Obama launches new offensive against Romney, linking personal taxes to remarks about untaxed
CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama’s campaign is launching a new offensive Monday against Republican Mitt Romney, blasting the GOP nominee for criticizing Americans who don’t pay income taxes without having ‘‘come clean’’ about his own.
The campaign started the new push with a television advertisement, its first spot using Romney’s comments that 47 percent of voters pay no income tax, and believe they are victims and entitled to government assistance. The ad was to begin airing in Ohio — a crucial swing state where Romney was campaigning this week — but was also expected to be part of the campaign’s final push elsewhere between now and Election Day.
‘‘Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, he should come clean on his,’’ the ad’s narrator says of Romney.
The 30-second spot signaled that Obama would keep making Romney’s taxes a campaign issue. The Republican hopeful has released only two years of tax information about his personal fortune and finances.
Six weeks out from the election, Obama holds a slim lead over Romney in most battleground states. The Republican is seeking to right his campaign following a rough stretch that included the release of his secretly recorded remarks about the 47 percent and criticism that he’s not campaigning hard enough for the White House.
Who needs Election Day? Americans already voting and a third likely to lock in before Nov. 6
WASHINGTON (AP) — Now it’s for real. Every time Mitt Romney or Barack Obama hits a rhetorical high note or commits another blunder, millions of voters watching and listening out there have the power to sit down at home, fill out a ballot, drop it in the mail and be done with the 2012 presidential race.
At least a third of American voters probably will lock in their choices before Election Day arrives on Nov. 6.
The old democratic ritual of a single Tuesday in November when citizens commune in lines at schools and libraries and churches is fading across much of the United States. Why not just mail it in?
Although the two candidates have yet to meet for their first debate, voting by mail is under way in two dozen states, with more to follow. In three — Idaho, South Dakota and Vermont — voters already can show up in person.
Wyoming begins its in-person voting on Thursday and so does Iowa, one of a handful of states considered up for grabs in the neck-and-neck presidential race.
AP IMPACT: NYC minister raises millions for disasters, also helps himself, family and friends
NEW YORK (AP) — Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Rev. Carl Keyes was a little-known pastor of a small New York City congregation searching for members and money.
When the twin towers fell, his fortunes changed.
Donors poured $2.5 million into the minister’s charity to help 9/11 victims. More opportunities to raise relief money would come later, with at least another $2.3 million collected for efforts along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, in the poorest corners of West Virginia and Tennessee, and even in remote African villages.
Tens of millions more flowed through his fingers from the sale of church properties.
But Keyes, a one-time construction worker, did more than help the needy with the millions donated — he helped himself.
Pakistan disowns minister’s offer of $100,000 bounty on anti-Islam filmmaker
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Pakistani government on Monday distanced itself from an offer by one of its Cabinet ministers to pay $100,000 for anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film, saying the offer does not represent official government policy.
The offer by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has drawn criticism in Pakistan even though anger against the film runs high in this predominantly Muslim country.
Bilour said Saturday that he would pay the reward money out of his own pocket. He also appealed to al-Qaida and Taliban militants to contribute to ‘‘a noble cause’’ of eliminating the filmmaker.
The film, made in the United States and entitled ‘‘Innocence of Muslims,’’ has enraged many Muslims around the world for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. At least 51 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed in violence linked to protests over the film, which also has renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe.
In Islamabad, the Foreign Office said in a statement Monday that the bounty put on the filmmaker’s head reflected Bilour’s personal view and was not Pakistan’s official policy.
NKorean farmers told sweeping changes could give them unprecedented ownership of crops
SARIWON, North Korea (AP) — North Korean farmers who have long been required to turn most of their crops over to the state may now be allowed to keep their surplus food to sell or barter in what could be the most significant economic change enacted by young leader Kim Jong Un since he came to power nine months ago.
The proposed directive appears aimed at boosting productivity at collective farms that have struggled for decades to provide for the country’s 24 million people. By giving farmers such an incentive to grow more food, North Korea could be starting down the same path as China when it first began experimenting with a market-based economy.
Two workers at a farm south of Pyongyang told The Associated Press about the new rules on Sunday, saying they were informed of the proposed changes during meetings last month and that they should take effect with this year’s upcoming fall harvest. The Ministry of Agriculture has not announced the changes, some of which have been widely rumored abroad but never previously made public outside North Korea’s farms.
Farmers currently must turn everything over to the state beyond what they are allowed to keep for their families. Under the new rules, they would be able to keep any surplus after they have fulfilled state-mandated quotas — improving morale and giving farmers more of a chance to manage their plots and use the crops as a commodity.
‘‘We expect a good harvest this year,’’ said O Yong Ae, who works at Migok Cooperative Farm, one of the largest and most productive farms in South Hwanghae Province in southwestern North Korea. ‘‘I’m happy because we can keep the crops we worked so hard to grow.’’
