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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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News,Science and Technology

Frantic call leads police to 3 missing women in Cleveland home; 3 brothers arrested

CLEVELAND (AP) — The voice of the long-missing woman was frantic and breathless, choking back tears. "Help me. I'm Amanda Berry," she told a 911 dispatcher. "I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years and I'm, I'm here, I'm free now."

Those words led police to a house near downtown Cleveland where Berry and two other women who went missing a decade ago were found on Monday, elating family members and friends who'd longed to see them again.

Authorities later arrested three brothers. They released no names and gave no information about them or what charges they might face.

City officials have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning.

Police Chief Michael McGrath said he thinks Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were tied up at the house and held there since they were in their teens or early 20s.

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Israeli airstrikes add new wrinkle to US diplomacy, debate on greater Syria role

MOSCOW (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is making his case to Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia to take a tougher stance on Syria at a time when Israel's weekend air strikes against the beleaguered Mideast nation have added an unpredictable factor to the talks.

Kerry arrived Tuesday in Moscow for talks with the most powerful ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Officials said Kerry hopes to change Moscow's thinking on Syria with two new angles: American threats to arm the Syrian rebels and evidence of chemical weapon attacks by the Assad regime.

Over the weekend, Israeli warplanes targeted what Israel claimed were caches of Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terror group. Such weapons would allow Hezbollah to strike Tel Aviv and as far as southern Israel from inside Lebanese territory.

Israel's willingness to hit Syrian targets it sees as threats to its own existence has complicated the Obama administration's internal debate over what to do about Syria.

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Senate passes bill letting states collect taxes for Internet sales; skeptical House awaits

WASHINGTON (AP) — Traditional retailers and cash-strapped states face a tough sell in the House as they lobby Congress to limit tax-free shopping on the Internet.

The Senate voted 69 to 27 Monday to pass a bill that empowers states to collect sales taxes from Internet purchases. Under the bill, states could require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes when they sell products over the Internet, in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.

Current law says states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the merchant has a physical presence in the state.

That means big retailers with stores all over the country like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target collect sales taxes when they sell goods over the Internet. But online retailers like eBay and Amazon don't have to collect sales taxes, except in states where they have offices or distribution centers.

"This bill is about fairness," said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the bill's main sponsor in the Senate. "It's about leveling the playing field between the brick and mortar and online companies and it's about collecting a tax that's already due. It's not about raising taxes."

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Search for burial spot for suspected marathon bomber stalls; compensation fund plans discussed

BOSTON (AP) — Despite more than 100 offers, a Massachusetts funeral director is striking out in his search for a burial location for the body of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was killed in a gun battle with police.

On Monday, Worcester funeral home director Peter Stefan said he'd received 120 burial offers from the United States and Canada for the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But he said when he talked to officials in the cities and towns where the graves are located, nobody wanted the body there.

Tsarnaev's mother said she wants her son's remains returned to Russia. Stefan, however, said he doesn't think Russia will take Tsarnaev's body. He said he made calls to Russia, but that it was hard to get anyone to respond. He said he is working on other arrangements, but declined to be more specific.

The wrangling over Tsarnaev's body came as a friend of the surviving suspect in the bombings was released from federal custody Monday amid a swell of support from family and friends, but remained under strict house arrest.

And Monday evening victims of the bombing met with the administrator of the One Fund Boston charity, which has already taken in more than $28 million in donations to help those injured in the bombing.

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Suicide bomber targeting Islamist candidate kills 12 in second attack on party in as many days

PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated his explosives near a vehicle carrying a candidate from a hard-line Islamist party in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 12 people in the second attack on the party in as many days, police said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Taliban took credit for an attack the day before on the same party, claiming it was targeting a candidate who had supported military operations against the militants in the northwest.

The blast Tuesday also wounded 35 people, but the candidate from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, Mufti Syed Janan, escaped unharmed, said police officer Haleem Khan. The attack occurred as Janan's convoy passed through a market in the town of Doaba in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Khan.

The Pakistani Taliban set off a bomb at a political rally held by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in the northwest Kurram tribal region on Monday, killing 25 people and wounding 70, said government official Javed Khan. The targeted candidate was not harmed.

The Taliban have carried out multiple attacks in the run-up to national elections scheduled for May 11. But most of the attacks have targeted secular parties that have opposed the militants and backed the army's attempt to clear them from their sanctuaries in the northwest.

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Obama hosts South Korea's new president to show united front against North Korean threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and South Korea's new leader Park Geun-hye hope to present a strong front against North Korea's nuclear threats during their high-profile meeting Tuesday at the White House. But they also want to leave the door open to talks with Pyongyang.

