World in Brief
Connecticut woman left vengeful note before killing 2 grandsons and herself
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A woman who shot and killed her two young grandsons before committing suicide last year left a note to the boys’ parents saying they did not deserve to have the children, according to a police report.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request, suggests a possible motive for the first time and sheds new light on her mental health problems: The grandmother, Debra Denison, had a history of conflict with the boys’ mother and had attempted suicide a half dozen times before.
Denison, 47, picked up 2-year-old Alton Perry and 6-month-old Ashton Perry at a day care in North Stonington on Feb. 26, 2013, and was supposed to take them home for a birthday party but instead drove to a nearby lake where they were found shot to death after a frantic search.
In addition to a suicide note to her husband, Denison left a note addressed to the boys’ parents, Jeremy and Brenda Perry. Denison was Brenda Perry’s mother.
"The note stated among other things that Brenda and Jeremy did not deserve to have the children and Debra wanted them to feel the loss of a child," state police Detective David Lamoureux wrote in a report on Oct. 22.
U.S. delays review of Keystone XL pipeline, likely punting decision until after Election Day
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, indefinitely extending its review of the project.
In a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter, the State Department said federal agencies will have more time to weigh in on the politically fraught decision -- but declined to say how much longer. Officials said the decision will have to wait for the dust to settle in Nebraska, where a judge in February overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state.
Nebraska’s Supreme Court isn’t expected to hear an appeal to that ruling until September or October, and there could be more legal maneuvering after the high court rules. So President Barack Obama will almost surely have until after the November congressional elections to make the final call about whether the pipeline carrying oil from Canada should be built.
Approving the pipeline before the election would rankle Obama’s allies and donors in the environmental community, but nixing it could be politically damaging to vulnerable Democrats running this year in conservative-leaning areas.
"This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable," said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a difficult re-election in oil-rich Louisiana. Landrieu said Obama was signaling that a small minority can tie up the process in the courts, sacrificing 42,000 jobs and billions in economic activity.
Despite diplomatic efforts, pro-Russian insurgents refuse to leave occupied Ukraine buildings
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) -- Pro-Russian insurgents defiantly refused Friday to surrender their weapons or give up government buildings in eastern Ukraine, despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva and overtures from the government in Kiev.
Denis Pushilin of the self-appointed Donetsk People’s Republic told reporters the insurgents in more than 10 cities do not recognize Ukraine’s interim government as legitimate and will not leave the buildings until the government resigns. He demanded that Ukrainian leaders abandon their own public buildings.
Talks between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union produced an agreement Thursday in Geneva to take tentative steps toward calming tensions in Ukraine. The country’s former leader fled to Russia in February and Russia annexed Crimea in March. The Geneva agreement calls for disarming all paramilitary groups and immediately returning all government buildings seized across the country.
Pushilin, speaking at the insurgent-occupied regional headquarters in the eastern city of Donetsk, said the agreement was "reasonable" but insisted "everyone should vacate the buildings," including Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksandr Turchynov, the acting Ukrainian prime minister and president.
Ukraine has scheduled a presidential election for May 25, but Pushilin reiterated a call to hold a referendum on self-determination for the Donetsk region by May 11. The same kind of referendum in Crimea led to its annexation by Russia.
57-nation OSCE to play key Ukraine monitoring role in human rights, elections, media freedom
VIENNA (AP) -- A 57-nation organization with a history of mediation but no enforcing powers has been tasked with helping to translate diplomatic progress on easing Ukrainian tensions into reality on the ground.
A special team of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe "should play a leading role" in immediately implementing "de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most," according to an agreement Thursday between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union.
That means primarily eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian insurgents occupy government buildings in more than 10 cities. But the OSCE special mission to Ukraine has no muscle to enforce its vague mandate, limiting it to advisory and monitoring roles.
A look at the organization, its role in Ukraine and what it hopes to achieve there:
Captain of capsized ferry,
2 crew members arrested in South Korea disaster
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A prosecutor says the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested.
Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin Yonhap says 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok and the crew members were detained early Saturday.
The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead.
The investigation into the disaster has focused on the ferry’s sharp turn before it started listing, and on whether a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives. Investigators also were determining whether the captain had abandoned the ship.
Rescuers are searching for about 270 people still missing and feared dead.
As the last bit of the sunken ferry’s hull slipped Friday beneath the murky water off southern South Korea, there was a new victim: a vice principal of the high school whose students were among the passengers was found hanged, an apparent suicide.
The Sewol had left the northwestern port of Incheon on Tuesday on an overnight journey to the holiday island of Jeju in the south with 476 people aboard, including 323 students from Danwon High School in Ansan. It capsized within hours of the crew making a distress call to the shore a little before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Only its dark blue keel jutted out over the surface. But by Friday night, even that had disappeared, and rescuers set two giant beige buoys to mark the area. Navy divers attached underwater air bags to the 6,852-ton ferry to prevent it from sinking deeper, the Defense Ministry said.
The coast guard said divers began pumping air into the ship to try to sustain any survivors.
Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes central and southern Mexico; no word on casualties
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) -- A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake at about 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. EDT; 1430 GMT) was centered on a long-dormant fault line northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.
It was felt across at least a half-dozen states and Mexico’s capital, where it collapsed several walls and left larges cracks in some facades. Debris covered sidewalks around the city.
Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as fallen fences, trees and broken windows. Chilpancingo, capital of the southern state of Guerrero, where the quake was centered, reported a power outage, but service was restored after 15 minutes.
In Acapulco, 59-year-old Enedina Ramirez Perez was having breakfast, enjoying the holiday with about 20 family members, when her hotel started to shake.
Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing 12 Sherpa, leaving 4 missing ahead of peak climb season
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak. Several more were injured.
The Sherpa guides had gone to fix ropes for other climbers when the avalanche struck an area known as the "popcorn field" for its bulging chunks of ice at about 6:30 a.m., Nepal Tourism Ministry official Krishna Lamsal said from the base camp, where he was monitoring rescue efforts.
An injured survivor told his relatives the path up the mountain was unstable just before the avalanche struck at an elevation just below 21,000 feet (6,400 meters). As soon as the avalanche hit, rescuers, guides and climbers rushed to help.
Rescue workers pulled out 12 bodies from under mounds of snow and ice and were searching for the four missing guides, Lamsal said. Officials had earlier said three were missing.
Four survivors were injured badly enough to require airlifting to a hospital in Katmandu. One arrived during the day, and three taken to the foothill town of Lukla could be evacuated Saturday. Others with less serious injuries were being treated at base camp.
Faithful re-enact events of Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday
Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified.
In the Philippines, Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation commemorated the occasion by re-enacting the crucifixion. Devotees have themselves nailed to wooden crosses, rituals that church leaders do not condone but that draw huge crowds. Undeterred, some penitents participate in the practice year after year.
Devotees undergo the re-enactment in the belief that extreme pain is a way to atone for their sins, attain miracle cures for illnesses or give thanks to God.
In the Holy Land, Christians marked the day with prayers and processions, with thousands of pilgrims crowding along the Via Dolorosa, or "Way of Suffering," carrying wooden crosses.
They end at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Tradition says the church was built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.