Rio welcomes world with sultry music, plea for conservation
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — With fireworks forming the word “Rio” in the sky and supermodel Gisele Bundchen shimmering to the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema,” Rio de Janiero welcomed the world to the first Olympic Games in South America with a serious message underlying the celebration: Let’s take care of our planet.
After one of the roughest-ever rides from vote to games by an Olympic host, the city of beaches, carnival, grinding poverty and sun-kissed wealth opened the two-week games of the 31st Olympiad with a high-energy gala celebration of Brazil’s can-do spirit, biodiversity and melting pot history.
The low-tech, cut-price opening ceremony, a moment of levity for a nation beset by economic and political woes, featured performers as slaves, laboring with backs bent, gravity-defying climbers hanging from the ledges of buildings in Brazil’s teeming megacities and — of course — dancers, all hips and wobble, grooving to thumping funk and sultry samba.
But Brazil also packaged its party with solemnity, lacing the fun and frivolous show with sobering messages about global warming. Images of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, swirling in the Earth’s atmosphere were followed by projections of world cities and regions — Amsterdam, Florida, Shanghai, Dubai — being swamped by rising seas. The peace symbol, tweaked into the shape of a tree, was projected onto the floor of the Maracana Stadium that filed with thousands of athletes from the 207 teams.
“The heat is melting the icecap,” a voice intoned. “It’s disappearing very quickly.”
Trump ends standoff with Ryan, strains to fix split GOP
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Donald Trump endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan late Friday, ending a four-day standoff between the GOP’s most powerful men that exposed deepening concerns about the New York billionaire’s presidential candidacy.
Ryan, like other top Wisconsin Republicans, did not attend Trump’s evening appearance in their state.
Having refused to endorse the speaker earlier in the week, Trump said, “We have to unite” as he vowed to support Ryan in next week’s primary contest.
It was a stunning reversal for Trump, a candidate who is known for his refusal to admit mistakes and whose general election campaign has been defined by his constant attacks on fellow Republicans. His timing was a bit curious, competing with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Trump also threw his support behind Arizona Sen. John McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, with whom he has sparred.
Clinton acknowledges trust issues, blames them on GOP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton acknowledged Friday the challenge she’d face leading a country where most Americans don’t trust her, saying she takes “seriously” the work she must do to build confidence in her character.
But the Democratic presidential nominee also claimed that a broad electoral victory over Donald Trump in November would give her the capital needed to push her plans through Congress with Republican support and appeared to blame her political opponents for her low approval ratings.
Clinton pointed to the high ratings she won as secretary of state and as a senator from New York, arguing that voters like her more when she’s working than when she’s campaigning — something she attributed to campaign attacks on her character.
“Were 67 percent of the people in New York wrong? Were 66 percent of the American public wrong?” Clinton said. “Just maybe, when I’m actually running for a job, there is a real benefit to those on the other side with trying to stir up as much trouble as possible.”
Clinton’s trustworthiness has emerged as her biggest weakness in the fall campaign, one worsened by her responses to questions about her use of private emails servers as secretary of state and her reluctance to take regular questions from journalists.
AP FACT CHECK: Hillary Clinton’s new email clarifications
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton asserted Friday that FBI Director James Comey said she was truthful in her statements to investigators about her private server and use of private emails — and that those statements were consistent with what she has said publicly.
Comey has described Clinton’s interview with investigators looking into her email use at the State Department, taking care in testimony before Congress to say that investigators had “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.” But he has also questioned the accuracy of some of the public statements she’s made about the issue.
The Democratic presidential nominee was asked about emails Friday during an appearance at a joint session of associations of black and Hispanic journalists in Washington. In answering, Clinton sought to defuse a controversy over recent remarks in which she cited Comey’s testimony to demonstrate she was truthful about her private email use and had not put at risk classified information in the messages she sent and received.
Clinton’s comments about her email use have shifted over time. When she first acknowledged the use of private emails in March 2015, Clinton said: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.”
She later shifted her explanation to say she never sent or received “any emails marked classified at the time.”
Video shows Chicago police firing at car as it drives away
CHICAGO (AP) — Video released Friday shows Chicago police firing repeatedly at a stolen car as it careens down the street away from them, then handcuffing the mortally wounded black 18-year-old who was at the wheel after a chaotic foot chase through a residential neighborhood.
None of the footage from last month shows the moment Paul O’Neal was shot in the back; the fatal bullet was fired after he exited the stolen car and was running from police. Shortly afterward, O’Neal can be seen lying face-down on the ground in a backyard, blood soaking through the back of his T-shirt.
An officer is heard angrily accusing the suspected car thief of firing at police. Another officer asks, “They shot at us too, right?” suggesting police believed they had been fired upon and that they did not know how many suspects were present.
No gun was recovered from the scene.
