BERLIN (AP) — German officials say stolen cars from Germany may have ended up with people close to the family of Tajikistan's president.
Berlin regional justice minister Thomas Heilmann's office confirmed a report Thursday by daily Bild that he alerted the Foreign Ministry to the issue in May after Tajikistan ignored requests for legal assistance.
Heilmann wrote that some cars are in the hands of "people with business and family ties to the Tajik president's family."
Germany's Foreign Ministry said there had been talks with Tajikistan on fighting organized crime, but wouldn't confirm Bild's report that the Tajik ambassador was summoned.
The Tajik Embassy in Berlin denied in a statement that the presidential family drove any vehicles stolen in Germany, but said the Central Asian nation would cooperate with the German authorities' investigation.News Topics: General news, Government and politics, International relations, Theft, Crime
People, Places and Companies: Berlin, Germany, Tajikistan, Western Europe, Europe, Central Asia, Asia
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The O Globo newspaper says police have identified the officer who allegedly opened fire and killed an 81-year-old man during a demonstration in a Rio de Janeiro slum.
The newspaper says the incident occurred Wednesday night at Manguinhos shantytown when residents hurled rocks at police to protest the arrest of a man on suspicion trafficking marijuana.
O Globo says police tried to control the crowd with pepper spray and after a few minutes shots were fired. Jose Joaquim Santana, who was watching the protest from his house was killed by a stray bullet that entered his brain.
Repeated phone calls to the Rio de Janeiro police department for comment went unanswered on Thursday.News Topics: General news, Homicide, Police, Shootings, Violent crime, Crime, Law enforcement agencies, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, South America, Latin America and Caribbean
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania's president says she won't attend the Sochi Olympics because of Russia's human rights record and its "attitude" toward neighboring countries, including Lithuania.
Russia halted all dairy imports from Lithuania earlier this year, citing food safety standards. Lithuania said the move was retaliation for its efforts to get Ukraine to sign a partnership agreement with the European Union, which Russia opposes.
In a webcast news conference from Brussels on Thursday, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said she saw "no political possibility" to visit the Sochi Games because of Russia's "human rights violations as well as the attitude toward Eastern partners and economic sanctions against Lithuania."
The presidents of the U.S., France and Germany have also decided not to attend the Olympics in February.News Topics: General news, Government and politics, Sports, 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Olympic games, Winter Olympic games, Events
People, Places and Companies: Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania, Sochi, Russia, Eastern Europe, Europe
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's government is fining U.S.-based Drummond Co. almost $3.6 million for dumping tons of coal into the ocean at a Caribbean port.
Environment Minister Luz Helena Sarmiento said in a news conference Thursday that the Alabama-based company must also clean up the beach near the resort city of Santa Marta where the spill took place almost a year ago amid rough weather.
Drummond is Colombia's second-biggest coal exporter. It didn't immediately comment on the decision.News Topics: Business, General news
People, Places and Companies: Colombia, South America, Latin America and Caribbean
BERLIN (AP) — Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will represent Germany at the Sochi Winter Olympics in February.
The ministry told The Associated Press that de Maiziere will "attend some competitions" and "support German athletes" and that the precise schedule of the trip will be decided in January.
Spokesman Philipp Spauschus could not say if de Maiziere would attend the opening ceremony or would travel to the games later.
De Maiziere's ministry is also responsible for sports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has never attended such a ceremony in eight years in office.
Germany's President Joachim Gauck said earlier this month that he would not travel to Russia.
World leaders have been critical of Russia's human-rights record and many countries are sending low-key delegations to Sochi.News Topics: Sports, 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Winter Olympic games, Olympic games, Events
People, Places and Companies: Thomas De Maiziere, Angela Merkel, Joachim Gauck, Germany, Sochi, Western Europe, Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Poor visibility caused by a combination of heavy fog and air pollution has forced authorities to close Macedonia's main airport, canceling about 30 flights so far.
Officials said Thursday flights heading for Alexander the Great Airport, near the capital Skopje, are being redirected to Ohrid Airport in southwestern Macedonia, the Bulgarian capital Sofia or the Serbian capital Belgrade. There is no indication when it will reopen.
For more than a week, Skopje and three other Macedonian cities have been stifled by air pollution caused mainly by traffic and wood- and oil-burning heating systems in freezing temperatures.
