Israel invades Gaza Strip, escalating military operation against Hamas

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Thousands of Israeli soldiers invaded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a military spokesman said, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas’ weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory’s border with Israel.

It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years and came after Egyptian-led efforts to broker a cease-fire failed. Earlier Thursday, 13 Hamas militants tried to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel under the Gaza-Israel border, but were stopped by an Israeli strike at the mouth of the tunnel.

The military said the operation was open-ended and would be carried out on several fronts in the coastal strip.

"Our forces, large ground forces accompanied by massive air force support, naval forces and intelligence, are taking over targets in Gaza, operating against tunnels and terror activists and infrastructure," Israel’s chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz said.

He called on Gaza residents to evacuate areas where the military is operating, warning the "military is operating there with very great force."

Bank customer, taken hostage, is among 3 killed in California robbery and shootout

STOCKTON, Calif.


Advertisement

(AP) -- Misty Holt-Singh had just popped into the bank, leaving her 12-year-old daughter in the car, when the horror began. An hour later, the mother of two lay dead after a bank robbery spun into a chaotic police chase and furious gunbattle in which two holdup men were also killed.

Holt-Singh was found dead at the end of a shootout in which one of the robbers who took her hostage used her as a human shield, authorities said.

Whose bullets killed Holt-Singh remained unclear Thursday, a day after the burst of violence in this Northern California city, but police said the responsibility rests with the three bank robbers.

"In my over two decades of law enforcement, I have never seen or experienced this type of total disregard for human life nor the intensity of the situation that our officers were faced with," Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said.

"It is very rare for bank robbers to take hostages. It is very rare for them to so heavily arm themselves and prepare to kill and then to actively and continually to try to kill our police officers."

Some defend founder of Mexican group home where residents suffered filth, abuse

ZAMORA, Mexico (AP) -- About 500 people marched through this western Mexico city Thursday in support of the embattled but highly regarded founder of a shelter raided amid allegations of sexual and physical abuse and filthy living conditions.

Shelter founder Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, known as "Mama Rosa," had been taking in children for about 65 years and drew support from the government, philanthropists and intellectuals for her "Gran Familia" group home.

But after a police raid on the refuse-strewn group home Tuesday, residents of the shelter told authorities that some employees beat and raped residents, fed them rotting food or locked them in a tiny "punishment" room.

Verduzco remains hospitalized under police guard as she is treated for diabetes and blood pressure problems. Eight of her employees also were detained.

"Mama Rosa, we are with you!" read signs carried by the marchers, most of who wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "I, too, am a child of Mama Rosa."

Holocaust Museum acquires copy of UN war crimes archive from WWII

WASHINGTON (AP) -- From Adolf Hitler down to the petty bureaucrats who staffed the Nazi death camps, thousands of perpetrators of World War II war crimes were eventually written up in vast reams of investigative files -- files that now, for the first time, can be viewed in their entirety by the public.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has obtained a full copy of the U.N. War Crimes Commission archive that has largely been locked away for the past 70 years under restricted access at the United Nations. On Thursday, the museum announced it has made the entire digital archive freely available to visitors in its research room.

Although information in the documents has long been known to investigators and historians, the public was kept out. Even researchers at the U.N. must petition for access through their governments.

Many of those named in the archive were never held accountable.

In addition to the allegations of mass murder against Hitler and his high-level henchmen, the files list thousands of obscure but no less horrendous cases from across Europe and Asia. There is Franz Angerer, a member of the Gestapo, accused of rounding up inmates in Sosnowiec, Poland, to send to Auschwitz.

Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs in pivot away from hardware

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its 39-year history Thursday, outlining plans to cut 18,000 jobs in a move that marked the CEO’s sharpest pivot yet away from his predecessor’s drive for the company to make its own devices.

Although some cuts had been expected ever since Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile-device unit, the number amounted to 14 percent of the Microsoft workforce -- about twice what analysts had estimated.

The cuts will include some 12,500 jobs associated with the Nokia unit -- nearly half of the 28,000 employees Microsoft brought on board in April through the acquisition.

When the cuts are complete, the company will still have about 10,000 more employees than before the Nokia acquisition, with an overall headcount of 109,000.

In a public email to employees, CEO Satya Nadella said the changes were needed for the company to "become more agile and move faster." The move also pushes Nokia to focus solely on the Windows Phone operating system.

Finding pregnant Maui woman’s jawbone aided murder charge against ex-boyfriend

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) -- Four days into the search for a missing pregnant woman in Maui, her half-sister and a group of volunteers got their first serious clues, finding a skirt, shirt and bra that appeared stained with blood. The sister recognized the items as belonging to 27-year-old Carly Scott and the searchers called police.

That led to a turning point in what started as a missing persons case -- the discovery of a jawbone that would eventually help authorities file a murder charge against her ex-boyfriend, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press.

Scott’s mother, Kimberlyn Scott, declined to discuss the details of the case but told The Associated Press she now believes the man charged with killing her daughter, 24-year-old Steven Capobianco, is responsible and the only one who knows where her body is.

"We wanted something else -- we wanted a different answer than it was Steven," Kimberlyn Scott said. "For me, personally, it took a while, and I have only recently come to the conclusion that it was Steven."

After the discovery, police began investigating Scott’s disappearance as a homicide. Then last week, a grand jury indicted Steven Capobianco, 24, on charges of murder and arson.

Earthquake risk increased for
one-third of U.S.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth of the nation.

The U.S. Geological Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.

Most of the changes are slight. Project chief Mark Petersen said parts of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Tennessee moved into the top two hazard zones.

Parts of 16 states have the highest risk for earthquakes: Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina.