Friday, November 22, 2013

Published:

Kerry, Russian foreign minister join Iran nuclear talks as differences narrow

GENEVA (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of other major powers lent their weight to the Iran nuclear talks after envoys reported progress Friday in marathon negotiations to curb the Iranian program in return for limited sanctions relief.

After a third day of talks, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Kerry was en route to Geneva to "help narrow the differences." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Geneva late Friday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced he would also travel to Geneva. A French diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would join the others here.

The announcements followed a day in which diplomats appeared more and more optimistic that a deal could be struck.

As talks adjourned, a diplomat said Iranian Foreign Minister and top European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton had made progress on a key sticking point -- Iran's claim to a right to produce nuclear fuel through uranium enrichment

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Anniversary of Kennedy assassination brings crowds back to Dealey Plaza for quiet remembrance

DALLAS (AP) -- It was the same time, 12:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22. It was the same place, downtown Dallas.

But 50 years later, the thousands of people who filled Dealey Plaza weren't there to cheer but to remember in quiet sadness the young, handsome president with whom Dallas will always be "linked in tragedy."

The solemn ceremony presided over by Mayor Mike Rawlings was the first time the city had organized an official Kennedy anniversary event, issuing 5,000 free tickets and erecting a stage with video screens.

Somber remembrances extended from Dallas to the shores of Cape Cod, with moments of silence, speeches by historians and, above all, simple reverence for a time and a leader long gone.

"We watched the nightmarish reality in our front yard," Rawlings told the crowd, which assembled just steps from the Texas School Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald fired from the sixth floor at Kennedy's open-top limousine. "Our president had been taken from us, taken from his family, taken from the world."

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JFK 50th: From Dublin to Dallas, memories shared about Kennedy on assassination's anniversary

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, people paused from Dublin to Dallas to remember the slain president of the United States. Collected here are some of memories of Kennedy and the day he died, shared with AP reporters around the globe.

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EMILY UNTERMEYER, 60, Asuncion, Paraguay

Emily Untermeyer was a 10-year-old in Houston, Texas, when Kennedy was shot.

"I remember my sixth-grade teacher being called out of the classroom and coming back in tears," she said. Her current position, inspired by Kennedy, is Paraguay country director for the Peace Corps, the worldwide volunteer program inspired by a speech he gave in 1960.

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APNewsBreak: Navy shooter had classified access pulled for 2 days, but Navy was never told

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The company that employed the Washington Navy Yard shooter pulled his access to classified material for two days in August when mental health problems became evident, but restored it quickly and never told Navy officials about the withdrawal, The Associated Press has learned.

An initial Navy review revealed that the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company, The Experts, ordered computer contractor Aaron Alexis back to Washington, D.C., after a police incident in Rhode Island in August, according to senior U.S. officials. The company then withdrew his ability to access secret-level data for two days, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. It did not disclose why his access was reinstated. Less than six weeks later, the former Navy reservist gunned down 12 civilian workers in a Navy Yard building, and police fatally shot him.

The Experts did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The classified access revelation has raised questions about whether the company's disclosure of the discipline could have brought Alexis to Navy officials' attention earlier and perhaps prevented the massacre. The Navy did an initial review into the matter, but it has not yet been released. Officials also have done a full investigation, including what prompted the company's decision and why the government was never told. Naval leaders now are reviewing that report.

The shooting spree triggered several Navy and Defense Department reviews into base security and contractor requirements, including questions about how thorough the background checks are for security clearances and whether more vigilant monitoring and reassessments should be done.

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Autopsy: TSA officer killed in LAX shooting was shot 12 times; 40 bullet fragments recovered

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Transportation Security Administration officer killed by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport was shot 12 times, with bullets grazing his heart and piercing his bladder and intestines, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

Gerardo Hernandez had more than 40 bullet fragments in his body from the Nov. 1 shooting, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said.

