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LAWYER: SNOWDEN TO STAY IN RUSSIA FOR NOW

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:40 Published in National News
MOSCOW (AP) — Edward Snowden may be settling in for a long stay in Russia, his lawyer indicated Wednesday, saying the National Security Agency leaker plans to start studying the Russian language and culture and that, for the time being, Russia is his final destination.

Anatoly Kucherena's comments came after the lawyer met with Snowden in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport amid Russian news reports that Snowden was about to receive documents that would allow him to leave the airport where he's apparently been marooned for more than a month.

Some Russian news agencies cited unidentified sources as saying Kucherena would deliver the documents to Snowden, but the lawyer later said there was no such paperwork. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia.

In a meeting with human rights activists two weeks ago, Snowden reportedly said he eventually wanted to visit Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, all of which have offered him asylum. But Kucherena cast doubt on those intentions after Wednesday's meeting.

"Russia is his final destination for now. He doesn't look further into the future than that," Kucherena said on state television.

The lawyer said that Snowden is staying in the transit zone "for now" and "intends to stay in Russia, study Russian culture."

The American applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave the airport and fly out of Russia were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Snowden, who revealed details of the NSA's wide-ranging spying activities targeting data and phone communication, is believed to have been staying at the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.

Kucherena told journalists that he has brought fresh clothes for Snowden along with several books for the American to read, including one by Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel "Crime and Punishment."

The novel is about the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of a poor ex-student who kills a pawnbroker for her cash, and Kucherena said Snowden might find it interesting. But the lawyer told Rossiya-24: "I'm not implying he's going through a similar mental anguish."

President Vladimir Putin has said that Snowden can be granted asylum in Russia only if he stops leaking NSA secrets.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Federal Migration Service told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it had no information about the status of Snowden's application for asylum.

Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by Washington's criticism of Russia's pressure on opposition groups, Moscow's suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans in Europe, and Russia's resistance to proposed sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

ANTHONY WEINER CAUGHT IN ANOTHER SEXTING SCANDAL

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 06:51 Published in National News
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal Tuesday like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but stood side-by-side with his wife to say he won't drop out of the race for mayor of New York.

"This is entirely behind me," Weiner said at an evening news conference, hours after the gossip website The Dirty posted X-rated text messages and a crotch shot that it said the former congressman exchanged with a woman after he left office.

Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages and acknowledged the activity took place as recently as last summer, more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior with at least a half-dozen women.

But with his wife, Huma Abedin, smiling shyly an arm's length away from him, he said: "I want to bring my vision to the people of the city of New York. I hope they are willing to still continue to give me a second chance."

Weiner then turned the microphone over to his wife, who did not appear with him at the June 2011 news conference when he stepped down from Congress over a scandal that began with a Twitter photo of his bulging underpants.

This time, Abedin reaffirmed her support for her husband and said the sexting matter is "between us."

"I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward," said Abedin, a longtime adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Abedin said her husband had made some "horrible mistakes both before he resigned from Congress and after" but insisted the two of them discussed "all of this" before he jumped into the mayor's race in May.

On Tuesday, Harper's Bazaar released an excerpt from a piece Abedin wrote explaining that although she doesn't like the limelight, she decided to campaign for him because he's "a better man" now.

The latest disclosures could severely test voters' willingness to forgive Weiner, who has said he spent his two years in political exile since the scandal trying to make things right with his wife and earn redemption.

The New York Times and three of his rivals for mayor called on him to drop out of the race.

The 48-year-old Democrat has been near the top of most polls since his late entry into the campaign.

"I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have," said Weiner, who added that he was surprised that more had not previously surfaced.

After the news conference, Weiner went directly to a mayoral forum on gay men's issues and was warmly received.

The woman with whom he exchanged the messages was not identified by The Dirty. She told the website that she was 22 when she began chatting with Weiner on a social networking site. She said their online relationship began in July 2012 and lasted six months.

She said that Weiner used the alias "Carlos Danger" for their exchanges but that she knew she was talking to the former congressman.

