- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

Uncertainty fuels speculation on Ferguson case as weekend passes without grand jury decision

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The final weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday passed without a grand jury decision on whether to indict a Ferguson police officer, fueling new speculation about the timing as protesters demand justice for Michael Brown.

After meeting Friday but apparently not reaching a decision, the grand jury was widely expected to reconvene on Monday to consider possible charges against Darren Wilson, the white suburban St. Louis officer who fatally shot the black 18-year-old after a confrontation in August. There was no official confirmation about when the grand jury would meet again.

Protesting on Sunday night, Reggie Cunningham said he doubted Wilson will be indicted and it seemed authorities were delaying an announcement “to spin this in the most positive way possible.”

“The more that they drag this out, the angrier people are going to be,” said Cunningham, 30, of St. Louis.

The shooting triggered riots and looting, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas. Many in the area thought a grand jury decision on whether to charge Wilson with a crime would be announced Sunday, based partly on a stepped-up police presence in the preceding days, including the setting up of barricades around the building where the panel was meeting.

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Israel police say Palestinian youth attacked by Jews in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) - Three young Israelis attacked a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem on Monday, police say, the latest sectarian incident in the increasingly tense city.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the unidentified youth is in good condition in a Jerusalem hospital, and that police are investigating the attack.

Tensions in Jerusalem are spiking, mostly over Palestinian claims that the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to change the status quo at a sensitive holy site in the city by allowing Jews to pray there.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied the claims but some members of his right-wing coalition favor letting the prayers go forward.

Known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the site is the third holiest in Islam and the holiest in Judaism.

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Chinese foreign minister holds out hope for Iran nuclear deal, even as talks turn to extension

VIENNA (AP) - Talks on Iran’s nuclear program appear likely to run beyond their Monday midnight deadline, but China’s foreign minister says negotiators are still working on elements of a deal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed Sunday to start discussion on continuing the talks past the target date But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says negotiators are still having “consultations” on a final agreement that meets both U.S. demands for strict curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program and Iran’s push for sanctions relief.

Wang arrived Monday, joining the foreign ministers of the other countries negotiating with Iran - the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

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British banker can plea in trial for killings of Indonesian women, Hong Kong judge says

HONG KONG (AP) - A Hong Kong judge on Monday deemed a British banker charged with murdering two Indonesian women fit to enter a plea in his case based on the results of psychiatric reports.

The judge in Rurik Jutting’s case also adjourned pre-trial court proceedings until July 6 to give the prosecution more time to analyze DNA and other forensic evidence.

Prosecutor Louise Wong told the judge that the government lab needed 28 weeks to examine more than 200 items of evidence collected from the crime scene, but she added that investigators requested the case be given priority.

Jutting’s lawyers said he did not object to the request for the lengthy adjournment.

No trial date has been set yet and Jutting did not enter a plea. He spoke only once, calmly saying “I do” when the judge reminded him to continue giving instructions to his lawyers and asked him if he understood.

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Attempted murder charge filed against mother of newborn left in Sydney storm drain for 5 days

SYDNEY (AP) - A 30-year-old Sydney mother has been charged with trying to kill her newborn son by abandoning him in a roadside drain for five days before passers-by heard his cries, police said Monday.

The week-old baby was in serious but stable condition in Westmead Children’s Hospital a day after cyclists found him in a 2.5-meter (8-foot) deep drain beside the M7 Motorway in the suburb of Quakers Hill, police said in a statement.

His mother, Saifale Nai, did not appear in court to answer the attempted murder charge. Her lawyer did not enter a plea and the magistrate formally refused her bail.

Nai will remain in custody until her next court appearance on Friday. She would face a potential maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted.

“Police will allege the baby, believed to have been born on Monday (Nov. 17), was placed into the drain on Tuesday,” the police statement said.

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12-year-old boy with fake gun at playground dies after being shot by Ohio police; probe begins

CLEVELAND (AP) - A 12-year-old boy was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun, triggering an investigation into his death and a legislator’s call for such weapons to be brightly colored or bear special markings.

The boy, identified by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner as Tamir Rice, died from his wounds Sunday, a day after officers responded to a 911 call about someone waving a “probably fake” gun at a playground.

Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said one officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon - which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle - from his waistband but had not pointed it at police. The boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Tomba said.

“That’s when the officer fired,” he said.

Police described the weapon as an “airsoft” type replica that resembled a semi-automatic handgun. The orange safety indicator had been removed, police said.

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Desperation leads Chilean mothers to grow marijuana to help their seizure-stricken children

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Paulina Bobadilla was beyond desperate. The drugs no longer stopped her daughter’s epileptic seizures and the little girl had become so numb to pain, she would tear off her own fingernails and leave her small fingers bleeding.

Bobadilla was driving on a mountain road with Javiera, intent on ending it all by steering their car off a cliff.

“All I wanted to do was to die along with her,” the 34-year-old mother recalled of that day in April 2013. “I told her: ‘This is it.’ But then she said, ‘Mommy, I love you.’ I looked at her and I knew I had to continue fighting.”

Bobadilla’s desperation to ease her daughter’s condition is an emotion familiar to other Chilean parents who say medical marijuana can help their children and who, rather than wait for Congress to act, have taken matters into their own hands.

Despite the risk of jail time, about 100 parents have formed a group, Mama Cultiva or “Mama Grows,” to share knowledge about cultivating marijuana to extract cannabis oil for their seizure-stricken children.

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AP Exclusive: Letter that inspired Kerouac’s ‘On The Road,’ sparked Beat Generation to be sold

LOS ANGELES (AP) - It’s been called the letter that launched a literary genre - 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950.

Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.

The letter, Kerouac said shortly before his death, would have transformed his counterculture muse Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost.

Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-some years.

It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.

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One Direction, Katy Perry win 3 American Music Awards; Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Swift shine

One Direction won three honors at the American Music Awards, including artist of the year over powerhouse acts like Beyonce and Luke Bryan, while breakthrough newcomer Iggy Azalea beat out heavyweights Eminem and Drake in the rap categories.

Katy Perry, who was absent from Sunday’s award show because of her world tour, matched One Direction for most wins with three.

The boy band won also won favorite band, duo or group - pop/rock and favorite album - pop/rock for “Midnight Memories” at the fan-voted show.

“This has been a real perfect day … America feels like a second home to us,” Liam Payne said onstage with his band mates when they won the night’s first award. The group released its new album, “Four,” last week.

They wore all black as they sang the groove “Night Changes” at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. Taylor Swift kicked off the AMAs as a mad woman and man eater by feeding a boy a poisonous apple, holding burning roses and giving crazy eyes during a performance of her song about her dating life according to the media.

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Schools close, residents ready for evacuation in Buffalo region as snowmelt threatens flooding

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Families rushed to pack up their valuables and schools closed in advance - not of snow but possible flooding.

Temperatures were expected to hit nearly 60 degrees on Monday, causing Buffalo area residents to prepare for evacuations caused by runoff from melting snow, and overflowing creeks.

“Hopefully the rain won’t be here until later and this will be a slow thaw, but flooding is our major, major concern here,” said Michelle Pikula, whose house is along the Buffalo Creek.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Monday and cautioned that trees weakened by heavy snowfall and saturated soil could come crashing down. High wind gusts of up to 60 mph also could topple electrical wires and trigger power outages. Forecasts call for rain showers on Monday and a chance of rain and snow showers by early Tuesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday warned residents in flood-prone areas around Buffalo to move valuables up from the basement, pack a bag and prepare for the possibility of evacuation.

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