Health officials expect rise in illnesses linked to cantaloupe
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal health officials said Wednesday more illnesses and possibly more deaths may be linked to an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe in coming weeks.
So far, the outbreak has caused at least 72 illnesses - including up to 16 deaths - in 18 states, making it the deadliest food outbreak in the United States in more than a decade.
The heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said consumers who have cantaloupes produced by Jensen Farms in Colorado should throw them out. If they are not sure where the fruit is from, they shouldn't eat it.
Neither the government nor Jensen Farms has supplied a list of retailers who may have sold the fruit. Officials say consumers should ask retailers about the origins of their cantaloupe. If they still aren't sure, they should get rid of it.
"If it's not Jensen Farms, it's OK to eat," said Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. "But if you can't confirm it's not Jensen Farms, then it's best to throw it out."
Attorney: Doctor for Jackson sought CPR machine
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An attorney for the promoter of Michael Jackson's final concerts said Wednesday the singer's personal physician asked the company for life-saving equipment just days before the pop superstar's death.
Kathy Jorrie, who works for concert giant AEG Live, testified at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray that she questioned some of the doctor's requests, which also included the possibility of hiring a second doctor to assist him.
"Dr. Murray told me Michael Jackson was perfectly healthy, in excellent condition," Jorrie testified.
She said Murray told her not to worry about Jackson's condition.
"He's great," she recounted the doctor telling her in a conversation the day before Jackson's death.
Frustrated Obama says he can't fix immigration system alone
WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing weakening support among Hispanics, President Barack Obama expressed deep frustration Wednesday over what he called an inaccurate and damaging perception that he can fix the nation's flawed immigration system on his own.
"This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true," Obama said during a White House roundtable targeting Hispanic voters, a key constituency for the president's re-election campaign.
The president said comprehensive immigration reform continues to be a "top priority" for his administration. But he blamed Republicans in Congress for failing to join Democrats in supporting legislation that would address the flow of foreigners into the U.S. and deal with illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
"Only a few years ago, as I said, you had some Republicans who were willing to recognize that we needed to fix our immigration system," Obama said, noting that his predecessor, George W. Bush, was among them. "Right now you do not have that kind of leadership coming from the Republican Party."
A strong majority of Hispanics supported Obama's election in 2008. But his support among Hispanics has declined, as it has in the broader population. A recent Gallup survey found 48 percent of Hispanic voters approving of Obama's job performance, compared with 60 percent in January.
Non-candidates happy to keep their GOP presidential buzz alive
NEW YORK (AP) - Chris Christie isn't running for president but says he's listening to those who want him to. Donald Trump opted out of a bid for the Republican nomination but hasn't ruled out running as an independent. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's aides are courting New Hampshire activists. And Sarah Palin says she'll decide soon whether to join the field, even as she worries the White House might be "too shackling."
Welcome to The Big Tease, when political stars stoke the hopes of supporters by hinting they just might join the presidential fray.
A few do succumb to the temptation - most recently Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who joined the GOP field in August after months of insisting absolutely he had no interest. Others milk their moment in the spotlight, boosting their national stature, broadening their fundraising base and laying the foundation for a possible future run.
It happens in many presidential years. Democrats swooned, for a while, for New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1992; there was a Gen. Wesley Clark boomlet in 2004 and a drumbeat around former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee in 2008.
Cuomo stayed out, but his prolonged indecision earned him the nickname Hamlet on the Hudson. Clark and Thompson both jumped in late, only to flame out quickly.
Violent incidents on the rise in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The monthly average of armed clashes, roadside bombings and other violence in Afghanistan is running 39 percent ahead of last year's figure, U.N. reported Wednesday, with more complex suicide operations involving multiple bombers and gunmen.
The statistics show that the intensity of the nearly decade-old war is growing, not abating, as the U.S. and other nations start to withdraw some forces with an eye toward pulling all combat troops out by the end of 2014. The Taliban's resilience raises questions about whether the Afghan government and its Western allies have a solid grip on security - and whether the Afghan forces can ever secure the nation by themselves.
NATO says it has made progress in taming the Taliban insurgency by routing its strongholds in the south. But the Taliban have hit back with several high-profile attacks in the capital and assassinations of government officials and senior Afghan leaders.
In its quarterly report on Afghanistan, the U.N. said that as of the end of August, the average monthly number of incidents stood at 2,108, up 39 percent over the same period a year earlier. It did not provide comparable data. The figures include insurgent attacks as well as assaults by NATO and Afghan forces on Taliban figures and positions.
"Armed clashes and improvised explosive devices continued to constitute the majority of incidents," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his report. "The south and southeast of the country, particularly around the city of Kandahar, continued to be the focus of military activity and accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total security incidents."
Neighbors say U.S. fugitive lived decades in Portugal hamlet
ALMOCAGEME, Portugal (AP) - He lived the sweet life for decades. But nobody knew he was on the run. After breaking out of a New Jersey prison 41 years ago, George Wright settled in a picturesque seaside town in Portugal.
He married a local woman, raised two children and grew old in a pretty house on a cobbled street next to a stunning beach. Locals knew him as Jorge Santos, a friendly man from Africa who did odd jobs and spoke fluent Portuguese.
He kept his true identity secret: convicted murderer, prison escapee and accused hijacker.
Wright's decades-long flight from justice ended when the 68-year-old American was taken into custody by local police Monday at the request of the U.S. government. On Tuesday, he appeared before a judge in Lisbon, the capital, for an initial extradition hearing.
Residents of this charming coastal town were coming to terms Wednesday with the fact that a man they knew and liked had been living a lie.