious for his role in the Spanish Inquisition, died in Avila, Spain.

In 1810, Mexicans were inspired to begin their successful revolt against Spanish rule by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his "Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores)."

In 1893, more than 100,000 settlers swarmed onto a section of land in Oklahoma known as the "Cherokee Strip."

In 1908, General Motors was founded in Flint, Michigan, by William C. Durant.

In 1919, the American Legion received a national charter from Congress.

In 1925, the Irving Berlin song "Always" (written for his future wife, Ellin Mackay) was published.

In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act. Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1953, "The Robe," the first movie presented in the widescreen process CinemaScope, had its world premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York.

In 1976, the Episcopal Church, at its General Convention in Minneapolis, formally approved the ordination of women as priests and bishops.

In 1982, the massacre of between 1,200 and 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israeli-allied Christian Phalange militiamen began in west Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

In 1994, a federal jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez (val-DEEZ') oil spill (the U.S Supreme Court later reduced that amount to $507.5 million). Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on the first untethered spacewalk in ten years.

In 2007, O.J. Simpson was arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson was later convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.)

Ten years ago: The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI "sincerely" regretted offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text characterizing some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," but the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders. Mexico extradited accused drug kingpin Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix (ah-ray-YAH'-noh fay-LEEKS') to the U.S. (Arellano Felix later pleaded guilty to federal charges of selling cocaine in a San Diego motel and was sentenced to six years in prison, but was returned to Mexico in 2008 after getting credit for time served in Mexico while awaiting extradition; he was killed in Oct. 2013 by a gunman disguised as a clown.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama signed into law a major overhaul of the nation's patent system to ease the way for inventors to bring their products to market. A World War II-era fighter plane plunged into spectators during air races in Reno, Nevada, killing 74-year-old Florida stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others. A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three crew members, including NASA astronaut Ron Garan, from the International Space Station touched down safely in Kazakhstan, but not without rattling nerves after a breakdown in communications.

One year ago: Eleven Republican presidential candidates debated at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, wrangling over immigration, gay marriage and foreign affairs. Baton-wielding Hungarian riot police unleashed tear gas and water cannons against hundreds of migrants after they broke through a razor-wire fence and tried to surge into the country from Serbia. Country singer Sturgill Simpson and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, both eclectic genre-bending artists, took home top honors at the Americana Honors and Awards show in Nashville.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Janis Paige is 94. Actor George Chakiris is 84. Bluesman Billy Boy Arnold is 81. Movie director Jim McBride is 75. Actress Linda Miller is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Betty Kelley (Martha & the Vandellas) is 72. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 68. Actress Susan Ruttan is 68. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 68. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 67. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 66. Country singer-songwriter Phil Lee is 65. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 63. Actor Kurt Fuller is 63. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 63. Actor Christopher Rich is 63. Singer Frank Reed (The Chi-Lites) is 62. TV personality Mark McEwen is 62. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 61. Actor Mickey Rourke is 60. Magician David Copperfield is 60. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 58. Actress Jennifer Tilly is 58. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 58. Retired MLB All-Star Tim Raines is 57. Actress Jayne Brook is 56. Singer Richard Marx is 53. Comedian Molly Shannon is 52. Singer Marc Anthony is 48. Comedian-actress Amy Poehler is 45. Actress Toks Olagundoye (tohks oh-lah-GOON'-doh-yay) is 41. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 41. Singer Musiq (MYOO'-sihk) is 39. Actor Michael Mosley is 38. Rapper Flo Rida is 37. Actress Alexis Bledel is 35. Actress Sabrina Bryan is 32. Actress Madeline Zima is 31. Actor Ian Harding is 30. Actress Kyla Pratt is 30. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 29. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 28. Actress-dancer Bailey Buntain is 27. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 24. Actress Elena Kampouris is 19.

Thought for Today: "Stoicism is the wisdom of madness and cynicism the madness of wisdom." — Bergen Evans, American lexicographer (1904-1978).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Prosecutors: Brazil's Silva 'commander' of graft scheme

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is shown in this Sept. 2, 2016 file photo. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Mauricio Savarese, Peter Prengaman

Rio de Janeiro (AP) — Brazilian investigators on Wednesday charged former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with money laundering and corruption, calling him the "maximum commander" of the mammoth graft scandal roiling Latin America's largest nation.

While the charges against Silva were expected — police recommended them last month — the characterization of his role in the kickback scheme at state oil company Petrobras was stunning.

The so-called Car Wash investigation the last two years has led to the jailing of dozens of businessmen and top politicians. While Silva, president between 2003 and 2010, has long been implicated, before Wednesday prosecutors had never said that he was anything more than a beneficiary.

Silva was "the maximum commander of the corruption scheme identified as Car Wash" Deltan Dallagnol, head of the task force investigating, said during a televised news conference from the southern city of Curitiba.

"We are not judging here who (Silva) is or was as a person, but what he did or didn't do to the people," Dallagnol said.

Dallagnol put up diagrams that purported to show Silva's connection to various players in the kickback scheme going back more than a decade. He said prosecutors could show that Silva had met at key times with people involved in the scheme, such as Marcelo Odebrecht, the former president of the big Odebrecht construction company who has been jailed.

Dallagnol alleged that Silva, who left the presidency with very high approval ratings, used a network of illegal campaign financing and kickbacks for political support in Congress.

Silva's lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, blasted Dallagnol, saying he had shown himself unfit for the job.

"His political behavior is incompatible with the role of a federal prosecutor," said Martins.

Despite a litany of accusations against Silva, there were only two actual charges: money laundering and corruption.

Silva, his wife and five others were accused of illegally benefiting from renovations at a beachfront apartment in the coastal city of Guaruja in Sao Paulo state. The improvements, valued at about $750,000, were made by construction company OAS, one of those involved in the kickback scheme emanating from Petrobras. Prosecutors also believe Silva benefited from OAS paying the rent of storage unit to house symbolic gifts that Silva received while president.

Silva acknowledges having visited the penthouse but says he never owned it.

Sergio Moro, the judge overseeing the probe, must now decide whether Silva will stand trial.

In a separate case related to Petrobras, Silva will go on trial on charges of obstruction of justice.

While his Workers' Party has lost much support amid corruption scandals in recent years, Silva continues to enjoy popularity nationwide and has signaled his intention to run for president in 2018.

The yawning gap between the verbal accusations Wednesday and what Silva was accused of raised many questions about the future of the investigation.

Silva, who denies wrongdoing, has long been trying to get the cases against him removed from the jurisdiction of Moro, who has become famous for locking up prominent figures the last two years.

Legal experts said that making such drastic statements could help prosecutors retrain the case in their jurisdiction and keep the investigation in the public eye.

However, such maneuvers also come with risks.

"The harsh wording shows that the evidence might not be that great," said Cezar Britto, former head of Brazilian Bar Association. "It looks as if the prosecutors are looking for the support of society instead of looking for more evidence."


Searchers find 2nd ship from doomed British expedition

This Sept. 9, 2014 image shows the wreck of HMS Erebus on a sonar scan in the Queen Maud Gulf in Nunavut, Canada. The Arctic Research Foundation said Monday, Sept. 12, 2016 that the second ship from Sir John Franklin's doomed 19th-century expedition has been found. (Parks Canada/The Canadian Press via AP)

Rob Gillies

Toronto (AP) — The second of two British explorer ships that vanished in the Arctic nearly 170 years ago during a storied expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage has been found.

The Arctic Research Foundation said earlier this week that the HMS Terror has been located by a research ship. Last seen in the 1840s while under the command of Sir John Franklin, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror have long been among the most sought-after prizes in marine archaeology and the subject of songs, poems and novels. The wreck of the Erebus was found in 2014.

"Terror was found on Sept 3. It is a perfect time capsule," said Adrian Schimnowski, the expedition leader of the research ship that located the HMS Terror.

The Terror was discovered in 24 meters (26 yards) of water in Terror Bay, a small indentation on the coast of King William Island west of the community of Gjoa Haven. It was located right where an Inuit hunter said it would be. Canadian Rear-Admiral John Newton said the two Franklin ships were found about 50 kilometers (31 miles) apart from each other.

Franklin and 128 hand-picked officers and men had set out in 1845 to find the Northwest Passage, the long-sought shortcut to Asia that supposedly ran from the Atlantic to the Pacific by way of the harsh, ice-choked Arctic. The death of all 129 men made the Franklin expedition the worst tragedy in the history of Arctic exploration.

Schimnowski said that mystery might have remained if not for a late-night conversation on one of the search vessels between himself and Sammy Kogvik, an Inuk and Canadian Ranger from Gjoa Haven. The two were on the bridge of the Martin Bergmann, a research vessel, and Kogvik was telling Schimnowski about the history of the shorelines they were sailing past. He started talking about something he had seen seven years ago while snowmobiling across the sea ice of Terror Bay.

Kogvik recalled how he had looked behind him to check on his hunting partner when he spotted a large pole sticking up out of the ice. The two Inuit stopped and took pictures of what looked like a ship's mast.

But when Kogvik got home to Gjoa Haven, he found he had dropped his camera and lost the shots. "He kept the story secret because he didn't want people not to believe him," Schimnowski said.

"We listened to Sammy's story on the bridge of the Bergmann and changed course to take a look," he said.

In a news release, Kogvik said he was delighted to see the vessel again.

In the days since the discovery, the crew has identified a number of the Terror's features. There is video of the ship's bell. A cannon similar to those on the Erebus has been spotted. The ship's helm is still there "in perfect condition," said Schimnowski. A windlass, used to haul up an anchor, still has heavy rope wrapped around it as if moored to the bottom of the sea.

Newton called it an historic site for Canada and said there are no current plans to raise the two ships.

John Geiger, president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, called the discovery of the HMS Terror the missing piece of the puzzle and historically significant for Americans given the role of the HMS Terror in the War of 1812. HMS Terror was one of the British naval bomb ships that took part in the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The attack was the inspiration for the poem by Francis Scott Key that eventually became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"Those bombs could have very well been lobbed from the Terror," he said. "It's fundamental to the Star-Spangled Banner and the origins of the anthem of the United States. From a pure historical standpoint what an exciting find."

The confirmation of the HMS Erebus find in 2014 was made by underwater archaeologists, following a meticulous review of data and artifacts observed from the Arctic Ocean's seabed and using high-resolution photography, high-definition video and multi-beam sonar measurements.

Canada announced in 2008 that it would look for the ships, and the Canadian government has poured millions of dollars into the venture, with former Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself taking part in the search. It was all part of Harper's plan to boast Canadian nationalism and a sense of ownership of the north.

Harper's government made the project a top priority as it looked to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, where melting Arctic ice in recent years has unlocked the very shipping route Franklin was seeking. Canada says it owns the passage. The U.S. and others say it is international territory.

The well-preserved wreck of HMS Erebus was found 11 meters (12 yards) below the surface, near King William Island, about 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) northwest of Toronto.

Historians believe that the ships got trapped in thick ice in 1846 off Prince William Island, and Franklin and some other crew members died in the ensuing months. The survivors apparently abandoned the two ships in April 1848 in a hopeless bid to reach safety overland. Inuit lore tells of "white men who were starving" as late as the winter of 1850 on the Royal Geographical Society Island near Prince William Island.

For many years afterward, Franklin was celebrated as a Victorian-era hero.

Dozens of searches by the British and Americans in the 1800s failed to locate the wrecks, and some of those expeditions also ended in tragedy. But they opened up parts of the Canadian Arctic to discovery and ultimately found a Northwest Passage, though it proved inhospitable to shipping because of ice and treacherous weather.

The search for an Arctic passage to Asia frustrated explorers for centuries, beginning with John Cabot's voyage in 1497. The shortcut eluded other famous explorers, including Henry Hudson and Francis Drake.

No sea crossing was successful until Roald Amundsen of Norway completed his trip in 1903-06. The exact location of Erebus was not disclosed for fear of looters.

The research ship was part of a small flotilla organized by the Canadian government and its partners that sailed for the Arctic at the end of August to search for the HMS Terror.


EU chief appeals for more unity in Europe rife with division

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Jean Francois Badias)

Raf Casert, Lorne Cook

Brussels (AP) — With Britain walking away and some eastern nations routinely showing open hostility, the European Union's chief painted a bleak picture Wednesday of the bloc and implored the 27 remaining nations to stop bickering at a time when ever more people question its relevance.

While the U.S. president almost invariably lauds a strong union in his State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's annual speech to the European Parliament was rife with awkward truths.

"We should admit we have many unresolved problems," he said, and asked an existential question about the future, if any, for the EU — "will Europe disappear from the international scene?"

After a half-century of unremitting growth, the EU has stalled, as was highlighted by June's shock referendum result in Britain, when it became the first member state to ever decide to leave the constantly expanding bloc.

"The facts are plain: The world is getting bigger. And we are getting smaller," Juncker said, adding that only standing together, however difficult that is, can fix the problem.

Juncker wants to reinvigorate the union from within, despite the chorus of voices criticizing the EU's centralized decision-making and institutions.

He specifically said the EU must do more in the defense field, and no longer be overly dependent on the U.S. He said it should start with the creation of an EU military headquarters and work toward a common military force.

Britain has always staunchly defended NATO as the main military alliance and routinely blocked attempts to bolster EU defense.

Juncker said greater defense cooperation also makes economic sense for the bloc's member states, since it would reduce wasteful duplication of effort by individual nations, and he called for a specific defense fund before the end of the year to boost common research projects.

Nigel Farage — a leader of the campaign for the U.K. to leave — said the speech was more of the bad old EU, of increased power-grabbing.

"It is clear that no lessons are going to be learned from Brexit," he said. "Indeed (Juncker's speech) was the usual recipe — more Europe, in this particular case, more military Europe."

