Searchers find body parts, seats, luggage from Egyptian jet
CAIRO (AP) — Search crews found floating human remains, luggage and seats from the doomed EgyptAir jetliner Friday but face a potentially more complex task in locating bigger pieces of wreckage and the black boxes vital to determining why the plane plunged into the Mediterranean.
An aviation industry publication, meanwhile, reported that sensors detected smoke in a lavatory, suggesting a fire onboard before the aircraft went down.
Looking for clues to whether terrorists brought down EgyptAir Flight 804 and its 66 people aboard, investigators pored over the passenger list and questioned ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where the plane took off.
The Airbus A320 had been cruising normally in clear skies on a nighttime flight to Cairo early Thursday when it suddenly lurched left, then right, spun all the way around and plummeted 38,000 feet (11,582.4 meters) into the sea, never issuing a distress signal.
In Egypt, home to 30 of the victims, grieving families and friends wondered if their loved ones would ever be recovered. Many gathered in mosques for Salat al-Ghaib, or “prayers for the absent,” held for the dead whose bodies have not been found.
Secret Service shoots man with gun outside White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Secret Service officer shot a man with a gun who approached a checkpoint outside the White House on Friday afternoon and refused to drop his weapon, the Secret Service said.
The White House was briefly placed on a security alert after the shooting, which happened within view of sightseers as sidewalks were crowded with families, school groups and government workers.
The armed man approached the checkpoint on E Street shortly after 3 p.m., and ignored repeated orders from the officer to drop his gun, according to a statement from David Iacovetti, a Secret Service deputy assistant director.
The officer fired one shot at the man and the gun was recovered at the scene, Iacovetti said. The man was transported in critical condition to a nearby hospital, an emergency medical services spokesman said.
President Barack Obama was away playing golf, but Vice President Joe Biden was in the White House complex and was secured during the lockdown, his office said. The security alert was lifted about an hour later.
At NRA, Trump slams Clinton for ‘heartless’ gun restrictions
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Donald Trump on Friday slammed Hillary Clinton as “heartless” for backing restrictions on gun ownership that he said would leave Americans in high-crime areas unable to protect themselves. He also challenged Clinton to follow his lead and release a list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
Trump’s remarks came at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The gun rights organization endorsed the presumptive Republican nominee ahead of his remarks, despite Trump’s previous support for measures like an assault weapons ban that the NRA vigorously opposes.
The businessman has taken a far less restrictive stance on guns during the Republican presidential primary. His call for ending “gun-free zones” across the country was enthusiastically welcomed by the NRA crowd.
Trump centered his remarks on Clinton, claiming she would seek to “abolish” the Second Amendment through the Supreme Court and release violent criminals if elected president. He also called her “Heartless Hillary” — a new nickname from the branding expert for the likely Democratic nominee — for backing restrictions aimed at reducing gun deaths, saying her proposals would instead leave law-abiding citizens exposed to criminals.
“She’s putting the most vulnerable Americans in jeopardy,” Trump said. He added that women in particular would be at risk, a nod to what he’s said will be a security-focused appeal to women in the general election.
US says Iraqi forces have retaken western town of Rutba
TAJI, Iraq (AP) — The top American general for the Middle East said Friday he is confident that Iraq is on course to defeating the Islamic State, but his words were spare and cautious, his tone notably muted.
Gen. Joseph Votel, the new head of U.S. Central Command, spent the day consulting with U.S. and Iraqi military officials and visiting a base north of Baghdad that is training Iraqi army combat units.
“They are getting better,” he told reporters later, referring to his broad assessment of Iraq’s progress after the stunning collapses in 2014-15 that ceded large swaths of territory to the Islamic State in the north and west. “That said, there is still a lot left to do.”
Noting the Iraqis’ recent battlefield successes, including the recapture of Ramadi late last year and their retaking this week of Rutba, a strategic crossroads in western Iraq, Votel said he sees momentum developing and Iraqi confidence rising.
“I think their readiness is improving,” he said, adding, “I think they’re getting a better handle on the challenges that they face.”
Sanders delegates brace for Philadelphia convention fight
DENVER (AP) — Gabriel McArthur is heading to the Democratic National Convention in July to serve as a delegate for Bernie Sanders. Screaming and shouting are a distinct possibility from the Sanders camp at the event, he says.
