Sunday, September 16, 2012

Published:

AP sources: Obama launching trade case accusing China of unfair practices

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will launch a new trade enforcement case against China Monday, using the power of incumbency to counter Republican Mitt Romney's criticism that he is ceding American jobs to the Asian power.

Senior administration officials said the president will announce the new case, targeting Chinese subsidies for exports of automobiles and automobile parts, Monday during a campaign trip to Ohio. The swing state has a large manufacturing base where many blame China for depressing its industry.

Obama and Romney have both pushed China -- and through it, the economy -- to the forefront of the White House race as they seek to refocus after a week dominated by foreign policy and the turbulent events at U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East.

Romney has accused Obama of being weak on China to the detriment of U.S. workers. The president countered with claims that Romney has investments in Chinese companies and outsourced jobs to China while running the private equity firm Bain Capital.

On Monday, with both candidates returning to the campaign trail after a weekend out of the spotlight, Obama will try to gain the upper hand in the debate.

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Pakistanis march on US Consulate over anti-Islam film; Hezbollah calls for protests

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Hundreds of Pakistanis protesting an anti-Islam film broke through a barricade near the U.S. Consulate in the southern city of Karachi on Sunday, sparking clashes with police in which one demonstrator was killed and more than a dozen injured.

In a move that could escalate tensions around the Arab world, the leader of the Hezbollah militant group called for protests against the movie, saying protesters should not only 'express our anger' at U.S. embassies but urge leaders to act.

The film, which denigrates Islam's Prophet Muhammad, has sparked violent protests in many Muslim countries in recent days, including one in Libya in which the U.S. ambassador was killed. The U.S. has responded by deploying additional military forces to increase security in certain hotspots.

In a televised speech, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the U.S. must be held accountable for the film, which was produced in the United States. The U.S. government has condemned the film.

"The ones who should be held accountable and boycotted are those who support and protect the producers, namely the U.S. administration," Nasrallah said. He called for protests on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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10 Things to Know for Monday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

1. SCHOOL'S STILL OUT IN CHICAGO

Parents scramble to find daycare as the teachers' strike enters its second week; the mayor says he will sue to end the walkout.

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Afghan police kill 4 US troops coming to their aid at checkpoint in latest insider attack

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghan police killed four American soldiers coming to their aid after a checkpoint attack Sunday, the third assault by government forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms in as many days.

The escalating violence -- including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood -- is straining the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds.

The attacks drew unusually strong criticism Sunday from the U.S. military's top officer, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who called the problem of rogue Afghan soldiers and police turning their guns on allied troops "a very serious threat" to the war effort.

This year, 51 international service members have died at the hands of their Afghan allies or those who have infiltrated their ranks. At least 12 such attacks came in August alone, leaving 15 dead.

The surge in insider attacks is a sign of how security has deteriorated as NATO prepares its military exit from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The U.S. is days away from completing the first stage of its own drawdown, withdrawing 33,000 troops that were part of a military surge three years ago. The U.S. will remain with about 68,000 troops at the end of September.

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As Chicago teachers take more time to consider offer, Emanuel seeks court order to end strike

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago teachers uncomfortable with a tentative contract offer decided Sunday to remain on strike, insisting they need more time before deciding whether to end an acrimonious standoff with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that will keep 350,000 students out of class for at least two more days.

Emanuel fired back Sunday night by instructing city attorneys to seek a court order forcing Chicago Teachers Union members back into the classroom. "This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children," he said in a statement.

Presented with a choice on whether to ask members to vote on a contract that union president Karen Lewis had at one point called "a fight for the very soul of public education," the union's 800-member House of Delegates told their leaders they needed more time to talk to the rank and file before ending the city's first teachers strike in 25 years.

Teachers had only a few hours to review a summary of a proposed settlement worked out over the weekend with officials from the nation's third largest school district. That wasn't enough time, they said, to digest a complicated contract that addresses two issues central to the debate over the future of public education across the United States: teacher evaluations and job security.

