- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

US satellite systems detect heat around doomed Russian jet before crash in Egyptian desert

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - U.S. satellite imagery detected heat around a Russian passenger jet just before it went down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, two U.S. officials said Tuesday. But the discovery doesn’t resolve the mystery of why the plane crashed, killing all 224 aboard.

A missile striking the Metrojet Airbus A321-200 was ruled out because neither a launch nor an engine burn had been detected, one of the officials said.

The infrared activity that was detected could mean many things, including a bomb blast or that an engine on the plane exploded due to a malfunction.

Aviation analyst Paul Beaver said the heat picked up by the satellite “indicates that there was a catastrophic explosion or disintegration of the airplane,” but doesn’t reveal the cause.

“It doesn’t tell us if it was a bomb … or if somebody had a fight in the airplane with a gun - there is a whole raft of things that could happen in this regard,” he said.


Scandal at Volkswagen widens with new problems in C02 emissions in 800,000 vehicles

BERLIN (AP) - Germany’s Volkswagen, already reeling from the fallout of cheating on U.S. emissions tests for nitrogen oxide, said Tuesday that an internal investigation has revealed “unexplained inconsistencies” in the carbon dioxide emissions from 800,000 of its vehicles - a development it said could cost the company another 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

The investigation was undertaken by the company after the revelations that many of its vehicles had software that allowed them to deceive U.S. nitrogen oxide tests. CEO Matthias Mueller promised Tuesday that Volkswagen “will relentlessly and completely clarify what has happened.”

“It is a painful process, but for us there is no alternative,” said Mueller, who took over after CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in September because of the emissions-rigging scandal. “For us, only one thing counts, and that is the truth.”

The news is the latest in a string of problems identified with Volkswagen emissions, which have caused share prices to plummet.

In September, the company admitted it had installed software designed to defeat tests for nitrogen oxide emissions for four-cylinder diesel engines on 11 million cars worldwide, including almost 500,000 in the U.S. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of recalling those vehicles - and analysts expect the emissions scandal to cost the company much more than that.


Keystone backers now look to Obama’s successor to make the call; Obama signals not so fast

WASHINGTON (AP) - The company pleading for permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline looked beyond President Barack Obama on Tuesday in apparent hopes a future Republican president would greenlight the project. But the administration signaled it was in no mood to hand off the decision to the winner of the 2016 election.

TransCanada insisted its request for the U.S. to suspend its review of the proposed project had nothing to do with presidential politics even though a delay could thrust the decision a year or more into the future, likely putting it in the hands of Obama’s successor. Questioning the motivation for the Canadian energy giant’s request, the White House said “there might be politics at play” and Obama still intended to make the decision.

It was an unusual reversal of roles for TransCanada, which complained bitterly for years about Obama’s delays before suddenly requesting one of its own. Likewise, Obama’s administration, after seven years of delay, seemed to discover a newfound sense of urgency when faced with the prospect of letting the next president make the call.

The State Department, the official arbiter of the pipeline permit, said it was considering TransCanada’s new request but in the meantime the pipeline review would move forward unabated.

“We’d like to finish this review process as swiftly as possible,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Tuesday. That was 2,601 days after TransCanada first proposed the $8 billion project.


Feds fine Japanese company $70 million in exploding air bag case, cites ‘massive crisis’

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. auto safety regulators fined Japan’s Takata Corp. $70 million Tuesday for concealing evidence for years that its air bags are prone to explode with grisly consequences - a defect linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide.

Under an agreement with the government, Takata will phase out manufacture of air bag inflators that use ammonium nitrate, the propellant blamed for the explosions. It also agreed to a schedule over the next two years for replacing many of the devices already in use.

And unless it can prove they are safe, Takata may have to recall all its inflators, even those not yet implicated in the mess.

The company admitted that it knew for years that the inflators were defective but that it fended off recalls by failing to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Delay, misdirection and refusal to acknowledge the truth allowed a serious problem to become a massive crisis,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.


Palestinians say flurry of amateur video backs claims of excessive force by Israeli troops

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Recent videos show Israeli troops shooting a wounded Palestinian at close range, pepper-spraying Palestinian medics, ramming a Palestinian with a jeep and threatening refugee camp residents with tear gas “until you die” unless they stop throwing stones.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups contend the images, many captured by amateur smartphone users, buttress long-standing allegations of excessive force - particularly amid a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks in which top Israeli politicians and security commanders have encouraged forces to shoot to kill suspected assailants.

“There is a very clear message sent by those politicians and military commanders that this is how law enforcement should behave,” said Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli group B’Tselem, which documents rights abuses.

Israel’s army and police defended the actions shown in the videos, with the exception of an officer who was suspended over the tear gas threat.

“Our activities in all of the cases have been responses to Palestinian aggression,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. Israel itself has released several videos showing its forces shooting stabbers.