Park has had something of a baptism of fire since she took office in February, two weeks after North Korea's latest atomic test ratcheted up tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula and undermined her hopes of forging a more trusting relationship with a difficult neighbor.

In Washington, Park is assured of a warm reception on a visit that also marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korean alliance. Her Oval Office meeting, working lunch and joint news conference with Obama will be followed Wednesday by an address to a joint meeting of Congress.

Daniel Russel, White House senior director for Asian affairs, said Obama would reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea. He said the joint appearance of the two leaders at the White House would make it crystal clear to Pyongyang that the allies stand shoulder to shoulder.

"In dealing with North Korea, it's vital we show unity," Russel told reporters.

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Long before youth referee's death, many feared consequences of decline in sportsmanship

The football teams were still on the field, exchanging the traditional postgame handshakes, when Pete McCabe walked by. The veteran referee heard another official call his name and turned, only to be smashed in the face with a helmet by one of the players.

Almost every bone in McCabe's face was broken, his skull fractured in several places and his nose nowhere close to where it belonged. As he lay on the ground in Rochester, N.Y., the semi-pro player who assaulted him stood over him yelling, "Take that. Take that. This is what I'm all about."

"I have said since this happened to me that it's going to happen again," McCabe said, "and someone is going to get killed."

Four years later, someone was.

McCabe was sickened when he heard the news that Ricardo Portillo had died Saturday, a week after the youth soccer referee in Utah had been punched in the head by a 17-year-old player angry over a yellow card. Just as Portillo's family is now pleading for athletes to control their tempers, McCabe has spent the last four years preaching the importance of sportsmanship in and around Rochester.

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Limo driver, survivor offer different views of Calif. limo fire that killed 5 women

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — As smoke thickened and a fire grew in the back of a limousine, Nelia Arellano desperately tried to squeeze through a 3 foot by 1 ½-foot partition.

Stuck for a moment, Arellano made her way into the front seat. Three of her friends quickly followed. Five others didn't make it. Their bodies were later found pressed against the partition.

Arellano said in an interview Monday with KGO-TV that she believes the driver, Oliver Brown, could have done more to help during the fire, which took place Saturday night on one of the busiest bridges on San Francisco Bay.

"When he stop the car, he get out from the car, he just get out from the car," she said.

Arellano and other women had started the night celebrating the recent wedding of Neriza Fojas and were headed across the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge to a hotel in Foster City.

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Windows 8, Take 2: Microsoft to spiff up maligned operating system with 'Blue' touch-up job

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is retooling the latest version of its Windows operating system to address complaints and confusion that have been blamed for deepening a slump in personal computer sales.

The tune up announced Tuesday won't be released to consumers and businesses until later this year. The changes, part of a software package given the codename "Blue," are a tacit acknowledgment of the shortcomings in Windows 8, a radical overhaul of Microsoft Corp.'s ubiquitous operating system.

With the makeover it released last October, Microsoft hoped to play a more prominent role in the growing mobile device market while still maintaining its dominance in PCs. But Windows 8's design, which emphasizes interactive tiles and touch controls, seems to have befuddled as many people as it has impressed. One leading research firm, International Data Corp., says Windows 8 contributed to a 14 percent decline in worldwide PC sales during the first three months of the year — the biggest year-over-year drop ever.

Meanwhile, sales of smartphones and tablet computers are booming. The biggest beneficiaries have been Apple Inc., the maker of the iPhone and iPad, and Samsung Electronics Co., which sells the most devices running on Google Inc.'s Android software. Google is also benefiting from Android's popularity through increased traffic to its services, creating more opportunities for the company to display ads.

By contrast, leading PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc., which primarily sell Windows-powered machines, have been mired in a financial funk that has battered their stocks and raised questions about their futures.

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Ginobili's late 3-pointer in double OT lifts Spurs to 129-127 win over Golden State

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Manu Ginobili's play in the final 50 seconds was almost too much for Gregg Popovich to handle. Then again, the Spurs' coach is used to his veteran guard's free-wheeling style.

Ginobili's 3-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime lifted the San Antonio Spurs to a thrilling 129-127 victory Monday night over the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, who had 44 points in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

The game-winning shot came 43.7 seconds after Ginobili took an ill-advised 3 that appeared to cost the Spurs the game.

"I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning," Popovich said. "That's the truth. When I talk to him and say, 'Manu,' he goes, 'This is what I do.' That's what he's going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago."

Ginobili's 3 capped an improbable comeback for the Spurs, who trailed by 16 points with 4 minutes left in regulation before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime.

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