Charting a road to 270, Clinton sets out most efficient path
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Clinton doesn’t appear all that interested in making scenic stops on her state-to-state quest to become president. The Democratic nominee is instead programming her GPS to take her on the quickest route to collect the 270 Electoral College votes she needs to win the White House.
With three months until Election Day, Clinton’s campaign is focused on capturing the battleground states that have decided the most recent presidential elections, not so much on expanding the map.
Clinton’s team doesn’t rule out an effort at Arizona, a state with a booming population of Latino voters that polls find are loath to support Trump. And Georgia, a bastion of the Deep South, echoes recent population trends in other Southeastern states where Clinton is competing aggressively.
But neither is among the 11 battleground states that Clinton’s television advertising plans and her travel schedule point to as her focus. Those states are the perennial top-tier targets Florida and Ohio, plus Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. President Barack Obama carried them all in 2008, and missed out on only North Carolina during his 2012 re-election campaign.
“The last two elections have given Democrats an electoral path for victory,” said Clinton campaign adviser John Anzalone. “And our strategy is to efficiently use our resources to lock down the support we need to reach 270 electoral votes.”
Hope Solo to appear in 200th game _ a first for a goalkeeper
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — For Hope Solo, the firsts keep coming.
On Saturday, barring anything unusual, Solo will appear in her 200th game for the U.S. women’s national team in a group stage match against France at the Rio Olympics. She’ll be the first goalkeeper in history to reach the milestone in international play — no small feat.
It also will make her the 11th U.S. player — across all positions — to reach that number of caps.
“As a goalkeeper, I think she’s the best one in the world,” France coach Philippe Bergeroo said. “She’s always good for the U.S. even when the team is in difficult times.”
The 200th cap is just the latest notable statistic for Solo in a long, illustrious and always interesting career.
In Rio’s Olympic water, it’s all about avoiding the splash
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — There’s a contradictory mission for rowers competing in this year’s Summer Olympics. Get into your boat, work your hardest — but try to avoid the water.
And definitely don’t swallow it.
On Saturday at the polluted Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon — the venue for Olympic rowing — rowers bleached the handles of oars. They swished with anti-bacterial mouthwash, kept water bottles in plastic bags, and took precautions to avoid coming down with diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms that could compromise years of training and a chance at gold.
To the naked eye, the lagoon’s polluted water seemed clearer than usual on Saturday, likely the result of bioremediation to clean up the sewage-filled area.
Despite the immaculate appearance, a 16-month long independent analysis by The Associated Press has shown the rowing venue — and other water venues used by 1,400 athletes in the Olympics — is teeming with dangerous viruses from human sewage that could cause athletes to become ill.
Games begin in full, with US teen on target for 1st gold
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Olympics began in full with the first gold medal going to an American teenager by the fearsome name of Thrasher. There was plenty of rough riding on a punishing cycling course, a smooth opener for Kevin Durant and company, and a difficult loss for Venus Williams.
The American men’s basketball team romped past China 119-62 Saturday night behind Durant’s 25 points. Although it was a blowout, bettors in Las Vegas, where wagering on the Olympics is legal for the first time since 1998, were undoubtedly on edge until the final minutes.
Japan’s Kosuke Hagino won the men’s 400-meter individual medley in the marquee race in Saturday night’s swimming program, albeit a bit less flashy without two of the sport’s biggest stars. Michael Phelps, the world record holder and two-time Olympic champion, dropped the race for his fifth games and defending champion Ryan Lochte didn’t qualify.
Virginia Thrasher, a 19-year-old who once had her heart set on figure skating, captured the 10-meter air rifle Saturday. Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium won the grueling road race that left cyclists with a myriad of injuries.
Riders rolled off to the sound of crashing waves on Copacabana Beach on a steamy morning hours after Brazil’s high-energy opening ceremony featuring thumping funk, sultry samba and supermodel Gisele Bundchen sauntering to the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema.”
Thais vote on new constitution that could dilute democracy
BANGKOK (AP) — Thais voted Sunday in a referendum on a new constitution that critics say is tailor-made for the military government to stay in control for several years and entrench a new, quasi-democratic system that gives vast powers to appointed officials.
The junta, which came to power in a May 2014 coup and ordered the constitution rewritten, says the new version will usher in a new era of clean politics and stable democracy in a country chronically short of both in recent years, sometimes sliding into violent internal political conflict.
Still, the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a retired army general, used its sweeping powers to ban political rallies, independent campaigns against the draft constitution and virtually no debates on it. Opponents say this was done to ensure that people would have little knowledge about the constitution’s provisions, even though 1 million copies are claimed to have been distributed to the public in a nation of 64 million people.
More than 100 people who tried to campaign against the referendum on social media have been thrown in jail, and open criticism has been made punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
At a polling booth in Bangkok where Prayuth voted, officials displayed an empty ballot box to reporters and sealed it before letting the first voter — a young woman — enter the booth. She first registered at a desk and signed a paper before casting her ballot.
