Obama pins ‘Romney doesn’t care’ label on foe for health view, says of Obamacare: ‘I do care’
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Campaigning his way toward the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama slapped a "Romney doesn’t care" label on his rival’s health-care views Sunday and said Republicans want to repeal new protections for millions without offering a plan of their own.
Vice President Joe Biden swiftly broadened the attack, accusing Republicans of seeking to undermine the decades-old federal program millions of seniors rely on for health care. "We are for Medicare. They are for voucher care," he said.
The president and vice president campaigned separately across three battleground states as delegates descended on the Democrats’ convention city for two days of partying before their first official meeting Tuesday in the Time Warner Cable Arena.
An enormous sand sculpture made in Obama’s likeness served as a reminder, as if any were needed, that the Democrats were in town.
Some 800 demonstrators marched through the streets around the convention hall, protesting what they call corporate greed as well as U.S. drone strikes overseas, said to kill children as well as terrorists. Dozens of police officers walked along with the protesters’ parade, carrying gas masks, wooden batons and plastic hand ties. One arrest was reported, for public
Romney casts Obama as failed coach, Obama says Republicans suited to era of black-and-white TV
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney cast President Barack Obama as a failed coach of a struggling team as he sought to capitalize on momentum coming out of his party’s convention. Obama dismissed the GOP gathering as an event suited to the era of black-and-white TV and promised to outline "a better path forward" at the upcoming Democratic convention where he’ll be nominated for a second term.
The two rivals campaigned Saturday across several battleground states expected to decide the outcome of the closely fought presidential contest. Obama was in Iowa before heading to Colorado, part of a three-day tour that will take him into his convention opening Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.
Romney spoke at rallies in Ohio and Florida before flying to his vacation home in New Hampshire for some time off. Campaign officials said the former Massachusetts governor would spend much of the Democrats’ convention week doing debate preparation.
At rallies in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, Fla., Romney channeled many voters’ interest in the first weekend of the college football season.
"I don’t like the way the way the game is going under this president," Romney said, pointing to the high jobless rate and approximately 23 million people who are unemployed or working part-time. "If there’s a coach whose record is 0 and 23 million, you get rid of him and get someone new."
U.S. forces put training of some Afghan troops on hold after spate
of insider attacks
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The U.S. military has halted the training of some Afghan forces while it digs deeper into their background following a surge of attacks by soldiers and police on their international partners, officials said Sunday.
The move only puts about 1,000 Afghan trainees into limbo, a small fraction of the country’s security forces. But it shows how these attacks have the potential to derail the U.S.-Afghan handover of security so essential to the international drawdown strategy.
Officials say that the international coalition ultimately hopes to recheck the backgrounds of the entire 350,000-strong Afghan army and police.
The United States and its allies are pushing to have Afghan forces take over security for the country by the end of 2014. This effort has been imperiled by the spike in insider attacks that have killed 45 international service members this year, most of them Americans. There were at least 12 such attacks in August alone, resulting in 15 deaths.
The attacks are straining an alliance already stretched by a tense relationship with a notoriously corrupt Afghan government and disagreements over NATO tactics that Kabul claims endanger civilians.
2 Syrian activist groups say 5,000 people were killed
in August, making it deadliest month
BEIRUT (AP) -- Two activist groups said Sunday that about 5,000 people were killed in Syria’s escalating civil war in August while the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF put the death toll for last week alone at 1,600. They were the highest figures reported since the uprising began more than 17 months ago.
The activist groups also raised their estimated death tolls for the entire uprising to at least 23,000 and as high as 26,000. The previous estimates, more than a month ago, were around 20,000.
The civil war witnessed a major turning point in August when President Bashar Assad’s forces began widely using air power for the first time to crush the revolt. The fighting also reached Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, which had been relatively quiet for most of the revolt.
"The past month witnessed large massacres and the regime was conducting wide operations to try to crush the uprising," said Omar Idilbi, a Cairo-based activist with the Local Coordination Committees. "Last month’s acts of violence were unprecedented."
He said the increased use of the air force and artillery bombardments was behind the rise in casualties.
