AP News in Brief at 8:58 p.m. EDT

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Associated Press

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 17 at 8:03 PM

Nearly two years after deadly Benghazi attack, US nabs Libyan militant, aiming for US trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. special forces seized a "key leader" of the deadly Benghazi, Libya, attack and he is on his way to face trial in the U.S. for the fiery assault that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. It was the first breakthrough in the sudden overseas violence in 2012 that has become a festering political sore at home.

President Barack Obama said the capture on Sunday of Ahmed Abu Khattala sends a clear message to the world that "when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice."

"We will find you," Obama declared.

As recently as last August, though, Abu Khattala told The Associated Press that he was not in hiding nor had he been questioned by Libyan authorities about the attack at the diplomatic compound. He denied involvement and said that he had abandoned the militia. Administration officials said Tuesday that despite his media interviews, he "evaded capture" until the weekend when military special forces, including members of the Army's elite Delta Force, nabbed him.

Whatever the path to his capture, he was headed for the United States to face what Obama called "the full weight of the American justice system." Obama called the Libyan an "alleged key leader" of the attack.

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Nabbed Libyan suspected militant lived openly but kept low-profile in Benghazi

CAIRO (AP) — The Libyan militant suspected in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attack on Americans in Benghazi was not a difficult man to find.

Ahmed Abu Khattala lived openly and freely in the restive eastern Libyan city — seen at cafes and in public places — even after the U.S. administration named him and another militant as suspects in the attack two years ago that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

"I am in my city, having a normal life and have no troubles," he told The Associated Press late last year after he was first accused. He denied the allegations and said he didn't fear being abducted from Libya.

That changed Sunday when he was detained by U.S. forces, marking the first U.S. apprehension of an alleged perpetrator in the assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Abu Khattala is being held in an undisclosed location outside of Libya and will be tried in U.S. court, according to the Pentagon press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.

A man who identified himself as Abu Khattala's brother, Abu Bakr, called the AP office in Cairo to ask if reports his brother had been detained were true.

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Signs emerge of sectarian bloodshed in Iraq as 44 Sunni detainees killed

BAGHDAD (AP) — Nearly four dozen Sunni detainees were gunned down at a jail north of Baghdad, a car bomb struck a Shiite neighborhood of the capital and four young Sunnis were found slain, as ominous signs emerged Tuesday that open warfare between the two main Muslim sects has returned to Iraq.

The killings, following the capture by Sunni insurgents of a large swath of the country stretching to Syria, were the first hints of the beginnings of a return to sectarian bloodletting that nearly tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007.

During the United States' eight-year presence in Iraq, American forces acted as a buffer between the two Islamic sects, albeit with limited success. The U.S. military is now being pulled back in — with a far more limited mission and far fewer troops, as President Barack Obama nears a decision on an array of options for combating the Islamic militants.

In the latest sect-on-sect violence, at least 44 Sunni detainees were slaughtered by gun shots to the head and chest by pro-government Shiite militiamen after Sunni insurgents tried to storm the jail near Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, police said.

The Iraqi military gave a different account and put the death toll at 52, insisting the Sunni inmates were killed by mortar shells in the attack late Monday on the facility.

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Prospect of new US fight in Iraq turns congressional hawks into doves

WASHINGTON (AP) — The prospect of the U.S. military returning to the fight in Iraq has turned congressional hawks into doves.

Lawmakers who eagerly voted to authorize military force 12 years ago to oust Saddam Hussein and destroy weapons of mass destruction that were never found now harbor doubts that air strikes will turn back insurgents threatening Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and Baghdad.

Fears of Mideast quagmire and weariness after a decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan loom large for even those who talk tough on national security. More than 6,000 Americans died in those wars, which cost a trillion dollars.

As President Barack Obama mulls his next step, there is little unanimity in Congress on what the United States should do despite some Republican voices — most notably Sen. John McCain — loudly calling for air strikes and stepped-up military action. The sectarian violence between the pro-government Shiites and Sunnis adds to congressional uncertainty.

Obama will discuss the situation in Iraq with House and Senate leaders of both parties at the White House Wednesday. State Department and Pentagon officials will hold closed-doors briefings with lawmakers over the next couple of days.

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Suicide bomber blasts World Cup viewing center in northeast Nigeria, many feared dead

DAMATURU, Nigeria (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated a tricycle taxi packed with explosives at an outdoor World Cup viewing center in a northeast Nigerian city Tuesday night, and witnesses said several people were killed.

Hospital workers said the death likely will rise with 15 people critically wounded and casualties still coming in to the main hospital at Damaturu, capital of Yobe state.