Last year, Juncker drew up an obligatory scheme for member states to share 160,000 refugees in Greece and Italy and any other overwhelmed country among their EU partners. Slovakia and others have refused to take part. Hungary even launched a legal challenge.

One year on, fewer than 5,000 refugees have been moved and on Wednesday, Juncker acknowledged his power had met its match. Instead of obligatory, he said, "solidarity must be voluntary, must come from the heart."

It cuts to the core of the power struggle within the EU, as the 27 EU leaders, minus Britain's Theresa May, meet in Bratislava on Friday, looking for ways to move forward.

With Europe wracked by fears over extremism, the refugee emergency and economic woes, Juncker told legislators that EU integration cannot be for individual member states to manage alone and insisted that "too often national interests are brought to the fore."

"We have to stop this war according to which all success is national and all failure is European," Juncker said.

Eastern member states have been arguing against too much EU integration and the specter of a federal European superstate, and the issue is expected to be the main battleground for months, even years, to come as the EU deals with the fallout of Britain's departure.

"People in Europe don't want this petty envy between the various institutions," he said at the assembly in Strasbourg, France. "They want results. The next 12 months are decisive if we want to realize our union."

Juncker did announce a new push on investment and job creation, extending a plan for a further three years and aiming to generate 630 billion euros ($707 billion) worth of public and private investment by 2022.

The initial aim of the Investment Plan for Europe, which was first announced last year, was to mobilize 315 billion euros over three years.

Britain still has to officially trigger the exit negotiations to become the first member state to walk away from Europe's biggest unity project. Juncker said, "we would be happy if the request for Brexit could happen as quickly as possible so that we could take the specific steps which need to happen."

There are fears the EU is facing paralysis until Britain decides to move. Juncker also warned that Britain should expect not to get the same access to the EU's unified market as if nothing happened.

"There can be no a la carte access to the single market," he said.


Tourism transforms long-hidden Buddhist valley in Himalayas

A jeep drives along the only road that leads to Spiti Valley, a remote Himalayan valley situated at 4000 meter above sea level in northern India.. (AP Photo/Thomas Cytrynowicz)

Thomas Cytrynowicz

Demul Village, India (AP) — For centuries, the sleepy valley nestled in the Indian Himalayas remained a hidden Buddhist enclave forbidden to outsiders.

Enduring the harsh year-round conditions of the high mountain desert, the people of Spiti Valley lived by a simple communal code — share the Earth's bounty, be hospitable to neighbors, and eschew greed and temptation at all turns.

That's all starting to change, for better or worse. Since India began allowing its own citizens as well as outsiders to visit the valley in the early 1990s, tourism and trade have boomed. And the marks of modernization, such as solar panels, asphalt roads and concrete buildings, have begun to appear around some of the villages that dot the remote landscape at altitudes above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).

"This year is busier than ever," said Ishita Khanna, co-founder of the eco-tourism agency Ecosphere. By Aug. 29, with at least a month left until the end of the tourism season, there had been 847 foreign visitors to the region in 2016, compared with 726 for all of last year, officials said.

They could not give a figure for how many Indians had traveled to the region in jeeps and buses across treacherous mountain roads, as Indian tourists do not need special permits. But additional district magistrate Jagan Thakur said that 70 percent of the tourists to the region were Indians.

Many of the valley's 13,000 or so residents — ethnically Tibetan yet long resident in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh — welcome the influx of tourists eager to explore the mountains or simply enjoy the pristine surroundings.

"In years when the climate and roads are good, they flock in together in high numbers," Thakur said. "Villagers will actually convert their houses into homestays."

In the hillside village of Demul, with only around 250 residents, people have devised a system whereby half of the residents move in with their neighbors while renting their earthen-hut homes to travelers during the summer, and then share the earnings. That income is helping many invest in better schooling for their kids.

"They have a great system in this village ... everybody takes turns," said British traveler Tom Welton. "They collectively bring all the money together and at the end of the year they distribute it equally to the whole village."

Tourism has become so important it now makes up at least half of most people's annual income, Khanna said. The rest of the people's wealth comes from traditional channels — herding sheep and goats, and growing crops like black beans, barley and, more recently, green peas.

For the crimson-robed Buddhist monks in the valley, the increase in visitors brings a chance to "teach Buddhism to others. More people should learn about it," said Lama Tenzin Rizzin, a resident of another hilltop village, Key, a half-hour drive from the valley's main town of Kaza.

Some villagers and travelers worry that the influx of new funds will bring competition, greed and environmentally taxing change — such as flush toilets that might empty straight into the Spiti River or put a strain on the region's already limited water sources.

"We cannot go beyond our limits. Mass tourism is not good for our culture," said Tenzin Thinley, 35, who runs a homestay in the valley village of Kibber and works as a tourist guide. "Hospitality is important in Spiti's culture, and we will not let it disappear."

While increasing trade with cities outside the valley has broadened the dinner table with lentils and grains that can't be grown in the valley, it has also brought an influx of junk food that the elders are struggling to keep away from the children.

"Too many tourists mean too much money," Thinley said. "I do not want to be greedy."


US announces lifting of Myanmar sanctions

President Barack Obama and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi shake hands as they speak to media at the conclusion of a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Matthew Pennington

Washington (AP) — President Barack Obama said Wednesday the U.S. is lifting economic sanctions and restoring trade benefits to former pariah state Myanmar as he met with Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner who is now the nation's de facto leader.

Obama hailed a "remarkable" transformation in the country, which spent five decades under oppressive military rule. Suu Kyi's party swept historic elections last November, and the visit by the 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, deeply respected in Washington, is a crowning occasion in the Obama administration's support for Myanmar's shift to democracy, which the administration views as a major foreign policy achievement.

The U.S. has eased broad economic sanctions since political reforms began five years ago and Obama has visited the country twice. But the U.S. has retained more targeted restrictions on military-owned companies and officials and associates of the former ruling junta. U.S. companies and banks have remained leery of involvement in one of Asia's last untapped markets.

"The United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed on Burma for quite some time," Obama said as he sat alongside Suu Kyi in the Oval Office. He said it was "the right thing to do" to ensure Myanmar benefits from its transition. Asked by a reporter when sanctions would be lifted, Obama said "soon."

Suu Kyi concurred it was time to remove all the sanctions that had hurt the economy. She urged Americans to come to the country and "to make profits."

Congressional aides said that Suu Kyi requested the removal of the national emergency with respect to Myanmar — the executive order authorizing sanctions that has been renewed annually by U.S. presidents for two decades.

The Treasury Department said that Obama's decision will be legally effective when he issues a new executive order to terminate the emergency. A U.S. official said that 111 Myanmar individuals and companies will be dropped from a Treasury blacklist and restrictions will be lifted on new investment with military and on the imports of rubies and jade. But penalties intended to block the drug trade and to bar military trade with North Korea would still apply, as would a visa ban barring some former and current members of the military from traveling to the U.S.

The official and aides spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed the announcement as "historic." But human rights groups say there are powerful reasons for retaining sanctions. Military abuses continue in ethnic minority regions. Rohingya Muslims remain displaced by sectarian violence and denied citizenship. The military and its associates still have huge stakes in the economy.

"Obama and Suu Kyi just took important tools out of their collective tool kit for dealing with the Burmese military, and threw them into the garbage," said John Sifton, deputy Washington director for Human Rights Watch.

Transparency watchdog Global Witness says Myanmar's jade industry, based in a northern region plagued by civil conflict, is dominated by a military elite, U.S.-sanctioned drug lords and crony companies. It estimates the industry is worth nearly half of the nation's economic output.

Suu Kyi addressed problems in western Rakhine state, where more than 100,000 Rohingyas remain stuck in camps, separated from Buddhists who are the majority in Myanmar. She said everyone entitled to citizenship in Myanmar should get it.

"We are sincere in trying to bring together the different communities," Suu Kyi said.

The White House also notified Congress on Wednesday it would be reinstating in November trade benefits to Myanmar because of its progress on workers' rights. The benefits were suspended in 1989, a year after the bloody crackdown on democracy protesters by the military.

Suu Kyi last visited Washington in 2012 when she was still opposition leader. On that occasion, she was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, the legislature's highest civilian honor, which she had been awarded in 2008 while under house arrest.

Now she is de facto leader of the country with the title of state counsellor although a junta-era constitution still enshrines the military's role in politics and bars her from the presidency.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest pushed back on the notion the U.S. was undercutting its leverage over Myanmar on human rights and constitutional reforms by lifting sanctions. He said greater U.S. engagement would promote its ability to promote change.


Russia urges Syrian rebels to separate from 'terrorists'

Activists in Syria’s besieged city of Aleppo protest against the United Nations for what they say is its failure to lift the siege off their rebel-held area, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (Modar Shekho via AP)

Sarah EL Deeb, Nataliya Vasilyeva

Beirut (AP) — Russia said Wednesday that separating Syrian rebels from 'terrorists' is a "key task" to ensure that the Russia-U.S.-brokered cease-fire continues to hold in Syria, where a relative calm has prevailed since the truce went into effect two days ago.

Russian Lt. Gen. Victor Poznikhir said rebels had violated the truce 60 times since it came into force sunset Monday. For their part, opposition forces said they had recorded some 28 various violations by government troops on Tuesday.

The cease-fire deal was reached over the weekend after marathon negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Underscoring the complexity of the new arrangement, the deal was not made public in its entirety even as it came into effect.

By evening Wednesday, there were no reports of major violations of the agreement, which calls on all parties to hold their fire, allowing only for airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State group and al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.

One of Syria's most powerful factions, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham's battlefield alliance with other insurgent groups makes it difficult for the United States to target them without the danger of inflicting harm on other opposition groups.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday and they agreed that "as a whole, despite sporadic reports of violence, the arrangement is holding and violence is significantly lower," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. The two diplomats also agreed to extend the current truce by another 48 hours, Toner said.

Earlier, Russia's Poznikhir had underlined Moscow's intention to extend the cease-fire by 48 hours. The Syrian government has already agreed to maintain the cease-fire until Sunday.

The agreement is also to allow for humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas, with the rebel-held part of the northern city of Aleppo as a priority.

However, some 20 trucks carrying U.N aid and destined for rebel-held eastern Aleppo remained in the customs area on the border with Turkey on Wednesday "because of lack of de facto assurances of safe passage by all parties," Jens Laerke, deputy spokesman for the U.N. office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The Associated Press in an email.

The trucks are carrying mostly food items, and are destined for the estimated 250,000 residents of eastern Aleppo. Details of who is to distribute the aid were still being worked out.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said humanitarian aid to Syrians was being held up by a lack of security arrangements. He said he had been in touch with the Russian government, urging them to exercise influence on the Syrian government to let the trucks in, and with the Americans to get Syrian armed groups to cooperate.

Separately, Turkey sent a pair of trucks to the Syrian border town of Jarablus to deliver food and children's toys on the third day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. Turkish ground forces joined Syrian rebels to expel Islamic State militants from the town last month.

In besieged rebel-held Aleppo, Mohammed Khandakani, a 28-year old attorney, said calm was prevailing in an area that had seen some of the heaviest violence in the days leading up to the cease-fire. "The truce is holding. There is relative relief. It is an unexplainable feeling of safety," he said. "But the anticipation and concern for the future leaves a lump in my throat. We are still living in a prison."

Khandakani is a volunteer at a medical center in eastern Aleppo. Medical facilities in rebel-held areas have been frequent targets for government bombings.

In the lead-up to the cease-fire, 40 days of fighting in Aleppo killed nearly 700 civilians, including 160 children, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian state media broadcast footage of the tourism and health ministers touring neighborhoods on the southern edge of Aleppo that were recently recaptured by the government from rebel groups. "Here is the line that separates civilization and backwardness, barbarity, the line between darkness and light," said tourism minister Bishr Riyad Yazigi, speaking in the Ramouseh area of the divided city.

Meanwhile, Syrian state media reported violations of the cease-fire in central Homs, saying that rebels fired mortar rounds Wednesday in a rural part of the province. A day earlier, the government said rebels had targeted the Castello road, the only remaining artery by which aid reaches the eastern, rebel section of Aleppo.

The chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said Wednesday there were no reported civilian casualties in the first 36 hours of the cease-fire.

"The violations are negligible. Most importantly, there were no Syrian civilian deaths," Rami Abdurrahman told the AP.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin is hopeful the truce deal "will create the necessary environment for political settlement."

"The cease-fire is quite fragile and the key task now is to wait until moderate opposition stands aside from terrorist groups. It's a key task without which further progress can hardly be possible," Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Russia launched its military operation in Syria last year to support ally President Bashar Assad's forces.


Today in History - Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Sept. 15, the 259th day of 2016. There are 107 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 15, 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen were eventually convicted for their roles in the blast.)

On this date:

In 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State.

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge two weeks after he was found not guilty of treason.

In 1857, William Howard Taft — who served as President of the United States and as U.S. chief justice — was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1890, English mystery writer Agatha Christie was born in Torquay.

In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship.

In 1940, during the World War II Battle of Britain, the tide turned as the Royal Air Force inflicted heavy losses upon the Luftwaffe.

In 1950, during the Korean conflict, United Nations forces landed at Incheon in the south and began their drive toward Seoul (sohl).

In 1955, the novel "Lolita," by Vladimir Nabokov, was first published in Paris.

In 1972, a federal grand jury in Washington indicted seven men in connection with the Watergate break-in. 

In 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the Supreme Court nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor.

In 1994, a tape recording of John Lennon singing with his teen-age band, The Quarrymen, in a Liverpool club on July 6, 1957, was sold at Sotheby's for $122,500 (it was at this gig that Lennon first met Paul McCartney).

In 2000, the 2000 Summer Olympics opened in Sydney, Australia, with a seemingly endless parade of athletes and coaches and a spectacular display; Aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman ignited an Olympic ring of fire.

