AP News


Successive suicide bombings in Russia kill over 30 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press   
Monday, 30 December 2013 09:19

MOSCOW (AP) — A suicide bomber killed 14 people aboard an electric bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd during the Monday morning rush hour, and authorities believe it was the work of the same group that set off a bomb at the railway station a day earlier.

Together more than 30 people were killed in the explosions, putting the city of one million on edge and highlighting the terrorist threat Russia is facing as it prepares to host February's Winter Games in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin's pet project. While terrorists may find it hard to get to the tightly guarded Olympic facilities, the bombings have shown they can hit civilian targets elsewhere in Russia with shocking ease.

Volgograd, located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, serves as a key transport hub for southern Russia, with numerous bus routes linking it to volatile provinces in Russia's North Caucasus, where insurgents have been seeking an Islamic state.

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia's main investigative agency, said Monday's explosion involved a bomb similar to the one used in Sunday's attack at the city's main railway station.

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Report: NSA intercepts computer deliveries PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press   
Monday, 30 December 2013 07:19

LONDON (AP) — A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.

Der Spiegel's revelations relate to a division of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is painted as an elite team of hackers specializing in stealing data from the toughest of targets.

Citing internal NSA documents, the magazine said Sunday that TAO's mission was "Getting the ungettable," and quoted an unnamed intelligence official as saying that TAO had gathered "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen."

Der Spiegel said TAO had a catalog of high-tech gadgets for particularly hard-to-crack cases, including computer monitor cables specially modified to record what is being typed across the screen, USB sticks secretly fitted with radio transmitters to broadcast stolen data over the airwaves, and fake base stations intended to intercept mobile phone signals on the go.

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Pot, guns and paparazzi: New laws run gamut in U.S. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:59
Top10StoriesWashin_Pool_rotator
FILE -- In this photo taken April 4, 2013, marijuana plant starts are seen at a growing facility in Seattle. The state beginning to develop rules for a legal pot industry was voted among the state’s top news stories of 2013 by Associated Press member editors. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The new year is bringing a host of new laws taking effect in January or thereabouts. A look at some state and local laws that are making news:

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ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA

COLORADO, MAINE AND WASHINGTON: Colorado pot stores open Jan. 1 as retailers open their doors to the nation's first legal recreational pot industry. Sales in Washington, which also legalized recreational marijuana, are expected to start later in the year. The laws still fly in the face of federal drug rules, but the federal government has said it's not going to fight to shut down pot shops for now. A law legalizing recreational marijuana went into effect in early December in Portland, Maine, but it's largely symbolic because the state has said it will continue to enforce its own ban.

ILLINOIS: It becomes the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana in a pilot project with some of the strictest standards in the nation. However, it may take more than a year to actually buy marijuana as separate state agencies draft rules that must be approved by a legislative committee.

WISCONSIN: Towns and cities can legalize pedal pubs, multiple-person bicycles that ferry riders to and from taverns. A driver steers while multiple riders sit at a bar mounted behind him, each with his or her own pedal-and-chain assembly.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 December 2013 10:33
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Legal pot sales begin amid uncertainty in Colorado PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press   
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:56

DENVER (AP) — A gleaming white Apple store of weed is how Andy Williams sees his new Denver marijuana dispensary.

Two floors of pot-growing rooms will have windows showing the shopping public how the mind-altering plant is grown. Shoppers will be able to peruse drying marijuana buds and see pot trimmers at work separating the valuable flowers from the less-prized stems and leaves.

"It's going to be all white and beautiful," the 45-year-old ex-industrial engineer explains, excitedly gesturing around what just a few weeks ago was an empty warehouse space that will eventually house 40,000 square feet of cannabis strains.

As Colorado prepares to be the first in the nation to allow recreational pot sales, opening Jan. 1, hopeful retailers like Williams are investing their fortunes into the legal recreational pot world — all for a chance to build even bigger ones in a fledgling industry that faces an uncertain future.

Officials in Colorado and Washington, the other state where recreational pot goes on sale in mid-2014, as well as activists, policymakers and governments from around the U.S. and across the world will not be the only ones watching the experiment unfold.

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At least 10 killed in bus explosion in Volgograd PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press   
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:54

MOSCOW (AP) — A bomb blast tore through a trolleybus in the city of Volgograd on Monday morning, killing at least 10 people a day after a suicide bombing that killed at least 17 at the city's main railway station.

The explosions put the city on edge and highlighted the terrorist threat that Russia is facing as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February. Volgograd is about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, where the Olympics are to be held.

The National Anti-Terrorism Committee said the bus explosion came from a bomb that most likely had been placed in the vehicle's passenger area, but there were no further details. The Emergencies Ministry said at least 10 people were killed and news reports said anywhere from 15 to two dozen people were hospitalized.

The explosion ripped away much of the bus's exterior and broke windows in nearby buildings.

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