Kerry in Egypt to press reforms on highest-level American visit since military ousted Morsi
CAIRO (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo on Sunday pressing for reforms during the highest-level American visit to Egypt since the ouster of the country's first democratically elected president.
The Egyptian military's removal of Mohammed Morsi in July followed by a harsh crackdown on his protesting supporters led the U.S. to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.
The State Department apparently expected a frosty reception for Kerry, especially with tensions running high on the eve of Monday's scheduled start of Morsi's trial on charges of inciting murder. The department refused to confirm Kerry's visit until he landed in Cairo, even though Egypt's official news agency reported the impending trip three days earlier.
The secrecy was unprecedented for a secretary of state's travel to Egypt, for decades one of the closest U.S. allies in the Arab world, and highlighted the deep rifts today between Washington and Cairo.
Kerry last was in Egypt in March, when he urged Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-backed government to enact sweeping economic reforms and govern in a more inclusive manner. Those calls went unheeded. Simmering public unhappiness with his rule boiled over when the powerful Egyptian military deposed Morsi on July 3 and established an interim government.
Boat carrying 70 Muslim Rohingya capsizes off western Myanmar; 8 survivors found
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A boat carrying 70 ethnic minority Muslim Rohingya capsized Sunday off the western coast of Myanmar, an aid worker said. Only eight survivors have been found.
The boat was in the Bay of Bengal and headed for Bangladesh when it went down early Sunday, said Abdul Melik, who works for the humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger.
The incident comes after the United Nations warned that an annual and often deadly exodus of desperate people from Myanmar's Rakhine state appears to have begun. The exodus usually kicks off in November, when seas begin to calm.
As many as 1,500 people have fled in the last week, Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the U.N. High commission for Refugees, said at a press briefing Saturday in Geneva.
He said the agency had received several reports of drownings and was seeking details from authorities.
Suspect in LAX shooting wanted to target TSA workers, stir fear in 'traitorous minds'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seeking to stir fear in "traitorous minds," a man suspected of a shooting spree at Los Angeles airport allegedly set out to kill employees of the Transportation Security Administration in the attack that left one person dead and others wounded, authorities said.
At a news conference Saturday announcing charges against Paul Ciancia, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. spelled out a chilling chain of events at LAX that began when he strode into Terminal 3 Friday morning, pulled a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and fired repeatedly at point-blank range at a TSA officer. The officer was checking IDs and boarding passes at the base of an escalator leading to the main screening area.
After shooting a TSA officer and going up an escalator, Ciancia turned back to see the officer move and returned to finish him off, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators.
Investigators said Ciancia, an unemployed motorcycle mechanic, fired on at least two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who were all wounded. Airport police eventually shot him as panicked passengers cowered in stores and restaurants.
Ciancia, 23, remained hospitalized Saturday after being hit four times and wounded in the mouth and leg. The FBI said he was unresponsive and they had not been able to interview him.
TSA officer killed in LAX shooting remembered as a family man, jovial colleague
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Friends and family remembered slain Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo I. Hernandez as a family man who constantly smiled at travelers passing through the Los Angeles airport.
"He was always excited to go to work and enjoyed the interactions with the passengers at LAX," said his wife, Ana. "He was a joyful person, always smiling. He took pride in his duty for the American public and for the TSA mission."
Ana Hernandez made the short statement Saturday in front of the couple's house in Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley. Her hands shook and her voice cracked as she read off a folded piece of paper, stopping at times.
"Gerardo was a great man who always showed his love for our family. He was always there to help anyone in need and always made people laugh with his wonderful sense of humor," she said.
Hernandez was the first TSA official in the agency's 12-year history to be killed in the line of duty.
Sticker shock often follows cancellation notice for those with individual health care policies
MIAMI (AP) — Dean Griffin liked the health insurance he purchased for himself and his wife three years ago and thought he'd be able to keep the plan even after the federal Affordable Care Act took effect.
But the 64-year-old recently received a letter notifying him the plan was being canceled because it didn't cover certain benefits required under the law.
The Griffins, who live near Philadelphia on the Delaware border, pay $770 monthly for their soon-to-be-terminated health care plan with a $2,500 deductible. The cheapest plan they found on their state insurance exchange was a so-called bronze plan charging a $1,275 monthly premium with deductibles totaling $12,700. It covers only providers in Pennsylvania, so the couple wouldn't be able to see the doctors in Delaware whom they've used for more than a decade.
"We're buying insurance that we will never use and can't possibly ever benefit from. We're basically passing on a benefit to other people who are not otherwise able to buy basic insurance," said Griffin, who is retired from running an information technology company.
The Griffins are among millions of people nationwide who buy individual insurance policies and are receiving notices that those policies are being discontinued because they don't meet the higher benefit requirements of the new law.
