Pakistan state-run airline says passengers safe as explosions heard at airport

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Gunmen stormed an airport terminal used for VIPs and cargo flights in Pakistan’s largest city Sunday night, killing at least five people, officials said, striking blow to a city vital to the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, suicide bombers in southwestern Pakistan killed 23 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran in a separate incident underscoring how fragile security is Pakistan.

The airport attack still was ongoing early Monday in Karachi, a sprawling port city on the southern coast of Pakistan. Gunfire could be heard coming from the terminal at Jinnah International Airport as authorities scrambled to secure the area.

Mashhood Tajwar, a spokesman for the state-run Pakistan International Airlines, said all passengers at the airport were safe. His comments came as loud explosions echoed across the airport.

Tajwar said at least two domestic flights were diverted and all flight operations had been suspended at the airport.

Bergdahl tells officials he was tortured and caged after he tried to flee his Taliban captors

PARIS (AP) -- U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has told people treating him at an American military medical facility in Germany that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape, a senior U.S. official said Sunday.


Advertisement

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss what Bergdahl has revealed about the conditions of his captivity. The New York Times first reported on the matter.

The official said it was difficult to verify the accounts Bergdahl has given since his release a week ago.

Bergdahl, now 28, was captured in June 2009 after he disappeared from his infantry unit. He was held for nearly five years by Taliban militants.

Taliban spokesmen could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. On Friday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press by telephone that Bergdahl was held under "good conditions." The claim could not be independently verified.

Pope dives into Mideast peace with prayer summit, hoping for ‘new journey’ to peace

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis plunged head-first into Mideast peace-making Sunday, welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for a remarkable evening of peace prayers just weeks after the last round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations collapsed.

Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joked and embraced in the foyer of the Vatican hotel where Francis lives and later in the Vatican gardens, where they joined Francis in presiding over a sunset invocation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers.

Francis told the two men, who signed the Oslo peace accords in 1993, that he hoped the summit would mark "a new journey" toward peace. He said too many children had been killed by war and violence, and that their memory should instill the strength and patience to work for dialogue and coexistence.

"Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare," he said. "It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict."

The event had the air of an outdoor summer wedding, complete with receiving line and guests mingling on the lawn as a string ensemble played. Only the two key protagonists are technically on opposite sides of the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Former military chief who led 2013 overthrow in Egypt sworn in as president

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt’s former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, winner by a landslide in last month’s presidential election, was sworn into office Sunday nearly a year after he ousted the nation’s first freely elected leader.

The retired field marshal called for unity and hard work, while vowing that there would be no reconciliation with those who took up arms against the government and Egyptians. That was a thinly veiled reference to supporters of Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president el-Sissi removed last July, and Islamic militants waging attacks against the government.

"There will be reconciliation between the sons of our nation except those who had committed crimes against them or adopted violence," el-Sissi said. "There will be no acquiescence or laxity shown to those who resorted to violence."

He did not mention by name Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared a terrorist group by the government last December. But el-Sissi’s rise coincides with detention of thousands and the killing of hundreds of Morsi supporters.

Israel, once a cause that united American Jews, now dividing them along ideological lines

NEW YORK (AP) -- Once a unifying cause for generations of American Jews, Israel is now bitterly dividing Jewish communities.

Jewish organizations are withdrawing invitations to Jewish speakers or performers considered too critical of Israel, in what opponents have denounced as an ideological litmus test meant to squelch debate. Some Jewish activists have formed watchdog groups, such as Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art, or COPMA, and JCC Watch, to monitor programming for perceived anti-Israel bias. They argue Jewish groups that take donations for strengthening the community shouldn’t be giving a platform to Israel’s critics.

American campuses have become ideological battle zones over Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories, with national Jewish groups sometimes caught up on opposing sides of the internal debate among Jewish students. The "Open Hillel" movement of Jewish students is challenging speaker guidelines developed by Hillel, the major Jewish campus group, which bars speakers who "delegitimize" or "demonize" Israel. Open Hillel is planning its first national conference in October.

