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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP: Top Headlines Top Headlines From the Associated Press


Israel dismantles metal detectors from key Jerusalem shrine

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:42:36 UT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel began Tuesday to dismantle metal detectors it installed a week earlier at a contested Jerusalem shrine, hoping to defuse a crisis with the Muslim world, including security ally Jordan, the Muslim custodian of the holy site. The removal of the devices followed the resolution of a 24-hour diplomatic standoff with Jordan over a deadly shooting at the Israeli Embassy in the kingdom, suggesting a broader deal had been struck. Israel had erected metal detectors at the gates to the Muslim-administered site earlier this month, after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police guards there. Early Tuesday, Israel's security Cabinet decided to replace the metal detectors with "advanced technologies," reportedly cameras that can detect hidden objects. The Palestinian president had announced last week that he was suspending all ties with Israel, including security coordination between his forces and Israeli troops in the West Bank, until the metal detectors are removed. In his phone call with Netanyahu, Jordan's king stressed the need to "remove the measures taken by the Israeli side since the recent crisis broke out" and to agree on steps that would prevent another escalation in the future, Jordan's state news agency Petra said. The security agency said the incident began when two Jordanians arrived at a residential building housing embassy staff to set up bedroom furniture.

Al-Qaida in Syria close to snuffing out competition in north

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:12:26 UT

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels and activists are warning that an al-Qaida-linked jihadi group is on the verge of snuffing out what remains of the country's uprising in northwestern Syria, after the extremists seized control of the opposition-held regional capital, Idlib, last weekend. With the jihadis cementing their authority over the city and its province, also called Idlib, Syrian President Bashar Assad has been supplied with a useful pretext for a long-expected assault against the rebellious province: that the uprising against him is largely driven by Islamists and terrorists. "There is the real possibility that because of the Nusra Front's domination, the regime will enter the area with international approval," said Lt. Col. Fares Bayoush, a longtime opponent of Assad, who has been leading a rebel faction in north Syria. The Nusra Front is one of the many names for the al-Qaida-affiliate that now heads the mighty Hay'at Tahrir al Sham militant group — Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee — that seized the city of Idlib, as well as two border crossings with Turkey to feed its coffers. In July last year, the Nusra Front changed its name to Fatah al-Sham Front and said it was cutting all its links with al-Qaida, a move seen by many as an attempt to improve its image and market itself as a faction defending the Syrian people. Armed with anti-tank missiles supplied to supporting moderate opposition forces, some of which ended up in the hands of the Nusra Front, the coalition's advantage was so great that Assad conceded, for the first time in the war, that he might not be able to retain control over all of Syria.

Smugglers offer crammed big rigs as 'VIP treatment' to US

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:44:10 UT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — When Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was awakened Sunday morning with news that migrants were found dead inside a sweltering tractor-trailer outside a San Antonio Walmart, his mind flashed back to 2003, when he stood at the back of a truck about 120 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio that carried 19 dead migrants. The striking similarities of the Texas tragedies demonstrate how smugglers have found a durable business model carrying large groups — often in big rigs — through an elaborate network of foot guides, safe house operators and drivers. A criminal complaint about Sunday's discovery that 10 were dead and dozens injured in the truck opens a window on their degree of sophistication and organizational muscle: passengers had color-coded tape to split into smaller groups; and six black SUVs awaited them at one transit point to bring them to their destinations. Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in U.S. border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a political scientist who teaches at University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, said migrants she interviewed last year in South Texas paid $2,000 to $3,000 more to ride in the crammed tractor-trailers, considering them more effective, faster and safer than walking through the desert to a pickup point far from the border.

Tractor-trailer survivor says truck had no ventilation

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:06:10 UT

[...] the 27-year-old Mexican laborer climbed with his friends into a pitch-black, metal tractor-trailer compartment that lacked ventilation — a deadly oven that would claim 10 lives. Mexican consulate and U.S. officials later told AP the correct spelling was Lara Vega. Lara Vega, a spare, muscular man with a trim mustache and thick black eyebrows, said all his friends survived as far as he knew, though some were hospitalized. Before the trucked reached its final destination, he said, the immigrants were given different colored tape "to identify to the waiting smugglers which group they would be picking up." The man, identified only by his initials, said he did not see who opened the trailer doors nor did he see the truck driver, according to a criminal complaint filed against the driver. Mexican consular officials say they are providing legal representation for the survivors and that Lara Vega had been visited by one.

Robots, race cars and weather: Girl Scouts offer new badges

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:04:38 UT

Other new badges focus on race car and aviation design using kits from GoldieBlox, a girl-focused toy company. The "leave no trace" approach to interacting with the environment and the study of meteorology by learning to predict weather patterns and potential hazards are among activities geared to new outdoors badges. Usually he says no, Cayla said as she recently demonstrated how to make a robotic arm out of sticks and fasteners. Because I got my science badge I developed that courage and that confidence to study science and math at a time when girls like me weren't studying science and math. Acevedo was one of the first Hispanic students, male or female, to earn a graduate engineering degree from Stanford University. The former tech executive's first job was as a rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Another study, done by the Computing Technology Industry Association, found that 69 percent of women who have not pursued careers in information technology attribute their choice to not knowing what opportunities are available to them.

