Poll: Few people know obesity can cause more harm to health than just heart disease, diabetes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Heart disease and diabetes get all the attention, but what about the many other ways obesity can damage your health?
Carrying too many pounds may lead to or worsen some types of cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea, even infertility. But a new poll suggests few Americans realize the links.
Only about one-quarter of people think it's possible for someone to be very overweight and still be healthy, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Ask about the most serious consequences, and more than 7 in 10 Americans can correctly tick off heart disease and diabetes. Heart disease is the nation's leading killer, and diabetes and obesity are twin epidemics.
The other consequences aren't so well known.
NJ Gov. Christie learns his lesson, strikes nonpartisan balance in post-Sandy response
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — In 2010, Gov. Chris Christie underestimated the first major storm of his administration by flying to Disney World hours before snow crippled New Jersey. A year later, he overplayed Tropical Storm Irene with the now-infamous order, "Get the hell off the beach."
When Superstorm Sandy set its sights on his state, he had learned his lesson: be more hands on, more empathetic.
"I had a sense from the beginning that this one was going to be really bad," Christie, 50, told The Associated Press in an interview last week that reflected on a first term that has now positioned him in the national spotlight and as a potential 2016 presidential contender.
"With Irene, I went back and forth because the forecasts were going back and forth. When the National Weather Service says it's going to be a wipe out of the Shore then they start backing off of that, it's very difficult to set the right tone and, candidly, make the right decisions," he said. "I might have been firmer in Sandy if it hadn't been for the experience of Irene when I got everybody off the beach and nothing really awful happened there."
Christie, by his own admission, is "not a subtle personality" and he likes to take charge. Those two traits figured prominently in how the rising Republican handled Sandy.
Pakistani intelligence officials say suspected US drones kill 9 militants near Afghan border
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — Suspected American drones fired several missiles into three militant hideouts near Afghan border on Sunday, killing nine Pakistani Taliban fighters, intelligence officials said.
The strikes targeted the group's hideouts in the South Waziristan tribal region, the three officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The identity of the killed militants was not immediately known yet, but two important commanders of the Pakistani Taliban may be among them, they said.
It was the third suspected U.S. drone strike in five days. A strike late Wednesday night killed a top Pakistani militant commander, Maulvi Nazir, whose fighters focus on attacks against U.S. and allied NATO troops in Afghanistan. It was followed close on by another attack on Thursday.
Islamabad opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory, but is believed to have tacitly approval some strikes in past. Washington wants Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan, but Islamabad had been refusing to do so, saying it does not have enough troops and resources to do that.
In absence of such an operation, the U.S. relies more on drone strikes to take out militants. The program has killed a number of top militant commanders including Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was al-Qaida's No. 2 when he was killed in a June strike.
Pakistan accuses India of raiding Pakistani side of Kashmir, killing 1 soldier
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan and India traded accusations Sunday of violating the cease-fire in the disputed northern region of Kashmir, with Islamabad saying that India staged a rare raid across the line dividing the two sides' forces and killed one of its soldiers. India said its troops had fired into Pakistan to retaliate for shelling that destroyed a home.
The accusation of a border crossing resulting in military deaths is unusual in Kashmir, where a ceasefire has held between these two wary rivals for a decade. Tensions over the disputed region are never far from the surface, however, as the nuclear-armed nations have fought two full-scale wars over it.
The Pakistani military's public relations office said in a statement that another Pakistani soldier was critically wounded in the incident. They said troops were still exchanging gunfire after a raid crossed the "line of control" dividing the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir in Haji Pir sector and raided a post called Sawan Patra, the military said.
The remote area where the incident occurred is up in Himalayan mountain peaks. The closest town of Bagh, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, is itself about 260 kilometers (160 miles) from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Col. Brijesh Pandey, a spokesman for the Indian army in Kashmir, said that Pakistani troops "initiated unprovoked firing" and fired mortars and automatic weapons at Indian posts early Sunday morning. He said Pakistani shelling had destroyed a civilian home on the Indian side.
French actor Depardieu gets Russian passport at dinner with President Putin
MOSCOW (AP) — French actor Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport after flying to Russia for a late night dinner with President Vladimir Putin.
Depardieu sought Russian citizenship as part of his battle against a proposed super tax on millionaires in France, and Putin granted his request last week.
Russian television showed Putin embracing the actor as he arrived late Saturday at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The two men were then shown chatting over supper, discussing a soon-to-be-released film in which Depardieu plays Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed on Sunday that Depardieu was given his new Russian passport.
French President Francois Hollande plans to raise the tax on earned income above €1 million ($1.3 million) to 75 percent from the current 41 percent, while Russia has a flat 13-percent tax rate.
