Obama, Boehner trade barbs -- but also hints of compromise -- as US default threat draws closer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner offered hints of possible compromise but also traded heated rhetoric Tuesday, a frustratingly inconclusive combination that left the eight-day partial government shutdown firmly in place and the threat of an unprecedented national default drawing closer.
"There's a crack there," Boehner said of the impasse near the end of a day of maneuvering at the White House and the Capitol. Yet the Ohio Republican added that it was not enough to warrant optimism.
Stocks fell significantly -- the Dow Jones average by 159 points -- as political gridlock endured. And, in the latest in a string of dire warnings, the International Monetary Fund said failure to raise America's debt limit could lead to default and disrupt worldwide financial markets, raise interest rates and push the U.S economy back into recession.
Republicans "don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs," Obama said at the White House. "They don't also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I'm going to cause a recession."
Even the deaths of U.S. servicemen over the weekend in Afghanistan were grist for the politicians. The Pentagon said that because of the partial shutdown it was unable to pay the customary death benefits to the survivors.
Obama to nominate Janet Yellen to succeed Bernanke as chairman of powerful Federal Reserve
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will nominate Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the nation's central bank, the White House said Tuesday. Yellen would be the first woman to head the powerful Fed, taking over at a pivotal time for the economy and the banking industry.
Both Yellen and Bernanke are scheduled to appear with Obama at the White House on Wednesday for a formal announcement.
Bernanke will serve until his term ends Jan. 31, completing a remarkable eight-year tenure in which he helped pull the U.S. economy out of the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930's.
Under Bernanke's leadership, the Fed created extraordinary programs after the financial crisis erupted in 2008 that are credited with helping save the U.S. banking system. The Fed lent money to banks after credit markets froze, cut its key short-term interest rate to near zero and bought trillions in bonds to lower long-term borrowing rates.
Yellen, 67, emerged as the leading candidate after Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary whom Obama was thought to favor, withdrew from consideration last month in the face of rising opposition.
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. HINTS OF COMPROMISE IN BUDGET FIGHT
Obama and Boehner appear to give some ground, even if they offer little that's concrete.
Finding the Higgs boson: 2 win Nobel prize in physics for unlocking mysteries of the universe
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Nearly 50 years after they came up with the theory, but little more than a year since the world's biggest atom smasher delivered the proof, Britain's Peter Higgs and Belgian colleague Francois Englert won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for helping to explain how matter formed after the Big Bang.
Working independently in the 1960s, they came up with a theory for how the fundamental building blocks of the universe clumped together, gained mass and formed everything we see around us today. The theory hinged on the existence of a subatomic particle that came to be called the Higgs boson -- or the "God particle."
In one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics in decades, scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced last year that they had finally found a Higgs boson using the $10 billion particle collider built in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel under the Swiss-French border.
In a statement issued by the University of Edinburgh, where he retired as a professor, the famously shy, 84-year-old Higgs said he hoped the prize would help people recognize "the value of blue-sky research."
Englert, 80, said the award pointed to the importance of scientific freedom and the need for scientists to be allowed to do fundamental research that doesn't have immediate practical applications.
Inability to browse health plans without first creating accounts seen as adding to online woes
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A decision by the Obama administration to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse health overhaul insurance plans appears to have led to many of the glitches that have frustrated customers, independent experts say.
Most e-commerce websites -- as well as medicare.gov -- are not designed to require those merely browsing to set up accounts. But it's one of the first steps on healthcare.gov.
Consumers trying to create their accounts multiplied the volume of online transactions that overwhelmed the website last week, causing long waits and exasperation. Many people were stopped by a balky security questions page.
The administration threw in additional computing hardware to handle the volume, and deployed software experts to patch the mechanism for creating accounts, but reports of delays persisted Tuesday.
For President Barack Obama, glitches involving his signature legislation are an unwelcome twist. A devoted smartphone user, his political campaigns were models of high-tech efficiency. Yet the problems that have surfaced so far with healthcare.gov don't even involve the site's more complicated functions.
