- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pope arrives in US denying he’s a liberal and zipping around town in a modest little car

WASHINGTON (AP) - The pope of the poor arrived for his first-ever visit to the world’s wealthiest superpower Tuesday denying he is a leftist and riding in a frugal little family car, windows rolled down.

Pope Francis’ chartered plane from Cuba touched down at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters paid him the rare honor of meeting him at the bottom of the stairs on the red-carpeted tarmac. Presidents usually make important visitors come to them at the White House.

Emerging from the aircraft to loud cheers from a crowd of hundreds, the smiling 78-year-old pontiff removed his skullcap in the windy weather and made his way down the steps in his white robes.

He was welcomed by a military honor guard, chanting schoolchildren, politicians, and Roman Catholic clerics in black robes with vivid sashes of scarlet and purple. Joe Biden, the nation’s first Catholic vice president, and his wife were among those who greeted him.

Eschewing a limousine, the pope climbed into the back of a little Fiat sandwiched between huge black SUVs. He promptly rolled down the windows, enabling the cheering, whooping crowds to see him as his motorcade took him to the Vatican diplomatic mission in Washington, where he will stay while in the nation’s capital.


VW smog-test trickery erases $26 billion in market value; CEO says he’s ‘endlessly sorry’

DETROIT (AP) - Volkswagen AG’s smog-test scandal escalated Tuesday as the company acknowledged putting stealth software in millions of vehicles worldwide. The crisis has already cost VW more than 24 billion euros ($26 billion) in market value.

The world’s top-selling carmaker now admits that 11 million of its diesel vehicles contain software that evades emissions controls, far more than the 482,000 cars identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as violating clean air laws.

Volkswagen set aside an initial 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the fallout and “win back the trust” of customers. It also said this year’s profit projections will change, and warned that future costs remain undetermined.

CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized for the deception under his leadership and pledged a fast and thorough investigation, but gave no indication that he might resign. Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s ordinary shares fell another 20 percent Tuesday, to close at 111.20 euros.

“Millions of people across the world trust our brands, our cars and our technologies,” Winterkorn said Tuesday in a video message. “I am endlessly sorry that we have disappointed this trust. I apologize in every way to our customers, to authorities and the whole public for the wrongdoing.”


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During his six-day trip, the pontiff is expected to urge America to set aside differences, care for the environment and the poor, and embrace religious liberty and immigrants.


Turing Pharmaceuticals says will cut price of drug after accused of gouging patients

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The company that sparked an angry backlash after it raised the price of a drug for treating a deadly parasitic infection by more than 5,000 percent says it will roll back some of the increase.

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli told ABC News on Tuesday that the new price would make Daraprim more accessible, although he did not say what the new price for the drug would be. A spokesman for Turing did not immediately respond to a request for details.

“We’ve agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit,” Shkreli told ABC.

The company obtained rights to sell the drug, the only U.S.-approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, in August. It hiked the price overnight from $13.50 per pill to $750.

Turing had said it would use profits to improve the drug’s formulation and develop new, better drugs for the infection. It also stressed that some patients can get financial aid from the company to obtain the drug.


Here’s what EU countries have agreed to do to share the burden of the migration crisis

BRUSSELS (AP) - To share some of the burden of Europe’s gravest migrant crisis since World War II, European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to resettle tens of thousands of the people who are arriving in other countries of the bloc. It was a headline-making decision, because a majority of countries acted in the face of stiff opposition from fellow EU members. But EU officials acknowledged much more must be done. Here’s a look at what was agreed and what’s expected to happen next:

WHAT WAS DECIDED: A total of 120,000 people arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years and who are “in clear need of international protection” will be resettled elsewhere in the bloc. Under the plan, 50,400 people will be relocated from Greece, and 15,600 from Italy. The remaining 54,000 may come from those two countries, where many people fleeing the Middle East, Africa and Asia first enter EU territory. They could also come from another EU member state if it is deemed to be “confronted with an emergency situation characterized by a sudden inflow of nationals of third countries.”


WHAT THE GOALS ARE: EU governments said they acted to help the migrants to remain true to the values of human rights and dignity that are at the EU’s heart, and out of solidarity with frontline EU states whose government authorities and social services have been swamped by the migrant crisis. Officials from Germany, the migrants’ No. 1 destination, said the resettlement program should reduce the pressure being placed on it. “If people are distributed in Europe, then they can’t choose what country they go to,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. “They have to stay in the country they were distributed to. We decided today that if they don’t keep to that, they can be returned without delay to the land they were distributed to, and the countries are committing themselves to taking the people back.”