Imam accused of planting evidence in Pakistan
Quran burning case
against Christian girl
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A Muslim cleric is accused of stashing pages of a Quran in a Christian girl’s bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book, a surprising twist in a case that caused an international outcry over the country’s strict blasphemy laws.
Pakistani police arrested Khalid Chishti late Saturday after a member of the cleric’s mosque accused the imam of planting evidence as a way to push the Christians out of the neighborhood. Chishti denied the charges Sunday while being led to court in shackles, wearing a white blindfold.
"I have not done anything wrong. This is all fabrication," he defiantly told reporters.
The imam’s arrest could release the girl, who supporters say is mentally handicapped, out of prison, where she faces a life sentence if convicted of charges she desecrated the Quran. A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday.
But Christians who fled the neighborhood when the girl was arrested worry about the use of laws that critics say are often abused to settle scores or target minorities.
Obama campaign turns
to technology to engage
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- When the Democratic Party’s national convention opens this week, President Barack Obama’s target audience won’t be in the crowd. It will be the small sliver of undecided voters in battleground states who will be critical to the outcome of what the polls show is a tight race with two months to go.
Obama’s campaign will turn to technology to get some of those voters engaged in the convention. The campaign will stream the entire event online, incorporate voter comments into the feed, and have convention attendees interact electronically with those watching on the Internet and mobile devices.
It’s an attempt to recapture the Obama team’s insurgent, grassroots appeal from 2008, when the campaign set new standards for using technology in politics. The high-tech engagement also helps the campaign capture data on voters that can be used for registration drives and get out the vote efforts.
Targeting Hispanics, the convention will be streamed online simultaneously in Spanish. Obama is hoping his sizeable advantage over Republican rival Mitt Romney with Hispanics will help him win key battleground states in the West, as well as Florida and Virginia.
Republicans also streamed much of their convention on YouTube, though the feed was not interactive.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon,
self-proclaimed messiah who founded Unification Church, dies at age 92
GAPYEONG, South Korea (AP) -- The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire. He called both North Korean leaders and American presidents his friends, but spent time in prisons in both countries. His followers around the world cherished him, while his detractors accused him of brainwashing recruits and extracting money from worshippers.
These contradictions did nothing to stop the founder of the Unification Church from turning his religious vision into a worldwide movement and a multibillion-dollar corporation stretching from the Korean Peninsula to the United States.
Moon died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press. Moon’s wife and children were at his side, Ahn said. He was 92.
Church officials planned to meet later Monday to discuss mourning and funeral arrangements.
Moon founded his Bible-based religion in Seoul in 1954, a year after the Korean War ended, saying Jesus Christ personally called on him to complete his work.
Detroit police: Double slaying suspect had to turn self in twice before officers arrested him
DETROIT (AP) -- A man suspected of fatally shooting two men and seriously wounding two others had to turn himself in twice before Detroit police would arrest him, authorities said.
Detroit police said the 36-year-old man got into an argument at a party on Saturday, retrieved a gun and opened fire. Four people were shot, and two died. The man turned himself in at a fire station about two hours later, and fire officials called police, but no officers turned up.
Police said in a statement that "due to area patrol units being busy handling high priority runs, no units were dispatched to the location."
The man eventually went to a police station, where he was arrested.
Police Chief Ralph Godbee said he has ordered an investigation into why no patrol car was sent to the fire station.
Son: author Bach improving though in serious condition after Wash. plane crash
SEATTLE (AP) -- Best-selling author Richard Bach, who is known best for writing "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", remains in serious condition at a Seattle hospital but his son says he’s making improvements.
Bach was taken to Harborview Medical Center after his small plane crashed Friday about three miles west of Friday Harbor Airport in Washington state. A nursing supervisor on Sunday says Bach was in serious condition.
Bach’s son, James Bach, said Sunday that his father clearly is lucid, is responding to doctors and people around him, and has good cognitive function. He says he hopes his 76-year-old father’s recovery will be swift.
Richard Bach, who was flying alone, suffered a head injury and broken shoulder after his single-engine amphibian aircraft clipped power lines Friday.