Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

January 5, 2013, 9:02 am


ALASKA EARTHQUAKE

Tsunami warning canceled after Alaska quake

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Officials have canceled a tsunami warning for parts of southern Alaska and coastal Canada.

The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says a tsunami was generated by a strong, 7.5 magnitude earthquake, but the waves don't pose a threat to the areas.

The center says some areas are seeing small sea level changes, but there will be no widespread destructive wave.

The quake struck about 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska. The police chief in Craig says houses shook, but there were no reports of injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was followed by six aftershocks. The strongest registered a 5.1 and came nearly four hours after the initial quake.

OBAMA-GOP

Obama urges action on debt ceiling

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says he is willing to consider more spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit -- one of the next big items on the agenda in his struggles with Congress.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama also says he "will not compromise" over his insistence that Congress lift the federal debt ceiling. The nation's credit rating was downgraded the last time lawmakers threatened inaction on the debt ceiling, in 2011.

For the Republicans, Michigan Rep. Dave Camp says it's time to "identify responsible ways to tackle Washington's wasteful spending."

He says America's credit cards are maxed-out and there's no money in the bank account so the spending must stop.

FISCAL CLIFF-POLITICS

Talk of GOP primaries follows 'fiscal cliff' vote

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans in Congress who took the risky step of voting to raise taxes are now finding themselves trying to fend off potential primary challenges next year from angry conservatives.

These lawmakers are wasting little time in trying to deliver an explanation that would be acceptable to the tea party and the GOP's right flank, and, perhaps, insulate themselves from a re-election battle against a fellow Republican.

They've started defending the vote as one that preserves tax cuts for most Americans, while promising to fight for spending cuts in upcoming debates over raising the nation's borrowing limit.

It was the first time in two decades that a significant number of Republicans voted for a tax increase; 33 Senate Republicans did so and 85 House members who broke with their GOP majority.

GOP DIVISIONS

Republican Party seems as divided, angry as ever

BOSTON (AP) — The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.

Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from elsewhere in the country.

Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation's highest earners.

The GOP's internal struggles to figure out what it wants to be were painfully exposed after Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, but they have exploded in recent days.

The fallout could extend well beyond the party's ability to win policy battles on Capitol Hill. It could hamper Republicans as they examine how to regroup and attract new voters after a disheartening election season.

SCHOOL-SHOOTING-GUN SHOWS

Gun shows face new scrutiny after school shooting

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Four gun shows about an hour's drive from Newtown, Conn., have been canceled.

Organizers say they weren't appropriate just weeks after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown.

But gun advocates aren't backing down from their insistence on the right to keep and bear arms.

The City Council in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has urged a group to not display military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines at its upcoming gun show.

Organizer David Petronis says it's not fair that the shows and their organizers are seen as the brunt of the problem. But he says he understands the reaction.

The group agreed to the city's request.

INDONESIA-TERRORISM

Report: Indonesia police kill 5 alleged terrorists

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's state-managed news agency is reporting that anti-terrorism police have shot and killed five suspected Islamist militants in eastern Indonesia.

The raids on Friday night and Saturday morning on Sumbawa followed the killings of two suspected militants earlier Friday on Sulawesi island, also in the east of the country.

Antara reported that the country's elite anti-terror squad carried out the operations and that they were linked to the raid in Makassar.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Indonesia was hit by four major al-Qaida-linked bombings between 2002 and 2009, but a sustained police crackdown is thought to have reduced the threat significantly.

However, small groups of local terrorists have carried out several attacks on police around the country over the last two years.

CHINA-KIDS' SHELTER FIRE

China officials take blame in deadly shelter fire

BEIJING (AP) — A local Chinese government has admitted it tolerated the existence of an illegally-run orphanage, where six children and one young adult died in a house fire.

People.com.cn, the official website of the party-run People's Daily, reported Saturday that the Lankao county government in central China's Henan province said Yuan Lihai, operator of the orphanage, illegally took in and cared for 18 abandoned children and young adults at her home but that the government turned a blind eye to it in consideration of her "kind-hearted acts."

The deaths have spotlighted China's lack of government-run child services, which have often left to private citizens with few resources and no legal authority.

The Lankao government says a fire broke out at Yuan's home Friday, killing seven and injuring one 10-year-old boy.

RUSSIA-DEPARDIEU

NEW: Depardieu flies to Russia, may receive passport

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says French actor Gerard Depardieu has flown to Sochi, where he is likely to meet with Putin and receive a Russian passport.

Putin on Thursday approved the actor's application for Russian citizenship, causing a scandal in France, where Depardieu has been fighting a proposed 75 percent income tax on the superrich.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the state RIA Novosti news agency as saying Depardieu arrived Saturday in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and could meet with Putin on Saturday evening.

Peskov said "it cannot be excluded that during the meeting Depardieu could receive a passport."

FRANCE-PLANE CRASH

NEW: Family of 5 dies in plane crash near French Alps

PARIS (AP) — A Moroccan family of five returning home died Saturday when their plane crashed shortly after takeoff from an airport near the French Alps, officials said.

The twin-engine plane hit a hill and crashed in a forest in an uninhabited area outside Grenoble, a city that is the gateway to the Alpine resorts in southeastern France.

Bruno Charlot, a local government official, said all five aboard died. The pilot was flying his wife and their three children home to Morocco, apparently after a vacation in France.

The plane took off Saturday afternoon from Grenoble's airport and quickly disappeared off the radar. Charlot said the weather was clear, and an investigation is under way to determine the cause of the crash.

The crash caused a small fire that extinguished itself even before responders arrived on the scene. No one was hurt on the ground.

SHIFFRIN'S BREAKTHROUGH

US teen Shiffrin approaches WCup top with a giggle

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin is rapidly maturing as a ski racer. Off the slopes, the American still giggles like any other 17-year-old girl.

Her fresh and carefree attitude has kept her grounded in her breakthrough World Cup season, highlighted by her second career victory at Friday's night slalom.

The win sent her to the top of the slalom standings and made her the first American to win two World Cup races before turning 18.

Shiffrin tells The Associated Press she is "trying to find the edge of what I can ski."

Voted World Cup Rookie of the Year last season by her peers, Shiffrin says, "I have to remember that I am only 17 and I feel like a baby sometimes and I don't hide that."

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