- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

Nigeria declared Ebola-free in ‘spectacular success story’; doctors say fluids saved lives

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Water laced with salt and sugar, and gallons of the nasty-tasting stuff.

Doctors who survived Ebola in Nigeria credited heavy doses of fluids with saving their lives as the World Health Organization declared the country Ebola-free Monday, a rare victory in the battle against the disease that is ravaging West Africa.

In the end, Nigeria - the most populous country in Africa, with 160 million people - had just 20 cases, including eight deaths, a lower death rate than the 70 percent seen elsewhere across the stricken region.

Officials are crediting strong tracking and isolation of people exposed to the virus, and aggressive rehydration of infected patients to counter the effects of vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms.

Nigeria’s containment of Ebola is a “spectacular success story,” said Rui Gama Vaz, WHO director for Nigeria.

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AP Investigation: White House opposes Social Security payments to former Nazis

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Nazis should not be getting the Social Security benefits they are receiving as they age overseas, the White House said Monday, responding to an Associated Press investigation that revealed millions of dollars have been paid to war-crimes suspects and former SS guards who left the U.S. for Europe.

“Our position is we don’t believe these individuals should be getting these benefits,” said spokesman Eric Shultz when asked about the situation.

He said the Justice Department has said it has “aggressively pursued Nazi war criminals and brought over 100 of them to justice.” He added that the department and the Social Security Administration “work together within the confines of current law to cut off benefits for criminals that shouldn’t be receiving them.”

AP reported Sunday that dozens of Nazi suspects have collected benefits after being forced out of the United States. Though their World War II actions led to their departure, they were not convicted of war crimes.

The payments flowed through a legal loophole that gave the Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records.

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After US airdrops, Turkey says it helps Iraqi Kurds enter Syria to fight Islamic State group

SURUC, Turkey (AP) - Turkey said it was helping Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross into Syria to support their brethren fighting Islamic State militants in a key border town, although activists inside embattled Kobani said no forces had arrived by Monday evening, raising questions about whether the mission was really underway.

The statement by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu came hours after the U.S. airdropped weapons and ammunition to resupply Kurdish fighters for the first time. Those airdrops Sunday followed weeks of airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in and near Kobani.

After a relative calm, heavy fighting erupted in the town as dusk fell, with the clatter of small arms and tracer fire, as well as the thud of mortar rounds and big explosions of two airstrikes that resounded across the frontier.

“We are helping peshmerga forces to enter into Kobani to give support,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference, referring to the security forces of the largely autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The Kurdish government there is known to be friendly to the Turkish government.

A peshmerga spokesman said he had not been ordered to move units to Syria.

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Police in Indiana say deaths of 7 women could be serial killing; suspect hints at more victims

GARY, Ind. (AP) - Police investigating the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwest Indiana over the weekend said Monday they believe it is the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has indicated there could be more victims going back 20 years.

The Lake County prosecutor’s office on Monday charged 43-year-old Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found Friday night at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond.

Gary officials were expected to charge Vann later this week in the deaths of six more women, whose bodies were found Saturday and Sunday. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that Vann confessed to Hardy’s slaying and gave police information that led to the other bodies in Gary, including three on the same block.

Vann was a convicted sex offender in Texas, where he pleaded guilty in 2009 to raping a woman and was released from prison in July 2013.

The Austin Police Department issued a statement Monday saying it would review missing persons and cold cases to determine if there could be a link to Vann and asked anyone with information to come forward.

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Colorado health officials backtrack on proposed ban on pot-infused foods

DENVER (AP) - Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks.

The suggestion sparked marijuana industry outrage and legal concerns from a regulatory workgroup that met Monday to review the agency’s suggestion. Colorado’s 2012 marijuana-legalization measure says retail pot is legal in all forms.

“If the horse wasn’t already out of the barn, I think that would be a nice proposal for us to put on the table,” said Karin McGowan, the department’s deputy executive director.

Talking to reporters after the workgroup reviewed the department’s proposal, McGowan insisted the edibles ban was just one of several proposals under review by pot regulators.

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Giuliani, other politicians join demonstration outside Met Opera over ‘Death of Klinghoffer’

NEW YORK (AP) - Politicians including former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Peter King joined a crowd of demonstrators outside the Metropolitan Opera on Monday as part of an ongoing protest over an opera focused on the death of a Jewish man that critics say glorifies his Palestinian killers.

