Tuesday, December 1
Obama urges lower tensions between Russia, Turkey
PARIS (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling for a reduction in tensions between Turkey and Russia following Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian warplane.
Obama is meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) in Paris on the sidelines of global climate talks.
Obama says Turkey is a NATO ally and has a right to defend itself. He says the U.S. is very interested in accelerating its military relationship with Turkey.
Obama says the Islamic State group is the common enemy. He's alluding to U.S. efforts to persuade Russia to focus its airstrikes in Syria against IS.
The president is also addressing the refugee crisis stemming from Syria's civil war. Obama is praising Turkey for generously accepting Syrian refugees. He says border security has been strengthened.
German Cabinet OKs military mission against IS in Syria
BERLIN (AP) — The German Cabinet has approved plans to commit up to 1,200 soldiers to support the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria.
The mandate, which requires parliamentary approval, was endorsed by ministers Tuesday, news agency dpa reported. It isn't yet clear when lawmakers will consider it, but Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition has a large majority and approval looks assured.
Following the Paris attacks, Merkel agreed to honor a request from France to provide support for its operations against IS in Syria. Germany plans to send reconnaissance aircraft, tanker planes and a warship to the region in support roles, but won't actively engage in combat.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the daily Bild that he doesn't expect Germany to have 1,200 soldiers participating at any one time.
Indonesia probe: Rudder control problem led to AirAsia crash
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian investigators say a faulty rudder control system and the pilots' response led to the crash of an AirAsia plane last year that killed all 162 people on board.
The National Transportation Safety Committee announced Tuesday that an analysis of Flight 8501's data recorder showed that the Airbus A320 had problems with its rudder control system while flying between the Indonesian city of Surabaya and Singapore on Dec. 28.
The pilots attempted to respond to the problem, but the plane stalled and crashed into the Java Sea.
Aircraft maintenance records show the plane had problems with its rudder system 23 times in the 12 months prior to the crash.
The investigators said bad weather conditions did not play a role in the accident. No distress signal was received.
Beijing air pollution reaches hazardous levels
BEIJING (AP) — Schools in the Chinese capital kept students indoors and parents brought their kids to hospitals with breathing ailments today as Beijing grapples with extremely severe air pollution for the fifth straight day.
The heavy smog obscured the capital's skylines with a monotonous gray and left buildings just a block or two away hardly discernable. Neon signs barely punctured the gloom, and many Beijing residents wore masks of various kinds while walking the streets.
Outside a packed children's hospital in downtown Beijing, parents and grandparents complained about the smog's health impact on small children.
The pollution spike is a reminder of China's severe environmental challenges as President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) joins other world leaders at the Paris climate conference.
Factories and construction sites were told to reduce work.
China's cities are among the world's dirtiest after three decades of explosive economic growth that led to construction of hundreds of coal-fired power plants and the spread of automobile ownership.
US Marine found guilty of killing transgender Filipino
OLONGAPO, Philippines (AP) — A U.S. Marine has been found guilty of killing a transgender Filipino after discovering her gender in a hotel in the Philippines last year.
Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted Tuesday of homicide by first strangling Jennifer Laude and then dunking her head into a toilet bowl in the hotel they had checked into after meeting in a disco bar in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila. Court clerk Gerry Gruspe said Pemberton was sentenced to up to 12 years in jail.
The killing has reignited calls by left-wing groups and nationalists for an end to America's military presence in the Philippines at a time when the U.S. is reasserting its dominance in Asia, and Manila has turned to Washington for support amid an escalating territorial dispute with China.
From Homeland to hair: Clinton emails peek into the personal
WASHINGTON (AP) — More of Hillary Clinton's private emails from her time as secretary of state have been publicly released.
The latest batch shows Clinton dealing with the politics of the Arab Spring, fending off questions about her role in the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks and attempting to navigate an intensifying conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
But they also give a glimpse into the private side of one of the world's most public people. Clinton's notes show her searching for videos on how to do a "fishtail bun" hairstyle and struggling to locate Showtime on her television — she wanted to watch the CIA-centered drama "Homeland."
