Deadline near, Senate faces last-minute vote on Patriot Act WASHINGTON (AP) - Unable to end a struggle over how to deal with government surveillance programs, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a last-minute session to consider retaining the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records. McConnell, R-Ky., warned against allowing the controversial NSA program and other key surveillance activities under the USA Patriot Act to expire at midnight May 31. He said he would call the Senate into session that day, a Sunday, and seek action before the deadline.
Syrians try to build case against Assad in chlorine attacks BEIRUT (AP) - With only a cloth mask for protection, Firas Kayali rushed to try to rescue the residents of a house in a village in rebel-held northern Syria after a barrel bomb, suspected to be filled with chlorine gas, hit nearby. Once a house painter and now a member in a volunteer rescue team, Kayali tried once, twice, three times to break into the house, but he was overcome by the gas and passed out. Only 20 minutes later, after the gas dissipated, was the team able to get into the house.
UN chief says save migrants, deal with cause of flight YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday urged Southeast Asian nations to deal with the causes behind a growing humanitarian crisis that has forced thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants to flee by sea, leaving many still stranded in boats. Ban said he has been discussing the emergency with regional leaders in Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand, among others, and urged them to provide search and rescue operations and options for resettlement and reintegration.
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AP Analysis: At Mideast forum, hopes for future amid chaos SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) - Against a backdrop of Iraq and Syria in flames, Middle Eastern political and business leaders sought to focus on a future of growth and investment for a region that for long has lagged behind. But present-day reality proved rather difficult to ignore, with the Islamic State group wreaking havoc not far from these Dead Sea shores. "We are all aware of the crises in the news," host King Abdullah of Jordan told invitees at the regional World Economic Forum, held at a Dead Sea resort whose calm belied the mayhem raging a few hours' drive away.
DC authorities: Ex-con had help in wealthy family's slaying WASHINGTON (AP) - An ex-convict likely had help from others holding a family captive inside their mansion for at least 18 hours, authorities said. During their ordeal, the business executive and his wife told others to stay away - even ordering a pizza deliverer to leave two pies at the door - as they frantically arranged for $40,000 in cash to be dropped off at the home.
Senate clears White House-backed trade bill WASHINGTON (AP) - In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Friday night to strengthen the administration's hand in global trade talks, clearing the way for a highly unpredictable summer showdown in the House. The vote was 62-37 to give Obama authority to complete trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. A total of 48 Republicans supported the measure, but only 14 of the Senate's 44 Democrats backed a president of their own party on legislation near the top of his second-term agenda.
AP Interview: Steinem says isolating N. Korea not working PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem may be in North Korea, but she is as outspoken as ever. In an interview with The Associated Press, the 81-year-old feminism pioneer said she decided to join a group of women in a rare and in some quarters highly controversial walk across the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea because she thinks efforts to force change by isolating the North have failed. But, she said, she has no intention of letting the North's leadership off the hook for its own human rights record.
Thai year-old coup imposes superficial calm but little else BANGKOK (AP) - Shortly after seizing power in a coup that followed months of debilitating street protests, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha vowed to end Thailand's decade of political upheaval once and for all. In his words, "to bring everything out in the open and fix it." One year later, the military can boast it has restored stability and kept this Southeast Asian nation calm. But the bitter societal fissures that helped trigger the putsch are still simmering below the surface, unresolved.
B.B. King viewing draws more than 1,000 in Las Vegas LAS VEGAS (AP) - B.B. King kept drawing fans in Las Vegas, and a family feud simmered, during a public chance to say goodbye ahead of a weekend memorial service and a final King of the Blues road tour leading back home to the Mississippi Delta. More than 1,000 people streamed past the body of the music legend during a four-hour public viewing Friday, said Matt Phillips, manager of the Palm South Jones Mortuary several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.
Indianapolis 500 finds women drivers in short supply INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Pippa Mann rattled off the list of body parts still aching after a brutal crash at Indianapolis 500 practice. Her right foot, her right ankle. Her ribs. She has more bruises than most fighters do after a few rounds in the octagon. Hobbled, yet hopeful, Mann is still in the cockpit, prepping for the most prestigious race in auto racing.