LOS ANGELES (AP) — The producers behind the last two Oscar telecasts are coming back for a third time.
The film academy announced Monday that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the 87th annual Academy Awards. The two were responsible for the 2013 show hosted by Seth MacFarlane and this year's telecast starring Ellen DeGeneres.
Film academy chief Dawn Hudson said the two men "are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist." This year's show set social media records when DeGeneres' star-studded selfie became the most re-tweeted image ever.
Meron said on Twitter Monday that it's "a great honor" to produce the Oscar show again.
The 87th Oscars will be held Feb. 22, 2015 at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.News Topics: Movie awards, Movies, Entertainment, Arts and entertainment, General news, Celebrity, Academy Awards, Award shows, Events
People, Places and Companies: Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Seth MacFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole says the U.S. should send weapons, including tanks, to Ukraine to help it resist Russia's moves on its territory and to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a strong message.
The 90-year-old Republican Party icon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader said Putin considers Democratic President Barack Obama to be a weak leader.
Dole made his comments during a reception at the local GOP headquarters in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, the first of 10 homecoming appearances in his native state over the next three days. He discussed Ukraine at the prompting of Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
Dole said that he'd not only send tanks and other weapons to Ukraine but put a missile defense system in Poland.News Topics: General news, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Bob Dole, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Samuel Brownback, Ukraine, Kansas, United States, Russia, Eastern Europe, Europe, North America
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
NEW YORK (AP) — Olympic skier Bode Miller and former Marine Sara McKenna have reached a temporary truce in their New York custody fight over their 14-month-old son.
McKenna and the Sochi bronze medalist will share time with the toddler over the next four months.
Monday's agreement came shortly before both parents were to testify at a Manhattan Family Court hearing.
Miller declined to comment. McKenna says it's best that the hearing will wait until more facts are gathered.
The case spurred concern among women's rights activists last year. A judge said McKenna had been "irresponsible" by moving while pregnant to New York from California.
Miller lives in California and had claimed paternity there. McKenna moved to attend Columbia University.
A New York appellate court overturned that ruling.News Topics: General news, Sports, Legal proceedings, Alpine skiing, Men's alpine skiing, Child custody, Skiing, Men's skiing, Law and order, Men's sports, Child welfare, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs, Parental rights, Human rights and civil liberties, Family issues
People, Places and Companies: Bode Miller, New York, New York City, United States, North America
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Kelis, "Food" (Ninja Tune)
Hungry for good music? Order Kelis' new album, "Food."
The R&B-pop-dance-soul singer, who had a breakthrough with the 2003 adventurous hit "Milkshake," returns with an album full of soulful horns, lush strings and thumping piano keys that feel grand. A huge departure from 2010's electronic dance album, "Flesh Tone," Kelis' latest release shows she's just as versatile as her Neptunes-produced 1999 debut, "Kaleidoscope."
With the success of "Milkshake," it's fitting that the Le Cordon Bleu-certified chef and saucier finds success with cuisine-themed tunes, as she intertwines her love for food and music. Entirely produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, "Food" is her most mature album-to-date.
Kelis masters a mix of jazz funk ("Jerk Ribs," ''Hooch"), Afrobeat ("Cobbler," ''Change") and gospel ("Breakfast," ''Biscuits n' Gravy") on her sixth album. Her smoky, sultry vocals perfectly match the blues-inspired "Floyd," where she asks her lover to bring some surprise and excitement to romance. "I want to be blown away, blow me away," Kelis angelically coos.
The remake of Labi Siffre's "Bless the Telephone" is a welcome departure from the rest of the album with minimal acoustics and additional vocals by Sal Masekela that channel Simon & Garfunkel.
Kelis, who has launched a line of sauces called Feast, offers musical sustenance with "Food." She continues to reinvent herself with each album, while refusing to be boxed into one music category. Wonder which genre she will conquer next?News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Music, Entertainment, Rhythm and blues, Rock music, Jazz
People, Places and Companies: Kelis
DEERFIELD, Illinois (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is the NBA defensive player of the year.
The person spoke on Monday on the condition of anonymity because the award had not been announced. The Bulls scheduled a news conference later Monday.
Noah joins Michael Jordan in 1988 as the only Bulls players to win the award.
The recognition comes after he helped Chicago win 48 games and capture homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs despite losing Derrick Rose to a season-ending knee injury and trading away Luol Deng. It also comes at a time when he's getting about as much praise for his offense.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this report.News Topics: Sports, NBA basketball, Men's sports, Men's basketball, Professional basketball, Basketball
People, Places and Companies: Joakim Noah, Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose, Illinois, United States, North America
"Everything to Lose" (William Morrow), by Andrew Gross
How far would you go to protect your loved ones? What if keeping your special needs child in an expensive, properly caring environment meant having to break the law? Would you do it?
