Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 2:30 a.m. EDT

April 14, 2017 - 2:39 am

AFGHANISTAN

Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

KABUL, Afghanistan. (AP) — Afghanistan officials say the U.S. attack on a tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military has left 36 Islamic State group fighters dead.

There were no civilian casualties, according to the Ministry of Defense statement, which also said that several IS caves and ammunition caches were destroyed.

Hakim Khan, 50, a resident of Achin district where the attack took place, welcomed the attack on ISIS, saying: "I want 100 times more bombings on this group."

The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives.

BC-SYRIA

Syrian deal to evacuate tens of thousands of people begins

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government and the opposition have begun a coordinated population swap of tens of thousands of people from four besieged towns.

Activists including the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said buses carrying rebels began leaving the rebel-held towns Madaya and Zabadani near Damascus on Friday morning in the first phase of the deal, which will also see the evacuation of residents from two pro-government Shiite villages in northern Syria.

Dozens of buses entered the areas Wednesday but by late Thursday people had not boarded them, according to opposition activists in the rebel-held towns.

If the evacuations are completed, they would be the first in number of rounds stretching over two months to evacuate some 30,000 Syrians from besieged areas, in a deal struck by rebels and the government.

ARKANSAS EXECUTIONS-OPPONENTS

Arkansas death penalty foes hope for big Good Friday rally

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Outrage is spreading on social media over Arkansas' unprecedented plan to put seven inmates to death before the end of the month. But protests have been more muted within the conservative Southern state where capital punishment is still favored by a majority of residents.

A few dozen people regularly have kept vigil outside Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's mansion for weeks, holding signs that say "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and "End the Death Penalty." The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty hopes to draw hundreds of participants to a Good Friday rally at the state Capitol to protest the executions scheduled to start Monday — three nights of double executions, followed by a single one. A judge last week halted a planned eighth execution.

UNITED-PASSENGER REMOVED

Lawyer: Dragged passenger 'poster child' for airline abuses

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawyer for a man who suffered a concussion and lost two teeth when he was dragged off a United Express flight hopes the 69-year-old becomes "a poster child" for the mistreatment passengers suffer at the hands of the airline industry.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio indicated Thursday Dr. David Dao will sue United and the city of Chicago, which employs the officers who pulled Dao off Sunday's Louisville-bound flight.

In widely shared cellphone video, Dao is dragged down the aisle on his back, his face bloody.

Demetrio said the video showed an extraordinary instance of something that happens too routinely: Airlines overbooking flights then bumping paying customers.

He says it exposed a culture in which airlines have "bullied" passengers.

United has apologized and says it won't happen again.

AP-US-TRUMP-HEALTH-OVERHAUL

Officials roll out 'Obamacare' fixes as repeal remains goal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has released limited fixes for shaky Obama-era health insurance markets.

At the same time, officials say the administration remains set on repealing the underlying law that created the markets and now covers millions.

Republicans contend that the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is beyond repair, but their "repeal and replace" slogan hasn't yet resulted in legislation that can get through Congress. So the administration is trying to keep the existing system going even as it pursues a total remake.

Thursday's fixes include a shorter enrollment window and curbs on "special enrollments" after insurers complained that some people were gaming the system.

However, there was no word from the White House on the fate of billions of dollars in cost-sharing subsidies that are under a legal cloud.

UNITED NATIONS-PEACEKEEPERS

US says countries must punish UN troops for sexual abuse

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley is urging all countries that send troops to U.N. peacekeeping mission to hold soldiers accountable for sexual abuse and exploitation, an appeal that came after she cited an Associated Press investigation into a child sex ring in Haiti involving Sri Lankan peacekeepers.

Haley also warned that "countries that refuse to hold their soldiers accountable must recognize that this either stops or their troops will go home and their financial compensation will end."

Former U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon recommended that U.N. peacekeepers accused of sexual abuse and exploitation be court martialed in countries where the alleged incidents took place. He said the U.N. would withhold payments to peacekeepers facing credible allegations.

Haley spoke after the U.N. voted to end the peacekeeping mission in Haiti in mid-October.

ROLLER COASTER STUCK

Fire official: 24 passengers stuck on Maryland roller coast

BALTIMORE (AP) — An amusement park roller coaster featuring a "cobra roll," ''sidewinder loop," and "countless swift reversals" stalled Thursday evening outside of Washington, D.C., leaving 24 riders stuck 100 feet (30 meters) up in the air.

Prince George's County Fire/EMS spokesman Mark Brady said on his Twitter account that the riders came to a standstill about 5:30 p.m. at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland.

The Berwyn Heights volunteer fire department said in a tweet that the cars of Joker's Jinx were 100 feet (30 meters) off the ground. Helicopter video from WJLA-TV showed six cars.

TV video showed firefighters in a rescue bucket talking with the passengers, none of whom appeared to be in distress, Brady said.

Brady said all 24 of the riders were safely brought to the ground by 9:20 p.m.

PEOPLE-JENNIFER GARNER-BEN AFFLECK

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck file divorce petitions

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are formally ending their marriage with divorce petitions that seek joint custody of their three children.

The actors both filed petitions in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The filings were made without attorneys and are virtually identical. Neither lists a date of separation.

The couple announced they were separating in June 2015 after 10 years of marriage.

At the time, they said they were committed to co-parenting their three children, who range from 5 to 11, and would not comment further on their breakup.

Affleck announced last month that he had recently completed treatment for alcohol addiction.

The actors met while making 2003's "Daredevil," in which they both played superheroes.

The filing was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

OBIT-DAN ROONEY

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney dies at 84

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, one of the NFL's most influential and popular executives, has died. He was 84.

Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Rooney died Thursday. No further details were immediately available.

Rooney took over operation of the team in the 1960s from his father, Art, who founded the franchise. From there, Dan Rooney oversaw NFL championships for a team that had never even played in an NFL title game.

He was a powerful force within the league. He helped develop the Rooney Rule under which NFL teams are required to interview minority candidates for coaching and front-office positions. He was a key figure in labor negotiations and league expansion.

He made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and also served as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN

Pentagon: US dropped largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped the military's largest non-nuclear bomb on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan.

Adam Stump is a Pentagon spokesman. Stump says it was the first-ever combat use of the bomb, known as the GBU-43, which he said contains 11 tons of explosives. The Air Force calls it the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb. Based on the acronym, it has been nicknamed the "Mother Of All Bombs."

Stump says the bomb was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by IS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()