AP Exclusive: Rule exemption means batteries that led to Dreamliner grounding can fly as cargo
WASHINGTON (AP) — At the time the government certified Boeing's 787 Dreamliners as safe, federal rules barred the type of batteries used to power the airliner's electrical systems from being carried as cargo on passenger planes because of the fire risk.
Now the situation is reversed.
Dreamliners worldwide were grounded nearly three weeks ago after lithium ion batteries that are part of the planes led to a fire in one plane and smoke in a second. But new rules exempt aircraft batteries from the ban on large lithium ion batteries as cargo on flights by passenger planes.
In effect, that means the Dreamliner's batteries are now allowed to fly only if they're not attached to a Dreamliner.
The regulations were published on Jan. 7, the same day as a battery fire in a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport that took firefighters nearly 40 minutes to put out.
Reports: Sheriff says 'Sniper' author and ex-SEAL Kyle killed at Texas range with another man
GLEN ROSE, Texas (AP) — Former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle was fatally shot along with another man Saturday on a Texas gun range, a sheriff told local newspapers.
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said Kyle, 38, and a second man were found dead at Rough Creek Lodge's shooting range west of Glen Rose, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Stephenville Empire-Tribune. Glen Rose is about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Bryant did not immediately return phone calls to The Associated Press seeking comment late Saturday and early Sunday. A woman who answered the phone at the lodge where the shooting occurred declined comment and referred calls to the sheriff's office.
Investigators did not immediately release the name of the second victim, according to the newspapers.
Witnesses told sheriff's investigators that a gunman opened fire on the men around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then fled in a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims, according to the Star-Telegram. The newspapers said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody in Lancaster, southeast of Dallas, and that charges were expected.
After Harvard visit, dozens in Destined for a Dream group injured when bus hits overpass
BOSTON (AP) — After a visit to Harvard University, dozens in a group of high school students and their adult chaperones were injured when their charter bus hit a bridge after police say the driver failed to heed low-clearance warning signs.
One person was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and three with serious injuries, the Boston Emergency Medical Services said. Thirty-four people were injured in all, EMS said.
The Calvary Coach bus was carrying 42 people and was heading back to the Philadelphia area when it struck an overpass on Soldier's Field Road in Boston, a major crosstown road, at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Massachusetts State Police said. Some passengers were trapped for more than an hour as rescue crews worked to free them.
Authorities said the bus did not belong on the road, where a 10-foot height limit is in place and over-sized vehicles are not authorized. State Police said the driver, whose name was not released, "failed to heed signs" warning of the height limit and will likely be cited for an over-height violation. The investigation will determine if he faces more serious charges, state police said. The driver was not injured.
Ray Talmedge, owner of the Philadelphia-based Calvary Coach Bus company, said Saturday night that his driver was being interviewed by police. Talmedge, who said he didn't know anything about the road restrictions, said the driver also drives a school bus.
NKorea's Kim issues 'important' guidelines on how to bolster the army and protect sovereignty
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued "important" guidelines on how to bolster the army and protect the nation's sovereignty at a high-level ruling Workers' Party meeting, state media said Sunday, an indication that Pyongyang may be ready to conduct an atomic test anytime.
North Korea said last month that it would conduct its third nuclear test to protest international sanctions toughened over its long-range rocket launch in December. The U.S., South Korea and other countries have urged the North to scrap its nuclear test plans or face grave consequences.
North Korea says U.S. hostility and the threat of American troops in South Korea are important reasons behind its nuclear drive. The country also says it has the sovereign right to launch rockets to send satellites into orbit under a space development program; the U.S. says the December launch was a disguised test of banned missile technology.
Pyongyang's two previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, both occurred after it was slapped with increased sanctions for similar long-range rocket launches.
Recent satellite photos showed North Korea may have been sealing the tunnel into a mountainside where a nuclear device would be exploded.
As standoff drags on in Alabama, nearby town grieves for bus driver who was shot to death
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama bus driver slain at the beginning of a multi-day hostage drama was known for his acts of kindness, from fixing someone's tractor to tilling the garden of a neighbor who had a heart attack.
Charles Albert Poland Jr. was mourned by hundreds who gathered at a funeral home not far from the underground bunker where police say an Alabama man was still holding a 5-year-old boy early Sunday. Friends remembered Poland as a humble hero who gave his life to protect the children on the bus — and someone who went out of his way to help neighbors.
"You don't owe me anything," Poland, of Newton, once told a recipient of his good deed. "You're my neighbor."
The 66-year-old Poland was driving a school bus carrying 21 children last Tuesday when an armed man boarded the bus and demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. Poland tried to block his way, so the gunman shot him several times and abducted a 5-year-old boy — who police say remains in an underground bunker with the suspect, identified as 65-year-old Jim Lee Dykes.
William Lisenby, a school bus driver who also taught Sunday School with Poland, was flanked by other area bus drivers as he arrived at Saturday night's viewing. Lisenby spoke in Biblical terms when referring to Poland, whose funeral is Sunday afternoon.
Iraqi officials: Suicide car bomb targeting police kills at least 15 in disputed northern city
BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide car bomber joined by other suicide attackers on foot assaulted a provincial police headquarters in a disputed northern Iraqi city on Sunday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 90 others, officials said.
The blast in Kirkuk appeared to be a fresh attack by militants seeking to undermine government efforts in maintaining security nationwide.
A police officer said the car bomber drove his vehicle into the Kirkuk headquarters, followed by suicide attackers on foot armed with machineguns and grenades. He added that police killed all the militants before they could enter the building. He did not say how many attackers there were in total.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information. The head of the provincial health directorate, Sidiq Omar Rasool, confirmed the casualty figures.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, car bombs and coordinated attacks are favorite tactics for Sunni insurgents such as al-Qaida's Iraq branch.
Syrian TV airs footage of what it says is aftermath of Israeli strike
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian television has broadcast images of what it said is the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on a research facility near Damascus earlier this week, showing destroyed vehicles and moderate damage to a building.
In Germany, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made statements on Sunday strongly implying that Israel had carried out Wednesday's airstrike, which the U.S says was targeting a weapons convoy. The Jewish state had not until now officially acknowledged the attack.
"What happened in Syria several days ago ... that's proof that when we said something we mean it — we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon," Barak said at a security conference.
U.S. officials say the strike hit a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah while the vehicles were still on Syrian territory. The Syrian military said the target of Israeli jets was a scientific research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.
The strike raised tensions between Israel and its neighbor Syria, which is engulfed by a raging civil war. It adds another layer to the complexity of the near two-year-old Syrian conflict that has left the international community at a loss for ways to end bloodshed.
Amid gun-control debate, White House releases photo of Obama shooting clay targets
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two days before President Barack Obama's first trip outside Washington to promote his gun-control proposals, the White House tried Saturday to settle a brewing mystery by releasing a photo to back his claim to be a skeet shooter.
Obama had set inquiring minds spinning when, in an interview with The New Republic magazine, he answered "yes" when asked if he had ever fired a gun. The admission came as a surprise to many.
"Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama said in the interview released last weekend, referring to the official presidential retreat in rural Maryland, which he last visited in October while campaigning for re-election. Asked whether the entire family participates, the president said: "Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there."
Obama never mentioned skeet shooting prior to that interview.
The White House photo released Saturday is dated Aug. 4, 2012. The caption says Obama is shooting clay targets on the range at Camp David. Obama is seen holding a gun against his left shoulder, his left index finger on the trigger and smoke coming from the barrel. He is wearing jeans, a dark blue, short-sleeved polo shirt, sunglasses and earmuffs.
Affleck's 'Argo' wins Directors Guild top honor, takes inside track for best-picture Oscar
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ben Affleck has won the top film honor from the Directors Guild of America for his CIA thriller "Argo," further sealing its status as best-picture front-runner at the Academy Awards.
Saturday's prize also normally would make Affleck a near shoo-in to win best-director at the Feb. 24 Oscars, since the Directors Guild recipient nearly always goes on to claim the same prize at Hollywood's biggest night.
But Affleck surprisingly missed out on an Oscar directing nomination, along with several other key favorites, including fellow Directors Guild contenders Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" and Tom Hooper for "Les Miserables."
Affleck's Oscar snub has not hurt "Argo" and may even have earned it some favor among awards voters as an underdog favorite. "Argo" has dominated other awards since the Oscar nominations.
"I don't think that this makes me a real director, but I think it means I'm on my way," said Affleck, who won for just his third film behind the camera.
Peterson wins MVP, Peyton takes Comeback Player, RG3 top offensive rookie in AP NFL awards
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Adrian Peterson called it a blessing in disguise.
Strange way to describe career-threatening major knee surgery.
The Minnesota Vikings' star came back better than ever, just missing Eric Dickerson's longstanding rushing record and closing out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.
As sort of an added bonus, he beat Peyton Manning for both of them Saturday night.
"My career could have easily been over, just like that," the sensational running back said. "Oh man. The things I've been through throughout my lifetime has made me mentally tough.