Pressure mounts to curtail surgery on intersex children

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:48:14 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Children whose sexual characteristics don't neatly align with the norm have for decades faced surgery to rearrange their anatomy to resemble that of more typical boys and girls — long before they were old enough to have a say in the decision. [...] on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch and InterACT a group advocating for intersex youth — are releasing a detailed report assailing the practice and urging Congress to ban it. Experts say roughly one of every 2,000 newborns has so-called differences of sex development that might prompt a doctor's recommendation for surgery or other medical intervention. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's reviewing the issue, and wants parents to understand the risks and benefits of any course of action. The AMA's Board of Trustees is proposing a new policy statement urging doctors to defer intersex surgery on infants and young children "except when life-threatening circumstances require emergency intervention." Adding to the momentum was a statement in June from former surgeons general Joycelyn Elders, David Satcher and Richard Carmona, who said the surgery "is not justified absent a need to ensure physical functioning," they wrote. Even as the new report was being compiled, it came under fire from the CARES Foundation , which advocates on behalf of families with children born with abnormal genitalia due to a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, or CAH. For families with intersex children, one welcome development has been the formation of specialized teams at some hospitals that address a wide range of physical and psychological concerns.

AP: US church goes to Brazil; instills fear, splits families

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:09:15 UT

SAO JOAQUIM DE BICAS, BRAZIL (AP) — At the Word of Faith Fellowship churches in the Brazilian cities of Sao Joaquim de Bicas and Franco da Rocha, the signs of broken families are everywhere: parents separated from their children, siblings who no longer speak, grandparents who wonder if they will ever know their grandchildren. Over the course of two decades, the U.S.-based mother church took command of both congregations in Brazil, applying a strict interpretation of the Bible and enforcing it through rigorous controls and physical punishment, The Associated Press has found. The examination of Word of Faith Fellowship's spread into Latin America's largest country is part of the AP's lengthy ongoing investigation into the evangelical church, founded in 1979 by Jane Whaley, a former math teacher, and her husband, Sam. The AP also has detailed how Word of Faith Fellowship funneled a steady flow of young Brazilian members to the United States on tourist and student visas and forced them to work both at the church and companies owned by sect leaders. In Franco da Rocha, former members said Whaley prohibited soccer as Brazil was getting ready to host the 2014 World Cup because she felt the church's young males were focused on the event at the expense of God. When state inspectors visited, the long palm tree-lined driveway from the gate to the school provided plenty of time for school employees to pull out regular books and make things look "normal," Oliveira said. Over the years, former members say the Brazilian churches introduced physical assaults and "blasting" — a Word of Faith Fellowship practice where ministers and congregants surround members and scream in their faces for hours to drive out demons. Word of Faith Fellowship's reach into Brazil began with John Martin, an American missionary who arrived in the late 1970s, married a local woman and served as pastor at a Baptist church near Belo Horizonte, one

AP sources: Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 04:02:30 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation. The president's anger again bubbled into public view Monday as he referred to Sessions in a tweet as "beleaguered." The name of one longtime Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani, was floated Monday as a possible replacement for Sessions, but a person who recently spoke to the former New York City mayor said that Giuliani had not been approached about the position. Trump has seethed about Sessions' decision for months, viewing it as disloyal — arguably the most grievous offense in the president's mind — and resenting that the attorney general did not give the White House a proper heads-up before making the announcement that he would recuse himself. Newt Gingrich, a frequent Trump adviser, said that the president, with his criticisms of Sessions, was simply venting and being honest about his feelings. Sessions risked his reputation when he became the first U.S. senator to endorse the celebrity businessman and his early backing gave Trump legitimacy, especially among the hard-line anti-immigration forces that bolstered his candidacy. Several of Sessions' top aides now serve in top administration posts, including Stephen Miller, the architect of several of Trump's signature proposals, including the travel ban and tough immigration policy. After Trump's public rebuke last week, Sessions seemed determined to keep doing the job he said "goes beyond anything that I would have ever imagined for myself."

AP source: Free agent Derrick Rose agrees to deal with Cavs

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:10:26 UT

Free agent Derrick Rose agreed Monday to sign with Cleveland, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Rose, a former NBA MVP who has battled knee injuries, will get a one-year contract at the veteran's minimum of $2.1 million, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the agreement. Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season following knee surgery. Because the Cavaliers are so far over the salary cap, they could only offer Rose a one-year deal.

Immigrants wept, pleaded for water and pounded on the truck

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:01:13 UT

The details of the journey were recounted Monday by a survivor who spoke to The Associated Press and in a federal criminal complaint against the driver, James Matthew Bradley, who could face the death penalty over the 10 lives lost. Bradley, 60, of Clearwater, Florida, appeared in federal court on charges of illegally transporting immigrants for financial gain, resulting in death. In addition to the dead, nearly 20 others rescued from the rig were hospitalized in dire condition, many suffering from extreme dehydration and heatstroke. Mexico's foreign ministry released a statement Monday night that said "according to preliminary information," 25 of the migrants inside the rig were Mexican. Many of the immigrants had hired smugglers who brought them across the U.S. border, hid them in safe houses and then put them aboard the tractor-trailer for the ride northward, according to accounts given to investigators. "Even though they have the driver in custody, I can guarantee you there's going to be many more people we're looking for to prosecute," said Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. After hearing banging and shaking, he opened the door and was "surprised when he was run over by 'Spanish' people and knocked to the ground," according to the criminal complaint. Bradley told authorities that he had stopped in Laredo — which would have been out of his way if he were traveling directly to Brownsville — to get the truck washed and detailed before heading back 150 miles (240 kilometers) north to San Antonio. [...] one passenger said six black SUVs were waiting to pick up the immigrants and were full in a matter of minutes. [...] San Antonio police said store surveillance video showed vehicles picking up some of the immigrants.