The government imposed emergency measures Tuesday to protect the population, instructing private companies and state institutions in the four cities to let pregnant woman and employees over the age of 60 stay at home.News Topics: General news, Air travel disruptions, Air pollution, Air quality, Environmental concerns, Transportation, Environment, Environment and nature, Pollution
People, Places and Companies: Macedonia, Skopje, Eastern Europe, Europe
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's foreign minister says the Brazilian government is eager to hear from the U.S. government about proposed changes to U.S. surveillance programs.
Luiz Figueiredo said Thursday that Brazil is "following with interest" the action in the U.S. over the National Security Agency's espionage program, of which Brazil and its president were targets.
On Wednesday, a panel recommended to President Barack Obama that sweeping changes be made in how the NSA carries out espionage.
One of the proposals is that any surveillance of foreign leaders be subject to the scrutiny of the U.S. president before it happens.
News accounts in Brazil based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden detailed how the NSA monitored the cellphone of Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff. She responded by canceling a planned state visit to the U.S.News Topics: General news, Intelligence agencies, National security, Government and politics, Military and defense
People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, Edward Snowden, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil, United States, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, North America
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has fined the Greece Football Federation 100,000 Swiss francs ($111,500) for offensive behavior by fans at a World Cup playoff victory against Romania.
FIFA says Greek fans at the Nov. 15 match in Athens breached disciplinary rules, including one relating to "contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions."
Fans' monitoring group Fare previously sent reports to FIFA of "Nazi salutes performed by Greek fans during Greece's national anthem."
Greece won the first-leg match 3-1 and completed a 4-2 aggregate win to advance to the World Cup in Brazil.
FIFA says it fined the Romanian Federation 50,000 Swiss francs ($55,750) for improper conduct by fans at the same match.News Topics: Sports, FIFA World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, International soccer, Professional soccer, Nazism, Soccer, Events, Men's sports, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Greece, Switzerland, Romania, Western Europe, Europe, Eastern Europe
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece hasn't seen many demonstrations in favor of privatization during its acute four-year financial crisis, but jockeys are keen to be rid of a state-run agency that controls racetrack betting, and they rode their horses into central Athens to make their point.
Jockeys, as well as racecourse officials, are angry at the lack of progress in Greece's privatization program, and warn that the industry could suffer a major setback if a late January deadline expires without the sale of the Horse Race Betting Organization, ODIE.
The government has so far failed to pass legislation required for the privatization deal. Without it, the agency faces closure to the potential ruin of a racetrack outside Athens.News Topics: General news, Sports, Financial crisis, Privatizations, Sports betting, Economy, Business, Financial markets, Ownership changes, Corporate news, Sports business
People, Places and Companies: Greece, Athens, Western Europe, Europe
LONDON (AP) — Singing star Adele has been honored at Buckingham Palace, being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles.
The 25-year-old with the soulful voice has become a worldwide star since her debut album topped the charts in 2008.
Last year she performed the title song in the latest James Bond film, "Skyfall." She received an Academy Award for that effort.
Adele has recovered from throat problems that jeopardized her singing voice two years ago. She won a record six Grammy awards last year.News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Music, Entertainment
People, Places and Companies: Prince Charles, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe
NEW YORK (AP) — You know Harry Shearer from "The Simpsons," voicing Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy and so many of its other cartoon characters.
You know Shearer as mutton-chopped bassist Derek Smalls from the 1984 musical spoof "This Is Spinal Tap" and the real-life band this classic "mockumentary" inspired.
But through his decades of memorable projects, Shearer week in and week out has kept one open-ended side gig: his artisanal radio program, "Le Show."
Shearer this month marks his 30th anniversary as producer, host, writer, aggregator, music director and one-man repertory company of "Le Show," which (available on some 100 U.S. radio stations and other global outlets, as well as on podcast at iTunes and on his website) likely represents a marathon run unmatched in the annals of broadcasting — with no end in sight.
Shearer's view of the world is often arch and sometimes acid, flavoring this stew of topical humor, news items, satirical sketches and blistering commentary.
Among the program's many regular segments are "Apologies of the Week," a digest of stilted statements of contrition issued by fumbling corporations and public figures; "News of the Warm," which tracks the impending environmental Armageddon; and jaundiced updates on the latest Olympics, which he dubs "a movement — and we ALL need one, EVERY day!"