Author Andrew Gross forces readers to grapple with the extremes one must go through to survive in such a situation in his new novel, "Everything to Lose."
Hilary Cantor is divorced, and her deadbeat husband doesn't pay his child support. Their son, Brandon, is autistic, and the school he attends is very expensive. Hilary becomes desperate after she loses her job. How will she pay for her child's schooling?
She witnesses a car crash while driving home one afternoon. The car slides down a ravine. Hilary climbs and scratches her way to the car, where she discovers a dead man and a satchel filled with money. She tosses the bag into a bush and leaves.
As time passes, Hilary cannot grasp the financial collapse that is about to hit her. She goes back to the site of the crash and finds the money. She begins to use just enough to pay her bills. What she doesn't realize is that someone was expecting the money — and will do anything to find it.
"Everything to Lose" will grab readers from the book's opening pages.
People, Places and Companies: Andrew Gross
PINEHURST, North Carolina (AP) — Pinehurst No. 2 is ready for its double dip of U.S. Opens. In less than two months, it will host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in consecutive weeks.
U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said on Monday he was expecting "a challenging test of golf, but ... a great test of golf" on the course designed by Donald Ross and recently restored to his specifications by Ben Crenshaw.
When the men tee it up from June 12-15 and the women follow a week later, they'll find wider fairways, no rough and only two cuts of grass — green and fairway. Ross' famed turtleback greens remain largely unchanged.
Davis said the course was "going to give the best players in the world some shots that they simply haven't had to make in past U.S. Opens."
The distances will be different but the intent was for the course to play the same way in both opens. The course will play at 7,562 yards for the men and 6,649 for the women. In both weeks, par will be 70.
Ben Kimball, executive director of the U.S. Women's Open, said the plan was to have the pins placed in roughly the same quadrants of the greens in each corresponding round of both tournaments.
"We want to give them the same look from week one to week two," Kimball said.
No. 2 has hosted U.S. Opens in 1999 and 2005. The U.S. Women's Open has been held at nearby Pine Needles three times since 1996 — but never at Ross' signature course.
Crenshaw led a yearlong $2.5 million face-lift for the course, removing the rough and reverting its layout closer to Ross' original design.
Shots that go into what would have been the rough might land in sandy hardpan, some wiregrass, or even on what Davis called "natural vegetation."
"Will it be easier?" he asked. "Probably a little bit easier, but I suppose there's an element of luck involved."
Davis said the greens should be slightly less firm during the women's open.
He said it's too soon to say if in the future the USGA will try to pull off another doubleheader like this one.
"We really want to see how it goes," he said.
Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyapNews Topics: Sports, Women's sports, Women's golf, U.S. Open Women's Golf Championships, Men's golf, Golf, Events, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Ben Crenshaw, North Carolina, United States, North America
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say one person has died and several have been seriously injured in separate incidents during Easter celebrations.
Three U.S. citizens are among the injured, including one in critical condition.
Police said Monday a 25-year-old died on the island of Crete Sunday during an Easter feast as one of the fellow revelers shot him unintentionally.
Most of the other incidents involved the ritual of exploding fireworks as soon as Christ's Resurrection is celebrated around midnight Saturday.
An improvised firework exploding outside a church on the island of Santorini injured seven people, including three U.S. citizens. All the Americans and one Greek were transported to a hospital in Crete. A 51-year-old American woman remains in critical condition following abdominal surgery, the hospital's chief told Greek media Monday.News Topics: General news, Easter, Holidays, Occasions, Lifestyle
People, Places and Companies: Greece, Crete, Western Europe, Europe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the U.S. government is still trying to determine who was responsible for Sunday's deadly shootout in eastern Ukraine and did not specify when Russia would have to meet the terms of a Geneva agreement for containing tensions in the former Soviet state.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine must lay down their arms and abandon occupied buildings. He said Russia has influence over Ukrainian separatists and warned Moscow to live up to commitments last week to help stabilize the conflict or risk further sanctions.
Carney offered no timeline that would trigger those sanctions.
He said the U.S. could not independently assess blame for the shootout Sunday that left at least three dead. Russian and Ukrainian officials traded blame for the attack.News Topics: General news
People, Places and Companies: Jay Carney, Ukraine, United States, Russia, District of Columbia, Eastern Europe, Europe, North America
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — An official with Uganda's athletics body says a coach who faces charges of sexual harassment has been suspended and is under investigation by Ugandan police.
Beatrice Ayikoru of the Uganda Athletics Federation said Monday that Peter Wemali faces "a range of allegations" related to suspected sexual harassment of female runners who trained under him in eastern Uganda.
She said the decision to suspend Wemali was taken after some athletes complained in an unsigned letter that became the basis for a criminal investigation.
Wemali's alleged violations were first reported by the Ugandan runner Moses Kipsiro, who told a local newspaper last month that the coach urged female runners to have sex or give birth to improve their performance.