And in a vote testing the parameters of Jewish debate over Israel, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, a national coalition that for decades has represented the American Jewish community, denied membership in April to J Street, the 6-year-old lobby group that describes itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace and has sometimes criticized the Israeli government. Opponents of J Street have been showing a documentary called "The J Street Challenge," in synagogues and at Jewish gatherings around the country, characterizing the group as a threat from within.

"I believe this has reached a level of absurdity now," said Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder of the IKAR-LA Jewish community in California, which is considered a national model for reinvigorating religious life. "Even where people are acting from a place of love and deep commitment that Israel remains a vital and vibrant state, they are considered outside the realm. It’s seen as incredibly threatening and not aligned with the script the American Jewish community expects."

Job market appears weaker despite recovery of positions lost to Great Recession

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy has finally regained the jobs lost to the Great Recession. But go easy on the hallelujahs. The comeback is far from complete.

Friday’s report from the government revealed an economy healing yet marked by deep and lasting scars. The downturn that began 6 1/2 years ago accelerated wrenching changes that have left many Americans feeling worse off than they did the last time the economy had roughly the same number of jobs it does now.

Employers added 217,000 workers in May, more than enough to surpass the 138.4 million jobs that existed when the recession began in December 2007. But even as the unemployment rate has slipped to 6.3 percent from 10 percent at the depth of the recession, the economy still lacks its former firepower.

To many economists, the job figures are both proof of the sustained recovery and evidence of a painful transformation in how Americans earn a living.

"The labor market recovery has been disappointing," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. "Even with the new peak, there is still a great deal of slack."

20 years later, O.J. Simpson case still obstacle to united America

The O.J. Simpson murder trial exposed many painful truths. None hit harder than the idea that white and black people often look at the same facts and see different realities.

Today, 20 years after the case divided the nation, few opinions have changed. Despite two decades’ worth of increasing racial acceptance, the saga still reflects deep-rooted obstacles to a truly united America.

Most people still believe that the black football legend killed his white ex-wife and her friend, polls show. But for many African-Americans, his likely guilt remains overwhelmed by a potent mix: the racism of the lead detective and the history of black mistreatment by the justice system.

For these people, Simpson’s acquittal is a powerful rebuke to what they see as America’s racial crimes. Others simply see a murderer who played the race card to get away with it. Across the board, emotions remain vivid.

"We were consumed with it," recalls Carlos Carter, who at the time was one of the few black people working in the trust department of a Pittsburgh bank. "It represented something bigger than the case, the battle between good and evil, the battle between the white man and the black man. It was at that level."

Police: 2 shooters target 2 officers at Las Vegas eatery, then kill 1, themselves at Walmart

Police say two suspects shot two officers at a Las Vegas pizza parlor before fatally shooting a person and turning the guns on themselves at a nearby Walmart.

Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield says the spree began around 11:30 a.m. Sunday when a man and woman walked into CiCi’s Pizza restaurant and shot two officers who were eating lunch.

He says one of the suspects yelled, "This is a revolution," but the motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Investigators say the two suspects then fled to the Walmart across the street, where they shot a person inside and then killed themselves.

Hadfield says the condition of the two officers wasn’t immediately known.

Tracy Morgan recovering after surgery on broken leg, will remain hospitalized for ‘weeks’

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Tracy Morgan was recovering Sunday, but was expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that left two others critically injured and another man dead.

The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member, remained in critical condition but was "more responsive" Sunday after having surgery for a broken leg, said Morgan’s spokesman, Lewis Kay.

Kay said that Morgan also sustained a broken femur, broken nose and several broken ribs and is expected to remain hospitalized for "several weeks." He said that Morgan’s family is "tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."

A Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Authorities said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his big rig smashed into the back of Morgan’s chauffeured Mercedes limo bus, killing comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, authorities said.

Also critically injured were Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City. They remained in critical condition Sunday evening, said Zenaida Mendez, a spokeswoman for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Another passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released.