It all adds up to a bravura solo act by Shearer, who compiles and writes "Le Show" (plus pre-taping its elaborate, multicharacter sketches, often with original songs) before reporting for duty each Sunday at 10 a.m., Los Angeles time, to broadcast live on his flagship station, KCSN-FM, from wherever in the U.S. or the world his other ventures may have taken him.
"It's a weekly thundercloud that moves over my life around Thursday afternoon, generating heavy downpours of what-the-hell-am-I-gonna-do-now?" says Shearer over hot tea and honey (gotta pamper that golden throat!) at a New York hotel recently. He's here on a stopover for his annual "Holiday Sing-Along" tour with Judith Owen, his singer-songwriter wife, and, indeed, as he speaks, it's Friday afternoon — and raining. Just two days from now, from a studio somewhere in Manhattan, he'll be hosting this week's yet-to-be-compiled "Le Show."
One more thing about this weekly grind: Shearer gets bupkus, zilch, squat for his labors.
When he launched his show in December 1983 on another L.A. public-radio station, he reasoned that if no money changed hands, no one could tell him what to do.
"The show has stayed free in both senses of the word," he says. "That's the only way you can do it for 30 years — without meetings and memos — if you have other things to do in your life."
That's the way it all started, and, with few breaks or repeats, he has never stopped.
"It's an act of insensate stubbornness on my part," says Shearer, a compact man with dulcet voice and soulful eyes who, somewhat implausibly, considering his puckish streak, turns 70 this month (Dec. 23).
"But I get really remarkable feedback from listeners," he adds, "and as time goes on and things in the world get weirder, I think the intensity of the appreciation increases."
No wonder. Coming from a man who claims to have "an outsider's view with an insider's knowledge," the program plays like a wry reality check from beyond the orbit of the media-industrial complex — not to mention many of its putative satirists.
"To make fun of this stuff you have to think it's serious and important, at some level," says Shearer, who dismisses much of present-day public affairs, particularly in the political realm, as "like pro wrestling: Guys go out and threaten each other, then go in the backroom and take their paychecks, while the media love covering their fight.
"You heard very little on 'Le Show' about the government shutdown, or the budget crisis before that," he points out. "It's way too much Kabuki for me."
But if pro forma Beltway squabbling leaves him cold, the post-Katrina woes of New Orleans (where he has a home) have kept him fired up about government failings after much of the pundocracy moved on.
And what he calls "the grand, grotesque joke of our longest war" continues to provide him rich material. On "Karzai Talk," Shearer's lampoon of NPR's "Car Talk" supposedly heard on Afghanistan Public Radio, he voices both President Hamid Karzai and one of Karzai's brothers, as well as various beleaguered U.S. leaders who phone in.
"The day I slapped my forehead and said, 'Karzai Talk!' was one of the happiest days of my life," he says. "Until then, I didn't have a framework to go after this stuff as much as I want to."
"Le Show" may be a weekly culture cleanse of the world in disarray, but at its heart, it's irreverent comedy: A self-styled showcase for a man who long ago eschewed stand-up but wanted a way "to have direct contact with the audience, and to force myself to write, on a regular basis — and to go back to something I really knew and loved."
By that, he means radio. It was on radio that Shearer began his show-biz career, at age 7, on Jack Benny's weekly program.
Then, after graduation from UCLA as a political science major, and short stints working in the California legislature and as a high school English teacher, he joined The Credibility Gap, a radio comedy group in L.A.
His hopes that the group might gain a national profile went unrealized, but the job teamed him up with Michael McKean, a future cast mate of "Spinal Tap" and other parodies like "A Mighty Wind" and "For Your Consideration."
Along the way, Shearer had two painfully brief stays in the ensemble of "Saturday Night Live," leaving with relief both times. He has appeared in a number of films, released comedy albums, written books and directed "The Big Uneasy," his 2010 expose on the disaster that befell New Orleans.
A current pet project: "Nixon's the One," in which he impersonates President Richard Nixon voicing dialogue secretly recorded in the White House by Nixon with his aides and confidantes. The series was produced and aired in England. Shearer hopes now to land it on a U.S. outlet.
But thanks to "The Simpsons," which began on Fox way back in 1989, he doesn't count on piecework to make ends meet.
"Anything I do since that job came into my life is purely for creative fulfillment," he declares. And that clearly includes "Le Show," even as, at 30-years-and-counting, it begs the question: Why does Shearer keep insisting "Le Show" must go on?