The union will meet again Tuesday, after the end of the Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

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FBI: Undercover operation to track Chicago teen accused of trying to blow up bar took months

HILLSIDE, Ill. (AP) -- The investigation started months ago, when the FBI noticed an email message: A man in the Chicago suburbs was using an account to distribute chatter about violent jihad and the killing of Americans.

Two undercover agents reached out and began to talk to him online. In May, they introduced him to another agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York.

The operation ended Friday night, an affidavit describing it says, when the man was arrested and accused of trying to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside of a Chicago bar. Prosecutors said an undercover agent gave Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, a phony car bomb and watched him press the trigger.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk. Daoud, 18, is due to make an appearance in federal court Monday afternoon on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

"We don't even know anything. We don't know that much. We know as little as you do," a woman who answered the phone at his home and identified herself as his sister, Hiba, said Saturday. "They're just accusations. ... We'd like to be left alone."

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Emotional ceremony honors pilot, 10 on ground killed in horrific crash at Reno air races

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Spectators and racers paid tribute Sunday to 11 people who were killed when a plane crashed into box seats at last year's Reno National Championship Air Races.

A moment of silence was held on the anniversary of the horrific accident at Reno-Stead Airport for pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 victims on the ground.

The emotional ceremony before a crowd of tens of thousands also featured the release of white balloons and a flag presentation after each victim's name was read.

"Today is dedicated to paying tribute to all of those so greatly affected by the cold, unsympathetic and somber hands of fate ... and to memorializing those 11 members of our air race family who are no longer with us today ," said Mike Houghton, president of the Reno Air Racing Association.

Among injured victims in attendance were members of a Kansas family. The crash killed 73-year-old Cherie Elvin, of Lenexa, Kan., while her husband, Chuck, sons Brian and Bill, and daughter-in-law Linda Elvin lost part of their legs.

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US, Russian astronaut trio lands safely in central Kazakhstan onboard Soyuz capsule

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) -- An international three-man crew onboard a Russian-made Soyuz capsule touched down successfully on the cloudless central Kazakhstan steppe Monday morning after 123 days at the International Space Station.

A fleet of Russian Mi-8 helicopters deployed from towns near the landing site ahead of the capsule's arrival early Monday morning local time to intercept the capsule.

NASA's Joe Acaba and Russian colleagues Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin undocked from the orbiting laboratory some 3 ½ hours before touchdown.

The Soyuz craft remains the only means for international astronauts to reach the space station since the decommissioning of the U.S. Shuttle fleet in 2011.

The size of the three-person complement currently at the space station will be doubled when they are joined next month by U.S. astronaut Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin.

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Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban officially tapped as new 'American Idol' judges; Minaj gets $12M

NEW YORK (AP) -- The "American Idol" judges' panel is now complete with the naming of singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban.

The Fox network officially tapped the pair with an announcement Sunday, confirming rumors surrounding them both just hours before the first round of auditions for next season was due to begin in New York.

Minaj is getting $12 million for a one-year deal on the hit Fox singing series, a person in the music industry with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the deal.

A representative for Urban wouldn't disclose the singer's compensation for "Idol."

The announcement also settled the status of Randy Jackson. He will stay put as the sole remaining original "Idol" judge, scotching rumors he might assume a different role on the popular talent competition.

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49ers defense shuts down another prolific passer in Stafford, San Francisco beats Lions 27-19

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers stymied 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, then record-setting Matthew Stafford in Week 2.

This stingy, opportunistic defense is again making its mark as one of the league's best facing the top offenses and most prolific passers -- and that you can shake on.

The Niners denied Stafford another milestone, Vernon Davis caught touchdown passes of 21 and 23 yards from Alex Smith, and San Francisco beat the Detroit Lions 27-19 on Sunday night in a September showdown of NFC powers that hardly lived up to its hype.

Smith completed 20 of 31 throws for 226 yards and extended his franchise-record streak of passes without an interception to 216. He led the reigning NFC West champion Niners (2-0) to their ninth straight win in the series since the Lions' last victory on Sept. 25, 1995. Smith took a hard hand to the helmet from John Wendling late and bloodied his nose.

The 49ers ran their home winning streak against the Lions to 12 games since Detroit's last victory at Candlestick Park on Nov. 2, 1975.