Australia: Electronic signals detected by Chinese ship consistent with aircraft black box
PERTH, Australia (AP) - Officials on Sunday were trying to confirm whether a “pulse signal” reportedly picked up by a Chinese ship in the Indian Ocean came from the missing Malaysian jetliner.
The Australian agency coordinating the search for the missing plane said that the electronic pulse signals reportedly detected by the Chinese ship are consistent with those of an aircraft black box.
But the agency’s head, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said they “cannot verify any connection” at this stage between the signals and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported late Saturday that a Chinese ship that is part of the search effort detected a “pulse signal” at 37.5 kilohertz (cycles per second) - the same frequency emitted by flight data recorders - in southern Indian Ocean waters. Xinhua, however, said it had not yet been determined whether the signal was related to the missing plane, citing the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.
Malaysia’s civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, confirmed the frequency emitted by Flight 370’s black boxes were 37.5 kilohertz.
Defying Taliban threats, Afghans turn out in droves to choose new leader
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Millions of Afghans defied Taliban threats and rain Saturday, underscoring their enormous expectations from an election that comes as the country’s wobbly government prepares to face down a ferocious insurgency largely on its own.
With combat forces from the U.S.-led coalition winding down a 13-year presence and the mercurial Hamid Karzai stepping aside, the country’s new leader will find an altered landscape as he replaces the only president Afghans have known since the Taliban were ousted in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But for some progress, particularly with women’s rights, the country’s situation is inauspicious, especially with its poor security and battered economy. Yet despite spiraling carnage and grave disappointments, Afghans by the millions crowded mosque courtyards and lined up at schools to vote, telling a war-weary world they want their voices heard.
Nazia Azizi, a 40-year-old housewife, was first in line at a school in eastern Kabul. “I have suffered so much from the fighting and I want prosperity and security in Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to cast my vote,” she said. “I hope that the votes that we are casting will be counted and that there will be no fraud in this election.”
Partial results could come as early as Sunday, but final results were not expected for a week or more.
In response to NKorea, US to deploy 2 more ballistic missile defense destroyers to Japan
TOKYO (AP) - The U.S. will deploy two additional ballistic missile defense destroyers to Japan by 2017 as part of an effort to bolster protection from North Korean missile threats, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday.
Speaking to at a news conference following a meeting with Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Hagel said they discussed the threat posed by Pyongyang. He said the two ships are in response to North Korea’s “pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions” that violate U.N. resolutions and also will provide more protection to the U.S. from those threats.
In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel called the Asian nation a “great power” and said that when he travels to China later this week he will tell its officials that they must have respect for their neighbors. Japan and China have been at odds over territorial claims and other issues.
“With this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power” and how to employ military might, Hagel said, adding that he looks forward to an honest, straightforward dialogue with the Chinese.
The announcement of the deployments of additional destroyers to Japan came as tensions with North Korea spiked again, with Pyongyang continuing to threaten additional missile and nuclear tests. North and South Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters in late March in the most recent flare-up.
AP PHOTOS: Ink-stained fingers and long lines seen as Afghans vote in key presidential poll
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Across Afghanistan, voters turned out in droves Saturday to cast ballots in a crucial presidential election.
The Taliban threatened to target voters and polling places, but there were few instances of violence. Instead, those wanting to cast ballots joined long lines and expressed pride for security forces guarding the election and a willingness to stand up for their country.
“There was a time when we could not even think of risking our lives for one vote,” said Abdul Baki, a 36-year-old government employee in Kandahar. “But now with this security so tight, I can clearly see the value of these votes and I hope that this election will be fair.”
Women also turned out in large numbers.
“I voted so I can guarantee the future of my country,” said 18-year-old Fatima Mortazayee in Kabul. “By voting, we can build our country.”
Amid rising heroin use and deaths, police, parents, ex-addicts fight back to help communities
On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked down at a lifeless 20-year-old - a needle mark in his arm, a syringe in his pocket. It didn’t take long for Douglas to realize that the man, fresh out of treatment, was his second heroin overdose that day.
“You just drive away and go, ‘Well, here we go again,’” says the veteran cop.
In Butler County, Ohio, heroin overdose calls are so common that the longtime EMS coordinator likens the situation to “coming in and eating breakfast - you just kind of expect it to occur.” A local rehab facility has a six-month wait. One school recently referred an 11-year-old boy who was shooting up intravenously.
Sheriff Richard Jones has seen crack, methamphetamine and pills plague his southwestern Ohio community but calls heroin a bigger scourge. Children have been forced into foster care because of addicted parents; shoplifting rings have formed to raise money to buy fixes.
“There are so many residual effects,” he says. “And we’re all paying for it.”
A look at heroin use, deaths, treatment numbers in some US states
In and around Cleveland, heroin-related overdoses killed 195 people last year, shattering the previous record. Some Ohio police chiefs say heroin is easier for kids to get than beer. In Missouri, admissions to treatment programs for heroin addiction rose 700 percent in the past two decades. In Massachusetts, state police say at least 185 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in the state since Nov. 1, and the governor has declared a public health emergency.