"I can't not," he replies with a laugh. "I usually have something to say every week, an idea I want to get out. I keep doing the show for me — the listener in me."
People, Places and Companies: Harry Shearer, Judith Owen, Hamid Karzai, Jack Benny, Michael McKean, Richard Nixon, United States, Afghanistan, Los Angeles, North America, Central Asia, Asia, California
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two U.S. officials have announced plans to introduce legislation requiring smartphones to have a "kill switch" that would render stolen or lost devices inoperable.
California State Sen. Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Thursday that the bill they believe will be the first of its kind in the United States will be formally introduced in January.
U.S. law enforcement officials have been demanding that manufacturers create kill switches to combat surging smartphone theft across the country.
"One of the top catalysts for street crime in many California cities is smartphone theft, and these crimes are becoming increasingly violent," Leno said. "We cannot continue to ignore our ability to utilize existing technology to stop cellphone thieves in their tracks..."
Almost 1 in 3 U.S. robberies involve phone theft, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Lost and stolen mobile devices — mostly smartphones — cost consumers more than $30 billion last year, according to a study.
In San Francisco alone, more than 50 percent of all robberies involve the theft of a mobile device, the San Francisco District Attorney's office said.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, earlier this year proposed installing a kill switch in its devices. But the company told Gascon's office the biggest U.S. carriers rejected the idea.
The CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group for wireless providers, says a permanent kill switch has serious risks, including potential vulnerability to hackers who could disable mobile devices and lock out not only individuals' phones but also phones used by entities such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies.News Topics: Business, Smartphones, New products and services, Mobile telecommunications services, Legislation, Mobile phones, Consumer electronics, Technology, Products and services, Corporate news, Telecommunications services, Telecommunications, Industries, Legislature, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Mark Leno, San Francisco, United States, California, North America
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's navy has filed defamation charges against a news website that published stories alleging Thai military involvement in the trafficking of ethnic Rohingya boatpeople.
The English-language Phuket Wan site this past July posted a story carrying excerpts from a report by the Reuters news agency alleging that members of the Thai military were involved in trafficking captured Rohingya illegal immigrants.
Alan Morison, Phuket Wan's editor, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he had been summoned along with one of his Thai reporters to a police station in Phuket to formally acknowledge the charges.
The lawsuit filed by a Thai naval officer charges that the website violated Thailand's 2007 Computer Crime Act, which bars the circulation of material deemed detrimental to national security or that causes panic.News Topics: General news, Online news media, Political refugees, Online media, Media, News media, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs
People, Places and Companies: Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia
BRUSSELS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says the creation of a new institution to handle troubled banks will spare taxpayers from having to pay for further bank bailouts.
Hollande said Thursday ahead of a summit of the European Union's 28 leaders that the agreement on how to set up and fund a centralized European agency to unwind, or prop up, ailing banks helps stabilize the financial system and prevent further financial crises.
On Wednesday, following months of haggling, finance ministers agreed to the final elements of the creation of a banking union for the 17 EU countries that use the euro.
It follows a deal earlier this year to create a joint supervisor to police the health of the eurozone's biggest banks.News Topics: Business, General news, Financial crisis, Government aid for industry, Labor negotiations, Economy, Financial markets, Economic policy, Government business and finance, Government and politics, Government policy, Personnel
People, Places and Companies: Francois Hollande, Europe
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck and a dozen of his fellow owners in the NBA team have invested $21 million into the Formula E electric car racing circuit.
The series featuring Formula One-style electric cars has already attracted celebrities with environmental interests such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson.
Grousbeck told The Associated Press shortly before the deal closed this week that the group will call on its "deep network of NBA and NFL owners" to help the sport succeed in the United States.
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says the race cars could lead to technology that will eventually show up in street-ready electric cars.
Forumla E is scheduled to debut in Beijing in September in a 10-race championship.News Topics: Sports, Automotive technology, Electric vehicles, NBA basketball, Automobile racing, Industrial technology, Technology, Green vehicle technology, Green technology, Environment, Environment and nature, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's basketball, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Leonardo Dicaprio, Richard Branson
LONDON (AP) — The head of Britain's anti-doping agency will lead the World Ant-Doping Agency's independent observer program at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
UK Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Andy Parkinson will head the eight-member team that will monitor drug-testing at the Sochi Games, which run from Feb. 7-23.