It wasn't possible to get a comment from Wemali.News Topics: General news, Sports, Sexual harassment, Sexual abuse, Sex in society, Social issues, Social affairs, Violent crime, Crime
People, Places and Companies: Moses Kipsiro, Uganda, East Africa, Africa
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — The United Auto Workers is withdrawing its appeal of the outcome of a union vote at Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee.
In a Monday statement, the UAW says it will instead focus on a congressional investigation into an anti-unionization campaign by Republican politicians and outside groups.
The UAW filed its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712-626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other Republican officials raised fears about the plant's future if workers there organized.
Documents also show Tennessee tied a $300 million incentive package to the satisfactory outcome of the labor situation at the plant.
A hearing on the matter had been scheduled to begin Monday in Chattanooga.News Topics: General news, Automobile manufacturing, Labor issues, Consumer product manufacturing, Consumer products and services, Industries, Business, Social issues, Social affairs
People, Places and Companies: Bob Corker, Bill Haslam, Tennessee, United States, North America
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden hopes to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine by meeting with its leaders as they deal with their confrontation with Russia.
Biden arrived Monday for a two-day visit to the capital, Kiev. He has meetings Tuesday with the acting Ukrainian prime minister and president. He also is scheduled to meet with legislators and democracy activists before returning to Washington Tuesday night.
He plans to announce new technical support to the Ukrainian government to implement energy and economic reforms.
Despite a new agreement aimed at easing tensions, a shootout Sunday at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine left at least three dead and Ukrainian and Russian officials trading accusations of blame.News Topics: Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Joe Biden, Ukraine, Kiev, Eastern Europe, Europe
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal gets an immediate chance to shake off his surprisingly early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters by going for his ninth Barcelona Open title this week.
The Spaniard is hoping to recover his clay-court form after a quarterfinal loss to David Ferrer in Monaco, where the eight-time champion made his earliest exit since 2003.
Nadal acknowledged that his confidence is shaken following the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka, and says his state of mind "is what it is."
Nadal said Monday that "I started the season OK except for some lack of confidence and competitiveness in important moments of certain matches."
He added that "I've faced adversities throughout my career, and this is just another one."
Nadal opens play later this week.News Topics: Sports, Men's sports, Men's tennis, Tennis
People, Places and Companies: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Spain, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Western Europe, Europe, Monaco
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsay Lohan says she suffered a miscarriage during the taping of her reality TV series.
The 27-year-old actress made the disclosure during Sunday's final episode of "Lindsay," the OWN cable channel series.
Lohan said the miscarriage was the reason that she was unable to appear on the program at one point. She said she was sick and unable to move.
She didn't offer any further details on the program about her ill-fated pregnancy.
Lohan began taping the OWN reality show shortly after leaving her sixth stint in rehab last summer.News Topics: Arts and entertainment, Television programs, Entertainment, Reality TV, Celebrity pregnancies, Movies, Celebrity
People, Places and Companies: Lindsay Lohan
NEW YORK (AP) — The notion of introducing a new food to the American public is almost inconceivable in an era of TV chefs, global cuisine and foodie websites.
But that's what happened 50 years ago at the 1964 New York World's Fair in Queens, N.Y., when a family from Belgium introduced Belgian waffles, topped with fresh whipped cream, powdered sugar and sliced strawberries.
Once Maurice and Rose Vermersch and their daughter MariePaule began serving the delicacy, there was no turning back the crowds.
"From the moment we opened there was a line. We couldn't see the end," recalled MariePaule Vermersch, 66, who helped her parents serve an average of 2,500 waffles a day during the fair, which opened 50 years ago on April 22, 1964. "It was wild."
They were supposed to be called Brussels waffles — named for the Belgian capital, where they were a specialty — but her mother soon realized many Americans didn't know where Brussels was.
The Vermersches first served the treat two years earlier at the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, and for years after they made the waffles at the annual New York State Fair in Syracuse. But it was at the 1964 event in New York City that the waffles became a sensation.
Compared to American waffles, the Belgian treat was light, crispy and fluffy. To this day, baby boomers fondly recall the memory of enjoying them at the fair.
Vermersch said that for years she ran a coffee shop, MariePaule's Authentic Belgian Waffles, in her current home of Albuquerque, New Mexico, that featured a picture of the 1964 World's Fair.
"People would look at the name and see the picture and say, 'I ate those waffles at the World's Fair,' and they'd pick up the phone and call their parents," said Vermersch, who is in New York to attend the fair's 50th anniversary celebration this month, and also to care for her 95-year-old mother, who lives in Queens. "I couldn't believe how often that would happen."
What made the waffles so good? Vermersch cited a special cast-iron pan that heats up to 500 degrees. "As soon as the batter touches the grill, it gets crispy on the outside and soft on the inside," she said. "You don't want to put anything syrupy on it or it will turn it into a sponge."
They served the waffles with whipped cream, adding hand-sliced strawberries for color.
