Israel resumes Gaza bombings, says Hamas to pay high price after militants reject truce
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of Gaza on Tuesday and warned that Hamas "would pay the price" after the Islamic militant group rejected an Egyptian truce plan and instead unleashed more rocket barrages at the Jewish state.
Late Tuesday, the military urged tens of thousands of residents of northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes by Wednesday morning, presumable a prelude to air strikes there.
Rocket fire from killed an Israeli man Tuesday, the first Israeli fatality in eight days of fighting. In Gaza, 197 people were killed and close to 1,500 wounded so far, Palestinian officials said, making it the deadliest Israel-Hamas confrontation in just over five years.
The Egyptian proposal, initially accepted by Israel, had been the first attempt to end the fighting.
It unraveled in less than a day, a sign that it will be harder than before to reach a truce. Hamas does not consider Egypt’s current rulers -- who deposed a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo a year ago -- to be fair brokers.
89 killed in suicide blast in Afghanistan, deadliest attack on civilians since 2001
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
The blast destroyed numerous mud-brick shops, flipped cars over and stripped trees of their branches, brutally underscoring the country’s instability as U.S. troops prepare to leave by the end of the year and politicians in Kabul struggle for power after a disputed presidential runoff.
Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said the bomber detonated his explosives as he drove by the crowded market in a remote town in Urgun district, in the Paktika province bordering Pakistan. Azimi gave the death toll and said more than 40 other people were wounded.
Nearby hospitals were overwhelmed, and dozens of victims were transported over dangerous roads to the capital, Kabul.
Ahmad Shah, a gas station employee who rushed to the site to help, said he loaded dozens of people who were injured or killed into vehicles.
Subway derails in Moscow’s, killing 21 and injuring 136; officials say no terrorism
MOSCOW (AP) -- A subway train derailed Tuesday deep below Moscow’s streets, twisting and mangling crowded rail cars at the height of the morning rush hour. At least 21 people were killed, Russian officials said, and 136 were hospitalized, many with serious injuries.
The Russian capital’s airports and transit systems have been a prime target for terrorists over the past two decades, but multiple officials vigorously dismissed terrorism as a possible cause.
The Moscow Metro is world-famous for its palatial interiors with mosaics, chandeliers and marble benches. Park Pobedy, where the derailment occurred, is Moscow’s deepest metro station -- 84 meters (275 feet) below the surface -- which made the rescue particularly difficult. The station serves the vast park where Russia’s World War II museum is located.
It was unclear what caused the train to derail. Lines of inquiry included a fault in one of the cars or the sinking of the roadbed, according to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia’s top investigative body. He said other officials who said earlier that a power surge triggered an alarm, causing the train to stop abruptly, were incorrect.
Of the 136 people hospitalized, at least 42 were in grave condition, health officials said. One citizen of China and one citizen of Tajikistan were among those killed, Russian news agencies quoted city officials as saying.
First new federal guidelines to protect pregnant workers in 30 years released
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pregnant women have new protections against on-the-job discrimination.
The government has updated 30-year-old guidelines, citing "the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices."
The new guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make clear that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant workers by employers is a form of sex discrimination and illegal.
They prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take leave and acknowledge that "employers may have to provide light duty for pregnant workers." After childbirth, lactation is now covered as a pregnancy-related medical condition.
It’s not just women who will benefit.
California water use rises despite pleas to conserve during state’s severe drought
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Californians increased water consumption this year during the severe drought, despite pleas from the governor to conserve, fallowed farm fields and reservoirs that are quickly draining, according to a report released Tuesday.
The new figures surfaced as state water regulators prepared to vote later in the day on fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
The numbers underscore the need for action, State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said.
"Not everybody in California understands how bad this drought is ... and how bad it could be," she said. "There are communities in danger of running out of water all over the state."
The report says overall consumption jumped 1 percent, even as Gov. Jerry Brown has called for a 20 percent cutback. It corrected survey results released just a month ago that said use statewide had declined by 5 percent.
Residents of Arizona town protest amid rumors of bus carrying immigrant children
ORACLE, Ariz. (AP) -- Protesters carrying "Return to Sender" and "Go home non-Yankees" signs faced off with immigrant rights activists Tuesday in a small Arizona town after a sheriff said a bus filled with Central American children was on its way.
The rallies demonstrated the deep divide of the immigration debate as groups on both sides -- and in similar numbers -- showed up in Oracle to speak out on the issue.
It turned heated at times, with shouting matches and a group of mariachi musicians getting shoved before the skirmishes were quelled.
Anger has been spreading in the town of Oracle since Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu warned residents last week that immigrant children from Central America caught crossing the border illegally would be placed at the Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle. Protesters were hoping to mirror demonstrations in Murrieta, California, when immigrants were taken there recently.
"We are not going to tolerate illegals forced upon us," protester Loren Woods said.
Iraqi lawmakers break deadlock, elect new parliament speaker
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi lawmakers broke two weeks of deadlock Tuesday and elected a moderate Sunni as speaker of parliament, taking the first step toward forming a new government that is widely seen as crucial to confronting militants who have overrun much of the country.
Still, it was not clear whether lawmakers had reached a larger deal that would also include an agreement on the most contentious decision -- the choice for prime minister. The incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, has ruled the country since 2006, but is under intense pressure to step aside. So far, he has insisted on staying for a third term.
After voting behind closed doors, the legislature tallied the results on a whiteboard wheeled into the hall that showed Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri winning with 194 votes out of 273 cast in the 328-seat parliament. A second candidate, Shorooq al-Abayachi, received 19 votes. There were 60 abstentions.
"Today’s step demonstrates the country’s democracy and national unity," said Shiite lawmaker Abbas al-Bayati, putting a decidedly positive spin on a vote that was delayed twice. "We have now a legislative body that can do its job in building democracy."
Lawmakers broke into applause after al-Jubouri passed the 165-vote threshold needed to win the post, and some of his colleagues padded over to offer their congratulations.
Canon lawyer outlines her cover-up claims of clergy sex abuse by Catholic leaders
A canon lawyer alleging a widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has made her most detailed claims yet, accusing archbishops and their top staff of lying to the public and of ignoring the U.S. bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse.
Jennifer Haselberger, who spent five years as Archbishop John Nienstedt’s archivist and top adviser on Roman Catholic church law, also charged that the church used a chaotic system of record-keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment.
Haselberger said that when she started examining records in 2008 of clergy under restrictions over sex misconduct with adults and children she found "nearly 20" of the 48 men still in ministry. She said she repeatedly warned Nienstedt and his aides about the risk of these placements, but they took action only in one case. As a result of raising alarms, she said she was eventually shut out of meetings about priest misconduct. She resigned last year.
"Had there been any serious desire to implement change, it could have been done quickly and easily with the stroke of a single pen," Haselberger wrote in the affidavit, released Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by attorney Jeff Anderson. "The archbishop’s administrative authority in his diocese is basically unlimited."
The archdiocese has for years pledged it was following the national bishops’ policy, known as the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," which lays out a series of requirements -- from conducting background checks to alerting parishioners about offender priests and barring guilty clergy from parish assignments. Archbishop Harry Flynn, who led the Minneapolis archdiocese until retiring in 2008, was an architect of the 12-year-old plan.