Monday, May 27, 2013


69 years after Marine's death, WW2 Museum visitor sees his diary note: Return diary to her

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Before Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the South Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his "last life request" to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.

Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.

"I didn't have any idea there was a diary in there," said the 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman. She said it brought tears to her eyes.

Laura Mae Davis Burlingame — she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 — had gone to the New Orleans museum on April 24 looking for a display commemorating the young Marine who had been her high-school sweetheart.

"I figured I'd see pictures of him and the fellows he'd served with and articles about where he served," she said.


In Tripoli, Lebanon's 2nd city, neighbors fight Syrian proxy war but also settle old scores

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) — In a rundown district of Lebanon's second largest city, residents have adapted to waging war with their neighbors.

Whenever violence breaks out, they string large cloths across intersections to block snipers' view, sleep in hallways to take cover from mortar shells and abandon apartments close to the front line.

The sectarian fighting between the two neighborhoods stretches back four decades to Lebanon's civil war. But it has become more frequent and increasingly lethal since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011. The two districts support opposite sides.

The latest round between Bab Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen over the past week has been the bloodiest yet, leaving at least 28 dead and more than 200 wounded.

Bab Tabbaneh is mostly Sunni, while Jabal Mohsen is home to most of Tripoli's Alawites, followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam.


GOP eyes Clinton '92 win as it ponders how to reach new voters without angering its base

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican Party, having lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, confronts a dilemma that's easier to describe than to solve: How can it broaden its appeal to up-for-grabs voters without alienating its conservative base?

There's no consensus yet on how to do it. With the next election three years away, Republicans are tiptoeing around policy changes even as they size up potential candidates who range from tea party heroes to pragmatic governors in Republican- and Democratic-leaning states.

There's a partial road map, but it's more than two decades old, and the other party drafted it. Democrats, sick of losing elections and being tagged as out-of-touch liberals, moved their party toward the center and rallied behind Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992.

Strategists in both parties say Clinton's achievement, however impressive, may look modest compared to what a Republican leader must do to construct a new winning formula, given the nation's changing demographics.

"Our challenge was to get voters back," said Al From, a chief architect of Clinton's political rise. "Their challenge is harder: get voters to come into a new coalition."


Wash. governor: Temporary fix for crumpled I-5 bridge ready by mid-June

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state plans to install within weeks a temporary fix for an interstate highway bridge that crumpled after being hit by a truck, tossing cars and people into a chilly river but causing only minor injuries.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that the temporary spans for the Interstate 5 bridge will be installed across the Skagit River by around mid-June, if plans go well.

Barges with equipment to remove the mangled bridge and cars in the water arrived at the site and work was expected to start during the early hours Monday, the state Department of Transportation said.

Sunday's announcement came as investigators used 3D laser scans to study what remained of the collapsed bridge.

It also came a day after the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board called Thursday night's collapse a wake-up call to the state of safety of the nation's infrastructure.


Japanese politician apologizes for telling US troops to visit sex businesses to reduce rapes

TOKYO (AP) — An outspoken Japanese politician apologized Monday for saying U.S. troops should patronize adult entertainment businesses as a way to reduce sex crimes, but defended another inflammatory remark about Japan's use of sex slaves before and during World War II.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who is also the co-head of an emerging nationalistic party, said his remarks two weeks ago rose from a "sense of crisis" about cases of sexual assaults by U.S. military personnel on Japanese civilians in Okinawa, where a large number of U.S. troops are based under a bilateral security treaty.

"I understand that my remark could be construed as an insult to the U.S. forces and to the American people" and was inappropriate, he said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Tokyo. "I retract this remark and express an apology."

Hashimoto had created an uproar with comments to journalists two weeks ago about Japan's modern and wartime sexual services. They added to recent anger in neighboring countries that suffered from Japan's wartime aggression and have complained about the lack of atonement for atrocities committed during that time.

Hashimoto said on May 13 that on a recent visit to the southern island of Okinawa, he suggested to the U.S. commander there that the troops there "to make better use" of the legal sex industry. "If you don't make use of those places you cannot control the sexual energy of those tough guys," he said.


'Crack baby' scare overblown, says study showing no big effects in teens exposed before birth

CHICAGO (AP) — Research in teens adds fresh evidence that the 1980s "crack baby" scare was overblown, finding little proof of any major long-term ill effects in children whose mothers used cocaine during pregnancy.

Some studies have linked pregnant women's cocaine use with children's behavior difficulties, attention problems, anxiety and worse school performance. But the effects were mostly small and may have resulted from other factors including family problems or violence, parents' continued drug use and poverty, the researchers said.