Waffles in the United States date back to the Pilgrims, who were familiar with them from time spent in the Netherlands, which has a similar waffle culture. And during the latter part of the 18th century, "waffle parties" were all the rage. Today, a version of the Belgian waffle can be found in diners and restaurants across the country.
Vermersch said she vowed never to create an instant mix because the recipe requires fresh, carefully prepped ingredients: pure vanilla, fresh yeast or self-rising flour, melted but cooled sweet butter, and eggs at room temperature, with egg whites added at the end.
But that's as much information as she'll divulge. About 12 years ago, she sold the Maurice Authentic Belgian Waffle recipe to a Syracuse family on condition that it be served only at the New York State Fair. The exact recipe, she says, is a secret.News Topics: Food and drink, General news, Lifestyle, State fairs, Fairs and festivals, Recreation and leisure
People, Places and Companies: Queens, New York, Belgium, New York City, Syracuse, United States, North America, Western Europe, Europe
JINDO, South Korea — South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed "unforgivable, murderous behavior," while criticism of her own government's handling of the disaster grows. By Gillian Wong and Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 1,050 words, photos, video.
NANJING, China — Strolling through China's sprawling memorial to a 1937 massacre by Japanese troops, a retired teacher says the incident remains an open wound. Across the waters, Japanese visiting a Shinto shrine in Tokyo that enshrines 14 convicted war criminals among 2.5 million war dead say they're tired of Chinese harping. The Tokyo shrine and the memorial in Nanjing are physical embodiments of divergent views of history that still strain China-Japan relations 70 years after the war. By Christopher Bodeen and Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.
— JAPAN-WAR SHRINE-ABE — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sends a religious offering to a Tokyo shrine that honors executed war criminals, long a source of tension with neighbors China and South Korea. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 450 words, photo.
KATMANDU, Nepal — Buddhist monks cremate the remains of Sherpa guides who were buried in the deadliest avalanche to hit Mount Everest, a disaster that has prompted calls for a climbing boycott by Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community. A Sherpa boycott could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Everest climbers have long relied on Sherpas for everything from hauling gear to high-altitude guiding. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 910 words, photos.
PERTH, Australia — As the search continues off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the airline announces that another plane bound for India made an emergency landing after one of its tires burst on takeoff. All 159 passengers and seven crew members were safe. The incident brings more drama to an airline already under immense pressure for answers about Flight 370, more than six weeks after it disappeared. By Margie Mason. SENT: 520 words, photos.
PERTH, Australia — From the disappearances of aviator Amelia Earhart to labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, there's just something about a good mystery that Americans find too tantalizing to resist. Perhaps that's why the saga of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has continued to rivet the country long after people elsewhere have moved on. From the beginning, the story has bubbled with enough drama to rival a good Hollywood whodunit. And even though it unfolded on the other side of the world with only three Americans on board, many were sucked in. By Margie Mason. SENT: 990 words, photos.
SHANGHAI — A quarter of the police in Shanghai begin carrying guns during routine patrols as part of a China-wide boost in police firepower following a deadly mass knifing blamed on Xinjiang separatists. Ordinary police in China generally don't carry firearms, and none of the officers patrolling the train station in the southwestern city of Kunming on March 1 was armed when at least five assailants began rapidly hacking at victims with long knives. SENT: 470 words.
YANGON, Myanmar — Win Tin, a prominent journalist who became Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by co-founding the National League for Democracy, has died. He was 85. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 500 words, photos.
BANGKOK — An international human rights group calls on Thai authorities to investigate the disappearance of a prominent environmental activist. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 370 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
TOKYO — Japan's trade deficit surged nearly 70 percent to a record 13.75 trillion yen ($134 billion) in the last fiscal year, the third straight year of deficit, as exports failed to keep pace with surging energy costs. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 500 words.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria is to hold presidential elections on June 3, a vote President Bashar Assad will likely contest, seeking another seven-year term in office despite an insurgency against his rule and a bloody civil war — now in its fourth year — that has shattered the country. The announcement reflects the Assad government's determination to prevail on the political scene and its resurgent confidence given the momentum of the war, which has lately seen significant advances by the pro-Assad forces. By Albert Aji and Diaa Hadid. SENT: 600 words, photos.
BOSTON — A year after two bombs shattered the jubilation of the Boston Marathon, the second-largest field in the race's history prepares to make the trek downtown from Hopkinton. Officials say security will be tight a week after a series of events commemorating victims of the attacks. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 660 words, photos.
HONOLULU — Officials say a 16-year-old boy is "lucky to be alive" and unharmed after flying from California to Hawaii stowed away in a plane's wheel well, surviving cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen. By Oskar Garcia. SENT: 390 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, Americans express bigger doubts, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Global warming, evolution, the Earth's age and the Big Bang provoke more skepticism than confidence. A Nobel Prize winner in medicine says, "Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts." By Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta. SENT: 700 words, photo, graphic.
VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II is remembered for helping to bring down Communism and for inspiring a generation of Catholics, but the sexual abuse scandal that festered on his watch remains a stain on his legacy. Pope Francis has inherited the most damaging case, the Legion of Christ, and must now decide what to do with the order that was placed under Vatican receivership because of problems stemming from its pedophile founder. A look at the documentation the Vatican received starting in the 1940s and through John Paul's pontificate about the founder and the troubled, cult-like order he created. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
— VATICAN ABUSE DOCUMENTS — A look at the documents that showed the Vatican knew about problems with the Legion of Christ and its founder beginning in 1948. SENT: 720 words.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden hopes to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine by meeting in person with its leaders as they deal with their confrontation with Russia. Biden flew Monday to the capital, Kiev, where he has meetings Tuesday with the acting Ukrainian prime minister, president and legislators. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 120 words, photos.
HAVANA — President Raul Castro legalized Cuba's real estate market for the first time in five decades hoping to stimulate construction and long-neglected maintenance of existing homes. But 2½ years later, there has been only a minimal impact on easing one of Cuba's biggest challenges: a chronic lack of suitable housing. By Andrea Rodriguez. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— NICARAGUA-THE CHAINED ONES-PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: Nicaraguan townspeople observe Good Friday by punishing chained 'Judases'. SENT: 250 words, photos.
— CAR HITS CHURCH — Car plows through wall of packed Florida church before Easter concert, injuring about 20. SENT: 470 words.
— OBIT-CARTER — Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, prizefighter who became symbol of racial injustice, dies at 76. SENT: 1,255 words, photos.
— TRIBECA-JOSS WHEDON — Joss Whedon releasing 'In Your Eyes' for $5 digital download following its Tribeca premiere. SENT: 140 words, photo.
— CANADA-OBIT-MACLEOD — Award-winning Canadian author Alistair MacLeod. Known for his short stories, dies at 77. SENT: 500 words.
YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.
Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.News Topics: General news, Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Aviation accidents and incidents, Government and politics, Religion, Social affairs, Transportation accidents, Accidents, Accidents and disasters, Transportation
People, Places and Companies: Park Geun-hye, Shinzo Abe, Win Tin, Bashar Assad, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis, Joe Biden, Raul Castro, Joss Whedon, Alistair MacLeod, Japan, China, Vatican City, Tokyo, Nanjing, Myanmar, South Korea, Shanghai, Nepal, Malaysia, Syria, East Asia, Thailand, Cuba, Bangkok, Southeast Asia, Boston, Ukraine, Australia, United States, Asia, Greater China, Western Europe, Europe, South Asia, Middle East, Caribbean, Latin America and Caribbean, Massachusetts, North America, Eastern Europe, Oceania
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli and Palestinian minors accused of crimes in the West Bank are subject to two different sets of laws. Israeli settlers are prosecuted under Israeli civilian law, while Palestinians are thrust into the military justice system. Critics complain that the conviction rate in the military system is higher and the penalties stiffer. Here are some statistics about juvenile arrests between 2008 and 2013 from Israel's national police force:
TOTAL ARRESTS FOR ALL CRIMES:
INDICTMENT RATE FOR ALL CRIMES:
Palestinians: 45 percent
Israelis: 34 percent
TOTAL ARRESTS FOR STONE THROWING:
INDICTMENTS FOR STONE-THROWING:
Palestinians: 46 percent.
Israelis: Six cases, or 11 percent.
INDICTMENTS RESULTING IN CONVICTIONS:
Palestinians: 100 percent
Israelis: Four found guilty but not convicted. One was cleared. Fate of last case unknown.News Topics: General news, Judiciary, Crime, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: West Bank, Israel, Palestinian territories, Middle East
BEIT UMAR, West Bank (AP) — The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.
But there was a crucial difference that helped to shape each boy's fate: One was Israeli, and the other Palestinian.
The tale of the two teens provides a stark example of the vast disparities of Israel's justice system in the West Bank, a contested area at the heart of the elusive search for a lasting peace.
While Israeli settlers in the West Bank fall mostly under civilian rule, Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law. Israeli and Palestinian youths face inequities at every stage in the path of justice, from arrests to convictions and sentencing, according to police statistics obtained by The Associated Press through multiple requests under Israel's freedom of information law.
The results can ripple for years.
"Jail destroyed his life," said the Palestinian boy's father.
Only 53 Israeli settler youths were arrested for stone-throwing over the past six years, the data shows, and 89 percent were released without charge. Six were indicted. Four of those were found "guilty without conviction," a common sentence for Israeli juveniles that aims not to stain their record. One was cleared. The sixth case was still in court as of October, the most recent information available.
By contrast, 1,142 Palestinian youths were arrested by police over the same period for throwing stones, and 528 were indicted. All were convicted. Lawyers say the penalty is typically three to eight months in military prison.
