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Associated Press

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 6:30 AM

French, Iranian foreign ministers say agreement reached on nuclear deal

GENEVA (AP) — A deal has been reached between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, the French and Iranian foreign ministers said early Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "Yes, we have a deal," as he walked past reporters crowding the hotel lobby where marathon negotiations had taken place over the past five days.

Asked if there was a deal, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "Yes" and gave a thumbs-up sign.

The goal had been to hammer out an agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear program for six months, while offering the Iranians limited relief from crippling economic sanctions. If the interim deal holds, the parties will negotiate final-stage agreements to ensure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

The White House announced that President Barack Obama would make a statement on the agreement shortly.

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Obama declares Iran deal an 'important first step' that cuts off likely path to a bomb

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says a nuclear deal with Iran is an "important first step" toward addressing the world's concerns over the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear program.

Obama says the deal includes "substantial limitations" on Iran and cuts off the Islamic republic's most likely path to a bomb.

Obama spoke Saturday night shortly after the U.S. and five partners reached an interim nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement was finalized during talks in Geneva that stretched well past midnight.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

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A look at US-Iranian ties ahead of pact between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program

GENEVA (AP) — Iran's agreement with six world powers over its nuclear program comes after decades of difficult ties between Washington and Tehran. Relations have been up, but mostly down since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in the Iranian capital. The nuclear agreement, designed as a first step in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for the easing of some punishing economic sanctions, signals a thaw in the U.S.-Iranian relationship.

A brief history of the long-strained relations between the United States and Iran:

CIA COUP

In the aftermath of World War II and beginning of the Cold War, Washington sees Iran as a bulwark against Soviet expansion and a source of stability in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. It cultivates a friendly relationship with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, although the partnership is threatened with the 1951 appointment of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh, who moves to nationalize Iran's oil industry. A CIA-backed coup ousts Mossadegh in 1953. The shah returns from a brief exile and resumes control.

COLD WAR ALLIES

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After JFK: Lyndon Johnson quickly assumed power, but VP succession is not always smooth

NEW YORK (AP) — As President John F. Kennedy lay dying 50 years ago at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was hurried into a small room in Minor Medicine, where he stood silently against a wall. After a wait of some 35 minutes, presidential aide Kenneth O'Donnell entered and approached Johnson, who had been two cars behind Kennedy when the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza.

"He's gone," O'Donnell told him.

Almost instantly, onlookers would recall, LBJ's drooping features hardened into his "deciding expression." Johnson's wife, Lady Bird, would describe his look as "almost a graven image of a face carved in bronze." Johnson, a vice president so estranged from the White House that he feared for his job, was now the most powerful man in the country.

"This was a day not only when a president was killed, but a president was created," says Johnson biographer Robert Caro.

Johnson was the last of eight vice presidents to succeed a president who died in office. Some became major presidents in their own right, others were soon forgotten, and at least one was lucky to remain in office.

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Column: On a brutally grim day 50 years ago the nation grieves and the NFL plays on

Americans grieved in front of their television sets on a brutally grim Sunday afternoon 50 years ago as a horse-drawn caisson took the body of President Kennedy from the White House to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

In Dallas, a nightclub operator named Jack Ruby further stunned the nation that day by shooting Lee Harvey Oswald to death in black-and-white images broadcast across the country.

And in seven U.S. cities, men put on their shoulder pads, strapped on their helmets and took the field to play games that suddenly didn't seem so fun anymore.

As unimaginable as it might seem today — and did seem to many even then — the NFL played on despite the assassination of a president just two days earlier.

"Everyone has a different way of paying respects," Commissioner Pete Rozelle said that day at Yankee Stadium. "I went to church today and I imagine many of the people at the game here did, too. I cannot feel that playing the game was disrespectful, nor can I feel that I have made a mistake."

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Is it too late for justice — and arrests — in unsolved rapes in impoverished town?

ROBBINS, Ill. (AP) — The rape evidence was stored in the police department's musty basement: brown paper shopping bags, stuffed with sneakers, bras and underpants, jammed on metal shelves. Scattered blood vials and swabs covered with dust and mold — an inventory amassed over more than 25 years.

Cara Smith, a Cook County sheriff's aide, knew something was terribly wrong the moment she saw the jumble, which included 176 rape kits dating back to 1986. Many of these crimes had long been forgotten by everyone except the victims.

