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World briefly on Sept. 11

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POSTED: September 11, 2012 8:12 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Is it time for a different kind of Sept. 11?

Victims' families and others were poised to gather and grieve Tuesday at ground zero, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., for the first time after the emotional turning point of last year's 10th anniversary.

And in New York, there was a sense that it was a season of change and moving forward for the ground zero ceremony. It followed a last-minute breakthrough on a financial dispute that had halted progress on the Sept. 11 museum, and the commemoration itself was to be different: For the first time, elected officials won't speak at an occasion that has allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight, but also has been lined with questions about separating the Sept. 11 that is about personal loss from the 9/11 that reverberates through public life.

To Charles G. Wolf, it's a fitting transition.

"We've gone past that deep, collective public grief," says Wolf, whose wife, Katherine, was killed at the trade center. "And the fact that the politicians will not be involved, to me, makes it more intimate, for the families. ... That's the way that it can be now."

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Obama and Romney plan a day free from politics on anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — It could be the only day before Nov. 6 without explicit partisan rancor.

Both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney plan to take down their negative ads in honor of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Neither planned to appear at overtly political events, although Election Day is never far from their agendas.

Obama has scheduled a moment of silence at the White House and a trip to the Pentagon, the target of one of four planes al-Qaida hijacked 11 years ago. Romney, meanwhile, is set to address the National Guard, whose members deployed as part of the U.S. response to the attacks.

"On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world," Romney said in a statement released before his speech.

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend a memorial service at Shanksville, Pa., where one of the hijacked airliners crashed. Biden grew up in Scranton, Pa.

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Chicago parents scramble to find safe place for students as teacher strike rolls into 2nd day

CHICAGO (AP) — Rose Davis wasn't about to let her two young grandchildren walk alone through one of the city's most violent neighborhoods, even though they were going to a school kept open for students who needed a safe haven while teachers walked the picket line.

So Davis, who has a painful diabetic condition that affects nerves in her legs, walked with them Monday the six blocks to Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy in Englewood — about five blocks farther than the school they normally attend — where they ate breakfast and lunch, read books, worked on computers and played games. She went back four hours later to escort them home.

"They had to go out of their home zone, and you never know what gang violence is going on on the other side of the zone," said Davis, 47, who said she will continue making the difficult trek until teachers return to the classroom.

But Davis and other parents and caregivers who scrambled Monday to figure out what to do with more than 350,000 idle children must do it all again Tuesday — and perhaps longer — after the teachers union and district failed to reach a settlement to end the first strike in a quarter century.

Chicago School Board President David Vitale said he thought an agreement could be reached on Tuesday. But Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis sounded less optimistic, saying the district has not changed its offers on the two most contentious issues, performance evaluations and recall rights for laid-off teachers.

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Chicago teacher strike poses test for labor as teacher unions see influence wane

WASHINGTON (AP) — The massive teacher strike in Chicago offers a high-profile test for the nation's teacher unions, which have seen their political influence threatened as a growing reform movement seeks to expand charter schools, get private companies involved with failing schools and link teacher evaluations to student test scores.

The unions are taking a major stand on teacher evaluations, one of the key issues in the Chicago dispute. If they lose there, it could have ripple effects around the country.

Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are "a bit weaker," said Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. "They are playing on more hostile terrain and they are facing opponents the likes of which they have not had to face before."

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union — the AFT's oldest local — walked off the job Monday for the first time in 25 years over issues that include pay raises, classroom conditions, job security and teacher evaluations.

They are pitted against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a powerful Democrat — and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama — who wants to extract more concessions from teachers while the school district faces a nearly $700 million deficit.

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WHY IT MATTERS: An agonizing economic recovery, with high human toll, follows Great Recession

The issue:

The economy is weak and the job market brutal. Nearly 13 million Americans can't find work; the national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, the highest level ever three years after a recession supposedly ended. A divided Washington has done little to ease the misery.

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Where they stand:

President Barack Obama wants to create jobs with government spending on public works and targeted tax breaks to businesses. Mitt Romney aims to generate hiring by keeping income taxes low, slashing corporate taxes, relaxing or repealing regulations on businesses and encouraging production of oil and natural gas.

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Dry Northwest burns after weekend storms as arid West's wildfire season extends into September

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Homeowners in an upscale neighborhood of central Washington gathered in a cul-de-sac and watched helplessly as a wall of flames inched down a distant hill, a stark reminder that the 2012 fire season is far from over across the arid West.

Firefighters east of the state's Cascade Range scrambled to contain dozens of fires sparked by a weekend lightning storm. They were aided by diminishing winds late Monday.

But across the West, high winds and temperatures exacerbated already dangerous fire conditions, prompting the National Weather Service to issue red-flag warnings for wide swaths of eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, Montana and all of Wyoming.

