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Associated Press

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Turkish PM: Authorities will rid Istanbul's Taksim Square of 'troublemakers' within 24 hours.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says police will remove "troublemakers" from Istanbul's Taksim Square within 24 hours.

The Thursday warning comes less than a day after Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party offered a plan to hold a referendum over a development plan near the square that has fanned two weeks of protests. Five people have died and more than 5,000 have been injured during the violence.

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UN says nearly 93,000 confirmed killed in Syrian conflict, real number likely far higher

GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations' human rights office said Thursday that almost 93,000 people have been confirmed killed in the Syrian conflict, but the real number is likely to be far higher.

The analysis found 92,901 documented killings in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013, said the U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, but she acknowledged that it was impossible to put an exact figure on the death toll from Syria's upward spiral of violence.

The last such analysis, in January, had documented nearly 60,000 killings through the end of November. The latest figures add more killings to that time period, plus some 27,000 more between December and April.

"The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels, with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July," said Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. "This is most likely a minimum casualty figure. The true number of those killed is potentially much higher."

Among the victims were at least 6,561 children, including 1,729 children younger than 10.

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NSA director says surveillance programs disrupted dozens of terrorist attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Once-secret surveillance programs were crucial in enabling the U.S. government to thwart dozens of terrorist attacks, says the director of the National Security Agency in a forceful defense of spy operations that have stirred fears of government snooping and violations of privacy rights.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, in his first congressional testimony since disclosure of the secretive programs, offered few details on Wednesday about the disrupted terror plots but asserted that the two government programs — they have collected millions of telephone records and kept tabs on Internet activity — were imperative in the terror fight.

The director of national intelligence has declassified some details on two thwarted attacks — Najibullah Zazi's foiled plot to bomb the New York subways and the case of David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who used his U.S. passport to travel frequently to India, where he allegedly scouted out venues for terror attacks on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization.

Alexander said he is pressing for the intelligence community to provide details on the other plots.

"I do think it's important that we get this right and I want the American people to know that we're trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country," Alexander told a Senate panel.

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AP Exclusive: Building inspections in wake of Bangladesh disaster show other factories at risk

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladeshi garment factories are routinely built without consulting engineers. Many are located in commercial or residential buildings not designed to withstand the stress of heavy manufacturing. Some add illegal extra floors atop support columns too weak to hold them, according to a survey of scores of factories by an engineering university that was shown to The Associated Press.

A separate inspection, by the garment industry, of 200 risky factories found that 10 percent of them were so dangerous that they were ordered to shut. The textiles minister said a third inspection, conducted by the government, could show that as many as 300 factories were unsafe.

Taken together, the findings offer the first broad look at just how unsafe the working conditions are for the garment workers who produce clothing for major western brands. And it's more bad news for the $20 billion industry that has been struggling to regain the confidence of Western retailers and consumers following a November fire at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory that killed 112 people and the April collapse of the Rana Plaza building that killed 1,129 people in the worst garment industry tragedy. But the proliferation of inspections could signal the industry is finally taking its workers' safety seriously.

Rana Plaza was "a wakeup call for everybody" to ensure their buildings were structurally sound, said Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

"Earlier it was not in our minds. We never, ever thought of this," he said.

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Thousands flee Colo. Wildfire as flames destroy at least 92 homes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Jaenette Coyne estimates she had five minutes to leave home after calling 911 to report forest fire smoke behind her home.

There was no time to grab wedding albums, fingerprint artwork by her 20-month-old daughter, quilts her grandmother made, her family's three cats.

"We left with nothing," she said.

She and her husband later watched on television this week as flames engulfed their house.

"I don't know how to tell you in words what it felt like," she said. "It's the worst thing I've ever felt in my whole life."

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In a first, rural America loses population as boomers put off moves to retirement counties

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rural America is losing population for the first time ever, largely because of waning interest among baby boomers in moving to far-flung locations for retirement and recreation, according to new census estimates.

Long weighed down by dwindling populations in farming and coal communities and the movement of young people to cities, rural counties are being hit by sputtering growth in retirement and recreation areas, once residential hot spots for baby boomers.

The new estimates, as of July 2012, show that would-be retirees are opting to stay put in urban areas near jobs. Recent weakness in the economy means some boomers have less savings than a decade ago to buy a vacation home in the countryside, which often becomes a full-time residence after retirement. Cities are also boosting urban living, a potential draw for boomers who may prefer to age closer to accessible health care.

