People seek relief in water, air conditioning from unrelenting US heat wave; 30 dead
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Americans dipped into the water, went to the movies and rode the subway just to be in air conditioning Saturday for relief from unrelenting heat that has killed 30 people across half the country.
The heat sent temperatures soaring over 100 degrees in several cities, including a record 105 in Washington, St. Louis (106), and Indianapolis (104), buckled highways and derailed a Washington-area train even as another round of summer storms threatened.
If people ventured outside to do anything, they did it early. But even then, the heat was stifling.
"It was baking on the 18th green," said golfer Zeb Rogerson, who teed off at 6 a.m. at an Alexandria, Va., golf course but was sweltering by the end of his round.
The heat sent temperatures soaring in more than 20 states to 105 in Louisville, Ky., 101 in Philadelphia, and 95 in New York; besides Washington, a record of 104 was set in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Baltimore set a record at 102.
AP PHOTOS: Triple-digit temperatures extending into the Northeast as heat wave grips the US
The heat wave gripping much of the country is continuing its hold, with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher spreading to northeastern cities including Philadelphia and New York.
The heat set records Saturday in Washington -- 105 degrees -- as well as St. Louis (106), and Indianapolis (104).
At least 30 deaths are being blamed on the heat, including nine in Maryland and 10 in Chicago, mostly among the elderly. Extreme heat was also cited as a factor in three deaths in Wisconsin, two in Tennessee and three in Pennsylvania.
There is a break in sight: Cooler weather should begin to arrive in many regions Sunday.
Supreme Court's decision renews questions about IRS capability to enforce health care mandate
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2 1/2 years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.
That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.
Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don't buy coverage and on some businesses that don't offer it to employees.
The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don't claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees.
The health care law "includes the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years," according to the Treasury inspector general who oversees the IRS. The agency will have to hire thousands of workers to manage it, requiring significant budget increases that already are being targeted by congressional Republicans determined to dismantle the president's signature initiative.
Libyans vote in 1st nationwide election in decades but violence underscores challenges ahead
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Jubilant Libyans chose a new parliament Saturday in their first nationwide vote in decades, but violence and protests in the restive east underscored the challenges ahead as the oil-rich North African nation struggles to restore stability after last year's ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Women ululated, while men distributed sweets and the elderly with canes or wheelchairs struggled to get to polling centers in a show of joy over the most visible step toward democracy since the eccentric ruler was killed by rebel forces in late October after months of bitter civil war.
"Look at the lines. Everyone came of his and her own free will. I knew this day would come and Gadhafi would not be there forever," said Riyadh al-Alagy, a 50-year-old civil servant in Tripoli. "He left us a nation with a distorted mind, a police state with no institutions. We want to start from zero."
But attacks on polling centers in the east -- where anger over perceived domination by rivals in the west is fueling a drive for autonomy -- laid bare the rifts threatening to tear the nation apart.
Still the election for a 200-seat parliament, which will be tasked with forming a new government, was the latest milestone in a revolution stemming from the Arab Spring revolts that led to the successful ouster of authoritarian leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and later Yemen.
US Rep. Barney Frank marries partner in ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Patrick
NEWTON, Mass. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has tied the knot with his longtime partner in a ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Frank spokesman Harry Gural says the 72-year-old congressman married 42-year-old Jim Ready in a Saturday evening wedding at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton. Gural says more than 300 friends, family and colleagues attended.
Frank, a Democrat who is retiring after more than three decades in office, represents the 4th Congressional District in southeastern Massachusetts.
Ready, of Ogunquit, Maine, has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding and other general handyman services. He's also a photographer.
International Afghan donors meet, pledge $16B in development aid over next 4 years
TOKYO (AP) -- International donors pledged Sunday $16 billion in badly needed development aid for Afghanistan over the next four years when most foreign troops will leave as Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the international community not to abandon his country.
The major donors' conference, attended by about 70 countries and organizations, is aimed at setting aid levels for the crucial period through and beyond 2014, when most NATO-led foreign combat troops will leave and the war-torn country will assume responsibility for most of its own security.
"I request Afghanistan's friends and partners to reassure the Afghan people that you will be with us," Karzai said in his opening statement.
