US hikers who were held in Iran marry in Calif.
2012-05-07 00:09:45 UTC
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two Americans who were detained and accused of spying after hiking near the Iraq-Iran border three years ago have been married in Northern California, a family friend said Sunday.
Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were married at 4 p.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location, San Francisco attorney Ben Rosenfeld said. About 200 people attended the wedding — a "beautiful ceremony" that was held in a setting "chosen for its pastoral beauty," he said.
Bauer, Shourd and Josh Fattal, all University of California, Berkeley graduates, were arrested on July 31, 2009, and held in Iran.
Iran accused the three of illegally enter...
Long fight predicted in Guantanamo Sept. 11 case
2012-05-06 20:16:06 UTC
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — The U.S. has finally started the prosecution of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, but the trial won't be starting anytime soon, and both sides said Sunday that the case could continue for years.
Defense lawyer James Connell said a tentative trial date of May 2013 is a "placeholder" until a true date can be set for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the attacks, and his co-defendants.
"It's going to take time," said the chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, who said he expects to battle a bar...
Paul wins majority of delegates from Maine GOP
2012-05-06 20:05:24 UTC
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — With Mitt Romney's nomination all but decided, Ron Paul supporters wrested control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman to the GOP national convention, party officials said as the two-day convention neared its end Sunday. The results gave the Texas congressman a late state victory.
The names of 15 at-large delegates from Maine to the GOP nominating convention in Tampa, Fla., were posted Sunday as votes for the other delegation seats remained undecided. Maine is allotted a total of 24 delegates to the national convention.
"It's certainly a significant vi...
Biden OK with equal rights for married gay couples
2012-05-06 19:58:18 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says he's "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
But the White House and President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, eager to avoid a debate on a hot-button social issue in an election year, insisted that Biden was not breaking ranks with Obama, who does not publicly support gay marriage.
Biden told NBC's "Meet the Press" that marriage should be about being loyal to someone you love, whether that marriage is between a man a...
Clinton warns against undermining Grameen Bank
2012-05-06 06:20:11 UTC
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday urged the government of Bangladesh not to do anything that could undermine the effectiveness of the internationally acclaimed Grameen Bank micro-lender.
Clinton told a town hall audience in the Bangladeshi capital that the pioneering bank founded by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus was a "tremendous" model for the developing world and that its structure should not be tinkered with. A search for a new bank chief is now underway since the government ousted Yunus last year in a heavily criticized step.
Clinton is a personal friend of Yunus and met with him fo...
2 hikers held in Iran to marry in SF Bay area
2012-05-06 01:18:09 UTC
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two Americans detained and accused of spying after hiking near the Iraq-Iran border three years ago will marry Saturday in the San Francisco Bay area.
A private wedding ceremony for Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd was set for 4 p.m. at an undisclosed location, said San Francisco attorney and family friend Ben Rosenfeld.
Bauer, Shourd and Josh Fattal, all University of California, Berkeley graduates, were arrested on July 31, 2009, and held in Iran.
Bauer and Fattal were sentenced to eight years after being convicted on spy-related charges, but were released after more than two years.
Shourd was released after ...
9/11 defendants ignore judge at Guantanamo hearing
2012-05-06 01:10:31 UTC
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — They knelt in prayer, ignored the judge and wouldn't listen to Arabic translations as they confronted nearly 3,000 counts of murder. The self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four co-defendants defiantly disrupted an arraignment that dragged into Saturday night in the opening act of the long-stalled effort to prosecute them in a military court.
It wasn't until more than seven hours into the hearing that prosecutors at the U.S. military base in Cuba began reading the charges against the men, including 2,976 counts of murder and terrorism in the 2001 attacks that sent hijacked jetlin...
Obama: Time to shift attention from wars to home
2012-05-05 19:23:31 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says his goal of defeating al-Qaida is within reach and that it's time to turn the country's attention to domestic concerns.
Just four days after his trip to Afghanistan, Obama said that money saved from ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should help pay down the national debt and go to health care, education and infrastructure.
"After more than a decade of war, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home," he said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday.
The president took note of the agreement he signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday that shifts security ...
Obama shifts to campaign mode, tears into Romney
2012-05-05 18:37:02 UTC
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama launched a new phase of his re-election campaign on Saturday by branding GOP challenger Mitt Romney as an eager rubber stamp for extremist Republicans in Congress and offering himself as a hard-charging champion of an embattled middle class.
In the first formal rallies of his bid for a second term, Obama acknowledged the U.S. economy has struggled to recover from a painfully deep recession but declared, "We've been through too much to turn back now."
