Witness says 3 suicide bombers explode in Jakarta Starbucks
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — At least three suicide bombers exploded themselves in a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta on Thursday while two gunmen attacked a police post nearby, a witness told The Associated Press. TVOne, a local television network, reported three other explosions in other parts of the city.
At least one policeman was killed in addition to the bombers.
The first explosion appeared to have triggered a gun-battle between the attackers and anti-terror police squads, and gunfire could be heard more than 1 ½ hours later.
Tri Seranto, a bank security guard, told The Associated Press he saw at least five attackers, including three suicide bombers who exploded themselves in the Starbucks.
He said he was out on the street when he saw the three men entering Starbucks and saw them blowing themselves up one by one. He said the other two attackers, carrying handguns, entered a police post from where he heard gunfire. He said he later saw one policeman dead and three seriously wounded.
The Latest: 3 more blasts near Turkish, Pakistan embassies
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The latest on explosions in downtown Jakarta (all times local):
Indonesian network TVOne says at least three more explosions have taken place in Jakarta.
It says the explosions occurred Thursday in Cikni, Silpi and Kuningan neighborhoods, near the Turkish and Pakistani embassies.
California Lottery: Winning Powerball ticket sold in LA area
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A winning ticket in Wednesday night’s record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot was sold in suburban Los Angeles, a spokesman for the California lottery says.
It could take several hours before officials know whether any winning tickets were sold elsewhere. The winning numbers were 4-8-19-27-34 and Powerball 10.
One winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, California, said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for that state’s lottery. The identity of the winner is not yet known.
The store and its surrounding strip mall immediately became a wildly popular gathering spot in the usually quiet Los Angeles suburb. Hundreds of people, from TV news crews to gawkers, crowded the store and spilled into its parking lot.
The store where the winner bought the ticket will get a $1 million bonus for selling it, Traverso said.
The Latest: California Lottery: Winning ticket sold near LA
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The latest on Wednesday’s Powerball drawing (all times local):
A spokesman for the California Lottery says a winning Powerball ticket was sold at a store in suburban Los Angeles.
Spokesman Alex Traverso tells The Associated Press the jackpot-winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, about 25 miles northeast of Anaheim.
The identity of the winner is not yet known. It could take several hours before officials know whether any other winning tickets were sold elsewhere.
US Navy sailors released unharmed by Iran in less than a day
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It turned out to be the international crisis that wasn’t.
Less than a day after 10 U.S. Navy sailors were detained in Iran when their boats drifted into Iranian waters, they and their vessels were back safely Wednesday with the American fleet.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tapped the personal relationship he has formed with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the three years of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, speaking with him at least five times by telephone. Kerry credited the quick resolution to the “critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country secure and strong.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanked Kerry after the sailors’ release and couched the incident in humanitarian terms, noting that “the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress.”
For Tehran, the Americans’ swift release was a way to neutralize a potential new flashpoint days before it was expected to meet the terms of last summer’s nuclear deal, which will give Iran significant relief from painful economic sanctions.
Republican Party begins preparing for contested convention
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Republican National Committee has started preparing for a contested national convention, which would follow the primary season should no GOP candidate for president win enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination.
While calling the need for such plans ultimately unlikely, several GOP leaders at the party’s winter meeting in South Carolina told The Associated Press on Wednesday that such preliminary planning is nonetheless actively underway.
They stressed it had little to do with concerns about the candidacy of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, describing the early work instead as a necessary contingency given the deeply divided Republican field. With less than three weeks to go before the Feb. 1 leadoff Iowa caucuses, there are still a dozen major Republican candidates in the race.
“Certainly, management of the committee has been working on the eventuality, because we’d be wrong not to,” said Bruce Ash, chairman of the RNC’s rules committee. “We don’t know, or we don’t think there’s going to be a contested convention, but if there is, obviously everybody needs to know what all those logistics are going to look like.”
The RNC will hold a briefing outlining possible scenarios with party officials and the presidential campaigns on Thursday, said Steve Duprey, a Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire.