Ten years ago: Ford Motor Co. took drastic steps to remold itself into a smaller, more competitive company, slashing thousands of jobs and closing down two additional plants. U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, agreed to plead guilty to two criminal charges in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Ney served nearly a year and a-half of a 2-1/2-year prison sentence.) Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci died in Florence at age 77.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a young and humble Marine who had defied orders and repeatedly barreled straight into a ferocious "killing zone" in Afghanistan to save 36 lives at extraordinary risk to himself. A single rogue trader at Swiss banking giant UBS was arrested after allegedly costing the storied institution an estimated $2 billion. (Kweku Adoboli was later convicted of fraud and served about half of a seven-year sentence.)

One year ago: Hungary sealed off its border with Serbia with massive coils of barbed wire and began detaining migrants trying to use the country as a gateway to Western Europe, harsh new measures that left thousands of frustrated asylum-seekers piled up on the Serbian side of the border. Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as the new prime minister of Australia after his conservative Liberal Party colleagues voted for him to replace Tony Abbott as the nation's leader.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Forrest Compton is 91. Comedian Norm Crosby is 89. Actor Henry Darrow is 83. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry is 78. Actress Carmen Maura is 71. Opera singer Jessye Norman is 71. Writer-director Ron Shelton is 71. Actor Tommy Lee Jones is 70. Movie director Oliver Stone is 70. Rock musician Kelly Keagy (KAY'-gee) (Night Ranger) is 64. Rock musician Mitch Dorge (Crash Test Dummies) is 56. Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino is 55. Actor Danny Nucci is 48. Rap DJ Kay Gee is 47. Actor Josh Charles is 45. Singer Ivette (EE'-veht) Sosa (Eden's Crush) is 40. Actor Tom Hardy is 39. Actress Marisa Ramirez is 39. Pop-rock musician Zach Filkins (OneRepublic) is 38. Actor Dave Annable is 37. Actress Amy Davidson is 37. Britain's Prince Harry is 32. TV personality Heidi Montag is 30. Actress Kate Mansi is 29.

Thought for Today: "I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism — that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything." — Robert Penn Warren, American poet (born 1905, died this date in 1989).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Cruise ship crewmember dies in lifeboat drill in France

The world's largest passenger ship, MS Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean cruise line. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

Marseille, France (AP) - A crewmember on the world's largest cruise ship died and four others were injured Tuesday when a lifeboat fell from the deck into the water during a rescue drill in Marseille, the operator and officials in the southern French port city said.

Julien Ruas, a deputy mayor of Marseille, told The Associated Press that the lifeboat fell about 10 meters (33 feet) from the fifth deck of the Harmony of the Seas into the sea with the five crewmembers aboard. He identified the dead crewmember as a 42-year-old Filipino. Circumstances of the accident are still unclear.

Local naval firefighters told the AP one person died, two were seriously injured and two were more slightly injured in the "violent" fall. All were members of the crew.

"It seems the people didn't get the time to secure themselves so the fall was quite a violent one, like if you or me fell around 10 meters from a building," Ruas, who is in charge of firemen, told The Associated Press. He said the reason the lifeboat broke away was not immediately clear.

The Miami-based Royal Caribbean cruise line "deplored" the death and said in a statement that the incident happened during a safety exercise while the ship was docked in the port of the Mediterranean city.

The Harmony of the Seas holds the record for the largest cruise ship ever built, with a capacity of 8,690 people, including 6,300 passengers and 2,390 crew members. The $1 billion ship was built in France and set sail for its inaugural cruise in May.

At 362 meters (1,187 feet) long, the 16-deck ship is longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower. It's been compared to a floating city with more than 2,500 staterooms, 20 dining venues, 23 swimming pools, water slides, a park with more than 10,000 plants and 50 trees, two climbing walls, discos and bar clubs, a theater, a skating rink, a basketball court and a casino.


2 protesters die in Kashmir as curfew quiets Eid festivities

A Kashmiri Muslim protester prepares to throw back a tear gas canister at Indian security personnel as another takes cover behind an electric pole during a protest after Eid al-Adha prayers in Srinagar, India, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Aijaz Hussain

Srinagar, India (AP) — Two anti-India protesters were killed and scores were injured in clashes with security forces in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir on Tuesday, police said, as a security lockdown marred Eid festivities in the disputed region.

Security forces fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to quell protesters in several places, including Srinagar, the main city, police said. Protests took place in dozens of areas in the region, which has been wracked by massive demonstrations since July.

A curfew was in effect in the entire Kashmir Valley, and most people stayed indoors for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which fell on Tuesday. Usually bustling on such occasions, Srinagar's marketplaces were deserted.

Authorities did not allow congregational Eid prayers in the main mosques and Eid grounds in the predominantly Muslim region, but prayers were held by people in small neighborhood mosques.

A protester was killed by a tear gas shell in the northern area of Bandipora, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to reporters. Another protester was killed by shotgun pellets in Shopian in the south, he said. At least 60 people were injured in clashes in 10 different places in the region.

The curfew seemed to have foiled a planned march called by separatist leaders to the Srinagar office of U.N. military observers, which monitors a cease-fire between India and Pakistan. The rivals have fought two of their three wars over control of Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both.

Most Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.

The largest street protests the region has seen in years followed the killing of a popular rebel leader by Indian security forces.

At least 79 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in protest-related violence, mostly by government forces firing bullets and pellets. Two policemen have also been killed and hundreds of others injured in the clashes.

Curfews, a series of communication blackouts and the deployment of tens of thousands of Indian soldiers have failed to stop the protests against Indian rule.
 


US flies bombers over SKorea in show of force against North

A U.S. B-1B bomber, right, flies over Osan Air Base with a South Korean Air Forces jet in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Lee Jin-Man

Osan Air Base, South Korea (AP) — The United States on Tuesday sent two supersonic bombers streaking over ally South Korea in a show of force meant to cow North Korea after its recent nuclear test, and also to settle rattled nerves in the South.

The B-1B bombers, escorted by U.S. and South Korean jets, were seen by an Associated Press photographer as they flew over Osan Air Base, which is 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the border with North Korea, the world's most heavily armed. The bombers were likely to return to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam without landing in South Korea.

Such flyovers are fairly common when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because there has never been a peace treaty to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea does not have nuclear weapons and relies on the U.S. "nuclear umbrella" as a deterrent to North Korea. Washington also stations more than 28,000 troops in the South, and tens of thousands more in Japan.

The B-1B doesn't currently carry nuclear weapons under a disarmament treaty. U.S. Forces Korea wouldn't comment on the bombers' capabilities, but South Korean military officials and analysts said that they could carry nuclear weapons if reconfigured.

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert with the Federation of American Scientists, wrote in a blog posted Tuesday that the last B-1B was stripped of all nuclear equipment in 2011 and he does not consider them "nuclear capable" in their current configuration.

North Korea is keenly aware of the U.S. presence on the peninsula and of what it considers the U.S. nuclear threat. It uses such flyovers and the American military influence in the South in its propaganda as alleged proof of U.S. hostility that it says is the reason it needs a nuclear bomb program.

Last week's nuclear test, the North's fifth, was its most powerful to date. Pyongyang's claim to have used "standardized" warheads in the detonation makes some outsiders worry that it is making headway in its push to develop small, sophisticated warheads that can be mounted on missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland.

Nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker, who has regularly visited the North's nuclear facilities, estimates that the North may have enough nuclear fuel for about 20 bombs by the end of 2016 and the ability to add about seven new bombs a year.

"Left unchecked, Pyongyang will likely develop the capability to reach the continental United States with a nuclear tipped missile in a decade or so," Siegfried wrote on the North Korea-focused website 38 North. He said that more troubling was the recent test successes may give Pyongyang a false sense of confidence.

Six-nation diplomatic talks aimed at ridding the North of its bombs have been stalled since the last round of meetings in late 2008. Since then, Pyongyang has ramped up both its ballistic missile and nuclear bomb development, despite an increasing raft of sanctions.

After last week's test, the North's nuclear weapons institute said it would take unspecified measures to further boost its nuclear capability, which analysts said hinted at a possible sixth nuclear test.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said Monday that South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities believe North Korea has the ability to detonate another atomic device at any time at one of its tunnels at its main Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where the five previous atomic explosions took place. Ministry officials refused to say what specific evidence pointed to another possible nuclear test.

Seoul, Washington and their allies have vowed to apply more pressure and sanctions after the test, the second this year.

"The United States and (South Korea) are taking actions every day to strengthen our alliance and respond to North Korea's continued aggressive behavior," Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said in a statement.

Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean policy, met South Korean officials in Seoul on Tuesday and said that Washington is working closely with other nations to work out new, stronger sanctions on North Korea.

Also on Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye ordered her military to be ready to "finish off" North Korea if it fires a nuclear missile toward South Korea. Following the nuclear test last week, she said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's "mental state is spiraling out of control" and that his government shows "fanatic recklessness."


Western nations urge Libya general to give up oil terminals

An anti-government rebel sits with an anti-aircraft weapon in front an oil refinery in Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Rami Musa

Benghazi, Libya (AP) — The United States and five Western nations have called upon forces loyal to a Libyan general to withdraw from three eastern oil terminals seized earlier this week, drawing a rebuke Tuesday from the internationally recognized parliament.

The U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain said the U.N.-brokered government based in the capital, Tripoli, is the "sole steward of these resources," adding that "Libya's oil belongs to the Libyan people."

"We also call on all forces to avoid any action that could damage Libya's energy infrastructure or further disrupt its exports," said the joint statement, issued late Monday. It also warned against "illicit oil exports."

Forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter seized control of Ras Lanuf, al-Sidra and Zueitina on Sunday. Hifter is allied with Libya's parliament, which is based in the country's far east and has not approved the U.N.-backed government, in part because of differences over his future role in the country.

U.N. envoy Martin Kobler called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and talks with Hifter — who he said has refused to meet him — to discuss the security vacuum in Libya and the need for a united army in a united country.

"I said always that Gen. Hifter must have a role in this joint united army structure, and I would like to sit together with him and discuss it," Kobler told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council in New York.

The oil-rich North African country slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi, and has recently been split by rival authorities based in the east and in Tripoli, in the west.

Parliament Speaker Agila Saleh said Hifter's move was by "popular demand" and was authorized by Libya's official institutions. He said Hifter's forces "liberated the fields and the terminals from the occupiers and those hindering exports," referring to militia commander Ibrahim Jedran, who commands a force known as Petroleum Facilities Guards.

Jedran's militia seized the oil terminals more than two years ago and has tried to export illegally in the past. It is now allied with the U.N.-backed government, and Kobler brokered a deal with Jedran in July to resume exports.

Libya's conflict has crippled its once vibrant oil sector, denying the country an estimated $100 billion in revenues over the past three years. According to official figures, Libya exported 146 million barrels of oil in 2015, down from 531 million three years earlier.

Kobler said "oil production is at its lowest point ever with only about 200,000 barrels per day, compared to 1.4 million barrels" after the ouster of Gadhafi.

He said Hifter's takeover of the oil fields "will further hinder oil exports, deprive Libya of its only source of income, and increase the division in the country."

Saleh said Hifter's forces will withdraw once the Tripoli-based, state-run, and internationally recognized National Oil Corp. "assumes its responsibilities" in managing oil resources. The oil authority had rejected Kobler's deal with Jedran.

The Security Council reiterated support for the U.N.-backed government, national unity and reconciliation.

It urged the Presidency Council to keep trying to broaden its support, and to tackle Libya's political, security, humanitarian, economic and institutional challenges, including by improving the delivery of basic services, "and to confront the threat of terrorism."


Israel's Peres hospitalized after stroke

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres is shown in this Nov. 2, 2015 file photo. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Ian Deitch

Jerusalem (AP) - Former Israeli President Shimon Peres suffered a "major stroke" on Tuesday and experienced heavy bleeding in the brain, hospital officials said, as doctors raced to stabilize the 93-year-old Nobel laureate.

Dr. Itzik Kreiss, director of the Sheba Medical Center, told reporters outside the hospital near Tel Aviv that Peres experienced "lots of bleeding" as a result of the stroke. He said he had undergone a battery of tests, and that doctors planned to hold another assessment in a few hours.

Standing alongside Kreiss, Peres' son Chemi said the situation was "not simple," but that the family was trying to stay positive.

"My father is very special. I am keeping optimistic. Hoping for the best. But these hours are not easy," he said.

He thanked the Israeli public for offering its support and prayers.

Peres' office issued a statement early Wednesday describing his condition as "serious but stable." It said he remained hospitalized in the intensive care unit.

Earlier, Israeli media reported the bleeding had stopped. Dr. Shlomi Matezsky, one of the doctors treating Peres, told Channel 2 TV that Peres had regained consciousness and was on a respirator.

"He is on a respirator and lightly sedated but is conducting actions, what is called in medical terms 'simple actions' and is not currently unconscious," he said.

He said doctors were meeting to decide how to proceed. "The way things seem now, we don't think surgery in the next few hours would benefit Mr. Peres' condition," he said.

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics and the last surviving link to the country's founding fathers.

Over a seven-decade career, he held virtually every senior political office in Israel, including three terms as prime minister and stints as foreign and finance minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He had remained active since completing his seven-year term as president in 2014, and even uploaded a video to his Facebook account earlier in the day.

In the video , in which Peres encourages the public to buy locally made products, he appears weary but is otherwise alert and coherent. Channel 10 TV said Peres had also delivered an hour-long lecture earlier in the day.

Earlier this year, Peres was twice hospitalized for heart problems but quickly released. His office said Peres received a pacemaker last week.

As president, a largely ceremonial office, he cultivated an image as the country's elder statesman and became one of its most popular public figures.

He also became a fixture at international conferences like the World Economic Forum in Davos. Earlier this month, he participated in the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy.

