AP News in BriefBy AP
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
AP News in Brief
AP Interview: Iran’s president says future belongs to Iran, is not seeking atomic bomb
NEW YORK (AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that “the future belongs to Iran,” and challenged the United States to accept that his country has a major role in the world.
The comments came in an hourlong interview with The Associated Press on the first day of his visit to the United States to attend the annual general assembly of the United Nations this week.
He insisted that his government does not want an atomic bomb — something he has said in the past — and that Iran is only seeking peace and a nuclear-free world. He gave no indication of when Iran would resume talks on its nuclear program and said any anti-nuclear sanctions against his government would have no effect on his government’s policies.
Appearing calm and self-assured, the Iranian president said he was pleased about the release of American hiker Sarah Shourd from a prison in Tehran, but said her two companions still in prison would have to prove their innocence on charges that they illegally crossed into the country.
“The United States’ administrations … must recognize that Iran is a big power,” he said. “Having said that, we consider ourselves to be a human force and a cultural power and hence a friend of other nations. We have never sought to dominate others or to violate the rights of any other country.
Blown-out BP oil well at bottom of Gulf declared dead 5 months after disaster began
By The Associated Press
The well is dead. Finally.
A permanent cement plug sealed BP’s well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico, five agonizing months after an explosion sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government’s point man on the disaster, said Sunday BP’s well “is effectively dead” and posed no further threat to the Gulf. Allen said a pressure test to ensure the cement plug would hold was completed at 5:54 a.m. CDT.
The gusher was contained in mid-July after a temporary cap was successfully fitted atop the well. Mud and cement were later pushed down through the top of the well, allowing the cap to be removed.
But the well could not be declared dead until a relief well was drilled so that the ruptured well could be sealed from the bottom, ensuring it never causes a problem again. The relief well intersected the blown-out well Thursday, and crews started pumping in the cement on Friday.
US woman who was held in Iran for year says she’s not a spy, detention was ‘misunderstanding’
NEW YORK (AP) — An American woman who was held in Iran for more than 13 months and accused of espionage said Sunday she and two men detained with her never spied or committed any crime, calling their arrest “a huge misunderstanding.”
Discussing her experience at the most length since her release Tuesday, Sarah Shourd underscored her gratitude at being released but said she felt only “one-third free” because her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.
“This is not the time to celebrate,” Shourd, 32, said at a New York news conference. “The only thing that enabled me to cross the gulf from prison to freedom alone was the knowledge that Shane and Josh wanted with all their hearts for my suffering to end.”
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly. He later met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East as well as efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, the U.N. spokesperson’s office said.
Ahmadinejad told The Associated Press, “We’re very glad that that lady was released. (Due) to the humanitarian perspective the Islamic Republic chose to adopt on the subject, she was released on bail. And we hope that the other two will soon be able to prove and provide evidence to the court that they had no ill intention in crossing the border, so that their release can also be secured.”
Fierce waves pounding Bermuda as weakening Hurricane Igor bears down on British island
HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — Fierce waves pounded the breakwaters and shores of Bermuda on Sunday, straining yacht moorings and battering oceanfront hotels as Hurricane Igor lashed the wealthy British enclave.
Bermudians battened down their homes in pelting rain to wait out Igor, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). Some storm-seasoned islanders ventured outside to gawk at the 15-foot (5-meter) surf or to triple-tie boat moorings even as officials warned them to stay indoors.
“We are urging residents to please go home and stay in until it is all over,” said government spokeswoman Beverle Lottimore.
Those who did venture outside were met with howling winds, and gusts of hurricane force were reported by midday. Flooding was reported in low-lying areas and streets in downtown Hamilton, the capital, were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris.
Igor’s eye was expected to pass over or very close to Bermuda late Sunday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. But with hurricane-force winds extending up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) from the storm’s eye, even a near-miss could cause substantial damage.
Car bombs tear through Baghdad neighborhoods, former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah; 36 dead
BAGHDAD (AP) — Three car bombs tore through Baghdad and the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah Sunday, killing at least 36 people. The blasts in the capital were so powerful they sheared the sides off buildings and left streets choked with chunks of rubble.
It was the worst violence since the U.S. military dropped to 50,000 troops in Iraq and formally declared an end to combat operations on Sept. 1, saying Iraqi forces were up to the task of protecting their own country.
Insurgents have hammered Iraqi forces and government buildings, capitalizing on gaps in security as the U.S. scales back its military mission and Iraqi politicians fail to overcome divisions and form a new government after national elections in March.