Egypt's vital capital of Cairo now scarred by 2½ years of turmoil, violence
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's capital has long been proud of its nickname, "Mother of the World" -- a metropolis of 18 million throbbing with the vitality and fun of other great cities, even if at times it seemed unmanageable and chaotic.
But Cairo's spirit has been deeply scarred by 32 months of turmoil and bloodshed from two "revolutions," constant protests and crackdowns, and a military coup.
Residents talk of an unfamiliar edginess. People are more suspicious of each other, whether because of increased crime or constant media warnings of conspiracies and terrorism.
Families are split by bitter ideological differences. Fights are sparked by a word or a gesture seen as supporting either the military or the Islamists who were ousted from power by the armed forces.
The mood goes beyond ideology. With police battered by the upheaval and rarely enforcing regulations, many people flout laws with no thought of the consequences -- whether it's the cafes that take over sidewalks or thugs who seize plots of land.
6th arrest made after NY motorcyclists accused of beating SUV driver; detective among arrested
NEW YORK (AP) -- Another man has been arrested in connection with a fight that left a motorcyclist critically injured and an SUV driver badly beaten on a New York City street.
Police arrested Clint Caldwell on gang assault and other charges Tuesday. He's the sixth person arrested following the September melee.
It's unclear if he has a lawyer. There's no phone listed for him at his Brooklyn address.
An undercover detective apparently seen on video pounding on the SUV during the melee is among those arrested.
Two people familiar with the case say the detective was on a motorcycle and was seen on video hitting and kicking the SUV when a biker rally spiraled into violence. They weren't authorized to discuss the inquiry and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
89-year-old man described as an experienced drug mule pleads guilty in Detroit
DETROIT (AP) -- An 89-year-old Indiana man who grows lilies pleaded guilty Tuesday in Detroit to serving as a drug mule to distribute more than 1,400 pounds of cocaine.
Leo Sharp of Michigan City, Ind., is one of the oldest criminal defendants in Detroit's federal court. He was contrite and very talkative during his appearance, saying he had never before committed a crime and that he worked for drug dealers because he needed money.
"In six months I'll be 90," Sharp said.
Sharp was 87 in 2011 when a Michigan state trooper pulled his pickup truck over on Interstate 94, west of Detroit. Anxious and upset about what the trooper would find, he declared, "Just kill me and let me leave this planet."
In court, Sharp wore a dark suit that had a lapel pin signifying his service in World War II. He playfully winked at drug agents in the second row who investigated the case. His hearing aids weren't strong enough, so U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds invited Sharp to stand just a few feet away from her.
Kris and Bruce Jenner confirm they've split and have been separated for a year
NEW YORK (AP) -- Which "Keeping up with the Kardashians" couple might be on the rocks always makes for good tabloid fodder but one couple is ready to say they're over -- and have been for a while.
Kris and Bruce Jenner have confirmed they separated a year ago, after 22 years together.
In an interview with US magazine hitting newsstands Friday, Kris Jenner says their scenes together on the show have been genuine and there's no animosity between them. She says they're committed to their family.
Her former Olympic champion husband says they'll always love and respect each other.
News of the split was first reported by E! News.
Official: Report of gunshots at historic building on Princeton University's campus unfounded
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -- School officials say reports of gunshots at a historic building on Princeton University's campus have been determined to be unfounded and the "all clear" has been given.
The New Jersey Ivy League university says that the school's safety office received a report of shots fired in Nassau Hall at 7:55 p.m. Tuesday. Police cordoned off the area and checked the building before giving the "all clear" at about 10:25 p.m. No injuries were reported.
Nassau Hall is Princeton's administrative center. Princeton's website calls Nassau Hall the centerpiece of its campus and a university and national landmark. It says it moved classes from Newark to Nassau Hall in Princeton when the building was completed in 1756.