- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

Woman confined to Dallas home never imagined Ebola could taint her life so far from Liberia

DALLAS (AP) - A woman who has been confined to her Dallas apartment under armed guard after a man infected with Ebola stayed at her home, said she never imagined this could happen to her so far from disease-ravaged West Africa.

Louise Troh said Thursday that she is tired of being locked up and wants federal health authorities to decontaminate her home.

Authorities say the circle of people in the U.S. possibly exposed to Ebola widened after the man, who arrived from Liberia last month, was discharged from a hospital without being tested for the deadly virus.

The confinement order, which also bans visitors, was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request to stay home, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Texas State Health Commissioner David Lakey said the order would ensure the woman, her 13-year-old son and two nephews can be closely monitored for signs of the disease.

The first Ebola diagnosis in the nation has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,300 people in West Africa could spread in the U.S. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.

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Clashes break out between Hong Kong protesters and residents

HONG KONG (AP) - Clashes have broken out at the site of one of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests as local residents and pro-Beijing supporters tried to evict activists from the street they are occupying.

The two groups were in a tense standoff in Kowloon’s crowded Mong Kok neighborhood on Friday afternoon.

People pushed and shoved each other as police tried to keep them apart.

The democracy activists linked hands as they tried to stand their ground against the huge crowd. At one point, police brought in a stretcher to take away a young man, although it was unclear why.

Many others watched the scene with cameras in their hand.

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In Kabul, Britain’s Cameron pledges support to newly sworn-in Afghan president, government

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday pledged support for Afghanistan’s newly sworn-in president and the country’s new unity government, saying during a surprise visit to Kabul that Britain is committed to helping Afghans build a more secure and prosperous future.

Cameron was the first of world leaders to meet Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Afghanistan’s second elected president, since his inauguration on Monday. The two had a meeting in Kabul on Friday morning and later held a joint press conference.

“Britain has paid a heavy price for helping to bring stability to this country,” Cameron said, paying tribute to the 453 British servicemen and women who died while serving in Afghanistan.

“An Afghanistan free from al-Qaida is in our national interest - as well as Afghanistan’s,” he said. “And now, 13 long years later, Afghanistan can - and must - deliver its own security.”

But, “we are not leaving this country alone,” he added. “In Britain you will always have a strong partner and a friend.”

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Despite protest, Colorado school board rejects calls to back off proposal for history review

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - Students and parents say they’ll renew protests Friday after a suburban Denver school board rejected their calls to back off a proposed review of the Advanced Placement U.S. history course.

As the Board voted 3-2 Thursday night to expand the membership on two existing curriculum review committees to include students, parents and administrators, some in the audience yelled “resign” and “recall, recall.”

The two women on the board who oppose the panel’s conservative majority held their heads in their hands after losing a bid to delay the vote so they could have more time to study the plan.

“What’s the rush?” board member Lesley Dahlkemper asked. Her repeated challenges to board president Ken Witt that drew applause from the crowd.

It’s not immediately clear whether the expanded committees will review the history course. Witt said he expected that committees would be asked to review the AP history course.

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US employers probably stepped up hiring last month in reassuring sign for economy

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers may have produced 200,000-plus job growth in September, a potentially reassuring sign after a hiring slowdown in August.

Economists have forecast that employers added 215,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet. That would match the average monthly gain this year, up from last year’s average of 194,000. The unemployment rate is expected to remain 6.1 percent.

The Labor Department will issue the September jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday.

In August, employers added just 142,000 jobs after topping 200,000 for six straight months, the longest such stretch since 1997. Even if the government reports that hiring was subpar for a second straight month, some economists say it wouldn’t be cause for alarm. Most other recent data indicate that the economy is expanding at a healthy pace.

And September job figures have often been skewed by seasonal quirks, such as many students giving up summer jobs and teachers returning to work.

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Iraqi Yazidis, driven out by militants, hope Kurdish fighters can recapture their hometown

DAHUK, Iraq (AP) - One of the most haunting memories 70-year old Aishan Ali Dirbou has of her encounter with Islamic State militants who overran her hometown is feeling the ends of their AK-47 assault rifles dig into her side as she lay face down, pretending to be dead.

Today, the widow is one of tens of thousands of members of Iraq’s Yadizi religious minority, who after fleeing the town of Sinjar last month, are now living in squalor in unsanitary shelters and camps, with little food or water and no medicine - uncertain what their future holds.

