Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author, dead at 87
NEW YORK (AP) — Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, the Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” became a landmark testament to the Nazis’ crimes and launched Wiesel’s long career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians, has died at age 87.
His death was announced Saturday by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. No other details were immediately available.
The short, sad-eyed Wiesel, his face an ongoing reminder of one man’s endurance of a shattering past, summed up his mission in 1986 when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize: “Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
President Barack Obama said of Wiesel on Saturday, “As a writer, a speaker, an activist, and a thinker, he was one of those people who changed the world more as a citizen of the world than those who hold office or traditional positions of power. His life, and the power of his example, urges us to be better.”
For more than a half-century, Wiesel voiced his passionate beliefs to world leaders, celebrities and general audiences in the name of victims of violence and oppression. He wrote more than 40 books, but his most influential by far was “Night,” a classic ranked with Anne Frank’s diary as standard reading about the Holocaust.
Clinton interviewed by the FBI about private email server
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton on Saturday about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, her campaign announced after the meeting, as federal investigators neared the end of the probe that has hung over her White House bid.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, gave a voluntary interview for 3 1/2 hours at FBI headquarters in Washington, her campaign said.
“I’ve been eager to do it, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to assist the department in bringing its review to a conclusion,” Clinton said in describing the FBI session to NBC’s “Meet the Press” for an interview to air Sunday. She agreed that the tone of the session was civil and business-like.
Clinton said she had no knowledge of any timeline for the review and would not comment on whether she was given an indication that charges would not be filed.
Spokespeople for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.
Hostage crisis leaves 28 dead in Bangladesh diplomatic zone
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The hostages were given a test: recite verses from the Quran, or be punished, according to a witness. Those who passed were allowed to eat. Those who failed were tortured and slain.
The dramatic, 10-hour hostage crisis that gripped Bangladesh’s diplomatic zone ended Saturday morning with at least 28 dead, including six of the attackers, as commandos raided the popular restaurant where heavily armed attackers were holding dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner while hurling bombs and engaging in a gunbattle with security forces. The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers.
The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months, with the extremists demanding the secular government set up Islamic rule. Most previous attacks have involved machete-wielding men singling out individual activists, foreigners and religious minorities.
But Friday night’s attack was different, more coordinated, with the attackers brandishing assault rifles as they shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area while dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis were dining out during the Ramadan holy month.
The gunmen, initially firing blanks, ordered restaurant workers to switch off the lights, and they draped black cloths over closed-circuit cameras, according to a survivor, who spoke with local TV channel ATN News. He and others, including kitchen staff, managed to escape by running to the rooftop or out the back door.
Identities, nationalities of dead in Dhaka restaurant attack
A partial list of nationalities and identities of those reported slain in the Dhaka restaurant attack, and some details on their lives, as reported by local media.
Italians confirmed dead by the Italian Foreign Ministry (9):
— Nadia Benedetti: 52, a managing director for a Bangladeshi branch of a British firm, friend of Italian victim Adele Puglisi.
— Claudio Cappelli: 45, lived in Vedano al Lambro, near Monza.
File 17 is glimpse into still-secret 28 pages about 9/11
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid the clamor a year ago to release 28 still-secret pages of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks, the government quietly declassified a little-known report listing more than three dozen people who piqued the interest of investigators probing possible Saudi connections to the hijackers.
The document, known as “File 17,” offers clues to what might be in the missing pages of the bipartisan report about 9/11.
“Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what’s in the 28 pages,” said former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, co-chairman of the congressional inquiry. He believes the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States.
“File 17 said, ‘Here are some additional unanswered questions and here is how we think the 9/11 Commission, the FBI and the CIA should go about finding the answers,'” Graham said.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir denies any allegations of Saudi complicity, telling reporters in Washington earlier this month that there is “no there there.”
News Guide: The secret files from the 9/11 investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House and intelligence officials are deciding whether to declassify 28 pages of a congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks. The still-secret chapter could answer or raise new questions about possible Saudi links to the attackers.
