AP News in Brief at 5:58 a.m. EST

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Associated Press

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Residents west of Boston told 'stay home' amid search for bomb suspect, transit shut down

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) — Police are locking down some neighborhoods in Boston and its western suburbs as they search for the remaining suspect in the marathon bombings.

Authorities urged residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit was shut down.

The announcement Friday morning comes hours after the killing one suspect, known as the man in the black hat from marathon surveillance footage. The man in the white hat is on the loose and police are calling him a "terrorist" who came here "to kill."

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FBI releases images of 2 suspects in Boston Marathon bombing; one set down a backpack

BOSTON (AP) — Plucking a couple of faces in baseball caps out of a swarming crowd, the FBI zeroed in on two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and shared surveillance-camera images of them with the world Thursday in hopes the public will help hunt them down.

The somewhat blurry but still detailed photos and video depict one young man in a dark cap and another in a white cap worn backward, both wearing backpacks and one walking behind the other on the sidewalk near the finish line as marathoners run by.

The man in the white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.

"Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members of the suspects," he said. "Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us."

They looked much like typical college students, but DesLauriers described them as armed and extremely dangerous, and urged anyone who sees or knows them to tell law enforcement and "do not take any action on your own."

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Boston bombing investigation underscores vast expansion of surveillance by police and public

As the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings illustrates, getting lost in the crowd is no longer an easy feat. There are eyes — and cameras — everywhere.

Investigators swiftly obtained a vast quantity of amateur photos and videos taken by onlookers, often with their cell phones, as well as extensive footage from surveillance cameras in the area of the blasts. The FBI released images Thursday from one of those cameras, zeroing in on two men in caps who have become the suspects in the case. They're seen walking together; the FBI said one of them later set down a backpack where the second explosion occurred.

If indeed the video provides the crucial break in the Boston case, surveillance cameras — which have proliferated in London, Chicago and elsewhere — may take on new allure. Informal surveillance by private citizens may proliferate as well; the FBI says it expects the public to be its "eyes and ears" as the investigation continues.

The upside of this expanding surveillance network is clear — a greater potential for law enforcement to solve crimes and, in some instances, to prevent them. David Antar of New York-based IPVideo Corporation says video surveillance can be set up to trigger warnings if bags are left unattended or suspicious activity takes place before or during a large-scale event.

Is there a downside?

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Official toll in Texas fertilizer plant explosion still murky, but residents know who is gone

WEST, Texas (AP) — The neighborhood surrounding a Texas fertilizer plant that erupted in a thunderous explosion is gone, and the residents here know they've lost more than the buildings that went up in flames.

Even as investigators were tight-lipped about the number of dead from the blast — authorities say more than 160 are injured but have not yet released a firm death toll — the names of the dead were becoming known in the town of 2,800, even if they hadn't been officially released.

Believed to be among them is a small group of firefighters and other first responders who may have rushed toward the fire to fight it before the blast. At a church service at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church on Thursday night, the mourning was already starting.

"We know everyone that was there first in the beginning," said Christina Rodarte, 46, who has lived in West for 27 years. "There's no words for it. It is a small community, and everyone knows the first responders, because anytime there's anything going on, the fire department is right there, all volunteer."

One victim who Rodarte knew and whose name was released was Kenny Harris, a 52-year-old captain in the Dallas Fire Department who lived south of West. He was off duty at the time but responded to the fire to help, according to a statement from the city of Dallas.

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AP-GfK poll: Doubts are rising among the populace over US economy and Obama's handling of it

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the third year in a row, the nation's economic recovery has hit a springtime soft spot. Reflecting that weakness, only 1 in 4 Americans now expects his or her own financial situation to improve over the next year, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows.

The sour mood is undermining support for President Barack Obama's economic stewardship and for government in general.

The poll shows that just 46 percent of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the economy while 52 percent disapprove. That's a negative turn from an even split last September — ahead of Obama's November re-election victory — when 49 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Just 7 percent of Americans said they trust the government in Washington to do what is right "just about always," the AP-GfK poll found. Fourteen percent trust it "most" of the time and two-thirds trust the federal government just "some of the time"; 11 percent say they never do.