Bush says US ‘should not have multicultural society,’ isolation hinders access to opportunity

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Tuesday that multiculturalism is bad for the United States, adding that immigrants who close themselves off from American culture deny themselves access to economic rewards.

The former governor of Florida, who speaks fluent Spanish and often touts his success winning Latino votes in a party that badly needs them, addressed the issue in a packed northern Iowa diner as he met people in the crowd.

A young woman approached the candidate and asked how the federal government could help refugees better incorporate into U.S. society.

“We should not have a multicultural society,” Bush said, before beginning a longer explanation of his views of what comprises culture in the U.S.

“When you create pockets of isolation - and in some places the process of assimilation has been retarded because they’ve slowed down - it’s wrong,” he added. “It limits people’s aspirations.”


Deputy hears cries in night, saves 2 girls from drowning; dad charged with attempted murder

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy says he heard wailing in the darkness and plunged into an apartment complex’s pond at night to rescue two young girls who, police say, had been thrown there to drown by their father.

Durham County Sheriff’s Deputy David Earp was off duty and says he rushed out with little more than his department T-shirt, badge and flashlight after the apartment manager called him at home around 9 p.m. Sunday to report some kind of trouble.

“I heard something about children, that they might possibly be in trouble,” Earp said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. “And after I was informed that there were kids involved, instinct took over just to go out there and rescue them.”

Earp, who lives around the corner from the pond, spotted the girls in the dark with his flashlight and saw a 5-year-old floating and crying. Her 3-year-old sister was fully submerged. Earp says he charged into water about 5 feet deep and scooped them up, holding one in each arm.

He took no notice of the girls’ father, Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter, 29, of Raleigh - the man who was later charged with trying to drown his kids. In the heat of the moment, Earp was focused on just one thing: trying to save the girls’ lives.


Clinton breaks Keystone XL silence, says she opposes oil pipeline fought by environmentalists

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she opposes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, breaking her longstanding silence over a project criticized by environmentalists as a threat to the planet’s climate.

The Democratic presidential candidate said she decided to speak out after concluding the ongoing debate over whether the pipeline should be built had become a distraction to larger efforts to fight climate change.

That distraction, she said, is “unfortunately, from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward to deal with the other issues. Therefore I oppose it.”

Clinton’s announcement came as she has ceded ground in some polls to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has long opposed the project. It also followed the appearance of protesters at some of her recent campaign events holding signs that read, “I’m Ready for Hillary to say no KXL.”

The former secretary of state had previously said she shouldn’t take a position on the issue, because she didn’t want to interfere with the Obama administration as it considers whether to allow construction of a pipeline that would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.


Abortion and a government shutdown: Republicans split over how far to take their fight

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats thwarted a Republican effort to ban late-term abortions on Tuesday as GOP leaders strained to avoid a government shutdown in eight days over the dispute - all against a tangled backdrop of presidential politics.

Up next, in the first of a series of choreographed steps, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set up a showdown vote for Thursday on stopgap legislation that would keep the government operating through Dec. 11.

But it would also block Planned Parenthood’s federal funds for a year, and Democrats are expected to block that measure, too, setting up subsequent votes on must-pass bills to keep the government open free of the dispute over Planned Parenthood and abortion.

Abortion politics is roiling Congress and the White House campaign as well. A number of Republicans, outraged over Planned Parenthood’s procurement of fetal tissue for scientific research, are demanding definitive action from GOP leaders.

“If Senate Republicans cannot defund Planned Parenthood right now, there is no point in calling them Republicans,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a candidate for the GOP nomination, tweeted last week.


Study: Diagnosis errors major health care issue affecting most, severe consequences for some

WASHINGTON (AP) - Most people will experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis at some point in their lives, a blind spot in modern medicine that can have devastating consequences, says a new report that calls for urgent changes across health care.

Getting the right diagnosis, at the right time, is crucial, but Tuesday’s Institute of Medicine report found diagnostic errors get too little attention.

The biggest needed change: “Patients are central to a solution,” said Dr. John Ball of the American College of Physicians, who chaired the IOM committee.

That means better teamwork between health providers - doctors, nurses, lab workers - and making the patient be part of the team, too. Providers must take patients’ complaints more seriously, get them quick copies of test results and other records, and encourage them to ask, “Could it be something else?”

Another culture shift: When the patient’s third doctor finally gets the right diagnosis, it should become the norm, not an embarrassment, for that physician to call the others and say, “It turned out this patient had X and not Y,” added committee member Dr. Christine Cassel, president of the National Quality Forum. “That’s the only way we can really learn.”

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