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AP News In Brief At 6:04 A.m. EDT
Bombing in diplomatic area of Kabul kills 80, wounds scores
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A massive explosion rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350, an attack that left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.
The target of the attack - which officials said was a suicide car bombing - was not immediately known, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman of the public health ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children.
It was one of the worst attacks Kabul has seen since the drawdown of foreign forces at the end of 2014.
Associated Press images from the scene showed the German Embassy and several other embassies located in the area heavily damaged in the explosion. It wasn`t known if any foreign diplomats were among the casualties but Germany and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees and staff were hurt in the explosion.
The explosion took place at the peak of Kabul`s rush hour when roads are packed with worktime commuters. It went off close to a busy intersection in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
Russia fires cruise missiles, targets IS positions in Syria
MOSCOW (AP) - Russians warships in the Mediterranean Sea have fired four cruise missiles at the Islamic State group`s positions in Syria, the Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said in a statement that the Admiral Essen frigate and the Krasnodar submarine launched the missiles at IS targets in the area of the ancient city of Palmyra. There was no information on when the missiles were launched.
Russia, a staunch Damascus ally, has been providing air cover to Syrian President Bashar Assad`s offensive on the IS since 2015.
Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes captured Palmyra in March last year and Moscow even flew in one of its best classical musicians to play a triumphant concert at Palmyra`s ancient theater. IS forces, however, recaptured Palmyra eight months later before Syrian government troops drove them out again in March this year.
Fighting around Palmyra continues.
10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
Officials say a suicide car bombing in the highly secured area kills at least 80 people and wounds 350 more as the blast sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.
Moscow says its missiles hit the extremists` heavy weapons and fighters whom the group deployed and moved to Palmyra from its stronghold of Raqqa.
A new balance of terror: Why North Korea clings to its nukes
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Early one winter morning, Kim Jong Un stood at a remote observation post overlooking a valley of rice paddies near the Chinese border.
The North Korean leader beamed with delight as he watched four extended range Scud missiles roar off their mobile launchers, comparing the sight to a team of acrobats performing in unison. Minutes later the projectiles splashed into the sea off the Japanese coast, 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from where he was standing.
It was an unprecedented event. North Korea had just run its first simulated nuclear attack on an American military base.
This scene from March 6, described in government propaganda, shows how the North`s seemingly crazy, suicidal nuclear program is neither crazy nor suicidal. Rather, this is North Korea`s very deliberate strategy to ensure the survival of its ruling regime.
Back in the days of Kim Il Sung, North Korea`s \"eternal president\" and Kim Jong Un`s grandfather, the ruling regime decided it needed two things to survive: reliable, long-range missiles and small, but potent, nuclear warheads. For a small and relatively poor country, that was, indeed, a distant and ambitious goal. But it detonated its first nuclear device on Oct. 9, 2006.
Trump`s cellphone diplomacy raises security concerns
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief`s communications.
Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone, according to former and current U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the practice. Of the two, only Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken advantage of the offer so far, the officials said.
Trump also exchanged numbers with French President Emmanuel Macron when the two spoke immediately following Macron`s victory earlier this month, according to a French official, who would not comment on whether Macron intended to use the line.
All the officials demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the conversations. Neither the White House nor Trudeau`s office responded to requests for comment.
The notion of world leaders calling each other up via cellphone may seem unremarkable in the modern, mobile world. But in the diplomatic arena, where leader-to-leader calls are highly orchestrated affairs, it is another notable breach of protocol for a president who has expressed distrust of official channels. The formalities and discipline of diplomacy have been a rough fit for Trump - who, before combien coute une paire d`air max taking office, was long easily accessible by cellphone and viewed himself as freewheeling, impulsive dealmaker.
Unease about white supremacy grows after Portland stabbings
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Unease about white supremacist activity in Portland deepened after the fatal stabbings of two men who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade, and some people worry that the famously tolerant community could see a resurgence of the hostilities that once earned it the nickname \"Skinhead City.\"
The attack aboard a light-rail train happened Friday, the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims. Authorities say Jeremy Joseph Christian started verbally abusing two young women, including one wearing a hijab. When three men on the train intervened, police say, Christian attacked them, killing two and wounding one.
