GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 12, 2013

Around the world and nation


Associated Press

---- — Protestors in Egypt prepare for clash with police

CAIRO (AP) — Supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi fortified their two Cairo sit-in sites as Egyptian security officials said their forces will move against the entrenched protest camps within 24 hours — perhaps as early as daybreak Monday.

At the main sit-in, vendors said they have sold hundreds of gas masks, goggles and gloves to protesters readying for police tear gas. Three waist-high barriers of concrete and wood have been built against armored vehicles.

The Arab world’s most populous country, where more than 250 people have been killed in clashes since Morsi was toppled July 3, braced for more violence as the four-day Muslim Eid celebrations wrapped up Sunday to end the holy month of Ramadan.

The security officials said they would set up cordons around the protest sites to bar anyone from entering, and one of the officials said that could begin as soon as sunrise.

The Interior Ministry has said it would take gradual measures, issuing warnings in recent weeks and saying it would use water cannons and teargas to minimize casualties.

Some House Republicans untouched by campaign for immigration overhaul

BEL AIR, Md. (AP) — Immigration advocates are swarming the country this month, trying to persuade House Republicans to pass a comprehensive overhaul. It was hard to tell at the town-hall meeting that second-term Republican Rep. Andy Harris held recently in this town northeast of Baltimore.

The overflow crowd in the board of commissioners meeting room was overwhelmingly white and older, and booed loudly when one audience member asked Harris to support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

Loud applause followed as Harris shot the idea down, calling it “a nonstarter” that’s “not going anywhere fast” in the House.

“The bottom line is there are plenty of immigration laws on the books,” Harris said. “The House is in no rush to take up immigration.”

Harris, a 56-year-old physician and the son of Eastern European immigrants, is in a safe GOP district with few Latino voters, and he’s not on target lists drawn up by immigration proponents. So it’s no surprise that advocates wouldn’t be out in force at his events.

Israel approves more settlement homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel approved building nearly 1,200 more settlement homes Sunday and agreed to release 26 long-held Palestinian security prisoners — highlighting an apparent settlements-for-prisoners trade-off that got both sides back to peace talks after a five-year freeze.

Yet concerns were mounting, especially among Palestinians, that the price is too steep. Sunday’s announcement was Israel’s third in a week on promoting Jewish settlements on war-won lands the Palestinians want for a state. It fueled Palestinian fears of a new Israeli construction spurt under the cover of U.S.-sponsored negotiations.

In Israel, the most vocal protests came from relatives of those killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians slated for release.

Bereaved relatives held up large photos of their loved ones during a Supreme Court hearing on an appeal against the upcoming release. “Why are we releasing butchers now? What for?” asked Gila Molcho, whose brother, lawyer Ian Feinberg, was stabbed to death by Palestinians who broke into a European aid office in Gaza City in 1993.

Israelis and Palestinians are to launch talks on Wednesday in Jerusalem, following a preparatory round two weeks ago in Washington. The U.S. envisions an agreement within nine months on the terms of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, including drawing a border, agreeing on security arrangements and deciding the fate of Palestinian refugees.

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Some House Republicans untouched by campaign for immigration overhaul

BEL AIR, Md. (AP) — Immigration advocates are swarming the country this month, trying to persuade House Republicans to pass a comprehensive overhaul. It was hard to tell at the town-hall meeting that second-term Republican Rep. Andy Harris held recently in this town northeast of Baltimore.

The overflow crowd in the board of commissioners meeting room was overwhelmingly white and older, and booed loudly when one audience member asked Harris to support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

Loud applause followed as Harris shot the idea down, calling it “a nonstarter” that’s “not going anywhere fast” in the House.

“The bottom line is there are plenty of immigration laws on the books,” Harris said. “The House is in no rush to take up immigration.”

Harris, a 56-year-old physician and the son of Eastern European immigrants, is in a safe GOP district with few Latino voters, and he’s not on target lists drawn up by immigration proponents. So it’s no surprise that advocates wouldn’t be out in force at his events.

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‘We are tired of this crisis’: Malians return to polls, vote for peace after turmoil

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — From the ancient desert town of Timbuktu to refugee camps in neighboring countries, voters chose Sunday who should lead Mali out of the political upheaval that left the country’s north in the hands of al-Qaida-linked militants for much of last year.

Mali’s next president will be tasked with not only rebuilding the country’s shattered economy but also resolving a simmering separatist movement in the far north. Voters heading to the polls on Sunday said they wanted a leader who could bring a lasting calm to the country following a year and a half of turmoil.

