As President Barack Obama travels through Asia this coming week, he will confront a region that's warily watching the crisis in Ukraine through the prism of its own territorial tensions with China.


Each of the four countries on Obama's itinerary -- Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines -- has a dispute with Beijing over islands in the South and East China Seas. Their leaders will be weighing Obama's willingness to support them if those conflicts boil over.


'What we can say after seeing what happened to Ukraine is that using force to change the status quo is not acceptable,' said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is in one of the fiercest disputes with China.


Administration officials, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have taken a tougher line on the territorial issues in recent weeks, sternly warning China against the use of military force and noting that the U.S. has treaty obligations to defend Japan in particular. But in an attempt to maintain good relations with China, the U.S. has not formally taken sides on the question of which countries should control which islands.


Analysts say there are concerns that China could be emboldened by the relative ease with which Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine over U.S. objections, as well as the very real possibility that Moscow could take more land. Moreover, some in Asia question Obama's ability to follow through on his security pledges in light of his decision last summer to pull back on plans for a military strike against Syria.


'The heavyweights in the region got very scared by the Syrian decision,' said Douglas Paal, a longtime U.S. diplomat in Asia who now is vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 'They've never seen anything like that. They've always counted on strong executives bringing the Congress along or going around the Congress to make sure that our security guarantees will be honored.'


Obama's advisers say they see little evidence thus far that China has been encouraged by Russia's incursions into Ukraine. Instead, they say Beijing appears to be viewing with concern the Kremlin's attempts to sway pro-Russian populations in areas of Ukraine, given China's own restive minority populations in border regions.


U.S. officials also have tried to keep China from supporting Russia's moves in Ukraine by appealing to Beijing's well-known and vehement opposition to outside intervention in other nations' domestic affairs. Officials say they plan to emphasize that stance when they discuss Asia's territorial disputes with regional leaders this week.


'We have been talking with them about the importance of a strong international front to uphold principles that they and we all hold dear, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, the need for peaceful resolution of disputes,' said Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser. 'And we will continue to have that discussion throughout each of the stops on our trip.'


Obama's eight-day Asia swing is a makeup for a visit he canceled last fall because of the U.S. government shutdown. Leaving Washington on Tuesday, he will stop briefly in Oso, Wash., where mudslides killed dozens of people. He will arrive Wednesday in Japan.


Obama's advisers say there are no plans to scrap the trip if the situation in Ukraine worsens. But the president may have to make decisions while traveling about imposing more penalties against Russia if a deal to ease the crisis collapses.


The U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the European Union signed an agreement Thursday. But already, the prospects of it holding appear slim, with pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine refusing to leave the government buildings they occupy in nearly a dozen cities.


Russia's foreign ministry on Saturday said it would offer strong help to Ukraine, but that responsibility for reducing tensions rested with Ukrainians, not outsiders.


Compared with Russia's actions in Ukraine, China has been relatively restrained in its territorial ambitions. But tensions spiked last fall when Beijing declared an air defense zone over a large part of the East China Sea, including the disputed islands controlled by Japan and a maritime rock claimed by both China and South Korea. China's coast guard also has blocked Filipino ships in the South China Sea in recent weeks.


China claims virtually the entire South China Sea. Nansha is the Chinese name for the Spratlys, a chain of resource-rich islands, islets and reefs claimed partly or wholly by China, the Philippines, Malaysia and other southeast Asian nations.


Former Philippine national security adviser Roilo Golez said he expects to Beijing to avoid Russian-style moves on any of the disputed territories, in large part because China is surrounded by American allies from the East China Sea to the Strait of Malacca and may have to deal with the U.S. military in the region if it undertakes a major act of aggression.


'It would be a folly on the part of China to do anything drastic, to do a Crimea,' Golez said.



JACKSON, Wyo., April 19 (UPI) -- A slow-moving landslide in Jackson, Wyo., sped up Friday, causing a house to split in two, and damage to a road and a drug store parking lot.


The 100-foot-high hillside began sliding April 4, and 42 homes and apartment units were evacuated April 9. At that point the slide was moving about one inch per day.


Officials said the landslide, which is located in the Jackson Hole valley, isn't likely to liquefy and become suddenly destructive like the mudslide that killed 39 people in Oso, Wash., on March 22.


'Is it weeks, is it longer? I really don't know,' said George Machan, a landslide specialist working with the town. 'I think it's really unpredictable how long it might take. I don't expect it to end in a day.'

The speed of the landslide increased to about one foot per day on Friday.


Live webcam footage of the slow-moving landslide has been posted online.


[ Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune]


© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.



A Pennsylvania high school student is in hot water for asking Miss America to prom during a question and answer session at school.


Eighteen-year-old Patrick Farves said he received three days of in-school suspension Thursday because he asked Nina Davuluri to prom.


The senior at Central York High School stood up and popped the prom question, then walked to the stage with a plastic flower. Davuluri just laughed and the students cheered.


