- Associated Press - Friday, May 16, 2014

Turkish minister: maximum of 18 coal miners yet to be found, final toll likely to be about 300

SOMA, Turkey (AP) - A maximum of 18 miners remain missing inside a devastated coal mine and the final death toll will be around 300, Turkey’s energy minister said Friday.

Although he did not spell it out, Taner Yildiz’s comments suggested that no one else was expected to come out alive from the mine in Soma, western Turkey. Some 284 miners are known to have died in Turkey’s worst mining disaster.

“We believe that there are no more than 18 people inside the mine,” Yildiz told reporters. He said that was based on reports from families and data provided by the company.

Yildiz said a fire is still burning inside the mine, spreading noxious fumes, but that “it is declining.”

Grieving relatives laid their dead to rest in mass burials Thursday, with photos of their loved ones pinned to their chests and chanting the names of lost miners. More funerals were planned for Friday.


Early results show India’s opposition party wins national elections in landslide

NEW DELHI (AP) - India’s opposition leader Narendra Modi and his party won national elections in a landslide Friday, preliminary results showed, driving the long-dominant Congress party out of power in the most commanding victory India has seen in more than a quarter century.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party captured a commanding lead for at least 272 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the majority needed to create a government without forming a coalition with smaller parties.

Full results are expected later in the day but it’s unlikely that Modi’s party would see a significant reversal, putting him on track to be the next prime minister.

With a note of triumph, Modi tweeted: “India has won!” as the results came out Friday.

Television channels aired footage of an emotional Modi meeting his mother and touching her feet, a traditional gesture when Hindus seek the blessings of an older relative.


Hospitals compete for affluent immigrants with premium menus, revamped rooms, other extras

HOUSTON (AP) - The menu includes pork or chicken dumplings, fried rice or chicken congee soup with jasmine rice and ginger. It’s an enviable repast that diners take in bed - hospital beds.

When it comes to ordering meals at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, immigrant patients can choose from dishes similar to what they might eat at home: dumplings or noodles for Asian palates, curry to accommodate Indian tastes.

These and other choices at medical facilities nationwide reflect intense competition to attract one of health care’s most desirable demographics - affluent, foreign-born patients with generous insurance coverage or cash to pay out of pocket.

The menu is just part of the outreach. The Houston hospital also has redecorated patient rooms, subscribed to foreign-language TV channels and even changed the color of hospital paperwork to reflect cultural preferences.

Hospitals “are recognizing that they have to begin to gear their services and products toward more minority populations,” said Rick DeFilippi, chairman of the board for the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association.


Family of inmate who died after hunger strike relives pain of estrangement, his life’s spiral

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Hope Keown was reading the newspaper in her kitchen when she noticed a face she hadn’t seen in years. Staring up from the page was her estranged stepfather’s mug shot, next to a story about how he starved himself to death in a Kentucky prison.

The story triggered tears, confusion and a torrent of memories about James Kenneth Embry, the man she knew as “Kenny” and “Spider Red.” She recalled the good times, such as when a sober Embry helped with homework and folded laundry. But there were also the drugs, alcohol and disappearances that lasted for days or weeks until he finally drifted away for good.

When The Associated Press exposed that Embry had died after a five-week hunger strike, prison officials said no family had visited him in prison or claimed his remains. He was buried in a pauper’s grave.

But within days of the AP story, Embry’s family finally found the man they lost touch with years earlier.

“We didn’t even know he was back in prison,” Keown said.


Pro-Russian insurgents retreat in major city in eastern Ukraine as steelworkers begin patrols

MARIUPOL, Ukraine (AP) - Pro-Russian insurgents have retreated from government buildings in a major eastern Ukrainian city as steelworkers began citizen patrols, giving residents hope that a wave of anarchy had come to an end.

Mariupol, second-largest city in the Donetsk region, was one of the cities in the east overrun by pro-Russian protesters who have been in control of government buildings there for weeks.

Citizen patrols began earlier this week as Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man who is believed to wield great influence in the area, urged the steelworkers at his factories to help the police restore order in the city.

Akhmetov’s Metinvest initiated Thursday’s agreement with steel plant directors, local police and community leaders on improving security in the city and vacating separatist-occupied buildings. A representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which declared independence on Monday, was also party to the deal.

An Associated Press crew did not see any insurgent presence in Mariupol Friday morning.