Istanbul suicide bomber registered as refugee before attack
ISTANBUL (AP) — The suicide attacker who detonated a bomb that killed 10 German tourists in the heart of Istanbul’s historic district had registered as a refugee just a week earlier, Turkish officials said Wednesday, raising questions over whether extremists are posing as asylum-seekers to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.
Turkish authorities identified the assailant in Tuesday’s attack as a Syrian man who was born in 1988, and said he was affiliated with the Islamic State group. Turkish media, including some close to the government, identified him as Nabil Fadli and said he was Saudi-born. The extremist group has not so far claimed the attack.
Meanwhile, Turkish police arrested five people suspected of direct links to the bomb attack which took place just steps from the historic Blue Mosque in Istanbul’s storied Sultanahmet district. The suspects were not identified.
The bomber had recently entered Turkey, authorities said, and Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed reports he had registered with an Istanbul branch of the Migration Management Authority, providing fingerprints that allowed officials to quickly identify him. Ala said the bomber wasn’t on any Turkish or international watch lists for IS militants.
“This person was not someone who was being monitored,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said. “It is a person who entered normally, as a refugee, as an asylum-seeker.”
Asian stocks sink as weak oil, Wall Street weigh
TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets sank across the board Thursday as pessimistic sentiment following sustained weakness in oil prices and a dive on Wall Street prevailed over data showing economies on the mend.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dived 3.7 percent to 17,068.08. South Korea’s Kospi was down 1.2 percent at 1,894.14. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.6 percent to 19,611.48 and Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8 percent to 2,925.56. Other regional markets were also lower, falling in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.
FRAYED NERVES: Oil prices at 12-year lows and the volatile start to 2016 in China’s stock and currency markets have unleashed a torrent of negativity among investors. Some analysts say a correction in stock prices is inevitable after multi-year gains fostered by loose monetary policy but also point out the underlying economic picture is reassuring. China’s trade improved in December, U.S. job creation has remained strong, and Australia, which is one of the countries highly vulnerable to China’s slowdown, reported another month of strong jobs growth in December.
THE QUOTE: “When sentiment rules, data can only play a secondary role,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “The lift in China exports in December not only smashed bearish expectations of a fall but spoke directly to the idea that the economy in China tanked” in the last quarter of 2015. “Yet these facts barely dented global investor psyches.”
YEN CLIMB: The Wall Street jitters sent Japanese shares lower including giant exporters such as automakers Toyota and Honda, as well as Bridgestone and trading companies. The yen has been sought as a safe haven in the absence of confidence in other currencies recently, and that’s usually a negative for Japanese companies, which rely on exports to boost earnings. The dollar has dropped from about 121.50 yen in mid-December to 117.50 yen lately.
Drug lord flirted with Mexican actress, cared less for movie
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Transcripts of over a month of text messages between drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo showed the capo was less interested in making a movie about his life than he was in flirting with the actress.
The transcripts published Wednesday by the newspaper Milenio — and confirmed as authentic by a federal official — showed that Guzman’s main concern was getting face-to-face get-togethers with Del Castillo, and that he didn’t even really know who Sean Penn was.
Penn has acknowledged that he tagged along for the Oct. 2 meeting at a mountain hideout originally set up by Del Castillo.
“What’s that actor’s name?” the account identified as Guzman’s writes in one message. He later asks his lawyers to tell him what movies Penn has appeared in. Even when Guzman dedicated a video statement as an “exclusive for” Del Castillo and Penn, the drug lord stumbles over Penn’s first name, pronouncing it “SAY-ahn.”
The federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he or she was not authorized to be quoted by name, said the dozens of texts were authentic. Many expressed admiration and a longing for the next meeting, more than concern about the purported movie project.
AP source: Giants hire Ben McAdoo to replace Coughlin
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants didn’t have to look far to find a replacement for Tom Coughlin.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has been promoted to take over the team that has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old McAdoo has been on the fast track since reviving the offense over the past two seasons. He got the first interview for the job after the 69-year-old Coughlin stepped down after 12 seasons and he made an immediate impression.
The coaching search lasted less than 10 days.
The story was first reported by several media outlets.