The Kurdish military says it is now on a push toward Sinjar, located in the desert of northwestern Iraq near the Syrian border, in an assault aimed at retaking the town from the extremists. The past week, Kurdish fighters retook three towns just north of Sinjar - Mahmoudiyah, the Rabia border cross and the town of Zumar - with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes.

The Yazidis now living in the Kurdish city of Dahuk are cautiously optimistic -wary after having already lost so much, but hopeful to return home and pick up the pieces.

At the Badlees Primary School, nearly 250 Yazidis are crammed in, some of them 28 to a room. Many are growing desperate, with nothing but handouts to feed them, and the clothes on their backs to keep them warm as winter creeps closer. The Kurdish government has provided some aid in the way of foodstuffs and thin cushions to sleep on, but the central government in Baghdad has made no contact, the refugees said.

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Secret Service scandal produces rare bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (AP) - The scandal that’s rocked the once-proud Secret Service and raised questions about the president’s safety has also produced rare bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill.

With a month more to go in bitterly contested congressional election campaigns, Democratic and Republican lawmakers who usually are at odds have been surprised to find themselves largely agreeing on a response to the agency’s recent extraordinary security breaches, including a knife-carrying intruder who made it all the way into the White House East Room.

There were bipartisan calls for Secret Service Director Julia Pierson’s resignation this week, and once it was announced Wednesday, bipartisan agreement on the need for a wide-ranging independent investigation. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., both joined in that call.

Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which hosted Pierson at a hearing where her tepid and inconsistent responses infuriated all sides, are drafting a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson outlining their recommendations for the investigation - an unusual moment of agreement on a panel notorious for its partisan sparring.

Republicans typically critical of President Barack Obama have been just as full-throated as Democrats in voicing concerns about his safety. And members of both parties are pledging vigorous efforts to ensure that Pierson’s resignation ushers in wholesale culture changes at the Secret Service, where morale has been battered. There are complaints of personnel shortages and the steady drip of embarrassing revelations has tarnished the agency’s once-sterling reputation.

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JPMorgan data breach adds to concern over security of consumer data at banks, retailers

LOS ANGELES (AP) - New details on a cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s computer servers this summer add to increasing doubts over the security of consumer data kept by lenders, retailers and others.

The New York-based bank disclosed Thursday that the breach compromised customer information pertaining to roughly 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.

Among the customer data stolen were names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, though only customers who use the websites Chase.com and JPMorganOnline and the apps ChaseMobile and JPMorgan Mobile were affected, the bank said.

JPMorgan stressed that there’s no evidence that the data breach included account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers or dates of birth. It also noted that it has not seen any unusual customer fraud stemming from the data breach.

The server breach follows data thefts that have hit financial firms and major retailers this year, adding to consumer concerns over the risk of identity theft and fraud.

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Some London critics clap, others carp about Lindsay Lohan’s professional stage debut

LONDON (AP) - It wasn’t a car crash, but there weren’t fireworks, either.

Critics have given a lukewarm welcome to Lindsay Lohan’s professional stage debut, which followed months of hype and speculation about whether the wayward star was up to the job.

“Shock news: Lindsay Lohan can act a bit,” wrote Dominic Maxwell in The Times newspaper after the opening night of David Mamet’s Hollywood satire “Speed-the Plow.” The Guardian’s Michael Billington called Lohan’s performance “perfectly creditable.”

Lohan plays the pivotal role of Karen, an office temp whose naivety throws the plans of two ambitious producers into chaos.

Not everyone was impressed. Mark Shenton of The Stage called Lohan’s casting “a disgrace” and said she was “out of her league” alongside “West Wing” star Richard Schiff and British actor Nigel Lindsay.

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Nick Wilson scores 3 TDs as unranked Arizona stuns No. 2 Oregon again, 31-24

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The look on Marcus Mariota’s face was unmistakable: He was stunned.

Oregon’s star quarterback lingered on the field late Thursday night following his team’s 31-24 loss to Arizona, shaking hands with the Wildcats after they upset the heavily favored Ducks for the second consecutive season.

Later, he shouldered the blame for a loss that left No. 2 Oregon with a tough hill to climb if it wants an invite to college football’s first postseason playoff.

And he credited the unranked Wildcats, who were 24-point underdogs.

“They’re undefeated,” he said. “It’s obviously a testament to our conference. If you’re not prepared each week, if you’re not ready to play, you’ll lose.”

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