... asked her if I could get a selfie with her. And she was like maybe later, and I never got the selfie.

- Patrick Farves


'She just kind of laughed and I gave her the little flower I got,' Farves told Fox43.com.


'And I went up and I gave her the flower and asked her if I could get a selfie with her. And she was like maybe later, and I never got the selfie,' Farves said.


School officials heard about Farves' plan in advance and warned him not to do it. He has apologized for disrupting the event.


The school says students are disciplined for breaking rules and this incident is no different. The district told Fox43.com that is is not a practice to discipline a student for asking someone to a dance, but administrators work to 'ensure rules are followed without our schools.'


For now, Farves still hasn't settled on a date. 'For prom I'm probably just, I don't know, I might go alone,' Farves told Fox43.com.


Davuluri was at the school to talk with students about diversity and the importance of science, technology, engineering and math studies.


Click for more from Fox43.com. TRIBUNBERITA.BLOGSPOT.COM contributed to this report.

WASHINGTON - Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.


Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin 's Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state.


Mr. Obama has concluded that even if there is a resolution to the current standoff over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he will never have a constructive relationship with Mr. Putin, aides said. As a result, Mr. Obama will spend his final two and a half years in office trying to minimize the disruption Mr. Putin can cause, preserve whatever marginal cooperation can be saved and otherwise ignore the master of the Kremlin in favor of other foreign policy areas where progress remains possible.



'That is the strategy we ought to be pursuing,' said Ivo H. Daalder, formerly Mr. Obama's ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 'If you just stand there, be confident and raise the cost gradually and increasingly to Russia, that doesn't solve your Crimea problem and it probably doesn't solve your eastern Ukraine problem. But it may solve your Russia problem.'


The manifestation of this thinking can be seen in Mr. Obama's pending choice for the next ambassador to Moscow. While not officially final, the White House is preparing to nominate John F. Tefft, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.


When the search began months ago, administration officials were leery of sending Mr. Tefft because of concern that his experience in former Soviet republics that have flouted Moscow's influence would irritate Russia. Now, officials said, there is no reluctance to offend the Kremlin.


In effect, Mr. Obama is retrofitting for a new age the approach to Moscow that was first set out by the diplomat George F. Kennan in 1947 and that dominated American strategy through the fall of the Soviet Union. The administration's priority is to hold together an international consensus against Russia, including even China, its longtime supporter on the United Nations Security Council.


While Mr. Obama's long-term approach takes shape, though, a quiet debate has roiled his administration over how far to go in the short term. So far, economic advisers and White House aides urging a measured approach have won out, prevailing upon a cautious president to take one incremental step at a time out of fear of getting too far ahead of skittish Europeans and risking damage to still-fragile economies on both sides of the Atlantic.


The White House has prepared another list of Russian figures and institutions to sanction in the next few days if Moscow does not follow through on an agreement sealed in Geneva on Thursday to defuse the crisis, as Obama aides anticipate. But the president will not extend the punitive measures to whole sectors of the Russian economy, as some administration officials prefer, absent a dramatic escalation.


The more hawkish faction in the State and Defense Departments has grown increasingly frustrated, privately worrying that Mr. Obama has come across as weak and unintentionally sent the message that he has written off Crimea after Russia's annexation. They have pressed for faster and more expansive sanctions, only to wait while memos sit in the White House without action. Mr. Obama has not even imposed sanctions on a list of Russian human rights violators waiting for approval since last winter.


'They're playing us,' Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said of the Russians, expressing a sentiment that is also shared by some inside the Obama administration. 'We continue to watch what they're doing and try to respond to that,' he said on CNN on Friday. 'But it seems that in doing so, we create a policy that's always a day late and a dollar short.'


The prevailing view in the West Wing, though, is that while Mr. Putin seems for now to be enjoying the glow of success, he will eventually discover how much economic harm he has brought on his country. Mr. Obama's aides noted the fall of the Russian stock market and the ruble, capital flight from the country and the increasing reluctance of foreign investors to expand dealings in Russia.


They argued that while American and European sanctions have not yet targeted wide parts of the Russian economy, they have sent a message to international businesses, and that just the threat of broader measures has produced a chilling effect. If the Russian economy suffers over the long term, senior American officials said, then Mr. Putin's implicit compact with the Russian public promising growth for political control could be sundered.


That may not happen quickly, however, and in the meantime, Mr. Obama seems intent on not letting Russia dominate his presidency. While Mr. Obama spends a lot of time on the Ukraine crisis, it does not seem to absorb him. Speaking privately with visitors, he is more likely to bring up topics like health care and the Republicans in Congress than Mr. Putin. Ukraine, he tells people, is not a major concern for most Americans, who are focused on the economy and other issues closer to home.