About 400 people stood behind barricades chanting “Shame on the Met!” and carrying signs saying “The Met glorifies terrorism” before the first scheduled performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

The opera is based on the 1985 killing of disabled passenger Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship hijacked by four members of the Palestinian Liberation Front. The 69-year-old was shot in his wheelchair and pushed overboard.

American composer John Adams’ opera has been a lightning rod since February, when it was first scheduled for this season. The first large demonstration came on the Met’s Sept. 22 season opening night, featuring a Mozart work, when protesters jeered at arriving spectators.

Giuliani, standing across the street from Lincoln Center on Monday, said he wanted to warn people that the Klinghoffer opera “is a distorted work.”

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HBO and CBS join the a la carte streaming brigade, but don’t count cable out yet

NEW YORK (AP) - Cord cutters rejoiced last week after HBO and CBS announced plans to sell stand-alone streaming services, a move that cable and satellite television providers have resisted for years. Customers tired of paying big fees for hundreds of channels they never watch just to have access to a few favorite shows might be expected to start cancelling cable service in droves. Get Netflix, throw in HBO, add a network here and there - why would anyone sign up now for cable?

Well, don’t sound the death knell for cable companies yet.

Some would-be customers may balk when they see just how much paying a la carte actually costs. Stations that offer services a la carte will have to pay for marketing that the cable and satellite companies usually cover. Fewer eyeballs on live TV could mean less advertising revenue, since online ads are generally cheaper, and that will boost the network’s cost of running the channel. And smooth streaming costs money: to avoid so-called “throttling” during peak evening viewing times, Netflix buckled to broadband distributors like Comcast and Verizon and paid up so that its streaming service would run at a higher bandwidth and work more smoothly. Those added costs might be passed on to customers.

And for all those cable haters out there, sorry: Cutting the cord won’t mean cutting out your cable provider. They often own some of your favorite channels (Comcast owns NBC Universal, parent of Bravo and USA) and in most areas they are the gatekeepers to the Internet. Offering popular channels like HBO over streaming could actually help cable companies sell more expensive broadband services to customers.

“The cable business is evolving from mainly selling you a pay TV package to mainly selling you a broadband Internet service,” says FBR Research analyst Barton Crockett. “Content companies and cable companies are evolving from being very worried about making their content available through Internet services to very excited about that. It’s a way to sell their Internet and get people to pay for faster speeds.”

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Even if their party wins US Senate, some GOP governors say health law repeal is unlikely

WASHINGTON (AP) - While Republicans in Congress shout, “Repeal Obamacare,” GOP governors in many states have quietly accepted the law’s major Medicaid expansion. Even if their party wins control of the Senate in the upcoming elections, they just don’t see the law going away.

Nine Republican governors have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states, despite their own misgivings and adamant opposition from conservative legislators. Three more governors are negotiating with the Democratic administration in Washington.

Rather than demanding repeal, the governors generally have sought federal concessions to make their decisions more politically acceptable at home. That approach is in sharp contrast to the anti-Obamacare fervor of their party in Congress.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn’t think there will be a repeal in Washington, even if Republicans win a Senate majority and consolidate their hold on the House in next month’s election.

“That’s not gonna happen,” the Republican governor told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.

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Rest or rust? Streaking Royals, Giants return from extended layoffs, set to start World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Alex Gordon took a big rip at a batting-practice fastball, fouled it off badly into the cage, and ducked when the carom nearly hit him in the head.

Gordon let out a huge laugh, and so did a bunch of his Kansas City Royals teammates watching Monday’s workout.

“I can’t believe that just happened, dude,” pitcher James Shields razzed.

It’ll be more frustrating than funny if those are the same awkward swings the Royals and San Francisco Giants take once the World Series begins.

Going into Game 1 on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium, both teams will deal with a familiar issue this deep in the postseason: Does an extended layoff translate into rest or rust?

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Globe on pace to likely break, hottest year record, after warmest September, August, June, May

WASHINGTON (AP) - Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.

That’s because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

NASA, which measures temperatures slightly differently, had already determined that September was record-warm.

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