Looking for work in Europe’s economic crisis? Make sure you have the right connections
ROME (AP) — Maria Adele Carrai has two master degrees from Italian universities in economics and Asian languages and is now earning her PhD in international law in Hong Kong. Her linguistic credentials are formidable: Besides native Italian, she has nearly flawless English, a rarity in Italy, as well as French, Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin.
But the 26-year-old from a family of physicians in a small town near the Adriatic Sea, lacks an increasingly crucial key to unlocking the door to work in Italy: a ‘‘raccomandazione.’’ It’s Italian for the right word from the right person to get you hired, even if you might not be the best one for the job.
As Europe’s economic crisis darkens the future of millions of youth, the culture of connections that has lain at the heart of hiring practices in much of the continent is becoming ever more entrenched, even as it harms prospects of recovery. It is blocking young talent or driving it overseas, and contributing to a vicious circle of stagnation that threatens to leave Europe behind in the game of globalization.
Editors: This is the latest installment in Class of 2012, an exploration of Europe’s financial crisis through the eyes of young people emerging from the cocoon of student life into the worst downturn the continent has seen since the end of World War II.
’Homeland,’ ’Modern Family’ enjoying the moment with big nights at Emmys
The post-Emmy champagne surely tasted sweet for the people at ‘‘Modern Family’’ and ‘‘Homeland,’’ but they needed only to look around the Nokia Theatre to see how quickly popular tastes and Hollywood’s most unpredictable awards show can change perceptions.
‘‘Modern Family’’ continued its run as television’s most honored comedy at Sunday’s Emmys, winning the best comedy award for the third year in a row, a directing honor for co-creator Steve Levitan and acting trophies for Claire Bowen and Eric Stonestreet. They were already conscious that with such success may come an inevitable backlash.
‘‘I’m praying that everybody doesn’t get sick of us,’’ Levitan said backstage. Maybe the Emmys’ director did: music swelled and the stage lights were cut off as Levitan was in the middle of his acceptance speech for best comedy.
Across the theater was a reminder that things change: one-time Emmy darling Tina Fey sitting barely unnoticed and trophy-free as her show ‘‘30 Rock’’ is coming to an end. She was one of the quickest people to bolt from her seat and head for the exit when the three-hour telecast ended.
The terrorism thriller ‘‘Homeland’’ won critical plaudits and the best drama Emmy, as well as top acting awards for Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. The writing for ‘‘Homeland’’ was also recognized. Showtime’s first-ever best drama honoree prevented ‘‘Mad Men’’ from winning its fifth straight best drama Emmy.
Oxfam report: Yemeni women worse off after revolution, as humanitarian crisis grows
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Women in Yemen are worse off now than a year ago, when they played a significant part in the country’s revolution that promised political and economic change, an international aid agency has concluded.
In a report released Monday, Oxfam International said four out of five Yemeni women claim their lives have worsened over the past 12 months. Faced with an intensifying humanitarian crisis, which has left a quarter of women between the ages of 15 and 49 acutely malnourished, they say they’re struggling to feed their families and are unable to participate in the country’s transition.
‘‘The food crisis is the biggest impediment,’’ said Sultana Begum, an Oxfam humanitarian policy advisor who authored the report. ‘‘How do you expect people to participate in this very important process which is going to decide the future of a country . when they’re focused on day-to-day survival?’’
The United Nations’ World Food Program says 10 million Yemenis, nearly half the population, do not have enough food to eat. The crisis is blamed on a number of factors, including soaring food and fuel prices in the past year. Markets in cities and villages are brimming with fruits, vegetables and meat, but private organizations say the food is not affordable to people who are grappling with high unemployment, unrest and internal conflicts that have displaced families.
Many have sold off their land and livestock, pulled their kids out of school and resorted to other desperate measures to make ends meet. Oxfam said more parents are marrying off their daughters early, some as young as 12, and sending their sons across the Saudi Arabian border to smuggle qat, the narcotic leaf.
Tucker’s FG as clock expires gives Ravens 31-30 win over Patriots
BALTIMORE (AP) — Operating with little sleep and much emotion, Torrey Smith played a magnificent game under the most difficult circumstances.
His teammates on the Baltimore Ravens helped Smith cope, then provided him a victory for his effort.
Rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Ravens a 31-30 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night in a rematch of the AFC championship game.
Playing less than 24 hours after his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident, Smith scored two touchdowns and caught six passes for 127 yards. Only hours earlier, he wasn’t even sure if he would suit up.
‘‘It was tough. I didn’t know until 4 o’clock if I was going to play,’’ Smith said. ‘‘I only had like an hour of sleep. Emotionally, I didn’t know how I was going to hold up.’’
’Science Guy’ Bill Nye says religious-based dismissal of evolution endangers US science
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The man known to a generation of Americans as ‘‘The Science Guy’’ is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.
Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show ‘‘Bill Nye The Science Guy,’’ has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.
Christians who view the stories of the Old Testament as historical fact have come to be known as creationists, and many argue that the world was created by God just a few thousand years ago.
‘‘The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,’’ Nye said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘‘It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.’’
Millions of Americans do hold those beliefs, according to a June Gallup poll that found 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.