D-DAY NOTEBOOK: At Normandy, old footage, new dance recall World War II and its aftermath
BENOUVILLE, France (AP) — Historical film footage and modern interpretive dance recreated the images of World War II at D-Day's 70th anniversary, a blend of old and new that bridged seven decades and depicted a once riven Europe as a newly unified whole.
The dance performance took place across a giant map of Europe. Near its start, dancers in black Gestapo-like uniforms sought to subdue others in overalls. Dancers in olive drab represented the landing on Normandy's beach, moving in slow motion as many fell to the ground only to rise again to the strains of a lone bagpiper. On giant screens behind them, scenes from the war unfolded, from an execution to D-Day to footage of surrendering Germans. Soviet, British and U.S. soldiers were shown celebrating and unfurling their respective flags.
One piece of footage showed Queen Elizabeth II as a wartime driver and mechanic with the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was one of the few visiting heads of state to have lived and served in the war.
If the moment may have proved awkward for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the dance and film images also captured the post-war European reconstruction and the new alliances that emerged in its aftermath.
The ceremony ended with daytime fireworks of colorful flames and smoke and a missing man flyover emitting trails of red, white and blue smoke -- the tri-colors of the U.S., French, Russian and British flags.
Canadian suspected of killing 3 Mounties caught, ending lockdown in eastern city
MONCTON, New Brunswick (AP) — A man suspected of gunning down three Royal Canadian Mounted Police was caught and charged Friday, ending a 30-hour manhunt that closed schools and forced residents to hide inside their homes of this eastern Canadian city. "I'm done," a witness heard him tell police.
Police said at a press conference that they received a tip that led them to a wooded residential part of Moncton, New Brunswick, where they found 24-year-old Justin Bourque, suspected in the deadliest attack on Canada's national police force in nearly a decade.
Armed with high-powered long firearms, Bourque was spotted three times Thursday as he evaded the manhunt that all but shut down the normally tranquil city about of about 60,000 people east of the Maine border. Nearly 300 police officers searched for Bourque, who was seen going in and out of a wooded area.
RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman said Bourque was arrested at 12:10 a.m. She said he wasn't carrying any weapons, but some were found nearby. Prosecutors and police declined to comment when asked if the guns were acquired legally.
Michelle Thibodeau said she saw the man in the front yard of her home and heard him say, "I'm done," before his arrest by officers with guns drawn.
Veterans, world leaders honor D-Day's fallen, 70 years after pivotal invasion of Normandy
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — It was a day of pride, remembrance and honors for those who waded through blood-tinged waves, climbed razor-sharp cliffs or fell from the skies, staring down death or dying in an invasion that portended the fall of the Third Reich and the end of World War II.
It was also a day of high diplomacy for a Europe not completely at peace.
After 70 years, a dwindling number of veterans, civilian survivors of the brutal battle for Normandy, and 19 world leaders and monarchs celebrated on Friday the sacrifices of D-Day, an assault never matched for its size, planning and derring-do.
The events spread across the beaches and lush farmlands of Normandy, in western France, had an added sense of urgency this year: It would be the last grand commemoration for many of the veterans, whether they relived the anniversary at home in silence or were among the some 1,000 who crossed continents to be present despite their frail age.
For President Barack Obama, transmitting the memory of their "longest day" means keeping intact the values that veterans fought and died for.
US employers add jobs at pace not seen since 1999, recover last of positions lost in recession
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since 1999, American employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for four straight months, offering more evidence that the U.S. economy is steadily growing while much of Europe and Asia struggle.
Last month's gain of 217,000 jobs means the economy has finally recovered all the jobs lost to the Great Recession. And it coincides with indications that American consumers have grown more confident. Auto sales have surged. Manufacturers and service companies are expanding.
"I don't think we have a boom, but we have a good economy growing at about 3 percent," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. "We're pulling away from the rest of the world."
Still, Friday's report from the Labor Department showed that pay remains subpar for many workers, millions who want full-time work are still stuck in part-time jobs and the number of people out of work for more than six months remains historically high.
Monthly job growth has averaged 234,000 for the past three months, up sharply from 150,000 in the previous three. The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey, matched April's 6.3 percent, the lowest in more than five years.
Gay conservative worry that more fighting of 'therapy' in Texas GOP platform might backfire
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Gay Republicans in Texas say they may stop fighting their party's proposed endorsement of "reparative therapy" over worries that even tougher anti-gay language could be added to the party platform.
Jeff Davis is chairman of the Texas Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative group. He says a fight to remove the therapy language during the state party convention on Saturday could backfire.
