Police storm camps supporting ousted president; 278 killed across Egypt
CAIRO (AP) -- Riot police backed by armored vehicles, bulldozers and helicopters Wednesday swept away two encampments of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, setting off running street battles in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. At least 278 people were killed nationwide, many of them in the crackdown on the protest sites.
Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-reform leader in the interim government, resigned in protest over the assaults as the military-backed leadership imposed a monthlong state of emergency and nighttime curfew.
Clashes broke out elsewhere in the capital and other provinces as Islamist anger spread over the dispersal of the 6-week-old sit-ins by Morsi’s Islamist supporters that divided Egypt.
It was the highest single day death toll since the 18-day uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The Health Ministry said 235 civilians were killed and more than 2,000 injured, while Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said 43 policemen died in the assault. He said Morsi supporters attacked 21 police stations and seven Coptic Christian churches across the nation, and assaulted the Finance Ministry in Cairo, occupying its ground floor.
Petroglyphs in Nevada dated to more than 10,000 years
PYRAMID LAKE, Nev. (AP) -- Ancient rock etchings along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada have been confirmed to be the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America, dating back at least 10,000 years.
The petroglyphs found on limestone boulders near Pyramid Lake in northern Nevada’s high desert are similar in design to etchings found at a lake in Oregon that are believed to be at least 7,600 years old. Unlike later drawings that sometimes depict a spear or antelope, the carvings are abstract with tightly clustered geometric designs -- some are diamond patterns, others have short parallel lines on top of a longer line.
Scientists can’t tell for sure who carved them, but they were found on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation land.
"We initially thought people 12,000 or 10,000 years ago were primitive, but their artistic expressions and technological expertise associated with these paints a much different picture," said Eugene Hattori, the curator of anthropology at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City who co-authored a paper on the findings earlier this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The petroglyphs could be as much as 14,800 years old, said Larry Benson, a geochemist who used radiocarbon testing to date the etchings and co-wrote the paper.
Al-Qaida threat that closed U.S. embassies was discussed in online jihadi chat room
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Al-Qaida fighters have been using secretive chat rooms and encrypted Internet message boards for planning and coordinating attacks -- including the threatened if vague plot that U.S. officials say closed 19 diplomatic posts across Africa and the Middle East for more than a week.
It’s highly unlikely that al-Qaida’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, or his chief lieutenant in Yemen, Nasser al-Wahishi, were personally part of the Internet chatter or, given the intense manhunt for both by U.S. spy agencies, that they ever go online or pick up the phone to discuss terror plots, experts say.
But the unspecified call to arms by the al-Qaida leaders, using a multi-layered subterfuge to pass messages from couriers to tech-savvy underlings to attackers, provoked a quick reaction by the U.S. to protect Americans in far-flung corners of the world where the terror network is evolving into regional hubs.
For years, extremists have used online forums to share information and drum up support, and over the past decade they have developed systems that blend encryption programs with anonymity software to hide their tracks. Jihadist technology may now be so sophisticated and secretive, experts say, that many communications avoid detection by National Security Agency programs that were specifically designed to uncover terror plots.
A U.S. intelligence official said the unspecified threat was discussed in an online forum joined by so many jihadist groups that it included a representative from Boko Haram, the Nigerian insurgency that has loose and informal ties to al-Qaida. Two other intelligence officials characterized the threat as more of an alert to get ready to launch potential attacks than a discussion of specific targets.
After 5-year freeze, Israelis, Palestinians hold first formal peace talks in Middle East
JERUSALEM (AP) -- With tensions high and expectations low, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators kicked off their first substantive round of peace talks in nearly five years, huddling together at an undisclosed location Wednesday in search of an end to decades of conflict.
The meeting was cloaked in secrecy, an attempt by both sides to prevent leaks to the media and maintain trust. Officials would say only that the talks took place in Jerusalem, and there was no immediate comment from either side. The Israeli government released a brief video showing the chief negotiators shaking hands as the talks continued into the evening.
Ahead of the meeting, there already were signs of trouble. A new Israeli push to build hundreds of new homes in Jewish settlements and fresh fighting in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip underscored the tough road ahead.
"We are committed to making the effort, for the sake of Israel and for Israel’s values," Israel’s chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni, told Channel 10 TV before the talks began. "It will be complicated and complex, but I am not giving up."
