AP News in Brief

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2011 6:06 PM
AP News in Brief

Senior al-Qaida suspect wanted for 1998 US Embassy blasts killed in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ The al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was killed this week at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces who didn't immediately realize he was the most wanted man in East Africa, officials said Saturday.

The death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed _ a man who topped the FBI's most wanted list for nearly 13 years _ is the third major strike in six weeks against the worldwide terror group that was headed by Osama bin Laden until his death last month.

Mohammed had a $5 million bounty on his head for allegedly planning the Aug. 7, 1998, embassy bombings. The blasts killed 224 people in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Most of the dead were Kenyans. Twelve Americans also died.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton _ who was on a visit to Tanzania on Saturday as Somali officials confirmed Mohammed's death _ called the killing a "significant blow to al-Qaida, its extremist allies, and its operations in East Africa.

"It is a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and elsewhere _ Tanzanians, Kenyans, Somalis, and our own embassy personnel," Clinton said.

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Rep. Weiner seeks leave of absence from House, will enter professional treatment

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Under fierce pressure from fellow Democrats to resign in a sexting scandal, Rep. Anthony Weiner announced Saturday he was entering professional treatment at an undisclosed location and requested a leave of absence from Congress.

An aide for the embattled New York lawmaker made the disclosure in a statement shortly after several Democratic party leaders demanded he quit for exchanging messages and photos ranging from sexually suggestive to explicit with several women online.

"This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, said in a written statement calling for the 46-year-old married lawmaker to step down.

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, said Weiner "has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress."

Aides said later that Pelosi had been aware of Weiner's plan to enter treatment when she issued her statement, and her call for a resignation had not changed because of it.

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Palin emails paint picture of image-conscious, driven leader who angled for VP nomination

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) _ There are no bombshells, no "gotcha" moments.

The emails of Sarah Palin _ more than 24,000 pages of them released Friday by the state of Alaska from her first two years as governor _ paint a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, closely involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration.

She angled for the vice presidential nomination months before John McCain picked her _ and hinted at presidential aspirations.

The messages give a behind-the-scenes look at a politician who burst onto the national stage after serving as Wasilla mayor and less than two years as Alaska governor. They show a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but also was quick to demand answers or accountability.

They seem to depict a more moderate Palin who worked to find a state response to global warming _ she has since dismissed studies supporting climate change _ and gave props to then-Sen. Barack Obama for his support of a natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

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Back-to-back blasts in northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar kill 34, as CIA director visits

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ Two explosions went off minutes apart in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar Sunday, killing 34 people and injuring nearly 100 in one of the deadliest attacks since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month, officials said.

The blasts, one of which was caused by a suicide bomber, occurred just after midnight in an area of the city that is home to political offices and army housing.

The attack took place as CIA Director Leon Panetta and Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Islamabad, 95 miles (150 kilometers) to the east, to speak separately with senior Pakistani officials about intelligence sharing and efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.

The first explosion was relatively small and drew police and rescue workers to the site, said Dost Mohammed, a senior local police official. A large explosion rocked the area a few minutes later, causing the fatalities and injuring 98 people, 18 critically, said Rahim Jan, a senior doctor at a local hospital.

The second blast was caused by a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle packed with 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of explosives, said Ejaz Khan, a senior police official. The source of the first explosion was unknown.

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30 years after first cases, AIDS patients who didn't expect to grow old cope with early aging

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Having survived the first and worst years of the AIDS epidemic, when he was losing three friends to the disease in a day and undergoing every primitive, toxic treatment that then existed, Peter Greene is grateful to be alive.

But a quarter-century after his own diagnosis, the former Mr. Gay Colorado, now 56, wrestles with vision impairment, bone density loss and other debilitating health problems he once assumed he wouldn't grow old enough to see.

"I survived all the big things, but now there is a new host of things. Liver problems. Kidney disease. It's like you are a 50-year-old in an 80-year-old body," Greene, a San Francisco travel agent, said. "I'm just afraid that this is not, regardless of what my non-HIV positive friends say, the typical aging process."

Even when AIDS still was almost always fatal, researchers predicted that people infected with HIV would be more prone to the cancers, neurological disorders and heart conditions that typically afflict the elderly. Thirty years after the first diagnoses, doctors are seeing these and other unanticipated signs of premature or "accelerated" aging in some long-term survivors.