US discloses more conditions for lethal drone strikes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has released a version of President Barack Obama’s 3-year-old guidance on the use of lethal force against terrorists overseas, laying out what it says are safeguards to minimize civilian deaths and errant strikes while preserving the capability to take quick action with drone attacks and other means.
The “presidential policy guidance” stipulates that the U.S., when operating outside areas of active hostilities, will only take direct action when there is “near certainty” that the terrorist target is present and that noncombatants won’t be killed or injured. Lethal force can also be undertaken only against a lawful target that poses a “continuing, imminent threat” to Americans.
The principles, released with redactions, provide more detail on the conditions for drone strikes and other direct action than the White House revealed earlier when it summarized the document in a fact sheet in 2013. Obama or his aides have spoken previously, though, about the “near certainty” standard at the heart of the guidance — a standard that hasn’t silenced criticism over civilian deaths from drones.
Ned Price, spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said in a statement Saturday that the policy standards “offer protections for civilians that exceed the requirements of the law of armed conflict.”
“As the president has said, ‘near certainty’ is the ‘highest standard we can set,'” Price said. The U.S. “takes feasible precautions to minimize the risk of civilian casualties” even when the U.S. is not operating in conditions covered by the guidance, he added, “or when we act quickly to defend U.S. or partner forces from imminent attack.”
South Africa’s ruling party suffers biggest election setback
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s ruling party suffered its worst election setback since taking power at the end of apartheid a generation ago, with the African National Congress losing the capital, Pretoria, and its surrounding Tshwane metropolitan area. But it won a tight race for the country’s biggest city, Johannesburg, election authorities reported Saturday night.
The opposition Democratic Alliance, which named its first black party leader last year, made a strong move out of its stronghold in the city of Cape Town, winning in three of the country’s six largest municipalities. With no party reaching a majority in Johannesburg or Tshwane, the possible formation of coalition governments is the next challenge.
Scandals around President Jacob Zuma came back to haunt him even as he praised a peaceful vote. As he spoke on national television, four women stood up in front of him, silently facing the crowd and holding signs that appeared to refer to his acquittal for rape in 2006. Zuma didn’t appear to respond.
The election losses have threatened two decades of dominance by the ANC, the former anti-apartheid movement.
Since South Africa’s first all-race election in 1994, the ANC has had widespread support on the strength of its successful fight against white-minority rule, while bringing basic amenities to many people. But its hold has been weakened by corruption scandals and a stagnant economy that has frustrated the urban middle class, while poor communities demand better services in a country with one of the highest inequality rates in the world.
Fatal police shooting highlights inconsistent body cam usage
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, may never be seen. The surviving officer only activated his camera after the wounded shooter was running away.
San Diego is among departments with policies calling for officers to turn on cameras before initiating contact with a citizen in most cases. But like other departments, compliance is less than perfect.
The result is inconsistent use of an increasingly common tool meant to give investigators and an often-skeptical public a fuller picture of police actions.
“The main motive of body cameras is to provide openness and transparency, and build trust in the police,” said Samuel Walker, a retired criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
“If officers are not turning cameras on, well, you’re not going to build trust,” he said. “You’re going to reinforce the cynicism that already exists.”
Ex-firefighter describes running toward stabbing suspect
LONDON (AP) — A retired San Jose firefighter who tried to grab the man who stabbed to death a retired teacher in London this week says anyone would have tried to stop the attack.
Martin Hoenisch, 59, said he was just a tourist who knew what to do in a dire situation — namely try to subdue a man wielding a knife Wednesday in London’s Russell Square, near the British Museum. The suspect appeared in court Saturday and was ordered to be held until the next hearing.
Hoenisch told The Associated Press that he and his wife had just arrived in London and were walking back from a pub at about 11:30 p.m. when he saw a woman in distress. His first reaction was to step in front of his wife. Then he then tried to stop the attacker.
“I’m a firefighter. I’m a good guy,” he said Saturday. “Any guy would try to stop this.”
Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Somali-Norwegian, is accused of slaying 64-year-old Darlene Horton, a retired teacher from Florida.
First family arrives at Martha’s Vineyard for 2-week break
CHILMARK, Mass. (AP) — President Barack Obama’s seventh and final summer vacation at Martha’s Vineyard has begun with hopes of getting in some relaxing time with the first family before the busy fall leading up to November’s presidential election.
Obama will fill the next two weeks with leisurely rounds of golf, beach outings, bike rides and hikes with his wife and daughters, and dinner with Mrs. Obama and their friends at some of the island’s top restaurants.
Congress is also on an extended summer break from Washington, something the White House has chided it for as the nation deals with the Zika virus making its way to Florida.
The Obamas like to keep a low profile on the island and were successful last summer, but past trips have not always been so relaxing.
The president interrupted the vacation several times in 2014 to address political developments in Iraq, the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants, and violent protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of an unarmed, 18-year-old black man by a white police officer.