Horror in Japan as video purports to show hostage beheaded TOKYO (AP) - Appalled and saddened by news of journalist Kenji Goto's purported beheading by Islamic State extremists, Japan ordered heightened security precautions Sunday and said it would persist with its non-military support for fighting terrorism. The failure to save Goto raised fears for the life of a Jordanian fighter pilot also held by the militant group that controls about a third of both Syria and Iraq. Unlike some earlier messages delivered in the crisis, the video that circulated online late Saturday purporting to show a militant beheading Goto did not mention the pilot.
Analysis: The world's problems enter Japan's psyche, again TOKYO (AP) - The Japanese, who inhabit one of the safest countries in the world, have been brutally reminded that the world is a dangerous place. In a shock to a country that can feel insulated from distant geopolitical problems, two of its own have reportedly been killed by Islamic radicals in Syria, the latest apparently beheaded in a video posted online this weekend by militant websites.
Jordan renews swap offer to free pilot held by Islamic State AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Jordan renewed an offer Sunday to swap an al-Qaida prisoner for a fighter pilot held captive by the Islamic State group, a day after a video purportedly showed the militants beheading a Japanese hostage. The fates of the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto previously had been linked. The video of the beheading made no mention of the pilot, raising fears for the lieutenant's life.
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Obama budget offers contrasts, long-shot deals with GOP WASHINGTON (AP) - After a year of relative peace in Washington's budget battles, President Barack Obama will lay out a $4 trillion budget on Monday that needles Republicans with proposals for higher taxes on the wealthy and businesses to pay for education, public works projects and child care. The plan, expected to be dismissed by GOP lawmakers now running Capitol Hill, rolls out as the deficit is dropping and Obama's poll numbers inch higher. Though Republicans will march ahead on their own, they ultimately must come to terms with Obama, whose signature is needed on anything that is going to become law.
US prosecutors: New spy case shows Russia up to old tricks NEW YORK (AP) - Three men accused in the latest Russian spy case didn't hide behind fake identities and weren't stealing military secrets. The evidence even suggests they were annoyed that their assignment wasn't more like a James Bond film. Their alleged plot to dig up "economic intelligence" on possible banking penalties and alternative energy sources may not be the stuff of Hollywood movies, but U.S. authorities insist the case is proof that Russian spying is thriving in America more than two decades after the end of the Cold War.
Storm crawls into Midwest, threatens Northeast CHICAGO (AP) - A storm that gathered steam over the southern Rockies moved into the Midwest early Sunday and is expected to dump more than a foot of snow as it moves toward New England, which is still recovering from a winter walloping it received just a few days ago. The weather may be bad news for those planning to drive to Super Bowl parties, as forecasters warn of hazardous driving conditions across the region.
Detectives review video to find clues in 'Suge' Knight case LOS ANGELES (AP) - Investigators were reviewing a video of an incident in which Marion "Suge" Knight struck two men with his pickup - leaving one dead and the other injured - to help shed light on whether the rap music mogul was a perpetrator or victim in a case that led to his arrest. Knight remained jailed on $2 million bail on suspicion of murder, and was scheduled to make a court appearance on Tuesday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's department.
Historic balloon flight ends off Mexican coast ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An audacious, nearly 7,000-mile-long trip across the Pacific Ocean came to an end Saturday as two accomplished pilots safely touched down in the water just off the coast of Mexico in their helium-filled balloon after shattering two long-standing records. Troy Bradley of Albuquerque and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia landed 4 miles offshore in Baja California about 300 miles north of the popular beach destination of Cabo San Lucas. Initial plans called for a landing on the beach, but the pilots decided to come in low and drop trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon for a controlled water landing.
Whitney Houston's daughter found unresponsive in tub ROSWELL, Ga. (AP) - The daughter of late singer and entertainer Whitney Houston was found unresponsive, face down in a bathtub Saturday and taken to a hospital in the north Atlanta suburbs, police said. Bobbi Kristina Brown was found by her husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend. The friend called 911 while her husband performed CPR on Brown because they did not believe she was breathing nor had a pulse, said Officer Lisa Holland, a spokeswoman for the Roswell Police Department.
Seahawks repeat would be a scary prospect for NFL PHOENIX (AP) - Here are some scary thoughts for the rest of the NFL: A win Sunday will stamp the Seahawks as one of the best teams of the Super Bowl era. And, given Seattle's makeup and philosophy, the future for the franchise might be brighter than for any other club.