New iPhone with taller screen out next week, capable of faster data speeds
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple is holding an event in San Francisco during which it announced a new iPhone, capable of faster data speeds and sporting a taller screen. It also unveiled new iTunes software and new iPod devices.
The iPhone 5 will go on sale next week. It will work with fourth-generation, or 4G, cellular networks, something Samsung’s Galaxy S III and many other iPhone rivals already do.
Apple Inc. is also updating its phone software and will ditch Google Inc.’s mapping service for its own. The two have become rivals as Google promotes phones running its Android operating system.
In anticipation, several gadget makers refreshed their lineups last week, hoping to beat Apple on the buzz. Nokia Corp. and Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility division announced five new smartphones between them, while Amazon.com Inc. updated its Kindle Fire tablet computer and announced new stand-alone e-reader models.
Sales of Apple’s iPhones are still strong, though the company lost the lead in smartphones to Samsung this year.
Despite Wisconsin walkover for Obama in ‘08, Romney works to nudge state into play this time
NORTH HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- Out of necessity and emboldened by recent GOP strides in Wisconsin, Republican challenger Mitt Romney has drawn President Barack
Just two months before Election Day, Wisconsin has emerged as the latest presidential battleground. Television advertising is flooding it. And both campaigns are jockeying for its 10 electoral votes as each looks to rack up wins in enough states to accumulate the 270 votes needed for victory. Romney has fewer ways to do that so he’s turned to Wisconsin -- where Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker have had success since 2008 and where Romney running mate Paul Ryan lives -- presumably in hopes that a win here will offset a loss elsewhere.
Republicans and Democrats say internal polling shows Obama ahead, though public surveys show a closer race.
Undeterred by the state’s historic Democratic bent, Romney started airing TV ads here this week reminding voters of a ballooning federal debt that now tops $16 trillion. GOP outside groups already have spent weeks running ads raising concern over the Obama health care law and inviting those who backed him in 2008 to switch sides. Ryan, who is also on Wisconsin’s ballot for his House seat, is reinforcing those messages with his own commercials paid for by his congressional campaign fund.
Refusing to cede ground, a pro-Obama group has reserved air time to run anti-Romney spots through November’s election; Obama’s campaign planned to begin advertising in the state on Wednesday.
U.S. lawmakers accuse China of bullying its maritime neighbors
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. lawmakers Wednesday accused China of bullying its neighbors to press territorial claims in the South China Sea but also raised questions about America’s capacity to police the region.
Three congressional panels this week are scrutinizing what they consider to be the security threat posed by China and its human rights record.
With the presidential election two months away, Republican nominee Mitt Romney has accused President Barack Obama of being soft on China, particularly on trade issues, as he has tried to cultivate ties with the emerging superpower. But criticism dished out by members of the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday was directed squarely at Beijing.
The committee’s Republican chairwoman, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said China was a "schoolyard bully towards its maritime neighbors" that aspired to be the dominant power in Asia, controlling vital sea lanes that could be used to choke off commerce and oil shipments. She said the U.S. would stand by its allies, the Philippines and Japan.
"Other global crises must not distract from our vital national interests in the South China Sea and the western Pacific," she told a hearing addressing the issue.
283 killed in factory fires in Pakistan, highlighting lax safety regulations
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Fires at two clothing factories in Pakistan left 283 people dead -- many trapped behind locked doors and barred windows -- tragedies that highlight workplace perils in a country where many buildings lack basic safety equipment and owners often bribe officials to ignore the violations.
The blazes broke out Tuesday night at a garment factory in the southern port city of Karachi and a shoe manufacturer in the eastern city of Lahore. At least 258 people died in the fire in Karachi, where rescue workers were still searching Wednesday for bodies in the charred building. Another 25 perished in Lahore.
Panicked workers in Karachi had only one way out since the factory’s owner had locked all the other exit doors in response to a recent theft, officials said. Many victims suffocated in the smoke-filled basement.
"The owner of the factory should also be burned to death the way our dear ones have died in a miserable condition," said Nizam-ud-Din, whose nephew was killed in the fire, one of the deadliest industrial accidents in Pakistani history.
Police were searching for the factory’s managers and placed the owner on a list of people who are not allowed to leave the country, said Roshan Ali Sheikh, a top government official in Karachi.
Chicago teachers’ strike grinds into third day with no hint of imminent deal
The public exchanges between striking Chicago teachers and the school district grew more personal Wednesday as negotiators returned to the bargaining table on the walkout’s third day.
A top district negotiator, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, criticized teachers union President Karen Lewis for using the word "silly" when describing the negotiations to a crowd of adoring teachers a day earlier.
"It is not silly that we spent over 10 hours yesterday attempting to bridge the gap," Byrd-Bennett said just before the talks resumed. "We take these negotiations incredibly serious."
The strike has canceled classes for more than 350,000 students.
Union officials continued to play down the chances of a quick resolution to the dispute, which centers on the district’s proposed new teacher evaluation process and a policy on rehiring teachers that have been laid off. The district said it had presented the union with a new comprehensive proposal Tuesday and was demanding either a response in writing or a comprehensive counter-proposal.
Many expect Fed to announce a third bond-buying program to try to boost U.S. economy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- If the world’s investors are right, the Federal Reserve is about to take a bold new step to try to invigorate the U.S. economy.
And many expect the Fed to unleash its most potent weapon: a third round of bond purchases meant to ease long-term interest rates and spur borrowing and spending. It’s called "quantitative easing," or QE.
Others foresee a more measured response when the Fed ends a two-day policy meeting Thursday. They think it will extend its timetable for any rise in record-low short-term rates beyond the current target of late 2014 at the earliest.
Fed officials began their discussions Wednesday and will end with an announcement of any decision around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Later, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold his quarterly news conference.
The stock market edged higher Wednesday, partly in anticipation of Fed action and after the highest court in Germany cleared the way for that country to contribute to Europe’s rescue fund to help indebted governments.
Kissing babies and slapping backs? Yawn. Campaign 2012 offers body lifts and biker chicks
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Barack Obama goes airborne in a doozy of a bear hug with a pizza guy in Florida. Joe Biden cozies up with a biker chick in Ohio. Paul Ryan encircles a campaign supporter in North Carolina in a double-armed embrace. Even the more reserved Mitt Romney seems to be loosening up some with people he meets on the campaign trail.
Kissing babies and slapping backs are so yesterday.
The 2012 candidates are putting their all into the campaign cliche of pressing the flesh.
"America’s become more touchy-feely," says Lillian Glass, a body language expert based in Los Angeles. "That’s what they want in their candidates, and that’s what they’re getting."
When 74-year-old Jan Queen locked on to Biden for a hug and kiss in Jackson, Ohio, on Saturday, she didn’t budge for a minute or so.