Gunfire heard as Bangladesh forces move to free hostages DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - Heavy gunfire and explosions rang out Saturday morning as Bangladesh security forces backed by armored vehicles moved to end a 10-hour standoff with heavily armed militants holding dozens of people hostage, including foreigners, after storming an upscale restaurant at the heart of Bangladesh's diplomatic zone. Two police officers were killed and at least 26 people wounded in an earlier gunbattle. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan area, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadis activity online. At least 35 people, including about 20 foreigners, were trapped inside the restaurant, said kitchen staffer Sumon Reza, who was among more than 10 people who managed to run to the rooftop and escape when the militants moved in Friday night.
The Latest: 5 bodies found in Dhaka restaurant; 12 rescued DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - The Latest on the attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in a diplomatic zone in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka (all times local): 9:30 a.m. The sound of two big explosions has been heard from inside the Dhaka restaurant where security forces battled militants holding dozens of hostages, and a police official says five bodies were seen lying in pools of blood. Security forces stormed the restaurant early Saturday to end the 10-hour standoff with militants. In Tokyo, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda says 12 people were rescued in the raid, including two foreigners, but he couldn't say if they were Japanese.
In VP search, Trump and Clinton eye different priorities WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump wants a running mate who has what he lacks - political experience. Hillary Clinton is putting a premium on diversity as she searches for a No. 2. Yet the presidential rivals are running strikingly similar processes for tapping their vice presidential picks: relying on prominent Washington lawyers to comb through the background of top contenders, seeking guidance from a small circle of trusted advisers and family members, and weighing their personal chemistry with prospects. Trump, a wealthy businessman who has never held public office, is mulling a small number of political veterans. He's seriously considering former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov.
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Attorney general wishes she hadn't met with Bill Clinton WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Loretta Lynch is expressing regret that she sat down with Bill Clinton while his wife is under federal criminal investigation, a chance encounter she acknowledges "cast a shadow" on the public's perception of a case bound to influence the presidential campaign. "I certainly wouldn't do it again," Lynch said of the meeting. For Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, the episode raised the risk that voters will see her anew as half of a power couple that makes its own rules. Lynch hastened to add that she intended to follow the recommendations of career prosecutors on whether to file criminal charges at the close of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, indicating that she would accept whatever decision is presented to her.
Bill Clinton and his loose-cannon episodes WASHINGTON (AP) - Long regarded as having one of the shrewdest political minds among recent presidents, Bill Clinton has at times angered and alienated Democrats and Republicans alike while campaigning for his wife, Hillary Clinton. His apparently spur-of-the moment decision to chat this week with Attorney General Loretta Lynch even as her agency is overseeing a sensitive investigation of his wife's use of a private email server as secretary of state was only the latest in a series of loose-cannon episodes. In 2008: -In remarks that struck some as racial politics, Bill Clinton equated Barack Obama's win in the South Carolina Democratic primary in January 2008 with Jesse Jackson's victories in the state in 1984 and 1988.
The Latest: North Carolina LGBT law left largely intact The North Carolina General Assembly has largely left intact a law limiting protections for LGBT people. The House and Senate approved a change late Friday night that restores workers' ability to use state law to sue over workplace discrimination. However, the change doesn't enhance workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Legislative leaders have said that's the only change to the law planned this session. There was no appetite among Republican lawmakers to undo a requirement that transgender people must use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. Nor did they alter provisions that exclude gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.
Attention in Istanbul bombing focused on Chechen extremist ISTANBUL (AP) - Attention focused Friday on whether a Chechen extremist known to be a top lieutenant in the Islamic State group was involved in the suicide attacks that killed 44 people at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told CNN that Akhmed Chatayev directed Tuesday night's attack at one of the world's busiest airports. The CIA and White House declined to comment on McCaul's assertion and officials said the investigation of the bombing is still ongoing. McCaul could not be reached for further comment. Turkish officials also were not able to confirm Chatayev's role.
Australians head to the polls in tight election contest CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - After years of political turmoil, Australians headed to the polls on Saturday with leaders of the nation's major parties each promising to bring stability to a government that has long been mired in chaos. The election, which pits the conservative coalition government against the center-left Labor Party, caps off an extraordinarily volatile period in the nation's politics. Australian political parties can change their leaders under certain conditions and have done so in recent years with unprecedented frequency. Should Labor win, its leader, Bill Shorten, will become Australia's fifth prime minister in three years. The so-called revolving-door prime ministership, coupled with global instability wrought by Britain's recent vote to leave the European Union, prompted promises by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that sticking with the status quo was the safer choice.
US says up to 116 civilians killed in counterterror strikes WASHINGTON (AP) - Peeling back some of the secrecy of America's drone strikes on suspected terrorists, the Obama administration on Friday said it has killed up to 116 civilians in counterterror attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and other places where the U.S. is not engaged in active, on-the-ground warfare. The first-ever public assessment is a response to mounting pressure for more information about lethal U.S. operations overseas. Human rights and other groups quickly complained that the administration undercounted civilian casualties and called on the White House to release far more information. The report by National Intelligence Director James Clapper said the U.S.
Keillor hosts his last 'Companion' in Hollywood Bowl LOS ANGELES (AP) - Some 18,000 fans at the Hollywood Bowl will be transported to Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, Friday night as writer and humorist Garrison Keillor hosts his final episode of the old-style variety show "A Prairie Home Companion" after 42 years on public radio. Keillor's farewell will include "Companion's" best-known segment, "News From Lake Wobegon," folksy reports from a fictional town where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." "Companion" attracts three million listeners in the U.S., many more counting its Armed Forces Radio audiences worldwide. Keillor's final show airs Saturday night.