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Japan says hostage negotiations 'deadlocked'

In this Jan. 28, 2015 photo, a man walks by a screen showing TV news reports of a YouTube posted by a militant group on Jan. 27, purportedly showing a still photo of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, in Tokyo. Images or mentions of knives, ransom or blood - or anything else that can be seen alluding to the hostage crisis involving two Japanese in Syria - have been cut out. Some anime and other entertainment programs are altering, canceling or postponing episodes violating those sensitivities - typical of the kind of self-restraint shown here to avoid controversy. The fates of a Japanese journalist and Jordanian military pilot were still unknown Saturday, Jan. 31 after the latest purported deadline for a possible prisoner swap lapsed with no further messages from the Islamic State group holding them captive. A second Japanese hostage has reportedly been killed. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)Japan's deputy foreign minister told reporters there had been no progress in trying to secure the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 05:02:50 -0500
Serena Williams wins 6th Australian, 19th major title

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts as she plays Maria Sharapova of Russia during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Serena Williams won her 19th Grand Slam title and continued her unbeaten run in six Australian Open finals by extending her decade-long domination of Maria Sharapova.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:13:35 -0500
Germany's Merkel says she doesn't see another Greek debt cut

German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting of her government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)BERLIN (AP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has underlined the refusal of Greece's European creditors to consider forgiving part of the debt-ridden country's rescue loans, though she stressed in an interview published Saturday that Berlin's aim is to keep Greece in the eurozone.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 07:20:40 -0500
Texas Governor to declare 'Chris Kyle Day' in honor of sniper

Texas Attorney General Abbott speaks during an anti-abortion rally at the State Capitol in Austin(Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" in the state, in honor of the late Navy Seal sharpshooter portrayed in the film "American Sniper." The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range in 2013, has been a box office hit as well as a flashpoint of debate between liberals and conservatives. Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin, according to a statement from the governor's office. "In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas," Abbott said during the speech, according to the statement.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:58:14 -0500
San Francisco police detain two over body parts in suitcase

San Francisco police said on Friday night they had detained two people in connection with a case involving a suitcase full of body parts discovered on a downtown street earlier this week. An anonymous tip offered around 7:30 p.m. local time led officers to the Tenderloin neighborhood where they found the individuals, one of whom was identified earlier on Friday as a person of interest in the homicide case, San Francisco Police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said. The San Francisco Chronicle said the city medical examiner determined that the remains belonged to a "light-skinned male," but neither an identity nor cause of death could be immediately established.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 03:09:54 -0500
Ode to the range: Cowboys take to prose to celebrate U.S. West

Doug Groves teaches a rawhide braiding workshop at the 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NevadaBy Mary Papenfuss ELKO, Nev. (Reuters) - When long-time bronc rider Paul Zarzyski needed to rest his aching bones after an adrenaline-charged stint on torquing horseflesh, he often turned to the last thing most people would associate with cowboy life: writing poetry. The ramshackle town with casinos, the Stampede Motel and coffee shops that play Hank Williams Jr., is sprouting an unusually large number of raw-boned guys in ten-gallon hats who call women maam. Both veteran poets as well as newbie rhymers are welcome at the festival, which features open mike nights, live music, and workshops on Western crafts and skills, including silver-smithing, ranch cooking, and making pulled-wool saddle blankets. Doug Groves, who sports a large handle-bar mustache, is teaching a four-day workshop on rawhide braiding, a beautiful macram-like treatment of equine rigging introduced to the West by the Spanish. Groves learned his skill from fellow cowboys in bunkhouses while working for area cow outfits. Student Bobbie Yokum, who is married to a one-time team rodeo roper, has traveled to the workshop from California for the last 12 years.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 07:17:59 -0500
Islamic State hostage drama reveals 'chink in the armor'

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, a passerby is silhouetted against a large TV screen broadcasting a news program in Tokyo reporting on a video posted on YouTube by jihadists on Tuesday, Jan. 27, that purports to show a still photo of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh. Far from the high-tech, slickly edited videos involving beheaded Western hostages through which the group impressed supporters and terrorized opponents, recent messages purporting to be from Japanese hostage Kenji Goto have been through digitized, audio dispatches featuring either still photos or text. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)Experts say there is a change in the extremist group's propaganda technique.

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 03:30:06 -0500
First lady defends 'American Sniper' at veterans event

Actor Bradley Cooper speaks on a panel during the launch event for "Got Your 6," a multifaceted program that includes encouraging film and television to include characters who are veterans, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, at the National Geographic Society in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)NEW YORK (AP) First lady Michelle Obama urged Hollywood to give a more accurate portrayal of veterans and defended the Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," which has received criticism for its depiction of war.

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:34:54 -0500
Newtown debate: Was Adam Lanza's mom a victim?

A sign is pictured in the Sandy Hook area of Newtown, ConnecticutHARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut panel developing a report on the Newtown massacre debated Friday whether the victims counted in the dedication should include the shooter's mother, a woman who has been faulted for contributing to the tragedy by fostering her son's fascination with guns.

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:31:39 -0500
Hagel: U.S. ground troops could be needed in Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia,Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says all options must be considered in Iraq.

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:54:17 -0500
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