• Japan stunned by video claiming death of 1 of 2 IS hostages

    Updated: 40 min ago

    TOKYO (AP) — From the prime minister to ordinary people, Japanese were shocked Sunday at a video purportedly showing one of two Japanese hostages of the extremist Islamic State group had been killed. With attention focused on efforts to save the other hostage, some also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive for a more assertive Japan as responsible for the hostage crisis. A somber Abe appeared on public broadcaster NHK early Sunday demanding the militants release 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto unharmed. He said the video was likely authentic, although he added that the government was still reviewing it. He offered condolences to the family and friends of Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer taken hostage in Syr

  • Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

    Updated: 53 min ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales and other creatures that live in the water. The Navy wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys at least 12 nautical miles off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The devices, about 3 feet long and 6 inches in diameter, send out sonar signals underwater so air crews can train to detect submarines. "It sounds drastic in numbers, but it's really not drastic in its impact," said John Mosher, Northwest environmental manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Anti-submarine warfare is a critical missi

  • Obama: Counterterrorism operations in Yemen not affected

    Updated: 54 min ago

    NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama defended his counterterrorism strategy in tumultuous Yemen Sunday, saying efforts to root out a dangerous al-Qaida affiliate there would not be affected by the political vacuum in the country. The U.S. campaign against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is heavily dependent on using drone strikes to take out terror targets. Obama has held up that approach as a model for the military mission against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which relies on airstrikes instead of U.S. ground troops. Obama, who is traveling in India, said that approach "is not neat and it is not simple, but it is the best option we have." "The alternative would be massive U.S.

  • Belgium sees some room to discuss Greek debt program

    Updated: 57 min ago

    BRUSSELS (AP) — Britain's Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron predicted that the election victory of Greece's radical left-wing Syriza party would create "economic uncertainty" across Europe, while left-of-center parties welcomed the results as a message that the European Union should change its economic policy. Belgium's finance minister said Sunday that he saw some room to discuss the "modalities" of the Greek debt program with the other eurozone nations after the victory by Syriza which seeks an end to painful austerity measures.

  • Sundance Watch: Quinto and Franco's easy chemistry

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — In "I Am Michael," a drama based on Benoit Denizet-Lewis's 2011 New York Times article "My Ex-Gay Friend," James Franco plays the part of Michael Glatze, the ex-gay friend in question. The film, which premiered Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, is a sensitive, complicated and provocative story about a prominent gay activist who, in just a few years, denounces his homosexuality. Michael's transformation is not played for a surprise in the movie. Justin Kelly's film opens with a buttoned-up Michael telling a terrified young man that homosexuality is immoral, before abruptly jumping back in time to show Michael in his activist days (and, in fact, at a raucous rave, where Franco says he was almost b

  • Zoo offers creepy way for lovelorn to get even with exes

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Feeling the sting of rejection? Itching to get even with an ex? The San Francisco Zoo is offering the burned and spurned masses the chance to "adopt" a hissing cockroach or giant scorpion in honor of their special ex-someone for Valentine's Day. The zoo is highlighting two of its less-desirable inhabitants through the adopt-an-animal program that is usually used to raise money for the care of more cuddly or attractive creatures, such as penguins, lions and pandas. It has a Valentine's special comparing the creepy characteristics of Madagascar hissing cockroaches and the giant hairy scorpions native to the Southwest U.S. to the ways of heart-breaking mammals with two legs. "These invertebrates are aggres

  • Greek radical left wins election, threatening market turmoil

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A radical left-wing party vowing to end Greece's painful austerity program won a historic victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, setting the stage for a showdown with the country's international creditors that could shake the eurozone. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the communist-rooted Syriza party, immediately promised to end the "five years of humiliation and pain" that Greece has endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010. With 80 percent of polling stations counted, Syriza had 36 percent versus 28 percent for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' conservatives. It remained to be seen whether Syriza had enough seats to govern outright or would have to seek support from

  • Dog gets 2nd chance in Utah after escaping death in Indiana

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    KANAB, Utah (AP) — A dog is getting a second chance at a Utah animal sanctuary a month after escaping a worse fate in Indiana: being euthanized and having its cremated ashes mixed with those of its late owner. Workers at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab say the male German shepherd named Bela still has behavioral issues, but is doing very well and wagging his tail more. They told KSL (http://bit.ly/1L8XIpO ) they're hoping Bela, who's believed to be 8 or 9 years old, can be adopted someday. Connie Ley of Aurora, Indiana, who died in November, stipulated in her will that Bela either go to the Utah sanctuary or be euthanized, cremated and mixed with her ashes. That's because Ley felt the 105-pound dog was

  • Images of shot Egypt protester revive criticism of police

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    CAIRO (AP) — Images of a mortally wounded protester, blood running down her face and hair as she was lifted from the pavement by a comrade, have touched off powerful criticism of Egypt's government on the anniversary of a revolution initially sparked by police brutality. The photos and videos show a heavily armed police unit, with some members masked, shooting at a small, peaceful protest Saturday near Cairo's Tahrir Square in which 32-year-old Shaimaa el-Sabbagh took part. A labor rights activist with a history of involvement in protests that predated the country's 2011 revolution, el-Sabbagh was also a poet and mother of a 5-year-old boy.

  • UK reviewing security after hoax call to Cameron

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — British officials say they are reviewing security measures in the government after a hoax caller managed to get through to Prime Minister David Cameron on the phone. Downing Street officials say the caller, who claimed to be the director of the eavesdropping agency GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, was put through to Cameron on Sunday. They said Cameron ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax, and no sensitive information was disclosed. Officials said earlier in the day, a caller obtained Hannigan's cell phone number by phoning GCHQ. All government departments have been alerted for similar calls and security procedures are being reviewed.