Drug-testing at the games is run by the International Olympic Committee.
WADA observers are assigned to monitor the testing "in a neutral and unbiased manner."
The observer program has been run at every games since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The WADA team publishes a report on its findings after the games and proposes any changes for improvement.
The IOC plans to conduct a Winter Games record of 2,453 tests in Sochi.News Topics: Sports, Doping, 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Winter Olympic games, Olympic games, Summer Olympic games, Events
People, Places and Companies: United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe
You look at them, and somehow it's not how they're supposed to look: Lucy and Ricky, Fred and Ethel, moving around familiar sets doing their familiar "I Love Lucy" thing. And yet . they seem more substantial, more real. Because this time, they are rendered in color.
Fred looks stylish in light-brown tweed. Ethel is resplendent in a purple Christmas dress. The furniture and carpeting in the Ricardos' apartment is not gray and grayer but blue and subtly mauve. And Lucy — well, Lucy is her usual ball of chaos, with one key difference: Her red hair, implied over and over during the show's 1951-57 run, is inevitably, assertively, undeniably, out-of-a-bottle red.
With the "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (8 p.m. ET Friday), CBS ventures into the world of colorizing two vintage episodes of an Eisenhower-era TV show that, perhaps more than any other from that period, sent a message down through the years of what life in the 1950s (or, at least, the sitcom version) might have looked like. The episodes, CBS says, "were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed."
Which, of course, raises the questions that tend to come about when technology allows us to inject color into the once black-and-white mists of our cultural history: Does it make things better? And should we?
Colorization of one sort or another has been around since the earliest photography and the earliest movies, but never has it been so sophisticated. Today, through digital algorithms, chunks of yesterday's monochromatic pop culture are presented in entirely new ways to both fanfare and scorn.
Inevitably, that does two things to the imagery: It looks more vibrant, and it takes a step away from the original.
"In colorizing the 'I Love Lucys,' there's an effort to kind of recreate this bright, brilliant, tail-finned polychrome world of the 1950s which existed in part but is kind of romanticized in memory," says Regina Lee Blaszczyk, author of "The Color Revolution," a look at how color was marketed to Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries.
"We're trying to re-create this visual culture that never really existed," she says.
All kinds of things that never really existed have entered the realm of the visual in these recent years of technological fast-forward. We exist today in an era when old images can become new images, and vice versa.
For each colorized old photograph of an early 20th-century Russian or dust-bowl worker that goes viral on the Internet and makes the past look more like right now, there are thousands of digitally faded, scratch-filtered images on photo-sharing services like Instagram that make right now look exactly like the past. Figuring it all out — developing a visual literacy for a culture of digital manipulation — can boggle the mind.
Dana Keller, a colorizer who specializes in historical photos, adds hues to images of Lincoln, Amelia Earhart and the Hindenburg crash, among others. The results are compelling. His colorization forces us to think of the subjects as more tangible and, somehow, less distant.
"When it's in color, it's easier to say, 'Oh those are real people. They're living lives like I am,'" Keller says. "It's an opportunity for other people to see it in a new way and feel a bit closer to it. It's just adding onto it, not replacing it."
Indeed, if you grew up watching "I Love Lucy" during its original run or in perpetual UHF and basic-cable reruns through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, watching the two colorized "Lucy" episodes is a singular experience. It's the TV equivalent of adjusting your eyes to Oz after Dorothy lands there from Kansas.
Unexpected things "pop" and catch the eye. Ricky's striped tie, with its bursts of red, makes him even more the dandy. The colored furniture reminds you of something that could be in your own house, not in a TV studio on some distant planet called the past. And when Lucy stomps grapes in a vineyard in the classic episode "Lucy's Italian Movie," the juxtaposition of the purple mash with her red hair makes her character seem even zanier than she already was.
The late movie critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel didn't like colorization. In a 1986 show about it called "Hollywood's New Vandalism," they lamented deals that colorized such classics as "It's a Wonderful Life," ''High Sierra" and "The Maltese Falcon" over the objections of the Directors Guild of America.
"The colorizers seem to feel that there's something missing from a black-and-white film, as if the film were somehow handicapped by not being in color," Ebert said.
