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Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC apartment
Written by JAKE COYLE, Associated Press TOM HAYS, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 18:45

NEW YORK (AP) — Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and somewhat dissipated, was found dead Sunday in his apartment with what officials said was a needle in his arm. He was 46.

Two law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the evidence, said the actor apparently died of a drug overdose. Glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were found with him, they said.

Hoffman — no matinee idol, with his lumpy build and limp blond hair — made his career mostly as a character actor, and was one of the most prolific in the business, plying his craft with a rumpled naturalism that also made him one of the most admired performers of his generation.

The stage-trained actor was nominated for Academy Awards four times in all: for "Capote," ''The Master," ''Doubt" and "Charlie Wilson's War." He also received three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, which included an acclaimed turn as the weary and defeated Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman."

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Handlers: Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter
Written by GENE J. PUSKAR, Associated Press MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 09:18

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The handlers for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil say he's forecasting six more weeks of what already has felt like a brutally long and cold winter.

Pennsylvania's famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands of fans around daybreak Sunday.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another month-and-a-half. If he doesn't see it, spring will come early.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by a group called the Inner Circle, whose members don top hats and tuxedos for the annual Groundhog Day ceremony on Gobbler's Knob, the tiny hill in the town for which he's named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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Three die when cell towers collapse in West Virginia
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:44

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A 300-foot cellphone tower collapsed Saturday and minutes later a smaller tower fell, killing two contractors and a firefighter, authorities said.

The contractors were tethered to the larger tower when it collapsed in Clarksburg, State Police Cpl. Mark Waggamon said. A firefighter with the Nutter Fort Fire Department was killed when he was walking from his vehicle to the scene.

Two other contractors working on the larger tower were hurt and taken to a hospital. Waggamon described their injuries as serious but not life-threatening.

Waggamon said three of the workers were more than 60 feet up on the tower. One of those workers was killed along with a co-worker who was about 20 feet up when the tower toppled.

Two other workers at the site were not injured.

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Radicals a wild card in Ukraine's protests
Written by YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:53

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Wearing masks, helmets and protective gear on the arms and legs, radical activists are the wild card of the Ukraine protests now starting their third month, declaring they're ready to resume violence if the stalemate persists.

When the protests started in December, attracting not only tens of thousands of Ukrainians but a flurry of visits from Western officials, the gatherings' determined peacefulness was an integral part of their claim to legitimacy. But in mid-January, the image of placid but principled people changed sharply, to frightening scenes of protesters heaving stones and firebombs at police.

The violence was sparked by the radicals within the larger protest movement, angered by President Viktor Yanukovych's implementation of harsh anti-protest laws and increasingly impatient with the protesters' failure to achieve any of their demands. In a vivid demonstration of frustration, they sprayed opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, the towering former heavyweight boxing champion, with a fire extinguisher when he pleaded for clashes to stop.

An uneasy truce settled in days later after three protesters died, but with no government concessions apparently in the works, the radicals say they're preparing to fight again.

"We are ready for a national mobilization and complete blockade of the government quarter. The time for chatter has passed," the leader of the radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Jarosh, told The Associated Press. The group nominally cooperates with protest leaders, but often sharply differs with their views.

Another radical group, Spilna Sprava (Common Cause), refuses cooperation with the main opposition camp.

Klitschko and opposition comrade Arseniy Yatsenyuk were in Munich on Saturday seeking Western officials' support for the protesters. In the early weeks of the demonstrations, Western officials made a flurry of visits to Ukraine and to speak from the protest's main stage. But since the violence, appearances have been few.

Russia, meanwhile, appears eager to use the radicals to tar the entire protest movement.

On Saturday, speaking at the international security conference in Munich, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lashed out at the West for allegedly inciting "increasingly violent" protests.

"Why don't we hear condemnations of those who seize and hold government buildings, burn, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?" Lavrov said.

The radicals include demonstrators allied with extreme nationalist elements that have an anti-Semitic cast and laud the Ukrainian partisans who fought alongside Nazi soldiers against the Red Army in World War II.

Some factions don't even support closer ties with the European Union, the issue that set off the protests, complaining that the EU is too liberal about gay rights and immigration.

The total number of radicals in the protests is difficult to estimate, but Pravy Sektor alone claims to have some 300 "active fighters" in Kiev and the organization's page on the Facebook analogue Vkontakte shows 150,000 supporters. Spilna Sprava claims thousands of supporters.

Their emergence is clearly a worry to more moderate protest leaders.

"The situation in Ukraine is so tense that radical groups appear like mushrooms after the rain," said Andrew Paruby, coordinator of the volunteer security corps for the mainstream protesters.

After the clashes with police erupted on Jan. 19, Yanukovych made his first efforts toward concessions to the protests. The moves — including an amnesty for arrested protesters if demonstrators leave some buildings they occupy and a repeal of the anti-protest laws — were greeted with disdain by the broad opposition. But the radicals drew the conclusion that these tentative steps indicate they should step up street fighting.

"Peaceful demonstrations didn't give any results and many were disappointed, but we on the barricades forced Yanukovych to become frightened," said a 22-year-old masked radical who gave his name only as Igor.

"Yanukovych only understands the language of force. Only radical actions will force him to go," said Denis Nakhmanovich, a Spilna Sprava member.

__

Associated Press writers David Rising in Munich, Germany, and Jim Heintz in Kiev, Ukraine, contributed to this report.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Pet store owner arrested in fire; puppies saved
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:41

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Fire officials say a Las Vegas pet store owner is accused of setting her business ablaze, but all 28 puppies inside have been rescued.

Clark County Fire Department spokesman John Steinbeck says 35-year-old Gloria Lee was booked into the county jail on suspicion of first-degree arson after the fire early Monday morning at the Prince and Princess Puppy Boutique.

Steinbeck says in a statement issued early Saturday that the 28 puppies could have died if the sprinkler system hadn't activated and firefighters hadn't quickly extinguished the flames.

He says the fire caused $100,000 in damage to the building, but the motive was not immediately clear.

No people were injured.

County animal control officers took possession of the dogs, and they're currently being housed at a local animal shelter.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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