Most of those killed in Sunday’s apparently coordinated attacks in Baghdad were civilians, and residents of the areas bombed directed their anger at a government they feel has left the city vulnerable to repeated attacks despite a network of police and army checkpoints paralyzing traffic.
“I blame this tragedy only on the government officials who are competing for positions and letting us be victims of these bombings,” said Abu Haidar, who was working in an office near one the bombed sites in Baghdad.
Leader of religious sect questioned after missing members found praying at Calif. park
PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities were questioning the leader of a breakaway religious sect Sunday, trying to figure out why its 13 members went missing after leaving behind evidence they were awaiting the rapture or some catastrophic event.
Ending a frantic search, deputies found the group just before noon at Jackie Robinson Park near Palmdale after getting a tip from a local resident, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. He said all members are safe.
Officers had been searching a wide swath of Southern California since Saturday after family members found letters saying the group was awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven.
The group of El Salvadoran immigrants described as “cult-like” by sheriff’s officials, was led by Reyna Marisol Chicas, a 32-year-old woman from Palmdale in northeast Los Angeles county, sheriff’s Captain Mike Parker said.
Members left behind cell phones, identifications, deeds to property, and letters indicating they were awaiting the Rapture.
Spiriva as good as Serevent for asthma; Glaxo declines to donate drug for study, costs $1M
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Researchers say they’ve found a possible new treatment for adults with hard-to-control asthma. Their discovery, however, came at a price.
Scientists of a U.S. government-funded asthma study had to spend nearly $1 million of taxpayers’ money after British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC declined to donate its asthma drug and look-alike dummy medicine for the study, which compared two other treatments.
Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study, chastised Glaxo, saying its actions made the research harder and more expensive to do. Drug companies aren’t required to supply their medicines for study, but they often do.
“In the end, the study results provided the truth” — the drug, Spiriva, was as good as Glaxo’s Serevent, they wrote. The study was published online Sunday to coincide with a presentation at a medical meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
About 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. In the U.S., 22 million Americans have asthma, which kills about 4,000 a year. For people who can’t control their asthma with inhaled steroid medicine, current guidelines call for doubling the dose or adding a different drug that relaxes the muscles to help patients breathe.
Del. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell makes light of remarks about dabbling in witchcraft
LINCOLN, Del. (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is making light of comments she made more than a decade ago when she was in high school about having dabbled in witchcraft.
“How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?” she asked fellow Republicans at a GOP picnic in southern Delaware on Sunday.
“There’s been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now,” O’Donnell jokingly assured the crowd.
Rove, the former GOP strategist and adviser to President George W. Bush, has suggested that O’Donnell’s win in last week’s GOP primary cost Republicans a chance to retake the Senate seat long held by Democrat Joe Biden before he was elected vice president.
O’Donnell, a conservative Christian activist, rode a surging tide of tea party activism to an upset victory over GOP moderate Michael Castle, Delaware’s longtime congressman and former two-term governor. She faces Democratic county executive Chris Coons in November.
Cutler’s 3 TD passes lift Bears past Cowboys 27-20; Dallas 0-2 for first time since ‘01
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jay Cutler can’t lose. Tony Romo can’t win.
What a surprise for both the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys.
Cutler threw three touchdown passes and Romo wasn’t able to respond, lifting the Chicago Bears to a 27-20 victory Sunday.
The Bears come away 2-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl season in 2006.
Dallas fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2001, when Quincy Carter took over for the retired Troy Aikman at quarterback. Cowboys loyalists will remember the 1993 season starting 0-2 and ending with a Super Bowl championship, but that club got Emmitt Smith back from a contract holdout to start its rally. This club can only look forward to tumult as owner Jerry Jones isn’t likely to tolerate such a sloppy start to a season he expected to end in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium.
Michigan State moves into AP Top 25 and Arizona jumps 10 spots after beating Iowa
NEW YORK (AP) — Michigan State moved into The Associated Press college football poll after its thrilling victory against Notre Dame, while No. 14 Arizona received its best regular-season ranking in 12 years after the Wildcats knocked off Iowa.
There was no movement at the top of the rankings Sunday. The top five of Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State, TCU and Oregon was unchanged from last week.
The Crimson Tide received 53 first-place votes, Ohio State got five and Boise State and Texas each received one.
The 25th-ranked Spartans (3-0) used a faked field goal in overtime to beat the Fighting Irish 34-31 and move into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008, when coach Mark Dantonio had Michigan State in the rankings for much of the second half of the season.
