BC-AP News Digest 2:45 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

The world at 2:45 p.m. Times EDT.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Mike Stewart and Marco Mulcahy can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com . For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport@ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

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NEW & DEVELOPING

— SLAVE LABOR-CHARGES — First suspect in Ohio forced labor case appears in court at 2 p.m.

— RICIN LETTERS-TEXAS — Shannon Richardson court in court at 3 p.m.

— NBA FINALS — Game 7 featuring San Antonio at Miami starts at 9 p.m. Updates after each quarter.

— WHITEY BULGER — Victims' relatives testify in 'Whitey' Bulger trial in Boston, woman describes hit. AP Photos

TOP STORIES

AFGHANISTAN-TALIBAN TALKS

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban offer to free a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai eases his opposition to joining planned peace talks. The idea of releasing some of the Taliban's most senior operatives has been controversial over fears they would simply return to the battlefield. By Kathy Gannon and Kay Johnson.

AP photos.

GLOBAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

LONDON — In the first major global review of violence against women, a series of reports finds that about a third of women have been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current partner. The head of the World Health Organization called it an "epidemic," and some experts said screening for domestic violence should be added to all levels of health care. By AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng.

AP photos.

NSA SURVEILLANCE-THWARTED ATTACKS

WASHINGTON — As many as one of every five worldwide terror threats picked up by U.S. government surveillance has been targeted on the United States, the Obama administration says. But officials are reluctant to say much more about the 50 plots they claim have been thwarted. A look at what's known and what's not. By Eileen Sullivan and Lara Jakes.

SYRIA-ARMING THE REBELS

BEIRUT — Syria's rebels have received shipments of more powerful weapons from Gulf allies, particularly anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, that already have helped stall advances by regime forces. The weapons also have sparked feuds among rebel factions, illustrating the tangles the United States faces as it prepares to start directly arming the rebellion. By Sarah El Deeb.

AP photos.

— SYRIA-DEPUTY MINISTER — Syrian deputy foreign minister tells the AP in an interview that he's confident troops can recapture all territory.

— JORDAN-ANGELINA JOLIE — Angelina Jolie urges world leaders to make Syria diplomacy work during visit to refugee camp.

IMMIGRATION

WASHINGTON — A potentially historic immigration bill gains momentum as Senate negotiators near agreement on a "border surge" to prevent people from entering the U.S. illegally. If ratified, it would be added to a bill that gives a chance at citizenship for millions of immigrants now living illegally in the country. By David Espo and Erica Werner.

— IMMIGRATION-GLANCE, provisions of Senate bill and compromise border security amendment

GAY THERAPY

A leading Christian ministry that worked for decades to help people repress same-sex attraction has apologized to the gay community for inflicting "years of undue suffering and judgment," with the group's president saying it will shut down and begin a new ministry.

GANDOLFINI'S LEGACY

NEW YORK — James Gandolfini's portrayal of Tony Soprano represented more than just a memorable TV character. He changed the medium, making fellow antiheroes like Walter White and Don Draper possible, and shifting the balance in quality drama away from broadcast television. By Television Writers David Bauder and Frazier Moore.

AP photo, video.

WASHINGTON

FARM BILL

WASHINGTON — The House rejects a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them.

AP graphic, interactive.

— FARM BILL-GLANCE, comparing the House and Senate bills.

SUPREME COURT-PROSTITUTION PLEDGE

WASHINGTON — In a free-speech ruling, the Supreme Court says private health groups in the global fight against AIDS can't be forced to denounce prostitution as a condition of getting taxpayer money. By Mark Sherman.

VETERANS-DISABILITY BACKLOG

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is chipping away at a massive backlog in veterans' disability claims, reducing the number by more than 10 percent in recent weeks. Republican lawmakers are skeptical that the trend will continue but have been unable to agree on their own plan for reducing the logjam. By Kevin Freking.

NATIONAL

KANSAS-SURVIVAL CAVES

ATCHISON, Kan. — After most of the world's population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine. That's the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world's largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River. But before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, Robert Vicino, who purchased a large portion of the former U.S. Army storage facility in Kansas, says the survival shelter will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe waits. By Bill Draper.

AP photos, video.

GUN TRAINING-ONLINE

DENVER — In an age where you can do everything online from getting a college degree to buying a car, Colorado legislators want there to be one thing people can't do from the comfort of their couch: Get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. A new law requires people to show a firearm instructor they can handle a gun to get the permit, closing an Internet-era loophole lawmakers didn't envision 10 years ago when the training rules were made. Only a handful of other states allow all-online training. By Ivan Moreno.

AP photos.

INTERNATIONAL

US-IRAN-SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON — American officials are hailing the election of an Iranian president who vows to seek relief from international sanctions as the first tangible evidence that the U.S. strategy is influencing Tehran's nuclear policy. The election has opened up a debate in the U.S. on whether it's time to pull back on the throttle and see whether Tehran shifts away from what the U.S. believes is the pursuit of a nuclear weapon. By Marjorie Olster.

MEXICO-CHINA TEQUILA

MEXICO CITY — Mexico wants China to loosen up and have a little tequila. Actually, lots of it. Since China President Xi Jinping and Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto broke a diplomatic and economic chill and agreed to boost trade, tequila producers have been gearing up to make the world's most populous country their second-biggest market, after the margarita-loving United States. By E. Eduardo Castillo.

AP photos.

ISRAEL-JEWISH EXTREMISM

ABU GHOSH, Israel — In a land rife with religious tension, one town has proven to be an exception — the Arab village of Abu Ghosh has been a model of coexistence in Israel for more than 65 years. This week Abu Ghosh became the latest victim in a wave of hate crimes that has plagued Israel, raising concern that growing extremism on the fringes of society could spread. By Aron Heller.

AP photos.

BUSINESS

BERNANKE-CLARITY

WASHINGTON — A muddled message from the Federal Reserve has rattled investors for weeks. So Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tried to set the record straight Wednesday about the Fed's plans to shrink its bond-buying program later this year and end it entirely in 2014 if the economy continues to improve. Wall Street didn't like the content of Bernanke's message — investors dumped stocks and bonds in anticipation of rising interest rates — but analysts gave him a thumbs-up for clarity. "They'd been a bit all over the place," says Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. By Paul Wiseman.

AP photo.

— FEDERAL RESERVE-CONSUMERS — Just by talking about its plans to shrink a bond-buying program, the Federal Reserve has triggered a rise in long-term borrowing rates. That means homebuyers are paying more for a mortgage and business loans will get more expensive. Savers, meanwhile, might earn slightly more. Once the Fed actually begins scaling back on bond purchases, these trends could accelerate. By Christopher S. Rugaber.

SPORTS

NBA FINALS

MIAMI — LeBron James and the Miami Heat take their quest for a second straight championship to the last possible day, Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs, trying to bounce back from a crushing overtime loss in Game 6, can earn their fifth title by becoming the first road team to win a finals Game 7 since 1978. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney.

AP Photos.

STANLEY CUP

CHICAGO — The Stanley Cup finals return to Chicago with the Blackhawks and Bruins tied at two games apiece. The only thing for certain ahead of Game 5 on Saturday night is there is very little separating these two teams. Three of the four games have gone to overtime. By Jay Cohen.

AP Photos.

ENTERTAINMENT

JAMES GANDOLFINI-NEW JERSEY

ELIZABETH, N.J. — A bag of uncooked ziti in the driveway, a "reserved" sign at the ice cream parlor booth where the series abruptly ended, and a framed photo at a strip club are among the tributes paid to James Gandolfini in the northern New Jersey communities where his TV character Tony Soprano lived, loved and whacked people. Gandolfini is recalled there with mixed emotions: a global star who made their communities famous, but sometimes at the expense of their reputations. By Wayne Parry.

AP photos, video.

— GANDOLFINI-APPRECIATION

— JAMES GANDOLFINI-ITALY

FOOD-DEEN'S EMPIRE

NEW YORK — Celebrity chef Paula Deen, the queen of comfort food, brushed aside the bad publicity when it was revealed she had diabetes at the same time she was whipping up fatty favorites on TV. Will her audience be able to look past new admissions that she used racial slurs. By Television Writer David Bauder.

AP Photos

PHOTOS

10 THINGS TO SEE

A weekly look at highlights from the AP photo report featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see. This week's collection includes a soldier rappelling from a helicopter in Jordan, a buffalo herder under monsoon rain clouds in India, pepper spray in Brazil, wildfires in Colorado and a military officer in North Korea.

AP photos NC101-110.

— EGYPT-UNDERGROUND MUSIC-PHOTO ESSAY — A new techno sound hits the streets of post-revolutionary Egypt.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— FACEBOOK-INSTAGRAM — Facebook adds video to photo-sharing app Instagram

— BRAZIL-PROTESTS — More protests are planned in more than 80 cities across Brazil. AP photos, video.

— GUN CONTROL RALLY-BOMBING SUSPECT — Boston bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev included on list of victims of gun violence at NH rally.

— HERNANDEZ-POLICE — Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had a connection to a homicide victim found near his home, but no one is saying what it was.

— SOUTHEAST ASIA-HAZE — Singapore urges people to remain indoors because of record air pollution from smoky haze wrought by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia. AP photos.

— DYING BLINK — Man gets 36 years to life in Ohio murder case that hinged on victim's eye blinks.

— WALL STREET — Financial markets slide after the Federal Reserve says it could end its huge bond-buying program by the middle of next year.

— FRANCE-AIR SHOW — Airbus beat its rival Boeing in the orders stakes at the Paris Air Show but both aircraft manufacturers were encouraged that their wide-body planes were finding new customers — a sign that the global economy is on the mend.

—STUDENT LOANS — Congress ratchets up pressure on the White House to take a more active role in negotiations to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.

— OREGON DEATH PENALTY — The Oregon Supreme Court says Gov. John Kitzhaber can delay the lethal injection of a death-row inmate who wants to waive his appeals and speed his execution.

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