Since returning from a trip to Europe last month, Mr. Obama has concentrated his public schedule around issues like job training and the minimum wage. Even after his diplomatic team reached the Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis last week, Mr. Obama headed to the White House briefing room not to talk about that but to hail new enrollment numbers he said validated his health care program.


Reporters asked about Ukraine anyway, as he knew they would, and he expressed skepticism about the prospects of the Geneva accord that his secretary of state, John Kerry, had just brokered. But when a reporter turned the subject back to health care, Mr. Obama happily exclaimed, 'Yeah, let's talk about that.'


That represents a remarkable turnaround from the start of Mr. Obama's presidency, when he nursed dreams of forging a new partnership with Russia. Now the question is how much of the relationship can be saved. Mr. Obama helped Russia gain admission to the World Trade Organization; now he is working to limit its access to external financial markets.


But the two sides have not completely cut off ties. American troops and equipment are still traveling through Russian territory en route to and from Afghanistan. Astronauts from the two countries are currently in orbit together at the International Space Station, supplied by Russian rockets. A joint program decommissioning old Russian weapons systems has not been curtailed.


Nuclear inspections under the New Start arms control treaty Mr. Obama signed in his first term continue. The Air Force still relies on rockets with Russian-made engines to launch military satellites into space, although it is reviewing that. The United States has not moved to try to push Russia out of the W.T.O. And the Obama administration is still working with Russia on disarming Syria's chemical weapons and negotiating a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.


'You can't isolate everything from a general worsening of the relationship and the rhetoric,' said Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and an adviser to multiple administrations on Russia and defense policy. 'But there's still very high priority business that we have to try to do with Russia.'


Still, the relationship cannot return to normal either, even if the Ukraine situation is settled soon, specialists said. 'There's really been a sea change not only here but in much of Europe about Russia,' said Robert Nurick, a Russia expert at the Atlantic Council. 'A lot of the old assumptions about what we were doing and where we were going and what was possible are gone, and will stay that way as long as Putin's there.'


Mr. Nurick said discussion had already begun inside the administration about where and under what conditions the United States might engage with Russia in the future. 'But I can't imagine this administration expending a lot of political capital on this relationship except to manage it so that the other things they care about a lot more than Russia are not injured too badly,' he said.


WASHINGTON - Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.


Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin 's Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state.


Mr. Obama has concluded that even if there is a resolution to the current standoff over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he will never have a constructive relationship with Mr. Putin, aides said. As a result, Mr. Obama will spend his final two and a half years in office trying to minimize the disruption Mr. Putin can cause, preserve whatever marginal cooperation can be saved and otherwise ignore the master of the Kremlin in favor of other foreign policy areas where progress remains possible.



'That is the strategy we ought to be pursuing,' said Ivo H. Daalder, formerly Mr. Obama's ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 'If you just stand there, be confident and raise the cost gradually and increasingly to Russia, that doesn't solve your Crimea problem and it probably doesn't solve your eastern Ukraine problem. But it may solve your Russia problem.'


The manifestation of this thinking can be seen in Mr. Obama's pending choice for the next ambassador to Moscow. While not officially final, the White House is preparing to nominate John F. Tefft, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.


When the search began months ago, administration officials were leery of sending Mr. Tefft because of concern that his experience in former Soviet republics that have flouted Moscow's influence would irritate Russia. Now, officials said, there is no reluctance to offend the Kremlin.


In effect, Mr. Obama is retrofitting for a new age the approach to Moscow that was first set out by the diplomat George F. Kennan in 1947 and that dominated American strategy through the fall of the Soviet Union. The administration's priority is to hold together an international consensus against Russia, including even China, its longtime supporter on the United Nations Security Council.


While Mr. Obama's long-term approach takes shape, though, a quiet debate has roiled his administration over how far to go in the short term. So far, economic advisers and White House aides urging a measured approach have won out, prevailing upon a cautious president to take one incremental step at a time out of fear of getting too far ahead of skittish Europeans and risking damage to still-fragile economies on both sides of the Atlantic.


The White House has prepared another list of Russian figures and institutions to sanction in the next few days if Moscow does not follow through on an agreement sealed in Geneva on Thursday to defuse the crisis, as Obama aides anticipate. But the president will not extend the punitive measures to whole sectors of the Russian economy, as some administration officials prefer, absent a dramatic escalation.


The more hawkish faction in the State and Defense Departments has grown increasingly frustrated, privately worrying that Mr. Obama has come across as weak and unintentionally sent the message that he has written off Crimea after Russia's annexation. They have pressed for faster and more expansive sanctions, only to wait while memos sit in the White House without action. Mr. Obama has not even imposed sanctions on a list of Russian human rights violators waiting for approval since last winter.


'They're playing us,' Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said of the Russians, expressing a sentiment that is also shared by some inside the Obama administration. 'We continue to watch what they're doing and try to respond to that,' he said on CNN on Friday. 'But it seems that in doing so, we create a policy that's always a day late and a dollar short.'


