- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

Police chief: Multiple suspects suspected of opening fire on officers outside Dallas police HQ

DALLAS (AP) - Authorities say multiple suspects using automatic weapons opened fire on officers outside Dallas Police headquarters, before one man fled the scene in what witnesses described as an armored van.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown says the shootout began about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, when the suspects pulled up to the building located south of downtown and began firing. He says at least one of the suspects fled the scene in a van that rammed a police cruiser before leading police on a chase that ended at parking lot in Hutchins.

Brown says negotiations with that suspect are ongoing. No injuries were reported.

Brown says as many as four suspects may have been involved, including some possibly located at elevated positions. Police also found four bags, including one holding a pipe bomb.

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New York prison worker accused of helping 2 killers escape; pleads not guilty at arraignment

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - A worker at an upstate New York maximum-security prison charged with helping two convicted killers escape last weekend brought the men hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch and a screwdriver bit, according to criminal complaints.

Prison tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell, 51, was arraigned late Friday night on the felony charge of promoting prison contraband and misdemeanor count of criminal facilitation. Her lawyer, Keith Bruno, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.

Mitchell is accused of befriending inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and giving them contraband. The inmates used power tools to cut through their cell walls and a steam pipe and escaped through a manhole a week ago.

Wearing a green short-sleeved top and jeans, Mitchell entered the courtroom with her hands cuffed in front of her. She looked scared and did not speak. She was ordered held in jail on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond on felony count and is due back in court Monday morning.

District Attorney Andrew Wylie said earlier the contraband didn’t include power tools used by the men as they cut holes in their cell walls and a steam pipe to escape through a manhole last weekend.

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Mental illness, substance use, arrests: Officials say hackers gained deeply personal data

WASHINGTON (AP) - Deeply personal information submitted by U.S. intelligence and military personnel for security clearances - mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests, bankruptcies and more - is in the hands of hackers linked to China, officials say.

In describing a cyberbreach of federal records dramatically worse than first acknowledged, authorities point to Standard Form 86, which applicants are required to complete. Applicants also must list contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of U.S. intelligence employees to coercion. Both the applicant’s Social Security number and that of his or her cohabitant are required.

In a statement, the White House said that on June 8, investigators concluded there was “a high degree of confidence that … systems containing information related to the background investigations of current, former and prospective federal government employees, and those for whom a federal background investigation was conducted, may have been exfiltrated.”

“This tells the Chinese the identities of almost everybody who has got a United States security clearance,” said Joel Brenner, a former top U.S. counterintelligence official. “That makes it very hard for any of those people to function as an intelligence officer. The database also tells the Chinese an enormous amount of information about almost everyone with a security clearance. That’s a gold mine. It helps you approach and recruit spies.”

The Office of Personnel Management, which was the target of the hack, did not respond to requests for comment. OPM spokesman Samuel Schumach and Jackie Koszczuk, the director of communications, have consistently said there was no evidence that security clearance information had been compromised.

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Wounded trade vote marks an inauspicious start to a month full challenges for Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) - This was hardly the promising start the White House wanted for one of the most challenging months in President Barack Obama’s second term.

After two last-minute, high-profile appeals to rescue his global trade agenda, Obama was knocked off stride Friday, rebuffed by lawmakers from his own party. The defeat in the House seriously damaged his chances of capping his presidency with a groundbreaking economic pact with 11 Pacific rim countries.

For Obama, it was an ominous first in a June full of trials that could determine his standing for the remaining year-and-a-half of his presidency.

Besides the prospects for an international trade deal, Obama is also awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court that could upend his health care law, and he faces a June 30 deadline to conclude an accord that aims to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Together they symbolize the totality of the president’s achievements in domestic, economic and national security policies.

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6 Yemenis transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Oman in first move out of prison in 5 months

WASHINGTON (AP) - Six men long held at Guantanamo Bay arrived Saturday in Oman, the first movement of detainees out of the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects in five months as Congress considers new restrictions on transfers.

The six detainees - all from Oman’s war-torn Mideast neighbor Yemen - boarded a flight from the U.S. prison in Cuba on Friday, bringing Guantanamo’s population down to 116. The move means President Barack Obama has now transferred more than half of the 242 detainees who were at Guantanamo when he was sworn into office after campaigning to close it.

Yet Obama remains far from achieving his closure goal, with just a year and a half left in office, final transfer approvals coming slowly from the Pentagon and lawmakers threatening to make movement out even harder. The transfers to Oman are the first to be given final approval by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who has been on the job four months.