Russian airstrikes in Syria kill more civilians than militants, according to activists

KADIRLI, Turkey (AP) - The 4-year-old Syrian girl was ending her first trip to her grandparents’ house. Posing for the last family photos before returning to Turkey with her mother, Raghad dressed up in a pretty blue-and-white polka dot dress and put her hair up in ponytails with red barrettes.

About an hour later, the family heard Russian warplanes overhead and the missiles struck. Raghad, her grandfather and another relative were killed.

The girl is among dozens of civilians who activists say have been killed in the Russian air campaign in Syria, which Moscow says is aimed at crushing the Islamic State group and other Islamic militants.

But the month-old Russian bombardment has killed more civilians than it has IS militants, according to the main activist group tracking the conflict, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Despite Russian boasts to be going after the extremists more ferociously than Americans have, the Observatory’s figures also suggest the air campaign waged by a U.S.-led coalition the past 13 months has killed IS members at a higher rate while harming civilians less.

The Observatory said it has so far confirmed 185 civilians killed in Russian strikes the past month - including 46 women and 48 children - while the toll among IS fighters was 131. The heaviest toll came among Syrian rebels not connected to IS, with 279 dead, the group said. In contrast, the U.S.-led air campaign has killed 3,726 IS members - an average of 252 a month, and 225 civilians - according to the Observatory’s statistics.


The Latest: Greek authorities say 4 drown in new migrant boat accident off island of Lesbos

SID, Serbia (AP) - The latest as tens of thousands of people flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.

11:00 p.m.

Greek authorities say four more people have drowned off the eastern island of Lesbos, after an accident involving a boat with nearly 50 migrants on board who had crossed over from nearby Turkey.

The coast guard said Tuesday that about 40 people were saved by a patrol boat, while a man, two women and a child were later rescued from the sea. The dead were identified as two men and two children. No others were listed as missing.

__CLIMATE COUNTDOWN: AP-NORC poll shows Americans are hot but not too bothered by climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans are hot but not too bothered by global warming.

Most Americans know the climate is changing, but they say they are just not that worried about it, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. And that is keeping the American public from demanding and getting the changes that are necessary to prevent global warming from reaching a crisis, according to climate and social scientists.

As top-level international negotiations to try to limit greenhouse gas emissions start later this month in Paris, the AP-NORC poll taken in mid-October shows about two out of three Americans accept global warming and the vast majority of those say human activities are at least part of the cause.

However, fewer than one in four Americans are extremely or very worried about it, according the poll of 1,058 people. About one out of three Americans are moderately worried and the highest percentage of those polled - 38 percent - were not too worried or not at all worried.

Despite high profile preaching by Pope Francis, only 36 percent of Americans see global warming as a moral issue and only a quarter of those asked see it as a fairness issue, according to the poll which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.


DNA sought, Chipotle’s ingredient-tracing commitment tested as E. coli outbreak sickens 37

SEATTLE (AP) - Chipotle’s industry-leading commitment to tracking its ingredients from farm to table is being put to the test by an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 37 people as of Tuesday, nearly all of whom ate recently at one of the chain’s restaurants in Washington state or Oregon.

Scientists also said Tuesday that they identified the specific microorganism responsible, which they believe was carried on fresh produce such as lettuce or tomatoes.

The chain of casual Mexican restaurants voluntarily closed 43 locations in the two states after health officials alerted them to a growing number of E. coli cases involving people who shared one common experience: a meal at Chipotle during the last two weeks.

The numbers grew from 3 to 12 probable cases in Portland area and from 19 to 25 probable cases in five counties near Seattle on Tuesday.

Washington State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said the specific microorganism responsible for the outbreak is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26.


GMA anchor Lara Spencer photo hugging Donald Trump draws mix of responses

NEW YORK (AP) - An Instagram photo of ABC News’ “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer hugging presidential hopeful Donald Trump is drawing a mix of responses on social media and in real life.

In the photo posted Tuesday, Spencer has one arm around Trump’s shoulder and the other across his midsection. His hand is on her waist. They are both smiling. Spencer’s message that initially accompanied the photo: “Can’t beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on,” with a smiley face.

The photo, snapped Tuesday morning on the “GMA” set, triggered comments on Instagram that ranged from support for Spencer and Trump to attacks on her professionalism. After a number of critical comments were posted, Spencer clarified in the Instagram post that she was not seated in his lap, as it appeared to some observers, but “standing next to Donald Trump. Said a quick hello and welcomed him to the GMA studio for first time since he announced his candidacy.”

An ABC News representative had no comment on the propriety of the photo. Trump was interviewed by “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday; the ABC representative said Spencer, who appeared in a Donald Trump costume on Friday’s show, did not appear on-air with the candidate on Tuesday.

Aly Colon, Knight Professor of Media Ethics at Washington and Lee University, said the photo and its display online “gives the impression that these people are close to each other in some way. How close? I don’t know. But it puts her in a position where people might question whether as a journalist she is representing the public or Donald Trump.”



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