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Americas Digest
Associated Press
2013-07-09 01:22 PM

TOP STORIES:

CANADA-OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec -- Traumatized survivors of an oil train derailment that wiped out the heart of a small town brace for more bad news as inspectors are finally cleared to enter the charred site's epicenter and look for remains, more than two days after the disaster that killed at least 13 people. A total of 50 were missing and the death toll was sure to rise. By Benjamin Shingler and Rob Gillies. AP Photos. AP Video.

TRANSPORTING OIL

WASHINGTON -- The explosion of a runaway oil train in Canada highlights the risks that come from transporting oil, no matter the method. Spills from rail cars occur more frequently than from pipelines, but tend to be smaller. By Matthew Daly.

SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH

SAN FRANCISCO -- Investigators trying to understand why Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed focus on the actions of an experienced pilot learning his way around a new aircraft, fellow pilots who were supposed to be monitoring him and why no one noticed that the plane was coming in too slow. By Martha Mendoza and Joan Lowy. AP Photos. AP Video.

SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-EVACUATION DRAMA

SAN FRANCISCO -- The evacuation of Asiana Flight 214 began badly. Even before the mangled jetliner began filling with smoke, two evacuation slides on the doors inflated inside the cabin instead of outside, pinning two flight attendants to the floor. By Jack Chang and Youkyung Lee. AP Photos. AP Video.

With: SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-CORONER-VICTIMS. SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-CHINESE STUDENTS; SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-SURVIVORS; AIRLINER CRASH-INJURIES; SAN FRANCISO AIRLINER CRASH-NTSB FINDINGS.

CONGRESS-EGYPT

WASHINGTON -- While the Obama administration throws its support behind Egypt's military, some members of Congress are looking at withholding some or all of America's annual $1.5 billion aid package if a civilian government isn't quickly restored. Without the administration's support, that's a high hurdle. But after watching the violence spiral in recent days in Cairo and elsewhere, more lawmakers are questioning whether the Egyptian military's ouster of Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-led government last week must be defined as a "coup" and how the U.S. should leverage the only significant element of influence it has in Egypt. By Bradley Klapper. AP Photo.

IMMIGRATION

WASHINGTON -- Landmark immigration legislation passed by the U.S. Senate would remake America's workforce, bringing more immigrants into numerous sectors of the economy, from elite technology companies to restaurant kitchens and rural fields. AP Photo.

BIN LADEN FILES PURGED

WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public. By Richard Lardner.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY-HOSPITALIZED

BOSTON -- Doctors evaluating Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, report improvement in her condition, according to the State Department, but few details were are disclosed about her illness. By Bob Salsberg. AP Photos.

CANADA-STORM

TORONTO -- A severe thunderstorm causes flash flooding in Toronto during the Monday evening rush hour, cutting power to at least 300,000 in Canada's largest city, shutting down subways, and leaving about 1,000 passengers stranded for hours on a commuter train filled with gushing water. AP Photos.

TROPICAL WEATHER

CASTRIES, St. Lucia --St. Lucia shutters schools and prepares to close the island's two airports while urging residents to finish preparations for the approach of strengthening Tropical Storm Chantal as it races toward the small islands of the Lesser Antilles. By Guy Ellis. AP Photos.

GUANTANAMO-HUNGER STRIKE

MIAMI -- A U.S. federal judge rules that she lacks the authority to halt the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, while pointedly noting that the practice appears to violate international law and that President Barack Obama can resolve the issue. By Ben Fox.

US-CHINA

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Chinese officials begin formal discussions on cybersecurity Monday, kicking off four days of talks to build cooperation and broach issues that divide the two world powers. By Matthew Pennington.

UN-SYRIA-CHEMICAL WEAPONS

UNITED NATIONS -- Syria's U.N. ambassador invites top international disarmament and weapons inspectors to Damascus for talks with the country's Foreign Ministry on investigating chemical weapons, but insists on limiting inspections to just one regime accusation of an attack by the rebels. By Peter James Spielmann.

HILLARY-THE BALANCING ACT

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to strike the right balance between staying out of the daily political maelstrom and setting herself up for a possible second presidential run. But her fans and foes are making that difficult. By Ken Thomas. AP Photos.

SOMALIA-DIPLOMACY VS SECURITY

WASHINGTON -- Twenty years after the U.S. military's "Black Hawk Down" disaster, the Obama administration is slowly stepping up relations with Somalia even though security requires American officials to be sheltered behind blast walls and unable to see nearly any of the chaotic country. The high caution in Somalia sharply displays the frustrating balance of fostering diplomacy in a country recovering from war while avoiding risks to American personnel after last September's killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Diplomats live in near lockdown conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, have limited ability to travel in Pakistan and Lebanon, and are under tightly guarded protection in Jordan and in Lagos, Nigeria. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes. AP Photos.