In Wyoming, authorities evacuated 500 people from homes and cabins as a wildfire about 10 miles southeast of Casper quickly grew.

The Sheep Herder Hill Fire, which started Sunday, burned at least six structures and more than 15 square miles of pine forest and sagebrush. State Forester Bill Crapser wasn't sure if the structures were homes and that more buildings may have been lost.

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China sends patrol ships to contested islands after Japan buys them in assertion of its claim

BEIJING (AP) — A territorial flare-up between China and Japan intensified Tuesday as two Beijing-sent patrol ships arrived near disputed East China Sea islands in a show of anger over Tokyo's purchase of the largely barren outcroppings from their private owners.

The China Marine Surveillance has drawn up a plan to safeguard China's sovereignty of the islands and the ships were sent to assert those claims, said the Chinese government's official news agency, Xinhua. The marine agency is a paramilitary force whose ships are often lightly armed.

The rocky islands, known as Senkaku to Japanese and Diaoyu to Chinese, have been the focus of recurring spats between the countries and also are claimed by Taiwan. The China-Japan dispute has been heating up in recent months, in part because the nationalist governor of Tokyo had proposed buying the islands and developing them.

Japan's central government announced its own deal this week with the Japanese family it recognizes as the owner. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters the government budgeted 2.05 billion yen ($26 million) for the purchase "to maintain the Senkakus peacefully and stably."

Public broadcaster NHK said the government and the family signed a deal Tuesday.

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YouTube releases own iPhone app as Apple prepares to drop video service as built-in program

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube is being reprogrammed for the iPhone and iPad amid the latest fallout from the growing hostility between Google and Apple.

The changes are being made because Google Inc. and Apple Inc. didn't renew a five-year licensing agreement that established YouTube's video service as one of the built-in applications in the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad.

YouTube is being bumped from the menu of pre-installed apps on the next version of Apple's mobile operating system, or iOS, which could be released as early as Wednesday when the latest iPhone is expected to be unveiled.

Google is making a pre-emptive strike on Tuesday with the release of a revamped YouTube application. The app is designed to make it as easy as possible for the tens of millions of iPhone and iPad owners to continue watching clips from the world's most popular video site.

The new YouTube app will create more moneymaking opportunities for Google and video producers because it allows advertising to be shown with the clips. That's something Apple hasn't allowed on the pre-installed YouTube app. The ban on ads prevented many music videos and other widely watched clips from being shown in the iOS app because some copyright owners don't allow their content to be shown if there is no way for them to be paid.

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76 years in the making: Murray breaks through, brings a Grand Slam home to Britain

NEW YORK (AP) — Too exhausted to jump up and down or run over to the stands the way some newly crowned champions do, Andy Murray dropped his racket to the court, crouched down gingerly and covered his mouth with his hands. A few minutes later, he took off his shoes, sat in his chair on the sideline, leaned his head back and looked into the dark New York sky.

What a relief!

The 25-year-old Scotsman won the U.S. Open to earn the Grand Slam title that had eluded him the four previous times he had gotten this close. It took six minutes short of five hours on a windblown Monday night that was certainly not made for tennis. If it seemed like longer, well, there are some pretty good reasons for that.

Murray's final against Novak Djokovic felt like three matches packed into one and maybe a lifetime or two for those watching back home in Britain, where it was a few minutes after 2 a.m. Tuesday when the last ball was struck. After taking a two-set lead, then squandering it, then girding himself for the deciding fifth set, Murray brought the first major men's title back to Britain since 1936, defeating the defending champion 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.

"I cried a little bit on the court," said Murray, after becoming the first man to bring a Grand Slam trophy to Britain since Fred Perry did it, three years before the start of World War II. "You're not sad. You're incredibly happy. You're in a little bit of disbelief because when I have been in that position many times before and not won, you do think, you know, is it ever going to happen?"

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Reed gives himself early birthday gift, running into record book as Ravens beat Bengals 44-13

BALTIMORE (AP) — In one exciting jaunt down the sideline, Ed Reed ran his way into the record book and took the heart out of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Baltimore Ravens standout safety also tweaked his hamstring, which gave him an opportunity to work on his standup routine at the podium after Baltimore's 44-13 rout on Monday night.

Reed's 34-yard interception return for a touchdown was the highlight of a solid performance by the Baltimore defense and one of the key plays in the game. The score put the Ravens up 34-13 late in the third quarter and sealed the Bengals' fate.

"I think it was part of it," said Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw the pass.

The interception gave Reed 1,497 yards in interception returns, eclipsing the previous NFL mark of 1,483 by Rod Woodson. Reed's dash for the end zone was punctuated by a desperate dive at the front pylon in the left corner.

 

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