Police departments on alert after cop killings NEW YORK (AP) - Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car. The slayings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide, though there is no evidence any threats are imminent. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs" as retaliation for the slayings of black men at the hands of white police.
Timeline of events before and after NYC cop deaths A timeline of events in the hours before and moments after two New York Police Department officers were killed in their cruiser Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old man who vowed online to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner. ---
US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company. North Korea has reacted angrily to Obama's comments blaming it for the hacking of Sony, warning of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism."
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N. Korean cinema: Kidnappings and evil Americans SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea hates the currently scrapped Hollywood film that revolves around the assassination of its beloved leader, but the country has had a long love affair with cinema - of its own particular styling. In the six decades since North Korea began to cultivate its own film industry, a South Korean director and his movie star wife have been kidnapped, a Godzilla-inspired monster movie has bombed at the box office in the South, American defectors have hammed it up in anti-U.S. propaganda films - and there has even been a foray into "girl power" cinema with the more recent "Comrade Kim Goes Flying."
Experts expect surge in Cuba tourism under Obama opening HAVANA (AP) - As the U.S. and Cuba begin to normalize relations for the first time in half a century, some Americans are already roaming the streets of Old Havana, attending dance exhibitions and talks on architecture as they take part in scripted cultural tours that can cost more than a decent used car back home. The U.S. visitors are participants in the highly regulated "people-to-people" travel that President Barack Obama permitted in 2011 in one of his first moves toward detente with Cuba. The program aims to increase interaction with ordinary Cubans without creating uncomfortable images of Americans lounging on beaches in a single-party state. The tours tend to attract people sympathetic to improving ties with President Raul Castro's government.
Republicans in charge of Senate _ but 2016 awaits WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans have the Senate majority now and are set to challenge President Barack Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill this January. But a much tougher election map two years from now could force the GOP back into the minority. In November 2016, Republicans will defend 24 seats, Democrats 10. Seven of the GOP seats are in states President Barack Obama won with 50 percent or more of the vote in 2012.
AP: Abused kids die as officials fail to protect BUTTE, Montana (AP) - At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities - many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found. To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia and branches of the military - circumventing a system that does a terrible job of accounting for child deaths. Many states struggled to provide numbers. Secrecy often prevailed.
Iraq TV show makes 'terrorists' confront victims BAGHDAD (AP) - Haider Ali Motar was convicted of terrorism charges about a month ago for helping to carry out a string of Baghdad car bombings on behalf of the Islamic State extremist group. Now, the 21-year old is a reluctant cast member in a popular reality TV show. "In the Grip of the Law," brings convicted terrorists face-to-face with victims in surreal encounters and celebrates the country's beleaguered security forces. The show, produced by state-run Iraqiyya TV, is among dozens of programs, cartoons and musical public service announcements aimed at shoring up support for the troops after their humiliating defeat last summer at the hands of the Islamic State group, which now controls about a third of the country.
Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India RORO VILLAGE, India (AP) - Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, hazardous piles of broken rocks and powdery dust left behind. In Roro Village and other settlements below, people who never worked in the mines are dying of lung disease. Yet in a country that treats asbestos as a savior that provides cheap building materials for the poor, no one knows the true number and few care to ask.
Morocco's transgender dancer courts acceptance CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) - It was a slow night on the red carpet at the opening of the Marrakech film festival for the photographers and everyone was complaining over the lack of celebrities. Then a car pulled up and out stepped Noor Talbi, Morocco's most famous belly dancer. The photographers went wild. Darling of the jet set and a fixture for any society party or hotel opening, Noor's statuesque six feet frame was clothed in a spangled, off-the-shoulder ballgown slit up the side to reveal her long legs.