The exchanges posted on The Dirty consist of sexually explicit fantasizing about various sex acts. At one point, the man reported to be Weiner wrote, "I'm deeply flawed."

The woman said Weiner promised to help her get a job at the political website Politico and suggested meeting in a Chicago condo for a tryst.

The woman said she and Weiner also exchanged nude photos of themselves and engaged in phone sex. The Dirty ran a pixelated photo of what it said were Weiner's genitals.

"This was a bad situation for me because I really admired him. Even post scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him. I thought I loved him. Pretty pathetic," the woman was quoted as telling the website.

She said he later asked her to destroy the evidence of their chats. She insisted that she never had sex with Weiner or received any payment from him.

The woman said her relationship with Weiner "fizzled" in November 2012. She said she last heard from him this past April, when his intention to run for mayor was revealed in a New York Times Magazine profile.

Weiner said that not every allegation made by the woman was true but that he was not going to dispute specific claims. The lawyer for The Dirty's founder, Nik Ritchie, said his client was ill and would not comment Tuesday.

Weiner said his last sexting exchange happened "sometime last summer, I think," after he and his wife sat down for a glowing People magazine profile in which they said their troubles were behind them.

Abedin, who was pregnant when the original sexting scandal broke and gave birth months later, has played a large and visible role in his mayoral campaign.

Two weekends ago, she walked hand-in-hand with Weiner as they talked to voters on a Harlem street.

In an editorial posted online Tuesday, the New York Times urged Weiner to drop out of the race, saying Weiner "should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City."

Three of his rivals for mayor — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Councilman Sal Albanese, both Democrats, and billionaire John Catsimatidis, a Republican — also called on Weiner to quit the race.

"Enough is enough," de Blasio said. "The sideshows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city."

Another mayoral hopeful, city Comptroller John Liu, stopped short of calling for Weiner to bow out, but suggested his "propensity for pornographic selfies is a valid issue for voters."

The other leading Democratic candidates, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, did not immediately comment.

The disclosure suddenly puts Weiner's indiscretions, judgment and candor back in the forefront of his campaign, political analysts said.

"It makes it tougher to believe this is behind him," said Democratic former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now a political consultant.

Some voters have said they felt Weiner had atoned for his past and were willing to give him a second chance. But a third chance, for misbehavior that occurred after his resignation?

"I think he had a chance to redeem himself and if he did it twice, he really betrayed the public's trust again," said Jeremy Green, a New Yorker. "I think he's past the point of no return for New Yorkers."

___ Reach Jonathan Lemire on Twitter at: @JonLemire Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz, Meghan Barr, Jacob Pearson and Deepti Hajela contributed to this story from New York.

WILLIAM, KATE, SHOW OFF THEIR ROYAL NEWBORN SON

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 06:49 Published in National News
LONDON (AP) — Prince William and his wife Kate presented their newborn son to the world for the first time Tuesday, drawing whoops and wild applause from well-wishers as they revealed the new face of the British monarchy — though not, yet, his name.

"We're still working on a name. So we'll have that as soon as we can," William told scores of reporters gathered outside St. Mary's Hospital as he cradled the child.

The young family's debut public appearance was the moment the world's media had been waiting for, but the royal couple showed no sign of stress in the face of dozens of flashing cameras. Instead the couple, both 31, laughed and joked with reporters as they took turns holding their baby son, who appeared to doze through it all.

"He's got her looks, thankfully," William said, referring to his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as the newborn prince squirmed in his arms and poked a tiny hand out of his swaddling blanket, almost like a little royal wave.

"He's got a good pair of lungs on him, that's for sure," William added with a grin. "He's a big boy. He's quite heavy."

The infant is third in line to become monarch one day, after his grandfather, Prince Charles, and William.

But for now, the media and the public were focused on getting all the details of new parenthood they could from the couple: How they feel, what the baby looks like, and even who changed the diapers.

Kate, wearing a simple baby blue dress, said William had already had a go at changing the first one.

"He's very good at it," she said.

Asked how she felt, she said: "It's very emotional. It's such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like."

