Collapsed building owner arrested near border with India as death toll climbs to 362
SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — The owner of an illegally-constructed building that collapsed last week in a deadly heap in a Dhaka suburb was arrested at a border crossing with India on Sunday in a dramatic operation by members of an elite commando force, a government minister said.
A fleeing Mohammed Sohel Rana was arrested near the land-crossing in Benapole in western Bangladesh, just as he was about to cross into India's West Bengal state, said Jahangir Kabir Nanak, junior minister for local government. He said Rana is being brought back by helicopter to the capital Dhaka where he faces charges of negligence.
The arrest by the Rapid Action Battalion was announced on a loudspeaker at the site of the collapsed building in a Dhaka suburb, where people greeted it with cheers and claps. At least 362 people are confirmed to have died in the collapse of the 8-story building on Wednesday. Three of its floors were built illegally.
The death toll is expected to rise but it is already the deadliest tragedy to hit Bangladesh's garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and a mainstay of the economy. The collapse and previous disasters in garment factories have focused attention on the poor working conditions of workers who toil for as little as $38 a month to produce clothing for top international brands.
Rana, a small-time politician from the ruling party, had been on the run since Wednesday. He last appeared in public in front of Rana Plaza on Tuesday after huge cracks appeared in the structure. However, he assured tenants, including five garment factories, that the building was safe.
Miss. man charged with making same poison that was in letters sent to president, 2 others
BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — The arrest of a 41-year-old Mississippi martial arts instructor in a case of poison-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama and others capped a week in which investigators initially zeroed in on a rival of James Everett Dutschke, then decided they had the wrong man.
Federal authorities arrested Dutschke early Saturday at his home in Tupelo. He was charged with "knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin."
U.S. attorney Felicia Adams and Daniel McMullen, the FBI agent in charge in Mississippi, made the announcement in a news release. Dutschke is expected to appear Monday in U.S. District Court in Oxford.
Authorities said the hunt for a suspect revealed tie after small-town tie between the two men being investigated and the 80-year-old county judge who, along with Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, was among the targets of the letters.
Dutschke's house, business and vehicles in Tupelo were searched earlier in the week, often by crews in hazardous materials suits. He also had come under surveillance.
Pakistani Taliban bomb offices of 2 politicians in northwest, killing 9
PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani Taliban detonated bombs at the campaign offices of two politicians in the country's northwest on Sunday, police said, killing at least nine people in an escalation of attacks on secular, left-leaning political parties.
In first attack, on the outskirts of Kohat city, a bomb ripped through the office of Syed Noor Akbar, killing six and wounding 10 people, police official Mujtaba Hussain said.
A second bomb targeted a campaign office of another candidate, Nasir Khan Afridi, in the suburbs of Peshawar city. That attack killed three people and wounded 12, police official Saifur Rehman Khan said.
Both politicians, who were not in the offices at the time of the blasts, are running as independent candidates for national assembly seats to represent constituencies in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, where scores of militant groups operate including some with links to al-Qaida. The general elections will be held on May 11.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for both attacks, as well as two others against secular political parties in the southern port city of Karachi.
At annual correspondents' dinner, Obama jokes about growing older during his 2nd term
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama joked Saturday that the years are catching up to him and he's not "the strapping young Muslim socialist" he used to be.
Obama poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner attended by politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities.
Entering to the rap track "All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled, Obama joked about how re-election would allow him to unleash a radical agenda. But then he showed a picture of himself golfing on a mock magazine cover of "Senior Leisure."
"I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be," the president remarked, and then recounted his recent 2-for-22 basketball shooting performance at the White House Easter Egg hunt.
But Obama's most dramatic shift for the next four years appeared to be aesthetic. He presented a montage of shots featuring him with bangs similar to those sometimes sported by his wife.