The six new transfers include Emad Abdullah Hassan, who has been on hunger strikes since 2007 in protest of his confinement without charge since 2002. In court filings protesting force-feeding practices, Hassan said detainees have been force-fed up to a gallon (3.75 liters) at a time of nutrients and water. The U.S. accuses him of being one of many bodyguards to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and of being part of a group planning to attack NATO and American troops after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

The five other detainees sent to Oman were identified by the Pentagon as:

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In what’s billed as her 2016 debut, Clinton calling for new era of shared economic prosperity

NEW YORK (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for a new era of shared prosperity, arguing that American workers can trust her to fight for them in a speech billed as her formal 2016 presidential campaign debut.

At an outdoor rally Saturday on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, Clinton will portray herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind in the post-recession economy, detailing a lifetime of work on behalf of struggling families. She says her mother’s difficult childhood inspired what she considers a calling.

Her campaign says that “tenacious fighter” message will be the foundation of her presidential bid, even as she takes pains to stay silent on political divisive issues, including two billed by Republicans as key to economic growth: a proposed trade deal with Pacific Rim nations and the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Long one of the most divisive figures in American politics, Clinton seeks to use the speech to present herself on her own terms and turn her politicized history into a strength. She lost her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama.

“Her story, her life, is she is someone who has always been advocating and fighting for someone else,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director.

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Experts expect more MERS cases, downplay chance of pandemic, as South Korea records 14th death

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Experts from the World Health Organization and South Korea on Saturday downplayed concerns about the MERS virus spreading further within the country, which recorded its 14th death and a dozen new infections, but said it was premature to declare the outbreak over.

After a weeklong review of the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, the panel of experts told a news conference that there was no evidence to suggest the virus is spreading in the community. The outbreak in South Korea has so far been occurring only in hospitals, among patients, family members who visited them and medical staff treating them.

The virus has spread at a pattern similar to previous outbreaks in the Middle East, and the sequencing studies of samples from South Korea show no signs that the virus has increased its ability to transmit between humans, said WHO Assistant Director Keiji Fukuda.

While the infections seem to be stagnating, the South Korean government must continue to maintain strong control measures, such as thoroughly tracing patients’ contacts and preventing suspected patients from traveling, because it’s still early to declare the situation over, he said.

The continued discovery of new cases has created an impression that the outbreak is getting bigger, but Fukuda noted that many of the cases being reported were of people who were infected in the past. New infections appear to be declining, which suggests that the government’s control measures are having an impact, he said.

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In California, nearly ironclad decades-old water rights halted amid lingering drought

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Despite California’s drought, Richard and Danna Jones’ cattle grazing pasture has stayed green thanks to water flowing free from a gulch claimed by his grandfather in 1911.

Their nearly ironclad right to water was suspended Friday when state regulators ordered them to stop taking the water for their rural property east of Redding. They are among more than 100 senior water rights holders told for the first time in decades that major waterways in California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley are too dry to meet demand, but aren’t expected to be the last.

“The place is going to look like hell,” said Danna Jones. She and her husband depend on money from letting cattle graze on their land to pay off property taxes.

“It’s going to dry up and become a star-thistle patch. It’s not going to be good for us.”

California’s mandatory water curtailment has moved from cities, towns and farmers with less iron-clad water rights to those historically shielded from cuts. Thousands of people, water districts and entities with claims dating before 1914 have long enjoyed nearly guaranteed access to water, and some are threatening lawsuits to keep it this way as California’s drought drags into a fourth year.

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Actor John Stamos arrested, charged with driving under the influence

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Actor John Stamos has been arrested and cited with driving under the influence in Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills police say they received calls around 7:45 p.m. Friday reporting a possible drunken driver. Police later stopped Stamos, who was the only person in the vehicle.

Police say 51-year-old Stamos was taken to a hospital because of a possible medical condition. There police say it was determined he had been driving under influence, and he was arrested. Police cited him with DUI and released him to the care of the hospital.

A message to his publicist for comment was not immediately returned.

Stamos starred in “Full House,” which aired on ABC from 1987 to 1995. He will produce and appear in a 13-episode reboot of the sitcom for Netflix scheduled to debut next year.

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Confident Blackhawks, Lightning aim to take upper hand in Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The tightest Stanley Cup Final is 47 years is coming down to the wire.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning both feel confident about their ability to win two of a possible three games remaining in the best-of-7 matchup that resumes Saturday night.

The series is tied 2-2 following four consecutive one-goal games, and there’s no reason to believe one team or the other is poised to run away from the other.

“It’s one of the hardest things to do in pro sports, finish off a series and beat another team to win a Stanley Cup, especially a team that’s been there a couple times and knows what it takes,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. “We have our work cut out for us, but this group has belief in each other.”

The Blackhawks have won two of the past five NHL championships, and they have stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to lean on in situations like this.

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