That controversy has ebbed in an era when colorization can be achieved at your desk — indeed, on your iPad. Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, allows that she is enthusiastic about the episodes' colorization — to a point.
"If there's a whole generation of people that will be more prone to tune into it to find out about it, and the younger generation, if it turns them on to see it in color, that's great," Arnaz said in an interview this week.
But, she adds, "There's something about it that's classic when it's black and white. And I don't know they can get it exactly right when they colorize. Do they know, exactly, what the shirt looked like, or are they guessing?"
Beyond any moral or quality issues, though, there is this: On a big-screen, high-definition TV, awash in a landscape of color, the fabled and fictional Lucy Ricardo has never looked more alive.
"Boy, when it comes to soaking up local color, you don't mess around," Fred Mertz quips after she returns from the vineyard covered head to toe in grape mash.
For the first time, you can see that he's right. Lucy's hair is red. Her grape-saturated clothes are deep purple. And TV's fanciful sitcom past — a past once constrained to using shades of gray to capture a multi-hued world — is, thanks to technology, suddenly as vibrant as we can possibly make it. For better or — and possibly and — worse.
EDITOR'S NOTE — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report. Ted Anthony writes about American culture for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonytedNews Topics: Arts and entertainment, Television programs, Entertainment, Sitcoms
People, Places and Companies: Roger Ebert, Lucie Arnaz, Lucille Ball
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Human Rights Watch researcher says a judge in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a prominent Shiite political activist to 13 years in prison and a 15-year travel ban.
Adam Coogle told The Associated Press that Adel al-Labbad was convicted Thursday. Coogle says activists in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, including relatives and people close to the case, confirmed the sentence.
State media did not report the sentence, nor has the judgment been published.
Al-Labbad faced five charges, including disobedience to the ruler, disturbing public order and joining a terrorist group.
Coogle says the charge that al-Labbad is a member of the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain dates back to the 1980s before he and others struck an amnesty deal with the late Saudi King Fahd in 1993.News Topics: General news, Political activism, Travel laws and regulations, Sentencing, Political issues, Government and politics, Government regulations, Legal proceedings, Law and order
People, Places and Companies: Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Middle East, United Arab Emirates
Here's a look at how AP's general news coverage is shaping up today. Some plans are subject to change.
Among today's coverage highlights as we see them at 1545 GMT:
-- TARGET-DATA BREACH (sent, developing)
-- NSA SURVEILLANCE (upcoming)
-- RUSSIA-PUTIN (sent, developing)
-- SYRIA (sent, developing)
-- EGYPT-MUSLIM SISTERHOOD (sent)
-- BERNANKE FINAL PERFORMANCE (sent)
-- CHINA-MICROFILMS (sent)
--FAKE GIFTS (upcoming)
PHOTOS: GREECE-OLIVE OIL-PHOTO ESSAY (sent); INDIA-WIDOWS-PHOTO ESSAY (sent)
VIDEO: NKOREA-RODMAN (sent, with text)
Here are details of those stories, plus others we have in the works for today and notable pieces that we sent in the past 10 hours:
SYRIA - A U.N. panel probing war crimes in Syria says people around the country are systematically vanishing without a trace as part of a widespread campaign of terror against civilians. SENT: 750 words, photo.
EGYPT-MUSLIM SISTERHOOD - Women supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have stepped into the front line of Islamist protests, one of the few branches of the organization not crushed by a heavy crackdown since Morsi's removal in a July coup. SENT: 1,260 words, photos.
AFGHANISTAN-SUPPLY LINES - U.S. officials, frustrated that military shipments out of Afghanistan are being stopped on the land route through Pakistan because of anti-American protests, face the possibility of flying out equipment at an additional cost of $1 billion. SENT: 1,120 words, photos.
EGYPT - An Egyptian court has acquitted former leader Mubarak's two sons and his last prime minister of corruption charges. SENT: 900 words, photos.
RUSSIA-PUTIN - In a surprise decision, Putin says he will pardon jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky after more than a decade in prison. SENT: 950 words, photos.
INDIA-US-DIPLOMAT ARREST - India's foreign minister demands the U.S. drop the case against a diplomat who was arrested and strip searched in New York City, saying she was the victim of a blackmail attempt by her housekeeper. SENT: 900 words, photos.
UKRAINE - Ukraine's president suggests Western governments should not interfere in the country's internal affairs, as he appeared to tilt further toward Russia after it offered his economically struggling country a $15-billion bailout. SENT: 750 words, photos.
