ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - The Afghan Taliban are ready to free a U.S. army soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay as a conciliatory gesture, a senior spokesman for the group said Thursday. The offer follows this week's official opening of a Taliban political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - James Gandolfini's lumbering, brutish mob boss with the tortured psyche will endure as one of TV's indelible characters. But his portrayal of criminal Tony Soprano in HBO's landmark drama series "The Sopranos" was just one facet of an actor who created a rich legacy of film and stage work in a life cut short.
NEW YORK (AP) - James Gandolfini would have hated all this fuss. He was an actor who shrank from attention for anything but the roles he brought to life. No false modesty. He simply did his best to remain a private citizen behind his public characters. These included, of course, Tony Soprano, the fiendish, tormented mobster who the world came to know and revere as a towering dramatic achievement.
WASHINGTON (AP) - White House-backed immigration legislation is gaining momentum in the Senate, where key lawmakers say they are closing in on a bipartisan compromise to spend tens of billions of dollars stiffening the bill's border security requirements without delaying legalization for millions living in the country unlawfully. "This is a key moment in the effort to pass this bill. This is sort of the defining 24 to 36 hours," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday night after a day of private talks.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Over the past two weeks, President Barack Obama has argued with Chinese President Xi Jinping over cybersecurity, consulted with world leaders over Syria and trade, declared his desire to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons, and embraced the uncertain steps toward reconciliation in Afghanistan. In each case, the president is aligning himself with a process that has a distant goal and is fraught with possible failure.
BAGHDAD (AP) - Al-Qaida's Iraq arm is gathering strength in the restive northern city of Mosul, ramping up its fundraising through gangland-style shakedowns and feeding off anti-government anger as it increasingly carries out attacks with impunity, according to residents and officials. It is a disturbing development for Iraq's third-largest city, one of the country's main gateways to Syria, as al-Qaida in Iraq makes a push to establish itself as a dominant force among the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian regime.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHINWAR, Afghanistan (AP) - The young Afghan soldier lay in great pain on a cot at an army base, his uniform pants cut up to his thigh so medics could clean the wound in his right knee where he was shot fighting insurgents. The medics bandaged him and gave him morphine and an IV bag of fluids. But they couldn't stitch up the wound or give further care because there's no medical doctor at the base in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The base's two-room medical facility is run by a dentist, and its nine medics have only basic medical training. The wounded soldier had to wait overnight in the clinic until it was safer to drive him about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to a more sophisticated medical facility in Jalalabad.
BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. (AP) - No parent here has rushed onto a playing field to jump a referee who made an unpopular call. No adult has gotten angry and slugged or pushed a coach or a young player, as has happened elsewhere. Nor have there been any of those embarrassing sideline brawls you sometimes see posted on online video sites. At least nobody's admitting to it.
ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) - After most of the world's population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine. That's the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world's largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River.
BOSTON (AP) - New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had a connection to a homicide victim found in an industrial park near the athlete's home, but family and officials were mum on the nature of their relationship, two days after police first visited the upscale division. The body found about a mile from Hernandez's sprawling home in North Attleborough was that of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, according to a prosecutor's office. His cause of death wasn't released.