And William poked fun at his own lack of hair when he responded with a wink to a reporter's question about the baby's locks: "He's got way more than me, thank God."

It was a much more relaxed scene than the one when Princess Diana and Prince Charles carried their newborn son, William, out to pose for photographs on the same hospital steps in 1982.

Charles, wearing a dark suit, tie and boutonniere, spoke awkwardly to reporters. By contrast, William, dressed in jeans and a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up, joked with the assembled media and addressed some by name. At his side, Kate waved and smiled broadly, the blue sapphire engagement ring that had been Diana's on her finger.

The photographs snapped Tuesday are likely to be reprinted for decades as the baby grows into adulthood and his role as a future king, and onlookers were elated to witness the historic moment.

"William gave us a wave as they drove away, so it was perfect. Days like this really bring the country together," said Katie Allan, 26, from Bristol, England.

The couple re-entered the hospital to place the child in a car seat before re-emerging to get into a black Range Rover. With William at the wheel, they drove away. Palace officials said they will head to an apartment in Kensington Palace and spend the night there.

The birth marks a new chapter for William and Kate, who had enjoyed a quiet life away from the public eye in Anglesey, Wales, since their wedding in April 2011.

The couple had been living in a small Welsh cottage while William — known as Flight Lieutenant Wales — completed his term as a search-and-rescue pilot.

Now that they are a family, they are moving to a much larger apartment in Kensington Palace in central London, where William spent most of his childhood and where it will be much more difficult to keep a low profile and avoid the press.

Earlier Tuesday, William's father, Charles, and his wife, Camilla, as well as Michael and Carole Middleton — Kate's parents — visited the young family at the hospital.

Charles called the baby "marvelous," while a beaming Carole Middleton described the infant as "absolutely beautiful."

It was not immediately clear when Queen Elizabeth II would meet the newborn heir. The queen was hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening, and was due to leave for an annual holiday in Scotland in the coming days.

Meanwhile, much of Britain and parts of the Commonwealth were celebrating the birth of a future monarch.

News that Kate gave birth to the 8 pound, 6 ounce (3.8 kilogram) boy on Monday was greeted with shrieks of joy and applause by hundreds of Britons and tourists gathered outside the hospital's private Lindo Wing and the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Revelers staged impromptu parties, and large crowds crushed against the palace gates to try to catch a glimpse — and a photograph — of the golden easel placed there to formally announce the birth.

Hundreds were still lining up outside the palace gates Tuesday to get near the ornate easel.

In London, gun salutes were fired, celebratory lights came on, and bells chimed at Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate wed in a lavish ceremony that drew millions of television viewers worldwide.

The baby is just a day old — and may not be named for days or even weeks — but he already has a building dedicated to him.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said an enclosure at Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo would be named after the prince as part of a gift from Australia. The government will also donate $9,300 on the young prince's behalf toward a research project at the zoo to save the endangered bilby, a rabbit-like marsupial whose numbers are dwindling in the wild.

British media joined in the celebration, with many newspapers printing souvenir editions.

"It's a Boy!" was splashed across many front pages, while Britain's top-selling The Sun newspaper temporarily changed its name to "The Son" in honor of the tiny monarch-in-waiting.

"His First Royal Wave" read the headline on the Times front page that accompanied a photo of the newborn, his tiny fist poking out from the white blanket he was swaddled in.

The birth is the latest driver of a surge in popularity for Britain's monarchy, whose members have evolved, over several decades of social and technological change, from distant figures to characters in a well-loved national soap opera.

"I think this baby is hugely significant for the future of the monarchy," said Kate's biographer, Claudia Joseph.

For some, though, it was all a bit much.

The wry front page on British satirical magazine "Private Eye" — which simply read "Woman Has Baby" — summed up the indifference some felt about the news.

"It's a baby, nothing else," said Tom Ashton, a 42-year-old exterminator on his way to work. "It's not going to mean anything to my life."

___ Associated Press writers Jill Lawless, Raphael Satter, Gregory Katz, Paisley Dodds, Maria Cheng and James Brooks in London, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Australia, contributed to this report.

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