On Sunday, the school announced Dantonio had a mild heart attack after the Notre Dame game. The 54-year-old was hospitalized Sunday and expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery to put a stent in a blocked blood vessel. He is expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days and it is unknown how long he will be away from the team.
Tags: 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championships, 2010 Fifa World Cup, 2010 State Of The Union Address, Accidents, Afghanistan, Africa, African-americans, Air Travel Disruptions, Alabama, Alaska, Animals, Arizona, Arkansas, Art linkletter, Arts And Entertainment, Asia, Athlete Compensation, Athlete Health, Athlete Recruiting, Augusta, Australia, Australia And Oceania, Australian open, Australian Open Tennis Championships, Award Shows, Baghdad, Baltimore, Barack Obama, Barcelona, Bermuda, Bill Clinton, Bombings, Border Security, Boston, Bribery, California, Canada, Caribbean, Celebrity, Central Africa, Central America, Central Asia, Chicago, Chile, Chile earthquake, China, Climate, Coastlines And Beaches, Collateral Damage, College Basketball, College Sports, Colombia, Colorado, Connecticut, Corporate Crime, Correctional Systems, Crimes Against Children, Cuba, Delaware, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Diseases And Conditions, District Of Columbia, Drug-related Crime, East Africa, East Asia, Eastern Europe, Eddie redmayne, Edward Kennedy, Egypt, Elin nordegren, Embassies, Emergency Management, Energy, Energy And The Environment, England, Environmental Concerns, Environmental Policy, Europe, Events, Executive Branch, Extortion And Threats, Facebook, Floods, Florida, Food Safety, Fossils, Fremont, Funerals And Memorial Services, Gary coleman, Gaza Strip, Geography, Georgia, Germany, Graft And Conflicts Of Interest, Greater China, Greece, Guatemala, Guatemala City, Haiti, Hayward, Health Care Reform, High School Basketball, High School Sports, Hiroshima, Hispanics, Hong Kong, Illinois, Immigration Policy, Improvised Explosives, Intelligence Agencies, International Incidents, International Soccer, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Islamism, Israel, J.d. salinger, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey City, Jimmy dean, Kabul, Kentucky, Kingston, Krakow, Kyrgyzstan, Labor Economy, Latin America And Caribbean, Lee Myung-bak, Lilongwe, Lindsey vonn, Los Angeles, Lost, Louisiana, Louisville, Lung Disease, Malawi, Mammals, Maryland, Massachusetts, Materials, Mcminnville, Medical Research, Men's Basketball, Men's Golf, Men's Tennis, Mexico, Miami, Michigan, Middle East, Military Affairs, Military Legal Affairs, Missouri, Movies, Municipal Governments, Music, Myanmar, National Courts, Nba, Nebraska, Netherlands, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, New York City, Nfl, North Africa, North America, North Korea, Nuclear Science, Nuclear Weapons, Nunavut, Oil spill, Oklahoma, Oregon, Outdoor Recreation, Pakistan, Paleontology, Palestinian Territories, Palmdale, Paraguay, Patrick kennedy, Pensacola, Personnel, Philippines, Physics, Poland, Political Corruption, Political Fundraising, Political Issues, Political Resignations, Political Scandals, Power Outages, Primary Elections, Prison Breaks, Products And Services, Professional Basketball, Professional Football, Protests And Demonstrations, Public Health, Puerto Rico, Race And Ethnicity, Recessions And Depressions, Reckless Endangerment, Recreation And Leisure, Religious Issues, Russia, Sarah palin, Sasha obama, Saudi Arabia, Scott brown, Search And Rescue Efforts, Senate Elections, Sex In Society, Sinkhole, Skiing, South America, South Asia, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Spain, Sports, Sports Business, Sports Names, Sports Topics, Sports Transactions, State Funerals, State of the union, State Of The Union Address, Storms, Stroke, Summer solstice, Super bowl, Tehran, Tennessee, Territorial Disputes, Terrorism, Texas, Theft, Tony blair, Top kill, Transportation, Tsunami, United Kingdom, United States, Us open, Utah, Utilities, Veterans, Violent Crime, Virginia, Vladimir Putin, Volcanoes, War Casualties, Washington, Weapons Administration, Weapons Of Mass Destruction, West Bank, West Virginia, Western Europe, Winter Olympic Games, Winter Weather, World cup, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, World-briefly, Wyclef jean, Yukio Hatoyama