Russia acknowledges Assad losing control
MOSCOW (AP) — Syria’s most powerful ally, Russia, said for the first time Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country and the rebels might win the civil war, dramatically shifting the diplomatic landscape at a time of enormous momentum for the opposition. While Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov didn’t issue any immediate signal that Russia could change its stance and stop blocking international sanctions on Assad’s regime, his remarks will likely be seen as a betrayal in Damascus and could persuade many Syrians to shift their loyalties and abandon support for the government.
NKorea still years away from credible missiles
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — They don’t call it rocket science for nothing. North Korea’s first successful launch of a three-stage, long-range rocket has outraged world leaders who consider it similar to a missile capable of attacking the United States, Europe and other far-away targets. But experts say Pyongyang is years away from even having a shot at developing reliable missiles that could bombard the American mainland.
'Fiscal cliff' talks vexing official Washington
WASHINGTON (AP) — Five weeks after President Barack Obama won re-election and gained more leverage to make GOP conservatives bend on taxes, the new balance of power is proving vexing for both sides. Republicans still aren’t budging on Obama’s demands for higher tax rates on upper bracket earners, despite the president’s convincing election victory and opinion polls showing support for the idea.
Man accused in Ore. mall shooting wanted to travel
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — To police and witnesses, Jacob Tyler Roberts was a gunman on a mission, shooting numerous rounds from a semiautomatic rifle as he stalked through a Portland mall, ultimately killing two people and seriously injuring another. To Roberts’ shocked friends and family, he was just Jake, a happy, easygoing 22-year-old who liked video games and talked about moving to Hawaii. ‘‘Jake was never the violent type,’’ Roberts’ ex-girlfriend, Hannah Patricia Sansburn, told ABC News. ‘‘His main goal was to make you laugh, smile, make you feel comfortable. You can’t reconcile the differences.
Victim of US rendition wins Europe court ruling
PARIS (AP) — The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of a German man who says the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency kidnapped him and took him to a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2003. The European court, based in Strasbourg, France, ruled Thursday that Khaled El-Masri’s account was ‘‘established beyond reasonable doubt.’’ It said the government of Macedonia violated El-Masri’s rights repeatedly and ordered Macedonia to pay €60,000 in damagesI.
Dozens sue pharmacy, but compensation uncertain
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dennis O'Brien rubs his head as he details ailments triggered by the fungal meningitis he developed after a series of steroid shots in his neck: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, exhaustion and trouble with his speech and attention. He estimates the disease has cost him and his wife thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses and her lost wages, including time spent on 6-hour round trip weekly visits to the hospital. They've filed a lawsuit seeking $4 million in damages from the Massachusetts pharmacy that supplied the steroid injections, but it could take years for them to get any money back and they may never get enough to cover their expenses. The same is true for dozens of others who have sued the New England Compounding Center.
Pennies over patriotism? Stars move to tax havens
PARIS (AP) — France’s Socialist government is introducing a 75-percent income tax on those earning over €1 million ($1.3 million), leading some of the country’s rich and famous to set up residency in less fiscally demanding countries. Here’s a look at some big names in France and elsewhere whose changes of address over the years have meant lighter taxes.
Senate legislation targets cyberstalking software
WASHINGTON (AP) — For around $50, a jealous wife or husband can download software that can continuously track the whereabouts of a spouse better than any private detective. It’s frighteningly easy and effective in an age when nearly everyone carries a cellphone that can record every moment of a person’s physical movements. But it soon might be illegal. The Senate Judiciary Committee was expected Thursday to approve legislation that would close a legal loophole that allows so-called cyberstalking apps to operate secretly on a cellphone and transmit the user’s location information without a person’s knowledge.
McAfee in Miami after deportation from Guatemala
MIAMI (AP) — Anti-virus software founder John McAfee is holed up in a Miami hotel after weeks of evading Belizean authorities who want to question him in a homicide. Shortly after McAfee arrived Wednesday evening on a flight from Guatemala, he announced on his website that he had alighted in the city’s swank South Beach neighborhood.
Blast near Damascus kills 16, state media say
BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb blast Thursday near a school in a Damascus suburb killed 16 people, at least half of them women and children, the state news agency reported. Russia, Syria’s most important international ally, said for the first time that President Bashar Assad is increasingly losing control and the opposition may win the civil war. The statement by Russia’s deputy foreign minister comes as rebel make gains across the country and on the international stage.