British Spitfire search team arrives in Myanmar to start dig for WWII fighter planes
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A search team led by a British aviation enthusiast arrived in Myanmar on Sunday to begin a dig they hope will unearth dozens of rare British Spitfire fighter planes said to have been buried in the Southeast Asian country at the end of World War II.
The 21-member team led by farmer and businessman David Cundall will start excavations soon near the airport in the main city, Yangon.
Cundall said the aircraft were buried in wooden crates around 30 feet under the ground and the project would take about four to six weeks to complete.
"We are expecting them to be in first-class condition," Cundall said shortly after arriving at the international airport in Yangon.
The Spitfire remains Britain's most famous combat aircraft. Its reputation was cemented during the Battle of Britain when the fast-moving single-seater aircraft helped beat back waves of German bombers.
McChrystal accepts blame for Rolling Stone article, but questions fairness, accuracy in memoir
WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaking out for the first time since he resigned, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal takes the blame for a Rolling Stone article and the unflattering comments attributed to his staff about the Obama administration that ended his Afghanistan command and army career.
"Regardless of how I judged the story for fairness or accuracy, responsibility was mine," McChrystal writes in his new memoir, in a carefully worded denouncement of the story.
The Rolling Stone article anonymously quoted McChrystal's aides as criticizing Obama's team, including Vice President Joe Biden. Biden had disagreed with McChrystal's strategy that called for more troops in Afghanistan. Biden preferred to send a smaller counterterrorism and training force — a policy the White House is now considering as it transitions troops from the Afghan war.
McChrystal adds the choice to resign as U.S. commander in Afghanistan was his own.
"I called no one for advice," he writes in "My Share of the Task," describing his hasty plane ride back to Washington only hours after the article appeared in 2010, to offer his resignation to President Barack Obama. McChrystal was immediately replaced by his then-boss, Gen. David Petraeus.
Some guns shows limiting displays, canceling in wake of scrutiny after Conn. school shooting
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Several gun shows, all about an hour's drive from Newtown, Conn., have been canceled.
A show in White Plains, N.Y. — brought back a few years ago after being called off for a decade because of the Columbine shooting — is off because officials decided it didn't seem appropriate now, either. In Danbury, Conn. — about 10 miles west of Newtown — the venue backed out. Same with three other shows in New York's Hudson Valley, according to the organizer.
Gun advocates aren't backing down from their insistence on the right to keep and bear arms. But heightened sensitivities and raw nerves since the Newtown shooting have led to toned-down displays at gun shows and prompted some officials and sponsors to cancel the well-attended exhibitions altogether.
Some of the most popular guns will be missing from next weekend's gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after show organizers agreed to bar the display and sale of AR-15 military-style semiautomatic weapons and their large-clip magazines.
"The majority of people wanted these guns out of the city," said Chris Mathiesen, Saratoga Springs' public safety commissioner. "They don't want them sold in our city, and I agree. Newtown, Conn., is not that far away."
Salvage operators, Coast Guard prepare for attempt to pull Shell drill ship off Alaska island
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC will try to move its grounded drill ship out of the worst of the North Pacific's fury with a towing attempt when conditions allow.
Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield said at a press conference Saturday that naval architects have pronounced the Kulluk fit to be towed. The attempt will depend on weather, tides and readiness, he said.
"I can't offer you firm times. Right now, the preparation for the tow depends on the weather and operational constraints," Churchfield said. "We will be looking to move the vessel as soon as we are ready and able."
If the drill ship can be pulled from the rocks off Sitkalidak Island, it will be towed 30 miles to shelter in Kodiak Island's Kiliuda Bay, a cove about 43 miles southeast of the city of Kodiak.
The Kulluk is a circular barge 266 feet in diameter with a funnel-shaped, reinforced steel hull that allows it to operate in ice. One of two Shell ships that drilled last year in the Arctic Ocean, it has a 160-foot derrick rising from its center and no propulsion system of its own.
South Carolina woman listed as oldest US citizen, Mamie Rearden, dies at 114
A 114-year-old South Carolina woman who was the oldest living U.S. citizen has died, two of her daughters said Saturday.
Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, who held the title as the country's oldest person for about two weeks, died Wednesday at a hospital in Augusta, Ga., said Sara Rearden of Burtonsville, Md., and Janie Ruth Osborne of Edgefield. They said their mother broke her hip after a fall about three weeks ago.
Gerontology Research Group, which verifies age information for Guinness World Records, listed Mamie Rearden as the oldest living American after last month's passing of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa. Rearden's Sept. 7, 1898, birth was recorded in the 1900 U.S. Census, the group's Robert Young said.
Rearden was more than a year younger than the world's oldest person, 115-year-old Jiroemon Kimura of Japan.
"My mom was not president of the bank or anything, but she was very instrumental in raising a family and being a community person," said Sara Rearden, her youngest child. "Everybody can't go be president of a bank or president of a college, but we feel just as proud of her in her role as housewife and particularly as mother and homemaker."