Hagel to Israel: US will do whatever necessary to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapon

JERUSALEM (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pledged to Israeli leaders Friday that the U.S. “will do what we must” to prevent the Jewish state’s greatest fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Hagel made the public pledge in a statement at talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I want to assure you of the United States’ commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon - and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment,” Hagel said.

Both men spoke of the disputed Iranian nuclear program, which is the topic of negotiations this week in Vienna between Western powers and Iran.

“We’ve been saying all along that Iran is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community,” Netanyahu said in a statement while standing beside Hagel.


Nigerian president expected in town of abducted schoolgirls ‘better late than never’

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - President Goodluck Jonathan is expected Friday in the traumatized town from which Islamic extremists abducted more than 300 schoolgirls a month ago, a visit that one community leader says is “better late than never.”

It is the first reported visited by the president to the scene of an attack in the northeastern region that has suffered for five years the increasingly deadly assaults by Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network. Jonathan, a Christian from the south, has been accused of insensitivity to the plight of the mainly Muslim northerners. Thousands have been killed over the years and more than 1,500 civilians have died in the insurgency this year alone.

Residents of the town of Chibok where the girls were kidnapped from have expressed anger at the slow response of Jonathan’s government and the military’s failure to rescue the girls. Last week the militants threatened in a video to sell the girls and young women into slavery unless the government frees detained insurgents. British officials say Jonathan has told them he will not consider an exchange. National and international outrage over the girls’ plight likely prompted Jonathan to belatedly accept international help in the search last week.

The United States this week started flying aircraft over the area in search of the girls, U.S. officials said. Residents of Chibok have not seen any planes, said community leader Pobu Bitrus. The girls are likely in the vast Sambisa forest which begins 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Chibok.

He told The Associated Press that residents expect Jonathan on Friday and are not bitter about the belated attention. He pointed out that the Nigerian leader may have been misled by politicians and his wife who have suggested the kidnappings did not happen or were engineered to embarrass Jonathan and his administration.


Congress running out of patience as Obama administration pledges review of VA patient deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) - Patience is wearing thin in Congress as lawmakers confront allegations of treatment delays and falsified patient-appointment reports at health centers run by the Veterans Affairs Department. A former clinic director says dozens of veterans died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix VA hospital.

Reports of problems at VA medical facilities date back at least 14 years, and in each case were followed by promises of action, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.

“We have come to the point where we need more than good intentions,” Murray told VA Secretary Eric Shinseki at a hearing Thursday of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“What we need from you now is decisive action to restore veterans’ confidence in VA, create a culture of transparency and accountability and change these system-wide, yearslong problems,” Murray said.

Lawmakers from both parties were equally blunt.


CANNES WATCH: Lupita and Kendall wow; Adams, Jackson films sold; Gong Li doubles up

CANNES, France (AP) - The Associated Press is all over the Cannes Film Festival - from its glitzy premieres to the celeb parties and quirky moments in between. Here’s what reporters have seen and heard:



Glowing Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o shone bright at the Calvin Klein celebration of Women In Film event in Cannes. She wore a shimmering blue Calvin Klein strapless dress with a slashed bodice styled with silver sandals. To complement that look, the “12 Years a Slave” star wore enviable teardrop cut out crystal earrings. During the exclusive event, she hung out with fellow WIF attendees Julianne Moore, Rooney Maara and Naomi Watts.

- By Thomas Adamson - https://www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAPhttps://www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP


Napravnik hopes home-track advantage at Pimlico pays off aboard Bayern in Preakness

BALTIMORE (AP) - Rosie Napravnik’s roots in Maryland run so deep, many get the impression the highly successful jockey was born there.

“I grew up in New Jersey,” Napravnik said this week, “but as far as the racing world goes, I am from Maryland.”

Napravnik left home as a 16-year-old to live in Maryland with trainer Holly Robinson, who had previously hired Jasmine Napravnik to exercise the horses in her stable.

“I kept saying, ‘Jas, you’re such a good rider,’” Robinson recalled. “And Jas said, ‘Wait until you see my little sister. She can ride.’”

Oh, could she ride. Rosie Napravnik soon started getting mounts of her own, and now she’s among the best in the business - male or female. A two-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks and the only woman to ride in all three Triple Crown races, Napravnik finished in the top 10 in earnings nationally in each of the past two years and is currently the leading money winner at prestigious Churchill Downs.

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