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    The U.S. premiere of a documentary about Roman Catholic politician John Hume and his efforts in the Northern Ireland peace process is being held in Boston. A screening of 'In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America' is the opening-night film of the Boston Film Festival that starts Friday. Narrated by actor Liam Neeson, the film includes archival footage and interviews with former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former British prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, and U2 singer Bono. Hume shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with moderate Protestant leader David Trimble. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with director Maurice Fitzpatrick, MSNBC 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews, Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, and former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Thomas O'Neill III.
  • A small private jet with five people on board ran off a runway at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport on Thursday and caught fire, Turkish media reports said. The private Dogan news agency said the first pilot was killed in the accident and the four other people on board were taken off the plane with injuries. State-run Anadolu Agency says firefighters were mobilized to extinguish the fire. It was not clear what caused the accident. Reports said flights at the airport have been suspended. Last year, some 40 people were killed and close to 250 others were injured in a gun and bomb attack at the airport. The airport is slated to be closed down when a new airport, currently under construction, goes into operation.
  • Nebraska abruptly fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst on Thursday, citing a failure to improve the 'on-field performance' by the Cornhuskers. Chancellor Ronnie Green announced the move five days after the football team dropped to 1-2 for the second time in three years after an embarrassing 21-17 home loss to Northern Illinois. Eichorst joined Nebraska in October 2012, and has about $1.7 million remaining on a contract that runs through June 2019. 'Shawn has led Nebraska athletics in many positive ways, but those efforts have not translated into on-field performance,' Green said. 'Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker athletics.' Eichorst and football coach Mike Riley have been under increased scrutiny with the continued mediocrity of the program. Eichorst hired Riley away from Oregon State in 2014, replacing the successful but volatile Bo Pelini. Riley is just 16-13 at Nebraska, a school that has won five national championships, went to bowl games every year from 1969-2003 but has not won a conference title since 1999. Since opening 2016 with seven straight wins, the Cornhuskers have lost six of nine, a stretch that included losses of 59 points to Ohio State and 30 points to Iowa. Eichorst had quietly extended Riley's contract by one year, through the 2020 season, and he was forced to do an about-face of sorts after first saying it would be better for players to play on the Saturday after Thanksgiving despite the program playing on Black Friday for 27 straight years. 'Winning can and often does happen in concert with well-run, quality college programs that work to ensure the success of the student,' Green said. 'That's our expectation. We take pride here in doing things right and doing the right thing, and that won't change. This is not an either-or equation. We can and should win in that kind of environment.' Green and President Hank Bounds dismissed Eichorst during a meeting Thursday and met with coaches to notify them. 'While I am deeply disappointed in the decision today, I am grateful for the wonderful years that my family and I have spent at Nebraska,' Eichorst said in a statement released by the school. 'I am proud of how our student-athletes, coaches and staff represented this great university and state, and I am confident that the future is bright for Nebraska athletics.' The university said it plans to appoint an interim athletic director to oversee day-to-day operations. Green said the school will consult with stakeholders and people who have run successful college programs for guidance and perspective in the search for a new permanent athletic director. ___ More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • The White House says President Donald Trump is nominating people from four states to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors. Trump will name Kenneth E. Allen of Kentucky and James R. Thompson III of Alabama for terms that expire in 2021. Allen is retired from the Armstrong Energy coal company, and Thompson is a longtime banking executive. The president is nominating A.D. Frazier of Georgia and Jeffrey Smith of Tennessee for board positions that expire in 2022. Frazier is president emeritus of Georgia Oak Partners, an Atlanta-based investment and acquisition company. Smith was deputy director of operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. TVA is the nation's largest public utility. It provides electricity to about 9 million people in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