The documents, kept in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol, contain information about possible sources of foreign support for some of the hijackers while they were in the United States.
Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., co-chairman of the joint congressional inquiry, has said the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”
Saudi officials say there’s nothing to the allegations. Relatives of the 9/11 victims say Saudi Arabia’s relationship to al-Qaida has never been fully investigated by anyone — before or since the attacks.
A look at the varying viewpoints about possible Saudi links to 9/11 and the missing 28 pages:
Muslim women campaign to end instant divorce in India
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Just hours after Shagufta Sayyd was married, her new husband told her he was having a relationship with another woman.
He was clear the two would have no future, the 21-year-old Sayyd said. He was only marrying her to please his mother.
“He said, ‘no, I don’t want to keep you,'” she said. “So he said, ‘divorce, divorce, divorce, three times, and that was it.”
Sayyd still insists on using her husband’s surname, until she can end the marriage officially in an Indian court. But like many other women from India’s large Sunni Muslim minority, her fate and status are governed by Muslim Personal Law that follows the tenets of the Islamic faith, as interpreted by local imams and religious schools across India.
The so-called triple talaq, or instant divorce, has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. But in India, the practice is allowed thanks to the country’s rules protecting Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities following religious law.
New cigarette taxes could be on ballot in hesitant states
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An entire generation has come of age since the last time Missouri raised its cigarette tax, from 13 cents a pack to 17 cents, in 1993.
Today, it’s the lowest tax in the nation. And Missouri is one of just three states — along with North Dakota and California — that has held cigarette taxes flat since the turn of century. In that time, other states have increasingly tapped smokers to fill budget gaps and raise money for services such as health care and education.
That could soon change. Petitions are seeking to put higher cigarette taxes on the fall ballot in all three of those holdout states, as well as Colorado.
Victories by anti-tobacco advocates would add to a surge that has already raised tens of billions of dollars for states while helping drive down the nation’s smoking rate, from about a quarter of adults in 1990 to fewer than 17 percent in the most recent surveys.
From 2000 through 2014, states raised their cigarette taxes nearly 120 times, helping generate more than $85 billion of additional revenue, according to an Associated Press analysis of state-by-state figures compiled by the economic consulting firm Orzechowski and Walker, which is funded by the tobacco industry.
Investigators say voice recording from EgyptAir crash intact
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian investigators said Saturday they would be able to access the cockpit voice recordings of the EgyptAir flight that crashed in May despite damage to the black box.
“None of the memory chips of the electronic board were damaged,” the Egyptians participating in the examination of the device in France said in a statement, adding that only some connecting components had to be replaced.
“Test results were satisfactory as (they) enabled the reading of the recorders of the CVR memory unit,” they added. The Egyptians now plan to bring the recorder to Cairo for further analysis.
The flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean on May 19, killing all 66 people on board. The pilots made no distress call, and no militant group has claimed to have brought the aircraft down.
The flight data recorder shows that there was smoke in the lavatory and onboard equipment, and investigators say they have found heat damage on parts of the wreckage recovered from the Mediterranean Sea floor last month.
LGBT gun group membership spikes after Florida shooting
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Memberships have more than doubled in a national LGBT pro-gun rights organization since a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Florida, killing 49 people.
Pink Pistols Utah chapter President Matt Schlentz said Pink Pistols membership has grown from 1,500 to 4,000 since Omar Mateen’s June 12 rampage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/29p0eMI).
“It’s really sad that something on this scale had to happen for people to realize this is a need for our community,” Schlentz said. “But the reality is we still get attacked for kissing our partners or holding hands in public. We get windows smashed for having an equality sticker on them.”
Schlentz owns semi-automatic rifles similar to the Sig Sauer MCX that Mateen used, and he said he gets mixed reactions from people who learn he’s a gun rights advocate.
“Obviously, as a gay man, I have to have some liberal views socially. But on this one point, I have very conservative views. The reality is what it is — the world is a violent, terrible, scary place, and people do wish me harm based on who I love.”