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Rio party launching countdown to Carnival ends in disorder

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A massive celebration in Rio de Janeiro marking the start of the 50-day countdown to Brazil's world famous Carnival has been marred by tear gas, tossed bottles and clashes between police and revelers in the city's Copacabana district. As night fell Sunday on the party that drew several hundred thousand people, police and municipal guards sought to disperse crowds with people fleeing along the beach and waterfront. Guards chased a man, tackling and hitting him before handcuffing him. It was unclear how the disorder began. Authorities said security forces dispersed crowds after being attacked with glass bottles, stones and other objects.


Reports: Man rams cockpit; fights with officers at airport

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Media reports say a passenger who sprinted at a plane's cockpit during a flight, pounding on the door before attacking a flight attendant and fighting with officers at the Newark airport, has been charged with aggravated assault and other crimes. Twenty-eight-year-old Matthew Dingley was arrested Thursday for injuring the flight attendant and six officers, including one who was hospitalized with four broken ribs. A passenger on the United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Newark told NBC that it started when Dingley sprinted at the cockpit and began to pound on the door. The passenger says Dingley then attacked a flight attendant and officers who arrested him when the plane landed in Newark.


Australia turns from defense to offense in wildfire battle

BODALLA, Australia (AP) — Crews battling Australia's wildfires say they have been able to turn from defense to offense for the first time in weeks thanks to a break in the weather. The weather is expected to remain benign for the next week, although any deterioration in conditions after that could see the wildfires flare up again. A firefighter was killed by a falling tree, bringing the death toll to at least 27 in a crisis that has destroyed more than 2,000 homes and scorched an area larger than the U.S. state of Indiana since September. Among those who died were four firefighters.


Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence to reaffirm priest celibacy

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence to reaffirm the value of priestly celibacy. Benedict has co-authored a bombshell book at the precise moment that Pope Francis is weighing whether to allow married men to be ordained to address the Catholic priest shortage.Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church," along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah. The French daily Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late Sunday; The Associated Press obtained galleys of the English edition, which is being published by Ignatius Press.


2 Soldiers killed in Afghanistan from Virginia, Illinois

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Pentagon says the two soldiers killed Saturday in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb were from Virginia and Illinois. On Sunday, military officials identified the casualties as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin of Newport News, Virginia; and 21-year-old Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon of Joliet, Illinois. Both soldiers were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Pentagon says their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province. Two other soldiers were injured.


Canada PM Trudeau: Iran plane families will get answers

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it's been gut-wrenching to listen to stories from relatives of 57 Canadians who perished in the downing of a Ukrainian jetliner in Iran last week as he attended one of several memorials across the country on Sunday. Speaking at a memorial in Edmonton, Alberta Trudeau said he has learned many of the victims came to Canada in search of new opportunities for their families, but those families are now consumed by grief. The plane was shot down by an Iranian missile moments after taking off from Tehran Wednesday. All 176 on board were killed, including 138 who were headed for Canada.


Canadian officials accidentally push nuke alert to millions

TORONTO (AP) — People throughout the Canadian province of Ontario awoke to an emergency alert warning of an “incident” at a nuclear plant near Toronto _ only to be told later that the message was a mistake. The initial warning popped up Sunday on cellphone screens and television screens throughout the province of 14 million. It said an unspecified event had occurred at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. It added that there had been no abnormal release of radioactivity. Some people planned evacuations. More than an hour later came another message saying the first alert had been an error.


Trump, Pelosi square off ahead of impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are squaring off ahead of his impeachment trial in the Senate. Pelosi says senators will “pay a price” if they block new witnesses from testifying. Trump counters that she and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff should also appear. The House expects to transmit the articles of impeachment against Trump this week. The Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, wants a speedy trial without new witnesses. Trump was impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his actions toward Ukraine. Trump tweeted Sunday that he did nothing wrong.


US to send home some Saudi military students after shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is preparing to remove more than a dozen Saudi military students from a training program after an investigation into a deadly shooting by a Saudi aviation student at a Florida navy base last month. That’s according to a U.S. official who spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday. The 21-year-old Saudi Air Force officer, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, opened fire at the naval base in Pensacola, killing three U.S. sailors and injuring eight other people. The Justice Department has been investigating the incident as an act of terrorism.


Australian is 20th fatality in New Zealand volcano eruption

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A man who died in an Australian hospital has become the 20th casualty of a volcanic eruption last month on a New Zealand island. Authorities say the man was one of three Australians transferred to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for treatment of his injuries. The hospital said the man had been critically ill. His name was not released. The hospital continues to treat the two other patients with specialized burn care. The White Island volcano erupted Dec. 9 while many visitors were touring the island.

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