NSA SURVEILANCE-OVERSIGHT BOARD

WASHINGTON -- The federal oversight board directed by President Barack Obama to scrutinize the government's secret surveillance system is hearing from civil liberties activists, a retired federal judge and a former Bush administration lawyer in the board's first public event since the spying operations were revealed in news reports. They are among 16 experts set to testify before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board about the National Security Agency's surveillance. The group's chairman says the board has been given several secret briefings by national security officials and, "Based on what we've learned so far, further questions are warranted." By Stephen Braun.

NSA SURVEILLANCE-BRAZIL

SAO PAULO -- The Brazilian government begins an investigation into whether telecommunications firms operating in the country cooperated with the U.S. as part of a spying program that has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations. By Bradley Brooks. AP Photos.

With: NSA SURVEILLANCE-SNOWDEN VIDEO.

MEXICO-ELECTIONS

MEXICO CITY -- President Enrique Pena Nieto seeks to calm tensions over the still-undecided election for governor of the key Mexican border state of Baja California after both sides claim victory and authorities say mistakes were made in preliminary vote counts. By Mark Stevenson. AP Photos.

FORT HOOD-SHOOTING

FORT HOOD, Texas -- Jury selection is set to start in the murder trial of Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan charged with opening fire in a Fort Hood building nearly four years ago, barring a last-minute problem that could stall the case again. By Angela K. Brown. AP Photos.

SPITZER-COMPTROLLER

NEW YORK-- This year's elections in New York City are turning into a mini-Olympics of political redemption, with a former congressman who was caught in a sexting scandal running for mayor and a former governor caught in a prostitution scandal running for city comptroller. By Jennifer Peltz. AP Photos.

BUSINESS & FINANCE:

BANGLADESH-ACCORD

NEW YORK -- A group of primarily European retailers and clothing makers says it plans to inspect clothing factories in Bangladesh that make garments for the companies within the next nine months and will concentrate renovations on those that pose the biggest safety threat. A recent deadly factory collapse and a deadly fire, with more than 1,200 dead, have highlighted the issue.

FORD'S CHINA JOURNEY

CHONGQING, China -- Dave Schoch has one of the toughest jobs at Ford Motor Co.: Catching the competition in the world's biggest car market. By AP Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin. AP Photos.

GULF OIL SPILL-SETTLEMENT

NEW ORLEANS -- BP PLC is being forced to pay inflated and even "fictitious" claims to businesses because of the way a court-appointed administrator is making payments from a legal settlement following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an attorney for the oil giant said Monday. By Kevin McGill.

BUDGET DEFICIT

WASHINGTON -- The White House says that the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year will shrink to $759 billion. That's more than $200 billion less than the administration predicted just three months ago. AP Photo.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

PEOPLE-CELINE DION

LAS VEGAS -- Perched atop the performer hierarchy in Las Vegas, where she holds court in the Caesars Palace Colosseum, five-time Grammy winner Celine Dion could quite easily sit on her laurels. But the 45-year-old mother of three is using her influence on new projects, working on a new album due out in October and co-producing the show of a fellow French Canadian songstress setting up shop across the street at Bally's. By Michelle RIndels. AP Photos.

MUSIC-THE CIVIL WARS

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- There are still helium balloons clinging to the ceiling and new toys scattered across a table in the living room when Joy Williams answers the door. The Civil Wars singer recently found cream cheese icing in her hair, she notes with laughter, more remnants of her son Miles' first birthday party the night before. It is one of the happiest times for Williams, but as is often the case with life, it's also one of the most difficult. Over the next hour, Williams will laugh and cry and express a range of emotions from pride to fear and hope as she talks about the status of her Grammy Award-winning duo with John Paul White and their new self-titled second album. The group is officially on hiatus even as a single hits the airwaves and the album nears its Aug. 6 release date. By AP Music Writer Chris Talbott. AP Photo.

THEATER-FOREVER TANGO

NEW YORK -- In a sweltering midtown dance studio, two professionals from "Dancing With the Stars" were having the tables turned on them. On this recent afternoon, they were the dance students. Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were spinning each other around a mirrored room under the watchful eyes of a pair of Argentine tango pros -- Victoria Galoto and Juan Paulo Horvath.

PEOPLE-RANDY TRAVIS

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Country music singer Randy Travis was in critical condition Monday night at a Texas hospital, a day after he was hospitalized for heart problems. By AP Music Writer Chris Talbott.

LAURYN HILL-TAXES

DANBURY, Connecticut -- Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill begins serving a three-month prison sentence for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.

FEATURES:

TRAVEL-TRIP-LA JOLLA-SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

LA JOLLA, California-- Just beyond the breakers at La Jolla Shores Beach, hundreds of dark figures cruise through the sandy shallows like a scene in a horror movie. In most cases, the sight of one shark, much less hundreds, would spark panic. The leopard sharks of La Jolla induce a different response. Instead of racing toward shore, visitors here head out toward the deeper water to get a closer look. And for those who get the chance to swim with the sharks, the experience is unforgettable. By John Marshall. With AP Photo.

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