PHOTOS: Politicians, journalists and celebrities mix at White House Correspondents' dinner
There were Republicans mixing with Democrats, journalists talking to Hollywood celebrities who play reporters or politicians and, of course, President Barack Obama. The president and headliner Conan O'Brien traded barbs about each other and many of those attending the annual star-studded White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Here are some images from the evening's festivities:
APNewsBreak: Officials say Russian wiretap caught suspicious call between bomb suspect, mom
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call.
In another conversation, the mother of now-dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said.
The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.
As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011.
Two years later, authorities say Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhohkar, detonated two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout and Dzhohkar is under arrest.
FAA suspends furloughs, says air traffic system to resume normal operations by Sunday evening
NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration said that the U.S. air traffic system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening after lawmakers rushed a bill through Congress allowing the agency to withdraw furloughs of air traffic controllers and other workers.
The FAA said Saturday that it has suspended all employee furloughs and that traffic facilities will begin returning to regular staffing levels over the next 24 hours. The furloughs were fallout from the $85 billion in automatic-across-the-board spending cuts this spring. The bill, passed on Friday, allows the FAA to move as much as $253 million within its budget to areas that will allow it to prevent reduced operations and staffing.
The furloughs started to hit air traffic controllers this past week, causing flight delays that left thousands of travelers frustrated and furious. Planes were forced to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.
The FAA had no choice but to cut $637 million as its share of $85 billion in automatic, government-wide spending cuts that must be achieved by the end of the federal budget year on Sept. 30.
Flight delays piled up across the country Sunday and Monday of this week as the FAA kept planes on the ground because there weren't enough controllers to monitor busy air corridors. Cascading delays held up flights at some of nation's busiest airports, including New York, Baltimore and Washington. Delta Air Lines canceled about 90 flights Monday because of worries about delays. Just about every passenger was rebooked on another Delta flight within a couple of hours. Air travel was smoother Tuesday.
Bright lights, big city for transformed Pyongyang but rest of North Korea still cold and dark
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — The heart of this city, once famous for its Dickensian darkness, now pulsates with neon.
Glossy new construction downtown has altered the Pyongyang skyline. Inside supermarkets where shopgirls wear faux French designer labels, people with money can buy Italian wine, Swiss chocolates, kiwifruit imported from New Zealand and fresh-baked croissants. They can get facials, lie in tanning booths, play a round of mini golf or sip cappuccinos.
Nearly 2 million people are using cell phones. Computer shops can't keep up with demand for North Korea's locally distributed tablet computer, popularly known here as "iPads." A shiny new cancer institute features a $900,000 X-ray machine imported from Europe.
Pyongyang has long been a city apart from the rest of North Korea, the showcase capital dubbed a "socialist fairyland" by state media.
But a year after new leader Kim Jong Un promised publicly to bring an end to the "era of belt-tightening" and economic hardship in North Korea, the gap between the haves and have-nots so far has only grown with Pyongyang's transformation.
Rolling Stones to play a small club ahead of tour date in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Surprise!
Before they kick off their "50 and Counting" tour, the Rolling Stones are playing a warm-up date at a small Los Angeles club.
The band is set to perform Saturday night at the Echoplex before a sold-out crowd that will be miniscule compared to the thousands who are set to see them launch their tour May 3 at the Staples Center.
Tickets were sold for $20 each — a fraction of what tickets to the tour will cost.
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the El Rey Theatre earlier Saturday for a chance at the tickets. They were dispensed through a confusing lottery system that led to much of the crowd departing even though show tickets were made available to lottery ticket holders.
Robinson goes on late surge, scores 34 points to lead Bulls past Nets 142-134 in triple OT
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls were down and just about out in this one. Go figure, Nate Robinson led them back.
Robinson scored 34 points, and Chicago wiped out a 14-point deficit late in regulation and beat the Brooklyn Nets 142-134 in triple overtime Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
The Bulls were trailing 109-95 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when Robinson went on one of his tears, carrying his team to an improbable victory with a stretch that reminded the streaky point guard of a video game.
"I always think I'm on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam," he said. "You make a couple in a row, the rim's on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball's on fire. I feel like that at times — all the time. Whenever I'm in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can't miss."
There's the rub with Robinson.