BRITAIN-SOLDIER KILLED - A jury has convicted two British men who considered themselves "soldiers of Allah" of murdering a serviceman who was run down with a car and stabbed to death in a frenzied attack on a London street. SENT: 690 words, photos.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC-US - The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has arrived in the Central African Republic in the highest profile American effort to quell the cycle of violence in this impoverished country that has claimed hundreds of lives and displaced 10 percent of the population. SENT: 530 words, photos.
INDIA-WIDOWS-PHOTO ESSAY - The Himalayan hamlet known as the Village of Widows waits for aid 6 months after massive floods in India pilgrimage area. SENT: 500 words, photos.
CHINA-MICROFILMS - Microfilms in China are providing a new creative outlet, as well as a low-budget way to make money. SENT: 920 words, photos. UPCOMING: Video.
JORDAN-ANIMAL ABUSE - Animal abuse remains widespread in Jordan, as puppy mills rampant and stolen pets freely sold. SENT: 650 words, photos.
GREECE-OLIVE OIL-PHOTO ESSAY - Greece's olive oil industry could be the latest victim of the country's grueling financial crisis. SENT: 170 words, photos.
RODMAN-NKOREA - Rodman is flying to North Korea to help train the national team and renew his friendship with the North's young leader Kim Jong Un, a visit unaffected by the recent execution of Kim's uncle in a dramatic political purge. SENT: 550 words, photos, video.
VATICAN-SELF-IMMOLATION - A man has doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. SENT: 140 words.
INDIA-CHRISTIE'S - Christie's is holding its first art auction in India, aiming to tap into a budding market for prestige purchasing among the country's fast-growing ranks of millionaires despite an economic slowdown. SENT: 800 words, photos.
CHINA-FOREIGN REPORTERS - Beijing has issued press credentials to financial news agency Bloomberg's China-based reporters after a tense delay seen as retaliation for the company's hard-hitting reports on the country's leaders. SENT: 280 words.
CHINA-VIOLENT CARTOON - A Chinese court has ruled that the producer of a hit kids cartoon was partly to blame for the injuries suffered by two children when their friend tried to imitate a scene from the show, state media reported. SENT: 460 words.
TURKEY-CORRUPTION PROBE - Istanbul's most senior police official has been dismissed, days after police launched raids that detained dozens of people. SENT: 320 words, photo.
SOUTH SUDAN-VIOLENCE - Amid defections from South Sudan's military along tribal lines, officials said the government no longer controls the capital of an oil-producing state. SENT: 500 words, photos.
BRITAIN-ASTRAZENECA - Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC will buy out Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s stake in their partnership to develop and sell diabetes drugs in a deal worth $4.1 billion. SENT: 400 words.
PARALYMPICS-MILLS - The former wife of Beatles star Paul McCartney has been accused of lunging at a Paralympic official in a fit of rage and screaming insults after being forced to abandon her attempt to qualify for the British skiing team for next year's games. SENT: 640 words, photo.
NSA SURVEILLANCE — Obama faces increased political pressure to scale back the nation's surveillance now that a panel he appointed has recommended sweeping changes. But he's under no obligation to accept the recommendations. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 2230 GMT.
BAUCUS-SENATE CONTROL — The expected departure of Democratic Sen. Baucus,, who is likely to be nominated as ambassador to China, could give his party an edge in holding onto the seat, a key battleground in the struggle for control of the Senate. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 2300 GMT.
OBAMA-NSA SURVEILLANCE - If Obama follows even half the recommendations urged by his advisory panel, the National Security Agency would significantly change the way it does business. SENT: 881 words, photo.
— OBAMA-NSA SURVEILLANCE-RECOMMENDATIONS - Five major NSA spying task force recommendations. SENT: 180 words.
WASHINGTON - With immigration legislation stalled in Congress, Hispanics and Asian-Americans say getting relief from deportations is more important for many of the 11 million immigrants here illegally than creating a pathway to U.S. citizenship, a study finds. SENT: 710 words, photo.
TARGET-DATA BREACH - Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. SENT: 670 words.
OBIT-GOLDSTEIN - Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw magazine who helped break down legal barriers against pornography and raged against politicians, organized religion and anything that even suggested good taste. SENT: 840 words, photos.
