Senate leaders nearing agreement to fully reopen government, avoid threat of default
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders are closing in on an agreement to reopen the government and forestall an economy-rattling default on U.S. obligations.
Congressional aides predicted Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky could seal an agreement on Tuesday, just two days before the Treasury Department says it will run out of borrowing capacity.
The emerging pact would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit the Treasury to borrow normally until early to mid-February, easing dual crises that have sapped confidence in the economy and taken a sledgehammer to the GOP's poll numbers.
"The general framework is there" between Reid and McConnell, said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. He said conversations with the House were continuing and he thought it would be midday Tuesday at the earliest before a plan was finalized.
Many House conservatives were unhappy about the emerging framework, though it remained to be seen whether they would seek to change it.
As Guantanamo lurches and stumbles, Obama finds quiet, steady terrorism policy in courts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four years after his failed effort to bring the 9/11 mastermind to New York for trial, President Barack Obama has reinstated the federal courthouse as America's preferred venue for prosecuting suspected terrorists.
His administration has done so by quietly securing conviction after conviction in the civilian judicial system. Meanwhile at Guantanamo Bay, admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's case moves at a snail's pace.
Tuesday's expected arraignment of suspected al-Qaida member Abu Anas al-Libi is the latest example of Obama's de facto policy. Al-Libi was captured in a military raid in Libya earlier this month and had been under interrogation aboard a U.S. warship.
The Obama administration says it considers all options for prosecuting terrorists, weighing military and civilian trials on a case-by-case basis.
But Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military base that embodied America's post-9/11 methods of interrogating and prosecuting suspected terrorists, has turned into a legal morass. The military commission's poor case record has become less about winning and more about completion.
Hopes for progress high as US, partners meet with Iran in Geneva over its nuclear program
GENEVA (AP) — The United States and five other world powers sat down Tuesday for the first talks on Tehran's nuclear program since the election of reformist Iranian President Hassan Rouhani four months ago.
The talks are being seen as a key test of Iran's overtures to the West. The U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are eager to see whether Iran's new style since Rouhani's election will translate into progress on dispelling concerns that Tehran may want to make nuclear weapons.
Iran has long insisted it does not want such arms and that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, and top Iranian officials have come to the negotiating table saying Tehran is willing to make concessions to end a decade of deadlock. But the U.S. and its allies insist it will take more than words to advance negotiations and end international sanctions crippling Iran's economy.
One immediate change from previous negotiations was the choice of language at the talks. A senior U.S. official said they were being held in English, unlike previous rounds under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani's hard-line predecessor, where Farsi translation was provided. The official demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss any details of the talks.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, a senior member of negotiating team, said Sunday that Tehran is bringing a new proposal to the talks to dispel doubts about the nuclear program. While offering no details, he told Iran's student news agency ISNA that the Islamic Republic should "enter into a trust-building path with the West."
Major quake in central Philippines kills 32 people, collapses buildings, churches
CEBU, Philippines (AP) — A 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed at least 32 people across the central Philippines on Tuesday, toppling buildings and historic churches and sending terrified residents into deadly stampedes.
Panic ensued as people spilled out on the street after the quake struck at 8:12 a.m. It was centered about 33 kilometers (20 miles) below the town of Carmen on Bohol Island, where many buildings collapsed, roads cracked up and bridges fell.
Extensive damage also hit densely populated Cebu city, across a narrow strait from Bohol, causing deaths when a building in the port and the roof of a market area collapsed.
The quake set off two stampedes in nearby cities. When it struck, people gathered in a gym in Cebu rushed outside in a panic, crushing five people to death and injuring eight others, said Neil Sanchez, provincial disaster management officer. Eighteen others were injured in a scramble to get out of a shaking office building in another city.
At least 16 people died in Bohol and 15 in Cebu, officials said. Scores were injured.
San Francisco Bay Area train system to keep running as union, management continue talks
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A major San Francisco Bay Area transit system was to continue running train service for Tuesday morning's commute after unions and management agreed to extend labor talks past a midnight deadline.
Bay Area Rapid Transit unions had said they would go on strike if they didn't reach a contract deal by midnight Monday after extending stalled negotiations from over the weekend.
The possibility of a strike loomed as the unions gave management a 24-hour reprieve from what would have been the second strike in more than three months. BART workers walked off the job for nearly five days in July. That strike resulted in traffic jams and long lines for buses.