About 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties, which spread across 72 percent of the nation's land area. From 2011 to 2012, those non-metro areas lost more than 40,000 people, a 0.1 percent drop. The Census Bureau reported a minuscule 0.01 percent loss from 2010 to 2011, but that was not considered statistically significant and could be adjusted later.

Rural areas, which include manufacturing and farming as well as scenic retirement spots, have seen substantial movement of residents to urban areas before. But the changes are now coinciding with sharp declines in U.S. birth rates and an aging population, resulting in a first-ever annual loss.

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Pa. girl, 10, who successfully challenged transplantation rules, gets new lung

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 10-year-old girl ailing with cystic fibrosis was recovering from a transplant of adult lungs made available to her by a judge's controversial ruling that expanded her options for lifesaving surgery.

Sarah Murnaghan underwent a six-hour surgery Wednesday at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a procedure her aunt said that resulted because of the larger list of available organs.

"It was a direct result of the ruling that allowed her to be put on the adult list," Sarah's aunt, Sharon Ruddock said, after her niece's surgery was completed successfully. "It was not pediatric lungs. She would have never gotten these lungs otherwise."

She said the donor lungs came through "normal channels" and not through the public appeals the family made directly in their bid to find a compatible donor. No other details about the donor lungs are known.

The Murnaghan family's public quest to qualify their daughter for an organ transplant spurred public debate over how donor organs are allocated.

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The generation that's grown up posting their lives online wants something unexpected: privacy

CHICAGO (AP) — Amid the debate over government surveillance, there's been an assumption: Young people don't care about privacy.

Turns out, the generation that puts much of the "social" in social networking is much more complex when determining what personal information they want to share.

Sure, they're as likely as ever to post photos of themselves online, as well as their location and even phone numbers, say those who track their high-tech habits. But as they approach adulthood, they're also getting more adept at hiding and pruning their online lives.

Despite their propensity for sharing, many young adults also are surprisingly big advocates for privacy — in some cases, more than their elders.

That attitude showed up most recently in a poll done over the weekend for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post. The poll, tied to the disclosure of broad federal surveillance, found that young adults were much more divided than older generations when asked if the government should tread on their privacy to thwart terrorism.

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Shaw scores winner in Game 1 thriller, Blackhawks beat Bruins 4-3 in triple OT

CHICAGO (AP) — Of course, it was Andrew Shaw. The pesky little forward always gets up when he's knocked down.

The three-overtime opener of the Stanley Cup finals came to a thrilling end at the stroke of midnight Wednesday because the tenacious Shaw is a whole lot more than his reputation for irritating opposing players.

Shaw skated in front of the goal at the right time, deflecting Dave Bolland's tip into the net for the winning score in the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup.

"We knew it wasn't going to be pretty at that point," Shaw said. "You could tell both teams were physically exhausted. We've preached it: Go to the net, you'll find a way to get a greasy goal. We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime."

Shaw was knocked down near the boards but got up as the puck came out to Michal Rozsival, who started the winning sequence with a shot from the right point into traffic. Bolland's tip then went off Shaw's right leg and past Tuukka Rask at 12:08 for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

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Tradition of Merion meets a traditional golf foe — weather — as US Open returns after 32 years

ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — Under bright sunshine and a gentle breeze, Sergio Garcia signed autographs near the tee box at the 16th hole during his final practice round for the U.S. Open. He then sent his drive in the direction of one of those charming red wicker baskets that sit atop the flagpoles, the white ball coming to rest nicely in the middle of the fairway with nary a smudge of mud.

A postcard scene for golf's return to Merion. Enjoy it while it lasts.

For all the extraordinary effort it took to shoehorn a modern-day championship onto the historic but intimate course, there was nothing anyone could do about the 6½ inches of rain that have soaked the Philadelphia area during the last week. Sunny days Tuesday and Wednesday helped dry out things a bit, but the weather update from the USGA ominously listed the chance of rain during Thursday's first round at 100 percent.

"Gusty & humid with showers likely in the morning & T-storms in the afternoon," the notice read.

That led to a USGA news conference that covered topics like hail, standing water and the dreaded "potentially damaging winds." At one point during a long and otherwise straight-laced opening statement, USGA vice president Tom O'Toole spoke about the presentation of the championship trophy — then rolled his eyes skyward and added: "which we hope will be Sunday."

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