The prevailing view in the West Wing, though, is that while Mr. Putin seems for now to be enjoying the glow of success, he will eventually discover how much economic harm he has brought on his country. Mr. Obama's aides noted the fall of the Russian stock market and the ruble, capital flight from the country and the increasing reluctance of foreign investors to expand dealings in Russia.


They argued that while American and European sanctions have not yet targeted wide parts of the Russian economy, they have sent a message to international businesses, and that just the threat of broader measures has produced a chilling effect. If the Russian economy suffers over the long term, senior American officials said, then Mr. Putin's implicit compact with the Russian public promising growth for political control could be sundered.


That may not happen quickly, however, and in the meantime, Mr. Obama seems intent on not letting Russia dominate his presidency. While Mr. Obama spends a lot of time on the Ukraine crisis, it does not seem to absorb him. Speaking privately with visitors, he is more likely to bring up topics like health care and the Republicans in Congress than Mr. Putin. Ukraine, he tells people, is not a major concern for most Americans, who are focused on the economy and other issues closer to home.


Since returning from a trip to Europe last month, Mr. Obama has concentrated his public schedule around issues like job training and the minimum wage. Even after his diplomatic team reached the Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis last week, Mr. Obama headed to the White House briefing room not to talk about that but to hail new enrollment numbers he said validated his health care program.


Reporters asked about Ukraine anyway, as he knew they would, and he expressed skepticism about the prospects of the Geneva accord that his secretary of state, John Kerry, had just brokered. But when a reporter turned the subject back to health care, Mr. Obama happily exclaimed, 'Yeah, let's talk about that.'


That represents a remarkable turnaround from the start of Mr. Obama's presidency, when he nursed dreams of forging a new partnership with Russia. Now the question is how much of the relationship can be saved. Mr. Obama helped Russia gain admission to the World Trade Organization; now he is working to limit its access to external financial markets.


But the two sides have not completely cut off ties. American troops and equipment are still traveling through Russian territory en route to and from Afghanistan. Astronauts from the two countries are currently in orbit together at the International Space Station, supplied by Russian rockets. A joint program decommissioning old Russian weapons systems has not been curtailed.


Nuclear inspections under the New Start arms control treaty Mr. Obama signed in his first term continue. The Air Force still relies on rockets with Russian-made engines to launch military satellites into space, although it is reviewing that. The United States has not moved to try to push Russia out of the W.T.O. And the Obama administration is still working with Russia on disarming Syria's chemical weapons and negotiating a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.


'You can't isolate everything from a general worsening of the relationship and the rhetoric,' said Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and an adviser to multiple administrations on Russia and defense policy. 'But there's still very high priority business that we have to try to do with Russia.'


Still, the relationship cannot return to normal either, even if the Ukraine situation is settled soon, specialists said. 'There's really been a sea change not only here but in much of Europe about Russia,' said Robert Nurick, a Russia expert at the Atlantic Council. 'A lot of the old assumptions about what we were doing and where we were going and what was possible are gone, and will stay that way as long as Putin's there.'


Mr. Nurick said discussion had already begun inside the administration about where and under what conditions the United States might engage with Russia in the future. 'But I can't imagine this administration expending a lot of political capital on this relationship except to manage it so that the other things they care about a lot more than Russia are not injured too badly,' he said.


Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- A 'carefully orchestrated' drone strike in Yemen on Saturday killed at least 10 suspected militants, but it also resulted in the deaths of three civilian laborers, a high-level Yemeni government official told CNN.


'This was a joint U.S.-Yemeni operation,' the official said. 'Intelligence on this was top-notch, and Intelligence gathering was going on for some time.'


'Unfortunately,' the official said, 'a civilian truck was also hit.'


The strike, which killed at least 15 people, hit a pickup in al-Hazemiyah district of al-Bayda province, three Yemeni Defense Ministry sources said. The militants were heading to neighboring Shabwa province, a hotbed for al Qaeda, they said.


'The truck targeted carried 11 militants. The targeting came while they were in transit after leaving a training site. Ten were killed and one was injured,' the source said.


A civilian truck carrying five day laborers was struck in the drone assault,' the official said. Three died and two were injured.


'The Yemeni government is being very careful gathering intel before these strikes to avoid civilian casualties,' the high-level official said.


This operation occurred after the recent emergence of a video showing a large gathering of al Qaeda members in Yemen. But there is no indication -- at this point -- that this strike had anything to do with the video, made last month and aired by CNN earlier this week.


'The strike today had nothing to do with the tape showing the gathering of AQAP,' the official said, referring to the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militant group. 'This operation was in the making for some time, as AQAP has stepped up its attacks against military targets and government officials in Bayda.'


'We have had our eyes on them'

A death toll issued earlier Saturday by the three Yemen Defense Ministry officials was slightly higher. They said 12 suspected militants were killed and three nearby civilians died in an operation they regard as successful.


