After truce, Israel and Hamas to negotiate new Gaza border deal, reconstruction

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The outlines of a solution for battered, blockaded Gaza are emerging after Tuesday’s tentative Israel-Hamas cease-fire: Norway is organizing a donor conference and Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aims to oversee rebuilding and reassert his authority in the territory, lost to Hamas in 2007.

Forces loyal to Abbas would be deployed at Gaza’s crossings to encourage Israel and Egypt to lift the closure they imposed after the Hamas takeover.

Indirect Israel-Hamas talks in Cairo are to tackle the details. The hope is that promises of a better life for Gazans will coax compromise and avert what had been looking like a fight to the finish.

The gaps remain wide, especially between Israel and Hamas.

Israel says it has inflicted a painful blow to Hamas’ military capabilities in the monthlong fighting and wants to make sure the group cannot re-arm if border restrictions are eased.

Residents of Rafah return to devastated homes, shattered lives in Gaza border town

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Asmahan Ismail Abu al-Rous started wondering a year ago about the cause of the cracks on the walls of her Gaza home. When she asked some of her more savvy neighbors, they told her: Militants were digging an attack tunnel not far away.

"I did not think much about it then.


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I thought that was the resistance’s business, not mine," the widowed mother of four said Tuesday, standing amid the ruins of her two-story home in the Shawkah district, an eastern section of Rafah near Gaza’s border with Egypt.

Barely 50 meters (yards) away, according to villagers, is an entrance of the tunnel where Hamas fighters emerged Friday to attack Israeli soldiers. Two Israelis were killed and a third was initially believed to be captured by the militants.

That attack drew what was by far the heaviest Israeli shelling in the Gaza war, killing nearly 100 people that day alone and instantly unraveling a cease-fire shortly after it came into force. A day later, Israel determined the missing soldier, a 23-year-old infantry lieutenant, had been killed in the initial attack.

On Tuesday, when a new 72-hour truce took hold, residents returned for the first time to see the extent of the destruction -- the worst in a single district anywhere in the Gaza Strip in four weeks of fighting.

Cuba rejects ‘covert’ U.S.
program that sought to groom
new political activists

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Cuban government on Tuesday called on Washington to halt hostile "covert" operations against it in the wake of the recent disclosure that an Obama administration program secretly sent young Latin Americans to Cuba on politically motivated missions.

A top Cuban diplomatic official, Josefina Vidal, said an Associated Press investigation this week reveals that the U.S.government "has not desisted in its hostile and interventionist plans against Cuba, which seek to create destabilizing situations to provoke changes in our political order."

Vidal demanded the U.S. "cease, once and for all, all its subversive, illegal and covert actions against Cuba" in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. She noted the U.S.government has "shamelessly acknowledged" running the program.

The project, funded and overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development, deployed nearly a dozen young people from Latin America to Cuba to recruit political activists under the guise of health and civic projects. AP’s investigation found the operation put the foreigners in danger not long after an American contractor was arrested in the communist island nation for doing secretive work.

The Obama administration this week defended its use of an HIV-prevention workshop for its Cuban democracy-promotion efforts, but disputed that the project was a front for political purposes. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the program "enabled support for Cuban civil society, while providing a secondary benefit of addressing the desires Cubans express for information and training about HIV prevention."

Nigeria acknowledges slow response in Ebola case; 8 health workers show symptoms of virus

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigerian health authorities acknowledged Tuesday that they did not immediately quarantine a sick airline passenger who later died of Ebola, announcing that eight health workers who had primary contact with him were now in isolation with symptoms of the disease.

Ebola, which can cause victims to bleed from the eyes and mouths before a grisly death, has killed nearly 900 people across four countries in West Africa, a deeply impoverished region with severely limited medical resources.

The outbreak, which emerged in March, spread to Nigeria in late July when Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old American of Liberian descent, flew from Liberia’s capital to the megacity of Lagos. The announcement that Sawyer was not immediately quarantined underscores concerns that West Africa is ill-equipped to contain such a disease.

By contrast, two American aid workers who were infected with Ebola in Liberia are being treated with an experimental drug in an isolation unit at an Atlanta hospital after being flown in on chartered jets. Ebola concerns in the U.S. have led some worried people to hospital emergency rooms and prompted testing of at least four patients, according to a count kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2nd American aid worker with Ebola arrives in Atlanta for treatment at hospital isolation unit

ATLANTA (AP) -- An American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, joining a second patient being given an experimental treatment that has never before been tested on humans.