They reviewed 27 studies involving more than 5,000 11- to 17-year-olds whose mothers had used cocaine while pregnant. The studies all involved low-income, mostly black and urban families.

The review, led by University of Maryland pediatrics researcher Maureen Black, was released online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Widespread use of crack cocaine in the 1980s led to the "crack baby" scare, when babies born to crack users sometimes had worrisome symptoms including jitteriness and smaller heads. Studies at the time blamed prenatal drug use, suggested affected children had irreversible brain damage and predicted dire futures for them. These reports led to widespread media coverage featuring breathless headlines and heart-rending images of tiny sick newborns hooked up to hospital machines.


FACT CHECK: On drones, climate change and more, Kerry dishes some iffy claims on foreign trip

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry straddled the diplomatic boundary this weekend between presenting the best face of America and a misleading one.

In a question-and-answer session with young Ethiopians on Sunday, Kerry exaggerated the U.S. record on climate change, appeared to conflate past U.S. policy on drones with President Barack Obama's new policy and gave an incomplete account of how he opposed the Iraq war. A day earlier, he struggled with economic data as well as the contents of his own department's terrorism blacklist.

Here's a look at how some of his statements measured up against the facts:


KERRY on drones: "The only people that we are going after are confirmed terrorist targets, at the highest level. ... We will not fire when we know there are children or collateral damage. ... I am convinced that we have one of the strictest, most accountable and fairest programs."


Kenya: UK soldier killing suspect arrested in 2010 near border with Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A suspect in last week's savage killing of a British soldier on a London street was arrested in Kenya in 2010 while apparently preparing to train and fight with al-Qaida-linked Somali militants, an anti-terrorism police official said.

Michael Adebolajo, who was carrying a British passport, was then handed over to British authorities in the East African country, another Kenyan official said Sunday.

The information surfaced as London's Metropolitan Police said specialist firearms officers arrested a man Sunday suspected of conspiring to murder 25-year-old British soldier Lee Rigby. Police gave no other details about the suspect, only saying he is 22 years old.

The arrest brought to nine the number of suspects who have been taken into custody regarding Rigby's horrific killing in London. No one has been charged in the case.

The British soldier, who had served in Afghanistan, was run over, and then, witnesses say, was stabbed with knives by two men in the Woolwich area in southeast London on Wednesday afternoon as he was walking near his barracks.


Forget the small screen: Cinema's colorful wildlife on view at Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (AP) — "Look at these people, this wildlife."

As the partying journalist of Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty," Toni Servillo was surveying Rome's colorful nightlife, but he might as well have been contemplating the Cannes Film Festival. The 66th edition of the Cote d'Azur extravaganza drew to a close Sunday, awarding the sensual, heartbreaking lesbian romance "Blue is the Warmest Color: The Life of Adele" the festival's top honor, the Palme d'Or.

The Cannes Film Festivale is a 12-day circus of perpetual red-carpet flashbulbs, beachside soirees and, yes, a feast of some of the finest, wildest movies the world has to offer. The most exotic creatures weren't the high-heeled ones parading the Croisette, they were the ones gracing Cannes' pristine movie screens.

This year, the festival was a particularly captivating coterie of rare birds. There was Tilda Swinton as a white-haired, centuries-old vampire (Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive"); Joaquin Phoenix as a 1920s pimp, sticking out his jaw like Marlon Brando (James Gray's "The Immigrant"); a sequin-covered Michael Douglas as Liberace (Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra"); a battered and bloodied, but still cool Ryan Gosling (Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives"); and the disabled but acrobatic dancer Souleymane Deme (Mahamat-Saleh Harouns "Grigris").

There was literal wildlife, too, including a cat named Hercules (the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis"), a vanishing giraffe ("The Great Beauty") and an unfortunate pooch caught up in Mexico's brutal drug war (Amat Escalante's "Heli"). Cannes, alas, is a dog eat dog world.


A dozen years of heartbreak end for Brazil's Tony Kanaan with elusive Indianapolis 500 win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tony Kanaan had the car. He had the nerves. And he finally had the luck.

Now he has the trophy, too.

Kanaan won his first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, ending 12 years of frustration with a crowd-pleasing victory for the popular Brazilian driver.

After coming so close so many times, he couldn't help but feel nervous on that long, anticlimactic final lap under the yellow caution flag.

"I started to check everything in my car," he said. "Do we have enough fuel? Four wheels? You kind of go crazy. The pace car guy, whoever it was, this guy is actually celebrating. I'm like, 'Go! Can you go quicker? It's going to be a long lap if keep doing that.'"

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