Colo. rescuers tell flooded mountain residents: Leave now or face possible hardship
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Rescue teams are warning people in some Colorado towns isolated by devastating flooding against remaining there, telling them that they could face weeks without basic supplies, including running water and electricity.
Helicopters and truck convoys of the National Guard carried the admonition Saturday into paralyzed canyon communities where thousands of stranded residents were eager to escape the Rocky Mountain foothills. But not everybody was willing to go. Dozens of people in hard hit Jamestown wanted to stay to watch over their homes.
Authorities made clear that residents who chose not to leave might not get another chance for a while. Rescuers won't go back for people who insist on staying, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
"We're not trying to force anyone from their home. We're not trying to be forceful, but we're trying to be very factual and definitive about the consequences of their decision, and we hope that they will come down," Pelle said.
Special education teacher Brian Shultz, 38, was torn about leaving his Jamestown home.
AP PHOTOS: Rescuers work to evacuate residents stranded by flooding in Colorado
Rescuers rushed by land and air Saturday to evacuate residents stranded by epic mountain flooding in Colorado. The National Guard cautioned residents to leave or face weeks without electricity, running water and basic supplies. Four people have been confirmed dead in the flooding that began Wednesday.
Here's a gallery of images from evacuation and cleanup efforts.
Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo
Obama says agreement to destroy Assad's chemical weapons a plus for the world as well as Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says an agreement between the U.S. and Russia offers a chance to destroy Syria's huge stockpile of chemical weapons and promises to end the threat the weapons pose to the region and the world as well as the Syrian people.
Obama says the international community expects Syria to live up to its public commitments to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile. Warning that the U.S. remains prepared to act if Syria falls short, he also cautions that more work remains even after the progress the deal represents
"The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere," Obama said in a statement Saturday. "We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children. Today marks an important step towards achieving this goal."
In setting out one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history, U.S. and Russian officials reached an agreement calling for an inventory of Syria's chemical weapons program and seizing all its components. The agreement includes imposing penalties if Syrian President Bashar Assad's government fails to comply.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and their teams had been meeting day and night in Geneva to develop a framework for ridding the world of Syria's chemicals weapons. A gas attack in the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21prompted a series of events leading to the meetings.
In Iowa, Biden to face anti-war Democrats who are cool to talk about an airstrike on Syria
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is heading into the belly of Democrats' anti-war opposition, venturing into a politically influential heartland state for the first time since President Barack Obama publicly endorsed a possible military strike on Syria.
Biden is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Iowa Sunday for Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, an annual steak picnic for the senator who is popular with anti-war Democrats.
Even if Biden sidesteps talk of Syria, the issue will be as much a part of the backdrop as the bales of hay and smoke from the grilling steaks, and in a place where he will have to plant his flag should he seek the presidency in 2016.
"That's going to be a little sensitive," said eastern Iowa Democrat Richard Machacek, an Obama delegate in 2008, referring to possible military action against Syria. "It flies in the face of what the president campaigned on here."
Obama rode an anti-war wave to victory in Iowa's 2008 presidential caucuses. He had proposed limited air strikes in Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack last month against more than 1,400 people in a Damascus suburb. The administration says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government was behind the attack.
Philippines says nearly 100 Muslim rebels killed or captured as troops press to end standoff
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) — Nearly 100 Muslim guerrillas who have held scores of people hostage for a week in a southern Philippine city have been killed or captured in an offensive to retake rebel-held coastal communities, officials said Sunday.
Army troops and police special forces have regained rebel-held grounds and are pressing an assault deeper into communities in the coastal outskirts of Zamboanga city, where more than 100 Moro National Liberation Front guerrillas are holding an unspecified number of hostages, military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.
"We're gaining ground, we're pushing forward," he said.
Troops are calibrating their firepower to avoid harming civilians, Zagala said.
At least 51 rebels have been killed and 42 others captured, most while trying to escape along the coast after discarding their camouflage uniforms for ordinary clothes, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said, adding that the gunmen would face criminal charges.
Analysis: Energy costs keep Japan's focus on nuclear, despite risks and use of renewables
TOKYO (AP) — Japan will once again be without atomic energy as its only operating nuclear reactor goes offline Sunday for refueling and maintenance, and other plants remain closed for intensified safety checks following the 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-stricken plant in Fukushima.
