U.S. must overhaul immigration rules, Obama declares to Latinos: 'I see myself, my daughters'
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - President Barack Obama, in a strikingly personal appeal, renewed his call for an overhaul of America's immigration laws before a supportive Latino audience Friday. He portrayed rival Mitt Romney as an obstacle to measures that would give young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
"These are all our kids," he declared.
To a standing ovation, Obama spoke of his directive last week that immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children be exempted from deportation and granted work permits if they applied.
Reflecting on his own life as the first African-American president, he said: "When I meet these young people, all throughout communities, I see myself. Who knows what they might achieve? I see my daughters, and my nieces, and my nephews."
"That's the promise that draws so many talented, driven people to these shores. That's the promise that drew my own father here," said Obama, whose father was Kenyan.
Taliban gunmen storm lakeside Afghan hotel, open fire on civilians; 18 killed
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Heavily armed Taliban gunmen stormed a lakeside hotel near Kabul, sending terrified guests jumping from windows or into a lake to try to escape the onslaught. Eighteen people were killed in the 12-hour rampage, their bullet-riddled bodies strewn on carpets, on the lawn and a
The attack, which ended at midday Friday, was a gruesome reminder of the Taliban's determination to scare the Afghan people and undermine efforts to stabilize the nation as U.S.-led forces prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.
The insurgents arrived shortly before midnight at the Spozhmai hotel, situated in a wooded area on the banks of the turquoise-colored Qargha Lake, where Afghan families often go to relax and forget about the war.
The gunmen - toting machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and vests laden with explosives - first killed the hotel's security guards, then pushed their way inside and began firing at guests who were having late-night meals. Gunfire rang out for hours and black smoke rose from the two-story hotel as NATO helicopters circled overhead.
The attack turned the normally placid hotel into a bloody scene of bodies and half-eaten food. One man with a gunshot wound to his torso was found dead under a tree. The bodies of two other men in blood-stained clothes were slumped over one another in the grass. The body of one of the attackers was lying on a blood-stained stone patio.
Poll: Obama's endorsement of gay marriage leaves both sides more entrenched
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage appears to have made Americans on both sides of the issue even more entrenched in their positions, firing up his young, liberal backers and intensifying opposition from Republicans and conservatives, according to a new poll.
Overall, his announcement last month that he supported gay marriage did little to shift the nation's views on the subject, with the country remaining evenly divided on it, the Associated Press-GfK survey found. And people still seem to favor him over Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney when it comes to handling social issues.
Even so, the poll, out Friday, found stronger approval from Democrats and liberals for the way he's handled gay marriage over the last year and deeper discontent over that performance from the other side.
In the poll, 42 percent of respondents oppose gay marriage, 40 percent support it and 15 percent are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45 percent opposing, 42 percent favoring and 10 percent neutral.
The country's divisions - and conflictions - are clear in the voices of Americans.
Hill Dems, Republicans say compromise in sight to avert July student loan interest rate hike
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional bargainers seem near an agreement that would avert a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal loans to 7.4 million college students and end an election-year battle between President Barack Obama and Congress, Senate aides from both parties said Friday. Both sides said they were moving toward a deal on how to pay the measure's $6 billion price tag, the chief source of partisan conflict.
The goal is to push legislation through Congress next week so the current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans can be preserved for another year. A 2007 law gradually reduced interest rates on the loans but required them to balloon back to 6.8 percent this July 1 in a cost-saving maneuver.
On another front, the two sides were also close to an agreement to overhaul federal transportation programs, according to House and Senate aides from both parties. Negotiations were expected to continue through the weekend, with votes expected next week on either a major transportation bill or an extension of current programs, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the talks.
For weeks, Obama has ridiculed Republicans for not moving quickly to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, a stance that Democrats have hoped will boost his support among young voters who broadly backed him in the 2008 election. With college costs and student debt growing steadily, the issue ties directly into concerns about the economy and jobs that polls show dominate voters' worries.
Ex-Penn State assistant Sandusky convicted of abuse
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky has been led away in handcuffs from a Pennsylvania courthouse after being convicted of molesting 10 boys over 15 years.
In court, Sandusky half-waved toward family as the sheriff led him away. Outside, he calmly walked to a sheriff's car with his hands cuffed in front of him.
The former Penn State assistant football coach has been convicted of 45 counts.
Sandusky showed little emotion as the verdict was read. The judge ordered him to be taken to the county jail to await sentencing in about three months.
His attorney, Karl Rominger, says it was "a tough case" with a lot of charges and that an appeal was certain.
He says the defense team "didn't exactly have a lot of time to prepare." He says Sandusky "took it well" upon hearing the verdict.
Turkey says Syria shot down a Turkish air force jet
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey said its air force jet that disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea on Friday was shot down by Syria, in an action likely to worsen already strained relations between the neighboring countries.
A statement following a two-hour security meeting led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the warplane that went missing near Syria was downed by Syrian forces and that the two Turkish pilots remain missing. It said Turkey "will determinedly take necessary steps" in response, without saying what they would be.
Turkey has joined nations such as the U.S. in saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down because of the uprising in his country.
Turkey also has set up refugee camps on its border for more than 32,000 Syrians who have fled the fighting.
"Following the evaluation of data provided by our related institutions and the findings of the joint search and rescue efforts with Syria, it is understood that our plane was downed by Syria," the statement said, without providing other details.
It was not clear what action Turkey might take, but after a cross-border shooting by Syrian forces earlier this year Turkey said it would not tolerate any action that it deemed violating its security.
Pa. monsignor becomes 1st U.S. Catholic official convicted for mishandling abuse complaints
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial, becoming the first U.S. church official convicted of a crime for mishandling abuse claims.
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced - conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted only on one of the endangerment counts, leaving him with the possibility of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.
The jury could not agree on a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.
Lynn has been on leave from the church since his arrest last year. He served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Ex-Tampa Bay area principal accused in fatal rampage; fired 5 years ago over drug arrest
LEALMAN, Fla. (AP) - An ex-Tampa Bay area middle school principal who lost his job over a drug arrest five years ago stabbed several people Friday, killing at least two, and then drove his car into a porch full of people several miles away, authorities said.
Anthony Giancola, 45, was in custody, but the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office didn't immediately report what charges he was facing.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Giancola told his mother in the morning that he was "going to kill all the drug dealers."
Giancola then went to a halfway house for the hearing impaired in Lealman, where officials said he stabbed four people, killing a man and a woman. Of the two wounded, one person was reported to be in serious condition.
About an hour after the stabbing, Giancola pulled up in front of a house and asked residents where he could find women, officials said. The residents told him to go away, and Giancola drove away angry. He soon returned and crashed his car into their porch, injuring three women and one man, police said. Giancola also hit a 13-year-old boy on a bike as he was fleeing, officials said.
Viral video bullying stirs anger - and shows how the Internet mirrors our own emotions
The pebble was tossed when a middle-school student in upstate New York posted a 10-minute video on his Facebook page.
The video, showing four other seventh-grade boys cruelly taunting 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein, was quickly uploaded to YouTube.
And the ripples began.
Millions of viewers from around the world watched her humiliation. There were cries of indignation and sympathy, retribution and recompense. Through posts on social media and the user-generated news site Reddit.com, word spread geometrically, leading to a fund drive that began with a modest goal of $5,000 to help Klein take a nice vacation and scrub the foul memories of the last days of school from her mind.
By Friday afternoon, the drive had sailed past $550,000, with donations from more than 25,000 people.