Since leaving the presidency, Peres frequently hosted public events at his peace center, bringing together Arabs and Jews in efforts to promote coexistence.

In a message posted on Facebook, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Peres a speedy recovery. "Shimon, we love you and the entire nation wishes you get well," he said.


206 of Cambodia's rare royal turtles released at new center

Conservationists prepare to release royal turtles at a conservation centre in Mondul Seima, Koh Kong province, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (Mengey Eng/Wildlife Conservation Society via AP)

Sopheng Cheang

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (AP) — More than 200 of Cambodia's nearly extinct royal turtles were released Tuesday in muddy waters at a new breeding and conservation center that was built in hopes of keeping the national reptile from disappearing. 

The Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in western Cambodia is a joint effort between the government's fisheries department and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

The 206 turtles belong to one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species. It's also known as the southern river terrapin, but its primary name harkens to historical times when only the royal family could consume the turtle's eggs.

The turtle was believed extinct until 2000 when a small population was rediscovered, and it was designated the national reptile in 2005.

Since 2001, a joint project between the government and conservation society has saved 39 nests with a total of 564 eggs that resulted in 382 hatchlings. The hatchlings are raised in captivity and later released into the wild.

"With very few Royal Turtles left in the wild and many threats to their survival, Cambodia's national reptile is facing a high risk of extinction," said Ouk Vibol, director of Fisheries Conservation Department.

"By protecting nests and head starting the hatchlings, we are increasing the chances of survival for this important species for Cambodia," he said.

The breeding and conservation center has five big ponds with grass and sand banks for the resettled turtles to nest, society spokesman Eng Mengey said by telephone from Koh Kong province where the center is located.

"We hope in time to have other species like Siamese crocodiles at the center, and may even develop it into a site for ecotourism to generate revenue to be used for conserving the turtles in the center," Ross Sinclair, the society's country director for Cambodia, said in the statement.


Today in History - Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016

The Associated Press
Today is Wednesday, Sept. 14, the 258th day of 2016. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" after witnessing the American flag flying over the Maryland fort following a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; the poem later became the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

On this date:

In 1715, Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon, credited with advances in the production of champagne, died in Hautvillers, France, at age 76.

In 1829, the Treaty of Adrianople was signed, ending war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

In 1861, the first naval engagement of the Civil War took place as the USS Colorado attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida.

In 1901, President William McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin; Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice (nees), France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of the sports car she was riding in.

In 1941, Vermont passed a resolution enabling its servicemen to receive wartime bonuses by declaring the U.S. to be in a state of armed conflict, giving rise to headlines that Vermont had "declared war on Germany."

In 1954, the Soviet Union detonated a 40-kiloton atomic test weapon.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI opened the third session of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, also known as "Vatican II." (The session closed two months later.)

In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.

In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before; Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel (bah-SHEER' jeh-MAY'-el), was killed by a bomb.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared together on radio and television to appeal for a "national crusade" against drug abuse.

In 1991, the government of South Africa, the African National Congress and the Inkatha (in-KAH'-tah) Freedom Party signed a national peace pact.

Ten years ago: Authorities advised people to avoid eating bagged fresh spinach, the suspected (later confirmed) source of an outbreak of E. coli illnesses that killed three people. Three men became the first rabbis ordained in Germany since World War II during a ceremony in Dresden. Actor-bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, husband of actress Jayne Mansfield and father of actress Mariska Hargitay, died in Los Angeles at age 80.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama urged enthusiastic college students at North Carolina State University to join him in his fight to get Congress to act on his new jobs bill. A government panel released a report saying that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

One year ago: Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim boy, was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, that was mistaken for a possible bomb; police declined to seek any charges against the teenager. Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis returned to work for the first time since she was jailed for defying a federal court and announced that she would no longer block her deputies from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump renewed his campaign against illegal immigration, telling a cheering crowd of thousands at the American Airlines Center in Dallas that "it's disgusting what's happening to our country." At least a dozen people were killed in flash floods that struck in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, along with seven hikers who drowned in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and a man from Hurricane, Utah. Fred Deluca, 67, the Subway co-founder who turned a sandwich shop he started as a teenager into the world's largest fast-food chain, died in New York.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 83. Feminist author Kate Millett is 82. Actor Walter Koenig (KAY'-nihg) is 80. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is 76. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 72. Actor Sam Neill is 69. Singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 69. Rock musician Ed King is 67. Actor Robert Wisdom is 63. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 61. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 60. Actress Mary Crosby is 57. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 57. Country singer John Berry is 57. Actress Melissa Leo is 56. Actress Faith Ford is 52. Actor Jamie Kaler is 52. Actress Michelle Stafford is 51. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is 51. Rock musician Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers) is 50. Actor Dan Cortese is 49. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 47. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 47. Actor Ben Garant is 46. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 46. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 45. Actor Andrew Lincoln is 43. Rapper Nas is 43. Actor Austin Basis is 40. Country singer Danielle Peck is 38. Pop singer Ayo is 36. Actor Sebastian Sozzi is 34. Actor Adam Lamberg is 32. Singer Alex Clare is 31. Actress Jessica Brown Findlay is 29. Actor-singer Logan Henderson is 27.

Thought for Today: "I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." — Adlai E. Stevenson, American statesman (1900-1965.   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Violence in southern India as top court orders water sharing

An Indian police officer detains a youth as they walk past burning trucks set ablaze by angry mobs in Bangalore, India, Monday, Sept. 12. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Nirmala George

New Delhi (AP) — India's top court on Monday ordered the southern state of Karnataka to release water from a disputed river to neighboring Tamil Nadu after arson, looting and vandalism erupted in both states over water sharing.

The Press Trust of India news agency said police gunfire killed one protester and wounded another in India's information technology hub of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, where rampaging mobs set fire to dozens of buses, trucks and cars and attacked shops and businesses.

Two protesters were brought to a multi-speciality hospital, but one of them died, PTI quoted Giridhar, the hospital's managing director as saying. Giridhar uses one name.

Police did not confirm that a protester had been shot to death by police.

Television images showed dozens of buses with Tamil Nadu state license plates burning in a private transport company depot in Bangalore. The company's managing director, Rajesh Natarajan, said nearly 40 buses were burned or damaged, PTI reported.

The Cauvery River, which originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu, has been the source of a bitter water dispute for decades. Karnataka officials told the court that the state did not have enough water reserves to share.

Earlier Monday, protesters in Tamil Nadu vandalized a hotel in the city of Chennai owned by people from Karnataka, triggering violent protests in both states.

Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) for 10 days to Tamil Nadu, a move that led to protests by Karnataka farmers, who say they have no water for their fields.

The Karnataka government then appealed the ruling to the top court, which reduced the daily supply to Tamil Nadu.

Police in Bangalore passed prohibitory orders preventing the gathering of more than five people after angry mobs smashed the windows of several buses from Tamil Nadu and attacked bus drivers.

Many schools in Bangalore were closed Monday. Offices were closed and shop owners pulled down shutters as groups of young men wandered the streets attacking properties owned by people from Tamil Nadu.

In the city of Mandya, 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Bangalore, protesters set fire to trucks and buses bearing Tamil Nadu license plates. In the nearby city of Mysore, several vehicles were set ablaze and mobs of young men roamed the streets wielding iron rods, smashing windows of shops owned by people from Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka authorities have stopped bus services to Tamil Nadu for an unspecified period of time to prevent passengers from being attacked.

Farmers in India are largely dependent on monsoon rains and rivers to irrigate their crops. But with successive poor monsoons, rivers and reservoirs have been running dry and farmers in many places have been forced to reduce the number of crops they grow.


France to bid adieu to plastic dishes with controversial ban

 

Plastic glasses, knives, forks and food boxes are pictured in a takeaway restaurant in Paris Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.
(AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu)

Samuel Petrequin

Paris (AP) — France's latest efforts to reduce pollution will also affect nature lovers hitting the countryside for an outdoor meal: Under a controversial new ban, picnickers won't be able to buy plastic goblets to drink their beloved wine, or plastic knives to make ham and butter baguette sandwiches.

Life in the office will be different, too, as coffee machines will no longer cough out plastic cups, as part of the country's plans to be more environmentally friendly.

The new measure, which took effect last month, gives producers until 2020 to ensure that all disposable dishes sold in France are made of biologically sourced materials and can be composted. It follows a ban on plastic bags, in place since July.

While several other countries and some U.S. states have also banned plastic bags, France appears to be the first country to introduce a blanket ban on plastic dishware. It comes after Paris hosted a landmark conference last year on fighting global warming, and as the Socialist government tries to push France toward the forefront of environmental progress.

While ecologists' organizations lauded the French law and hope it sets an example for other countries, opponents argue that product bans hurt consumers, and that the French measures violate European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Worried that the French ban could extend to other countries, Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers, says it will keep fighting it.

"We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law," Pack2Go Europe secretary general Eamonn Bates told The Associated Press. "If they don't, we will."

The ban was initially proposed by the Europe Ecologie-Greens Party and was adopted by French lawmakers with the aim of reducing the energy consumed and waste produced by the plastic processing industry, as well as the pollution caused by plastic litter.

The ecologists wanted the ban to be introduced as soon as 2017 but it was postponed until 2020 because of Environment Minister Segolene Royal's initial opposition to the law. Royal deemed it an "anti-social" measure, arguing that families struggling financially make regular use of disposable tableware.

The measures will ban sales of single-use plastic cups, plates and glasses unless they are made of bio-sourced materials that can be composted in a domestic composting unit.

Bates argues that there is no proof that bio-sourced disposable cutlery is more environmentally beneficial, and that no products made from bio-sourced plastics will degrade in a domestic composting unit.

He also said the ban "will be understood by consumers to mean that it is OK to leave this packaging behind in the countryside after use because it's easily bio-degradable in nature. That's nonsense! It may even make the litter problem worse."

Officials at the French Environment Ministry did not respond to requests by the AP for comment.


North Korea mobilizes after floods kill at least 133

In this undated image from video distributed on Monday, Sept. 12, North Korean workers build levees along a river bank after a disastrous flood killed more than 130 people in its northern-most province. (KRT via AP)

Eric Talmadge

Tokyo (AP) — North Korea is mobilizing to deal with a disastrous flood that killed more than 130 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and crippled infrastructure in its northern-most province.

Brigades of soldiers from around the country have been enlisted to help victims of the flooding, which began Aug. 29 and was caused by Typhoon Lionrock.

According to a U.N. report issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the floods displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed homes, buildings and critical infrastructure. North Korean media said it was the worst single case of downpours and high winds since 1945, though that claim couldn't be verified.

The report said the government has confirmed 133 people were killed and another 395 missing. It said more than 35,500 houses, schools and public buildings were damaged, with 69 percent completely destroyed. It reported widespread inundation of farmland and at least 140,000 people in urgent need of assistance.

The hardest-hit areas, parts of which remain inaccessible, are Musan and Yonsa counties near the Chinese border in the northern tip of the country.

North Korea's state media reported Sunday that high winds and heavy rainfall swept over several cities and counties, causing buildings to collapse and leaving railways, roads, parts of the electric power system, factories and farmlands destroyed or submerged.

It said a mass recovery effort has been launched.

On Monday, North Korea reported construction units were arriving in the flood-hit areas from all over the country, including the capital, Pyongyang.

"The country's manpower and material and technical potentials are now concentrated on the flood damage rehabilitation," the Korean Central News Agency said. It said the ruling party has urged citizens to "achieve the miraculous victory of converting misfortune into favorable conditions ... with the tremendous might of single-minded unity!"

The North Korean media also said the focus of a 200-day "loyalty campaign" already underway to mobilize the nation behind leader Kim Jong Un in a mandatory show of devotion has been switched to a call for all citizens to support the recovery effort.

The U.N. agency said humanitarian agencies have released relief materials from their stockpiles inside North Korea, including food, shelter and kitchen kits, water purification and sanitation supplies and emergency health supplies.

The U.N. report said the government is "urgently working" to reopen roads, distributing relief goods and preparing to rebuild 20,000 houses by early October, before the onset of North Korea's bitterly cold winter.

It added that the government had allowed U.N. agencies, the North Korean Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Crescent, along with private international aid groups to conduct a joint assessment of needs in the affected areas last week, but they were unable to access Musan and Yonsa.

The flooding occurred around the Tumen River, which runs between North Korea and China.

North Korea experiences frequent natural disasters which are more devastating because of its often problematic infrastructure and lack of civil engineering projects designed to mitigate damage.

In August last year, major downpours followed by flash floods killed at least 40 people and devastated parts of the Rason area, near the Russian and Chinese borders where a key special economic zone is located.

A series of floods and droughts were a contributing factor in the disastrous famine years of the 1990s — called the "arduous march" in North Korea — that nearly brought the country to economic ruin.


Relatives of MH370 victims want more possible debris studied

Grace Nathan, left, of Malaysia and Jiang Hui Be of China address the media on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Canberra, Australia, after meeting Australian officials coordinating the search for the missing Malaysian airliner. (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

Rod McGuirk

Canberra, Australia (AP) — Relatives of some of the 239 passengers and crew on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 called Monday for more of its possible debris to be examined to define a new search area.

Malaysia, China and Australia agreed in July that the search in the southern Indian Ocean would be suspended after the current 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) expanse has been thoroughly examined with deep sea sonar equipment in the absence of credible new evidence that identified the plane's location.

Eight relatives of lost passengers who met with Australian officials coordinating the search on behalf of Malaysia expressed frustration that they were not given a definition of what constituted credible new evidence that would result in a continuation of the search.

American wreckage hunter Blaine Gibson attended the meeting at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau headquarters with the relatives from Malaysia, China, Australia and Indonesia and handed over to investigators five pieces of potential debris that he found on beaches in Madagascar. Two of the pieces were burnt, which could indicate a disastrous fire on board, he said.

