Clinton opposes Pacific trade deal in major break with Obama MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton declared her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord on Wednesday, her most significant break with President Barack Obama since launching her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions," she said of the big trade deal in an interview with PBS' "Newshour." ''As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it." Her push-back against the chief economic proposal of Obama's second term is a blow to the president, undermining his arguments to Congress as the White House is in the final stretch of winning approval of a deal years in the making.
AP INVESTIGATION: Nuclear black market seeks IS extremists CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) - Over the pulsating beat at an exclusive nightclub, the arms smuggler made his pitch to a client: 2.5 million euros for enough radioactive cesium to contaminate several city blocks. It was earlier this year, and the two men were plotting their deal at an unlikely spot: the terrace of Cocos Prive, a dance club and sushi bar in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. "You can make a dirty bomb, which would be perfect for the Islamic State," the smuggler said. "If you have a connection with them, the business will go smoothly." But the smuggler, Valentin Grossu, wasn't sure the client was for real - and he was right to worry.
AP INVESTIGATION: Nuclear black market seeks IS extremists CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) - In the backwaters of Eastern Europe, authorities working with the FBI have interrupted four attempts in the past five years by gangs with suspected Russian connections that sought to sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists, The Associated Press has learned. The latest known case came in February this year, when a smuggler offered a huge cache of deadly cesium - enough to contaminate several city blocks - and specifically sought a buyer from the Islamic State group. Criminal organizations, some with ties to the Russian KGB's successor agency, are driving a thriving black market in nuclear materials in the tiny and impoverished Eastern European country of Moldova, investigators say. The successful busts, however, were undercut by striking shortcomings: Kingpins got away, and those arrested evaded long prison sentences, sometimes quickly returning to nuclear smuggling, AP found.
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Mother-son bond over guns links Oregon, Connecticut slayings PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The deadly shooting last week at an Oregon community college has an eerie parallel with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 pupils and six adult staff members in 2012. Like Adam Lanza, the gunman in the Connecticut massacre, Christopher Harper-Mercer was living a mostly solitary life with a mom who shared his fascination with firearms. Both stories illustrate the struggles parents face caring for a deeply troubled child, struggles that can inadvertently lead to a volatile outcome made easier by ready access to weaponry. "When you begin to bring guns into the home environment where you have that dangerous cocktail of behavior, that's pretty unbelievable," said Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI profiler who directs George Mason University's forensic science program.
Coast Guard abandons search for 33 missing crew members JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Coast Guard broke the news to grieving family members Wednesday that it was abandoning the search for the 33 mariners aboard a U.S. container ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin, and investigators turned their attention to finding the vessel's data recorder 3 miles down at the bottom of the sea. An intensive search by air and sea over tens of thousands of square miles turned up one unidentified body in a survival suit and a heavily damaged lifeboat but no sign of survivors from the 790-foot El Faro, which was last heard from nearly from a week ago as it was being tossed around in rough seas.
Russia fires cruise missiles from warships into Syria DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles Wednesday as Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive in central Syria in the first major combined air-and-ground assault since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week. The missiles flew nearly 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) over Iran and Iraq and struck Raqqa and Aleppo provinces in the north and Idlib province in the northwest, Russian officials said. The Islamic State group has strongholds in Raqqa and Aleppo, while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has a strong presence in Idlib. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia was continuing to strike targets other than Islamic State militants, adding that he was concerned about the Syrian ground offensive backed by Moscow's airpower.
South Carolina still on edge from floods; 2 die in truck COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - It could take until the weekend for the threat of flooding to ease in storm-tattered South Carolina, where a senator warned of a potential billion-dollar cleanup bill, two more people died in the floodwaters and the flagship university sent a home football game 700 miles away. Rivers rose and dams bulged as storm water from days of heavy rains made its way to the Atlantic Ocean, causing a second round of flooding downstream. Gov. Nikki Haley paid a visit to the coast, which she said would still be in danger for another 24-48 hours. "We're holding our breath and saying a prayer," she said.
Trio wins Nobel Prize for mapping how cells fix DNA damage STOCKHOLM (AP) - Tomas Lindahl was eating his breakfast in England on Wednesday when the call came - ostensibly, from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It occurred to him that this might be a hoax, but then the caller started speaking Swedish. It was no joke: Lindahl and two others had won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for pioneering studies into the way our bodies repair damage to DNA. "Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions" and is used in developing new cancer treatments, the academy said. Lindahl, who is Swedish, was honored along with American Paul Modrich and U.S.-Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar for research done in the 1970s and '80s.
The Latest: US aircraft rerouted over Syria, avoids Russians BEIRUT (AP) - The latest developments after Syrian troops, emboldened by Russian airstrikes, launch a ground offensive against insurgents (all times local). --- 7:05 p.m. The Pentagon says at least one U.S. military aircraft changed its route over Syria recently to avoid coming dangerously close to Russian warplanes. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said Wednesday that he could not provide details, including the number of times this has happened. He says U.S. aircraft are still flying attack and other missions daily over Syria, but he acknowledged that the air operations have had to be adjusted since the Russians began flying.
Anxious Israelis told to be on alert amid wave of attacks JERUSALEM (AP) - Palestinian assailants carried out a series of stabbings across Israel on Wednesday, jolting an anxious country unnerved by weeks of unrest as clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators raged across the West Bank. The violence forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call off a high-profile visit to Germany and prompted him to tell the nation to be on "alert" for further trouble. And in another sign of the tensions, Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, was seen carrying an assault rifle while visiting an Arab neighborhood. The unrest began three weeks ago and has spread from the confines of a sensitive Jerusalem holy site to spots across Israel and the West Bank.