Obama's toughly worded speech at a noisy basketball arena at Ohio State University previewed a similar event later Saturday at Virginia Commo...
General balance: Romney tilts right
2012-05-05 07:53:33 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — He will need independents in November, but Mitt Romney isn't abandoning his "severely conservative" record.
Instead, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has launched an aggressive campaign against President Barack Obama that straddles two sometimes-conflicting political ideologies. On some days, he is both a social conservative and social moderate, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and promoter of political compromise. It's a delicate balancing act in a general election effort that's just weeks old but one that's leaning decidedly right so far.
Romney spoke out against China's "one-child policy" on Friday...
Obama escalates election fight in Ohio, Virginia
2012-05-05 07:49:21 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — He's been in campaign mode for months, but President Barack Obama makes his quest for a second term official with rallies Saturday in Ohio and Virginia. He'll be casting Republican rival Mitt Romney as a flip-flopping protector of the rich.
The events at two universities, Ohio State and Virginia Commonwealth, are billed as the official kickoff of Obama's re-election bid, even though he's been solidly engaged in his campaign. He filed the necessary paperwork to seek re-election over a year ago.
During the stops, Obama wants to convince voters that his policies have put the economy on more solid footing despite fresh ...
Romney: Regular people teach him about struggles
2012-05-04 20:38:02 UTC
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mitt Romney says he learns about what it's like to struggle in a difficult economy by sitting down to chat with regular people. But the Republican presidential candidate doesn't want anybody to see it — and his campaign won't say who he meets with or when the meetings occur.
In interviews and on the campaign trail, Romney regularly says that he learns about the struggling economy by talking to people affected by it. Earlier this week, he said he meets with families "almost every day." On Friday, Romney said the talks are "off the record" — and that he agrees to keep private the names of the people he meets with.
Md. teenager pleads guilty in terror case in Pa.
2012-05-04 20:20:47 UTC
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A teen from Pakistan with a once-bright future in the U.S. pleaded guilty Friday to terrorism charges for helping an American woman dubbed "Jihad Jane" support an Irish terror cell planning to wage a Muslim holy war in Europe.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid had won a full scholarship to prestigious Johns Hopkins University before the FBI arrested him last summer at 17, making him the rare juvenile held in federal custody.
Khalid, now 18, faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. In a secret life online, the high school honors student had...
Panetta: Troop scandals hurt US Afghan mission
2012-05-04 20:01:47 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning troops that it takes just seconds for misconduct to make headlines and fuel the enemy in Afghanistan.
Military leaders are pushing commanders to improve discipline in the ranks after a series of widely publicized incidents. These include the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians, mistaken burning of Qurans, images of Marines urinating on Afghan insurgents' corpses and photos showing U.S. soldiers posing with Afghan police holding the severed legs of a suicide bomber.
Panetta says wrongdoing by troops can hurt morale, put fellow troops at risk and damage America's standing in the w...
US revamps student work-visa program after abuses
2012-05-04 19:51:18 UTC
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The State Department announced major changes Friday to one of its premier cultural-exchange programs following an investigation by The Associated Press that found widespread abuses.
The agency issued new rules for the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program, which brings more than 100,000 foreign college students to the United States each year.
The changes are the latest in a series of steps the State Department has taken to fix the program since the 2010 AP investigation. The investigation found that some participants were working in strip clubs, not always willingly, while others were put in living and working cond...
Nurse in Afghanistan dies in Skype chat with wife
2012-05-04 19:40:07 UTC
HOUSTON (AP) — The wife of an Army officer serving in Afghanistan witnessed her husband's death as the two video chatted via Skype, his family said Friday.
The circumstances of Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark's death were not immediately available. The Pentagon said it was under investigation, and his brother-in-law said he didn't have details.
"We are entrusting the military with investigating and with finding out what happened to Capt. Clark," Bradley Taber-Thomas told The Associated Press.
Clark, a 43-year-old Army chief nurse, grew up in Michigan and lived previously in Spencerport, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester and his wife's hometown....
Heiress concerned Edwards used her for her money
2012-05-04 19:21:32 UTC
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The 101-year-old heiress whose money helped hide John Edwards' pregnant mistress said the presidential candidate should have used his own money for the cover up, her friend testified Friday.
Interior designer Bryan Huffman was asked on the witness stand Friday how Rachel "Bunny" Mellon reacted after learning what became of some of the $725,000 in secret checks she had funneled to a fundraiser for Edwards' 2008 campaign.