Gibson previously found a panel from Flight 370 in Mozambique. Malaysia has yet to collect other potential debris that Blaine has found washed up on Madagascar since June and handed to authorities there.

"I hope that the search will go on and in my amateur opinion this constitutes new, credible evidence that justifies continuing the search," Gibson told reporters of his unconfirmed debris find.

Some confirmed pieces of debris have washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean, and the families believe other items yet to be examined may be clues to the plane's location.

Grace Nathan, a Malaysian whose mother was on the Boeing 777 that vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8, 2014, said governments should be coordinating a search for debris and using drift modeling to define a new area to search after the current search is to be completed in December.

"We want to call on the three nations — Australia, China and Malaysia — to make a concerted effort to go out and look for this credible new information," Nathan said.

"It's very impressive that one private individual citizen, Blaine Alan Gibson, has managed to find up to 15 pieces of aircraft debris and we hope that these three nations do more than just hope by fluke people find more debris," she added.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed in a statement that it had received debris from Gibson and was seeking advice from Malaysia on how Australia should proceed.

Jennifer Chong, a Melbourne-based Malaysian-Australian dual citizen whose husband was aboard Flight 370, wondered why Malaysia had not sent diplomats to the five-hour meeting with Australian search officials. China and Indonesia both sent diplomats to support their citizens.

Oceanographers are analyzing the first piece of wreckage found, a wing flap known as a flaperon that washed up on Reunion Island off the African coast in July last year — 16 months after the plane went missing — in the hope of narrowing a possible next area adjoining the current search boundary through drift modeling.

A wing flap found on Tanzania is also being examined at Australian Transport Safety Bureau headquarters for clues. Search officials expect more Flight 370 wreckage to wash up in the months ahead.

Sheryl Keen, chairwoman of Air Crash Support Group, which is supporting the relatives during their week in Australia, called on Malaysia to collect the debris found by Gibson on Madagascar and to consider handing responsibility for the search to Australia.


South Sudan leaders amass wealth as country burns

This July 9, 2015 file photo shows South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, left, accompanied by army chief of staff Paul Malong, right. (AP Photo/Jason Patinkin)

Rodney Muhumuza

Kampala, Uganda (AP) — South Sudan's leaders have amassed wealth abroad amid a conflict in which tens of thousands have been killed, a U.S.-based watchdog group said Monday, charging that the civil war is being fueled by competition among rivals over national resources such as oil.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former deputy Riek Machar and those close to both men have looted the country in accumulating wealth that includes mansions, luxury cars and stakes in a number of businesses abroad, according to the report by The Sentry.

The report says it has obtained images of officials' family members jet-setting and partying in five-star hotels, as well as documentation of their properties abroad. Officials in South Sudan who earn modest salaries have been able to amass fortunes with help from arms dealers, bankers, lawyers and others abroad, it said.

"The key catalyst of South Sudan's civil war has been competition for the grand prize — control over state assets and the country's abundant natural resources — between rival kleptocratic networks led by President Kiir and (former) Vice President Machar," the report says.

"The leaders of South Sudan's warring parties manipulate and exploit ethnic divisions in order to drum up support for a conflict that serves the interests only of the top leaders of these two kleptocratic networks and, ultimately, the international facilitators whose services the networks utilize and on which they rely."

South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, plunged into conflict soon after Kiir fired Machar from his post as vice president in 2013. A peace deal reached a year ago under international pressure has been violated repeatedly by fighting, and Machar fled the country in recent weeks.

The report by The Sentry, which was co-founded by actor George Clooney, says that in 2015 it began "to follow the money that has been and continues to be amassed" by networks loyal to either Kiir or Machar.

The report says the country's leaders, including some military generals, have much of their wealth in the form of high-end properties in neighboring countries such as Uganda and Kenya. Gen. Paul Malong, the chief of military staff, owns two villas in Uganda in addition to a $2 million mansion in a gated community in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, according to the report, which cites his annual salary as roughly $45,000.

Documents show that several children of the president, including his 12-year-old son, have held stakes in a number of business ventures, the new report says.

"Machar has had far less access to rent-seeking opportunities," it says.

The report urges the international community, including South Sudan's neighbors, to crack down on banks that fail to stop dubious transactions, and impose asset freezes on those responsible for human rights violations.
 


China, Russia launch South China Sea naval war games

A Russian naval ship arrives in Zhanjiang port in southern China, Monday, Sept. 12. The Chinese and Russian navies launched eight days of war games in the South China Sea on Monday. (Zha Chunming/Xinhua via AP)

Christopher Bodeen

Beijing (AP) — The Chinese and Russian navies launched eight days of war games in the South China Sea on Monday, in a sign of growing cooperation between their armed forces against the backdrop of regional territorial disputes.

The "Joint Sea-2016" maneuvers include ships, submarines, ship-borne helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, along with marines and amphibious armored vehicles who will conduct live-firing exercises, according to a Defense Ministry statement.

Tasks will include defensive and rescue drills, anti-submarine exercises and the simulated seizure of an enemy island by marines from both sides.

The exercise is part of an annual program which "aims to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and deepen friendly and practical cooperation between the two militaries," Chinese navy spokesman Liang Yang was quoted as saying.

"It will also improve coordination between the two navies on joint defense operations at sea," Liang said.

China's South Sea Fleet will make up the bulk of the forces, along with some elements from the North and East Sea fleets, Liang said.

The ministry didn't say exactly where the drills would be held in the South China Sea, the site of heated territorial disputes between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors. However, the official Xinhua News Agency said the Russian ships arrived early Monday in the Guangdong province port of Zhanjiang and the exercises would be held off the Guangdong coast, apparently in waters that are not in dispute.

Joint Chinese-Russian drills have become increasingly common in recent years — this week's exercises are the fifth between the two navies since 2012 — with the countries joined in their mutual suspicion of the U.S. and its allies.

Russia has been the only major country to speak out on China's behalf in its demand that the U.S. and other countries stay out of such arguments. That came as an arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, issued a ruling invalidating China's claims to virtually the entire South China Sea, a result that Beijing angrily rejected as null and void.

Following the ruling, China vowed to continue developing man-made islands in the disputed Spratly island group and said it would conduct regular aerial patrols over the strategically vital sea through which passes an estimated $5 trillion in trade each year.

While China says the drills do not envision specific enemies or target any third parties, their location in the South China Sea has drawn criticism.

During a visit to China last month, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift, said "There are other places those exercises could have been conducted." He described them as part of a series of actions "that are not increasing the stability within the region."

Xinhua rejected such sentiments in a commentary Monday, saying those viewing the exercises as threatening were "either ill-informed ... or misled by their prejudice about China and Russia."

"A logical guess is that, for those who have bought the sensational claim regarding the drill, they probably only see words like 'island seizing' and 'South Sea Fleet' and start to imagine a war in the South China Sea," Xinhua said, blaming sensationalistic Western media reports that it did not further identify.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the U.S. did not view the exercises as a threat. He told reporters that as long as the exercises were not threatening or provocative and were conducted in accordance with international law, "there's nothing that precludes them from doing that."

Russian news outlets said 18 ships, 21 aircraft and more than 250 marines from both sides would take part in the drills. The ships include destroyers, cruisers, a Russian battleship, amphibious warfare ships and supply vessels.

However, Xinhua said the Russian component would include three surface ships, two supply ships, two helicopters, 96 marines, and amphibious armored equipment.

China's navy would contribute 10 ships, including destroyers, frigates, amphibious ships, supply vessels and submarines, along with 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters, 160 marines and amphibious armor, it said.


Today in History - Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Sept. 13, the 257th day of 2016. There are 109 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 13, 1971, a four-day inmates' rebellion at the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York ended as police and guards stormed the prison; the ordeal and final assault claimed the lives of 32 inmates and 11 hostages.

On this date:

In 1515, during the Italian Wars, the two-day Battle of Marignano began as forces led by Francis I of France clashed with troops from the Old Swiss Confederacy. (The French succeeded in forcing the Swiss to abandon nearby Milan.)

In 1788, the Congress of the Confederation authorized the first national election, and declared New York City the temporary national capital.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British naval forces began bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore but were driven back by American defenders in a battle that lasted until the following morning.

In 1911, the song "Oh, You Beautiful Doll," a romantic rag by Nat D. Ayer and Seymour Brown, was first published by Jerome H. Remick & Co.

In 1923, Miguel Primo de Rivera, the captain general of Catalonia, seized power in Spain.

In 1948, Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was elected to the U.S. Senate; she became the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.

In 1959, Elvis Presley first met his future wife, 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, while stationed in West Germany with the U.S. Army. (They married in 1967, but divorced in 1973.)

In 1962, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett rejected the U.S. Supreme Court's order for the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, a black student, declaring in a televised address, "We will not drink from the cup of genocide."

In 1989, Fay Vincent was elected commissioner of Major League Baseball, succeeding the late A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH'-tee).

In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur died at a Las Vegas hospital six days after he was wounded in a drive-by shooting; he was 25.

In 1997, funeral services were held in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India, for Nobel peace laureate Mother Teresa.

In 1998, former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace died in Montgomery at age 79.

Ten years ago: Gunman Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire in a cafeteria at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, slaying one student and wounding 19 before killing himself. Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards died in Austin at age 73.

Five years ago: Teams of insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons struck at the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in the heart of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. In New York City, Republican political novice Bob Turner scored an upset victory over Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner over a sexting scandal.

One year ago: Germany introduced temporary border controls to stem the tide of thousands of refugees streaming across its borders. Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) defeated Roger Federer in four sets, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, in the U.S. Open final for his 10th Grand Slam title. Basketball Hall of Famer Moses Malone, 60, died in Norfolk, Virginia. Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was crowned Miss America at the pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Barbara Bain is 85. Actress Eileen Fulton (TV: "As the World Turns") is 83. Actor Joe E. Tata is 80. TV producer Fred Silverman is 79. Rock singer David Clayton-Thomas (Blood, Sweat & Tears) is 75. Actress Jacqueline Bisset is 72. Singer Peter Cetera is 72. Actress Christine Estabrook is 66. Actress Jean Smart is 65. Singer Randy Jones (The Village People) is 64. Record producer Don Was is 64. Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. is 62. Actress-comedian Geri Jewell is 60. Country singer Bobbie Cryner is 55. Rock singer-musician Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) is 55. Radio-TV personality Tavis Smiley is 52. Rock musician Zak Starkey is 51. Actor Louis Mandylor is 50. Olympic gold medal runner Michael Johnson is 49. Rock musician Steve Perkins is 49. Actor Roger Howarth is 48. Actor Dominic Fumusa is 47. Actress Louise Lombard is 46. Tennis player Goran Ivanisevic (ee-van-EE'-seh-vihch) is 45. Country singer Aaron Benward (Blue County) is 43. Country musician Joe Don Rooney (Rascal Flatts) is 41. Actor Scott Vickaryous is 41. Singer Fiona Apple is 39. Contemporary Christian musician Hector Cervantes (Casting Crowns) is 36. Former MLB pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is 36. Actor Ben Savage is 36. Rock singer Niall Horan (One Direction) is 23. Actor Mitch Holleman is 21.

Thought for Today: "Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance — these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible." — Isaiah Berlin, Russian-born British philosopher (1909-1997).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Doctor: Clinton has pneumonia, recovering after 9/11 event

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after leaving an apartment building Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Lisa Lerer, Julie Pace

New York (AP) — An ill Hillary Clinton abruptly left a 9/11 anniversary ceremony Sunday and needed to be held up by three people before she appeared to stumble off a curb and was helped into a van. Several hours later, her campaign revealed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and advised to rest.

Less than two months from Election Day, it was an unwanted visual for Clinton as she tries to project the strength and vigor needed for one of the world's most demanding jobs. Republican rival Donald Trump has spent months questioning Clinton's health, saying she lacks the stamina to be president.

In a statement, Clinton's doctor said the former secretary of state had become overheated and dehydrated at the event in lower Manhattan. "I have just examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely," Dr. Lisa R. Bardack said.

The physician said Clinton has had an allergy-related cough, and that during a follow-up examination Friday, the candidate was diagnosed with pneumonia, put on antibiotics, advised to rest and modify her schedule.

Clinton's departure from the event was not witnessed by the reporters who travel with her campaign and aides provided no information about why she left or her whereabouts for nearly two hours. Spokesman Nick Merrill eventually said Clinton had gone to her daughter's nearby apartment, but refused to say whether the former secretary of state had required medical attention.

Clinton exited the apartment on her own shortly before noon. She waved to reporters and said, "I'm feeling great. It's a beautiful day in New York."

In the meantime, a video surfaced on Twitter that showed Clinton being held up by aides as a black van pulls up. She stumbles and appears to fall off the curb as she is helped inside.

After leaving her daughter's, Clinton was driven to her home in Chappaqua, New York, and made no public appearances. She was scheduled to fly to California Monday morning for fundraising and it was unclear whether her schedule would change.

Trump, who attended the same event marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was noticeably restrained. Asked by a reporter about Clinton's health incident, Trump said, "I don't know anything."

The incident compounds an already difficult stretch for Clinton as the presidential race enters its final stretch. Despite Trump's numerous missteps, the race remains close and many Americans view Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy.

On Friday, Clinton told donors that "half" of rival Donald Trump's supporters are in a "basket of deplorables" — a comment that drew sharp criticism from Republicans. Clinton later said she regretted applying that description to "half" of Trump's backers, but stuck by her assertion that the GOP nominee has given a platform to "hateful views and voices."

Now Clinton is sure to face new questions about whether she's physically fit for the presidency. Trump and his supporters have been hinting at potential health issues for months, questioning Clinton's stamina when she takes routine days off the campaign trail and reviving questions about a concussion she sustained in December 2012 after fainting. Her doctor attributed that episode to a stomach virus and dehydration.

