Colorado shooting suspect to be formally charged in Aurora movie massacre
DENVER (AP) — Launching a case that legal analysts expect to be dominated by arguments over the defendant’s sanity, Colorado prosecutors are filing formal charges Monday against James Eagan Holmes, the former neuroscience student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora movie theater.
Attorneys also are arguing over a defense motion to find out who leaked information to the news media about a package the 24-year-old former neuroscience graduate student allegedly sent to his psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver.
Authorities seized the package July 23, three days after the shooting, after finding it in the mailroom of the medical campus where Holmes studied. Several media outlets reported that it contained a notebook with descriptions of an attack, but Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said in court papers that the parcel hadn’t been opened by the time the “inaccurate” news reports appeared.
Holmes allegedly began stockpiling gear for his assault four months ago, and authorities say he bought his weapons in May and June, well before the shooting spree just after midnight during a showing of the Batman film “”The Dark Knight Rises.” He was arrested by police outside the theater.
Analysts say that means it’s likely there’s only one main point of legal dispute between prosecutors and the defense.
Romney, Obama turn to US donors living abroad for help filling their campaign bank accounts
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the hunt for campaign money, no distance is too far to travel, especially when the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is tight and likely to stay that way into the fall.
The Democratic president and his Republican challenger have been aggressively courting Americans living abroad at fundraisers held far beyond U.S. shores. Such efforts serve the dual purpose of raising money to pay for what may be the most expensive election in U.S. history, and galvanizing a largely untapped group of eligible voters.
The practice is legal and has been used for decades, said former Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason.
Obama has raised nearly $600,000 from Americans abroad while Romney has brought in about $325,000, according to campaign finance records analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. Those figures don’t include sums raised overseas by both party committees or Romney’s take from a pair of fundraisers in London during his visit there last week.
The sums are just a fraction of the more than $300 million Obama has raised overall and the $155 million raised by Romney, but every penny counts in a race that is neck and neck, as recent polls have shown.
Protecting pedestrians distracted by their electronic devices: How far should communities go?
WASHINGTON (AP) — A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks.
Fortunately there were no trains approaching the Philadelphia-area station at that moment, because it took the man several minutes to recover enough to climb out of danger. But the incident, captured last year by a security camera and provided to The Associated Press, underscores the risks of what government officials and safety experts say is a growing problem: distracted walking.
On city streets, in suburban parking lots and in shopping centers, there is usually someone strolling while talking on a phone, texting with his head down, listening to music, or playing a video game. The problem isn’t as widely discussed as distracted driving, but the danger is real.
Reports of injuries to distracted walkers treated at hospital emergency rooms have more than quadrupled in the past seven years and are almost certainly underreported. There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, but there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics.
“We are where we were with cellphone use in cars 10 years or so ago. We knew it was a problem, but we didn’t have the data,” said Jonathan Akins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices.
In Tunisia, birthplace of Arab Spring, hardline Islam emerges as threat to democratic gains
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Thousands of hardcore Muslims chant against Jews. Youths rampage through cities at night in protest of “blasphemous” art. A sit-in by religious students degenerates into fist fights and the desecration of Tunisia’s flag.
In the birthplace of the Arab Spring, the transition from dictatorship to democracy has been mostly smoother than in neighboring countries, with no power-hungry military or armed militias to stifle the process. But as a moderate Islamist party rules with the help of secular forces, an unexpected threat has emerged: the increasing boldness of ultraconservative Muslims known loosely as Salafis, who want to turn this North African country of 10 million into a strict Islamic state.
Tunisia’s hardcore Salafis are estimated to number only in the tens of thousands. But their organized and frequent protests against perceived insults to Islam, especially by artists, have rocked the country and succeeded in mobilizing disaffected and angry youth much more effectively than secular opposition parties.
Experts warn that an economic downturn could turn these spasms of religious-tinged rage into the new language of the opposition. Tunisia’s economy shrank by 2 percent last year and unemployment stands at 18 percent — even higher among young people.
“There’s no question that unemployment aggravates the situation,” said William Lawrence, the North Africa representative for the International Crisis Group think tank. “They go to Salafism because they have nowhere better to go socially, politically and spiritually.”
EYES ON LONDON: US men’s gymnastics team looks for gold; NBC responds to online critics
LONDON (AP) — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
CHASING THE ELUSIVE GOLD
The U.S. men’s gymnastics team is looking to win its first team gold since 1984 when it hits the mat Monday morning.
Danell Leyva will anchor the Americans in the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. local time.
AP Exclusive: Illinois authorities pat down guards at 7 prisons; union claims ’harassment’
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois authorities took the unusual step of searching guards and other prison employees for contraband as they left at least seven facilities last week, sparking worker allegations that the checks may have been reprisals for complaints about overcrowding and understaffing and inside information leaked to the news media, workers and union officials told The Associated Press.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano would not confirm that the searches had intensified, but she said they are a routine security measure to control banned materials from cellphones to weapons.
The dustup over the pat downs comes as Gov. Pat Quinn pushes a cost-cutting plan to shutter several state correctional facilities, including next month’s scheduled closure of a “supermax” prison in Tamms. The move has been fiercely resisted by prison workers who fear increased violence if currently isolated gang members are moved elsewhere.
The searches began just days after prison workers complained publicly in Springfield about prison conditions and followed a newspaper report about where some displaced Tamms inmates would go. That report was based on an internal Corrections document.
