KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's president said Wednesday he will not pursue peace talks with the Taliban unless the United States steps out of the negotiations, while also insisting the militant group stop its violent attacks on the ground after it claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed four Americans. Hamid Karzai's strong response and the Taliban attack deflated hopes for long-stalled talks aimed at ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan, just a day after the United States and the Taliban said they would begin initial meetings in Qatar.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it's moving closer to slowing its bond-buying program, which is intended to keep long-term interest rates at record lows. Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed could start scaling back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases later this year if the economy continues to improve. He said the reductions would occur in "measured steps" and that the purchases could end by the middle of next year.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Illegal immigration into the United States would decrease by only 25 percent under a far-reaching Senate immigration bill, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that also finds the measure reduces federal deficits by billions. Supporters of the legislation moving toward a vote on the Senate floor seized on the deficit-reduction findings by Congress' nonpartisan scorekeeping agency, along with the agency's forecast that the immigration measure would boost economic growth as millions of workers join the workforce and begin to pay taxes.
SAO PAULO (AP) - Scattered street demonstrations popped up around Brazil Wednesday as protesters continued their collective cry against the low-quality public services they receive in exchange for high taxes and rising prices. In one of several protests, about 200 people blocked the Anchieta Highway that links Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, and the port of Santos before heading to the industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo on Sao Paulo's outskirts. Another group of protesters later obstructed the highway again.
STOCKHOLM (AP) - A WikiLeaks spokesman who claims to represent Edward Snowden has reached out to government officials in Iceland about the potential of the NSA leaker applying for asylum in the Nordic country, officials there said Wednesday. Johannes Skulason, an Icelandic government official, told The Associated Press that WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson had held informal talks with assistants at the Interior Ministry and the prime minister's office.
OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The excavation of a field in suburban Detroit has failed to turn up the remains of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa, the FBI announced Wednesday, adding another unsuccessful chapter to a nearly 40-year-old mystery. Authorities stopped the dig after just a few hours on the third day.
Comparison of mass protests in Brazil and Turkey Large-scale protests have engulfed Turkey and Brazil, which are thousands of miles apart, but share some traits such as being new democracies with a growing middle class. Here's a look at the protests in both countries, highlighting the similarities and differences in how they started and developed: ---
NEW YORK (AP) - Apparently, Men's Wearhouse Inc. doesn't like the way its founder looks anymore. In a terse release issued Wednesday, Men's Wearhouse said it has fired the face of the company and its executive chairman, George Zimmer, who appeared in many of its TV commercials with the slogan "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the 49th state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven - or a tropical paradise. With temperatures topping 80 degrees in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Already reeling from a pair of scandals, the Internal Revenue Service is drawing new criticism over plans to hand out millions of dollars in employee bonuses. The Obama administration has ordered agencies to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts, but the IRS says it's merely following legal obligations under a union contract.