Court documents released Tuesday for the first time mentioned a fourth man who was the first to intervene and was not attacked, but they did not identify him by his full name.
Christian, 35, was defiant during his brief initial court appearance Tuesday, shouting: \"You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism!\"
He made repeated outbursts, saying, \"You`ve got no safe place!\" and \"Death to the enemies of America!\"
Arrested, missing China activists spark criticism of Trump
SHANGHAI (AP) - The arrest and disappearance of three labor activists investigating a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-branded shoes in China prompted a call for her brand to cease working with the supplier and raised questions about whether the first family`s commercial interests would muddy U.S. leadership on human rights.
The men were working with a U.S. nonprofit to publish a report next month alleging low pay, excessive overtime and possible misuse of student labor, according to China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang, who lost contact with the investigators over the weekend. China Labor Watch has been exposing poor working conditions at suppliers to some of the world`s best-known companies for nearly two decades, but Li said his work has never before attracted this level of scrutiny from China`s state security apparatus.
The arrest and disappearances come amid a crackdown on perceived threats to the stability of China`s ruling Communist Party, particularly from sources with foreign ties such as China Labor Watch. Faced with rising labor unrest and a slowing economy, Beijing has taken a stern approach to activism in southern China`s manufacturing belt and to human rights advocates generally, sparking a wave of critical reports about disappearances, public confessions, forced repatriation and torture in custody.
China Labor Watch`s investigation also had an unusual target: a brand owned by the daughter of the president of the United States.
\"Ivanka`s brand should immediately cease its work with this supplier, and the Trump administration should reverse its current course and confront China on its human rights abuses,\" Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a Wednesday email. Ivanka Trump must decide, she added, \"whether she can ignore the Chinese government`s apparent attempt to silence an investigation into those worker abuses.\"
Nest wants your home security camera to recognize you
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Nest Labs is adding Google`s facial recognition technology to a high-resolution home-security camera, offering a glimpse of a future in which increasingly intelligent, internet-connected computers can see and understand what`s going on in people`s homes.
The Nest Cam IQ, unveiled Wednesday, will be Nest`s first device to draw upon the same human-like skills that Google has been programming into its computers - for instance, to identify people in images via its widely used photo app. Facebook deploys similar technology to automatically recognize and recommend tags of people in photos posted on its social network.
The new camera will set you back almost $300, and you`ll also have to pay $10 a month for a plan that includes facial recognition technology. The same plan will also include other features, such as alerts generated by particular sounds - barking dogs, say - that occur out of the camera`s visual range.
The camera will only identify people you select through Nest`s app for iPhones and Android devices. For instance, you could program the device to recognize a child, friend or neighbor, after which it will send you a notifications about that person being in the home. It won`t try to recognize anyone that an owner hasn`t tagged.
NBC`s Megyn Kelly newsmagazine features Putin in debut
NEW YORK (AP) - Megyn Kelly`s debut on NBC News this weekend is a real-life cliffhanger involving Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kelly is in Russia to question Putin onstage Friday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. She`d love a one-on-one exclusive interview that would be featured on the first episode of NBC`s \"Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,\" but it`s not clear if that will happen.
The centerpiece of the multi-topic newsmagazine each week will be newsmaker interviews with Kelly.
The show will compete with CBS` \"60 Minutes\" and air until the NFL season starts.
Column: Woods may have stumbled onto his Kryptonite
It`s worth remembering now that one of the first times \"Tiger Woods\" and \"drugs\" turned up in the same sentence, it was just a punchline.
That was 2007. Woods was still crushing the field at just about every event and the PGA Tour, coincidentally, was hammering out the details on its first formal drug-testing policy. In a lighthearted moment, then-European Tour CEO George O`Grady suggested his American counterparts could save plenty of time and money by testing exactly one golfer: Woods.
\"If he`s clean,\" O`Grady said with nearly flawless logic, \"what does it matter what the rest of them are on?\"
Flip that script forward 10 years and it`s Woods who needs drugs because his body is falling apart like a used car.
He`s had four back surgeries in three years, the last one just a month ago. We already knew he wasn`t coming back anytime soon.
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