Japanese foreign minister and U.S. officials traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the donors have made $16 billion available through 2015, which would be in line with the nearly $4 billion per year that the Japanese co-hosts had said they were hoping to achieve during the one-day conference.
Japan, the second-largest donor, says it will provide up to $3 billion through 2016, and Germany has announced it will keep its contribution to rebuilding and development at its current level of $536 million a year, at least until 2016.
What a new libertarian-looking America means for the 2012 elections
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- To begin: This is not a story about Ron Paul.
Not exactly, anyway. And yet to get where we want to go we will start at OPA!, a Greek restaurant on the edge of town where Clark County Republicans and tea party conservatives gathered on Nevada primary night for what looked undeniably like a Ron Paul rally.
In one corner was Cindy Lake, the acting chair of the Clark County Republican Party and a delegate to this summer's Republican National Convention. A self-described "libertarian Republican constitutional conservative," Lake became a Paul convert in 2007 after she heard him advocate for something she passionately supports: the freedom to buy raw milk.
Nearby stood Megan Heryet, celebrating her GOP primary victory in a state Assembly race. Heryet, a real estate agent, substitute teacher and mom, is hardly a Paul fanatic. But she did back him in Nevada's caucuses earlier this year, primarily because she is a big proponent of being free to make decisions such as choosing to give birth to her second child at home instead of a hospital. "It's about being left alone," she said.
And there were the Bunce brothers, Richard and Carl, who marshaled a four-year "Paulist" takeover of the Nevada Republican Party. The tax system is their biggest irritation. "This is the land of the free," said Carl. "How free are we when we've got a government that can choose how much money we keep in our paycheck?"
Tens of thousands march in Mexico's capital against election result, allege vote buying
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico's capital on Saturday to protest Enrique Pena Nieto's apparent win in the country's presidential election, accusing his long ruling party of buying votes.
The protesters were angered by allegations that Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party gave out bags of groceries, pre-paid gift cards and other goods to voters ahead of July 1 national elections.
The students, unionists and leftists in the march carried signs reading, "Pena, how much did it cost to become president?" and "Mexico, you pawned your future for 500 pesos." Mexico City officials put the size of the crowd that reached its central Zocalo plaza at 50,000.
"The fraud was carried out before (the election), buying votes, tricking the people," said Gabriel Petatan Garcia, a geography student who carried a sign in Finnish.
Protesters also carried signs in English, Japanese, French, German and other languages to call the attention of the international press.
Friend: 4-year-old Utah boy was trying to make kids laugh when tombstone toppled, killing him
A 4-year-old Utah boy was helping his father by trying to make other children smile for a picture when a 6-foot-tall tombstone that weighed hundreds of pounds fell on the boy and killed him at a historic cemetery, family members and friends said.
Carson Dean Cheney was with his family in the resort town of Park City on Thursday evening when the headstone toppled onto him after some metal connecting it to its pedestal broke, his grandmother Geri Gibbs told The Associated Press.
The boy's father, Zac Cheney, does photography in his spare time and was taking portraits of another family at the Glenwood Cemetery, said Curtis Morley, a co-worker and family friend. They chose the old cemetery because of its extensive landscaping, he said.
Morley said some of the children being photographed were not being responsive, so Carson tried to help his dad by pretending to be leprechaun and making them laugh. The boy went behind a tombstone and was poking his head out from behind it when it fell on him.
"Carson passed away while trying to make others smile," said Morley, who works with Zac Cheney at a professional services firm in Salt Lake City.
Tony Stewart charges to the front on the final lap to win at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- There was no fire or rain. Still, another frantic finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Tony Stewart emerged the winner, charging past Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth on the last lap and holding on as the challengers stacked up behind him Saturday night in one of Daytona's trademark wrecks.
"I don't even remember what happened that last lap," Stewart said.
Stewart has 18 victories at Daytona, second only to the late Dale Earnhardt's 34 wins.
None of Stewart's wins are in the Daytona 500, though. Stewart is 0 for 14 in NASCAR's biggest race of the year and was a non-factor in February, when the race was delayed a day by rain and then stopped more than two hours for a massive jet dryer fire.