  • Mormon church-owned Brigham Young University ended a six-decade ban Thursday on the sale of caffeinated soft drinks on campus, surprising students by posting a picture of a can of Coca-Cola on Twitter and just two words: 'It's happening.' The move sparked social media celebrations from current and former students, with many recalling how they had hauled their own 2-liter bottles of caffeinated sodas in their backpacks to keep awake for long study sessions. The university never banned having caffeinated drinks on campus, and many people remembered how faculty mini-fridges were the only place where the drinks could be found. 'I drank a lot of caffeinated beverages while I was here but none of them was purchased on campus,' said Christopher Jones, 34, a visiting BYU history professor and former student. 'I never thought I would see the day so it's exciting.' Jones said he didn't know whether to believe it when he saw the announcement on his phone so he walked to a student center and saw the first bottles being stocked in vending machines and refrigerators. He was one of the first people to buy one. 'Did I just buy the first-ever caffeinated Coke Zero Sugar sold in #BYU's Wilkinson Student Center?' he tweeted. 'Yes, yes I did.' Sales of highly caffeinated energy drinks are still banned. The university decided in the mid-1950s that no caffeinated beverages would be sold on campus and didn't budge on its policy — even when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2012 clarified that church health practices do not prevent members from drinking caffeinated soft drinks. The university said then that it was sticking to the policy because there was little demand for the drinks on campus. But the school of 33,000 students in Provo, Utah, said Thursday that increasing demand had prompted the change. Caffeinated soft drinks will also be sold at sporting events that draw tens of thousands of fans. The Utah-based Mormon religion directs its nearly 16 million worldwide members to avoid alcohol and hot beverages such as coffee and tea as part of an 1833 revelation from Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Amber Whiteley said she used to get nasty looks when she brought Mountain Dew to campus when she was a BYU student nearly a decade ago. 'You youths will never understand the struggle we went through,' Whiteley wrote jokingly in a Facebook post. In a phone interview, Whiteley said the change could impact views among Mormons about caffeine. She said some older Mormons in her Salt Lake City congregation still believe all caffeine is prohibited. 'Maybe this will be one more way to get the word out that it's OK to have caffeine,' said Whiteley, a mother who is pursuing her doctorate in counselling psychology. ___ AP writer Michelle L. Price contributed to this story.
  • A stern Russian warning Thursday against targeting its special forces in eastern Syria heightened concerns over direct clashes between rival Moscow- and Washington-backed forces fighting for the energy wealth to be found among the Islamic State group's shrinking domain. The warning was followed by an acknowledgement from the Pentagon of an unprecedented, face-to-face meeting between Russian and American military leaders inside or near Syria to address the rising tensions. With both Russian-supported Syrian government forces and rival, U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces determined to follow the bends of the Euphrates River all the way to the Iraqi border, Russia's warning underscored the delicacy of the arrangements that have so far kept the two sides from entering into open conflict. Both sides and their patrons say they are determined to wipe out the Islamic State group from Raqqa province in the north and Deir El-Zour province in the east as quickly as possible. The Syrian government depends on Iranian military support, as well. But the region — especially Deir el-Zour province — is home to mineral, natural gas and oil reserves that the Syrian government will need to restore its economy as it looks to wind down a more than six-year-long civil war. As for the SDF forces fighting there, most are from the province and many do not want Syrian President Bashar Assad's authority restored, having risen up against his government in the early years of the war. And Washington fears that further advances by pro-government forces could help Iran — which also has thousands of militiamen fighting alongside the Syrian government — expand its influence across the region via a land bridge spanning through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, all the way to Israel. Russia's Defense Ministry said for the first time Thursday that it had deployed special forces with pro-government forces in the province and accused the U.S.-backed SDF of firing on its allies twice in two days. It said it would retaliate against any future strikes from SDF-controlled areas. 'The firing positions in those areas will be immediately destroyed with all the arsenal at our disposal,' said Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov in a statement. Such a response would likely endanger the U.S. special forces embedded with the SDF, raising the possibility of escalation. The U.S. provides artillery and air support for the SDF. An SDF officer commanding the Deir el-Zour forces denied targeting pro-government forces and promised reciprocal action for any attacks against his troops. 'We are far from them, Daesh is between us,' said Ahmad Abu Khawla, using the Arabic acronym for IS. 'We didn't fire a single bullet toward the regime' forces. Earlier in the week, the U.S. accused Russia of deliberately targeting an SDF position in Deir el-Zour. It said no U.S. forces were wounded. The SDF said six of its own were. The Pentagon did not specify when the meeting between Russian and American senior officers was held other than to say it was in recent days. