Obama: Egypt not an Ally or Enemy

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says in an interview that the U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.” Obama says in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo that Egypt is a “new government that is trying to find its way.” He warns that if the Egyptian government takes actions showing “they’re not taking responsibility,” then it would “be a real big problem.” The president discussed the Middle East in the aftermath of protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that led to crowds climbing the embassy walls and tearing down an American flag. It coincided with attacks on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that led to the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Redding Woman Appealing Child Support in Russian Adoption Case

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – An American woman who sent her adopted Russian son back to Moscow on a one-way flight is appealing court-ordered child support for him, saying she cannot afford to pay $1,000 a month. Torry Hansen, who now lives in Redding, Calif., filed a notice of appeal Tuesday after a judge last month in Tennessee upheld his decision to order her to pay $150,000 in child support. Hansen was living in Shelbyville in April 2010 when she sent then 7-year-old Artyom Saveliev back to Russia with a letter stating he had behavioral problems and she didn’t want him anymore. In court records, Hansen says she is unemployed and has no income and asks the court to halt the child support while the case is appealed.

Plane Lands in Iceland after Bomb Threat

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) – An Aeroflot plane carrying 256 people from New York to Moscow made an unscheduled landing in Iceland on Thursday following a report of a bomb on board, authorities said. The plane, an Airbus A330, landed at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport where baggage and passengers were being inspected as part of the search for explosives. Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg as saying the bomb warning came from an anonymous caller to New York City police after the plane took off. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press an anonymous call was placed to authorities in New York about 90 minutes into the flight. It was not clear whether the call came from the plane or from elsewhere. The official did not know the language of the threat but said it referred to explosives on the plane. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. A New York Police Department spokesman said his agency was not aware of receiving the call. Iris Marelsdottir of Iceland’s Civil Protection Agency said all the passengers were safe and being taken care of by the Red Cross at the airport, not in Reykjavik as she had said earlier. “The search for explosives is under way in accordance with aviation security procedures and plans,” Marelsdottir said. “They haven’t found any explosives, and I don’t know long the search will go on.”

7 Americans Troops Die in Afghan Helicopter Crash

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The international military force in Afghanistan says seven American troops are among the 11 people who died in a Blackhawk helicopter crash in the country’s south. A Taliban spokesman says the insurgents shot down the aircraft but the NATO-led force said it is still investigating the cause. A spokesman for the alliance, Jamie Graybeal, said seven American service members were among the dead in Thursday’s crash of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. He said four Afghans died – a civilian interpreter and three members of the Afghan security forces. Graybeal declined to give any details of the aircraft’s mission. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi says the helicopter was shot down in Kandahar province on Thursday morning. The coalition did not comment on the Taliban claims.

Ecaudor Grants Political Asylum to Assange

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) – Ecuador says it is granting political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two months after he took refuge in its London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning for alleged sexual misconduct. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino says Ecuador found that Assange faces a real threat of political persecution including the threat of extradition to the United States, where Patino said the Australian would not get a fair trial and could face the death penalty.

AP Sources: US Mulls New Covert Raids in Pakistan

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistan’s failure to stop local militant groups that attack U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan that they’ve considered launching secret joint U.S.-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down. U.S. officials tell The Associated Press the idea comes up every time the deadly Taliban faction known as the Haqqani network launches a spectacular attack in Afghanistan. Its fighters arm, plan and train in neighboring Pakistan. The officials say the White House has consistently rejected the idea, believing the raids would not be worth the diplomatic blowback from Pakistan. The officials spoke anonymously as a condition of discussing the debates. The White House declined to comment. The senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he doesn’t support such raids.

Geithner to Warn Syria of Possible UN Action

WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is warning Syria that the international community may soon seek a resolution at the United Nations Security Council that could authorize the use of force. In excerpts of remarks Geithner will deliver Wednesday, the Treasury Secretary calls for countries to exert “maximum financial pressure” through sanctions on the Syrian government. But he says sanctions alone cannot achieve the political change necessary in Syria after months of violence. Geithner says unless Syria demonstrates “meaningful compliance” with current U.N. efforts to end the violence, the U.S. and other countries will “soon join in taking appropriate actions against the Syrian regime, including, if necessary, Chapter 7 action in the U.N. Security Council.” A Chapter 7 resolution authorizes actions that can ultimately include the use of military force.

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