Documenting death by drone

'The militants were on a coordinating mission, and we have had our eyes on them for quite a while now,' a senior Defense Ministry official told CNN on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.


A source from the region said the strike was aimed at three 'well-known' AQAP operatives linked to a training camp in southern Yemen. But nobody killed in the strike was believed to be among AQAP's senior leadership, the source said. The targets of the drone strike have been closely monitored for some time during their training camp activities, the source said.


Salem al-Kashm, an eyewitness to the airstrike, said three civilians who were traveling in a separate vehicle were also killed.


'Our vehicle was 15 meters from the attacked pickup, and the shrapnel from the strike poured on our car. Minutes after the first attack a second attack took place killing three of my friends in process,' said .


'The drone then kept going in circles after the attack to ensure that none of the militants were able to escape,' he said.


Yemen's al Qaeda threat

One of the Defense MInistry officials said, 'It's unfortunate the civilians were there in the wrong time.' Four civilians injured in the drone strike were given immediate medical attention.


The United States is the only country known to have conducted drone strikes in Yemen.


So far this year, including Saturday's strike, there have been eight drone attacks in the country, according to Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst.


Only this week, Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said that Yemen could handle the al Qaeda threat alone. 'Security is one of the main challenges facing Yemen,' al-Qirbi said.


Even though more voices have risen within Yemen in opposition to U.S.-led drone strikes, President Abdu Rabu Hadi has shown no sign his counterterrorism strategy will change, especially since al Qaeda has proved to be a bigger threat than anticipated.


But his stance has angered some parliamentarians.


'It's a black dot for President Hadi to allow drones to roam our skies and kill our people,' said Ali al-Mamari, a prominent member of parliament.


New al Qaeda video signals new round of plotting

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP and located in Yemen, is considered the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate. The CIA and the Pentagon have repeatedly killed AQAP leaders with drone strikes.


The recently released new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.


In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda's crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen.


Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States.


But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.


In a speech to the group, al-Wuhayshi makes it clear that he's going after the United States, saying 'We must eliminate the cross. ... The bearer of the cross is America!'


The video started appearing on jihadist websites recently, drawing the attention of U.S. officials and global terrorism experts.


U.S. officials believe the highly produced video is recent and authentic. With some fighters' faces blurred, there is worry it signals a new round of plotting. Every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.


Many drone strikes have been launched against militants in Yemen over the years.That this gathering was not targeted suggests that theCIA and the Pentagon either didn't know about it or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike.


'The U.S. intelligence community should be surprised that such a large group of al Qaeda assembled together, including the leadership, and somehow they didn't notice,' said Bergen.


'The main problem about this group is that it has a bomb maker who can put bombs onto planes that can't be detected,' he said.


That bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to be responsible for several attack attempts against the United States, including the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber attack in Detroit.


Al-Asiri doesn't appear in the video. He remains in hiding, and intelligence experts say he and other AQAP leaders have gone back to using couriers to communicate to avoid detection. That makes it even harder to figure out what al-Wuhayshi may order next.


But the terror group leader's goal is clear, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said.


'His message to the United States,' Cruickshank said, 'was very much the same as (former al Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden's: 'We're coming after you.' '


CNN's Hakim Almasmari reported from Sanaa, Yemen. Barbara Starr reported from Washington. Yousuf Basil and Joe Sterling contributed to this report



If expanding the guest list to include Michelle Obama at graduation for high school students in the Kansas capital city means fewer seats for friends and family, some students and their parents would prefer the first lady not attend.


A furor over what the Topeka school district considers an honor has erupted after plans were announced for Obama to address a combined graduation ceremony for five area high schools next month an 8,000-seat arena. For some, it was the prospect of a tight limit on the number of seats allotted to each graduate. For others, it was the notion that Obama's speech, tied to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawing segregation in schools, would overshadow the student's big day.


'I'm a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself,' said Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight. 'I've told him education is the only way out. This is one of the biggest days of their lives. They've taken the glory and shine from the children and put on Mrs. Obama. She doesn't know our kids.'


Hernandez was among the parents and students who spoke Thursday at a school board meeting and urged district officials to reconsider their decision to invite Obama. Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka school district, said Friday discussions were under way to work out the logistics and planning for the event, including how many tickets each family would be allotted.


'We will have a clearer picture of what's going on,' Harbaugh said.


Harbaugh said officials asked the president or first lady to speak at graduation as a tie-in with the anniversary of the Brown decision, which outlawed school segregation. The district plans to place a priority on seating students and their families, and could broadcast the event to an overflow room at a hotel adjacent to the graduation arena for those unable to find a seat inside.


That's not good enough for Taylor Gifford, 18, who started an online petition Thursday evening to urge the district to reconsider its plans. She and the more than 1,200 people who had signed it expressed concern that Obama's visit would limit the seating options for family and friends.


'I really would like it to have a peaceful solution, but there is so much misinformation going on,' Gifford said.


