Iran seeks concessions in Baghdad nuclear talks
BAGHDAD (AP) — A senior Iranian official says nuclear talks between world powers and Tehran over Iran's atomic program have begun in the Iraqi capital.
Negotiators from the U.S. and five other world powers sat down today with a team of Iranian diplomats to try to hammer out specific goals in the yearslong impasse over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran is demanding that the West outline timetables and steps ahead in gradually addressing international concerns over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions.
The U.S. has been vague about its immediate goals.
Few believe the discussions in Baghdad will yield breakthroughs in the showdowns over Iran's nuclear program.
Egyptians chose leader in post-Mubarak election
CAIRO (AP) — After decades of authoritarian rule, Egyptians are for the first time freely choosing their first president since last year's ouster of longtime ruler and close U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.
Voters lined up as polls opened across this nation of 82 million.
Thirteen candidates, who include Islamists, liberals and Mubarak regime figures, are contesting the election. No outright winner is expected to emerge from the two-day vote starting Wednesday. So, a runoff between the two top finishers will be held June 16-17. The winner will be announced on June 21.
The generals who have taken over from Mubarak when an uprising forced him to step down have promised to hand over power by July 1.
Senator: Prostitution scandal wider than believed
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator says the Secret Service prostitution scandal is wider than believed.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins says ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Colombia last month, small groups of Secret Service employees separately visited clubs, bars and brothels.
In prepared remarks for a Senate hearing today, Collins says the involvement of two veteran Secret Service supervisors sent a message that this kind of activity is tolerated on the road.
Greek banks to get $23 billion from bailout fund
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's four biggest commercial banks will receive a $23 billion cash infusion from the European bailout fund.
The recapitalization comes amid political uncertainty in the debt-stricken country after inconclusive May 6 elections saw a rise in support for anti-bailout parties and cast doubt over whether Greece's future use of the euro currency.
The uncertainty has impacted bank deposits as people have been withdrawing their money to hedge against the country's possible return to its old devalued currency, the drachma.
The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) money will be disbursed today to the National Bank of Greece, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Bank of Piraeus.
Meanwhile, pharmacies across Greece are staging a day-long strike to protest unpaid dues from the largest health care provider.
UN team brokers swap between Syrian regime, rebels
BEIRUT (AP) — A United Nations team in Syria says it has brokered an exchange between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters seeking to topple his regime.
The U.N. said in a statement Tuesday that government forces released two detainees from the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria in exchange for permission to retrieve a destroyed tank.
Video posted online showed members of the U.N. team interacting with both sides and a large trailer removing a charred tank from the town.
More than 250 U.N. observers are in Syria trying to salvage a peace plan to end the country's 14-month-old crisis that the U.N. says has killed more than 9,000 people. But a cease-fire meant to start last month has never fully taken hold, undermining the rest of the plan.
Prosecutor to release evidence in FAMU hazing case
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors are expected to release evidence they have against the 13 people charged in last year's hazing death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion.
A state attorney's office spokeswoman says hundreds of pages of documents and audio files will be released today.
Champion died in November following what authorities have said was a hazing incident on a bus after FAMU's football game in Orlando. Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing and two are charged with misdemeanors.
Champion's autopsy report listed his cause of death as a homicide as the result of repeated blows to his body.
FAMU's famed Marching 100 band was suspended shortly after the incident, and officials announced it will remain sidelined at least through the 2012-2013 school year.
Jury at Edwards trial to deliberate for 4th day
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The jury at the trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards is set to deliberate his fate for a fourth day.
Edwards faces 30 years in prison after pleading not guilty to six campaign finance corruption charges. The jury began considering its decision Friday, after nearly four weeks of testimony.
The jurors ended their talks Tuesday shortly after requesting access to notes from Alex Forger, the lawyer for Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. The 101-year-old heiress provided most of the nearly $1 million in secret payments prosecutors say Edwards used to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Edwards also faces up to $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all counts.
Fla. student to plead guilty to Obama threat
MIAMI (AP) — A Miami college student plans to plead guilty in federal court to threatening President Barack Obama on Facebook.
A plea hearing is set for today afternoon for 20-year-old Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. His attorney says he intends to plead guilty to one count of threatening to kill or harm the president.
Federal prosecutors say Serrapio posted threats on Facebook in February when Obama was in Miami to give a speech.
The posts threatened to put a bullet in the president's head and asked if anyone wanted to help in a presidential assassination.
There's no indication Serrapio intended to act on the threats. His lawyer says Serrapio never wanted to hurt the president.
Serrapio faces a maximum five-year prison sentence. He attends Miami-Dade College and is also a rock musician.
FOOD AND FARM-DYING DAIRIES
Small dairies go under as milk prices sink again
PLAINFIELD, Vt. (AP) — With milk prices projected to fall and fuel costs high, more small dairy farms are going out of business.
Vermont has lost 14 dairy farms this year. A few have started up, but overall, the number of farms continues to drop in a state long known for its milk and cheese.
Third-generation Vermont dairy farmers Michael and Steven MacLaren auctioned off their roughly 200 cows and equipment this month at the Plainfield farm their grandfather bought in 1939.
Economic issues aside, the MacLarens are tired of being tied to the farm seven days a week. They plan to keep the land and grow feed — corn and grass for hay and silage — instead.
Michael MacLaren says it's been "a long hard grind" and he'd like a change.
A ball of one? Lady Gaga unsure of Indonesia show
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Lady Gaga is as confused as anyone about whether she'll be allowed to perform in Indonesia.
Islamic hard-liners have threatened violence, saying her sexy clothes and provocative dance moves could corrupt youth. Police initially denied a permit for the "Born This Way Ball" but are now hinting the concert could ahead if the pop diva toned down the show.
She tweeted Tuesday:
"The Jakarta situation is 2-fold: Indonesian authorities demand I censor the show & religious extremist separately, are threatening violence. If the show does go on as scheduled, I will perform the BTWBall alone."
What she meant wasn't clear, and her promoters have not commented.
Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million people, was supposed to be the biggest show on Lady Gaga's Asian tour.
Astrodome into a multipurpose facility.
Indian state OKs shooting tiger poachers on sight
NEW DELHI (AP) — A western Indian state has declared war on animal poaching by sanctioning its forest guards to shoot hunters on sight in an effort to curb rampant attacks against tigers, elephants and other wildlife.
The government in Maharashtra says injuring or killing suspected poachers while policing animal reserves will not be considered a crime.
About half of the world's estimated 3,200 tigers are in dozens of Indian reserves set up since the 1970s. However, illegal poaching remains a serious threat, with tiger parts sought in traditional Chinese medicine fetching high prices on the black market.
According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, 14 tigers have been killed by poachers so far this year — one more than for all of 2011.
NEW: Police: Pa. officer broke into house, did laundry
AVALON, Pa. (AP) — Dirty clothes have a Pittsburgh-area police officer in hot water.
Rankin police Officer Jason Rocco is charged with trespassing and criminal mischief for allegedly breaking into a neighbor's home to wash his clothes.
Rocco was arraigned Saturday and released on his own recognizance.
WPXI-TV reports the home's owner noticed his electric bill was unusually high, given that he hadn't lived in the house for months. When the owner visited, investigators say he found the dryer running with Rocco's clothes inside.
Avalon police who questioned Rocco say he told investigators the home's back door was already broken and he "just had to do some laundry."
A phone listing for Rocco could not be located Wednesday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.Tags: