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home : news : world news January 25, 2015

7/21/2014
AP News in Brief

US tries to make case that Ukraine separatists downed passenger plane, with Russian complicity

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

"A buildup of extraordinary circumstantial evidence ... it's powerful here," said Secretary of State John Kerry, a former prosecutor, and it holds Russian-supported rebels in eastern Ukraine responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with the Kremlin complicit in the deaths of nearly 300 passengers and crew members.

"This is the moment of truth for Russia," said Kerry, leveling some of Washington's harshest criticism of Moscow since the crisis in Ukraine began.

"Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists, and Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control," he said.

In a round of television interviews, Kerry cited a mix of U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence and social media reports that he said "obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists" for firing the missile that brought the plane down, killing nearly 300 passengers and crew.

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Bodies from downed jetliner piled in boxcars in Ukraine; West condemns crash site tampering

TOREZ, Ukraine (AP) -- Pro-Moscow rebels piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed Malaysian jetliner into four refrigerated boxcars Sunday in eastern Ukraine, and cranes at the crash scene moved big chunks of the Boeing 777, drawing condemnation from Western leaders that the rebels were tampering with the site.

The United States, meanwhile, presented what it called "powerful" evidence that the rebels shot down the plane with a Russian surface-to-air missile and training. Although other governments have stopped short of accusing Russia of actually causing the crash, the U.S. was ahead of most in pointing blame on Moscow for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that killed all 298 people aboard.

"Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists," Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Leaders of Britain, France and Germany spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone late Sunday, urging him to use his influence on the separatists to ensure the victims could be repatriated and international investigators could have full access to collect evidence. They said European foreign ministers will be meeting in Brussels Tuesday to consider further sanctions on Russia.

More than three days after the jetliner crashed, international investigators still had only limited access to the sprawling fields where the plane fell.

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Scores killed in first major ground battle in 2 weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive would continue "as long as necessary" to end attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians.

But Hamas seems defiant, international cease-fire efforts are stalled, and international criticism is becoming more vocal as the death toll among Palestinian civilians rises.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called Israel's latest incursion "atrocious," and said it must do far more to protect civilians.

In Israel, public opinion will struggle to tolerate rising military losses in an open-ended campaign. Already, Sunday's deaths marked the highest number of soldiers killed on a single day since Israel's war in Lebanon in 2006.

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By mobile phone light and ingenuity, frenetic Gaza hospital carries on amid Israeli offensive

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- In the heart of Gaza City, as its citizens again find themselves under fire from Israeli airstrikes and artillery, the wounded and their wailing families stream into Shifa Hospital without end.

Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, only has an 11-bed emergency room and six operating theaters. Yet amid power cuts and among the screams of the bereaved, doctors at the 600-bed facility have become masters of improvisation, forced by the seemingly unending conflict engulfing the coastal strip to care for the wounded.

"If we are in the middle of an operation (and) lights go out, what do the Palestinians do?" said Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who has volunteered at Shifa on and off for 17 years. "They pick up their phones, and they use the light from the screen to illuminate the operation field."

The wounded from Israeli strikes usually arrive in waves. More than 3,000 Palestinians already have been wounded in the past two weeks of fighting, health officials say. Many, including the most serious cases, end up at Shifa.

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Film legend James Garner, reluctant hero in TV's 'Maverick,' 'Rockford Files,' dead at age 86

NEW YORK (AP) -- Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety.

James Garner had a way of widening his eyes while the corner of his mouth sagged ever so slightly. Maybe he would swallow once to further make his point.

This portrait of fleeting disquiet could be understood, and identified with, by every member of the audience. Never mind Garner was tall, brawny and, well, movie-star handsome. The persona he perfected was never less than manly, good with his dukes and charming to the ladies, but his heroics were kept human-scale thanks to his gift for the comic turn. He remained one of the people.

He burst on the scene with this disarming style in the 1950s TV Western "Maverick," which led to a stellar career in TV and films such as "The Rockford Files" and his Oscar-nominated "Murphy's Romance."

The 86-year-old Garner, who was found dead of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, was adept at drama and action. But he was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially on his hit TV series, "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files."

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NYC apartment house seeks to show how modular design stacks up in the quest for cool

NEW YORK (AP) -- In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It's billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation's apartment capital.

Called the Stack, the building near Manhattan's northern tip aims to show that while stackable apartments can save builders time and money, modular doesn't have to mean monotonous. Its chunky front embraces its building-block roots, but the apartments' interiors defy their boxy components with varied floor plans and stylish fixtures and finishes.

Modular construction -- assembling a building from prefabricated sections instead of building from scratch on-site -- has been around for decades, but interest has grown recently around the country and in its biggest city. The world's tallest modular building, a 32-story apartment tower, is rising in Brooklyn.

Advocates say modular building can trim costs and timetables -- module factories don't have to worry about bad weather -- and make construction more consistent. Still, the technique presents special challenges (say, driving a 750-square-foot box over the George Washington Bridge), and not all projects have proven speedy. Some have faced pushback from labor interests, not to mention an image problem: The method is sometimes perceived as cheap and, well, cookie-cutter.

"'Pre-fab' and 'modular' have somewhat of a stigma associated with it, in some people's minds, whether it's appropriate or not," developer Jeffrey M. Brown said. But "this approach can really produce cool buildings."

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An upended immigration debate: How the overhaul drive got overtaken by an influx of kids

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's yearlong deliberation over immigration has taken a head-snapping detour.

What was once a debate over how to fix a broken system and provide a path to citizenship for millions has become a race to decide how to increase border patrols and send people back quickly to their country of origin.

The sudden rise in the number of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border has refocused attention on immigration, but hardly under the terms that President Barack Obama and immigrant advocates once envisioned.

Obama had demanded action on a broad change in the law that would have given millions of immigrants illegally in the United States a way to citizenship while spending more on border security. When Republicans balked, he threatened to act on his own. But now the White House says it's focused on addressing the influx of border-crossers and returning as many as quickly as the government can.

Republican lawmakers had decided to scuttle any votes on a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws this year. Now, they are urging prompt legislative action to stem the flow of Central Americans into the United States. Some Republicans even want Obama to take decisive action himself, a shift from their usual criticism that he has abused his executive powers.

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Iraq veteran in Ohio worried about losing his 14 therapeutic pet ducks after village citation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio (AP) -- An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

Darin Welker said officials in the village of West Lafayette told him to get rid of the ducks in May and cited him for a minor misdemeanor on June 23 for failing to comply. Walker is scheduled to appear in Coshocton Municipal Court for a hearing Wednesday and could face a $150 fine.

Welker, 36, says the ducks help him with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and keep him more active.

West Lafayette, about 80 miles east of Columbus, banned residents from keeping fowl and other farm animals in 2010.

Mayor Jack Patterson declined to comment on Welker's predicament and referred questions to village police Chief Terry Mardis, who couldn't be reached for comment.

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HEALTHBEAT: Poll shows few Americans check doctors' vitals before letting them check theirs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don't know how to determine that.

Being licensed and likable doesn't necessarily mean a doctor is up to date on best practices. But consumers aren't sure how to uncover much more. Just 22 percent of those questioned are confident they can find information to compare the quality of local doctors, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Today, 6 in 10 people say they trust doctor recommendations from friends or family, and nearly half value referrals from their regular physician. The poll found far fewer trust quality information from online patient reviews, health insurers, ratings web sites, the media, even the government.

"I usually go on references from somebody else, because it's hard to track them any other way," said Kenneth Murks, 58, of Lexington, Alabama. His mother suggested a bone and joint specialist after a car accident.

"I guess you can do some Internet searches now," he added, but questions the accuracy of online reviews.







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