Gifford said her initial reaction to the news was excitement, saying she was 'freaking out' about the prospect of the first lady speaking at graduation. When rumors of limited tickets surfaced, Gifford felt like the focus was being shifted from the students to Obama.


'People think it's a great opportunity, but it's the graduates' time. They are getting that diploma that they worked so hard for,' Gifford said. 'Families are feeling that they are being cheated out of the loved ones special day.'


Abbey Rubottom, 18, a Topeka High senior, described herself as a 'die-hard Democrat' but doesn't like the idea of Obama sharing the stage with graduates.


'No disrespect for the first lady, and it's amazing that she wants to come speak, I just think it doesn't belong at graduation,' Rubottom said.


Rubottom suggested separate ceremonies with Obama speaking at one and the address being replayed at the other.


Some people have said bringing in the first lady politicizes the graduation. Others have suggested that if she wants to mark the Brown anniversary, she could just visit the historic site that commemorates the decision, which is just few blocks from the graduation venue.


The Brown site is housed in a former all-black school where the lead plaintiff's daughter and another plaintiff's child in the desegregation case were students. It tells the story of the 1954 Supreme Court decision.


Messages seeking comment from the first lady's office in Washington were not immediately returned Friday.


First Posted: Apr 18, 2014 04:01 PM EDT



Just in time for the Easter weekend, Miranda Kerr shows a completely different side of the religious holiday, as she becomes a Playboy bunny.


The Australian model took to her Instagram account to post a racy snippet of Love Magazine's latest photo shoot. In the clip, she writhes around, surrounded by Easter-themed props like the baskets filled with Easter eggs. 'Sneak Peek of my new Easter video for #thelovemagazine by @kegrand Shot by @seanthomas_photo,' she wrote the following caption.


The 30-year-old sports a black leotard while showing off her flawless toned body and seductively licking on a pink and white swirl lollipop. Another shot features her wearing a pair of light pink Playboy-style bunny ears, as well as a pair of sheer pantyhose.


Kerr is seen tying a ribbon onto a basket of Easter eggs and flicking her brunette hair, before giving a sexy pout to the camera and blowing a kiss for her fans and followers. The former Victoria's Secret model also puts a piece of candy in her mouth and bites her finger towards the end of the video.


Miranda Kerr is going to celebrate her 31st birthday on Easter Sunday. She plans to spend the holidays by hanging out with her three-year-old son Flynn on an Easter egg hunt. She is also going to do a lot of cooking while she catches up with her friends, who are traveling from Australia to spend the holidays with her.


When Helen Felumlee passed away at the age of 92 Saturday morning, her family knew her husband Kenneth Felumlee, 91, wouldn't be slow to follow her. The couple couldn't bear to be apart very long, and Kenneth passed away only 15½ hours after his wife of 70 years.


'We knew when one went, the other was going to go,' said daughter Linda Cody to the Zanesville Times Recorder. 'We wanted them to go together, and they did.'


After Kenneth had his leg amputated 2½ years ago because of circulation problems, Helen became his main caretaker, making sure he got everything he needed. She continued this up until three weeks before their deaths, when she became too frail to care for him.


'She was so weak, she could hardly do it,' Cody said. 'But she was still pushing his chair; she was still filling his water cup.'


When Kenneth's health started to fail, Helen began sleeping on the couch to be near him. The two hadn't slept apart in 70 years, the family said. Years ago, when the two took an overnight ferry equipped with bunk-beds, they chose to both sleep on the bottom bunk rather than be separated for even a night.


Soon after Kenneth, Helen's health also started to go downhill, and she was confined to a hospital bed near the end of her life. Kenneth took this particularly hard.


'He would just reach out and grab her hand, but he would keep his head down because he couldn't stand to see her hurting,' Cody said.


Upon his wife's death, Kenneth was ready to join her, family said. 'She was staying strong for Dad and he was staying strong for her,' Cody said. 'That's what kept them going.'



Kenneth and Helen Felumlee of Nashport, Ohio, posing here in the 1940s.(Photo: AP)


Helen and Kenneth's love story began when they were just 18 and 19 after Kenneth's ex-girlfriend, a friend to Helen, introduced the two. They immediately hit it off, dating for three years before deciding to elope.


Lying to their parents, the two said they were taking a day trip to Kentucky to visit Kenneth's old basketball coach. Heading to the courthouse with only $5 in their pockets, Kenneth and Helen arrived with barely enough to pay the $2 fee. The couple were wed Feb. 20, 1944, two days before Kenneth was legally old enough to get married. 'He couldn't wait,' son Jim Felumlee said.


When the couple returned, they were too nervous to tell their parents right away, so they lived separately several weeks until Kenneth developed the courage to break the news of their elopement.


'I would have liked to have been there for that conversation,' Cody said.


The newly official Felumlee family grew almost immediately, as Helen quickly became pregnant with the first of their eight children.