Huffman, 48, said that Mellon was not one to judge someone for having an extramarital affair. Her relationship with her first husband overlapped with that of her second.
But, Huffman said, M...
Ex-media mogul Conrad Black back in Canada
2012-05-04 18:46:32 UTC
MIAMI (AP) — Former media mogul Conrad Black arrived back in Canada on Friday, hours after he was deported from the United States following his release from prison after serving about three years for defrauding investors.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias said Black was back in his home country but didn't release which city. The announcement came hours after Black was released from a federal prison in Miami.
Black, whose empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and small papers across the U.S. and Canada, had returned to prison last September to finish s...
3 convicted, 6 acquitted in sex trafficking case
2012-05-04 18:39:46 UTC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee federal jury split its verdict Friday against nine people accused of operating a sex trafficking ring run mostly by Somali refugee gang members, convicting three men and acquitting six.
The defendants are among a total of 30 who were indicted in the case that spans from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee. The jury of six men and six women deliberated over five days this week before returning the verdict.
After the verdict was read, Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent said outside the federal courthouse in Nashville said the verdict shows that the jury found that sex trafficking did occur and the gover...
9/11 families prepare for Guantanamo arraignment
2012-05-04 06:11:29 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — It has been a year of milestones for the families of those killed on Sept. 11, with the death of Osama Bin Laden followed by the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Now another painful chapter is set to begin: the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11.
Victims' relatives will gather at military bases along the East Coast on Saturday to watch on closed-circuit TV as Mohammed and four co-defendants are arraigned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they will eventually be tried in front of a U.S. military tribunal. The trial is probably at least a year away.
For some, the arraign...
Police believe Neo-Nazi killed 4, himself in Ariz.
2012-05-03 20:09:07 UTC
GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) — Police said Thursday that they believe a former Marine with ties to neo-Nazi and Minutemen groups shot four people and then took his own life in a suburban Phoenix home.
Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Bill Balafas said that police believe Jason Todd Ready, 39, was the gunman in Wednesday's shootings in a home in Gilbert.
Ready lived in the home with a woman who was among the dead. In addition to Ready's girlfriend, the dead include the woman's daughter and granddaughter and the daughter's boyfriend, according to media reports.
Ready was known in Arizona for organizing a militia with the goal of finding illegal...
Prosecutors opt for hazing charges in FAMU case
2012-05-03 19:17:10 UTC
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There was no single blow, stomp or strike to Robert Champion's bruised and battered body that killed him as he was pummeled by fellow Florida A&M University marching band members during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus last fall.
Instead, his death was caused by multiple blows from many individuals. That inability to pinpoint which blow ultimately caused the 26-year-old drum major's death led authorities to charge 13 defendants Wednesday with hazing rather than more serious counts like manslaughter or second-degree murder.
"His death is not linked to one sole strike but it is attributed to multiple blows," sa...
Medicare disruptions seen if health law is struck
2012-05-03 19:02:51 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare's payment system, the unseen but vital network that handles 100 million monthly claims, could freeze up if President Barack Obama's health care law is summarily overturned, the administration has quietly informed the courts.
Although Obama's overhaul made significant cuts to providers and improved prescription and preventive benefits, Medicare was overlooked in Supreme Court arguments that focused on the law's controversial requirement that individuals carry health insurance.
Yet havoc for Medicare could have repercussions as both parties avidly court seniors in this election year and as hospitals and docto...
Grand jury transcript details CA salon rampage
2012-05-03 18:43:27 UTC
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A hairstylist says he hid in the bathroom of a California salon after a co-worker's ex-husband walked in and started shooting as people screamed and one begged for her life.
Stylist Gordon Gallego says in a grand jury transcript unsealed Thursday that Scott Dekraai walked over to Dekraai's ex-wife Michelle Fournier and blurted out something akin to "this is what you wanted" before shooting.
Gallego told the grand jury he heard another co-worker beg for her life while he was hiding in the bathroom.
The transcript is from January proceedings during which Dekraai was indicted on eight counts of murder and one...
Discharged outspoken Marine works last day
2012-05-03 18:38:03 UTC
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The last day of military service has arrived for a Marine Corps sergeant discharged for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook.
Sgt. Gary Stein says Thursday is his last day on the job for the Marine Corps.
The military decided to kick out Stein for criticizing Obama on Facebook in a case that called into question the Pentagon's policies about social media and its limits on the speech of active-duty military personnel.
Stein will get an other-than-honorable discharge and lose most of his benefits for violating the policies.
The San Diego-area Marine has served nine years in the Corps. He has argued that...