Economy, Obama standing both improve in Ohio, putting pressure on Romney
MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) -- It’s all about Ohio -- again.
The economy has improved here, and so has President Barack Obama’s standing, putting pressure on Republican Mitt Romney in a state critical to his presidential hopes.
No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio, and Romney hopes to catch Obama here by slashing at his jobs record in working-class regions.
"America doesn’t have to have the long face it has had under this president," the Republican shouted Monday to a cheering audience in hard-scrabble Mansfield, just weeks after Obama visited. "We can get America rolling again, growing again."
In a sign of the state’s importance, hardly a week goes without the candidates appearing in Ohio. Same goes for their running mates; Republican Paul Ryan was campaigning in the Appalachian southeast Wednesday, following a similar weekend trip by Vice President Joe Biden, who is to return to the state Wednesday.
Chicago teachers hit
picket lines; mayor vows
to keep kids safe, get
them back in classroom
CHICAGO (AP) -- For the first time in a quarter-century, thousands of Chicago teachers walked off the job Monday, escalating a bitter contract dispute over evaluations and job security and forcing parents to scramble for somewhere to send idle children.
While negotiators said they had made progress on salary and a longer school day, they remained divided on a host of other issues.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed to end the confrontation quickly. He repeatedly said negotiators were within reach of a deal and that the strike was unnecessary. The mayor acknowledged tensions with union over longstanding issues, but urged a quick resolution.
"Don’t take it out on the kids of Chicago if you have a problem with me," Emanuel said Monday at one of the churches that is serving as a gathering spot for students during the strike.
Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader in Yemen killed in airstrike, a major blow to terror network
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- An airstrike killed al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car on Monday, U.S. and Yemeni officials said, a major breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the group in the impoverished Arab nation.
Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was killed by a missile after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt, according to Yemeni military officials. They said the missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft.
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed al-Shihri’s death but could not confirm any U.S. involvement in the airstrike. The U.S. doesn’t usually comment on such attacks although it has used drones in the past to go after al-Qaida members in Yemen, which is considered a crucial battleground with the terror network.
Yemeni military officials said that a local forensics team had identified al-Shihri’s body with the help of U.S. forensics experts on the ground. The U.S. and Yemeni military officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information to the media.
Late Monday, after speculation surfaced that the attack was carried by a U.S. drone, Yemen’s Defense Ministry issued a statement saying al-Shihri and six companions were killed during an operation by Yemeni armed forces in Wadi Hadramawt, but it did not elaborate on how they were killed.
add to proof that U.S. helped cover up 1940 Soviet massacre
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- The American POWs sent secret coded messages to Washington with news of a Soviet atrocity: In 1943 they saw rows of corpses in an advanced state of decay in the Katyn forest, on the western edge of Russia, proof that the killers could not have been the Nazis who had only recently occupied the area.
The testimony about the infamous massacre of Polish officers might have lessened the tragic fate that befell Poland under the Soviets, some scholars believe. Instead, it mysteriously vanished into the heart of American power. The long-held suspicion is that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t want to anger Josef Stalin, an ally whom the Americans were counting on to defeat Germany and Japan during World War II.
Documents released Monday and seen in advance by The Associated Press lend weight to the belief that suppression within the highest levels of the U.S.government helped cover up Soviet guilt in the killing of some 22,000 Polish officers and other prisoners in the Katyn forest and other locations in 1940.
The evidence is among about 1,000 pages of newly declassified documents that the United States National Archives released and is putting online. Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who helped lead a recent push for the release of the documents, called the effort’s success Monday a "momentous occasion" in an attempt to "make history whole."
Historians who saw the material days before the official release describe it as important and shared some highlights with the AP. The most dramatic revelation so far is the evidence of the secret codes sent by the two American POWs -- something historians were unaware of and which adds to evidence that the Roosevelt administration knew of the Soviet atrocity relatively early on.
Syrian general who defected says regime
can be toppled without outside intervention
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria’s most prominent defector said in an interview that aired Monday that he opposes any foreign military intervention in the country’s civil war and that he is confident the opposition can topple President Bashar Assad’s regime.
But Manaf Tlass, a Syrian general who was the first member of Assad’s inner circle to join the opposition, said the rebels need weapons.
"The Syrian people must not be robbed of their victory, they must be given support, aid, arms," Tlass said in a recorded interview that aired Monday on French television station BFM.
He called on outside powers to give the opposition "all the aid and support" needed to topple Assad.
Foreign military intervention, however, "could not provide a solution" to the conflict, he said. The uprising against Assad’s regime began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests against the family dynasty that has ruled Syria for four decades. But the battle has transformed into a civil war, and activists estimate that at least 23,000 people have been killed.
Consumers cut back on credit card use for 2nd straight month, pushing down overall debt
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans cut back on borrowing in July for the first time in nearly a year. Credit card use fell for the second straight month, suggesting many consumers remain cautious in the face of high unemployment and slow growth.
Total consumer borrowing dipped $3.3 billion in July from June to a seasonally adjusted $2.705 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. It was the first decline since August 2011. The drop in credit card debt offset a small rise in a measure of auto and student loans.
The Fed also said Americans have borrowed much more than previously estimated after it revised consumer borrowing data back to December 2010. June’s figure was increased to $2.708 trillion, or $130 billion higher than initially thought. It’s also well above pre-recession levels.
Consumer debt declined even though Americans boosted their spending in July by the most in five months, according to government data released last week.
Still, the job market has weakened substantially from the start of the year, which is keeping downward pressure on spending. In August, employers added just 96,000 jobs, down from 141,000 in July and well below the average 226,000 jobs a month in the January-March quarter.
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively wed in S.C. ceremony
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- One of the sexiest men alive is off the market. Again.
Ryan Reynolds wed Blake Lively in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Sunday night at Boone Hall Plantation, according to a person familiar with the ceremony who requested anonymity because that person wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter.
Representatives for the actors didn’t return requests by The Associated Press for comment.
While it is Lively’s first marriage, Reynolds was previously wed to Scarlett Johansson. Their divorce was finalized last summer after three years of marriage.
Lively and Reynolds both starred in last year’s "Green Lantern." Lively was previously linked to her "Gossip Girl" co-star Penn Badgley and to Leonardo DiCaprio.