Created: Thu, 08 May 2014 01:15:25 EST
Updated: Thu, 08 May 2014 01:15:25 EST
NEW: Clinton: Kidnapping in Nigeria 'act of terrorism'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has branded the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria by an Islamic extremist group an "act of terrorism."
Clinton told ABC News that the abduction "merits the fullest response possible."
Meanwhile, the Pentagon says a handful of U.S. troops are headed to Nigeria as advisers.
Their roles will involve intelligence, logistics and communications, not combat.
UPDATE: US closes Yemen embassy to public after attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Yemen. Officials says it's because of recent attacks against Westerners in the capital of Sanaa (sah-NAH').
There have been no specific threats to Americans.
A State Department spokeswoman says the facility will reopen "once it is deemed appropriate."
Obama says 'disquiet' breeds political cynicism
LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Barack Obama says disquiet and a sense of frustration in the country are fueling cynicism about government that could hurt Democratic turnout in the November elections.
In a sober political assessment, Obama tells Democratic donors he feels a sense of urgency about the election and needs the Senate to remain Democratic. Republicans have a chance to win control of the Senate this year.
The president says that when Democrats get discouraged, they don't vote.
Obama spoke at the Los Angeles home of Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn before about 90 contributors who paid from $10,000 to $32,400 to attend. Among those attending were Hollywood luminaries Barbra Streisand and her husband, James Brolin, and Jeffrey Katzenberg
Obama is holding five fundraisers for the Democratic Party during a three-day California swing.
UNITED NATIONS-NUCLEAR TALKS
NEW: EU: 6-party nuclear talks with Iran were 'useful'
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The European Union says nuclear experts from Iran and six world powers had "a useful meeting" in New York ahead of high-level political talks next week aimed at reaching an agreement to limit Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons.
An EU spokesperson said Wednesday night that the talks aimed at "further deepening" knowledge on the issues and contributed to preparations for next week's high-level negotiations on a comprehensive agreement in Vienna.
Iran's U.N. Mission said the two-day experts meeting ended Wednesday. Hamid Baeidinejad, the Foreign Ministry's director for political and international security affairs who led the Iranian delegation, did not comment on the talks.
Russia, the U.N. nuclear agency and outside experts tracking negotiations agree that the Iranians are cooperating and appear to want an agreement that ends crippling sanctions.
UPDATE: Government says no need to park recalled GM cars
DETROIT (AP) — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has told lawmakers there's no need to tell owners of recalled General Motors small cars to stop driving them.
Fox told two senators who wanted such an order that federal engineers have determined it's not necessary.
GM is recalling 2.6 million small cars worldwide.
They have ignition switches that can slip out of the run position and shut off the engine.
NEW: China trade improves in April but imports subdued
BEIJING (AP) — China's trade rebounded in April after contracting in the previous month but imports remained subdued in another sign of the country's economic slowdown.
Customs data show exports rose 0.9 percent, recovering from March's unexpected 6.6 percent contraction. Imports rose 0.8 percent, up from the previous month's 11.3 percent decline.
Chinese export industries have been hurt by weak global demand. That forced communist leaders to launch mini-stimulus efforts to avert politically risky job losses.
Weakness in imports reflects slowing Chinese economic growth, which declined to 7.4 percent in the first quarter of year.
NEW: South Africa ruling party leads in election tally
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Early results from elections in South Africa show the ruling African National Congress party leading its main opposition rival, which had tried to woo voters unhappy with alleged corruption and a lack of opportunities for the poor.
Results released by the national election commission early Thursday showed the African National Congress with about 57 percent and the opposition Democratic Alliance with 29 percent after about 3.4 million votes had been counted. The Economic Freedom Fighters, a new party that wants to redistribute the country's resources to the poor, was third with about 4 percent.
About 25 million South Africans had registered to vote in the fifth all-race polls in South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.
FIRE-FORMER TENNIS STAR
UPDATE: Police: Fire at Fla. home intentionally set
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Four people have been killed in a fire at a Florida mansion that officials say was "unusual" and apparently set deliberately.
The house, in a high-end subdivision north of Tampa, is said to have had "various fireworks" throughout.
Two of the victims were teens, the others adults.
The house is owned by former tennis pro James Blake, who had been renting it out for about two years.
Police: 93-year-old woman fatally shot by officer
HEARNE, Texas (AP) — Police in Central Texas say an officer fatally shot a 93-year-old woman who brandished a gun.
Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert says Pearlie Golden was shot Tuesday night by Officer Steven Stem. Stem was responding to a 911 call about a disturbance involving a woman with a gun.
The Hearne Police Department says Golden "brandished a firearm" when Stem encountered her. He then shot her multiple times.
The investigation is being handled by the Texas Rangers.
City attorney Bryan Russ Jr. said Stem has been put on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol when an officer is involved in a shooting.
Hearne is a town of about 4,500 people that's about 140 miles south of Dallas.
CHILD IN HANDCUFFS
Handcuffing of Portland girl spurs police review
A year after Portland officers handcuffed a 9-year-old girl, the Police Department says it will review three directives on taking juveniles into custody.
The announcement came Wednesday, hours before a citizen panel that investigates police misconduct planned to look into the May 2013 incident.
Two officers investigating a fight at a youth club came to the girl's home, handcuffed her as she stood in a bathing suit and led her away to be processed on an assault charge.
The girl's mother and some in the juvenile justice system called the actions excessive. They urged for rules to prevent police from taking children into custody under the age of 10 without a juvenile court order.
The Independent Police Review Division found the officers acted according to policy.
Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said officers use handcuffs as a safeguard.
Power surge dims lighting at Thunder-Clippers game
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A power surge took out much of the lighting at Chesapeake Energy Arena late in the first half of the playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
The lights went out with 27.2 seconds left. Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Thunder coach Scott Brooks agreed to finish out the half with the limited lighting. Oklahoma City led 61-56 at the break.
The power returned during halftime, which was extended by a few minutes to give the lights the necessary 15 minutes to return to full brightness.
A Thunder spokesman said it was not immediately clear what caused the problem.
NEW: Amazon adds 15 cities to Sunday delivery service
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is expanding its Sunday package delivery service to 15 more cities across the country, including Philadelphia, New Orleans and Dallas.
Amazon first rolled out the service as part of a new deal with the U.S. Postal Service in November to New York and Los Angeles, just ahead of the holiday rush. At the time, it said it planned to extend it to other cities this year.
Sunday delivery is available to Amazon customers for no extra charge. If it is available in a customers' region, notice of the service will appear at checkout.
The cities that Sunday delivery is expanding to are: Indianapolis; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Oklahoma City; Philadelphia; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and College Station, Texas.
NEW: Simon makes 1st public appearance since arrest
NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Simon performed a rousing set and accepted an award from New York University in his first public appearance since he and his wife were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.
The 72-year-old performed more than a dozen songs Wednesday at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where he was honored at the 2014 NYU Steinhardt Vision Award Gala. He played guitar and sang hits such as "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and "Late In the Evening."
Simon and 48-year-old Edie Brickell became physical with each other during an argument inside a cottage on their New Canaan, Connecticut, property last week.
Brickell didn't attend the event, which raised $1.1 million. Simon joked: "After my fee of a million is deducted, that's $100,000."
Simon taught a songwriting course at NYU in the 1970s.