But despite signs that the Fukushima crisis is worsening, Japan's commitment to restarting many of its 50 idled reactors appears stronger than ever, a year after a previous government said it would begin to phase out nuclear power completely.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in December, says nuclear power remains essential, even with a surge in generation capacity from solar, wind and other renewable sources, and that the world's No. 3 economy cannot afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil.
Four nuclear plant operators have applied to restart a dozen reactors under revised safety guidelines, though the pace will be relatively slow, with the first expected to come online early next year at the earliest. Inspections take about six months for each reactor, and obtaining consent from local governments may also take time.
Only two reactors have been operating in Japan since July 2012, both at Ohi in the west. The No. 3 reactor went offline for maintenance on Sept. 2, and the No. 4 reactor is being shut down Sunday night. They are among the dozen that have applied to restart.
New Mexico cleans up after widespread flooding damages neighborhoods, claims at least 1 victim
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Flood waters broke through dams, inundated neighborhoods and killed at least one person, leaving New Mexico residents with a major cleanup effort.
The massive flooding prompted Gov. Susana Martinez to issue a state of emergency, opening up recovery funding after rivers overflowed because of heavy rains and caused millions of dollars in damage.
State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said the body of a man was found Saturday in his partially submerged vehicle next to State Road 51 in Ash Canyon, about 150 miles from Albuquerque. Investigators believe the man died after his vehicle washed into a ravine covered in mud near the Elephant Butte dam and was washed nearly a miles off roadway, probably Friday during the flooding, Gutierrez said.
The man's name was not released.
Officials said heavy rain on Friday caused the Rio Grande and nearby creeks to overflow in Sierra County — where the man was found — and forced an unknown number of residents to evacuate. The flooding also ruptured an earthen canal in Las Vegas and an aging earthen dam in southern New Mexico.
Officials: At least 24 Afghans killed in northern coal mine tunnel collapse, 3 still missing
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A tunnel collapsed in a coal mine in Afghanistan's north, killing at least 24 workers and leaving three others missing, officials said Sunday. Some 14 area residents trying to aid in the rescue were overcome by fumes and had to get treatment.
Workplace safety standards are poor in Afghanistan as in many developing nations, and such accidents are common. But concern about such standards is likely to grow in the coming years as the government tries to develop a wealth of mineral resources in the country — a challenging goal as it battles a Taliban insurgency.
The mine tunnel collapse occurred Saturday around 2 p.m. in Ruyi Du Ab district of Samangan province, a remote area where the insurgency does not have a significant presence yet. Aminullah, a police official who like many Afghans goes by one name, says more than 1,000 villagers in the area rushed to the scene, using their hands, shovels and other tools to try to dig out the workers.
Akram Baigzad, the provincial police chief, said 24 bodies had been recovered of a total of 27 workers. Fumes left around 14 rescuers with breathing problems, but none died as a result, he said.
Persons familiar with situation tell AP LeBron James marries longtime sweetheart in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (AP) — LeBron James has another ring.
The Miami Heat star married Savannah Brinson at the posh Grand Del Mar Hotel in San Diego on Saturday, according to two people familiar with the details of the ceremony.
About 200 guests were present for the ceremony, said one of the people, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the wedding was private and the couple had yet to release any details. The ceremony was the highlight of a three-day celebration that will conclude with a brunch on Sunday.
James and Brinson, 27, have been together since high school and have two sons. James, 28, proposed just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2012 in Miami Beach, flanked then by many of his teammates — just as he was again Saturday night for his wedding.
Intense security measures surrounded the wedding, and even some of the invited guests were unclear on some specific details in the days leading up to the long-awaited event that came less than three months after James and the Heat won their second straight NBA title.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominates for easy decision over Canelo Alvarez
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Canelo Alvarez proved nothing more than easy money for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather turned one of the richest fights ever into just another $41.5 million payday Saturday night, dominating Alvarez from the opening bell and winning a majority decision in a masterful performance that left no doubt who the best fighter of his era is.
Fighting off his shortest layoff in years, Mayweather was sharp, efficient and sometimes brutal in dismantling an unbeaten fighter who was bigger and was supposed to punch harder. He frustrated Alvarez early, pounded him with big right hands in the middle rounds, and made him look just like he said he would — like any other opponent.
Mayweather was favored 117-111 and 116-112 on two ringside scorecards while a third inexplicably had the fight 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 119-109 for Mayweather.
"I just listened to my corner, listened to my dad," Mayweather said. "My dad had a brilliant game plan, and I went out there and got the job done."