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said the officers shared maps, graphics and information about where their forces are battling in the area. He said their ground forces in Syria have been coordinating over telephone lines in the past month to avoid firing on each other. The Deir el-Zour and Raqqa provinces are bisected by the Euphrates River. The Islamic State group, at the apex of its power in 2015, once controlled both banks of the river in Syria and deep into Iraq. In recent months, the SDF has driven the militants back along its north and east banks, while pro-government forces have been advancing along the south and west. The two sides have largely avoided conflict throughout the war as President Assad focused his efforts on defeating a revolt against his family's 40-year dynastic rule. This balance has largely held until the two sides reached Deir el-Zour. The Kurds leading SDF say they want their own autonomous zone in a federated Syrian republic, while many Arab fighters in the group say they will not submit again to Assad rule. Many oil fields, including al-Omar, Syria's largest, are scattered on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour. 'We have prepared plans to liberate the eastern banks all the way to the Iraqi-Syrian border,' said Abu Khawla, the SDF officer. The Russian-backed campaign has so far been to recapture the provincial capital, also called Deir el-Zour. In the past two weeks, the pro-government forces gained control of most of the city and crossed the Euphrates River to the area of SDF operations, prompting objections from the rival forces. Syrian troops now control roughly 85 percent of the city and expect to gain full control of it in the coming week, Konashenkov said. Meanwhile, activists reported an intensive airstrike campaign in western Syria, in the area between Hama and Idlib province, where an al-Qaida-led offensive against government troops began Tuesday. The opposition-operated Qasioun News Network and the Observatory reported dozens of airstrikes, including barrel bombs, in south Idlib and north Hama. The Observatory said more than 40 civilians were killed in nearly 500 raids in about 40 towns and villages since Tuesday. The offensive was a test to the Russian-negotiated 'de-escalation zone' announced for Idlib last week. ___ Issa reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Especially if a baby is watching. Children around 15 months old can become more persistent in pursuing a goal if they've just seen an adult struggle at a task before succeeding, a new study says. The results suggest there may be value in letting children see you sweat. 'Showing children that hard work works might encourage them to work hard too,' researchers conclude in a report released Thursday by the journal Science. The babies in the study didn't simply imitate what the grown-ups did. They faced a different challenge, showing they had absorbed a general lesson about the value of sticking to a task. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted three experiments that included a total of 262 children ages 13 months to 18 months, with an average of 15 months. The basic procedure was this: Two groups of children first watched a researcher remove a rubber frog from a clear plastic container, and also unhook a key chain from a carabiner, a metal ring with a hinged side. For one group, the researcher succeeded only after 30 seconds of appearing to struggle to figure out how to do the task. For the other, success came easily, within just 10 seconds, and she demonstrated the answer three times in 30 seconds. In both cases, she kept up a narration ('Look there's something inside of there! I want to get it out! ... Does this work? No, how about this ...') After seeing the adult solve the challenges, the babies were shown that a felt-covered box could play music, and they were encouraged to turn the music on. The box had a large red button to press, but it was inactive. The question was how long the children would persist in pushing the button. Across the three experiments, children consistently pressed the button more often if they'd seen the researcher struggle than if she had solved her tasks easily. In one experiment, for example, they pushed it an average of 23 times after seeing her struggle but only 12 times if the researcher had not displayed much effort. That smaller number is about what other babies did if they were just handed the cube in the first place, without seeing an adult fiddle with anything. The effect was much stronger if the researcher had actively engaged the child while doing her own tasks by making eye contact, using the child's name, and adopting the high-pitched, exaggerated-melody style of speech that adults typically use to hold a child's attention. Results show such young children 'can learn the value of effort from just a couple of examples,' said study senior author Laura Schulz. The study could not determine how long the effect lasts, nor does it show that parents could get the same result with their children. But 'it can't hurt to try in front of your child,' said Julia Leonard, another author. Elizabeth Gunderson, an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia who did not participate in the work, called the results compelling. It is surprising that such young children picked up on the general idea of continued effort toward a goal, she said in an email. ___ Follow Malcolm Ritter at @MalcolmRitter His recent work can be found at http://tinyurl.com/RitterAP