Caring for a household of eight children was no easy task, but the couple was determined to make it work. Both Helen and Kenneth had grown up working, and they weren't afraid to put in the extra effort.


Kenneth worked at the B&O/Chessie Systems Railroad as a car inspector while also operating Felumlee's Garage. He later worked as a rural mail carrier for the Nashport Post Office. In addition, he was active in his Nashport-Irville United Methodist Church as a Sunday school teacher and member of the Council on Ministry and administrative board. He also was a member of the board of education from Frazeysburg-Nashport schools, Tri-Valley schools, and the Muskingum County School Board.


His children recall him coming home from one job, grabbing the only hour or two of sleep that he ever operated on, and then heading off to his other job. At night, it wasn't uncommon for Kenneth to leave the house in order to go help someone whose plumbing or car had broken. 'Some days, he wouldn't sleep,' Jim said.



In this Dec. 29, 2012, Kenneth and Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, Ohio, pose for a photo with their eight children.(Photo: Dick Felumlee AP)


The long absences could be hard to deal with, but Helen supported Kenneth in all his endeavors. 'There would be hours he wasn't here, and she had all these kids, but she understood that it was a need in him to help other people,' Cody said.


Helen spent her days cooking and cleaning not only for her growing family, but for other families in need in the area. She even changed diapers for a neighbor's child, as the father was not keen on the task. She taught Sunday school and served on the Council on Ministry and Friendship Circle at the church, but was known even more for her greeting card ministry.


Not only would Helen just send birthday cards, she would also send sympathy cards, greeting cards and holiday cards to everyone in her community, each with a personal note inside.


'She kept Hallmark in business,' daughter-in-law Debbie Felumlee joked.


Jim added, 'If you would forget your birthday, she would remind you.'


Together, the couple served their community, were active in the lives of their many grandchildren, and visited nursing homes on Sunday. Beloved by the community, Kenneth was jokingly dubbed the 'self-appointed mayor of Nashport' by those that knew him well.


When Kenneth retired in 1983 and the children began to leave the house, the Felumlees began to explore their love of travel, visiting almost all 50 states by bus.


'He didn't want to fly anywhere, because you couldn't see anything as you were going,' said Jim.


The two grew with every day, their children said, and remained deeply in love until the very end. Even in their last days, Helen and Kenneth would eat breakfast together while holding hands.


About 12 hours after Helen died, Kenneth looked at his children and said, 'Mom's dead.' He quickly began to fade, and was surrounded by 24 of his closest family members and friends when he died Sunday morning.


'It was a wonderful going away party,' Cody said. 'He was ready. He just didn't want to leave her here by herself.'


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SYDNEY (AP) - A powerful earthquake has struck off the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but a tsunami warning was in effect.


The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-7.5 earthquake that struck late Saturday was located 75 kilometers (47 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island. It struck at a depth of 31 kilometers (19 miles).


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but said it was not known whether a tsunami had been generated.


Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea. The country lies on the 'Ring of Fire' - an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.


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Home Movies Sexy Sofia Vergara: 'I'm Not Going to Play a Scientist or an...



Imagine John Turturro portraying a sexual dynamo for hire whose expertise is satisfying the emotional and sensual needs of lonely middle-aged women. They are portrayed, no less, by Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone and Vanessa Paradis.


You buy this premise in 'Fading Gigolo,' which Turturro also wrote and directed, because his character, Fioravante, an underemployed florist turned gigolo, is such a sweet and lovable character., Fioravante's skill is less in sexual technique than in really listening to what women want.


Add to the wacky plot that Woody Allen is cast as a former bookstore proprietor turned sexual procurer, who goes by the porn name Dan Bongo. He calls Turturro's character his 'ho.'


This past week, Turturro, Paradis and Turturro participated in a press conference at the Crosby Street Hotel to promote 'Fading Gigolo.' Journalists were e-mailed beforehand not to bring up Woody Allen's personal life or anything to do with Mia Farrow, and to just stick to his role in the film.


It turns out 'Fading Gigolo' came about in an offhand remark Turturro made to his barber, who he shares with Allen. He told the barber he wanted to make a movie where he played a prostitute and Woody Allen played his pimp. The barber relayed the movie suggestion to Allen, who called him soon afterwards and told him he was in.


'He just told me to write the draft and he would give me his feedback,' Turturro explained. 'I didn't know what that meant exactly and then when I received it, I was like, 'Whoa! Wow! This is feedback!' It was brutal basically, but it was a first stab at something and I hadn't really kind of gotten into the world personally yet.'


Turturro said Allen had a lot of ideas that were broad but not specific. 'Right after that he said, 'Don't you want to do something more sophisticated?' and I said yes, but he didn't' tell me how to do that, so I had to find my own way and basically I would do another draft and he would say, 'This works, and you should develop that,' whatever.' He made some very good comments without telling me what to do.'


