EU foreign policy chief: Nuclear talks with Iran fail to reach an agreement
Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons, extending years of inconclusive talks and adding to concerns the diplomatic window on reaching a deal with Tehran may soon close.
Expectations the negotiations were making progress rose as an afternoon session continued into the evening. But comments by the two sides after they ended made clear that they fell far short of making enough headway to qualify the meeting as a success.
"What matters in the end is substance, and ... we are still a considerable distance apart," Catherine Ashton, the European Union's head of foreign policy, told reporters at the end of the two-day talks.
Ashton, the convener of the meeting, said negotiators would now consult with their capitals. She made no mention of plans for new talks — another sign that the gap dividing the two sides remains substantial. She said she would talk with chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili by telephone over further steps.
Jalili spoke of "some distance between the positions of the two sides." He suggested Iran was ready to discuss meeting a key demand of the other side — cutting back its highest-grade uranium enrichment production and stockpile — but only if the six reciprocated with rewards far greater than they are now willing to give.
Dropouts: Discouraged Americans are giving up the job hunt for school, retirement, disability
After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.
She'd already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn't land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.
Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she'll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.
"I'm not proud of it," says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. "The only way I'm able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on."
Baebler's frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they've given up on the job market.
AP source: US delays Minuteman 3 missile test amid rising tensions with North Korea
Amid mounting tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been planned for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a senior defense official told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The official said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test until sometime next month because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis. Hagel made the decision Friday, the official said.
The test was not connected to the ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises that have been going on in that region and have stoked North Korean anger and fueled an escalation in threatening actions and rhetoric.
North Korea's military warned earlier this week that it was authorized to attack the U.S. using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons. And South Korean officials say North Korea has moved at least one missile with "considerable range" to its east coast — possibly the untested Musudan missile, believed to have a range of 1,800 miles. U.S. officials have said the missile move suggests a North Korean launch could be imminent and thus fuels worries in the region.
Pyongyang's moves come on the heels of the North's nuclear test in February, and the launch in December of a long-range North Korean rocket that could potentially hit the continental U.S. Added to that is the uncertainty surrounding the intentions of North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un.
Southern Calif. church says son of Pastor Rick Warren commits suicide
LAKE FOREST, Calif.
The 27-year-old son of popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide at his Southern California home, Warren's church said in a statement on Saturday.
Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life. Saddleback Valley Community Church spokeswoman Kristin Cole said he died Friday night.
"Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life," the church statement said.
Rick Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life," said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son. But their son then returned home to take his life in "a momentary wave of despair."
Over the years, Matthew Warren had been treated by America's best doctors, had received counseling and medication and been the recipient of numerous prayers from others, his father said.
Obama: 2014 budget plan coming out Wednesday isn't 'ideal' but does offer 'tough reforms'
President Barack Obama says his soon-to-be released budget, already criticized by friends and foes, is not his "ideal plan" but offers "tough reforms" for benefit programs and scuttles some tax breaks for the wealthy.
That's a mix, he contends, that will provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy.
In his first comments about the 2014 spending blueprint he's set to release Wednesday, Obama said he intends to reduce deficits and provide new money for public works projects, early education and job training.
"We don't have to choose between these goals — we can do both," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, broadcast Saturday.
Obama's plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 calls for slower growth in government benefits programs for the poor, veterans and the elderly, as well as higher taxes, primarily from the wealthy.
Syrian government airstrike kills at least 15 people in Aleppo
A Syrian government airstrike on a heavily contested neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday killed at least 15 people, including nine children, activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air raid hit Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, which rebels seized parts of last weekend after days of heavy fighting with regime troops.
That gain had been the latest opposition advance in an urban warzone that expanded last summer, when rebel fighters took control of several neighborhoods. Aleppo is Syria's largest city and a key front in the civil war raging between President Bashar Assad and those trying to overthrow his regime.
The Observatory said the death toll from Saturday's air raid, near a checkpoint of anti-government Kurdish militiamen known as the Popular Committees, is expected to rise as many others were seriously wounded.
An amateur video of the raid showed people loading the bodies of three bloodied children and two men in the back of a pickup truck as women screamed and explosions went off in the distance. Another boy was seeing lying dead in the street near a burning truck.
6 Americans, Afghan doctor killed in Afghan attacks, the deadliest day for US in 8 months
Militants killed six Americans, including a young female diplomat, and an Afghan doctor Saturday in a pair of attacks in Afghanistan on Saturday. It was the deadliest day for the United States in the war in eight months.
The violence — hours after the U.S. military's top officer arrived for consultations with Afghan and U.S.-led coalition officials — illustrates the instability plaguing the nation as foreign forces work to pull nearly all their combat troops out of the country by the end of 2014.
The attacks came just days after insurgents stormed a courthouse, killing more than 46 people in one of the deadliest attacks of the war, now in its 12th year.
The three U.S. service members, two U.S. civilians and the doctor were killed when the group was struck by an explosion while traveling to donate books to students in a school in the south, officials and the State Department said.
In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Americans included a department of defense civilian and the foreign service officer.
Made in Korea: A look at complex that melds talents of North and South, but maybe not for long
There is a North Korean factory with no portraits of the country's late leaders on the walls, no North Korean flags, no hand-painted posters screaming party slogans. Everything from the tissues to the toilets comes from South Korea.
Bent over bolts of wool and rayon, North Koreans work quietly to the hum of sewing machines making shirts, suits and overcoats that will go out with vaguely Italian names. Virtually the only hint of North Korea in the factory is a calendar on the wall that proclaims, "The Great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il Will Always Be With Us."
Today, this factory and others in the Kaesong industrial complex, managed by South Koreans and staffed by North Korean workers, face the prospect of closure. Since Wednesday, North Korea has refused to let in South Korean managers and trucks bearing food, materials and supplies.
It's seen as punishment for Seoul's decision to forge ahead with joint military drills with the United States that continue through April and have incensed Pyongyang, which sees the exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion. Restricting travel through the armed border is also a way to remind the South Koreans that a state of war remains intact on the Korean Peninsula 60 years the fighting ended with a truce. Pyongyang also is angry with Seoul for backing tightened U.N. sanctions on North Korea for conducting a banned nuclear test in February.
North Korea has been raising its war rhetoric for weeks now, but so far, Kaesong is the main casualty. More than 500 South Koreans remained there Saturday and are free to stay, but their companies are beginning to run out of supplies. They hope this disruption ends up being similar lasts no longer than one in 2009 that lasted about a week