- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

Boko Haram leader vows abducted Nigerian girls will not be seen again until fighters are freed

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Under the guns of their captors, dozens of barefoot girls sat huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils as they chanted Quranic verses in Arabic. Some Christians among them said they had converted to Islam.

“I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured,” the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network threatened, an assault rifle slung across his chest.

A video released by the group Monday offered the first public glimpse of what it claimed were some of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped a month ago. The girls’ plight has spurred a global movement to secure their freedom.

It is not known how many suspected Boko Haram members are detained by security forces. Hundreds were killed last month when leader Abubakar Shekau’s fighters stormed the military’s main northeastern barracks in Maiduguri, the terror group’s birthplace and the headquarters of a year-old military state of emergency to put down the 5-year-old Islamic uprising.

In the video, two of the girls were singled out for questioning.

___

Insurgents in eastern Ukraine declare independence; Kremlin urges Kiev to hold talks

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - Pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday and sought to join Russia, undermining upcoming presidential elections, strengthening the Kremlin’s hand and putting pressure on Kiev to hold talks with the separatists following a referendum on self-rule.

Russia signaled it has no intention of subsuming eastern Ukraine the way it annexed Crimea in March. Instead, Moscow is pushing to include eastern regions in negotiations on Ukraine’s future - suggesting that Russia prefers a political rather than a military solution to its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War.

Such talks are central to a potential path toward peace outlined Monday by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The plan laid out by Swiss President Didier Burkhalter calls on all sides to refrain from violence and urges immediate amnesty, talks on decentralization and the status of the Russian language. That’s a key complaint of insurgents who have seized power in eastern regions and clashed with government troops and police.

But it’s up to the Ukrainian government to take the next step.

Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk pledged to hold a dialogue with Ukraine’s east. But he gave no specifics and stopped short of addressing Sunday’s referendum and the declarations of independence in the pro-Moscow regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

___

10 Things to Know for Tuesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. WHAT NIGERIAN TERROR LEADER DEMANDS

Islamic extremist leader Abubakar Shekau says nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls will not be seen again until the government frees his detained fighters.

___

Studies point that parts of West Antarctic ice sheet beginning slow and alarming collapse

WASHINGTON (AP) - The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured.

The worrisome outcomes won’t be seen soon. Scientists are talking hundreds of years, but over that time the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.

A NASA study looking at 40 years of ground, airplane and satellite data of what researchers call “the weak underbelly of West Antarctica” shows the melt is happening faster than scientists had predicted, crossing a critical threshold that has begun a domino-like process.

“It does seem to be happening quickly,” said University of Washington glaciologist Ian Joughin, lead author of one study. “We really are witnessing the beginning stages.”

It’s likely because of man-made global warming and the ozone hole which have changed the Antarctic winds and warmed the water that eats away at the feet of the ice, researchers said at a NASA news conference Monday.

___

Authorities: New Hampshire officer shot to death before explosion, fire; gunman presumed dead

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire police officer was shot to death after he responded to a domestic disturbance at a home that later exploded and burned, authorities said Monday.

The gunman was presumed dead in the ensuing blaze.

Attorney General Joseph Foster said late Monday night 48-year-old Steven Arkell of Brentwood was shot to death when he answered the call in a suburban neighborhood for people older than 55.

After the shooting, the house burst into flames. A massive explosion blew the front off the house and within an hour, it was leveled.

Foster said Michael Nolan, 47, the son of the homeowner, is the suspected gunman. He is presumed dead.

___

Gay couples flood Little Rock courthouse for marriage licenses; most clerks wait on high court

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than 200 gay couples obtained Arkansas marriage licenses Monday after a judge tossed out the state’s 10-year-old same-sex marriage ban, but only at a handful of courthouses as an overwhelming majority of county clerks in this part of the Bible Belt said they first wanted the state Supreme Court to weigh in.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel - who recently announced his personal support for same-sex marriage rights but said he would defend the law - filed paperwork Monday to at least temporarily preserve the ban, which voters approved by a 3-to-1 margin.

In other states that have seen gay-marriage bans overturned, judges either issued stays with their orders or state lawyers sought them with some immediacy. McDaniel’s office requested a stay from the local judge Friday night but had to wait until the full court record was available Monday before going to the state Supreme Court, under the justices’ rules. Justices gave both sides until midday Tuesday to file arguments.