Manning takes stand at sentencing hearing, apologizes for hurting U.S. with leaks
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- Pfc. Bradley Manning took the stand Wednesday at his sentencing hearing in the WikiLeaks case and apologized for hurting his country, pleading with a military judge for a chance to go to college and become a productive citizen.
He addressed the court after a day of testimony about his troubled childhood in Oklahoma and the extreme psychological pressure that experts said he felt in the "hyper-masculine" military because of his gender-identity disorder -- his feeling that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.
"I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States," he said as he began.
The soldier said that he understood what he was doing but that he did not believe at the time that leaking a mountain of classified information to the anti-secrecy website would cause harm to the U.S.
Manning, 25, could be sentenced to 90 years in prison for the leaks, which occurred while he was working as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010. The judge will impose the sentence, though exactly when is unclear.
Jesse Jackson Jr. prison sentence: a 2 1/2-year term for son of civil rights leader
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, the judge scolding the son of the famed civil rights leader for using the money as a "piggy bank" and sentencing his wife to a year as well.
However, Jackson, who emotionally apologized to his father, mother, congressional colleagues and others, was given significantly less prison time than federal guidelines recommend, recognized by the judge as a "complex person" who has done both good and bad.
Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced for filing false joint federal income tax returns.
After prison, the former congressman is to spend three years on supervised release and complete 500 hours of community service. If he earns credit for good behavior in prison, he could end up serving closer to two years. He agreed to repay the $750,000 when he pleaded guilty earlier this year.
According to court documents, the Jacksons had spent campaign money on TV’s, restaurant dinners, an expensive watch and other costly personal items.
UPS jet crashes near Birmingham airport, killing 2 and scattering wreckage over neighborhood
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A UPS cargo plane crashed into a field near the Birmingham airport Wednesday, killing two pilots and scattering wreckage over a rural area moments after witnesses heard the massive A300 jet coming in at treetop level.
People living near the airfield reported seeing flames coming from the aircraft and hearing its engines struggle in the final moments before impact.
"It was on fire before it hit," said Jerome Sanders, who lives directly across from the runway.
The plane, which had departed from Louisville, Ky., went down about a half-mile from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport. It broke into several pieces and caught fire. The pilot and co-pilot were the only people aboard.
Weather conditions at the time were rainy with low clouds.
Drug lowers men’s risk for prostate cancer without spurring aggressive tumors, study finds
Long-term results from a major federal study ease worries about the safety of a hormone-blocking drug that can lower a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer.
The drug cut prostate cancer risk by 30 percent without raising the risk of dying of an aggressive form of the disease as earlier results hinted it might.
The new work could prompt a fresh look at using the drug for cancer prevention. Experts say it could prevent tens of thousands of cases each year, saving many men from treatments with seriously unpleasant side effects.
The drug is sold as Proscar by Merck & Co. and in generic form as finasteride to treat urinary problems from enlarged prostates. It’s also sold in a lower dose as Propecia to treat hair loss.
A decade ago, the drug was found to cut the risk of prostate cancer. But there was a small rise in aggressive tumors among its users. Some researchers said that by shrinking the prostate, the drug was just making these tumors easier to find in a biopsy sample -- not causing them.
2 ‘Real Housewives of N.J.’ stars plead not guilty to federal fraud charges
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Husband-and-wife stars of the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to a host of financial fraud charges that allegedly stretch back to 2001.
Teresa and Guiseppe "Joe" Giudice made their pleas in U.S. District Court after passing through a gauntlet of news media outside the courthouse. Two weeks ago, before their initial court appearance, a brief tussle had broken out between the couple and a horde of reporters and photographers. On Wednesday, marshals set up metal barriers to form a walkway into the building.
The Giudices were charged last month in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
Neither defendant spoke before, during or after the five-minute court proceeding, and their pleas were entered by their respective attorneys. Teresa Giudice, dressed in a cream-colored pantsuit and with her hair in a bun, was scheduled to appear at a book signing in northern New Jersey later Wednesday to promote her cookbook, "Fabulicious: On The Grill," according to her official website.
"We have told them to continue life as they’ve lived it," Miles Feinstein, an attorney representing Joe Giudice, said. "They have contracts with Bravo and others, and they shouldn’t imprison themselves."