News from around the World
In test of US-China ties, 2 global powers agree on need to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons
BEIJING (AP) — Bound by threats from North Korea, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to rid the bellicose nation of nuclear weapons in a test of whether the world powers can shelve years of rivalry and discord, and unite in fostering global stability.
Beyond this latest attempt to restrain North Korea, the burgeoning nuclear crisis has so frustrated the U.S. and China that they are forming a new and tentative bond with the potential to carry over into areas that have vexed them for decades.
But they will need to overcome the longstanding prickly relations between Beijing’s communist government and Washington’s free-market democracy. The two are economic competitors, and China is far more reluctant than the U.S. to intervene in international military conflicts.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday described a “synergy” between the two countries to achieve worldwide security and economic stability.
“We have a stake in China’s success. And frankly, China has a stake in the success of the United States,” Kerry told reporters in the Chinese capital. “And that became clear in all of our conversations here today. A constructive partnership that is based on mutual interest benefits everybody in the world.”
Choice for Venezuelans: Hugo Chavez’s heir or fresh start with emboldened challenger
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Voters who kept Hugo Chavez in office for 14 years decide Sunday whether to elect the devoted lieutenant he chose to carry on the revolution that endeared him to the poor but that many Venezuelans believe is ruining the nation.
Nicolas Maduro sought to ride Chavez’s endorsement to victory with a campaign nearly bereft of promises but freighted with personal attacks that was otherwise little more than an unflagging tribute to the polarizing leader who died of cancer March 5.
The 50-year-old longtime Chavez foreign minister pinned his hopes on the immense loyalty for his boss among millions of poor beneficiaries of a socialist government’s largesse and the heft of a state apparatus that Chavez skillfully consolidated.
The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela deployed a well-worn, get-out-the-vote machine spearheaded by loyal state employees. It also enjoyed a pervasive state media apparatus as part of a near monopoly on institutional power.
Challenger Henrique Capriles’ aides accused Chavista loyalists in the judiciary of putting them at glaring disadvantage. Prosecutors and state regulators impoverished the campaign and opposition broadcast media by targeting them with unwarranted fines and prosecutions, they said
Prisoners clash with guards at Guantanamo Bay during forced move over hunger strike protest
MIAMI (AP) — Months of increased tension at the Guantanamo Bay prison boiled over into a clash between guards and detainees Saturday as the military closed a communal section of the facility and moved its inmates into single cells.
The violence erupted during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a weekslong protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba.
Prisoners fought guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles when troops arrived to move them out of a communal wing of the section of the prison known as Camp 6, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a military spokesman. Guards responded by firing four “less-than-lethal rounds,” he said.
There were no serious injuries from the rounds, which included a modified shotgun shell that fires small rubber pellets as well as a type of bean-bag projectile, said Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba.
“I know for sure that one detainee was hit but the injuries were minor, just some bruises,” Julian said.
Polio vaccine developer Hilary Koprowski, whose success predated Salk, dies at age 96
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dr. Hilary Koprowski, a pioneering virologist who developed the first successful oral vaccination for polio, died this week at his suburban Philadelphia home. He was 96.
Although not as well-known as fellow researchers Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, Koprowski’s 1950 clinical trial was the first to show it was possible to vaccinate against polio, the crippling and sometimes fatal disease that’s now all but eradicated.
Koprowski’s son, Christopher, said Saturday his father liked the scientific recognition his work received without the celebrity of Salk and Sabin.
“He enjoyed not having his scientific work disrupted,” said Christopher Koprowski, chief of radiation oncology at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del. “Not that he was a modest individual, mind you.”
Christopher Koprowski said his father had been sick for several months before dying Thursday in the same Wynnewood home he’d lived in since 1957.
Snedeker, Cabrera tied for Masters lead; Woods still in contention despite 2-stroke penalty
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The longest, strangest day at the Masters for Tiger Woods began with a text message from his agent Saturday morning to meet with Augusta National officials nearly six hours before his tee time. It ended some 10 hours later with a relieved fist pump for a key par that kept him in the mix for another green jacket.
It was far different for the two guys atop the leaderboard.
Brandt Snedeker, an emotional wreck when he last contended at the Masters five years ago, was the model of calm as he opened with 12 pars and fired off three late birdies for a 3-under 69.
“I’m not here to get a good finish,” Snedeker said. “I’m not here to finish top 5. I’m here to win, and that’s all I’m going to be focused on tomorrow. I realize what I have to do to do that, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happens.”
