Friday, May 22
US consumer prices up a slight 0.1 percent in April
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices were up slightly in April, but overall gains were held back by another decline in energy costs that offset the biggest one-month jump in medical care in eight years.
The Labor Department says consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent last month compared to March, when prices rose a modest 0.2 percent. It was the smallest monthly gain since prices fell 0.7 percent in January.
Energy costs were down 1.3 percent and food prices were unchanged, keeping inflation low.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, increased 0.3 percent. It was the biggest gain in 15 months. Core inflation was driven higher by a 0.7 percent rise in medical care, reflecting a surge in hospital costs.
Inflation pressures have generally been well contained since the recession.
FINANCIAL MARKETS-US OPEN
NEW: US stocks open mostly lower; oil price slides
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly lower in early trading as energy companies decline along with the price of oil.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell nine points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,277 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time Friday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up a point to 2,129. The Nasdaq composite edged up five points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,097.
Deere rose 3 percent after the company raised its profit forecast for the year, saying that strong sales in construction equipment offset a global agricultural slowdown.
Campbell Soup rose 2 percent after reporting earnings that came in ahead of what analysts were looking for.
Energy stocks fell. Occidental Petroleum and Noble Corporation each fell 2 percent.
The price of oil fell $1.22, or 2 percent, to $59.48 a barrel.
DC MANSION FIRE-SLAYINGS
Suspect in wealthy family deaths captured
WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities have arrested an ex-convict who's accused in the killings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper.
Members of a fugitive task force arrested 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint around 11 o'clock last night, about a week after authorities say the family was killed and their mansion was set on fire. Wint has been charged with first-degree murder while armed. Several other people were taken into custody with him.
Investigators had tracked Wint to New York City, where U.S. Marshals say they barely missed him Wednesday night. Wint was then tracked to a Howard Johnson Express Inn in College Park, Maryland, and officers followed him into northeast Washington last night.
Police haven't detailed why Wint would want to kill 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos, his wife, their 10-year-old son and the housekeeper. Three of the four victims had been stabbed or bludgeoned before the fire.
Wint, a certified welder, had worked at one time at American Iron Works, where Savopoulos was CEO. Wint is expected to appear in D.C. Superior Court this afternoon.
Senate expected to act on NSA collection of phone records
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate today is expected to act on a bill that would end the National Security Agency's collection of domestic phone records, while replacing it with case-by-case searches.
Before leaving town, the House already passed the legislation, which includes extending two other surveillance provisions set to expire June 1.
Officials say if the Senate doesn't act, they'll lose valuable surveillance tools to pursue suspected spies and terrorists.
MN man accused of trying to join IS appears in court
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Documents are revealing new details about a Minnesota man authorities say tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.
The documents say 21-year-old Abdirahman Yasin Daud conspired for at least a year to get to Syria along with others to fight and, in some cases die, for the Islamic State group.
Prosecutors will argue at Daud's detention hearing today that he should stay in custody because he's a flight risk and a danger to the community.
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM-IRAQ
Iraq deputy PM appeals for more help
SOUTHERN SHUNE, Jordan (AP) — Iraq's deputy prime minister is appealing for greater international help in fighting the Islamic State group, saying its recent takeover of the key city of Ramadi was a "big disaster" and that the country's own forces could not adequately fight back.
Saleh al-Mutlaq, speaking to AP at a regional conference of the World Economic Forum in Jordan today, called for a "new strategic plan" for Iraq and for international coalition forces to "terminate" the Islamic State group in Iraq.
The jihadi group's conquest last week of Ramadi essentially completes its takeover of the key province of Anbar, whose other main city, Fallujah, fell over a year ago.
Al-Mutlaq said allowing Islamic State "to expand in Anbar is unacceptable and the capacity of the Iraqis is very limited."
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM-SYRIA
Deputy Russia FM: Western Mideast policies 'short-sighted'
SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — A deputy Russian foreign minister says external players cannot solve the Syria crisis and that "short-sighted'" Western policies in the Middle East have helped destabilize countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Vasily Nebenzya spoke today at a regional World Economic Forum conference.
Russia has been a key ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and has shielded him diplomatically.
Nebenzya says Assad has made mistakes, but is "being supported by a portion of the population."
The Russian diplomat says "it is difficult to imagine how the sides (in Syria) can talk these days," but that any solution is up to Syrians.
In a reference to Western powers, he said external players involved in regional conflicts lack a clear strategy. He says he's been "puzzled by the short-sightedness."
Kenya says attack by Somali militants thwarted in Garissa
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Kenyan authorities say they have foiled an attempted attack by suspected Somali militants on a village in the same northeastern county where militants killed 148 college students last month.
The interior ministry says Yumbis village in Ijara country was attacked last night by a gang of armed militants who were repulsed after a gun battle with the security forces, with no casualties.
Al-Shabab has launched several attacks inside Kenya in retaliation over Kenya's military involvement in Somalia, where the Kenyan military is part of African Union forces battling the militants.
The group claimed responsibility for a deadly April 2 attack on Garissa University College.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-WATER CUTS
Drought-ridden California faces decision on new water cuts
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water regulators are expected today to let farmers know whether they'll accept their plan to cut back on water usage in the drought-ravaged state.
Farmers along the delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers are offering to cut back water usage by a quarter this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks.
California regulators have been warning of curtailments for senior water-rights holders whose claims date back a century or more.
CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL
UPDATE: Winds hampering cleaning crews
GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — Weather has slowed cleanup efforts at the site of an oil spill that fouled a California shoreline.
The National Weather Service says gusty winds are whipping up waves as high as 4 feet early Friday off Santa Barbara County. Several days of calm seas had helped crews.
A small watercraft advisory was issued overnight and Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV says oil skimming vessels were brought in late Thursday because of bad weather.
Crews have yet to excavate the section of pipeline that broke Tuesday, spilling an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude. About 21,000 gallons is believed to have made it to the sea and split into slicks that stretched 9 miles along the coast.
As of Thursday, more than 9,000 gallons had been raked, skimmed and vacuumed up.
Obama to address anti-Semitism at Jewish congregation
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is addressing one of the largest Jewish congregations in Washington to highlight efforts to combat anti-Semitism, a problem he says has created an intimidating environment worldwide for Jewish families.
Obama plans to speak to Congregation Adas Israel today in observance of Jewish American Heritage Month. The appearance coincides with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism.
In an interview with The Atlantic magazine this week, Obama said extremism in the Middle East and the emergence of overt anti-Semitism in Europe has made Jews fearful just one generation removed from the Holocaust.
But he also criticized politicians who denounce anyone who questions Israeli government policies as being anti-Jewish. He says: "I completely reject that."
CRUISE RUN AGROUND
NEW: Cruise ship that ran aground near Bermuda returns to Boston
BOSTON (AP) — A cruise ship that ran aground on a reef near Bermuda during a seven-day roundtrip from Boston has returned stateside.
The Norwegian Dawn, carrying nearly 3,500 passengers and crew, returned Friday morning to the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston.
The ship hit the reef late Tuesday and was stuck for more than six hours before a rising tide helped push it into deeper water.
Norwegian Cruise Line says a temporary malfunction in the steering system forced the ship off course near Bermuda, where it had spent three days in port.
The company says a team of experts inspected the ship and found it to be safe.
The ship's 2,443 passengers will receive a 15 percent credit for a future cruise.