Clinton's doctor reported she is fully recovered from the concussion, which led to temporary double vision and discovery of a blood clot in a vein in the space between her brain and skull. Clinton also has experienced deep vein thrombosis, a clot usually in the leg, and takes the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent new clots.

Clinton spent about 90 minutes at the 9/11 event Sunday, standing alongside numerous other dignitaries, including New York's Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. The weather was warm and humid in New York on Sunday, and there was a breeze at the crowded memorial plaza during the ceremony.

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said he spent time before the ceremony chatting with Clinton and watching her sign autographs and take pictures. He said he was standing behind her during the remembrance and "she did not seem out of the ordinary at all."

"It was stiflingly hot. I was sweating through my shirt," Crowley said. "I had to leave myself. I drank about a gallon of water."

Schumer said he also spoke with Clinton during the event and saw her leave "on her own accord."?

Trump's personal physician has said the Republican presidential nominee is in excellent health both physically and mentally. But the 70-year-old has refused to release his own health records.

Dr. Harold Bornstein's report last December remains the only medical information released so far by the Trump campaign. Bornstein told NBC News he needed just five minutes to write a glowing public assessment of Trump's health as a limousine waited to carry the letter back to Trump.


2 dead after cruise ship hits bridge in southern Germany

A river cruise ship sticks underneath a railway bridge on the Main-Danube Canal near Erlangen, Germany, Sunday Sept. 11. ( Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)

Frankfurt, Germany (AP) — A river cruise ship carrying nearly 230 people struck a bridge early Sunday in southern Germany, crushing the wheelhouse and killing two crew members, authorities said.

The Viking Freya had just cast off while it was still dark from the town of Erlangen on its way to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, along the Main-Danube Canal when the collision occurred, police said.

The dead were a 49-year-old who was guiding the vessel in place of the captain and a 33-year-old sailor. Both men were from Hungary.

Police say the 181 passengers and 47 other crew members on the voyage were unhurt. They remained aboard the ship for hours until rescue workers could extend a walkway to get them off the vessel and take them to nearby hotels.

Photos of the incident on the Bavarian Radio website br.de showed passengers seated calmly at tables in the ship's dining room as they waited.

Viking Cruises said in a statement that "we are heartbroken, and company executives are on the scene to work closely with local authorities to understand the details of the accident."

Police said the cause of the incident was under investigation. A police spokesman said it appeared the retractable wheelhouse wasn't lowered in time, the dpa news agency reported.

The company said passengers could continue on another vessel from the town of Passau with a modified itinerary or return home. It said customer representatives would be in touch upon their return home to discuss compensation for the disruption of their trip.


Catalan separatists rally in Barcelona to support secession

People wave "estelada" flags, that symbolize Catalonia's independence, during a demonstration calling for the independence of Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 11. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Marisol Medina

Madrid (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of separatist-minded Catalans rallied in Barcelona on Sunday to show their support for breaking away from Spain, leaving the country without its powerful and prosperous northeastern region.

Barcelona police estimated on their Twitter account that about 540,000 people attended the rally in support of a legally-binding referendum that would achieve an independent Catalonia.

Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont said that he plans to propose a government-approved binding independence referendum to secede from Spain by next year. Spain, which opposes secession, argues that an independent Catalonia would be ejected from the European Union and left out from using the euro currency.

Catalonia held a non-binding vote in 2014, when around 1.6 million people voted in favor of independence. Most of the region's 5.4 million eligible voters didn't participate after Spain's Constitutional Court ordered the suspension of the ballot.

In June, a Catalan judge recommended former regional president Artur Mas stand trial for staging the vote and ignoring the suspension. Mas claims the vote was carried out by volunteers.

Catalan National Day has long been used to mobilize the masses in support of secession from Spain.

Polls show most Catalans support a referendum on independence, but are roughly divided over splitting from Spain.

Catalonia shares cultural traits with the rest of Spain, but many Catalans feel their customs, especially their language, set them aside from the rest of Spain.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, his conservative Popular Party and two more of Spain's main political parties oppose a Catalonian state. Only the far-left Podemos supports allowing Catalonia to hold an independence referendum.

The economically-powerful Catalonia has a thriving population of 7.5 million and accounts for 18 percent of Spain's economic output.


Syrian Rebels leery of cease-fire plan

A Turkish tank waits at the Syrian border in this Aug. 31, 2016 file photo. A prospective cease-fire in the Syrian civil war is due to come into effect on Monday, Sept. 12. (Ismail Coskun, IHA via AP)

Philip Issa

Beirut (AP) — Rebel factions in Syria expressed deep reservations on Sunday about the terms of a U.S.-Russian deal that seeks to restart the peace process for the war-torn country, with the leader of at least one U.S.-backed rebel faction publicly calling the offer a "trap."

The second in command of the powerful, ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group condemned the superpower agreement as an effort to secure President Bashar Assad's government and drive rebel factions apart.

"A rebellious people who have fought and suffered for six years cannot accept half-solutions," said Ali al-Omar in a video statement.

But the commander and other rebel leaders stopped short of fully rejecting the agreement's interim cease-fire, which is slated to come into effect in stages beginning on Monday at sunset.

The deal hammered out between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva Saturday allows the Syrian government to continue to strike at al-Qaida-linked militants, until the U.S. and Russia take over the task in one week's time.

The arrangement has divided rebel factions, who have depended on the might of the powerful al-Qaida-linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham faction to resist government advances around the contested city of Aleppo.

Al-Omar said his group would "refuse the targeting of any faction of our blessed factions" and called on rebels to unify into a single front.

Still, a senior official inside Ahrar al-Sham said rebels would nevertheless abide by the cease-fire to regroup after a punishing conflict with pro-government forces over Aleppo.

"The Islamist factions and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham will abide by the cease-fire without publicly declaring it," said the official. "They will announce they are opposed to the U.S.-Russian agreement, but they will halt their operations on the ground because of the losses they sustained in the battles for Aleppo," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other factions less closely tied to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, including those backed by Turkish ground forces in the northern frontier area, will publicly commit to the agreement, according to the Ahrar al-Sham official.

"The free Syrian factions under the Euphrates Shield banner will announce their commitment to the agreement, of course," he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. and Russia will coordinate to target the Islamic State group in Syria and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, while rebels and the Syrian government will be expected to stop attacking one another. The deal has received the endorsement of President Bashar Assad's government and its key allies — Russia, Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

But that scenario is complicated by the fact that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham remains intertwined with several other factions. It is not clear how these governments intend to distinguish between Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and other allied rebel factions or how they will be able to attack the al-Qaida linked militants without hitting other rebels as well.

Despite fundamental differences in their vision for Syria, rebels and opposition activists hailed a rebel coalition led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham when it broke a government siege on the rebel-held eastern quarters in Aleppo. The U.N. estimated a quarter million residents were trapped inside with dwindling food and medical supplies.

The government has since re-established its siege.

Over 2,000 people have been killed in fighting over the past 40 days in Aleppo, including 700 civilians and 160 children, according to a Syrian human rights group. One of the more immediate goals of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement is to allow the U.N. to establish aid corridors into Aleppo.

On Saturday, presumed Russian or government airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib and Aleppo provinces killed over 90 civilians, including 13 children in an attack on a marketplace in Idlib, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In the aftermath on Sunday, rebels and opposition activists were asking whether the government's side could be trusted.

"What truce, when the regime commits a massacre in Idlib?" said Ahmad Saud, commander of the U.S.-backed Division 13 brigade, on Twitter. "I am starting to feel that the truce is a military trap to kill us more."

Several previous negotiated cease-fires have all eventually collapsed. A partial "cessation of hostilities" that brought sorely needed relief to civilians in March unraveled as the government continued to strike targets in opposition areas, including near a hospital and school near Damascus and a marketplace in Idlib province, killing dozens of civilians.

Previous cease-fires were also preceded by soaring violence as parties on all sides sought to improve their positions in the build-up.


UK minister: Britons may need visas to visit EU after Brexit

People queue as they wait at the St. Pancras international train station terminal in London, England. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein/File)

London (AP) — Britain's immigration minister says U.K. citizens may have to pay for visas to visit European Union nations after the country leaves the bloc.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that would not be desirable, "but we don't rule it out."

Rudd told the BBC on Sunday that Britain would get the best deal it could from the EU, but it would be a "two-way negotiation."

The EU's Schengen zone — which includes most nations in the bloc — is considering an electronic travel authorization system similar to one the U.S. uses for visitors from selected countries.

Visitors from outside the EU would have to apply online and pay a fee before traveling.

Labour Party immigration spokesman Andy Burnham says Rudd's comments "will not have reassured ordinary families about the cost of Brexit."


Today in History - Monday, Sept. 12, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Sept. 12, the 256th day of 2016. There are 110 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 12, 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed questions about his Roman Catholic faith, telling the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, "I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me."

On this date:

In 1814, the Battle of North Point took place in Maryland during the War of 1812 as American forces slowed British troops advancing on Baltimore.

In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett secretly married Robert Browning at St. Marylebone Church in London.

In 1914, during World War I, the First Battle of the Marne ended in an Allied victory against Germany.

In 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded the right of self-determination for the Sudeten (soo-DAYT'-un) Germans in Czechoslovakia.

In 1944, the Second Quebec Conference opened with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in attendance.

In 1953, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (boo-vee-AY') in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1966, "The Monkees" debuted on NBC-TV; "Family Affair" premiered on CBS.

In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie (HY'-lee sehl-AH'-see) was deposed by Ethiopia's military after ruling for 58 years.

In 1977, South African black student leader Steve Biko (BEE'-koh) died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.

In 1986, Joseph Cicippio (sih-SIHP'-ee-oh), the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped (he was released in December 1991).

In 1995, the Belarusian military shot down a hydrogen balloon during an international race, killing its two American pilots, John Stuart-Jervis and Alan Fraenckel.

In 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first first lady to win an election as she claimed victory in the New York Democratic Senate primary, defeating little-known opponent Dr. Mark McMahon.

Ten years ago: In a speech in his native Germany, Pope Benedict XVI said Islamic holy war was against God's nature and quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologos, as characterizing some teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman"; the pope's comments unleashed a torrent of rage across the Islamic world, prompting him to say he sincerely regretted that Muslims were offended. Syrian guards foiled an attempt by suspected al-Qaida-linked militants to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.

Five years ago: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the perceived front-runner in the Republican presidential contest, endured an onslaught from seven rivals during a fractious two-hour debate in Tampa, Florida. Texana Hollis, a 101-year-old woman, was evicted from the southwest Detroit home where she had lived for nearly six decades after her son failed to pay the mortgage. (Hollis was allowed to move back into the house in April 2012 through the efforts of Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom and his charity; Hollis died on Dec. 31, 2013 at the age of 103.) A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya's capital exploded, killing 119 people, according to the Kenya Red Cross. Novak Djokovic (NOH'-vak JOH'-kuh-vich) beat defending champion Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL') 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 to win his first U.S. Open championship. Leila Lopes of Angola was crowned Miss Universe at the pageant in Sao Paulo. Kurt Ziebart, 91, inventor of the Ziebart automobile rust-proofing process, died in Williamsburg, Michigan.

One year ago: Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner known for his unapologetically socialist views, won a landslide victory to lead Britain's opposition Labor Party in one of the country's biggest political shake-ups in decades. Playwright Frank D. Gilroy ("The Subject Was Roses") died in Monroe, New York, at age 89. Flavia Pennetta defeated fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-2, to become the oldest first-time women's major champion in the Open era; the 33-year-old Pennetta then announced her retirement.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Freddie Jones is 89. Actor Ian Holm is 85. Former U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is 77. Actress Linda Gray is 76. Singer Maria Muldaur is 74. Actor Joe Pantoliano is 65. Singer-musician Gerry Beckley (America) is 64. Original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood is 64. Rock musician Neil Peart (Rush) is 64. Actor Peter Scolari is 61. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is 60. Actress Rachel Ward is 59. Actress Amy Yasbeck is 54. Rock musician Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) is 51. Actor Darren E. Burrows is 50. Rock singer-musician Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) is 50. Actor-comedian Louis (loo-ee) C.K. is 49. Rock musician Larry LaLonde (Primus) is 48. Golfer Angel Cabrera is 47. Actor-singer Will Chase is 46. Actor Josh Hopkins is 46. Country singer Jennifer Nettles is 42. Actress Lauren Stamile (stuh'-MEE'-lay) is 40. Rapper 2 Chainz is 39. Actor Ben McKenzie is 38. Singer Ruben Studdard is 38. Basketball player Yao Ming is 36. Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson is 35. Actor Alfie Allen is 30. Actress Emmy Rossum is 30. Country singer Kelsea Ballerini is 23. Actor Colin Ford is 20.

Thought for Today: "Conscience without judgment is superstition." — Benjamin Whichcote, English theologian and philosopher (1609-1683).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Sept. 11, the 255th day of 2016. There are 111 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed on an unprecedented day of terror as 19 members of al-Qaida hijacked four passenger jetliners, sending two of the planes smashing into New York's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in western Pennsylvania.

On this date:

In 1714, the forces of King Philip V of Spain overcame Catalan defenders to end the 13-month-long Siege of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.

In 1789, Alexander Hamilton was appointed the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

In 1814, an American fleet scored a decisive victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.

In 1857, the Mountain Meadows Massacre took place in present-day southern Utah as a 120-member Arkansas immigrant party was slaughtered by Mormon militiamen aided by Paiute (PY'-oot) Indians.

In 1936, Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) began operation as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a key in Washington to signal the startup of the dam's first hydroelectric generator.

In 1941, groundbreaking took place for the Pentagon. In a speech that drew accusations of anti-Semitism, Charles A. Lindbergh told an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, that "the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration" were pushing the United States toward war.

In 1954, the Miss America pageant made its network TV debut on ABC; Miss California, Lee Meriwether, was crowned the winner.

