TMCNet:  AP Top News at 12:33 p.m. EST

[February 05, 2013]

AP Top News at 12:33 p.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Bulgaria links Hezbollah to bombing of IsraelisSOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) _ Hezbollah is behind an attack on a bus filled with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, investigators said Tuesday, describing a sophisticated bombing carried out by a terrorist cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens. In the first major announcement in the investigation into the July 18 bombing that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said one of the suspects entered the country with a Canadian passport, and another with one from Australia.


Terrorists with Western connections growing threatThey are called "homegrown terrorists," citizens of Western countries highly prized by Islamic militant groups because they can move across borders and carry out attacks easier than people from Middle East and South Asian countries closely identified with terrorism. Two such people _ one Canadian and one Australian _ are believed to have been involved in the July bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver, according to Bulgarian investigators. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the two were members of the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, which is in turn linked to Iran.

Memo gives basis for drone strikes vs US citizensWASHINGTON (AP) _ An unclassified Justice Department memo reveals that the Obama administration's justification for drone strikes that kill al-Qaida linked U.S. citizens abroad is based on a much broader definition of whether they pose an imminent threat than was previously known. The government does not need information that a specific attack is imminent, the document says, only that the targeted suspect is involved in ongoing plotting against the United States.

US sues S&P over pre-crisis mortgage ratingsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. government says Standard & Poor's knowingly inflated its ratings on risky mortgage investments that played a key role in triggering the 2008 financial crisis. In charges filed late Monday in Los Angeles federal court, the Justice Department said the credit rating agency gave high marks to mortgage-backed securities because it wanted to earn more business from the banks that issued the investments.

Obama seeks to avoid sequester with short-term fixWASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama will ask Congress to come up with tens of billions of dollars in short-term spending cuts and tax revenue to put off the automatic across the board cuts that are scheduled to kick in March 1. Obama will make his request Tuesday afternoon in a public statement at the White House.

Small Ala. town: Relief that child hostage is safeMIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) _ A 5-year-old boy was back with his ecstatic family and playing with his toy dinosaur after his nearly weeklong ordeal as a hostage in an underground bunker was ended by a sudden police raid and the death of his kidnapper. The FBI and other law enforcement officials left plenty of questions open about how they made the call to rush in and what happened inside the closet-sized hideout on a rural Alabama property, where the boy had been held by Jimmy Lee Dykes. But relatives said there was no question about the relief they feel.

Superdome officials worried about a power outageNEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Superdome officials warned just months before the Super Bowl that the venue's electrical system could suffer a power outage and rushed to replace some of the equipment ahead of the big game. While the cause of Sunday's 34-minute outage is still under investigation, records released Monday show that Superdome officials were worried in October about losing power during the NFL championship.

Dell in $24.4B founder-led deal to go privateSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Slumping personal computer maker Dell is bowing out of the stock market in a $24.4 billion buyout that represents the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up the financing for such risky maneuvers. The complex agreement announced Tuesday will allow Dell Inc.'s management, including founder Michael Dell, to attempt a company turnaround away from the glare and financial pressures of Wall Street.

Egypt's top cleric voices Sunnis' worries of IranCAIRO (AP) _ Egypt's most prominent Muslim cleric, the sheik of al-Azhar, has warned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against interfering in Arab Gulf countries or trying to spread Shiite influence. Ahmadinejad, on a landmark visit to Egypt on Tuesday, received an uneasy reception from Ahmed el-Tayeb at al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost Islamic institution.

AP Interview: Egypt pope criticizes constitutionAL-MUHARRAQ MONASTERY, Egypt (AP) _ Egypt's Coptic Christian pope sharply criticized the country's Islamist leadership in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, saying the new constitution is discriminatory and Christians should not be treated as a minority. The comments by Pope Tawadros II reflected the unusually vocal political activist stance he has taken since being enthroned in November as the spiritual leader of the Copts, the main community of Egypt's Christians. His papacy comes as Christians are increasingly worried over the power of Islamists in the country and the rule of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.

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