Obama presses immigration changes, path to citizenship, says 'now is the time' for action
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Declaring "now is the time" to fix the nation's broken immigration system, President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined broad proposals for putting millions of illegal immigrants on a clear path to citizenship while cracking down on businesses that employ people illegally and tightening security at the borders. He hailed a bipartisan Senate group on a similar track but left unresolved key details that could derail the complex and emotional effort.
Potential Senate roadblocks center on how to structure the avenue to citizenship and on whether legislation would cover same-sex couples -- and that's all before a Senate measure could be debated, approved and sent to the Republican-controlled House where opposition is sure to be stronger.
Obama, who carried Nevada in the November election with heavy Hispanic support, praised the Senate push, saying Congress is showing "a genuine desire to get this done soon." But mindful of previous immigrations efforts that have failed, he warned that the debate would be difficult and vowed to send his own legislation to Capitol Hill if lawmakers don't act quickly.
"The question now is simple," Obama said during a campaign-style event in Las Vegas, one week after being sworn in for a second term in the White House. "Do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do."
Shortly after Obama finished speaking, cracks emerged between the White House and the group of eight senators, which put out their proposals one day ahead of the president. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, faulted Obama for not making a citizenship pathway contingent on tighter border security, a central tenet of the lawmakers' proposals.
Japan's All Nippon Airways says 787 batteries replaced 10 times prior to overheating incident
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's All Nippon Airways says it replaced lithium-ion batteries on its 787 Dreamliners 10 times before a battery overheating incident led to the worldwide grounding of the jets.
ANA spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka said Wednesday the airline was not required to report the battery swapping cases to Japan's Transport Ministry because they did not raise safety concerns and did not interfere with flights. Boeing was informed.
She said the batteries were replaced because they failed to charge properly or showed other problems.
All 50 of the Boeing 787s in use around the world were grounded after an ANA flight on Jan. 16 made an emergency landing in Japan when its main battery overheated. Earlier, a battery in a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire while parked at Boston's Logan International Airport.
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. OBAMA VOWS TO FAST-TRACK IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL
He says he'll send his own legislation to Capitol Hill if lawmakers don't act quickly.
Brazil police: Flare meant for outdoor use started nightclub fire in which 234 died
SANTA MARIA, Brazil (AP) -- Penny-pinching by a band known for its onstage pyrotechnic displays may have cost more than 230 people their lives at a nightclub in southern Brazil, according to a police inspector leading the investigation into this weekend's deadly blaze.
Inspector Marcelo Arigony told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that members of the band knowingly purchased flares meant for outdoor use because they cost a mere $1.25 a piece, compared with the $35 price tag for an indoor flare.
"The flare lit was for outdoor use only, and the people who lit them know that," said Arigony, adding that members of the group acknowledged regularly opting for the less expensive flares. "They chose to buy those because they were cheaper than those that can be used indoors."
Arigony, whose cousin died in the fire, added: "The pyrotechnics were part of their show -- the guys even wore gloves onstage so they wouldn't burn their hands."
The repercussions of the band's choice to use flares continued to send shock waves through Santa Maria, a college town of 260,000 people that's been stunned by the early Sunday morning tragedy in the Kiss nightclub.
Judge OKs BP's guilty plea to manslaughter, other charges, $4 billion in oil spill penalties
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department's criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill Tuesday, when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.
What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn't resolve, though, is the federal government's civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more for environmental damage from its 2010 spill.
Vance noted that the company already has racked up more than $24 billion in spill-related expenses and has estimated it will pay a total of $42 billion to fully resolve its liability for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The judge said the $4 billion criminal settlement is "just punishment" for BP, even though the company could have paid far more without going broke. In accepting the deal, Vance also cited the risk that a trial could result in a much lower fine for BP, one potentially capped by law at $8.2 million.
The criminal settlement calls for BP to pay nearly $1.3 billion in fines. The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Justice Department was a $1.2 billion fine against drug maker Pfizer in 2009.
As a city vents fury at Morsi, Egypt's army chief warns state could collapse from crisis
PORT SAID, Egypt (AP) -- Residents of this Mediterranean coastal city burying their dead from Egypt's wave of political violence vented their fury at Egypt's Islamist president and the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday, demanding his ouster and virtually declaring a revolt against his rule, as the head of the military warned Egypt may collapse under the weight of its turmoil.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi' strongly worded comments, his first since the crisis began, appeared aimed at pushing both sides in Egypt's political divide to reconcile and find a solution to the rapidly spreading protests and riots across much of the country the past six days.