He was in full cardiac arrest when he arrived at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Doctors tried to repair damage to his heart with an emergency surgical procedure and twice used electricity to stimulate his heart before resorting to "internal cardiac massage," the report said.

Exploratory surgery in Hernandez's abdomen revealed massive injuries. He was declared dead 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital and nearly two hours after the shooting.

Earlier in the week, the coroner's office released preliminary findings and said Hernandez, 39, died within two to five minutes of being shot.

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FCC chairman says no technical reason to ban in-flight calls, but he's personally against them

NEW YORK (AP) -- A day after setting off an uproar among travelers opposed to in-flight phone calls, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Chairman backtracked, saying he personally isn't in favor of calls on planes.

"We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes. I feel that way myself," chairman Tom Wheeler said in a Friday statement.

The role of the FCC, he added, is to advise if there is a safety issue with using phones on planes. He said there is "no technical reason to prohibit" the use of mobile devices on planes.

The decision to allow calls will ultimately rest with the airlines, Wheeler emphasized.

Just three weeks into his job, Wheeler struck a nerve with travelers Thursday when he said it was time for the agency to review "our outdated and restrictive rules" about mobile services on airplanes. The rules have been in place for 22 years. A tentative agenda for the FCC's Dec. 12 meeting, posted Thursday, listed the proposed revision. It was the first the public heard of the change.

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US judge gives initial OK to settlement of 31-year-old Little Rock desegregation lawsuit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- After decades of court battles and $1 billion of government aid, one the nation's most historic school desegregation efforts might finally be nearing an end.

A federal judge gave preliminary approval Friday to a settlement in a Little Rock desegregation lawsuit that would phase out special court-ordered payments after the 2017-18 school year.

The end would come 60 years after the eyes of the nation first were riveted on Little Rock, when President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 ordered federal troops to ensure safe passage for nine black students walking through angry crowds into the doors of the predominantly white Little Rock Central High School.

U.S. District Judge Price Marshall said Friday that the settlement appeared to be legal -- an important hurdle. He set a hearing for Jan. 13-14 to determine whether it's fair to the state, the school districts, the children and educators involved in the case.

"This is not the end," Marshall said. "But I hope this is the beginning of the end."

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Philippine typhoon death toll rises above 5,000, expected to climb higher

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The death toll from one of the strongest typhoons on record has risen above 5,000 and is likely to climb further, although recovery efforts are beginning to take hold, Philippine officials said Friday.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said 4,919 people were killed on Leyte, Samar and nearby islands in the Eastern Visayas region. Civil defense chief Eduardo del Rosario said 290 others died in other parts of the central and southern Philippines.

The regions were battered two weeks ago by fierce winds and tsunami-like storm surges from Typhoon Haiyan, locally called Yolanda.

Del Rosario said there were 1,611 people still missing.

"That is the sad record of Yolanda's passage through our country," Roxas said. But he added that "The worst is over."

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Remains found at Southern California desert gravesite ID'd as those of missing boys

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- Bones found at a Southern California desert gravesite are those of two boys whose parents also were buried there, coroner's officials confirmed Friday.

The remains are those of 4-year-old Gianni McStay and his 3-year-old brother, Joseph McStay, the coroner's division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

A state DNA lab confirmed their identities, the department said.

Dental records earlier confirmed that other remains belonged to the boys' parents, Joseph McStay, 40, and Summer McStay, 43.

Authorities haven't said when or how they died.

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Reports: Couric will leave ABC News, head to Yahoo for online interview show

NEW YORK (AP) -- Katie Couric's next move appears to be online.

An ABC News executive who requested anonymity because talks aren't complete said Friday that the veteran news anchor has an opportunity at Yahoo that is too good to pass up.

Couric has been working at ABC News, but published reports have said that Yahoo is seeking her to host an interview show to be aired on the company's website.

A spokesman for Couric declined comment on Friday.

Couric is in her second season on an ABC daytime talk show, which is not expected to be renewed.