The employees’ union said such searches are rare and may constitute “retaliatory harassment,” which the Corrections agency denied.
Obama campaign to use Bill Clinton in prominent role at Democratic convention
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton will have a marquee role in this summer’s Democratic National Convention, where he will make a forceful case for President Barack Obama’s re-election and his economic vision for the country, several Obama campaign and Democratic party officials said Sunday.
The move gives the Obama campaign an opportunity to take advantage of the former president’s immense popularity and remind voters that a Democrat was in the White House the last time the American economy was thriving.
Obama personally asked Clinton to speak at the convention and place Obama’s name in nomination, and Clinton enthusiastically accepted, officials said. Clinton speaks regularly to Obama and to campaign officials about strategy.
Clinton’s prominent role at the convention will also allow Democrats to embrace party unity in a way that is impossible for Republican rival Mitt Romney.
George W. Bush, the last Republican to hold the White House, remains politically toxic in some circles. While Bush has endorsed Romney, he is not involved in his campaign and has said he does not plan to attend the GOP convention.
Audit: US wasted more than $200 million on police training program that Iraqis call ’useless’
BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. auditors have concluded that more than $200 million was wasted on a program to train Iraqi police that Baghdad says is neither needed nor wanted.
The Police Development Program— which was drawn up to be the single largest State Department program in the world — was envisioned as a five-year, multibillion-dollar push to train security forces after the U.S. military left last December. But Iraqi political leaders, anxious to keep their distance from the Americans, were unenthusiastic.
A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, released Monday, found that the American Embassy in Baghdad never got a written commitment from Iraq to participate. Now, facing what the report called Baghdad’s “disinterest” in the project, the embassy is gutting what was supposed to be the centerpiece of ongoing U.S. training efforts in Iraq.
According to the report, the embassy plans to turn over the $108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and will stop training at a $98 million site at the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra. Additionally, the number of advisers has been cut by nearly 90 percent — from 350 to 36.
“A major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programs is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities. The PDP experience powerfully underscores that point,” auditors wrote in a 41-page summary of their inspection. An advance copy was provided to The Associated Press.
Apple, Samsung face off in federal court over patents to iPhones, iPads
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two tech titans will square off in federal court Monday in a closely watched trial over control of the U.S. smartphone and computer tablet markets.
Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. last year alleging the world’s largest technology company’s smartphones and computer tablets are illegal knockoffs of its popular iPhone and iPad products. The Cupertino-based company is demanding $2.5 billion in damages, an award that would dwarf the largest patent-related verdict to date.
Samsung counters that Apple is doing the stealing and that some of the technology at issue — such as the rounded rectangular designs of smartphones and tablets — has been industry standards for years.
The U.S. trial is just the latest skirmish between the two over product designs. A similar trial began last week, and the two companies have been fighting in courts in the United Kingdom and Germany. The case is one of some 50 lawsuits among myriad telecommunications companies jockeying for position in the burgeoning $219 billion market for smartphones and computer tablets.
In the United States, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose last month ordered Samsung to pull its Galaxy 10.1 computer tablet from the U.S. market pending the outcome of the trial, though the judge barred Apple attorneys from telling the jurors about the ban.
Massive NYC movie star collection, images of pin-up queen Bettie Page slated for auction
NEW YORK (AP) — Movie Star News amassed a staggering amount of film stills, posters and negatives over the past 73 years — nearly 3 million, including 1,500 prints of Bettie Page, known as the queen of pin-ups. But last week, the once-lively store in lower Manhattan was lifeless. The classic movie posters that once covered its narrow 2,000-square-foot space were rolled up or covered in cellophane, its bins and racks empty. Everything was packed up in cardboard boxes that lined the floor.
The legendary Manhattan store credited with creating pin-up art had sold its entire inventory to a Las Vegas collectibles company.
The collection, regarded as one of the largest of its kind, is headed for the auction block. It will be sold in a series of sales slated to begin next year. The bulk of the collection covers the years 1939 to 1979; 11,500 movies and 5,000 actors are represented.
“This is the most important photo archive of Hollywood in existence. There are tens of thousands of negatives that have never been reproduced,” said Stuart Scheinman, co-owner of Entertainment Collectibles, which bought the collection. “There are images here that have never been seen by the public.”
There are 2,000 original prints and negatives of Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, 1,000 of Gary Cooper, 400 of Bette Davis, hundreds of movie images of “The Godfather” and “Gone With the Wind.”
Colorado shooting suspect to be formally charged in Aurora movie massacre
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LIVE BLOG: 2013 Presidential Inauguration Coverage
The Associated Press is providing real-time coverage as Barack Obama in sworn in for a second term as president of the United States. Stay with this page for the latest stories, photos and videos of the event.
VIDEO: What will the First Lady wear to the inaugural ball?
From the frock worn by Eleanor Roosevelt to Jason Wu's gown for Michelle Obama, the dresses worn by first ladies enter the history books along with their owners.
Naked-image scanners to be removed from U.S. airports
The Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. couldn't write software to make passenger images less revealing.
Threat of using 'bubble gun' gets 5-year-old suspended
A 5-year-old kindergartner who told classmates she was going to shoot them, and then herself, with her pink gun that shoots bubbles, was grilled for three hours by school officials without her mother’s knowledge, and then suspended.
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