Sunday, May 3
UPDATE: Freed Nigerian captives tell of harrowing experiences
YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Some of the girls and women rescued by the Nigerian military are telling tragic stories about their escape from captivity.
They say Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM') fighters stoned some of the captives to death as Nigeria's military approached to rescue the women. Others survived the stoning.
Three were blown up by a land mine as they walked to freedom. And several were accidentally crushed to death by a Nigerian military vehicle.
The survivors who spoke to The Associated Press are among 61 women and 214 children, almost all girls, who have been taken to a refugee camp in northeastern Nigeria, where they are receiving food and medical attention. Health workers put critically malnourished babies on intravenous drips. Twenty-one girls and women with bullet wounds and fractured limbs were taken to a hospital.
Nigeria's military said it has freed nearly 700 Boko Haram captives in the past week.
Lawmakers may reconsider separate funding for Iraq factions
BAGHDAD (AP) — A member of a congressional delegation visiting Baghdad says a provision in the upcoming defense spending bill to separately arm Iraq's Kurds and Sunnis may be reconsidered.
Rep. Michael T. McCaul, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, told The Associated Press that in light of the political and security situation in the country, "we have to go back to that provision to see if we can change that."
The Texas Republican said briefings he received indicated that such a provision would threaten Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's position.
The provision was added to a bill funding the training of the Iraqi army out of concern that the Iraqi government is keeping weapons from Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State group.
The measure has been loudly condemned by the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. And last week, influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (mook-TAH'-duh ahl SAH'-dur) threatened to attack U.S. interests if the provision passes.
John Kerry tries to pacify Israeli worries over Iran deal
JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is reaching out to Israelis in an attempt to pacify worries over the emerging nuclear deal with Iran.
In an interview with Israel's Channel 10 television station broadcast Sunday, Kerry said that President Barack Obama has "absolutely pledged" that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the harshest critics the U.S.-led framework deal with Iran, which offers sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back its contested nuclear program.
Kerry said: "There is a lot of hysteria about this deal."
Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, citing hostile Iranian rhetoric toward the Jewish state, Iran's missile capabilities and its support for violent militant groups.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
More than 7,200 dead; 109 foreigners unaccounted for
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The death toll in the Nepal earthquake has climbed to 7,250.
Nepal's Tourist Police say 109 foreigners are still unaccounted for, including 12 Russians and nine Americans. A total of 57 have been killed, including 40 Indians, and another 52 are injured.
Meanwhile, runway damage has forced Nepalese authorities to close the main airport to large aircraft. The runway was built to handle only medium-size jetliners, not the large military and cargo planes that have been delivering aid.
Baltimore mayor lifts curfew 6 days after riots
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore's mayor has lifted a citywide curfew six days after the death of Freddie Gray sparked riots in the city.
The order for residents to stay home after 10 p.m. had been in place since Tuesday, and officials had planned to keep it in place through Sunday. Protests since Monday's riots have been peaceful, and the announcement of charges against six officers involved in Gray's arrest eased tensions.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Sunday morning that her goal was not to maintain the curfew any longer than was necessary.
Gray died after suffering a severe spinal injury while in police custody. The six officers face charges ranging from manslaughter to second-degree murder.
NYPD OFFICER SHOT
NYPD officer shooting suspect faces attempted murder charge
NEW YORK (AP) — A man accused of shooting a New York City police officer in the head is being charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
The Queens District Attorney's office says Demetrius Blackwell is expected to be arraigned Sunday afternoon. It was unclear if he has a lawyer.
The 35-year-old was arrested after a house-by-house search following the shooting of Officer Brian Moore on Saturday evening. Moore was in critical but stable condition.
Police Commissioner William Bratton says Moore and his partner had pulled up in an unmarked police car to a man who was adjusting his waistband suspiciously.
Bratton says the officers exchanged words with the man before he turned suddenly and fired at least twice, striking Moore.
State police won't release dashcam video of officer shooting
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State police in South Carolina refuse to release dashcam video that apparently shows a white police officer shooting a 68-year-old black man to death in his driveway after a nine mile car chase.
State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said the video could ruin North Augusta officer Justin Craven's chance at a fair trial. Craven is charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle in the February 2014 killing of Ernest Satterwhite. A grand jury refused to indict Craven on a voluntary manslaughter charge.
SLED did release dashcam video from another traffic stop that led to a murder charge against a North Charleston officer. That footage, however, did not show the shooting.
Public records advocates say police can't decide whether to release a video based on its content.
Pace of death sentences, executions slows in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — For the better part of three decades, Virginia operated one of the busiest execution chambers in the nation. Not anymore.
Statistics compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center show that Virginia has sent only six people to death row in the last nine years after sending 40 over the previous eight years. As a result, the state only has eight inmates awaiting execution — down from a high of 57 in 1995.
Virginia has slipped from second to third nationally — behind Texas and Oklahoma — with 110 executions since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.
Experts say a big reason for the decline is the establishment in 2004 of four regional capital defender offices to improve legal representation of people facing a possible death sentence.
Ohio clinics close, abortions decline amid restrictions
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Associated Press has documented that half of Ohio's abortion providers have either closed or reduced services over the last four years as the number of abortion procedures is also falling.
According to AP interviews and examinations of state licensing and business records, seven of 16 abortion providers operating in 2011 have since closed or restricted abortion offerings. Numerous restrictive new laws have passed in that time.
Both sides agree added legal hurdles and limits are playing a role in facility closures across the nation's 7th most populous state. But they differ on whether the decline in abortion procedures is a cause or an effect of reduced access.
Abortion opponents say clinics are closing because there's less demand. Abortion-rights groups say women still want abortions but can't get them.
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES-HEART TESTS
Texas the front line on high school ECG debate
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Spurred by the tragic stories of teenagers struck down by sudden cardiac deaths, Texas lawmakers are considering making their state the first in the nation to require high school athletes to undergo electrocardiogram testing.
Advocates for the heart screenings, known as ECGs, say the tests are cheap and simple and could save lives. They hope that if Texas passes a law, the rest of the country will follow.
The debate over mandatory ECGs has swirled for years, pitting advocates against scientists from major groups like the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. Those groups say sudden cardiac deaths among teens remains rare.
And they question testing effectiveness, warning that false positives could send thousands of healthy patients into further, more expensive testing that may be unnecessary.
NEW: SC Police stations act as havens for online buyers, sellers
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Some South Carolina law enforcement agencies are offering their parking lots as a safe place to finalize deals made on Craigslist and other online marketplaces.
Officers say they won't get involved in the deals. But officials hope that, by doing the transactions at a police station or sheriff's department, people will be less likely to cut a shady deal — or get violent.
At least two people have been killed in South Carolina when online transactions went wrong. In 2013, two men were charged with murder after authorities said they killed a Charleston man they met because he was selling his truck on Craigslist.
Last year, two men were charged with murder for arranging to meet two brothers to buy a car in Lexington County, then killing one of them.
'Avengers' sequel is second biggest US opener of all time
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The "Avengers" sequel is the weekend's top movie after the second-biggest U.S. opening of all time, according to Rentrak estimates. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" earned a staggering $187.7 million in its debut weekend, but fell short of the first Avengers film's $207.4 million haul.
Although "Ultron" was the only new film in wide release this weekend, it had some significant small screen competition too: The Kentucky Derby, the NBA playoffs, and the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight.
Numbers could shift by the time Monday actuals roll in, but it seems the robust counter-programming may have blockaded a new record for Marvel and Disney.
Holdovers make up the rest of the weekend's top five films. "The Age of Adaline" is No. 2, followed by "Furious 7," ''Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and the animated "Home."