  • A Canadian mining company that is one of Greece's largest foreign investors said Thursday it would not suspend operations in the country as it had threatened to do earlier this month, after starting a 'constructive dialogue' with the government. Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold said it was in talks with Greece's Energy and Environment Ministry, and noted it had received several outstanding permits in recent days. Other issues of contention with the Greek state are being handled in a formal arbitration process. Company president and CEO George Burns said in a statement that Eldorado Gold still reserved the right to suspend operations should their talks with the ministry 'prove unsuccessful.' The company had threatened to suspend all investments in Greece and carry out only maintenance and environmental work if all pending permits were not issued by Sept. 22. The move would have endangered the jobs of about 2,000 staff and contractors. The government had countered that the company had not provided all necessary information and accused it of attempting to apply political pressure. Burns noted the company was 'very pleased with the constructive dialogue that is underway,' adding that several 'long overdue routine permits' had been issued for one of the company's operations in northern Greece. 'As a result of these developments we have decided to temporarily postpone our decision to place our assets in Halkidiki on care and maintenance,' he said. Earlier on Thursday, about 200 Eldorado workers protested in Athens, demanding the government ensure the company continues operating. The workers gathered outside the ministry building during the morning rush hour, banging their hard hats on the road and holding banners saying 'Yes to Development.' The mines in Halkidiki have been mired in controversy for decades, with many in the local communities opposing their operation on environmental grounds, saying they fear widespread pollution and the destruction of forests. The company counters that it is cleaning up pollution left by its predecessors and that it carries out extensive environmental restoration work. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, a court on Thursday acquitted 21 people of charges that they had allegedly been involved in violent demonstrations in 2012 against Eldorado's activities.
  • The Vermont senator and onetime presidential candidate says U.S foreign policy should be based less on military might and more on advancing human rights and economic stability around the globe. Sanders says the U.S. should answer the North Korean nuclear threat with increased sanctions in cooperation with China. Sanders argues that Trump's aggressive rhetoric toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un won't help. Sanders also says Trump is shirking responsibility by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement and would be making a similarly dangerous mistake if he scuttles the Iran nuclear deal. Sanders outlined his foreign policy vision Thursday at Missouri's Westminster College.
  • You think you know Martin Luther King Jr.'s story? Tavis Smiley is willing to bet you don't. To mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination next April, the radio and TV host is planning a nationwide tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of King's life, a time when he was reviled by some for expanding his critique of America beyond its racism to poverty issues and the Vietnam War. 'I don't want this anniversary to come and go without people finally coming to terms with wrestling with who Martin Luther King really was,' Smiley told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday, the day before the official announcement of the production. 'Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience' is based on Smiley's 2014 book of the same title. Smiley will narrate from his book, and will be accompanied by jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. The production will travel to 40 cities still to be determined. It is set to kick off on January 15, the day of the national holiday named for King and his actual birthday, and run through April 4, the anniversary of the day he was fatally shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. King's last year, from the time he gave his powerful 'Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence' speech on April 4, 1967, was an incredibly difficult one, Smiley points out, with critiques coming from all sides over his anti-war stance. Polls at the time showed the majority of the country looking at him unfavorably. 'He has a headwind like nobody's business, yet he stands in his truth, he never backs down,' Smiley said. Smiley plans to showcase that history through a multimedia production, incorporating live music as well as screens showing videos and photos. Smiley, who has idolized King since his childhood, is also no stranger to backing down. An outspoken political commentator, he came under criticism, heavy at times, from some African-Americans over his willingness to critique President Barack Obama over whether he was doing enough for black people. He makes no apology for it. 'He was running for president, that's his job. My job is to critique him and hold him accountable, to the best interest of black people specifically and the country more broadly.' And even in that he circles back to King, pointing out that King was willing to criticize President Lyndon B. Johnson over the Vietnam War, even though he had worked so closely with him years earlier to pass civil rights legislation. __ Online: http://tavistalks.com/