• Argentina heads into default as debt talks fail

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Talks aimed at averting Argentina's second default in 13 years ended with bitter recriminations Wednesday as the South American country said it could not accept a deal with U.S. hedge fund creditors it dismisses as "vultures." Court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack said the failure triggered an imminent default that, among other things, would hurt the Argentine economy as well as bondholders who were not part of the dispute. "The full consequences of default are not predictable, but they are certainly not positive," Pollack said. A U.S. court ruling previously blocked Argentina from making $539 million in interest payments due by midnight Wednesday to other bondholders who separately agreed to restruc

  • Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history has led the U.S. Peace Corps to evacuate hundreds of volunteers from three affected West African countries, and a State Department official on Wednesday said two volunteers were under isolation after having contact with a person who later died of the virus. Meanwhile, Liberia's president ordered the nation's schools to shut down and most civil servants to stay home as fears deepened over the virus that already has killed more than 670 people in West Africa. The Peace Corps said it was evacuating 340 volunteers from Liberia as well as neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone. The State Department official said the two volunteers were not symptomatic and

  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against Gaza's Hamas rulers claimed at least 116 Palestinian lives. After the strikes near the shopping area in Gaza City, bodies lay scattered in the streets as the wounded screamed for help. "Where is the ambulance?" one man moaned as he lay on the blood-soaked ground. Some 3,300 Gazans seeking refuge from the fighting had been crammed into the U.N.

  • Researchers: World Trade Center ship dates to 1773

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — It's a ship tied to two critical points in American history: Sept. 11, 2001, and the eve of the Revolutionary War. Researchers said this week that a vessel unearthed four years ago at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan was made from wood cut around the year 1773 — two years before the start of the war and three years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, writing in the July issue of the journal Tree Ring Research, said the white oak in the ship's frame came from a Philadelphia-area forest and matched the material used to build the city's Independence Hall.

  • Mexico prosecutors to question ex-governor's son

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors plan to question the son of a former governor after a video surfaced that purportedly shows him talking with the leader of a drug cartel, a federal official said Wednesday. The official said federal prosecutors plan to question Rodrigo Vallejo, whose father was governor of the trafficking-plagued state of Michoacan. The official, who agreed to discuss the case only if not quoted by name because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said earlier in the day that federal investigators had been talking to Rodrigo Vallejo since late Tuesday. The video, released Monday by local media, shows Vallejo sitting with a man identified as Servando Gomez, the alleged leader of the Knights Templ

  • El Salvador charges priest with helping gang

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Police arrested a Spanish priest Wednesday on allegations he tried to get favorable treatment for Salvadoran gang members and helped smuggled contraband into prisons. Roman Catholic priest Antonio Rodriguez Tercero was detained as part of a sweep that also arrested 12 police officers, two judges, three court employees and two prosecution officials who allegedly collaborated with members of "Mara" street gangs. Some of them were accused of helping expedite or fix judicial rulings for gang members. Other court employees, lawyers and gang members were also detained in a series of raids that netted a total of 125 arrests, officials said.

  • Japanese search US archives for WWII MIA info

    Updated: 22 hr ago

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — A Japanese group is combing a New York military museum's World War II records for information it hopes will lead to the graves of Americans still listed as missing in action on the Pacific island of Saipan. Kuentai (KOO'-en-tye) — which normally searches for the remains of Japan's war dead — says it's racing the clock: A developer plans to begin construction in the fall on a condominium near the beach where scores of American soldiers died in Japan's largest mass suicide attack during the war. The group has found the remains of at least two American fighting men near the construction site and believes as many as 16 others are buried nearby.

  • 32 nations back Judaism's Yom Kippur as UN holiday

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Thirty-two countries have written to a U.N. General Assembly committee asking the United Nations to recognize Judaism's holiest day, Yom Kippur, as an official holiday. The letter to the assembly's Committee on Conferences, circulated on Wednesday, says the U.N. "recognizes the major festivals of many of the world's main religions, yet Judaism is not represented." "We believe that the United Nations calendar should reflect the organization's founding principles of coexistence, justice and mutual respect," the 32 countries said. "We urge the United Nations to correct this inequity and recognize the holiest day of the Jewish faith." Israel launched a campaign in May to make Yom Kippur a U.N. holida

  • Venezuela's opposition coordinator resigns post

    Updated: 23 hr ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The head of Venezuela's opposition alliance resigned Wednesday, delivering a blow to anti-government forces bitterly divided over how best to challenge socialist President Nicolas Maduro as frustrations rise with his handling of the struggling economy. Ramon Guillermo Aveledo had held the perennially fractious opposition together ever since the Democratic Unity alliance was created five years ago. After years of infighting and fumbled strategies, like a decision to boycott 2005 legislative elections, he helped rally a diverse range of opposition parties behind a single presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, who on two occasions almost unseated the ruling socialist party. Aveledo said he was res

  • Ax crashes through car windshield on highway

    Yesterday

    TOPSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — It was a scary moment on a highway north of Boston when an ax smashed through the windshield of a car. Massachusetts State Police say the ax bounced out of a landscaper's dump truck at about 11 a.m. Wednesday on southbound Interstate 95 in Topsfield. They released a photo showing the ax with a corner of its blade stuck in the passenger side of the car's dashboard. The handle was sticking through the windshield. Police say the car's passenger was "shaken up" but not hurt. The truck driver, from Peabody, Massachusetts, was cited for failing to secure the ax, which carries a $200 fine. Police say it could have been worse if the car's driver hadn't been obeying the 65 mph speed limit. P

  • Bolivia to require visas for Israeli travelers

    Yesterday

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia's leftist president has declared Israel a "terrorist state" because of its offensive in the Gaza Strip, and his government will now require Israeli citizens to obtain a visa to visit the Andean nation. President Evo Morales already broke off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in 2009, calling Israel's treatment of Palestinians "a genocide." The action announced Wednesday will especially hit young Israelis, who often travel for extended periods, with South America a popular destination. Other South American countries, including Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, have recalled their ambassadors from Israel in protest over the fighting in Gaza.