Government-funded scientists are working to tease apart whether the memory loss, arthritis, renal failure and high blood pressure showing up in patients in their 40s and 50s are consequences of HIV, the drugs used to treat it or a cruel combination of both. With people over 50 expected to make up a majority of U.S. residents infected with the virus by 2015, there's some urgency to unraveling the "complex treatment challenges" HIV poses to older Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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International Monetary Fund targeted in computer attack, extent not disclosed

NEW YORK (AP) _ The International Monetary Fund, already reeling from last month's arrest of its former leader, is investigating an attack on its computer system.

IMF spokesman David Hawley said the organization is fully functional. He declined to provide further details on what he termed an "IT incident," including its scope or nature and whether any sensitive data were taken. The IMF has confidential information on countries in financial trouble.

The New York Times cited unnamed IMF officials as saying the attack was sophisticated and serious.

The IMF told staffers about it on Wednesday but hasn't made a public announcement.

The IMF is already facing a public-relations headache after the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as IMF chief last month after being accused of sexually assaulting a maid in a New York hotel.

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Is a kiss just a kiss? Smooch on alleged mobster's lips in Naples triggers guessing game

ROME (AP) _ A kiss is just a kiss, perhaps. But what does a smooch mean when it's planted on the lips of an alleged mobster by another man?

Observers of Italy's organized crime syndicates have been trying to trying to figure out the meaning of the kiss earlier this week by a young man in a crowd of onlookers outside Naples police headquarters as Daniele D'Agnese was about to be hustled into a squad car.

D'Agnese was captured Wednesday, after two years on the run, along with fellow fugitive Carmine Amato, reputed chieftain of the Amato-Pagano crime clan in the Naples-based Camorra syndicate, in a house in an area of quarries on the city's outskirts.

Four men in their 20s told police they wanted to greet D'Agnese, considered by investigators to be Amato's bodyguard, before he was taken to jail, according to Naples daily Il Mattino, which quoted one of them as saying "we haven't seen him in two years."

Although police tried to move the four back from the entrance of the police headquarters while D'Agnese emerged, one pushed forward, and while photographers and videographers caught the moment, the man embraced D'Agnese, then planted a firm kiss on his mouth.

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Huge eastern Ariz. wildfire enters New Mexico, spews unhealthy air

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) _ An eye-stinging haze of smoke spewing from a gigantic wildfire in eastern Arizona added a potentially serious public health threat to the conflagration on Saturday as firefighters moved to counter spot fires erupting across the state line in New Mexico.

The 640-square-mile blaze remained largely uncontained and firefighters worried that a predicted return of gusty southwesterly winds in the afternoon would cause it to grow even larger.

"We expect the winds to be testing a lot of our lines out there," fire spokeswoman Karen Takai said.

The fire began spotting across the state line Friday night and 150 additional firefighters and several fire engines were sent to bolster forces already waiting in New Mexico, officials said.

Concern about hazardous levels of air pollution spread beyond northeastern Arizona.

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Lady Gaga sings 'Born This Way' at Rome gay rights rally; says she's 'child of diversity'

ROME (AP) _ Lady Gaga sang a few bars of her smash hit "Born This Way" and demanded the end of discrimination against gays as she proclaimed herself a "child of diversity" at a gay pride rally Saturday night in the ancient Circus Maximus.

The star, whose "Born This Way" album recently topped 1 million sales in a week, delighted tens of thousands of people at a brief concert in the vast field where the ancient Roman masses would gather for spectacles.

Wearing a green wig, she played the piano and sang a few numbers. But she devoted much of her appearance after an annual European gay pride parade to denounce intolerance and discrimination against gays and transgender people. Among the places she cited was the Middle East, Poland, Russia and Lithuania.

Lady Gaga told the crowd she is often asked "How gay are you, Lady Gaga?"

"My answer is: 'I am a child of diversity.'"

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Boston goalie Tim Thomas is nearly perfect, but Bruins still on brink in Stanley Cup finals

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Tim Thomas is giving a masterful performance in his net during the Stanley Cup finals. He's also doing an excellent job masking the frustration that must be coursing through him.

The Bruins' star goalie has allowed just six goals by the Vancouver Canucks in five games, yet Boston is heading home facing elimination in Game 6 on Monday.

Vancouver moved to the brink of its first NHL title with a 1-0 victory Friday _ the Canucks' second 1-0 home win in a series dominated by the home teams. Unless they hold off the Canucks at TD Garden, they won't get one last chance to figure it out.

"The plan was for us to score more than them, which I guess we have, but ..." Thomas said, his voice trailing off.

Indeed, the Bruins have outscored Vancouver 14-6 in the series, but 12 of those goals were in two blowout wins in Boston. The West Coast hasn't been nearly as kind to the Bruins in a series in a series that's been colored by dangerous hits, diving and taunting _ but dominated by stellar goaltending from Thomas and Roberto Luongo.