But his breaking of his silence falls heaviest on President Mohammed Morsi, who has been unable to contain the unrest by trying a tough hand, as protesters defied his declaration of a month-long state of emergency and curfew in Port Said and two neighboring cities.
At least 60 people have been killed and hundreds injured since Thursday in clashes between police and protesters angry over what they call Islamists' moves to monopolize power and failure to address the country's multiple woes. In his comments, el-Sissi signaled the military would not move to put down protesters, saying troops are in a "grave predicament," forced to balance between "avoiding confrontation" with citizens and protecting state institutions.
In Cairo on Tuesday, rock-throwing protesters clashed with police firing tear gas for another day in battles that escalated after nightfall near Tahrir Square. The mayhem forced the nearby U.S. Embassy to suspend public services Tuesday, and the night before masked men tried to rob the neighboring five-star Semiramis Hotel, a Cairo landmark, trashing the lobby before being forced out.
Neighbor: Suspect in killing of California urologist had incontinence after prostate surgery
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A retired barber accused of shooting a California urologist to death in his exam room suffered from prostate problems and was angry about his incontinence after a recent surgery, neighbors said Tuesday.
Stanwood Fred Elkus, 75, was jailed on $1 million bail after police say he shot Dr. Ronald Franklin Gilbert multiple times on Monday at a medical office in Newport Beach, an affluent city in suburban Orange County.
Police would not say if the 52-year-old Gilbert was Elkus' doctor. The urologist appeared to be the only target of the attack, police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said.
Elkus, who has an initial court hearing Wednesday, was plagued by prostate troubles and was upset by a surgery that left him running to the bathroom constantly, sometimes in mid-conversation, neighbors said.
"One day we were talking about other things outside and he says, 'Oh hold it right there!' and he was rushing to his house and when he came back, he said, 'I have a problem with my prostate,'" recalled Miguel Soto, who lives across the street.
Gore takes aim at corporate influence over media in new book, defends sale of Current TV
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Al Gore, who takes aim in his new book at the corporate media for "suffocating the free flow of ideas," on Tuesday defended the sale of his television channel to Al-Jazeera.
The Qatar government-owned news network earlier this month struck a deal to buy Current TV, the cable news network co-founded by the former vice president. The price tag was $500 million.
Gore told The Associated Press that he had no reservations about selling the channel to Al-Jazeera, which has won U.S. journalism prizes but has been criticized by some for an anti-American bias. The new owner plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America.
"They're commercial-free, they're hard-hitting," he said in a phone interview. "They're very respected and capable, and their climate coverage has been outstanding, in-depth, extensive, far more so than any network currently on the air in the U.S."
The 64-year-old Gore said he considers Current TV, which was largely outflanked by MSNBC in its effort to be a liberal alternative to Fox News Channel, to have been a success.
Alex Rodriguez among players implicated in PED use through Florida clinic under investigation
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation once again Tuesday when an alternative weekly newspaper reported baseball's highest-paid star was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic the paper said sold performance-enhancing drugs.
The Miami New Times said the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Cables, Fla., near Rodriguez's offseason home.
The new public relations firm for the New York Yankees third baseman issued a statement denying the allegations.
The newspaper said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz of Texas.
Cabrera left San Francisco after the season to sign with Toronto, while Oakland re-signed Colon.
Stars of Super Bowl media day range from Ravens LB Suggs to McCarron crush Katherine Webb
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Scenes and observations from the NFL's annual Super Bowl media day -- interviews with players and team personnel from the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on the field at the Superdome:
Terrell Suggs stood up, threw down his microphone, kicked over his chair with a back heel as he stepped down from his podium, and then kicked over a cooler.
Onlookers laughed, satisfied that the Baltimore Ravens' mischievous linebacker had properly punctuated the frenetic, free-for-all known as Super Bowl media day.
Suggs plays a central role in one of the more intimidating defenses in the NFL, and at least some of the conversation involved football, and what it would take to slow down San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Sunday's NFL championship game.