The Times: Wrapper

AP Top News at 2:17 p.m. EST

Pope gives tough love to Mexico's political, church elite
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Pope Francis issued a tough-love message to Mexico's political and church elites Saturday, telling them they have a duty to provide their people with security, justice and courageous pastoral care to confront the drug-inspired violence and corruption that are tormenting the country. The raucous welcome Francis received from cheering Mexicans who lined his motorcade route seven-deep contrasted sharply with his pointed criticism of how church and state leaders here have often failed their people, especially the poorest and most marginalized. "Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development," he told government authorities at the presidential palace.


Viewers' Guide: GOP hopefuls spar in South Carolina
WASHINGTON (AP) - Serious issues are facing the Republican presidential candidate in their debate Saturday night in South Carolina. The state has a deep-rooted military culture and is still reeling from the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church in June. But style is going to beg for attention alongside pressing matters of policy. Foremost, how will Marco Rubio do after his disastrous turn on the stage in New Hampshire? And will Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, after carping at each other bitterly from a distance, do it face to face? Can Ben Carson finally make a mark?


Russian PM: West is rekindling the Cold War with NATO moves
MUNICH (AP) - Russia's prime minister accused NATO on Saturday of restarting the Cold War amid increased military maneuvers and troop deployments to countries neighboring Russia, moves the alliance's top official defended as a necessary response to aggression from Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting of top defense officials, diplomats and national leaders that sanctions imposed after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and new moves by NATO "only aggravate" tensions. "NATO's policies related to Russia remain unfriendly and opaque - one could go so far as to say we have slid back to a new Cold War," Medvedev said.


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AP News Guide: Diplomats push as Syria battlefield shifts
Diplomats from a dozen countries, led by the United States and Russia, are struggling to make progress in Syria, even as fighting in the north sends tens of thousands fleeing and threatens a deepening humanitarian crisis. Next month, Syria's civil war will reach the end of its fifth year, and its consequences continue to reach new and disastrous levels. An AP News Guide to the latest events: WAS A CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT REACHED? No. The U.S. and Russia and other nations agreed to try to work for a less ambitious goal: a pause in fighting or "cessation of hostilities," within a week.


Army looks to recruit more women, adapt physical testing
WASHINGTON (AP) - Beginning this summer, a visit to a local Army recruiting office will include a new set of gymnastic tests to help determine what military jobs a recruit is physically capable of performing. Prospective soldiers will be asked to run, jump, lift a weight and throw a heavy ball - all to help the Army figure out if the recruit can handle a job with high physical demands or should be directed to a more sedentary assignment. The new tests come as the Pentagon is opening all combat posts to women, a process that involves setting physical standards for every job that both men and women will have to meet.


WHO reports rise of neurological disorder in Zika outbreak
BERLIN (AP) - A rare neurological disorder is on the rise in several Latin American countries that are also seeing an outbreak of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said Saturday. The U.N. health body in Geneva said in a weekly report that Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which can cause temporary paralysis, has been reported in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela. The increase in Guillain-Barre cases is appearing in conjunction with the spread of the Zika virus to 34 countries and also with increasing cases of microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.


Noise harder on children than adults, hinders how they learn
WASHINGTON (AP) - From the cacophony of day care to the buzz of TV and electronic toys, noise is more distracting to a child's brain than an adult's, and new research shows it can hinder how youngsters learn. In fact, one of the worst offenders when a tot's trying to listen is other voices babbling in the background, researchers said Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "What a child hears in a noisy environment is not what an adult hears," said Dr. Lori Leibold of Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. That's a Catch-22 in our increasingly noisy lives because "young children learn language from hearing it," said Dr.


Seeking a Splash: Klay goes for All-Star 3s upset of Curry
TORONTO (AP) - Klay Thompson believes, even if he knows many don't. He knows how good Stephen Curry is, so he couldn't have been terribly surprised when he was told during NBA All-Star player interviews that "everyone" thinks his Golden State Warriors teammate is going to win the 3-point contest Saturday night. "Everybody thinks that? Oh, wow," Thompson said. "There's got to be a few who think Klay has a chance. I mean, I don't mean to refer to myself in the third person, but there's a few out there, I think. I'm one of them. Hopefully my brothers, and probably the rest of the world thinks Steph.


Columbine shooter's mother says she thinks of victims daily
DENVER (AP) - The mother of Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold says she didn't know anything was wrong with her son before the 1999 attack, and she prayed for his death when she heard he was involved and that the rampage might still be underway. In an interview that aired on "20/20" late Friday, Sue Klebold told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that before the attack she considered herself a parent who would have known something was wrong. "I think we like to believe that our love and our understanding is protective, and that 'If anything were wrong with my kids, I would know.' But I didn't know, and it's very hard to live with that," she said.


Head of BAFTA: Film industry not diverse enough
LONDON (AP) - The head of the British Academy Film and Television Awards says its annual ceremony does not feature more ethnic minority nominees because the film industry itself is not diverse enough. Amanda Berry says she supports a peaceful protest against the lack of diversity outside the star-studded event, being held in London on Sunday. Berry told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that not enough movies are made with diverse talent so "the pool of people to draw award winners from isn't diverse enough." She added that "people can only vote on what they've seen." Her comments follow a controversy surrounding racial diversity at the Oscars.

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