Seventy of the state’s 75 clerks have not granted licenses. A handful of clerks, including one who granted licenses Monday, filed a stay request saying the judge’s decision didn’t address a law that threatens clerks with fines for “wrongful issuance of a marriage license.”

With the weddings Saturday and Monday, Arkansas became the 18th state to allow same-sex marriages, and the first among former states of the Confederacy.

___

March toward equality or descent into immorality? A weekend’s LGBT moments

It was an eventful weekend: A gay American football player kissed his boyfriend on national TV after being drafted by the National Football League; gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt; a bearded cross-dresser won one of the biggest TV song competitions in the world.

All indications of a civilization on the move - but where is it going? On a march toward equality, or a descent into a moral Wild West?

It depends on your point of view.

“It was a moment that was 45 years in the making,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, referring back to the Stonewall riots of 1969 that launched the modern gay rights movement.

Sainz remembered tears falling down his face while watching Michael Sam, the 6-foot-3 (1.9 meter), 255-pound (116-kilogram) defensive end about to become the first openly gay player in America’s most popular sport, embrace his boyfriend Saturday.

___

FCC revising open Internet rules after public backlash over proposed fast-lane service

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is broadening the scope of his proposed open Internet rules and suggesting tougher standards for Internet providers who wish to create paid priority fast lanes on their networks.

According to an FCC official, Wheeler made revisions after the commission received 35,000 public comments -many of them expressing outrage. The FCC first briefed reporters on the proposed rules last month.

Wheeler, a Democrat, also tweaked his proposal after the five-member commission’s two other Democrats expressed concern.

“The new draft clearly reflects public input the commission has received,” the FCC official said in a statement. “The draft is explicit that the goal is to find the best approach to ensure the Internet remains open and prevent any practices that threaten it.”

Among the additions is a provision that would “presume” it to be illegal for an Internet provider to prioritize the traffic of an affiliated service - for example, it would be considered illegal if Comcast Corp. tried to give faster treatment to video streams of its subsidiary network, NBC.

___

HEALTHBEAT: Parkinson’s exams at home via webcam? Study examines telehealth effects

WASHINGTON (AP) - Mark Matulaitis holds out his arms so the Parkinson’s specialist can check his tremors. But this is no doctor’s office: Matulaitis sits in his rural Maryland home as a neurologist a few hundred miles away examines him via the camera in his laptop.

Welcome to the virtual house call, the latest twist on telemedicine. It’s increasingly getting attention as a way to conveniently diagnose simple maladies, such as whether that runny nose and cough is a cold or the flu. One company even offers a smartphone app that lets tech-savvy consumers connect to a doctor for $49 a visit.

Now patient groups and technology advocates are pushing to expand the digital care to people with complex chronic diseases that make a doctor’s trip more than just an inconvenience.

“Why can’t we provide care to people wherever they are?” asks Dr. Ray Dorsey, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who is leading a national study of video visits for Parkinson’s patients and sees broader appeal.

“Think of taking your mom with Alzheimer’s to a big urban medical center. Just getting through the parking lot they’re disoriented,” he adds. “That’s the standard of care but is it what we should be doing?”

___

With pending Beats buy, Apple CEO Tim Cook makes break from managerial style of Steve Jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - “Think different” became Apple’s creed during the late Steve Jobs’ reign as CEO. Now, chief executive Tim Cook is embracing the idea while making decisions that would have seemed crazy to his fabled predecessor.

Apple’s pending purchase of headphone maker and streaming music company Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion is just the latest example of Cook’s deviation from Jobs, who had so much confidence in his company’s innovative powers that he saw little sense in spending large amounts of money on acquisitions.

Cook became chief executive in late August 2011, roughly six weeks before Jobs died. But in a number of ways, he is just beginning to put his own imprint on Apple. Cook is straying from Jobs’ cash-hoarding habits by committing to return $130 billion to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks. He has orchestrated a company stock split and agreed to match employees’ charitable contributions up to $10,000 annually.

Under Cook’s leadership, Apple also has displayed more social responsibility by working to improve labor conditions in the overseas factories that assemble its devices and taking steps to reduce pollution caused by its data centers and gadgets.

The shift in management philosophy has resulted in an odd twist: Apple Inc.’s pace of innovation has slowed and it now looks more like a conventional company than the corporate rebel Jobs tried to cultivate. Instead of releasing revolutionary gadgets such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple has been mostly upgrading existing products and figuring out ways to manage its bulging bank account since Cook took over.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide