AP News

Mudslide searchers press on with dogs, bare hands PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press PHUONG LE, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 06:15

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — With search and cadaver dogs leading the way, rescuers using small bulldozers and their bare hands pushed through sludge strewn with splintered homes and twisted cars to find 10 more bodies in the debris of a Washington state mudslide, authorities said.

Despite the grim discoveries as the search entered its fifth day Wednesday — and the likelihood that more bodies will be found — officials were still hoping to find survivors.

"We haven't lost hope that there's a possibility that we can find somebody alive in some pocket area," said Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots.

Two bodies were recovered Tuesday, while another eight were located in the debris field from Saturday's slide 55 miles northeast of Seattle, Hots said.

That brings the likely death toll to 24, though authorities are keeping the official toll at 16 until the eight other bodies are recovered.

With scores still missing, authorities are working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names were believed to be duplicates.

Officials: Senate considered phone company option PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 06:14

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Intelligence Committee three years ago secretly considered — but ultimately rejected — alternate ways for the National Security Agency to collect and store massive amounts of Americans' phone records, The Associated Press has learned.

One of those options, outlined in a classified 2011 NSA analysis and reviewed in detail during closed committee meetings, was similar to what President Barack Obama is now advocating: that the government stop the bulk collection of Americans' phone records and instead ask phone companies to search their own business records for terrorism connections.

After reviewing the 2011 NSA analysis, the Senate overseers decided not move forward with any alternate arrangement, according to two government officials familiar with the review. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the classified report.

The 2011 report is significant because not much has changed — operationally — with the NSA's phone records program in the past three years. What has changed is that Americans now know the extent of the once-classified, massive surveillance operation, and they're not happy with what they consider to be invasions of privacy.

Fire chief: Death toll from slide expected to rise PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press PHUONG LE, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 13:48

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — The death toll of 14 from a massive Washington state mudslide is expected to increase as crews continue to search through the soupy, debris-laden field and rainy conditions complicate matters for searchers on the ground and in the air.

"We're expecting that number to go up throughout the day," Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Tuesday.

Dozens of people remain unaccounted for. Authorities are working off a list of 176 potentially missing people, though many of those names likely are duplicates and they think that number will decrease.

Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said officials expect to have an updated list later Tuesday.

The landslide Saturday destroyed a small community 55 miles northeast of Seattle, flattening about two dozen homes and critically injuring several people.

Feds reach out to kids over online predators PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by AMY TAXIN, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 06:10

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Federal agents are reaching out to children to get them to use street smarts online in a nationwide push to prevent sexual exploitation cases.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement will send agents to school auditoriums and community centers across the country to teach teens and tweens — and their parents — how to be safer online and steer clear of Internet predators amid a rise in cases involving the sexual exploitation of children.

Authorities hope the effort being launched on Tuesday will educate the young, savvy Internet users and encourage them to turn to law enforcement since it only takes one child stepping forward to unravel a network of predators that could be preying on scores of victims in a so-called sextortion case.

"What is horrifying about that is many, many of these children are not stepping forward and saying they're being extorted by somebody because they're in fear," said Patrick Redling, chief of ICE's Child Exploitation Investigations division. "By actually putting a face to law enforcement that is working these types of crimes, we are very confident that more kids will come forward."

Four arrested in World Trade Center jump PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 06:09

NEW YORK (AP) — Three extreme-skydiving enthusiasts accused of parachuting off the 1 World Trade Center tower last fall were arrested Monday, authorities said, in a second criminal case in two weeks arising from surreptitious stunts at the nation's tallest skyscraper.

The three daredevils and someone accused of being an accomplice were facing charges including felony burglary in a Sept. 30 leap from the building, where a teenage boy was arrested on March 16. Authorities said the teen had slipped through a gap in a fence, eluded an inattentive security guard and spent about two hours atop the 1,776-foot-tall tower.

The incidents have raised questions about security at the lower Manhattan site, which is supposed to be one of the most tightly protected in the country. The site is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The NYPD said last fall that investigators were looking for two parachutists in dark jumpsuits seen floating near the building around 3 a.m. on Sept. 30, landing by a nearby skyscraper and walking away.

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