McAuliffe plans rally with Obama while Cuccinelli sprints around Virginia in search of votes
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama is lending his political heft to Terry McAuliffe's campaign for Virginia governor while Republican Ken Cuccinelli is flying from airport to airport in search of votes.
McAuliffe and Cuccinelli planned the final Sunday of their bitter campaign trying to motivate their most ardent supporters for an election that is going to be decided by the few Virginians who choose to vote on Tuesday. The state Board of Elections chief says turnout could be as low as 30 percent of registered voters and the campaigns see 40 percent turnout as the ceiling.
Polls show McAuliffe ahead and campaign finance reports show a dramatically lopsided dynamic, with the Democrats far outraising and outspending Cuccinelli and his allies. Television airtime was tilted in McAuliffe's favor by a 10-to-1 margin.
Obama's final-hours effort is slated to take place near Washington.
McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has had help from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Current DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz planned to join McAuliffe later Sunday, and Vice President Joe Biden is to do his part on Monday.
1 shot, wounded on homecoming weekend at North Carolina A&T State University; brief lockdown
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Shots fired on homecoming weekend at North Carolina A&T State University prompted a brief campus lockdown after a 21-year-old man was wounded by a bullet fired from a "considerable distance," authorities said.
Greensboro Police Department said in a statement released overnight that "one or more" suspects fired shots near McCain Hall on campus about 10 p.m. Saturday and one of the rounds struck 21-year-old Divine Eatman.
Eatman appeared to have serious, but non-life-threatening wounds and was taken to a hospital by paramedics, according to the statement released by Police Lieut. J.L. Raines. The statement didn't elaborate on just how far Eatman was from where the shot was fired that hit him, or whether anyone had been deliberately targeted.
Greensboro and campus police responded to the site and a lockdown was ordered. The university's website announced about an hour later that the lockdown had been lifted, but encouraged students "for increased safety" to stay indoors.
The university tweeted on its website that campus police subsequently had gone on "visible" and "high alert." Police said they were seeking as many as four suspects, but a university tweet said no suspects had been identified late Saturday.
Special tribunal in Bangladesh sentences 2 exiles to death for 1971 war crimes
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh on Sunday sentenced to death two Bangladeshis now living in the U.S. and Britain for crimes against humanity during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971.
Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, who lives in Britain, and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who lives in New York, were found guilty by a three-judge panel of abducting and murdering 18 people in December 1971, including nine university teachers, six journalists and three physicians.
The two were tried in absentia after they refused to return to Bangladesh to face the trial.
Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the 1971 war.
The two men were members of Jamaat-e-Islami during the war. The Islamic party is an ally of the country's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, a rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
75 years after Kristallnacht, ranks of Holocaust survivors shrinking at retirement home
CHICAGO (AP) — Listen to the many harrowing stories of war, suffering and survival, all under one roof:
On the third floor, there's Margie. A prisoner of Nazi labor camps, she hauled backbreaking cement bags and was beaten with clubs. Sometimes, she had only a piece of bread to eat every other day. She weighed 56 pounds when she was freed.
Down the hall, there's Edith. Though pregnant, she miraculously avoided the gas chamber at Auschwitz. She lost her mother, father and husband in the camps. After liberation, she faced even more heartbreak: Her son died days after his birth.
Up on the eighth floor, there's Joe. As a boy of 10, he was herded onto a cattle car and transported to a concentration camp — the first of five he'd be shuttled to over five cruel years.
These Holocaust survivors share a history and a home: a retirement community founded more than 60 years ago for Jews who'd been victims of Nazi persecution. For decades, it was a refuge for those who'd endured the living hell of Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Mauthausen and other camps. And a haven, too, for those who'd fled before the dark night of German occupation fell over their homeland.
AP PHOTOS: Latin America marks Day of the Dead with altars, flowers, photos
Latin Americans around the region are honoring their departed loved ones with Day of the Dead celebrations, blending pre-Columbian rituals with the Roman Catholic observance of all Saint's Day on Nov. 1 and All Soul's Day on Nov. 2.
The holiday known in Spanish as "Dia de los Muertos," is especially popular in Mexico, but is also observed in other countries around the region, including Guatemala and Bolivia.
In Lima, Peru, a young man applied a fresh coat of paint to a cross on the grave of a loved one while a woman held vigil at her grandmother's tomb, protected from the sun by an umbrella tied to tree branches. Also at the Nueva Esperanza Cemetery, described as the world's second largest, 77-year-old Domitia Alaca wandered among the graves trying to find her father's final resting place.
The cemeteries of Haiti were populated with Voodoo practitioners holding rituals to remember their dead relatives. Candles illuminated the tombs at the San Gregorio Cemetery outside Mexico City, where families communed with their ancestors by holding picnics and decorating the graves with bright orange marigolds.
Elaborate altars were erected inside homes around the region to remember loved ones who have died, decorated with photographs, candles, flowers, skeleton figurines, sugar skulls and sometimes the favorite food and drink of the dearly departed.