In 1962, The Beatles completed their first single for EMI, "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You," at EMI studios in London.

In 1974, Eastern Airlines Flight 212, a DC-9, crashed while attempting to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 72 of the 82 people on board. The family drama "Little House on the Prairie" premiered on NBC-TV.

In 1984, country star Barbara Mandrell was seriously injured in an automobile accident near Nashville that claimed the life of the other driver, Mark White.

In 1985, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds cracked career hit number 4,192 off Eric Show (rhymes with "how") of the San Diego Padres, eclipsing the record held by Ty Cobb.

In 1997, Scots voted to create their own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.

Ten years ago: The nation paused to remember the victims of 9/11 on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. In a prime-time address, President George W. Bush invoked the memory of the victims as he staunchly defended the war in Iraq, though he acknowledged that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Five years ago: The nation, and the world, marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In New York, a tree-covered memorial plaza at ground zero opened to the families of the victims for the first time. President Barack Obama, after visiting the sites where terrorists struck, declared: "It will be said of us that we kept that faith; that we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger." Australian Sam Stosur beat Serena Williams, pulling off a 6-2, 6-3 upset in the U.S. Open for her first Grand Slam title.

One year ago: A crane collapsed onto the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 111 people ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first major candidate of the 2016 campaign to give up on the White House. Roberta Vinci stunned Serena Williams to end her Grand Slam bid in one of the greatest upsets in tennis history; the 43rd-ranked Italian won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, is 92. Actor Earl Holliman is 88. Comedian Tom Dreesen is 77. Movie director Brian De Palma is 76. Singer-actress-dancer Lola Falana is 74. Rock musician Mickey Hart (The Dead) is 73. Singer-musician Leo Kottke is 71. Actor Phillip Alford is 68. Actress Amy Madigan is 66. Rock singer-musician Tommy Shaw (Styx) is 63. Sports reporter Lesley Visser is 63. Actor Reed Birney is 62. Singer-songwriter Diane Warren is 60. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson is 59. Musician Jon Moss (Culture Club) is 59. Actor Scott Patterson is 58. Rock musician Mick Talbot (The Style Council) is 58. Actress Roxann Dawson is 58. Actor John Hawkes is 57. Actress Anne Ramsay is 56. Actress Virginia Madsen is 55. Actress Kristy McNichol is 54. Musician-composer Moby is 51. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is 51. Business reporter Maria Bartiromo is 49. Singer Harry Connick Jr. is 49. Rock musician Bart Van Der Zeeuw is 48. Actress Taraji (tuh-RAH'-jee) P. Henson is 46. Actress Laura Wright is 46. Rock musician Jeremy Popoff (Lit) is 45. Blogger Markos Moulitsas is 45. Singer Brad Fischetti (LFO) is 41. Rapper Mr. Black is 39. Rock musician Jon Buckland (Coldplay) is 39. Rapper Ludacris is 39. Rock singer Ben Lee is 38. Actor Ryan Slattery is 38. Actress Ariana Richards is 37. Actress Elizabeth Henstridge is 29. Actor Tyler Hoechlin (HEK'-lihn) is 29. Country singer Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum) is 35. Actress Mackenzie Aladjem is 15.

Thought for Today: "If a person has lived through war, poverty and love, he has lived a full life." — O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), American author (born this date in 1862, died in 1910).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Facebook allows postings of 'napalm girl' photo after debate

The cover to Norway's largest circulation newspaper, Aftenposten, displayed in Oslo Friday Sept. 9, shows the iconic picture from the Vietnam War of a young girl running from a napalm attack. (Cornelius Poppe, NTB scanpix via AP)

Jan M. Olsen

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) — Facebook on Friday reversed its decision to remove postings of an iconic 1972 image of a naked, screaming girl running from a napalm attack in Vietnam, after a Norwegian revolt against the tech giant.

Protests in Norway started last month after Facebook deleted the Pulitzer Prize-winning image by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut from a Norwegian author's page, saying it violated its rules on nudity.

The revolt escalated on Friday when Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg posted the image on her profile and Facebook deleted that too. The brouhaha is the latest instance in which Facebook's often opaque process for deciding what stays and what goes on its network has spurred controversy.

"It's an interesting dilemma because you've got a newsworthy historical image that has been published by traditional news media that was effectively censored by a social network," said Steve Jones, University of Illinois at Chicago communications professor.

Initially, Facebook stood by the decision, saying it was difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others. But late Friday it said it would allow sharing of the photo.

"In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time," Facebook said in a statement. "Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed."

Politicians of all stripes, journalists and regular Norwegians had backed Solberg's decision to share the image.

The prime minister told Norwegian broadcaster NRK she was pleased with Facebook's change of heart and that it shows social media users' opinions matter.

"To speak up and say we want change, it matters and it works. And that makes me happy," she said.

The image shows screaming children running from a burning Vietnamese village. The little girl in the center of the frame, Kim Phuc, is naked and crying as the napalm melts away layers of her skin.

"Today, pictures are such an important element in making an impression, that if you edit past events or people, you change history and you change reality," Solberg told the AP earlier Friday, adding it was the first time one of her Facebook posts was deleted.

Solberg later reposted the image with a black box covering the girl from the thighs up. She also posted other iconic photos of historic events, such as the man standing in front of a tank in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, with black boxes covering the protagonists.

Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway takes pride in its freedom of speech. It's also a largely secular nation with relaxed attitudes about nudity.

Several members of the Norwegian government followed Solberg's lead and posted the photo on their Facebook pages. One of them, Education Minister Torbjorn Roe Isaksen, said it was "an iconic photo, part of our history."

Many of the posts were deleted but Isaksen's was still up Friday afternoon. The photo was also left untouched on a number of Facebook accounts, including the AP's.

Facebook's statement said it will adjust its review mechanisms to permit sharing of the image going forward.

"We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe, and we will be engaging with publishers and other members of our global community on these important questions going forward," it said.


Failed Paris car bomb plotted by IS-guided women

A French police officer patrols in front of Notre Dame cathedral, in Paris, Friday Sept. 9. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Lori Hinnant, Thomas Adamson

Paris (AP) — A failed car bombing in the heart of Paris was hatched by a group of French women, including one once engaged to men who had already killed in the name of the Islamic State group, France's top anti-terrorism prosecutor said Friday.

The hunt to find the women, who authorities said were guided from Syria, had been "a race against time" before they could strike again, said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, overseeing the fight against militant extremists who have killed more than 200 people in France in the past 10 months.

The Thursday night arrests linked three attacks — the failed car bomb near Notre Dame Cathedral, the killing of two police near Paris in June, and the stabbing death of a French priest during Mass in July — and marked a new phase in the Islamic State group's efforts to sow fear in Europe.

"There's a group that has been annihilated, but there are others," said President Francois Hollande. "Information we were able to get from our intelligence services allowed us to act before it was too late."

The raid left one of the women shot in the leg and two police officers stabbed, authorities said.

"In the last few days and hours, a terrorist cell was dismantled, composed of young women totally receptive to the deadly Daesh ideology," said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

The group was "guided by individuals in Syria," which showed that IS "means to turn women into fighters," Molins said.

Police raced to find the suspects after the abandoned car was discovered before dawn Sunday. The Peugeot 607 — its hazard lights flashing — contained gas canisters, a blanket with traces of fuel, and a burned-out cigarette. No detonators were found.

Among three women arrested together Thursday was Ines Madani, a 19-year-old whose father owned the Peugeot, Molina said. Her written pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State was found by police, he added.

Also arrested in the raid was a 39-year-old woman, identified as Amel S., and her oldest daughter was detained in the suburb of Clichy-Sous-Bois, authorities said. Another woman, arrested earlier in the week, also remained in custody.

One fiance, Larossi Abballa, killed two police officials in Magnanville in June and filmed the aftermath on Facebook Live before dying in a police raid, he said.

The other was Adel Kermiche, who slit the throat of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, during morning Mass in July in the northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, he added. Kermiche and another attacker were shot to death by police.

Molins didn't say when she was engaged to either man.

He said Sarah H., who was shot in the leg during the raid, had stabbed a police officer through the open window of a car, while Ines stabbed another officer as she tried to escape.

In video shot by a neighbor, a veiled woman whose face was uncovered is seen being carried away by police as she cried out in Arabic: "God is great!"

Madani's father flagged his daughter to police Sunday, 14 hours after his car was discovered. Since then, authorities have worked frantically to untangle the relationships among the group and thwart what they increasingly feared was another plot.

Ines Madani was one of five sisters and had already tried to leave for Syria before, Molins said.

More than a third of the nearly 700 French citizens who have reached Iraq and Syria are women, according to government figures. Officials have said for months that adolescent girls and young women are increasingly being recruited by IS in France.

Women in the Islamic State have not traditionally taken part in attacks, said Matthieu Suc, author of "Wives of Jihadis."

They are there "to ensure the longevity of the caliphate" by having children and providing moral support, Suc told France Info radio.

But he added that "there are often young girls, who are just as radicalized as the young men, and they also want the status of martyr, and they want to act."

Security around Paris was visibly higher Friday amid the investigation.

A bomb squad with dogs and a scanner was deployed when a gas canister with a timer but no detonator was found outside a police station Friday morning in the suburb town of La Plaine Saint Denis, just north of Paris, and one kilometer (a half-mile) from the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a local police official said.

The possibility of car bombs increasingly worries French security officials. "We risk facing a new kind of attack: A terrorist campaign characterized by explosive devices in places where there are crowds," Hollande told lawmakers in May.

In a sign of fraying nerves, the son of a gas delivery driver was detained briefly because he had canisters in his car. Elsewhere in Paris, police used explosives to disable an illegally parked motorcycle.

Explosive gas canisters filled with nails were the weapon used in bomb attacks by Algerian extremists on Paris in the 1990s.


Seoul: North Korea's 5th nuke test 'fanatic recklessness'

South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during an emergency meeting to discuss follow-up measures to respond to North Korea's nuclear test at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 9. (Baek Seung-ryul/Yonhap via AP)

Foster Klug, Edith M. Lederer

Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said it conducted a "higher level" nuclear test explosion on Friday that will allow it to finally build an array of stronger, smaller and lighter nuclear weapons, a move strongly condemned by the U.N. Security Council which promised new measures against Pyongyang.

The North's fifth atomic test and the second in eight months brought the U.N.'s most powerful body into emergency session, just three days after it strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches.

South Korea's president said the detonation, which Seoul estimated was the North's biggest-ever in explosive yield, was an act of "fanatic recklessness" and a sign that leader Kim Jong Un "is spiraling out of control." President Barack Obama condemned the test and said the U.S. would never accept the country as a nuclear power.

North Korea's boast of a technologically game-changing nuclear test defied both tough international sanctions and long-standing diplomatic pressure to curb its nuclear ambitions. It will raise serious worries in many world capitals that North Korea has moved another step closer to its goal of a nuclear-armed missile that could one day strike the U.S. mainland.

The press statement agreed upon by all 15 Security Council members late Friday said diplomats will draft a new resolution in response to its earlier promise to take "further significant measures," if the North continued to defy the international community.

"In line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin to work immediately on appropriate measures" in a new U.N. resolution, the statement said. The measures will be under Article 41 of the U.N. Charter, which specifies non-military actions including sanctions, it said.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said the council must use "every tool at its disposal" including new sanctions "to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for its unlawful and dangerous actions."

"This is more than brazen defiance," Power told reporters at U.N. headquarters. "North Korea is seeking to perfect its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles so they can hold the region and the world hostage under threat of nuclear strikes."

What measures are included in a new resolution will largely depend on China, the North's major ally and neighbor which fears any instability on the Korean peninsula.

"All sides should refrain from mutual provocations and any actions that might be a threat to peace and security," China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi said after the meeting. "We believe it is more urgent than ever to work together to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula (and) "to prevent proliferation and ... maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."

In March, the Security Council adopted its toughest sanctions against North Korea in two decades in response to its nuclear test in January and a rocket launch. It took two months of negotiations mainly between the U.S. and China.

South Korea's U.N. Ambassador Oh Joon said he hopes agreement on a new resolution will come quickly.

Hours after South Korea noted unusual seismic activity near North Korea's northeastern nuclear test site, the North said in its state-run media that a test had "finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of (a) nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets."

"The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power," North Korea said. "This has definitely put on a higher level (the North's) technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets."

North Korea, led by a third-generation dictatorship and wary of outsiders, protects its nuclear program as a closely guarded state secret, and the claims about advancements made in its testing could not be independently verified. But they center on a technological mystery that has long bedeviled outside experts: How far has North Korea gotten in efforts to consistently shrink down nuclear warheads so they can fit on long-range missiles?

South Korea's main spy agency told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing after the test that it does not think North Korea currently has the ability to develop nuclear weapons that can be mounted on ballistic missiles, but intelligence officials expressed worries that the North's efforts to do so are progressing more quickly than previously thought, said Kim Byungkee, a lawmaker from the opposition Minjoo Party.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye strongly condemned the test, saying in a statement that it showed the "fanatic recklessness of the Kim Jong Un government as it clings to nuclear development."

She told a meeting of top security officials Friday night that, "We have to believe that Kim Jong Un's mental state is spiraling out of control because he is not listening to any words from the international community or neighboring countries in his attempt to cling to power."

Obama condemned the nuclear test "in the strongest possible terms as a grave threat to regional security."

"The United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state," he said in a statement. "Today's nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, makes clear North Korea's disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and South Korean President Park talked by telephone and agreed that North Korea's nuclear test and its recent missile launches show that it now poses a "different level of threat" requiring a new response.

South Korea's weather agency said the explosive yield of the North Korean blast would have been 10 to 12 kilotons, or 70 to 80 percent of the force of the 15-kiloton atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. The North's fourth test was an estimated six kilotons.