Israel's Justice Ministry said more than five Israeli stone-throwers were indicted in the past six years, but declined to provide examples. Itzik Bam, a lawyer who represents Israeli settler youths, said he knew of 20 Israeli minors in the West Bank indicted for stone-throwing in recent years, including six who pleaded guilty and six who were cleared. He said the other cases are still in court.
The police numbers are not comprehensive, because the Israeli army also arrests Palestinian youths, and because the state prosecutor also issues indictments against settlers in more serious cases. However, the gap between the numbers for Israelis and Palestinians is clear and wide.
Israel's Justice Ministry said the numbers reflect the fact that Palestinians threw more stones than Israelis, rather than unequal treatment.
"Though the legal systems are different — military court versus civil court — the relevant law is implied impartially," said Yehuda Shefer, a deputy state prosecutor who is head of a Justice Ministry committee for West Bank law enforcement.
The Israeli Justice Ministry says it would like to rehabilitate Palestinian youth, but ends up jailing many offenders because their parents and leaders support their crimes. However, critics accuse Israel of dismissing Israeli crimes as youthful indiscretions, while treating Palestinian youths like hardened criminals.
"Everyone knows there is a problem with the treatment of minors in the West Bank, a systematic discrimination between Israeli minors and Palestinian minors," said Michael Sfard, an Israeli attorney and Palestinian human rights defender. "Now you have the figures to prove that."
Stones have become an iconic weapon in the West Bank, an arid land where they are plentiful. In the past six years, more than half of all arrests of Palestinian youth have been over stone-throwing, which Israel claims can be the first step toward militancy. Extremist Israeli settlers have also adopted the tactic.
On Feb. 20, 2012, the Israeli boy joined a group of youths pelting a bus with rocks at the entrance to Bat Ayin, according to police reports. The settlement, located in the southern West Bank between Jerusalem and the biblical city of Hebron, is known for its hardline population.
Police said they targeted the bus because the driver was Arab. The rocks damaged the bus but did not harm the driver.
The boy, whose name cannot be published under local law because he is a minor, was brought to the Hebron region police station at 9 p.m., with his father by his side. In his interrogation, the boy invoked his right to remain silent. He spent a night in the station and four days under house arrest. Then he was freed without charge.
The following day, according to police reports, the Palestinian boy lobbed rocks at Israeli cars zipping past his hometown of Beit Umar, a farming town of 14,000 people perched near an Israeli military tower. Police said he and others wanted to show solidarity with a high-profile Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in an Israeli jail.
The rocks shattered the front windshield of a white Mazda and damaged three other vehicles on a busy highway. There were no injuries. The incident was caught on tape and broadcast on Israeli evening news.
Two weeks later, at 3:30 a.m., Israeli soldiers kicked down the door to the Palestinian boy's bedroom, carried him to a jeep, blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back with plastic handcuffs, he said. He was slapped by soldiers, kept awake all night and placed in a military jail cell with 10 other Palestinian youths, he said.
It would be more than nine months before he could go free.
An Israeli psychological exam conducted in prison found the boy showed signs of anxiety and depression. He told the prison's clinical psychologist and social worker that he looked at a photo of his family to help him sleep, and had nightmares about soldiers killing his relatives. The exam also found he was short-breathed and had a cough, which he said was from soldiers hitting him in the chest during his arrest.
The West Bank, an expanse of rocky hilltops blanketed in olive trees, is central to the current round of U.S.-brokered peace talks. For Palestinians, the West Bank is the heart of a future state, along with adjacent east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. For Israel, the land known by its biblical name of Judea and Samaria is significant to Jewish heritage and to security.
Since Israel captured the West Bank in 1967, it has built more than 100 settlements, creating "facts on the ground" that complicate any future withdrawal. Some 60 percent of the West Bank is under full Israeli control.
Today, more than 350,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, amid roughly 2.5 million Palestinians. The two sides have little interaction, and for the most part live under separate — and often unequal — systems of law.
While the Palestinian Authority governs day-to-day affairs, the Israeli military wields overall control. Palestinians need Israeli permission to enter Israel or to travel abroad through the Jordanian border. Palestinians frequently suffer from poor roads, creaky infrastructure and water shortages.
Israeli settlers, by contrast, are Israeli citizens. They are subject to Israeli law, vote in Israeli elections, move freely in and out of Israel and have access to Israel's modern infrastructure. They serve in and are protected by the Israeli army.
Israel says that extending its laws to Palestinians would be tantamount to annexation, and that many of the restrictions, such as military checkpoints, are needed for security. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said Israel tries to help the Palestinians but acknowledged the setup as problematic.
"We're stuck in this interim status and it's not good," he said. "This is precisely the reason we need to resolve this thing through negotiations."