Attorney Michael Oppenheimer, who represents O’Neal’s family, said the video showed officers taking “street justice into their own hands.”
Drinking dad charged in hot-car deaths of his twin toddlers
CARROLLTON, Ga. (AP) — Police charged a father with manslaughter Friday in the deaths of his 15-month-old twin girls, alleging that he had been drinking before leaving them in their car seats in 90-degree temperatures.
Witnesses heard screams and saw Asa North running as he carried the toddlers from the parking lot in front of their home to an inflatable pool out back. Neighbors joined him, frantically trying to revive the girls with water and ice packs. Emergency responders later tried CPR.
But the unresponsive girls were soon declared dead at a nearby hospital.
Outside temperatures were in the 90s on Thursday before police were called at 6:34 p.m. Investigators were trying to determine how long the girls remained in the parked car, but it would take only a few minutes for the heat to become unbearable.
“We do believe alcohol is involved,” said Carrollton police Capt. Chris Dobbs, who identified the girls as Ariel North and Alaynah North. “We do believe the father, sometime throughout the day, he had been consuming alcoholic beverages.”
China tries to end brain drain, lure foreign-educated talent
BEIJING (AP) — As a young biologist at the University of Michigan, Chen Xiaowei had plenty to like about life in the U.S. He was paid well as a researcher and enjoyed raising his family in Ann Arbor, a town he remembers as beautiful, friendly and highly educated.
But an offer from a Chinese university for him to return home to Beijing was too generous not to consider. In addition to a comparable salary, he was promised enough startup research money that he wouldn’t have to worry about pursuing grants, and as he saw it, there was a chance to make a bigger difference in China. So in 2014 he moved back with his wife and two children.
“I feel freer to pursue my best ideas,” Chen said. He said he has received such generous support that he’s able to study a disease through symptoms in both the liver and muscles simultaneously — something he said he would not able to do in the United States because of limitations on grants, which are often tied to projects instead of researchers.
Chen, who earned a doctorate in physiology at Michigan in 2008, has joined thousands of high-achieving overseas Chinese recruited to come home through the 1,000 Talents program, one of many state efforts launched in recent years to reverse a decades-long brain drain.
China, the world’s second-largest economy and one of the fastest-growing, sees a need to bring home more of its brightest as it works to transform its largely labor-intensive, low-tech economy into one fueled by innovation in science and technology.
Japan calls on leaders to follow Obama and visit Hiroshima
TOKYO (AP) — Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Saturday by renewing calls for a nuclear weapons free world and urging leaders to follow the example of President Barack Obama and visit the bomb sites.
Quoting part of Obama’s speech in Hiroshima in May, Mayor Kazumi Matsui urged countries with nuclear weapons to “have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.”
“We need to fill our policymakers with the passion to solidify this unity and create a security system based on trust and dialogue,” he said. “To that end, I once again urge the leaders of all nations to visit the A-bombed cities.”
Like Obama’s, he said that such visits “will surely etch the reality of the atomic bombings in each heart.”
About 50,000 people attended the ceremony at Hiroshima’s Peace Park near the bomb’s epicenter.
Visitors to Rio Olympics will find all senses triggered
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Right after getting off the plane, sweat beads will start to gather on your forehead. That’s just Rio de Janeiro’s ever-present humidity saying “hello.”
You will be enveloped by shades of green — lush tropical forests jammed between buildings of all sizes — and tones of blue along miles of inviting coastlines.
Towering over the 2016 Summer Olympics host city is the Christ the Redeemer statue. After a few days, you might chuckle when a hotel brochure or tour guide tries to sell you something by saying it “includes” a view of the statue.
Jesus is everywhere here, as is plenty of temptation and sin.
In Brazil, prostitution is legal, though that doesn’t mean that you will see women and men hawking their bodies all over the city. Walking around, you are more likely to come upon churches, especially of growing evangelical denominations like Pentecostals.
Amazon unveils cargo plane as it expands delivery network
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle-based Amazon is unveiling its first branded cargo plane, one of 40 jetliners that will make up the e-commerce giant’s own air transportation network as it takes more control of its delivery process.
The latest push to speed delivery of its products comes as the company ships an increasing number of packages worldwide. Amazon’s parcel volume was an estimated 1 billion packages in 2015. By way of comparison, in the 2016 fiscal year FedEx delivered about 3 billion packages for hundreds of thousands of customers.
Amazon has had issues with the reliability of air freight services. In 2013, it offered refunds to customers who received their Christmas orders late after bad weather and a jump in online shopping caused delays for UPS and FedEx.
Analysts say it makes sense for Amazon to use an air fleet it controls as another way to get its products to online shoppers drawn to fast, no-extra-cost delivery.
“They’re such a big online retailer,” said Satish Jindel, president of shipping consultant ShipMatrix. “There’s so much volume that if you have to add transportation for yourself, why would you pay a retail price when you can get wholesale? It makes sense.”