Representatives of BART, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 resumed negotiations Monday afternoon, hours after tense negotiations ended around 3 a.m.
Sticking points in the 6-month-old negotiations include salaries and workers' contributions to their health and pension plans.
Some coach passengers feel the squeeze as new seats let airlines add an extra row on planes
It's not your imagination. There really is a tighter squeeze on many planes these days.
The big U.S. airlines are taking out old, bulky seats in favor of so-called slimline models that take up less space from front to back, allowing for five or six more seats on each plane.
The changes, covering some of the most common planes flown on domestic and international routes, give the airlines two of their favorite things: More paying passengers, and a smaller fuel bill because the seats are slightly lighter. It's part of a trend among the airlines to view seats as money-makers, not just pieces of furniture. Add a few inches of legroom and airlines can charge more for tickets. Take away a few inches and they can fit more seats on the plane.
Some passengers seem to mind the tighter squeeze more than others. The new seats generally have thinner padding. And new layouts on some planes have made the aisles slightly narrower, meaning the dreaded beverage cart bump to the shoulder happens more often.
And this is all going on in coach at a time when airlines are spending heavily to add better premium seats in the front of the plane.
Disparaged as 'dogs,' Rohingya kids suffer in Myanmar: Warehoused in schools, given hard labor
MAUNGDAW, Myanmar (AP) — The 10-year-old struggles up the hill, carrying buckets filled with rocks. Though he tries to keep a brave face in front of his friends, his eyes brim with tears. Every inch of his body aches, he says, and he feels sick and dizzy from the weight.
"I hate it," whispers Anwar Sardad. He has to help support his family, but he wishes there was a way other than working for the government construction agency.
He adds, "I wouldn't have to live this life if I wasn't a Muslim."
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children like Anwar are growing more hopeless in Myanmar, even as the predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million wins praise for ending decades of dictatorship.
Bombing inside mosque kills governor of eastern Afghan province during holiday prayers
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb planted inside a mosque microphone killed the governor of Afghanistan's eastern Logar province as he was delivering a speech to worshippers on Tuesday morning to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, officials said.
The explosion at the main mosque in the provincial capital of Puli Alam killed Governor Arsallah Jamal and wounded 15 people — five of them critically, said the governor's spokesman, Din Mohammad Darwesh.
Jamal, 47, was a close confidant of President Hamid Karzai and served as his campaign manager during the 2009 presidential elections. He also served as governor of the eastern Khost province until he was appointed to his current post in Logar in April.
There was no immediate comment from Karzai's office on the attack.
A high-profile target, Jamal had survived a number of assassination attempts in the past, including with suicide bombings. They include two suicide attacks against his office in Khost in May and July 2009, and a suicide car bomb attack that targeted his convoy in August 2007.
Youthful version of Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' shakes up schools
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — One year after Johnathan Kent kicked his principal and school "went all bad," the 8-year-old was recognized at a recent assembly as the "Star of the Month" for being polite and helping out his teachers.
The third-grader's explanation for the turnaround: "I'm not doing what I did last year."
But Emily Cross, the principal of Indian Trails Elementary on the outskirts of Kansas City, Mo., is giving some credit to a program the school began using last year that is built around the late self-help guru Stephen Covey's best-selling "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." A 25th anniversary edition of the 1989 book will be released in November.
The nearly 1,500 mostly elementary schools using the program — called "The Leader in Me" — teach principles from the book, including "think win-win," ''seek first to understand, then to be understood" and "synergize." Teachers, for example, might ask students how historical figures like George Washington might have used them.
And if a student gets into trouble, teachers and principals ask what habit could have helped him or her avoid the scrape.
Dodgers beat Wainwright and Cardinals 3-0 behind Ryu to get back into NLCS; trail series 2-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Los Angeles Dodgers got themselves right back into the NL championship series.
Hyun-Jin Ryu outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven innings of three-hit ball, and Yasiel Puig celebrated twice on his RBI triple that helped Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 Monday night in Game 3.
Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double ended a 1-for-17 drought for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position. An ailing Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring hit as Los Angeles handed Wainwright his first postseason loss and trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
"The playoffs are one-day momentum swings," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it."
Puig's youthful exuberance, which energized the Dodgers as they surged from last place to first during a torrid midseason stretch, was on full display in the fourth inning.