Israel's Ministry of Justice says it attaches "great importance" to narrowing the differences in the law regarding juvenile detainees. In 2009, Israel created a juvenile military court. In 2011, it raised the age of minority for Palestinian youth from 16 to 18. And in 2013, it shortened the amount of time a West Bank Palestinian minor can be held under detention, from eight days to, in most cases, one or two days — still double the time allowed for an Israeli minor.
"In our perspective, a minor is a minor," the Justice Ministry said in a statement.
The Israeli boy's journey through the justice system was one of repeated second chances. The middle child of a psychologist mother and a psychiatrist father, he lived and studied at a religious school in Bat Ayin, a rural community of about 200 families.
After his release from jail, the case remained closed until he was arrested again. This time, he was accused of attacking two Palestinians with pepper spray while in possession of a knife and a slingshot decorated with the words "Revenge on Arabs."
During a court hearing on the pepper spray charge, prosecutors brought up his previous rock-throwing arrest. Only then was he indicted for both offenses.
The Israeli minor pleaded guilty to pepper-spraying but denied throwing rocks. He was put under house arrest for nine months.
While at home, he prepared for Israeli national matriculation exams. During the final three months, he was permitted to attend school. Then he was freed. It was nearly two years after the alleged stone-throwing incident that he finally stood trial, which is ongoing.
There was no such leniency for the Palestinian boy. The youngest of four brothers, he grew up in a modest cement home surrounded by bougainvillea plants and verdant farm lands. He liked to play basketball. His lawyer would only permit the AP to identify him by his first name, Zein.
Zein's father, a short man with a cigarette perched under his mustache and a forehead carved with lines, described the boy as a B-plus student who could have gone on to a professional career.
That all changed after his arrest. While many Palestinian prisoners accept plea bargains in exchange for reduced imprisonment, the boy pleaded innocent and went to trial. After nine and a half months in prison, he was put under house arrest. Seven months later, he was convicted and sentenced to time already served.
In the ruling, the judge criticized the police interrogator for not asking the boy if he understood his rights, and not giving him the opportunity to consult with his lawyer or parents.
"It appears from the interrogation in this case that the Israeli police do not understand the sensitivity obligated in interrogating juvenile suspects," military judge Shahar Greenberg wrote.
Requests for response from the Israeli police were not answered.
In the end, the Israeli and the Palestinian teens had one thing in common: Despite Israel's stated goals, neither was rehabilitated. Instead, both were embraced by communities that condone stone-throwing.
After his release from house arrest, the Israeli boy joined an extremist group known as the "Hilltop Youth" and moved to an unauthorized settlement outpost called Hill 904. These defiant, ideological Jewish teens squat on West Bank hilltops, and attack Palestinians and their property. There was a big celebration when he arrived, the boy said.
He built makeshift homes on the hill for six months and studied Jewish law with his comrades. Then he moved to another outpost. And another. And another.
He still denies throwing rocks, but said it was an acceptable tactic to fight Palestinians, citing a teaching by an extremist rabbi. He described himself as a warrior in an ideological battle for Jewish control of the West Bank.
"Wherever soldiers are needed, I go," he mumbled outside the courtroom after a recent hearing. He wore the settler youth uniform of long side locks and tattered cargo pants, with a few chin hairs of adolescence. "We are commanded to inherit the land, and to expel (Palestinians)."
When the Palestinian boy got out of jail, he rejoined his 10th-grade class at the end of the school year, but couldn't catch up and dropped out. For a while he tried to sell knock-off shoes hoarded in his bedroom. Now he mopes around his parents' house, not doing much of anything.
"My school wanted me to go back to classes, but I quit," he said with a shrug, sitting in his parents' living room in sandals, with greased hair.
His lawyer, Neri Ramati, is appealing the conviction, while prosecutors are seeking a tougher sentence of six more months in jail.
His father, Hisham, said Palestinians have every right to throw stones to achieve independence. He said he and two other sons were all arrested by Israel when they threw stones, unlike his youngest son, who claims innocence.
His father's conclusion? "He's a coward."
Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.
People, Places and Companies: West Bank, Palestinian territories, Israel, Jerusalem, Hebron, Middle East
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters.
For 19 long years, the prizefighter was locked in a prison cell far away from the spotlight and the adulation of the boxing ring. But when he at last won his biggest fight — for exoneration — he betrayed little bitterness. Instead, Carter dedicated much of his remaining life to helping other prisoners and exposing other injustices.
The middleweight title contender, whose murder convictions became an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film, died Sunday. He was 76.
The New Jersey native, who had suffered from prostate cancer, died in his sleep at his home in Toronto, John Artis, his former co-defendant and longtime friend and caregiver, told The Canadian Press.
Carter "didn't have any bitterness or anger — he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength," said Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison.
The boxer, a former petty criminal, became an undersized 160-pound (72-kilogram) contender and earned his nickname largely on his ferocity and punching power.
Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.