North Korea said no radioactive material leaked, but the explosion put the region on edge.

In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, residents were delighted.

"It's really great news," said Rim Jong Su, 42. "Now, I am full of confidence that if the enemies make any little provocations we will make a counter attack and we will surely win."

The 5.0 magnitude seismic event Friday is the largest of the four past quakes associated with North Korean nuclear tests, according to South Korea's weather agency. Artificial seismic waves measuring 3.9 were reported after North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006; 4.8 was reported from its fourth test this January.

North Korean leader Kim has overseen a robust increase in the number and kinds of missiles tested this year. Not only has the range of the weapons jumped significantly, but the country is working to perfect new platforms for launching them — submarines and mobile launchers — giving the North greater ability to threaten the tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed throughout Asia.

North Korea has fired a total of 33 ballistic missiles since Kim took power in 2011, Seoul's Defense Ministry said. In comparison, North Korea fired 16 ballistic missiles during the 17-year rule of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il.

The seismic activity comes on the 68th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's government and just days after world leaders gathered in China for the Group of Twenty economic summit.

North Korea likely wanted to show the world that strong international sanctions following its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year haven't discouraged its efforts to advance its nuclear weapon and missile programs, according to Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

North Korea's persistent pursuit of missiles and nuclear weapons has long been one of the most intractable foreign policy problems for U.S. administrations.

Diplomacy has so far failed. Six-nation negotiations on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for aid were last held in late 2008 and fell apart in early 2009.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.


Duterte: Indonesia can chase pirates into Philippine waters

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, walks with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo as school children in traditional dress wave the national flags of the two countries during a welcome ceremony at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 9. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave Indonesian forces the right to pursue pirates into Philippine waters, saying piracy is one of the main problems between the two countries.

Duterte, who is visiting Jakarta, discussed piracy and other security issues on Friday with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

He said he was sorry that even shipments of coal from Indonesia destined for Philippine power plants are being affected by piracy.

If Indonesian forces are chasing pirates and they enter Philippine waters, "they can go ahead and blast them off," Duterte said. "That's my word actually with Widodo. I said, 'blow them up.'"

He added, "But maybe if there are sharks around, then we can just feed them to the sharks."

Nine Indonesians are among 16 foreign hostages currently being held by the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines, where Muslim separatist rebellions have raged for decades.

In May, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed to carry out coordinated patrols following a series of kidnappings and piracy attacks that undermined commerce in the Celebes Sea, where their sea borders overlap.


US, Russia seal Syria cease-fire, new military partnership

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hold a press conference following their meeting in Geneva, where they discussed the crisis in Syria, Friday, Sept. 9. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)

Bradley Klapper, Jamey Keaten

Geneva (AP) — The United States and Russia early Saturday announced a breakthrough agreement on Syria that foresees a nationwide cease-fire starting on Monday, followed a week later by an unlikely new military partnership targeting the Islamic State and al-Qaida as well as new limits on President Bashar Assad's forces.

After a daylong final negotiating session in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said shortly after midnight Saturday that the plan could reduce violence in Syria and lead to a long-sought political transition, ending more than five years of bloodshed. He called the deal a potential "turning point" in a conflict that has killed as many as 500,000 people, if complied with by Syria's Russian-backed government and U.S.-supported rebel groups.

The cease-fire begins at sundown Sept. 12, Kerry said, coinciding with the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

"Today the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering and resume movement toward a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria," Kerry said. "We are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking, but it is dependent on people's choices."

"It has the ability to stick, provided the regime and the opposition both meet their obligations, which we — and we expect other supporting countries — will strongly encourage them to do," he added.

Kerry's negotiating partner, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, confirmed the agreement and said it could help expand the counterterrorism fight and aid deliveries to Syrian civilians under U.N. auspices that have been stalled for weeks. He said Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was informed of the accord, and prepared to comply.

"The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe that Russia, and my colleague, have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and to come to the table and make peace," Kerry said, citing a number of recent meetings with Lavrov.

"This is just the beginning of our new relations," Lavrov said.

The deal culminates months of frenetic diplomacy that included four meetings between Kerry and Lavrov since Aug. 26, and a lengthy face-to-face in China between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. The arrangement hinges on Moscow pressuring Assad's government to halt all offensive operations against Syria's armed opposition in specific areas, which were not detailed. Washington must persuade "moderate" rebels to break ranks with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syria affiliate, and other extremist groups.

The military deal would go into effect after both sides abide by the truce for a week and allow unimpeded humanitarian deliveries. Then, the U.S. and Russia would begin intelligence sharing and targeting coordination, while Assad's air and ground forces would no longer be permitted to target Nusra any longer; they would be restricted to operations against the Islamic State.

The arrangement would ultimately aim to step up and concentrate the firepower of two of the world's most powerful militaries against Islamic State and Nusra, listed by the United Nations as terrorist groups.

Both sides have failed to deliver their ends of the bargain over several previous truces.

But the new arrangement goes further by promising a new U.S.-Russian counterterrorism alliance, only a year after Obama chastised Putin for a military intervention that U.S. officials said was mainly designed to keep Assad in power and target more moderate anti-Assad forces.

Russia, in response, has chafed at America's financial and military assistance to groups that have intermingled with the Nusra Front on the battlefield. Kerry said it would be "wise" for opposition forces to separate completely from Nusra, a statement Lavrov hailed.

"Going after Nusra is not a concession to anybody," Kerry said. "It is profoundly in the interests of the United States."

The proposed level of U.S.-Russian interaction has upset several leading national security officials in Washington, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and Kerry only appeared at the news conference after several hours of internal U.S. discussions.

After the Geneva announcement, Pentagon secretary Peter Cook offered a guarded endorsement of the arrangement and cautioned, "We will be watching closely the implementation of this understanding in the days ahead."

At one point, Lavrov said he was considering "calling it a day" on talks, expressing frustration with what he described as an hours-long wait for a U.S. response. He then presented journalists with several boxes of pizza, saying, "This is from the U.S. delegation," and two bottles of vodka, adding, "This is from the Russian delegation."

The Geneva negotiating session, which lasted more than 13 hours, underscored the complexity of a conflict that includes myriad militant groups, shifting alliances and the rival interests of the U.S. and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Turkey and the Kurds.

Getting Assad's government and rebel groups to comply with the deal may now be more difficult as fighting rages around Aleppo, Syria's most populous city and the new focus of a war that has killed as many as 500,000 people.

Assad's government appeared to tighten its siege of the former Syrian commercial hub in the last several days, seizing several key transit points. Forty days of fighting in Aleppo has killed nearly 700 civilians, including 160 children, according to a Syrian human rights group.

Kerry outlined several steps the government and rebels would have to take. They must now pull back from demilitarized zones, and allow civilian traffic and humanitarian deliveries — notably into Aleppo.

"If Aleppo is at peace, we believe that the prospects for a diplomatic solution will brighten," he said. "If Aleppo continues to be torn apart, the prospects for Syria and its people are grim."

But as with previous blueprints for peace, Saturday's plan appears to lack enforcement mechanisms. Russia could, in theory, threaten to act against rebel groups that break the deal. But if Assad bombs his opponents, the U.S. is unlikely to take any action against him given Obama's longstanding opposition to entering the civil war.


Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016

The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Sept. 10, the 254th day of 2016. There are 112 days left in the year. 

Today's Highlight in History: 

On Sept. 10, 1846, Elias Howe received a patent for his sewing machine.

 On this date: 

In 1608, John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia. 

In 1813, an American naval force commanded by Oliver H. Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. (Afterward, Perry sent out the message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours.") 

In 1919, New York City welcomed home Gen. John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers who'd served in the U.S. First Division during World War I. 

In 1935, Sen. Huey P. Long died in Baton Rouge two days after being shot in the Louisiana state Capitol, allegedly by Dr. Carl Weiss. 

In 1939, Canada declared war on Germany. 

In 1945, Vidkun Quisling was sentenced to death in Norway for collaborating with the Nazis (he was executed by firing squad in Oct. 1945). 

In 1955, the Western series "Gunsmoke," starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, began a 20-season run on CBS Television. 

In 1963, 20 black students entered Alabama public schools following a standoff between federal authorities and Gov. George C. Wallace. 

In 1974, the West African country of Guinea-Bissau became fully independent of Portugal. 

In 1979, four Puerto Rican nationalists imprisoned for a 1954 attack on the U.S. House of Representatives and a 1950 attempt on the life of President Harry S. Truman were freed from prison after being granted clemency by President Jimmy Carter. 

In 1987, Pope John Paul II arrived in Miami, where he was welcomed by President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan as he began a 10-day tour of the United States. 

In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Ten years ago: On the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, placed wreaths at ground zero in New York. Daniel Smith, the 20-year-old son of Anna Nicole Smith, died in the Bahamas of a lethal combination of drugs, five months before the death of his mother. World Golf Hall of Famer Patty Berg died in Fort Myers, Florida, at age 88. Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the U.S. Open final. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts defeated Eli Manning and the New York Giants 26-21 in the first NFL game to feature brothers starting at quarterback. 

Five years ago: On the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton paid tribute to the 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their hijackers aboard Flight 93 during a ceremony dedicating the first phase of a memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A pair of NASA probes — named Grail-A and Grail-B — rocketed toward the moon on the first mission dedicated to measuring lunar gravity and determining what was inside Earth's orbiting companion. Oscar- and Emmy-winning actor Cliff Robertson died in Stony Brook, New York, a day after turning 88. 

One year ago: Senate Democrats voted to uphold the hard-fought nuclear accord with Iran, overcoming ferocious Republican opposition. New York State approved gradually raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour, the first time any state had set the minimum that high. 

Today's Birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Arnold Palmer is 87. Actor Philip Baker Hall is 85. Actor Greg Mullavey is 83. Jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers is 76. Actor Tom Ligon is 76. Singer Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) is 74. Singer Jose Feliciano is 71. Actress Judy Geeson is 68. Former Canadian first lady Margaret Trudeau is 68. Political commentator Bill O'Reilly is 67. Rock musician Joe Perry (Aerosmith) is 66. Actress Amy Irving is 63. Actor-director Clark Johnson is 62. Country singer Rosie Flores is 60. Actress Kate Burton is 59. Movie director Chris Columbus is 58. Actor Colin Firth is 56. Rock singer-musician David Lowery (Cracker) is 56. Actor Sean O'Bryan is 53. Actor Raymond Cruz is 52. Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson is 53. Rock musician Robin Goodridge (Bush) is 51. Rock musician Stevie D. (Buckcherry) is 50. Rock singer-musician Miles Zuniga (Fastball) is 50. Actress Nina Repeta (NY'-nuh ruh-PEHT'-ah) is 49. Rapper Big Daddy Kane is 48. Movie director Guy Ritchie is 48. Actor Johnathan Schaech (shehk) is 47. Contemporary Christian singer Sara Groves is 44. Actor Ryan Phillippe (FIHL'-ih-pee) is 42. Actor Kyle Bornheimer is 41. Rock musician Mikey Way (My Chemical Romance) is 36. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Timothy Goebel is 36. Ballerina Misty Copeland is 34. Rock musician Matthew Followill (Kings of Leon) is 32. Singer Ashley Monroe (Pistol Annies) is 30. Singer Sanjaya Malakar ("American Idol") is 27. Actor Chandler Massey is 26. Actress Hannah Hodson is 25. Actor Gabriel Bateman (TV: "American Gothic") is 12. 

Thought for Today: "The more one pleases everybody, the less one pleases profoundly." — Stendhal, French author (1783-1842).   

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 


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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016

European leaders look at 6 months for rebuilding EU dream

Powell discusses secret Israeli nukes in leaked 2015 email

Bombing in northwest Pakistan mosque kills 24, wounds 28

Daredevil successfully powers rocket over Snake River Canyon

15 people dead after typhoon that hit China, Taiwan

Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016


2 tourists killed in Bali boat explosion, many injured

Reflective Clinton returns to campaign trail after pneumonia

Lightning bolts in Oklahoma, France deemed world's longest

Witness says Philippine president ordered killings

Galaxy Note 7 recall shows challenges of stronger batteries

Wing flap found in Tanzania confirmed to be part of MH370

Today in History - Friday, Sept. 16, 2016


Prosecutors: Brazil's Silva 'commander' of graft scheme

Searchers find 2nd ship from doomed British expedition

EU chief appeals for more unity in Europe rife with division

Tourism transforms long-hidden Buddhist valley in Himalayas

US announces lifting of Myanmar sanctions

Russia urges Syrian rebels to separate from 'terrorists'

Today in History - Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016


Cruise ship crewmember dies in lifeboat drill in France

2 protesters die in Kashmir as curfew quiets Eid festivities

US flies bombers over SKorea in show of force against North

Western nations urge Libya general to give up oil terminals

Israel's Peres hospitalized after stroke

206 of Cambodia's rare royal turtles released at new center

Today in History - Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016


Violence in southern India as top court orders water sharing

France to bid adieu to plastic dishes with controversial ban

North Korea mobilizes after floods kill at least 133

Relatives of MH370 victims want more possible debris studied

South Sudan leaders amass wealth as country burns

China, Russia launch South China Sea naval war games

Today in History - Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016


Doctor: Clinton has pneumonia, recovering after 9/11 event

2 dead after cruise ship hits bridge in southern Germany

Catalan separatists rally in Barcelona to support secession

Syrian Rebels leery of cease-fire plan

UK minister: Britons may need visas to visit EU after Brexit

Today in History - Monday, Sept. 12, 2016


Today in History - Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016

Facebook allows postings of 'napalm girl' photo after debate

Failed Paris car bomb plotted by IS-guided women

Seoul: North Korea's 5th nuke test 'fanatic recklessness'

Duterte: Indonesia can chase pirates into Philippine waters

US, Russia seal Syria cease-fire, new military partnership

Today in History - Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016

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