With heroin use rising across the U.S., The Associated Press queried state health departments, medical examiner’s offices and law enforcement agencies across the nation for statistics related to use, overdoses and treatment to obtain a more detailed picture of the problem on the ground. While some states reported few changes, others pointed to heroin as a significant public health concern. A look at some state-specific findings:
- CALIFORNIA: California has seen an increase in heroin addicts seeking treatment since fiscal year 2006-2007, as a proportion of addicts seeking treatment for all drugs including alcohol. Despite that, heroin has generally been overshadowed by methamphetamine use over the last 20 years.
- COLORADO: Heroin deaths are increasing sharply among people in their 20s and 30s, but most age groups are affected. While six teens died of heroin overdoses in the past dozen years, five teenage boys died of heroin overdoses in the state in 2012 alone.
- CONNECTICUT: The state reports 10,183 people admitted for treatment for heroin last year at licensed programs, up from 8,954 in 2012 and the highest total in eight years. Heroin-related overdose deaths went from 174 in 2012 to 257 last year, a 48 percent increase. The figures include heroin alone and heroin with other drugs.
UConn beats No. 1 Florida 63-53 to advance to national championship game
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Shabazz Napier looked up toward the Connecticut fans in the crowd at AT&T Stadium and held up one finger.
The Huskies had just beaten overall No. 1 seed Florida 63-53 on Saturday in the Final Four. But Napier’s gesture had another meaning.
“One more to go,” the first-team All-American said.
The victory got them into Monday night’s title game against the Wisconsin-Kentucky winner and it was as good as any team came up with this season against the Gators, who came in having won 30 straight games, a streak that started after a loss to the Huskies four months ago.
“We have been in a lot of dog fights,” Napier said. “We are just an experienced group. We believe in each other and continue to believe in each other. … We are going to win. That is what we do.”
FINALS WATCH: Sights and sounds from North Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Jim Calhoun won three national championships with Connecticut in four trips to the NCAA Final Four.
Two years coaching his final game, and three years after his last title, the Huskies are playing for championship No. 4. And Calhoun couldn’t be prouder for UConn and second-year coach Kevin Ollie, one of his former players.
“The greatest test is not building, the greatest test is maintaining. … To sustain greatness, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do,” Calhoun said while sitting in the Huskies locker room after their 63-53 victory over Florida in a national semifinal Saturday night. “To watch these kids now having a chance to go Monday night and get another one for us, I mean that’s pretty special, and I think it speaks to the guys that are here, finding a way.”
This season’s team includes five players who could have left, but stayed after Calhoun retired and Ollie took over knowing they would not be able to play in the NCAA tournament last year because of academic reasons.
Calhoun said it might be hard to watch Monday night’s championship game and not be coaching.
Immigrants, supporters rally across the US for Obama to halt deportations
PHOENIX (AP) - Immigration advocates and supporters rallied Saturday in cities across the country in a renewed effort to push President Barack Obama to put a freeze on deportations.
Organizers of the more than 50 planned “Day of Action” demonstrations said Obama has the executive power to stop deportations that separate immigrants living in the country illegally from their loved ones.
In Eloy, Ariz., more than 100 supporters converged in front of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center after journeying more than 60 miles from Phoenix.
Natally Cruz, an organizer with the grassroots group Puente Arizona, said many of the people in attendance have relatives who have been inside the facility for more than a year.
“We want President Obama and his administration to really hear our community members across the country, to understand we do not want one more person separated,” said Cruz, who entered the U.S. at age 8 illegally with her parents. “One family every night goes to bed missing somebody in their family.”
Peter Matthiessen, award-winning author and environmentalist, dies at age 86
NEW YORK (AP) - Peter Matthiessen, a rich man’s son who spurned a life of leisure and embarked on extraordinary physical and spiritual quests while producing such acclaimed books as “The Snow Leopard” and “At Play in the Fields of the Lord,” died Saturday. He was 86.
His publisher Geoff Kloske of Riverhead Books said Matthiessen, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, was ill “for some months.” He died at a hospital near his home on Long Island.
“Peter was a force of nature, relentlessly curious, persistent, demanding - of himself and others,” his literary agent, Neil Olson, said in a statement. “But he was also funny, deeply wise and compassionate.”
Few authors could claim such a wide range of achievements. Matthiessen helped found The Paris Review, one of the most influential literary magazines, and won National Book Awards for “The Snow Leopard,” his spiritual account of the Himalayas, and for the novel “Shadow Country.” A leading environmentalist and wilderness writer, he embraced the best and worst that nature could bring him, whether trekking across the Himalayas, parrying sharks in Australia or enduring a hurricane in Antarctica.
He also was a longtime liberal who befriended Cesar Chavez and wrote a defense of Indian activist Leonard Peltier, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” that led to a highly publicized, and unsuccessful, lawsuit by an FBI agent who claimed Matthiessen had defamed him.
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