Allen's big contribution was suggestions on how make the film more nuanced. Then in the middle of the project Turturro, who worked on and off on the film for two years, directed one of Allen's one-act plays on Broadway and they became closer. 'You see some of our relationship in the movie in an imaginary circumstance and that wouldn't have been if we hadn't gotten to know each other that way.'


The first day on set Allen flubbed his lines and Turturro freaked a little. 'And I was thinking, 'Oh my God!' he skipped like three paragraphs and my first note to him after cut was, 'I think you jumped from here to here and he was like, 'Oh God!' and so, I was looking a him thinking, I have to actually tell Woody Allen what to do.' After about 30 minutes, Turturro said, it was ok. 'He was really easy to work with and he was good with everyone. And he was good off camera.'


The movie is shot on film, Turturro said, because he wanted the softness and sensuality of the skin tones and the vivacity of the cultural and racial diversity of New York City. In another quirky twist, Allen's character is married to an African-American woman (Tonya Pinkins) and they have a trio of boisterous children.


'He was great with those kids because they treated him like, they didn't know who he was,' Turturro said. 'They were like, you're just an old man. One of the kids, Isaiah (Clifton), would step on Woody's foot whenever Woody would forget any lines and Woody would yell, 'Why are you stepping on my foot?'


'Fading Gigolo' also stars Sofia Vergara - gorgeous from every angle - wore sky-high stilettos that elicited 'Oohs and aahs' from journalists from the moment she shimmied into the press conference.


Vergara was asked how she got into character to play a sexy woman who finds her perfect man. (She plays best friend to Sharon Stone's character, a successful dermatologist who feels a sexual spark missing from her marriage and suggests a ménage a trois with her and Turturro.)


'I don't think we were looking for the right man. We were praying for the right man,' Vergara replied. 'I don't that we were putting too much thought into it. It was like handed to them and personally for me it's chemistry, and I think these women were a little bit, they needed maybe to do this in their life because they have a little emptiness, something, even though you see that they're powerful, beautiful. They're successful, worldly. I think when you need to do something like this it's because you're lacking something and I guess - I don't want to judge them - I think if this was what they needed at the moment in their life and they had the money and they could afford it, why not?'


'Good answer,' Turturro added.


Paradis (Johnny Depp's ex, with whom she has two children) was asked the same question. In another offbeat casting choice, she play Avigal, a widowed Crown Heights Hasidic woman with six children, who is lonely and yearns for something missing in her life that she finds in Fioravante, introduced to her by Bongo. (Liev Schreiber plays a bumbling neighborhood Hasidic cop who secretly has a crush on her.)


'My character is not looking for it, but Woody Allen's character, starts to inform her that there's something else in her that she's seeking, in the character that I'm playing,' Paradis said, 'She's really interested in knowing what's there, five miles away' in Manhattan. She's motivated by 'curiosity and wanting to be happy.'


Vergara, who's as much of a live wire in real life as the character she plays in the hit sitcom 'Modern Family,' was asked if she didn't feel boxed in by her sexy, funny, bombshell parts. Maybe she yearned for really dramatic roles, in black-and-white films?


'I don't think like this,' Vergara replied. 'I don't think I can play a scientist or an astronaut.'


'Maybe an astronaut,' Turturro laughed.


'I think you know, you have to know your limitations. Of course I'm not going to tell my agent, you have to let them see me, they're casting 'Schindler's List,' I want to be in that movie.'


'I know where I can have fun and do a good job and I met John and I knew, I'm very insecure about the acting because I've never done it until recently and I knew I like to be directed and he told me exactly what he wanted from me and he was a lot of fun I think you have to be grateful,' she said. 'After all the opportunities like this movie that I have gotten I don't think I have to be complaining, oh they don't let me cry or let me raped in a movie.'


As for the threesome, Stone and Vergara are dressed more modestly than Turturro, who wore black bikini underpants. Vergara admitted she had some qualms about the scene.


'I've never done anything like that, so I was coming a little nervous, but I think he was more nervous than I so once I saw him so nervous I got relaxed.'


At the end of the conference the actors posed for group shots.


'My boobs are going to move,' Vergara laughed when Turturro hugged her.


Ever the director, he told a photographer, 'That's not a good angle. Too much over there. You should never shoot from a low angle with ladies.'



All authorities are saying for sure is that they found the lifeless body of a small boy, apparently cast off the side of a highway in central Massachusetts.


An autopsy should reveal if the child is Jeremiah Oliver, the Fitchburg 5-year-old missing for months before police learned of his disappearance.


Jeremiah's case has led to criminal charges against his mother and her boyfriend and calls for changes within the state's child welfare agency. Three Massachusetts workers have been fired.


Authorities say the body found Friday off Interstate 190 about 12 miles from Jeremiah's home matched his height and weight.


The Worcester (WUS'-tur) County prosecutor says authorities can't make a positive ID until the state medical examiner conducts an autopsy.