  • Bank scandal tarnishes powerful Portuguese family

    Yesterday

    LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's Espirito Santo family business survived wars, dictatorship, revolution and family feuds for almost 150 years. Now, one of Europe's last banking dynasties is being stripped of its wealth and influence amid accounting irregularities, huge unreported debts, record losses at the family bank and a police investigation. The scandal bears the hallmarks of the recent European financial crisis, and the difficulties at Banco Espirito Santo — for years Portugal's largest private bank — sent a shiver through global markets this month as investors feared Europe's closet contained more skeletons. Portugal was one of the main casualties of the eurozone's debt woes when it needed a 78 billion-euro ($105 bil

  • Grandma thanks Idaho trooper for traffic stop

    Yesterday

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A woman who got a speeding ticket while on a recent vacation to Idaho wrote a note to the Idaho State Police thanking the trooper for the kindness he showed her grandchildren during the stop. KBOI-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1xARlC8) the Idaho State Police shared the note on Wednesday. The woman wrote that Officer Mike Nielsen made the stop a good experience for her grandchildren by talking with them calmly and giving them stickers. She says she wasn't left out and got her "very own sticker shock." The letter did not say how much she was fined. ___ Information from: KBOI-TV, http://www.kboi2.

  • UN chief calls attack on Gaza school 'shameful'

    Yesterday

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack on a U.N. school in Gaza that killed at least 16 people early Wednesday as "outrageous" and "unjustifiable," and demanded an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. "Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children," Ban said on his arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica. "I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms." Ban said "all available evidence points to Israeli artillery as the cause" of the pre-dawn attack, and he pointedly noted that Israeli military authorities had received the coordinates of the school from the United Nations 17 times, including on Tuesday night. At U.N.

  • Correction: Grand River Burn story

    Yesterday

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — In a story July 27 about plans to conduct controlled fires on two islands in the Grand River, The Associated Press misspelled the first name of a Department of Natural Resources biologist. He is Nik Kalejs, not Nick Kalejs. A corrected version of the story is below: Grand River burn planned to remove invasive plants Michigan natural resource managers plan Grand River fires to remove invasive phragmites plants LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State officials are planning a series of fires on two islands in the Grand River in Ottawa County to get rid of an invasive, reedy plant called phragmites (frag-MY'-tees).

  • Victims of 1982 Guatemala massacre laid to rest

    Yesterday

    SANTA MARIA NEBAJ, Guatemala (AP) — The remains of 31 Ixil Mayans killed more than three decades ago during the height of Guatemala's civil war were laid to rest Wednesday in the country's western highlands amid the sounds of a violin and wafts of incense. Hundreds of people joined in a procession that carried small wooden boxes containing the remains to a cemetery in Xecax, the village in Quiche province where the massacre happened. Villagers have blamed the army for the attack on Feb. 4, 1982, but no one has ever been prosecuted. Forensic experts first exhumed the remains four years ago but were able to identify only eight of the victims through DNA tests.

  • 3 Putin allies among 8 hit with new EU sanctions

    Yesterday

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle for the first time Wednesday for the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine, subjecting three of his long-time associates to EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans. A total of eight people were added to the EU's sanctions list for allegedly undermining Ukraine's sovereignty or profiting from Moscow's takeover of Crimea, the EU's Official Journal showed. Three companies were also blacklisted. Among the individuals was Arkady Rotenberg, Putin's former judo partner and a major shareholder of the civil engineering company Giprotransmost. The company has received a public contract to conduct a study on building a bridge from Russia to Crimea, the E

  • A look at the EU's new sanctions against Russia

    Yesterday

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's sanctions against Russia are bound to inflict pain on the country's ailing economy. While still narrowly targeted, they come as a warning shot to convince Moscow to change its Ukraine policies or face even tougher penalties. Here's a look at the sanctions and their potential impact. ___ FINANCIAL SANCTIONS The sanctions prohibit the sale of bonds and shares on EU market by banks that are controlled by the Russian government. No EU firms will be allowed to help those banks in placing debt on international financial markets, and EU investors will also be barred from buying such bonds or shares on all markets. The state-owned banks last year issued 7.

  • Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

    Yesterday

    MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. and European sanctions against Russia's energy and finance sectors are strong enough to cause deep, long-lasting damage within months unless Moscow persuades the West to repeal them by withdrawing support for Ukrainian insurgents. The U.S. and European Union released details Wednesday of new sanctions aimed at hurting Russia's economy without doing undue damage to their own trade interests, punishment for alleged Russian support for Ukrainian rebels and Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The sanctions go further than earlier penalties — which had largely targeted individuals — by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military ind

  • Yellowstone considers quarantine program for bison

    Yesterday

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comment on a proposal to capture and quarantine wild bison so disease-free animals can be relocated to create new herds outside the park, Yellowstone officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes after the Department of Interior last month identified 20 parcels of public lands in 10 states that could be suitable for relocated Yellowstone bison. Yellowstone's roughly 4,600 bison are prized for their pure genetics. But many carry the disease brucellosis, which can cause pregnant livestock to prematurely abort their young. Thousands of park bison have been shipped to slaughter in recent years to control their numbers.