Romney shifts back to economic argument as Obama vows ‘no act of terror will go unpunished’
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama on Thursday of "failing American workers" by ignoring Chinese trade violations, and seized on new Federal Reserve attempts to boost the economy as proof the administration’s policies are not working.
Obama campaigned as commander in chief after the violent deaths of four U.S. officials at a diplomatic post in Libya. "No act of terror will go unpunished ... no act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America," he said.
The president spoke in Colorado and Romney in Virginia with less than eight weeks remaining in a close campaign for the White House in tough economic times. The two states are among a handful likely to settle the race, and most polls rate Obama a shaky favorite.
With campaign costs mounting, Romney and Obama competed for the most innovative fundraising appeal.
The Republican challenger’s campaign emailed that anyone making a $15 donation would qualify for a chance to join "Mitt on board the campaign plane for an exciting day on the campaign trail -- at 30,000 feet!"
Fed to buy mortgage bonds, plans to keep rates ultra-low into 2015, says more action may come
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve unleashed a series of bold and open-ended steps Thursday designed to
The Fed said it will spend $40 billion a month to buy mortgage bonds for as long as it deems necessary to make home buying more affordable. It plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows through mid-2015 -- six months longer than previously planned. And it’s ready to try other stimulative measures if hiring doesn’t pick up.
"The idea is to quicken the recovery," Chairman Ben Bernanke said at a news conference. But Bernanke made clear that he thinks the economy will need the Fed’s help even after the recovery strengthens.
Stock prices rose steadily after the Fed’s announcement at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up more than 200 points. Other stock averages also surged.
The Fed’s policy committee announced the aggressive actions after a two-day meeting. Its moves pointed to how sluggish the U.S. and global economies remain more than three years after the Great Recession ended.
Obama: U.S. does not consider Egypt an ally or an enemy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With anti-U.S. protests spreading in the Arab world, President Barack Obama says the U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, "but we don’t consider them an enemy."
Obama said in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo that Egypt is a "new government that is trying to find its way." And he warned that if the Egyptian government takes actions showing "they’re not taking responsibility," then it would "be a real big problem."
Administration officials later said the president was not trying to downgrade the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt. But the remark reflected some U.S. frustration that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had not been vigorous enough in his response to a breach Tuesday of the U.S. embassy in Cairo by demonstrators protesting an anti-Muslim film.
Those protests continued to spread, with demonstrators storming the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa on Thursday. They were on the embassy’s grounds but did not enter the building housing the offices. Demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall and set tires ablaze. Once inside the compound, they brought down the U.S. flag and burned it.
The protest in Yemen came after the breach of the embassy in Cairo and after an armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans.
NYC bans supersized sodas at restaurants, theaters and concession stands
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City cracked down on the sale of supersized sodas and other sugary drinks Thursday in what was celebrated by some as a groundbreaking attempt to curb obesity but condemned by others as a blatant intrusion into people’s lives by a busybody mayor.
Public health experts around the nation -- and the restaurant and soft-drink industry -- will be watching closely to see how it goes over among New Yorkers, a famously disputatious bunch. Barring any court action, the measure will take effect in March.
The regulations, approved easily by the city Board of Health, apply to any establishment with a food-service license, including fast-food places, delis, movie and Broadway theaters, the concession stands at Yankee Stadium and the pizzerias of Little Italy. They will be barred from serving sugary beverages in cups or bottles larger than 16 ounces.
No other U.S. city has gone so far as to restrict portion sizes at restaurants to fight weight gain.
"We cannot continue to have our kids come down with diabetes at age 6," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Guatemala volcano erupts
outside tourist center, officials order 33,000 evacuated
ESCUINTLA, Guatemala (AP) -- A long-simmering volcano exploded into a series of powerful eruptions outside one of Guatemala’s most famous tourist attractions on Thursday, hurling thick clouds of ash nearly two miles high, spewing rivers of lava down its flanks and prompting evacuation orders for more than 33,000 people from surrounding communities.
Guatemala’s head of emergency evacuations, Sergio Cabanas, said the evacuees were ordered to leave some 17 villages around the Volcan del Fuego, which sits about six miles southwest from the colonial city of Antigua, home to 45,000 people. The ash was blowing south-southeast and authorities said the tourist center of the country was not currently in danger, although they expected the eruption to last for at least 12 more hours.
The agency said the volcano spewed lava nearly 2,000 feet down slopes billowing with ash around Acatenango, a 12,346-foot-high volcano whose name translates as "Volcano of Fire."
"A paroxysm of an eruption is taking place, a great volcanic eruption, with strong explosions and columns of ash," said Gustavo Chicna, a volcanologist with the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology. He said cinders spewing from the volcano were settling a half-inch thick in some places.
He said extremely hot gases were also rolling down the sides of the volcano, which was almost entirely wreathed in ash and smoke. The emergency agency warned that flights through the area could be affected.
Sally Struthers charged with drunken driving in Maine, where she’s appearing in musical
OGUNQUIT, Maine (AP) -- Police in Maine say actress Sally Struthers has been charged with drunken driving.
Police say Struthers was arrested early Wednesday morning after being pulled over on U.S. Route 1 in the southern Maine resort town of Ogunquit. She was charged with criminal operating under the influence and posted $160 bail.
The 65-year-old actress has been performing at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the musical "9 to 5."
The Associated Press left messages at the playhouse and with her publicist. Police had no information on whether she had an attorney.
Struthers is best known for her role as Gloria Stivic in the 1970s TV sitcom "All in the Family" and later for heart-tugging ads seeking money for children’s charities.
Guinness World Records 2013 lists Michigan dog as world’s tallest, 44 inches foot to shoulder
OTSEGO, Mich. (AP) -- A Great Dane from Michigan is doggone tall.
The Guinness World Records 2013 book published Thursday recognizes Zeus of Otsego, Mich., as the world’s Tallest Dog.
The 3-year-old measures 44 inches from foot to shoulder.
Standing on his hind legs, Zeus stretches to 7-foot-4 and towers over his owner, Denise Doorlag. Zeus is just an inch taller than the previous record-holder, Giant George.
Zeus weighs 155 pounds and eats a 30-pound bag of food every two weeks.