Classmate: Mass. teen accused of killing teacher had been asked by her to stay after school
DANVERS, Mass. (AP) -- A teacher who was allegedly killed by one of her students had asked him to stay after school the day she was killed, a classmate said Thursday, as students met with grief counselors and tried to come to grips with the slaying of the popular teacher.
Philip Chism, 14, was charged with murder Wednesday in the death of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School.
Rania Rhaddaoui sat two seats away from Chism in Ritzer’s Algebra I class, the final class of the school day. She said Chism was drawing in a notebook rather than taking notes Tuesday.
"She came over and said, ‘I didn’t know you draw,’ and he said, ‘yes,’ then later on, she said, ‘Can you stay after with me?"’ Rhaddaoui said. "Obviously, he stayed after because when I was leaving, he was still at his desk."
She said Ritzer had scheduled a test for Friday, but she was unsure why exactly Ritzer asked Chism to stay after school.
European leaders denounce alleged U.S. spying on EU allies, Merkel says it has shattered trust
BRUSSELS (AP) -- European leaders united in anger Thursday as they attended a summit overshadowed by reports of widespread U.S. spying on its allies -- allegations German Chancellor Angela Merkel said had shattered trust in the Obama administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship.
The latest revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency swept up more than 70 million phone records in France and may have tapped Merkel’s own cellphone brought denunciations from the French and German governments.
Merkel’s unusually stern remarks as she arrived at the European Union gathering indicated she wasn’t placated by a phone conversation she had Wednesday with President Barack Obama, or his personal assurances that the U.S. is not listening in on her calls now.
"We need trust among allies and partners," Merkel told reporters in Brussels. "Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about."
"The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies," the German leader said. "But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That’s why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be."
Portuguese prosecutors reopen search into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance
LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- More than six years after British girl Madeleine McCann vanished from her bedroom during a family vacation in Portugal and five years after Portuguese police gave up trying to find her, authorities reopened the case Thursday, citing new evidence.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had long campaigned from their home in central England for the Portuguese investigation to resume. In a statement Thursday, they said they were "very pleased" at the development.
"We hope that this will finally lead to (Madeleine) being found and to the discovery of whoever is responsible for this crime," Kate and Gerry McCann said. The couple, both doctors, continue to care for Madeleine’s younger siblings, twins Sean and Amelie.
Madeleine went missing shortly before her fourth birthday. Her disappearance sparked global interest as pictures of her and her grieving parents beamed around the world. Her parents briefly met with Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square in June 2007, a month after Madeleine disappeared, and the pontiff held a picture of their daughter.
Then, in a stunning twist, Portuguese police briefly considered the parents suspects before they were cleared and returned home.
Roadblocks and milestones for Saudi women getting back behind the wheel against driving ban
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- It’s been a little more than two years since the last time women in Saudi Arabia campaigned for the right to drive. Now activists are calling for women to get behind the wheel again Saturday, and they hope reforms made by the monarchy since then have readied the deeply conservative nation for change.
The reforms made by King Abdullah in recent years have been cautious, showing his wariness of pushing too hard against influential ultraconservatives. But given the overwhelming restrictions on women in the kingdom, where the strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism is effectively the law of the land, even the tiny openings have had a resounding effect.
Perhaps one sign of the impact of the changes is the loudness of the backlash by conservatives against Saturday’s driving campaign.
Around 150 clerics rallied outside one of the king’s palaces this week, some accusing Abdullah’s top ally the United States of being behind calls to let women drive. A prominent cleric caused a stir when he said last month that medical studies show that driving a car harms a woman’s ovaries. Those opposed to the campaign have also used social media to attack women activists or have urged people to harass female drivers.
The government has given mixed signals about how it will deal with the campaign, illustrated by a statement put out this week by the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police.
Former Ohio doctor pleads guilty in heroin death of expectant mom who answered Craigslist ad
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A former Ohio doctor accused of killing a pregnant woman last year by injecting her with heroin after she answered a Craigslist ad pleaded guilty Thursday in her death and that of her nearly full-term unborn child.
Ali Salim entered the pleas in Delaware County Court north of Columbus ahead of his trial scheduled for next week. He faces 37 years in prison at a December sentencing.
Salim, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Deanna Ballman and her unborn daughter, who was to be named Mabel Lilly. Ballman, 23, was nine months pregnant when she died.
Salim also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. He also entered a type of guilty plea to a charge of rape under which he maintains his innocence but acknowledges prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
The tampering with evidence charge alleges Salim erased photos and video of Ballman from his phone, though the images were later recovered by investigators, said Kyle Rohrer, assistant Delaware County Prosecutor.
Twitter sets $17 to $20 per share price range for IPO, could raise as much as $1.6 billion
NEW YORK (AP) -- Twitter has set a price range of $17 to $20 per share for its much-anticipated initial public offering and says it could raise as much as $1.6 billion in the process.
Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it is putting forth 70 million shares in the offering. If all the shares are sold, the underwriters can buy another 10.5 million shares.
At the $20 share price, Twitter’s market value is around $12.5 billion. That’s based on 625.2 million outstanding shares expected after the offering, including restricted stock units and stock options.
Twitter’s valuation is relatively conservative -- some analysts had expected the figure to be as high as $20 billion. Back in August Twitter priced some of its employee stock options at $20.62.
The caution shows that Twitter learned from Facebook’s rocky initial public offering last year. Rather than set expectations too high, Twitter is playing it safe and will very likely raise its price range closer to the IPO, and thus fuel demand.