McArthur and other Sanders supporters are approaching the gathering with the enthusiasm that has powered the effort from the start — holding garage sales, delivering pizza and raising money online to pay for their travel to Philadelphia.
But their nerves are raw now over the Democratic Party’s perceived slights against the insurgent candidate and they are clinging to a bygone hope that Sanders can wrest the nomination from Hillary Clinton despite her overpowering lead in delegates.
As these super-fans chant “Bernie or bust,” Democratic officials are growing increasingly worried about dissent, especially after a recent state convention in Nevada turned raucous. Some of the Sanders backers who are going to the convention as delegates for him — and there are more than 1,400 — give party officials little reason for comfort.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of violence, but we are going to see some screaming and shouting if the DNC doesn’t humanize itself,” McArthur, a 24-year-old administrative assistant in suburban Denver, said of the Democratic National Committee. “A little civil disobedience is OK. It’s part of being an American.”
Deposition text: Cosby’s wife refused to answer many queries
BOSTON (AP) — Bill Cosby’s wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday.
Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women’s lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband “acted with a lack of integrity” during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power “to manipulate young women.”
Camille Cosby didn’t answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had “no opinion” when pressed on whether she viewed her husband’s behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows.
About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty.
Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband.
Oklahoma governor vetoes bill criminalizing abortion
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed legislation to make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion, a measure that would have effectively outlawed the procedure in the state.
In vetoing the measure just a day after the Legislature passed it, Fallin, a Republican who opposes abortion, said it was vague and would not withstand a legal challenge.
“The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother,'” Fallin said. “While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination.”
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, said the measure was aimed at ultimately overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Dahm said he was considering whether to try to override the governor’s veto, which would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber, a threshold it did not meet in the House when it first passed. The bill passed on a 33-12 vote in the Senate with no debate on Thursday; it passed 59-9 in the 101-member House on April 21.
“Of course I’ll consider it,” Dahm said. “I’m weighing my options.”
Group that helped sell Iran nuke deal also funded media
WASHINGTON (AP) — A group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group’s annual report. It also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets.
The Ploughshares Fund’s mission is to “build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world’s nuclear stockpiles,” one that dovetails with President Barack Obama’s arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more attention this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president’s top foreign policy aides.
In The New York Times Magazine article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and even friendly reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord that curtailed Iran’s nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.
“We created an echo chamber,” said Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, adding that “outside groups like Ploughshares” helped carry out the administration’s message effectively.
The magazine piece revived Republican criticism of the Iran agreement as they suggested it was evidence of a White House spin machine misleading the American people. The administration accused opponents of trying to re-litigate the deal after failing to defeat it in congressional votes last year.
Alan Young, star of 1960s sitcom ‘Mr. Ed,’ dies at 96
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom “Mister Ed,” has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.
The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.
Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when “Mister Ed” was being readied at comedian George Burns’ production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: “Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to.”
Mr. Ed was a golden Palomino who spoke only to his owner, Wilbur Post, played by Young. Fans enjoyed the horse’s deep, droll voice (“WIL-bur-r-r-r-r”) and the goofy theme song lyrics (“A horse is a horse, of course, of course … “). Cowboy star Allan “Rocky” Lane supplied Mr. Ed’s voice.
An eclectic group of celebrities including Clint Eastwood, Mae West and baseball great Sandy Koufax made guest appearances on the show.
Donkeys up for adoption in Hawaii, but only in pairs
HONOLULU (AP) — When David Paul Sennett was a child, he had a stuffed donkey. But he always wanted a real one of his own.
Decades later, Sennett’s childhood dream came true when he adopted Barney, a wild donkey from Hawaii’s Big Island who was orphaned when his mother was killed by a car.
“He’s just like a big dog, he loves to eat bananas and papayas,” said Sennett. “And he’s very friendly.”
About three years later, Sennett is about to adopt another donkey, one of the remaining 50 wild donkeys on Hawaii’s Big Island. The donkeys are the last of more than 500 that were cast-offs from the early days of Hawaii coffee and agricultural plantations.
“We’re hoping to get a female that’s pregnant and then we’ll have a family,” said Sennett.