Official: Woman killed in D.C. chase delusional, believed president communicated with her
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The Connecticut woman who was shot to death outside the U.S. Capitol after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier had been under the delusion the president was communicating with her, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.
The woman’s mother said she had been suffering from postpartum depression.
Miriam Carey’s killing at the hands of police Thursday was Washington’s second major spasm of deadly violence involving an apparently unstable person in 2 1/2 weeks.
Interviews with some of those who knew the 34-year-old woman suggested she was coming apart well before she loaded her 1-year-old daughter into the car for the drive to Washington.
Carey had suffered a head injury in a fall and had been fired as a dental hygienist, according to her former employer.
Obama’s Asia no-show boost for China, setback for U.S. effort to shift foreign policy focus
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap his Asia trip is a setback for his much-advertised pledge to shift the focus of foreign policy to the Pacific and a boost for China’s attempt to gain influence in the region.
By staying home because of the partial government shutdown, Obama hands new Chinese leader Xi Jinping a chance to fill the void at two Asian summits Obama had planned to attend. It’s the third time since 2010 that Obama has cancelled an Asia trip, all because of domestic political crises.
Washington’s budget crisis has reached the point where the White House felt compelled to skip Asia, giving Obama room to work with Congress on reopening the government. Had Obama left to attend the meetings, it would have given weight to critics who have said he’s more willing to negotiate with foreign leaders than the speaker of the House.
Secretary of State John Kerry will represent him at the summits in Indonesia and Brunei.
Budget strains had already put a damper on the Pentagon’s push to assert itself in the Pacific, and administration officials had begun casting the shift in policy more in terms of expanding diplomatic efforts, creating more trade and economic ties and just showing up in Asia more often.
Voices of migrants floating at sea drifted to shore, confused with seagulls’ song
LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) -- The friends were heading out on a fishing trip, when one heard voices from the sea.
Don’t be silly, Vito Fiorino told him -- it’s only the seagulls’ early morning song. Then, about 500 yards from shore, he saw heads bobbing in the water.
Dozens of Africans were floating, too weak to grab a life preserver and so slippery from gasoline that it was hard to pull them on board. Some grasped empty water bottles to stay afloat.
"It was a scene from a film, something you hope never to see in life," he told The Associated Press. "They were exhausted. When I threw the lifesaver, they had a hard time doing two strokes to reach it."
Fiorino says he and his friends were the first to reach the fiery wreck around 7 a.m. Thursday, sounding the alarm and saving 47 people before the Coast Guard and other vessels arrived to help, eventually rescuing a total of 155 people. The migrants told Fiorino they had been in the water for three hours.
Egyptian forces fire tear gas, close Tahrir Square as Islamist protests turn violent
CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian riot police fired volleys of tear gas and locked down Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday as clashes broke out in a rare push by Islamist supporters of the ousted president to take control of the iconic square, leaving at least four dead.
With lines of armored vehicles and barbed wire, troops sealed off the square and diverted traffic after the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which ousted president Mohammed Morsi hails, called on its supporters to march there.
Thousands of Morsi’s supporters followed suit from different parts in the city, chanting "El-Sissi is the enemy of God" and "Down with the murderer!"
Those were references to Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who forced Morsi from power on July 3 after millions took to the streets demanding the Islamist leader step down.
In its statements, the Muslim Brotherhood called Tahrir Square "the capital of the revolution." It is the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that forced longtime president Hosni Mubarak from power and led to Morsi’s short-lived tenure.
Karen threatens northern Gulf Coast toward the end of a quiet hurricane season
BRAITHWAITE, La. (AP) -- Pickups hauling boat trailers and flatbed trucks laden with crab traps exited vulnerable, low-lying areas of southeast Louisiana on Friday as Tropical Storm Karen headed toward the northern Gulf Coast, a late-arriving worry in what had been a slow hurricane season in the U.S.
On Friday afternoon, Alabama joined Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida in declaring a state of emergency as officials and residents prepared for Karen, expected to near the central Gulf Coast on Saturday as a weak hurricane or tropical storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Interior Department recalled workers, furloughed because of the government shut down, to deal with the storm and help state and local agencies.
Karen would be the second named storm of a quiet hurricane season to make landfall in the U.S. -- the first since Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida in June. Along with strong winds, the storm was forecast to produce rainfall of 3 to 6 inches through Sunday night. Isolated rain totals of up to 10 inches were possible.
Friday afternoon, Karen was about 235 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Forecast tracks showed the storm possibly crossing the southeast Louisiana coast before veering eastward toward south Alabama and the Florida panhandle. But forecasters cautioned that the track was uncertain.
"We are confident on a northeastward turn. Just not exactly sure where or when that turn will occur," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Social media fuel pursuit of potentially dangerous weight-loss goal: gap between thighs
BALLWIN, Mo. (AP) -- Experts in eating disorders are concerned about an Internet-fueled trend in which teenage girls and young women pursue an elusive and possibly dangerous weight-loss goal: to become so slender that their thighs don’t touch even when their feet are together.
Specialists say achieving a so-called thigh gap is risky and virtually impossible. But some exceptionally thin models have the gap, which is upheld as a beauty achievement on countless Tumblr pages, blogs and other social media sites.
"The issue of focusing on a particular body part is very common," said Claire Mysko, who oversees teen outreach and digital media for the National Eating Disorders Association, an advocacy group. "What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the Internet and social media."
When the vast majority of people stand with their feet together, their thighs touch. A tiny percentage of people have thighs so slim that they don’t come together. The "thigh gap" refers to this space.
Studies suggest that peer pressure from social media plays a significant role in eating disorders. A 2011 study at the University of Haifa found that adolescent girls who spent the most time using Facebook had a greater chance of developing a negative body image and an eating disorder.