AP Top News at 12:18 a.m. EST
NKorea defies warnings, launches long-range rocket
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea appeared to successfully fire a long-range rocket Wednesday, defying international warnings as the regime of Kim Jong Un pushes forward with its quest to develop the technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead. Pyongyang’s state media quickly claimed that the country had succeed in its mission of putting a peaceful satellite into orbit with its long-range Unha-3 rocket. Officials at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said North Korea appeared to have put an object into space.
Gunman opens fire in Portland mall; 3 dead
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A masked gunman wearing camouflage opened fire Tuesday in a busy Portland mall, leaving the gunman and two others dead and forcing the mall’s Santa Claus and hundreds of Christmas shoppers and employees to flee or hide among store displays. Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy's, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. He heard the gunman say, ‘‘I am the shooter,’’ as if announcing himself. A series of rapid-fire shots in short succession followed as Christmas music played. Patty said he ducked to the ground and then ran.
US expert says NKorea rocket launches satellite
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — An American space expert said North Korea has succeeded in launching a satellite into space. Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said late Tuesday from Cambridge, Massachusetts, that the three-stage Unha-3 rocket launched early Wednesday morning delivered the satellite into orbit and constituted ‘‘a perfect success for North Korea.’’
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about Wednesday: 1. AN ACT OF DEFIANCE FROM NORTH KOREA
'Cliff' movement? Obama, Boehner trade proposals
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a test of divided government, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sought an elusive compromise Tuesday to prevent economy-damaging tax increases on the middle class at year’s end, conferring by phone after a secretive exchange of proposals. Details were sparse and evidence of significant progress scarcer still, although officials said the president had offered to reduce his initial demand for $1.6 trillion in higher tax revenue over a decade to $1.4 trillion.
Venezuela VP: Hugo Chavez recovering after surgery
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was recovering in Cuba on Tuesday after an operation targeting an aggressive cancer that has defied multiple treatments and has prompted the socialist leader to name a political successor. Vice President Nicolas Maduro spoke on Venezuelan television after the surgery, saying that ‘‘it’s been a complex operation.’’ He indicated that the surgery lasted more than six hours and said it was completed ‘‘correctly and successfully.’’
Michigan lawmakers approve right-to-work bills
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Over the chants of thousands of angry protesters, Republican lawmakers made Michigan a right-to-work state Tuesday, dealing a devastating and once-unthinkable defeat to organized labor in a place that has been a bastion of the movement for generations. The GOP-dominated House ignored Democrats’ pleas to delay the final passage and instead approved two bills with the same ruthless efficiency that the Senate showed last week. One measure dealt with private-sector workers, the other with government employees. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed them both within hours, calling them ‘‘pro-worker and pro-Michigan.’’
Egypt judges say most will boycott referendum
CAIRO (AP) — Most Egyptian judges rejected any role Tuesday in overseeing the country’s constitutional referendum, a move likely to cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the disputed charter. The nation’s worst crisis since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster nearly two years ago also forced the government to put off a crucial deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan, shattering any hope for recovery of the country’s ailing economy anytime soon.
Parents fight for release of son jailed in Mexico
MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida family is fighting to get their son, a Marine veteran, released from a prison in a dangerous area in Mexico while facing charges that he carried across the border a shotgun with a barrel that’s an inch too short. Jon Hammar and his friend were on their way to Costa Rica in August and planned to drive across the Mexican border near Matamoros in a Winnebago filled with surfboards and camping gear. Hammar, 27, asked U.S. border agents what to do with the unloaded shotgun, which his family said belonged to his great-grandfather.Continued...