It was former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s race to lose after winning nearly 40 percent of the first-round vote and receiving endorsements from almost all the other candidates. He faced former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse, and results are expected by Friday.

“People are saying ‘Will the turnout be what we hope?’ but I am certain it will be,” Keita told reporters in Bamako after casting his own ballot. “And the rain here is a blessing and a good sign.”

Polling stations began closing at 6 p.m. (1800 GMT) as scheduled, though some had opened late in Bamako, the capital, because of heavy downpours early Sunday.

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Foreign investments under scrutiny as car company’s big plans haven’t materialized

TUNICA, Miss. (AP) — Four years ago, a startup car company announced with great fanfare big plans for the Mississippi Delta: Using money from foreign investors and other sources, it would build a massive auto plant to churn out a new line of energy-efficient cars and bring thousands of jobs to the area.

It seemed like a win for everyone involved. The foreign investors who plunked down at least $500,000 for the venture would get the opportunity to stay in the United States and a path to citizenship, an impoverished area of Mississippi would get some desperately needed jobs, the state would generate tax revenues, and the political leaders involved would be able to tout job-creation prowess.

Today, the place where the plant was to be remains mostly vacant except for a temporary construction trailer. The company — GreenTech Automotive Inc. — is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the probe is reverberating well beyond Mississippi’s borders, bringing scrutiny to a Virginia gubernatorial candidate and the company run by the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Back in 2009, it was a big deal,” said 21-year-old casino employee Perry Turner, who lives across the highway from GreenTech’s mostly empty site in rural Tunica County. “I haven’t heard much else about it.”

Some analysts say it was a risky business plan and foreign investors may have been more interested in an easy way to get a visa and a chance at citizenship than trying to support a venture that had a good chance to turn a profit or create jobs.

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Transgender teen killed by mob in Jamaica as country addresses long-standing discrimination

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (AP) — Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.

By age 16, the teenager was dead — beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a “straight” party as a girl for the first time in his life.

“When I saw Dwayne’s body, I started shaking and crying,” said Khloe, one of three transgender friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay. Like many transgender and gay people in Jamaica, Khloe wouldn’t give a full name out of fear.

“It was horrible. It was so, so painful to see him like that.”

International advocacy groups often portray this Caribbean island as the most hostile country in the Western Hemisphere for gay and transgender people. After two prominent gay rights activists were murdered, a researcher with the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch in 2006 called the environment in Jamaica for such groups “the worst any of us has ever seen.”

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Family from US lost at sea for months to return home, went on journey to start new life

PHOENIX (AP) — A northern Arizona family has survived being lost at sea for weeks after an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion.

Hannah Gastonguay and her family will fly back home Sunday after taking their two small children and her father-in-law and setting sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.

Weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile.

Their flights home were arranged by U.S. Embassy officials, Gastonguay said. The U.S. State Department declined to comment on Sunday.

The months-long journey has been “pretty exciting” and “little scary at certain points,” Gastonguay told The Associated Press by telephone.

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Jason Dufner pulls out to 2-shot lead over Jim Furyk heading to back nine at PGA Championship

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Trying to erase the heartache of two years ago, Jason Dufner made the turn at the PGA Championship leading Jim Furyk by two strokes Sunday.

In what essentially shaped up as a three-man race, Dufner broke a tie for the lead with a tap-in birdie at the eighth to get to 11 under, then saved par at the ninth with a testy 10-footer. Furyk took a bogey at the final hole on the front side, unable to make up for a poor approach shot into the thick rough ringing the green.

Henrik Stenson, hoping to become the first Swedish man to capture a major title, was the only other player within striking distance of the leader. He made the turn with a 1-under 34 and was three shots behind.

Furyk started the final round one shot ahead of Dufner on another warm, sunny day at Oak Hill.

Dufner pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 fourth. At the fifth, he stuck a brilliant iron shot to about 2 feet for another birdie, pulling ahead of Furyk.

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Reign Man: Lightning flashes and Bolt soars to reclaim 100 crown in downpour at Moscow worlds

MOSCOW (AP) — His legs were hurting, the rain was pouring and he was trailing late in the race.

Doesn’t matter. This is Usain Bolt.

And nothing gets in the way of him and first place, especially when he’s driven as he was Sunday night in the 100-meter final at the world championships.

Bolt blew by Justin Gatlin with about 30 meters to go and never glanced back. He also didn’t even crack a smile when he crossed the finish line because this took a lot more work than the world’s fastest sprinter usually needs.

Gatlin was second and Bolt’s Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter took third.