But his boxing career came to an abrupt end when he was imprisoned for three 1966 murders committed at a tavern in Paterson, New Jersey. He was convicted in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985, when his convictions were thrown out after years of appeals. He then became a prominent public advocate for the wrongfully convicted from his new home in Canada.
His ordeal and its racial overtones were publicized in Dylan's 1975 song "Hurricane," several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.
In a statement issued Sunday, Washington praised Carter's "tireless fight to ensure justice for all."
Carter and Artis had been driving around Carter's hometown on the night that three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill. They were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.
Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed in 1976, but he was sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial.
"I wouldn't give up," Carter said in an interview in 2011 on PBS. "No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn't give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people ... found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person."
Dylan, a boxing aficionado, became aware of Carter's plight after reading the fighter's autobiography. He met Carter and co-wrote "Hurricane," which he performed on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975. The song concludes: "That's the story of the Hurricane/But it won't be over till they clear his name/And give him back the time he's done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world."
Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King spoke out on Carter's behalf. Other celebrities also worked toward his release, joined by a network of friends and volunteers.
Carter eventually won his freedom from U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who wrote that the boxer's prosecution had been "predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure."
Born on May 6, 1937, into a family of seven children, Carter struggled with a hereditary speech impediment and was sent to a juvenile reform center at 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954 and learned to box while in West Germany.
After returning home, he committed a series of muggings and spent four years in various state prisons. Upon his release, he began his pro boxing career, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by knockout.
At 5-foot-8 (1.75 meters), Carter was fairly short for a middleweight, but he was aggressive and threw waves of punches. His shaved head and menacing glower gave him an imposing ring presence but also contributed to a forbidding aura outside the ring. He was quoted as joking about killing police officers in a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post, which was later cited by Carter as a cause of his troubles with law enforcement.
Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and in London, Paris and Johannesburg. Although his career appeared to be on a downswing before he was implicated in the murders, the 29-year-old fighter was hoping for a second middleweight title shot.
Carter defied his prison guards from the first day of his incarceration and spent time in solitary confinement because of it.
"When I walked into prison, I refused to wear their stripes," Carter said. "I refused to eat their food. I refused to work their jobs, and I would have refused to breathe the prison's air if I could have done so."
Carter eventually wrote and spoke eloquently about his plight, publishing his autobiography, "The Sixteenth Round," in 1974. Benefit concerts were held for his legal defense featuring Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack.
Although many of his celebrity friends abandoned the cause after his second conviction and an allegation of assault during his brief release, other advocates worked tirelessly on his behalf, culminating in Sarokin's ruling and two subsequent failed prosecutorial appeals to have the convictions reinstated. Each year on the anniversary Sarokin's decision, Carter called the judge to thank him.
After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. He received two honorary doctorates for his work.
Canadian director Norman Jewison made Carter's story into a biographical film. Washington worked closely with Carter to capture the boxer's transformation and redemption.
"He's all love," Washington said while onstage with Carter at the 2000 ceremony where he won a Golden Globe. "He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he's love."
The makers of "The Hurricane," however, were widely criticized for factual inaccuracies and glossing over other parts of Carter's story, including his criminal past and a reputation for a violent temper. Giardello sued the film's producers for its depiction of a racist fix in his victory over Carter, who had long acknowledged that Giardello deserved the win.
Artis said Carter will be cremated and didn't want a funeral or any memorial. Artis has been taking care of him since 2011.
"He was a champion of the underdog," he said. "He was like the David against the Goliath of the justice system."
Kidrin spoke with Carter on Wednesday.
"He said, 'You know, look, death's coming. I'm ready for it. But it's really going to have to take me because I'm positive to the end.'"
AP Sports Writer Rick Freeman and AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy in New York and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.News Topics: General news, Sports, Violent crime, Celebrity, Celebrity deaths, Homicide, Court decisions, Men's boxing, Boxing, Legal proceedings, Crime, Concerts, Celebrity causes, Accidents and disasters, Movies, Memoirs and autobiographies, Entertainment, Arts and entertainment, Law and order, Men's sports, Music, Nonfiction, Books and literature
People, Places and Companies: Bob Dylan, Denzel Washington, Muhammad Ali, Coretta Scott King, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack, Norman Jewison, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, North America
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say a suicide attack targeting a police checkpoint outside the capital, Baghdad, has killed at least nine people.
A police officer says the bomber drove an explosives-laden car into the checkpoint in the town of Suwayrah, killing four policemen and five civilians on Monday.
The officer says the explosion also wounded 22 people. The town of Suwayrah is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Baghdad.
A medical official confirmed the causality figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
Iraq is undergoing a surge in attacks since last year, with violence reaching levels unseen since 2008. It has become the Shiite-led government's most serious challenge as the nation prepares to hold parliamentary elections.News Topics: General news, War and unrest, Suicide bombings, Terrorist attacks, Terrorism
People, Places and Companies: Iraq, Baghdad, Middle East