Police Assistant Superintendent Nathan Cheghan confirmed the explosion but said rescue workers were being careful for fear of secondary explosions. Islamic extremists of the Boko Haram group frequently time secondary explosions to kill people who rush to the scene of a bomb blast.

Cheghan said he had no casualty figures.

There was no immediate claim for the blast witnesses were blaming on Boko Haram fighters who have targeted football viewing centers and sports bars in the past. Two explosions in recent weeks killed at least 40 people in two northern cities.

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Doctors and patients clamor for breakthrough hepatitis drug as insurers and states gag on cost

WASHINGTON (AP) — Your money or your life?

Sovaldi, a new pill for hepatitis C, cures the liver-wasting disease in 9 of 10 patients, but treatment can cost more than $90,000.

Leading medical societies recommend the drug as a first-line treatment, and patients are clamoring for it. But insurance companies and state Medicaid programs are gagging on the price. In Oregon, officials propose to limit how many low-income patients can get Sovaldi.

Yet if Sovaldi didn't exist, insurers would still be paying in the mid-to-high five figures to treat the most common kind of hepatitis C, a new pricing survey indicates. Some of the older alternatives involve more side effects, and are less likely to provide cures.

So what's a fair price?

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Rare dual tornadoes slam tiny rural NE Nebraska town killing 2 people, flattening homes, farms

PILGER, Neb. (AP) — As two giant tornadoes bore down on this tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, Trey Wisniewski heard the storm sirens, glanced out at the blackening sky and rushed with his wife into their basement.

"My wife was holding our animals, and I was holding on to my wife. We could feel the suction try to pull us out of there," he said Tuesday.

Suddenly, their house was gone, leaving them to dodge debris that rained down upon them. And then, the storm that hit so suddenly Monday afternoon was gone, allowing them to emerge and see what was left of the 350-person farming town of Pilger.

Much of the community was gone and two people had died. The disaster, delivered by twin twisters rare in how forcefully they traveled side by side for an extended period, left some residents doubting whether the town could rebuild, even as they marveled that the death toll hadn't been worse.

"This is by far the worst thing I've ever seen as governor," said Gov. Dave Heineman, who flew over Pilger in a helicopter Tuesday morning and then walked through the town, trailed by reporters.

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Extremely rare British colonial postage stamp sets auction record — again

NEW YORK (AP) — A 1-cent postage stamp from a 19th century British colony in South America has become the world's most valuable stamp — again.

Sotheby's says the 1856 British Guiana One-Cent Magenta sold Tuesday at auction in New York for $9.5 million.

It's the fourth time it has broken the auction record for a single stamp in its long history.

The stamp was expected to bring between $10 million and $20 million. Sotheby's says the buyer wished to remain anonymous.

Measuring 1 inch-by-1¼ inches, the One-Cent Magenta hasn't been on public view since 1986. It's the only major stamp absent from the British Royal Family's private Royal Philatelic Collection.

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Deadly break-in at Arizona church puts spotlight on issue of clergy possessing weapons

PHOENIX (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest responding to a break-in at his downtown Phoenix church grabbed a handgun that police say ended up in the burglar's hands — and was then used to kill a fellow priest who tried to help.

The Diocese of Phoenix has no policy on priests carrying guns, but the deadly burglary raised questions about the wisdom of clergy possessing weapons, no matter how dangerous their mission.

The attack occurred after the Rev. Joseph Terra opened the kitchen door of the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory on the evening of June 11 to investigate noises in a courtyard. The intruder he found beat him with a metal rod, but the priest managed to retrieve a .357-caliber gun from his bedroom.

He was unable to fire the weapon before the attacker grabbed it and used it to fatally shoot Terra's colleague, 28-year-old Kenneth Walker, according to court records.

Terra is expected to make a full recovery after being beaten so badly that authorities initially doubted he would survive the first night.

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Brazil, Belgium prove old adage that there are no easy games at the World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The headline from the World Cup, Day 6: Big favorite Brazil is vulnerable.

Those who thought the World Cup host or world champion Spain — thumped 5-1 last week by the Netherlands — would walk away with this should think again.

Proving the old adage that there are no easy games in football's showcase, Brazil failed to beat Mexico for the first time at the World Cup, held Tuesday to a 0-0 draw in their second game in Group A.

Belgium — a long-shot pick for the title — also struggled to break down Algeria, but got help off its bench to win 2-1 in Belo Horizonte.

In steamy Cuiaba, an evenly matched and entertaining back-and-forth contest ended Russia 1, South Korea 1. Substitutes scored all but one of the five goals on Tuesday, proving the importance of having a Plan B.

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