  • Naked violinist sues over arrest in Portland last year

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Hillsboro, Oregon, man arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland last year is suing police. The Oregonian reports (http://is.gd/hrQF5J0 that 25-year-old Matthew T. Mglej claims authorities used excessive force and violated his First Amendment rights. He named the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Portland Police Bureau as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week, and he's seeking $1.1 million in damages. Police showed up after receiving complaints about the demonstration, during which the man played violin, meditated and quoted former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they arrested him for indecent exposure and carried him to a patrol car

  • Iranian lawmakers honor Guard commander over IS victories

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian lawmakers are publicly praising a senior Guard commander for his work fighting the militant Islamic State group. The semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that 208 parliamentarians issued a statement Sunday thanking Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani for his role in establishing security in the region. Soleimani, commander of the guard's powerful and secretive Quds Force, has achieved legendary status for his work in Iraq in particular. He is credited with helping the Iraqi military forces and allied Shiite and Kurdish militias win some of their first major victories against the Islamic State group. Iran openly admits that senior commanders like Soleimani are acting in an advisory role battling Sun

  • Venezuela blocks meeting of former leaders, opposition chief

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan authorities have blocked two former Latin American presidents from visiting jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Andres Pastrana of Colombia and Sebastian Pinera of Chile traveled to Caracas this weekend to participate in a pro-democracy event organized by President Nicolas Maduro's opponents. As part of their visit, the two conservative leaders on Sunday tried to visit Lopez in a military prison where he's been held the past 11 months, accused of instigating violence in anti-government protests last year. After being informed by prison guards that their entrance wasn't authorized Pastrana said Lopez's basic human rights to receive visit from friends and family was being denied

  • Suspected burglar falls through ceiling, lands near police

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a man's plans to break into a Houston store fell through, after he crashed through the ceiling and landed in front of police. Houston police say the man climbed a tree and onto the roof of a Family Dollar store early Sunday morning, then managed to break a hole in the roof and enter the building. But after making his way into the store, the man fell through the ceiling just as a police officer arrived in response to a call about a potential burglary. KHOU-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1utIOQm ) that the officer ordered the unidentified man to stay on the floor. The man was later arrested. Authorities believe the man was trying to steal cigarettes. ___ Information from: KHOU

  • Ukraine: Phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president said Sunday that intercepted radio and telephone conversations prove that Russia-backed separatists were responsible for firing the rockets that pounded the southeastern city of Mariupol and killed at least 30 people. The attack on Mariupol, a strategically situated port city that had been relatively quiet for months, alarmed the West and looked likely further to aggravate relations with Russia. Putting the blame squarely on Moscow, President Barack Obama said the U.S. would work with its European partners to "ratchet up the pressure on Russia." European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini later announced that EU foreign ministers would hold an "extraordinary" meetin

  • Iran foreign minister summoned to explain stroll with Kerry

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official IRNA news agency says that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been summoned before parliament to explain his recent public stroll with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The IRNA report on Sunday says that 21 parliamentarians have demanded that Zarif explain his 15-minute walk through the streets of Geneva with Kerry on Jan. 14, on the sidelines of ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and "P5+1" global powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The parliament members called it a "diplomatic mistake.

  • UW hires dean for engineering college

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A new permanent dean has been found for the University of Wyoming's College of Engineering and Applied Science. Michael Pishko is currently the director of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing at Texas A&M. He will take over as dean March 1. UW describes Pishko as an accomplished chemical engineer and experienced administrator. UW President Dick McGinity headed the search committee for the engineering deanship. McGinity says Pishko is the right person to lead the College of Engineering and Applied Science in capitalizing on opportunities that will have a significant, positive impact on Wyoming's economy.

  • 5 ways unmanned drones could affect the American food supply

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Herding cattle. Counting fish. Taking an animal's temperature. Applying pesticides. When it comes to drones, "your imagination can go pretty wild in terms of what would be possible," says Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. This month, the Federal Aviation Administration issued the first permit for agricultural use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Steven Edgar, president and CEO of ADAVSO, says his Idaho-based business will use a lightweight, fixed-wing drone to survey fields of crops. Drone technology, already used in other countries, can make farmers more efficient by helping them locate problem spots in vast fields or ranchlands.

  • WHO adopts reforms to repair reputation after bungling Ebola

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization has proposed reforms that could overhaul its structure after botching the response to the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives. On Sunday, several dozen of WHO's member countries approved a resolution aimed at strengthening the U.N. health agency's ability to respond to emergencies, though many of the details have yet to be worked out and it's unclear what concrete changes will result. "The WHO we have is not the WHO we need," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said decisions at WHO were often made for political rather than scientific reasons. WHO's chief, Dr.

  • 28,000 comments submitted on Whatcom oil dock marked 'spam'

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — About 28,000 public comments submitted by environmentalists about a controversial oil-shipping dock in Whatcom County went missing after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' email system marked them as "malicious spam." The Bellingham Herald reports (http://is.gd/ekqyZL ) that the Corps of Engineers solicited public comments last July in response to its study of the possible impacts of the dock at the BP Cherry Point refinery. In response, the group Friends of the Earth created a form letter and asked people on its mailing list to send it in. Fred Felleman, a consultant for the group, said he gave the Corps a heads-up that the emails would be coming in. But in October, the agency announced it had