The downbeat public attitudes registered in the survey coincide with several dour economic reports showing recent slowdowns in gains in hiring, consumer retail spending, manufacturing activity and economic growth. Automatic government spending cuts, which are starting to kick in, also may be contributing to the current sluggishness and increased wariness on the part of both shoppers and employers.

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First test for new immigration bill as Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — A far-reaching new immigration bill is getting its first test at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where opponents of the legislation will be able to face off with its authors.

The committee includes Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and three other of the eight lawmakers who authored the bill to boost border security, fix legal immigration programs and eventually grant citizenship to some 11 million people here illegally. The panel also includes leading skeptics of the legislation, including Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

The 844-page legislation was introduced around 2 a.m. Wednesday, so critics say there's been insufficient time to digest it and they've pushed for more hearings and a long process. Friday's hearing will be the first of two the Judiciary Committee is expected to hold on the bill before it begins amending and voting on it next month.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been invited to testify, and she's sure to face tough questions from Sessions and other Republicans on conditions along the border, which the Obama administration says is more secure than ever.

Some Republicans disagree and also contend that the immigration bill doesn't do enough to improve border security, even though it requires certain enforcement steps to be taken before any path to citizenship can begin.

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Former Pakistani military ruler says allegations 'politically motivated' following his arrest

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf criticized allegations against him as "politically motivated" Friday, following his arrest in a case involving his decision to fire senior judges while in power.

Musharraf was arrested a day after he made a dramatic escape from a court in Islamabad on Thursday to avoid being detained. Musharraf fled the Islamabad High Court in a speeding vehicle and holed up in his home on the outskirts of the city after a judge rejected his bail and ordered his arrest.

It was a new low in Musharraf's troubled return from self-imposed exile last month to attempt a political comeback in the upcoming parliamentary election.

There were conflicting reports about how Musharraf was arrested Friday.

Police said they arrested Musharraf overnight from his home and delivered him to a magistrate in Islamabad on Friday morning. But the secretary general of Musharraf's party, Mohammed Amjad, claimed the former military ruler surrendered himself before the magistrate.

World finance officials search for ways to boost struggling global economy and create jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — World finance leaders are searching for ways to promote better economic growth and stronger job creation while avoiding a dangerous slide into a global currency war.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 nations were expected to wrap up their discussions with the release Friday of a joint communique.

The group, which includes Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, began its discussions Thursday night with a working dinner. Those talks were a prelude to broader discussions during the spring meetings of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.

The G-20 joint statement was expected to repeat a pledge the group made at its last meeting in February that members would avoid using competitive currency devaluations to gain advantages in trade.

Lew, previewing the U.S. objectives going into the meetings, said he would press Europe to do more to support growth and would maintain pressure on Japan and China to avoid lowering the value of their currencies to boost their exports at the expense of the United States and other countries.

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Randy Newman, Lou Adler inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Randy Newman is now a hall of famer.

The singer-songwriter kicked off Thursday's 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with a performance of "I Love L.A." He was joined by Jackson Browne, John Fogerty and Tom Petty.

"I didn't think it would happen until I died or something," the 69-year-old said backstage after his induction.

Newman is among this year's eight inductees, which also includes rockers Heart and Rush, rap group Public Enemy, disco queen Donna Summer, bluesman Albert King, and producers Quincy Jones and Lou Adler.

Adler was inducted during Thursday's extravaganza by Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong before being serenaded by Carole King with "So Far Away." Jack Nicholson was among Adler's fans in the crowd who gave the producer-mogul a standing ovation.

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Joe Flacco and Super Bowl champion Ravens open at Peyton Manning and Broncos

NEW YORK (AP) — Are you ready for some Peyton Manning?

This year's NFL schedule is filled with return visits and intriguing matchups, and some of the best involve the Denver Broncos' quarterback.

The former Colts star will make his first trip back to Indianapolis, will play younger brother Eli in another Manning Bowl, and will face the defending Super Bowl champions in the season opener.

The Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver for the now-traditional Thursday night opener on Sept. 5. The Orioles are home that night and Major League Baseball could not move their game.

So $121 million quarterback Joe Flacco and his fellow champs were sent to Denver — to face Manning and the team they beat in double overtime on their way to the Super Bowl.

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