Angel Cabrera, who has virtually disappeared from the world scene since he won the Masters four years ago, felt comfortable on a difficult course as he birdied two of the last three holes for a 69 to join Snedeker in a share of the lead. It marks the third time in the last six years Cabrera has been in the last group at the Masters.
AP PHOTOS: Moving day at Masters
At Augusta National on Saturday, Brandt Snedeker and Australia’s Jason Day were tied for the lead at 7 under, while two more Aussies, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, and 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera were another stroke back. On moving day at the Masters, no one made much of a move, setting up quite a shootout for Sunday.
This day will be remembered for the two-stroke penalty against Tiger Woods over an improper drop, which stirred up debate on social media. Some fellow golfers claimed Woods got special treatment and others noted it came one day after 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was penalized a stroke for slow play, nearly causing him to miss the cut.
Here are some scenes from play at Augusta.
5 killed in northern Idaho house fire after extension cord shorts out
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An extension cord hooked to an electric grill on a porch shorted out and started a house fire that killed five people Saturday morning, a northern Idaho fire official says.
Orofino Fire Chief Mike Lee said the house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived after a neighbor reported the fire at 1:38 a.m.
He said smoke inhalation likely killed the two adults and three teens whose bodies were also badly burned in the blaze. He said the dead were a family of four plus a teenage friend who was sleeping over to help celebrate a birthday. He said he didn’t know the genders of the teens who died.
Lee said two of the teens attended the local school that houses 7th through 12th grade, and that one was home schooled. He declined to release names.
Autopsies are planned Monday, but he said there was no sign of foul play.
Obama’s budget proposal limits his bargaining power, angers fellow Democrats over benefit cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s budget overtures to Republicans may limit his bargaining power if the GOP ever returns to the negotiating table on a grand deficit-reduction deal.
In essence, Obama’s spending blueprint is a final offer, a no-budge budget whose central elements have failed to persuade Republicans in the past.
By voluntarily putting entitlement cuts on the table, particularly a proposal to slow the rise of Social Security benefits, Obama has no other gambit to win tax increases from Republicans.
With many Democrats balking at what he’s already offering, it’s not politically feasible for him to offer the GOP anything more.
Puzzled Democrats maintain that Obama not only has given away his leverage, he also has threatened the very identity of his party, which sees the Social Security Act of 1935 as one of its signature achievements.
Thatcher ‘death party’ in London attracts hundreds, crowd sings ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’
LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of opponents of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher partied in London’s Trafalgar Square to celebrate her death, sipping Champagne and chanting “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.”
Thatcher’s most strident critics had long vowed to hold a gathering in central London on the Saturday following her passing, and the festivities were an indication of the depth of the hatred which some Britons still feel for their former leader.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Richard Watson, a 45-year-old from eastern England wearing a party hat, said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
As a huge effigy of Thatcher — complete with hook nose and handbag — made its way down the stairs in front of the National Gallery, the crowd erupted into cries of “Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Dead! Dead! Dead!” and sang lyrics from the “Wizard of Oz” ditty “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.”
Hundreds of people clutched their umbrellas in the rain between Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery on the square, drinking cider or Champagne. The mood appeared festive and the celebration was peaceful, although there was a minor scuffle with police at one point. Police said they made nine arrests, most for drunkenness.
Kobe Bryant out for season with torn Achilles tendon, but vows to return to Lakers
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Kobe Bryant had surgery Saturday on his torn Achilles tendon, ending his season with two games left in the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff chase.
Lakers trainer Gary Vitti thinks Bryant will need at least six to nine months for recovery from the most serious injury of his 17-year NBA career. Given Bryant’s history of swift recovery from countless minor injuries, Vitti and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak both believe the 34-year-old guard could be back for their season opener in the fall.
“I think that’s a realistic goal for him, based on what he was talking about this morning,” Kupchak said at the Lakers’ training complex after visiting Bryant at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.
Bryant completely tore his left Achilles tendon late in the Lakers’ 118-116 win over Golden State on Friday night, falling to the hardwood after pushing off his planted foot in an ordinary move toward the hoop. Although he stayed in the game to hit two tying free throws with 3:08 to play, Bryant’s season was over.
Bryant’s foot will be immobilized for about a month to prevent him from stretching out the tendon, followed by a lengthy rehabilitation process. Nobody knows how the injury will affect Bryant’s play, but his decision to have surgery less than 24 hours after getting hurt suggests he’s determined to get back on top swiftly.