Smith began digging into the cases and ultimately came to a disturbing conclusion: In most of the reported rapes, Robbins police had seemingly conducted little or no follow-up despite having crime lab results. And in nearly a third of the cases, police hadn't even submitted physical evidence for analysis.

Those findings posed one daunting question: Is there any way to right the wrongs that, in some cases, go back a generation?

The answer will come from the Cook County sheriff's office, where Smith and investigators have devoted much of the year to reviewing the cases, poring over records, interviewing victims, trying to put together puzzles even when key pieces are missing.

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Powerful storm system blasts US West; several states left drenched, 8 killed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A powerful storm system that has caused hundreds of accidents across the Western U.S. has marched eastward with predictions of widespread snow, freezing temperatures and gusty winds.

The fierce weather has caused at least eight deaths and prompted advisories Saturday afternoon in New Mexico and Texas.

As thick, gray clouds covered the Southwest, forecasters said the storm would sweep across the South and toward the Atlantic coast next week, causing problems for holiday travelers.

Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the "Nordic outbreak" will "produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation."

In New Mexico, authorities and residents braced for the second hit of a one-two punch that had already blanketed parts of the state with snow and freezing rain and caused a rollover accident that killed a 4-year-old girl in the eastern part of the state.

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The decision to allow phone calls on planes will eventually be decided by individual airlines

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission might be ready to permit cellphone calls in flight. But what about the airlines?

Old concerns about electronics being a danger to airplane navigation have been debunked. And airlines could make some extra cash charging passengers to call a loved one from 35,000 feet. But that extra money might not be worth the backlash from fliers who view overly chatty neighbors as another inconvenience to go along with smaller seats and stuffed overhead bins.

"Common courtesy goes out the window when people step in that metal tube," says James Patrick II, a frequent flier from Newnan, Ga. "You think the debates and fistfights over reclining the seat back was bad. Wait until guys start slugging it out over someone talking too loud on the phone."

That's one of the reasons the country's largest flight attendant union has come out against allowing calls in flight. The FCC is proposing to lift an existing ban, and airlines would have to decide whether to let passengers make calls. The ban would remain in effect during takeoff and landing.

Delta Air Lines is the only major airline to explicitly state that voice calls won't be allowed on its flights, even if the FCC allows it. Delta says years of feedback from customers show "the overwhelming sentiment" is to continue prohibiting calls.

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'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" expected to earn $150M over the weekend

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is a scorching hit at the box office.

Lionsgate has released early numbers on what's expected to be one of the biggest November openings ever. "Catching Fire" has grossed $70.5 million domestically and $64 million internationally, bringing its total to $135 million, the studio reported Saturday.

Numbers were from Friday's opening day, but includes some scattered preview shows on Thursday night. The sequel gained $25.3 million from Thursday screenings.

"Catching Fire" is expected to bump two-week champ "Thor: The Dark World" out of the No. 1 slot. Full weekend ticket sales estimates at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak, will be released Sunday. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

Totals for "Catching Fire" are expected to reach $150 million domestically over the weekend, though some reports estimated a $170 million opener.

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Despite semifinal loss, high school football team brings tornado-hit Illinois city together

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just after his team advanced to the Illinois state high school football championship Saturday, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin's coach had his players take a knee at midfield for a prayer with their opponents — a team from a town brought to its own knees just six days earlier by a deadly tornado.

As tears welled in the eyes of some of Washington High's players, Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Ken Leonard called for the on-field prayer.

"Thank you for playing your tails off, boys, (considering) what you had to go through," Leonard told the Panthers, who came into the game hoping to put aside their town's troubles — at least for a bit — as they chased what would have been the school's first trip to the title game in 28 years. "Washington, we're here for you."

The twister last Sunday left a scarring swath from one corner of Washington to another, killing one person. In the buildup to Saturday's game, Washington High coach Darrell Crouch and some of his key players talked of playing for the central Illinois city of 16,000 at a time it dearly needed some uplifting — a weighty burden for the teenagers.

Amid frigid conditions — with the wind chill, the temperature was 12 by halftime — the Panthers fell into a 14-0 hole and trailed 23-7 at halftime before things unraveled in what became their 44-14 loss to Sacred Heart-Griffin, their mascot ironically the Cyclones.

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