National & World News

AP Top News at 6:55 p.m. EDT

Protests disband after IS group carries out 2nd Iraq bombing
BAGHDAD (AP) - Anti-government protesters disbanded at least temporarily Sunday from the heavily fortified Green Zone they had stormed a day earlier after the Islamic State group carried out its second major attack in Iraq in as many days - a pair of car bombs that killed more than 30 people. The country's political crisis intensified Saturday when hundreds of supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tore down walls and poured into the zone that is home to the seat of the Iraqi government and most foreign embassies. Loudspeaker announcements on Sunday evening urged protesters to leave peacefully. When the call came, hundreds calmly packed up and left, carrying flags and overnight bags away with them.


US once again forced to turn to Russia for help on Syria
GENEVA (AP) - Scrambling to resuscitate a nearly dead truce in Syria, the Obama administration has again been forced to turn to Russia for help, with little hope for the desired U.S. outcome. At stake are thousands of lives and the fate of a feeble peace process essential to the fight against the Islamic State group, and Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed once more to his Russian counterpart for assistance in containing and reducing the violence, particularly around city of Aleppo. "We are talking directly to the Russians, even now," Kerry said on his arrival in Geneva as he began talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.


Elephants to perform for final time at Ringling Bros. circus
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Elephants will perform for the last time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Sunday, as the show closes its own chapter on a controversial practice that has entertained audiences since circuses began in America two centuries ago. Six Asian elephants will deliver their final performances in Providence, Rhode Island, and five will perform in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, during several shows on Sunday. The last Providence show will stream live on Facebook and at Ringling.com at 7:45 p.m. Alana Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said the animals will live at its 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.


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Schumer: Probe billboards using phone data to track shoppers
NEW YORK (AP) - A U.S. senator is calling for a federal investigation into an outdoor advertising company's latest effort to target billboard ads to specific consumers. New York Sen. Charles Schumer has dubbed Clear Channel Outdoor Americas' so-called RADAR program "spying billboards," warning the service may violate privacy rights by tracking people's cell phone data via the ad space. "A person's cellphone should not become a James Bond-like personal tracking device for a corporation to gather information about consumers without their consent," Schumer, a Democrat, said in a statement ahead of a planned news conference Sunday in Times Square, where the company operates billboards.


Longtime chef: Prince fought throat, stomach pains recently
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - On stage, Prince was still captivating audiences at recent performances in Australia and California. He hosted a pop-up party at his Paisley Park studio, and there were few outward signs in his final months that anything was wrong. But off stage, something was different. Prince began wanting meals that were easier to digest and was fighting off waves of sore throats and frequent upset stomachs, the musician's personal chef told The Associated Press. A law enforcement official has told the AP that investigators are looking into whether Prince, who was found dead at his home on April 21, died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks beforehand.


Trump gets outside help for potential GOP convention battle
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump has a Plan B if he's faced with a contested convention, and it involves the sort of outside groups that he's called "corrupt." While the billionaire businessman might lock up the Republican presidential nomination in the next five weeks of voting, he and his allies are simultaneously undertaking a parallel effort in case he falls short. Outside groups, including one led by longtime Trump political ally Roger Stone, and a loose collection of colorful supporters such as "Bikers for Trump" are organizing ahead of the July convention in Cleveland. They're soliciting money to pay for their transportation and housing, and they're already trying to influence the mood of the convention with a social media campaign saying that anything short of a Trump nomination would be "stealing." "Our principle focus right now is Cleveland," Stone said of his group, called Stop the Steal.


After a half-century wait, US cruise leaves Miami for Cuba
MIAMI (AP) - After a half-century of waiting, passengers finally set sail on Sunday from Miami on an historic cruise to Cuba. Carnival Corp.'s 704-passenger Adonia left port at about 4:24 p.m., bound for Havana. Carnival's Cuba cruises, operating under its Fathom band, will visit the ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. The cruise comes after Cuba loosened its policy banning Cuban-born people from arriving to the country by sea, a rule that threatened to stop the cruises from happening. When it first announced the cruises, Carnival said it would bar Cuban-born passengers due to the government's policy. But the Cuban-American community in Miami complained and filed a discrimination lawsuit in response.


Jazz fest's last day kicks off, storm ends some sets early
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A day after thunderstorms forced the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to close early, thousands of umbrellas bobbed as their owners listened or danced in puddles to a 70-minute tribute to the late Allen Toussaint. Leslie Goldberg, a Chicagoan living in New Orleans, swayed to strains played by Dr. John as a light rain fell on the last day of the seven-day celebration of food, art, crafts and, of course, music. "He was a legend," she said. "I like to see how all the musicians who came to Jazz Fest interpret his music." An earlier downpour turned parts of the Fair Grounds Race Course into swimming pools for geese and forced several of the last day's acts to end their sets early.


Heat roll past Hornets in Game 7, 106-73
MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade took a moment before tipoff Sunday to reflect on all that his Miami Heat endured this season. They lost Chris Bosh at the All-Star break to a blood clot for a second consecutive year, forcing them to significantly change their style of play. They handled injuries, saw assistant coach Keith Smart deal with cancer treatment that took him away from the team and reshaped their roster in free-agent deals and trades. In that moment, Wade realized how it all made his team stronger. "I'm not a prophet or anything," Wade said, "but I knew we were winning this game." How right he was.


ON FOOTBALL: Forget winners, losers; think NFL draft trends
Figuring out who won or lost in an NFL draft takes years, not hours. Finding trends is a whole lot easier. Some were obvious, such as the love given Ohio State, and the disdain for 2015 bowl teams Tennessee, Duke and North Carolina. The desire to find quarterbacks lasted from the first two picks through No. 223. The search for running backs was virtually an afterthought for three rounds, with only four going in the first 100. A look at what NFL teams were thinking and doing in the 253-pick marathon. --- BAGGING BUCKEYES: More than one observer has been asking how Ohio State didn't win the 2015 Big Ten title, let alone another national championship, after having 12 players selected.

 

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