Obama says Romney should be penalized for ‘unnecessary roughness’ on the middle class
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama declared that Republican rival Mitt Romney should be penalized for "unnecessary roughness" on the middle class and accused him in a ringing labor Day speech of backing higher taxes for millions after opposing the 2009 auto industry bailout.
"I’ve got one piece of advice for you about the Romney-Ryan game plan: Punt it away. It won’t work. It won’t win the game," Obama said, blending sports-themed remarks with economic barbs before a cheering crowd in the nation’s industrial heartland.
He backed up his rally comments with a new television commercial that says Romney doesn’t understand the "heavy load" the middle class is carrying yet wants to give himself a big new tax break. It’s the president’s first new ad since last week’s Republican National Convention, a reminder that he and his allies have been outspent by millions in the ad wars over the past several weeks.
His sports comments in Toledo, Ohio, amounted to a rebuttal to Romney’s weekend appeal to voters to fire the current coach -- Obama -- and install the Republicans instead at the controls of an economy sputtering along with 8.3 percent unemployment.
The president headed to hurricane-damaged Louisiana late
Syrian government says there will be no dialogue before
rebels are crushed
BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian regime said Monday there will be no dialogue with the opposition before the army crushes the rebels, the latest sign that President Bashar Assad is determined to solve the crisis on the battlefield even if many more of his people have to pay with their lives.
The statement comes a day after activists reported that August was the bloodiest month since the uprising began in March 2011.
"There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army’s imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country," Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told reporters at a news conference in Damascus.
The opposition has long rejected any talks with the regime until Assad is removed from power.
Muhieddine Lathkani, an opposition figure based in Britain, responded to the minister’s comments by saying "the key to any dialogue will be the departure of Assad and dismantling of the regime’s security agencies that committed all these crimes."
In Romania, bride stealing all part of the wedding fun -- and the party’s getting wilder
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- A white limousine screeches to a halt and a bride, resplendent in frothy gown and veil, is hauled outside by her abductors.
It’s one of Romania’s more colorful customs: bride-napping. And the tradition of snatching the bride from under the nose of groom and guests with the wedding party in full swing is getting bigger, brasher and an increasingly common sight in the Romanian capital, the Balkans’ undisputed party town.
Every Saturday night, brides from Bucharest and beyond are dragged away in a mock abduction by friends and driven to a top tourist spot where they are "held hostage" -- all the while pouting, dancing and striking provocative poses for the cameras.
The ransom: a few bottles of whisky or perhaps something more romantic, like a public declaration of love from the abandoned groom. The kidnappers negotiate by phone, working out the details of the payoff. It’s all harmless theatrics meant to add a whiff of risque fun to the nuptials.
Mock abductions of brides are part of marriage ceremonies across the former Soviet Union. In some countries, guests lock up a bride or have her hide in a backroom during celebrations, demanding that the bridegroom delivers a "ransom" -- like singing a song, dancing or sometimes paying real money.
Suicide car bomber attacks U.S.government vehicle in Pakistan, wounds 2 Americans
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A suicide car bomber rammed into a U.S.government vehicle in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday, killing two Pakistanis and wounding more than a dozen -- including two Americans -- in one of the worst attacks against the U.S. in Pakistan in recent years, officials said.
The bombing was a vivid reminder of the danger of operating in Pakistan, especially in the northwest where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are strongest. The U.S. has persisted because its work in Pakistan is seen as key to countering militants who threaten American interests in neighboring Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Insurgents have carried out scores of bombings in Peshawar in recent years, but attacks against American targets have been relatively rare because of extensive security measures by the U.S.government -- ones that diplomats sometimes complain limit their effectiveness and ability to move around.
The U.S. said it would review its security procedures following Monday’s attack, which was condemned by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"We pray for the safe recovery of both American and Pakistani victims, and once again we deplore the cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism that has affected so many around the world," Clinton said during a visit to Indonesia.
Days after Isaac hit the Gulf Coast, thousands are still without power in La., Miss.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tens of thousands of customers remained in the dark Monday in Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly a week after Isaac inundated the Gulf Coast with a deluge that still has some low-lying areas under water.
Most of those were in Louisiana, where utilities reported more than 100,000 people without power. Thousands also were without power in Mississippi and Arkansas.
In Louisiana, many evacuees remained at shelters or bunked with friends or relatives.
"My family is split up," said Angela Serpas, from severely flooded Braithwaite in Plaquemines Parish. Serpas and her daughter were staying with her in-laws while her husband and son were staying in Belle Chasse, a suburban area of the parish.
"This is the second time we’ve lost our home. We lost it in Katrina," she said.
Minn. casino cooks up record 1-ton cheeseburger
CARLTON, Minn. (AP) -- A Minnesota casino has cooked up a world-record bacon cheeseburger that’s 10 feet in diameter and weighs more than a ton.
The behemoth burger was served up Sunday at the Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton. It tipped the scales at 2,014 pounds.
Guinness Records representative Philip Robertson verified the record for biggest burger. He called the feat a result of "remarkable teamwork" and said the burger "actually tastes really good."
According to reports, the previous mark was a mere 881 pounds, 13 ounces.
Black Bear’s burger included 60 pounds of bacon, 50 pounds of lettuce, 50 pounds of sliced onions, 40 pounds of pickles and 40 pounds of cheese.
It took about four hours to cook the patty. A crane was used to flip it.