THE LAST WOLVES - As wolves die out on remote national park in Michigan, a debate is brewing over whether to intervene. Upcoming: 700 words, photos.
BLIND MAN-SUBWAY FALL - Officials say enough donations have been raised to allow a blind man to keep the aging guide dog that jumped onto New York City subway tracks after the man lost consciousness and fell from a station platform. SENT: 430 words, photos, video, audio.
OBIT-PATTY HEARST'S HUSBAND - Bernard L. Shaw, who was Patty Hearst Shaw's husband and Hearst Corp.'s vice president for corporate security, has died. SENT: 150 words.
DIGITS - With legal sales of marijuana in Colorado just two weeks away, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds public opposition to legalization declining. SENT: 640 words, photo.
EXECUTIONS DECLINE - Thirty-nine people executed this year in the US, a 10 percent drop from 2012. SENT: 450 words, interactive.
POLL-IMMIGRATION - Poll finds relief from deportations more important to Hispanics, Asian-Americans than citizenship. SENT: 720 words.
GAY MARRIAGE-METHODISTS - Church officials have defrocked a United Methodist pastor from who officiated his son's gay wedding in Massachusetts. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Updates from 1900 GMT news conference, then 400 words by 2030 GMT.
EUROPE-STAR SURVEY - The European Space Agency has launched its star-surveying satellite Gaia into space, hoping to produce the most accurate three-dimensional map of the Milky Way and to better understand the evolution of our galaxy. SENT: 670 words, photos.
DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-STREAMING VIDEO GIFT GUIDE - Streaming video devices such as Apple TV and Google's Chromecast project video from Netflix and other services onto the big-screen TV, making the computer seems inadequate. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 1700 GMT.
FAKE GIFTS - Not long ago, finding a knockoff of an item you really wanted under the tree was a big disappointment. This year, it's all the rage. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 1700 GMT.
BERNANKE FINAL PERFORMANCE - In his final performance, Bernanke showed something he'd learned from leading the Fed and addressing the public for eight years: Bad news goes down best when stirred with good news. By Josh Boak. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS - The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 379,000, the highest since March. SENT: 350 words, photo.
HOME SALES -The number of people who bought existing U.S. homes in November declined for the third straight month. SENT: 130 words.
LEADING INDICATORS- The private Conference Board issues its November index of leading indicators. SENT: 89 words.
WALKING DEAD-LAWSUIT - The creator of "The Walking Dead" is suing AMC over what he claims is an effort to deny him tens of millions of dollars in profit from the hit drama. SENT: 360 words, photos.
DUCK DYNASTY - "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers, the network says. SENT: 510 words, photo.News Topics: General news, Hispanics, Protests and demonstrations, Public opinion, Domestic spying, Spices and condiments manufacturing, Financial crisis, Government and politics, Government surveillance, Legislature, Crime, War and unrest, Intelligence agencies, National security, Immigration, International relations, Political and civil unrest, Social affairs, Political issues, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, Food manufacturing, Food, beverage and tobacco products manufacturing, Consumer product manufacturing, Consumer products and services, Industries, Business, Economy, Financial markets, Military and defense
People, Places and Companies: Astrazeneca Plc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il, Paul McCartney, Al Goldstein, Patricia Hearst, China, India, Egypt, United Kingdom, South Sudan, Vatican City, United States, Syria, Russia, Central African Republic, Jordan, Greece, Middle East, New York City, Greater China, East Asia, Asia, South Asia, North Africa, Africa, Western Europe, Europe, North America, Eastern Europe, Central Africa, New York
MADRID (AP) — Spain's data protection agency says it has fined search engine giant Google 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) for three serious breaches of the country's laws.
The agency says in a statement that it was imposing a fine of 300,000 euros for each breach, and requesting that Google comply with the law without delay.
Thursday's statement says Google collects and processes personal information illegally, that it combines personal information for purposes that are "not determined clearly" and that personal data is stored and maintained "for indeterminate periods of time."
Data watchdogs in France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain have said Google needs to provide additional guarantees to comply with national privacy protection rules in each of those countries.
Marisa Toro, Google's spokesperson in Spain, said the company was studying the statement.News Topics: Business, General news, Technology law and ethics, Search technology, Computer and data security, Technology issues, Technology, Software, Computing and information technology
People, Places and Companies: Spain, Western Europe, Europe