Nancy Writebol, 59, traveled from Monrovia, Liberia, to Emory University Hospital, just downhill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She arrived two days after Kent Brantly, a doctor with whom she had worked in Liberia and who also contracted Ebola, showed up for treatment.

The differences were stark in how they went from the ambulance to Emory, which has a highly specialized isolation unit. While Brantly, 33, was able to walk with assistance into the hospital, Writebol -- covered from head to toe in a protective suit -- was wheeled in on a stretcher.

Still, the 59-year-old Writebol was described as weak but showing signs of improvement.

"A week ago we were thinking about making funeral arrangements for Nancy," her husband, David Writebol, said in a statement read by the president of SIM USA, the aid group with which she was working in Liberia. "Now we have a real reason to be hopeful."

Residents huddle in dark, chilly bomb shelter as fighting closes in on major Ukrainian city

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) -- For the people huddled in a dank and chilly bomb shelter Tuesday, the question of who was responsible was less important than the fact of their misery.

Two journalists from The Associated Press joined Donetsk residents who spent the night in the shelter as fighting between government forces and separatist insurgents closed in on the outskirts of the largest rebel-held city.

The rebels accuse Ukrainian forces of conducting a brutal bombing campaign against Donetsk; the government denies using artillery against residential neighborhoods. Either way, many Donetsk residents have been spending their nights underground in the hopes that they’ll be safer.

Police: 9-year-old boy fatally stabbed by 12-year-old boy at Michigan playground

KENTWOOD, Mich. (AP) -- A 9-year-old boy was repeatedly stabbed in the back by a 12-year-old boy at a playground, then ran screaming to his western Michigan home and collapsed bleeding on his porch, witnesses and police said Tuesday.

Michael Conner Verkerke died at a hospital shortly after the Monday evening attack in Kentwood, outside Grand Rapids. Witnesses said the 12-year-old boy went to a nearby home after the stabbing, called 911 and calmly turned himself in, then tried to flag down officers when they arrived.

The 12-year-old pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in juvenile court on Tuesday, according to his attorney. He was ordered held in a juvenile detention center.

Barb Poelman told The Associated Press she was sitting on her deck in the Pinebrook Village mobile home park when "we heard the kids run across the front ... screaming. He (Michael) ran with the kids that were with him."

She said the boy’s mother was distraught, pleading for help as she lay on the grass outside the family’s home.

In newly released tapes, Richard Nixon tells one-time aide of fall from grace in his own words

YORBA LINDA, Calif. (AP) -- Almost a decade after Richard Nixon resigned, the disgraced former president sat down with his one-time aide and told the tale of his fall from grace in his own words.

For three decades, that version of one of the nation’s largest and most-dissected political scandals largely gathered dust -- until this week.

Starting Tuesday, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, portions of the tapes will be published each day by the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum and the private Richard Nixon Foundation. The postings begin with Nixon recalling the day he decided to resign and end Saturday -- the date of his last day in office -- with the 37th president discussing his final day at the White House, when he signed the resignation agreement, gave a short speech and boarded a helicopter for San Clemente, California.

The segments were culled from more than 30 hours of interviews that Nixon did with former aide Frank Gannon in 1983. The sections on Watergate aired publicly once, on CBS News, before gathering dust at the University of Georgia for more than 30 years.

"This is as close to what anybody is going to experience sitting down and having a beer with Nixon, sitting down with him in his living room," said Gannon, now a writer and historian in Washington, D.C.

Wisconsin prosecutor disputes ex-police officer’s claim that suitcase deaths were accidental

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin police officer killed a 19-year-old college student from Oregon during a choking game that went too far, hid her body in a suitcase she brought to their sex date and then kept her body in his refrigerator for months, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

Steven Zelich, 52, of West Allis, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide -- the Wisconsin equivalent of murder -- in the 2012 death of Jenny Gamez from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Zelich also is a suspect in the death of a Farmington, Minnesota, woman.

The women’s bodies were found in June in suitcases left along a rural highway about an hour southwest of Milwaukee. According to court records and testimony, Zelich told investigators that he met the women online, killed them accidentally during dates for sex and hid their bodies until they began to smell. Then he dumped them on the roadside, where they were found by highway workers mowing grass.

Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf said he chose to charge Zelich with the most severe crime possible because he didn’t believe the deaths were accidents.

"Killing two women over the span of 15 months under the circumstances in which the defendant acknowledged, by gagging them with a ball gag in the mouth, ropes around the neck, hands tied behind their back, blindfold over their face. He may call that accidental. I call it murder," Zapf said.