- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maine locked in standoff with defiant nurse over Ebola precautions as compromise efforts stall

FORT KENT, Maine (AP) - Insisting she is perfectly healthy, nurse Kaci Hickox again defied the state’s Ebola quarantine Thursday by taking a bike ride with her boyfriend, and Maine health authorities struggled to reach a compromise that would limit her contact with others.

Hickox, 33, stepped out of her home on the remote northern edge of Maine for the second day in a row, practically daring authorities to make good on their threat to go to court to have her confined against her will. On Wednesday evening, she went outside for an impromptu news conference and shook a reporter’s outstretched hand.

By evening, it was unclear whether the state had gone to court or whether there had been any progress toward ending the standoff that has become the nation’s most closely watched clash between personal freedom and fear of Ebola. The governor’s office and Hickox’s lawyers would not comment.

Hickox, who returned to the U.S. last week from treating Ebola victims in West Africa as a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, has been under what Maine is calling a voluntary quarantine at her home in this town of 4,300 people.

She has rebelled against the restrictions, saying that her rights are being violated and that she is no threat to others because she has no symptoms. She tested negative last weekend for Ebola, though it can take days for the virus to reach detectable levels.

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Poll: Economy, health care are higher priorities than social issues days before 2014 election

DENVER (AP) - As a season of campaigning enters its final, intense weekend, a new Associated Press-GfK poll illustrates the challenge ahead for candidates and their allies trying to rally voters around traditional wedge issues such as abortion and gay marriage. This fall, voters just have other matters on their minds.

Social issues are eclipsed by concerns about the economy, health care, the Islamic State group and Ebola, the poll finds. And hovering over each of these individual issues is a broad dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress.

Only 32 percent of likely voters called gay marriage an important issue, compared with 91 percent ranking the economy important, 78 percent with similar concerns about health care and 74 percent naming Ebola important. The issue that some Democrats have emphasized most of all - abortion rights - also has been a relatively low priority, with only 43 percent of likely voters in a September poll ranking it important.

Yet women’s health and reproductive rights have been at the center of campaigns for U.S. Senate in Alaska, Iowa, North Carolina and especially Colorado. There, half of the ads aired by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and those backing his re-election have criticized his GOP opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, on women’s health issues. They include a contention the 40-year-old congressman from eastern Colorado wants to ban some forms of birth control.

“Democrats this year clearly think that all that you need is that silver bullet of social issues,” said Katy Atkinson, a GOP political official in Denver. “It’s not. You need more.”

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No room on the tube: Last-minute ads so in demand, campaigns being told shows are overbooked

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A Democratic super PAC wanted to run a 30-second ad during a Friday evening newscast on New Hampshire’s one network station - and was even willing to shell out the $10,000 that the station demanded.

Hours before it was set to run, however, WMUR-TV had to revise its contract with Senate Majority PAC and credit the group’s account. The reason: “Oversold inventory.”

Such is the life of even a deep-pocketed political action committee at this late stage of the 2014 campaign. Many of these groups want to keep spending in a final push before next Tuesday’s elections, as Democrats defend their Senate majority and Republicans drive for the six seats required to command it.

But often there’s simply no ad time left.

“Campaigns and third-party groups are finding it difficult to even find spots to purchase,” said Isaac Baker, who was a top official on the advertising team for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid and now advises some of the Democrats’ heaviest spenders. “And they’re seeing rates climb from where they were last year or even earlier this year.”

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10 Things to Know for Friday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:

1. NURSE CHALLENGES MAINE OVER EBOLA SAFEGUARDS

Insisting she is perfectly healthy, Kaci Hickox again defies the state’s quarantine by taking a bike ride with her boyfriend.

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Police: Man wanted in Pennsylvania barracks ambush that killed 1 trooper, injured 1 is held

A survivalist accused of ambushing two Pennsylvania state troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt that had rattled the nerves of area residents, authorities said.

The apparently quiet takedown of Eric Frein ended weeks of tension and turmoil in the area, as authorities at times closed schools, canceled outdoor events and blockaded roads to pursue him. Residents grew weary of hearing helicopters overhead, while small businesses suffered mounting losses and town supervisors canceled a popular Halloween parade.