Davis said Friday that gay delegates haven't settled on a strategy, but that it may be better to adopt a longer-term strategy to educate conservatives on the harms of psychological treatments that seek to turn gay people straight.
The new anti-gay language passed through a key committee late Thursday.
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a law prohibiting so-called "gay conversion therapy" on minors last year. California has a similar ban.
VA acting chief says reprisals against employees who complain about care will not be tolerated
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Investigators said they are examining allegations that supervisors in the veterans' health system retaliated against 37 employees who complained about practices such as months-long delays in scheduling of appointments, and the acting head of the sprawling system responded Friday that such reprisals would not be tolerated.
"I think that is wrong. It is absolutely unacceptable," Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson said at a news conference Friday following a visit to a San Antonio VA facility.
"There have been questions raised about intimidation or even retaliation. There is a law that forbids that, and we'll follow the law," Gibson said.
His comments came after the Office of Special Counsel said it was looking into possible retaliation against 37 employees of the VA who filed so-called "whistleblower" complaints. The office is an independent watchdog separate from the VA which looks into whistleblower complaints from across the federal government.
The office said it had blocked disciplinary actions against three VA employees so far, including one who was suspended for seven days after complaining to the VA's inspector general about improper scheduling.
News Guide: A look at the arguments around conversion therapy for gays and lesbians
The Texas Republican Party is considering endorsing psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight. Adding such language to its new platform would contrast with efforts in some other states to limit such counseling.
Here are some questions and answers about the issue:
Q: What sort of practice is involved?
A: The controversy concerns a range of practices known by various terms, including gay conversion therapy and reparative therapy. The aim is generally to try to change a person's sexual orientation, or to lessen their interest in engaging in same-sex sexual activity.
North Korea says it has detained another American tourist for an unspecified crime
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says it has detained an American tourist for committing an unspecified crime, the third U.S. citizen being held there.
The state Korean Central News Agency said authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit. It did not give details.
"American citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the DPRK as a tourist on April 29 and acted in violation of the DPRK law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay," KCNA reported, referring to the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The U.S. State Department confirmed an American was detained, but did not identify the person or provide details for privacy reasons.
"We are aware that a U.S. citizen has been detained in North Korea. This is the third U.S. citizen that has been detained in North Korea," spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington. She added there's "no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad."
California Chrome takes aim at Triple Crown sweep with longest race of his life in Belmont
NEW YORK (AP) — California Chrome is 1 1/2 miles away from ending the longest drought in racing history — 36 years without a Triple Crown winner.
Eleven horses as good or better than him have tried to complete the sweep in the Belmont Stakes and failed since 1978. The chestnut colt with the modest pedigree and self-described "dumb ass" owners can either make history Saturday or become just another near-miss.
"I've watched the other horses where they failed," California Chrome trainer Art Sherman said. "I don't know if they just got flat outrun or got tired from the Triple Crown races."
California Chrome and 10 rivals will run the longest race of their lives on Belmont Park's deep, sandy track with its sweeping turns. No other Triple Crown winner faced more than seven rivals.
"I feel more confident coming into this race than I did any race," said Sherman, who at 77 is overseeing the best horse of his career. "I'm getting pumped up."
Putin talks with incoming Ukrainian leader on ending violence amid D-Day ceremony in Normandy
OUISTREHAM, France (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke face-to-face with Ukraine's incoming president about ending the violence in the former Soviet state, and Kiev's new leader said talks could begin in earnest as soon as Sunday — a diplomatic breakthrough playing out along the battlefield beaches of Normandy.
Friday's 15-minute meeting was followed by a brief exchange between Putin and President Barack Obama, who had been keeping the Russian at arm's length over the Ukrainian crisis. Tensions between the two were played out on giant televisions on Ouistreham's Sword Beach, with Putin and Obama shown divided by a split screens as they commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Speaking after his meeting with Petro Poroshenko — who is to be sworn in Saturday as Ukraine's president — Putin called for an immediate cease-fire in eastern Ukraine before any further talks, and said he expected Poroshenko to show "state wisdom" and "good will." Poroshenko later said talks could begin in earnest on his first full day in office.
"All the questions were difficult," Poroshenko said in a statement to The Associated Press before returning to Ukraine, "but we will make every effort to achieve the goals we have set ourselves and begin negotiations on Sunday."
Putin said he welcomed Poroshenko's call for an end to the bloodshed and liked his approach to settling the crisis but wanted to wait until the Ukrainian leader could deliver it in detail to the nation.