The roughly 7,800 pages of emails released Monday were part of a court-ordered disclosure of correspondence sent from the private server Clinton used while she was secretary of state.
Clinton, now the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has faced questions about whether her unusual email setup was sufficient to ensure the security of government information and retention of records.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO-THREAT
Man charged in U of Chicago threat appears in court
CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Chicago is set to reopen a day after a 21-year-old man was charged with making an online threat that 16 white men on campus would be killed.
The posting suggested the killings would be in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white Chicago police officer.
The campus is set to reopen Tuesday.
Security experts say the university may have felt it had no choice to shut down for a day.
The city has been on tenterhooks amid protests that followed last week's release of video showing the officer shooting the teen 16 times. Michael Fagel teaches emergency management at several universities, including in Illinois. He says that may have helped force the university's hand.
KILLINGS BY POLICE-CHICAGO
Another day of protests over Chicago shooting
CHICAGO (AP) — There was another of day of protests in response to the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old by a white Chicago police officer.
Protesters gathered as Officer Jason Van Dyke made a court appearance today in connection with the shooting of Laquan McDonald. A judge ordered him held on $1.5 million bond, and he was released after posting the required 10 percent of $1.5 million.
Ten people were detained when a group of NAACP demonstrators gathered outside Chicago's City Hall, urging police reform.
According to Chicago police, the protesters weren't arrested, but instead were issued citations when they kneeled in the street.
A prayer vigil was held outside Chicago Police Headquarters, largely organized by Chicago ministers who said they were praying for peace in the city and justice for McDonald.
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
Boston Marathon bomber's lawyers to argue for new trial
BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) are heading to court to urge a judge to grant him a new trial.
Judge George O'Toole Jr. is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in federal court, but only on the portion of Tsarnaev's motion related to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued after Tsarnaev's trial.
Twin bombs placed near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the attack.
Tsarnaev's lawyers argue that a June Supreme Court ruling throws 15 of his convictions into question. The ruling centered on the legal definition of a "crime of violence," a distinction that can carry stiffer penalties. The court struck down part of the definition as unconstitutionally vague.
Group funded by Coke to fight obesity disbanding
NEW YORK (AP) — A group funded by the Coca-Cola Co. to combat obesity says it is disbanding following revelations about the beverage maker's involvement with the nonprofit.
The Global Energy Balance Network says on its website Monday night that it is "discontinuing operations due to resource limitations." The decision was effective immediately.
The group had previously said that it received an "unrestricted gift" from Coke and that the Atlanta-based soft drink giant had "no input" into its activities.
Last week, The Associated Press reported on emails showing that Coke helped with the selection of group leaders and suggested content for its website. And Coke CEO Muhtar Kent acknowledged there wasn't enough transparency regarding the company's involvement.
Global Energy Balance Network did not respond Monday night to a request for further comment.
Cybersecurity bills would add secrecy to public records laws
WASHINGTON (AP) — A proposed law to encourage companies to share cyberthreat information with the U.S. government includes measures that could significantly limit what details the public can review about the program.
The legislation would keep secret under public records laws any information a company hands over to the Obama administration. The new cybersecurity agreement would allow the firms themselves to decide the specifics that shouldn't be disclosed. That secrecy may extend even to learning whether a company is participating.
The cyberagreement passed both chambers this year with bipartisan support, despite privacy concerns over Senate language from some lawmakers and technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Dropbox Inc.
Nearly half of US homes use cellphones only, shun landlines
NEW YORK (AP) — A government official says Americans are approaching a tipping point in their telephone use -- the day when cellphone-only users will outpace landline users.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 47 percent of American homes now use only cellphones. About 42 percent have both cellphones and landlines.
The new federal statistics show only about 8 percent of households having just landlines.
A dozen years ago, a mere 3 percent of U.S. households used only cellphones. Given the trend, officials believe more than half of U.S. homes will be wireless within the next year.
More than 3 percent of homes don't have phones at all, and that group has been growing slightly over the past three years.
Poor adults and young people are most likely to rely on cellphone-only service.