State police confirmed Frein was taken into custody Thursday but released no details.

Two law enforcement officials said Frein was captured in the hangar. They weren’t authorized to discuss the circumstances of Frein’s arrest and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. A federal law enforcement official in Washington said Frein was armed when he was captured.

Frein is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding another trooper.

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Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting, drawing Palestinian condemnation

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel closed all access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive religious site on Thursday, a rare move that ratcheted up already heightened tensions following the attempted assassination of a prominent Jewish religious activist and the killing of his suspected Palestinian assailant by police.

The Palestinians accused Israel of a “declaration of war,” deepening a crisis fueled by failed peace efforts, continued Israeli settlement construction and months of simmering violence in the holy city. While Israel said it would reopen the site on Friday, the increasingly religious nature of the unrest risked igniting further violence.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders blamed each other for the tensions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has called for banning Jews from the hilltop holy site, of inciting the violence.

“The international community must stop its hypocrisy and act against the inciters,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas, meanwhile, said Jerusalem is a “red line that must not be touched.” The decision to close access to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound was “a declaration of war” that “will lead to further escalation and instability,” his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said. Abbas made no mention of the attempted killing of the Jewish activist.

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Prisoner whose confession helped free death row inmate in 1999 is freed after recanting

CHICAGO (AP) - A prisoner whose confession helped free a death row inmate in a case that was instrumental to ending capital punishment in Illinois was released Thursday after he recanted, and a prosecutor said there was powerful evidence that the other man was responsible.

Alstory Simon’s confession gained international attention in 1999, largely because of an investigation by a journalism professor and a team of students from Northwestern University that helped secure Anthony Porter’s release just days before he was to be executed. He had spent 16 years on death row for slayings he and his supporters maintained he did not commit.

Because of constitutional protections against double jeopardy, there is no legal way to retry Porter.

Simon, wearing a grey hoodie and jeans, told reporters outside Jacksonville Correctional Center that he was angry.

“I’m not angry at the system. I’m angry at the people who did what they did to me,” he said, crying as he told reporters that his mother had died while he was behind bars.

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Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay, but will disclosure ease workplace stigma?

NEW YORK (AP) - Apple CEO Tim Cook’s declaration that he’s “proud to be gay” wasn’t exactly news in Silicon Valley, where his sexual orientation was no secret. But advocates say that given Apple’s immense reach and visibility, his coming-out could help change attitudes in workplaces across America.

The 53-year-old successor to Steve Jobs made the announcement in an essay published Thursday by Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the highest-profile U.S. business executive to publicly acknowledge that he’s gay.

In a country where more major-league athletes have come out than top CEOs, business leaders said Cook’s disclosure was an important step toward easing anti-gay stigma, particularly for employees in the many states where people can still be fired for their sexual orientation.

Cook, who led Out magazine’s top 50 most powerful people for three years, said in the essay that while he never denied his sexuality, he never openly acknowledged it, either. He said he acted now in the hopes that his words could make a difference to others.

“I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important,” he wrote.

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Dog’s master flees from police, dog follows master, police follow dog, master arrested

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Police in central Alabama say a man’s own dog helped officers bust him on a drug charge.

Prattville Police spokeswoman Paula Barlow says the pooch named Bo followed his fleeing master, who was being pursued by officers. When the dog stopped and wagged his tail in tall grass, she says, officers found and arrested Edwin Henderson.

Barlow says the chase began when two drug officers arrived Wednesday with a search warrant and Henderson took off running.

After an investigator pointed at Henderson and told the dog “go get him,” that’s what Bo did.

Barlow says Henderson is charged with failure to obey police, manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. It’s unclear if he has an attorney, and there’s no word on who’s taking care of Bo.

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Main Event: Cleveland welcomes back LeBron James as he begins quest for NBA title with Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) - Carried onto the floor by an emotional ovation building for years, LeBron James is back where he began.

He’s home.

Introduced to a deafening roar from Cleveland fans, James was welcomed back Thursday night by a city desperate to end a championship drought that’s about to turn 50 years old. James came back to try and end it, and his journey is underway.

At 8:08 p.m. all was right in Cleveland again.

That when James, the last starter announced, walked onto the floor in a Cavs uniform for a regular season game for the first time in four years.

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