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Formula One reaches deal on making engines cheaper

SOCHI, Russia — Formula One bosses have reached a deal to make engines cheaper and more standardized starting next season, which will help smaller teams, the FIA said Friday. The agreement on power units — the combination of turbocharged engines and a hybrid energy recovery system — also contains an "obligation to supply" provision to stop teams being left without a power unit supplier. However, that provision would not appear to apply in cases such as that of Red Bull last year, when the team tried to leave a contract with Renault but was unable to find an alternative. The FIA said in a statement that teams will pay 1 million euros ($1.14 million) less for next season and 3 million euros ($3.43 million) less in 2018 when buying from the four manufacturers, …

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Ex-priest gets 20-40 years in prison for sexual assault

JACKSON, Mich.— Victims confronted a former Roman Catholic priest in court Friday (April 29, 2016) as he was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for sexually abusing students at a Michigan high school in the 1980s. A judge heard more than two hours of testimony from six men who described in detail how James Rapp molested them. Rapp coerced students into having sexual contact while working as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson. "His crime and position was a murder on my soul," Andy Russell said. "He's a monster and his path of destruction extends far further than it ever should have." The Associated Press doesn't typically identify victims of sexual abuse, but Russell has talked publicly to the Jackson Citizen Patriot about what happened …

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China, Japan foreign ministers meet to smooth tense ties

BEIJING — China portrayed the visit Saturday (April 30, 2016) by the Japanese foreign minister as an act of outreach to an angry Beijing, as the two sides try to repair relations bedeviled by disputes over territory, history and competition for influence in East Asia. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Fumio Kishida that the ties must be based on "respect for history, adherence to commitment, and on cooperation rather than confrontation." Relations have gone through "twists and turns in recent years due to reasons best known by Japan," Wang said, adding that China desires "healthy and stable relations" with its neighbor and key economic partner. Japan needs to "turn its words into deeds," Wang said. High-level ties between the two countries have been largely frozen since Japan nationalized a string of uninhabited East …

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[WATCH] Boom! Queen & Harry answer Obamas’ Invictus Games challenge

LONDON— It helps to have friends in high places when you're promoting an athletic event. That's certainly the case for Prince Harry, who released a video Friday promoting the upcoming Invictus Games for wounded veterans. The cast includes his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II as well as Barack and Michelle Obama, who Harry and his brother Prince William had over for dinner last week in London. Hey, @KensingtonRoyal! Are you ready for @InvictusOrlando? Game on. pic.twitter.com/S34KrEv5Is — The First Lady (@FLOTUS) April 29, 2016 The video starts with Harry and the queen looking at an Invictus brochure when they get a video phone message from Mrs. Obama. It shows the Obamas accepting Harry's challenge to the Invictus Games, with a man in uniform behind them saying "Boom!" Unfortunately for you @FLOTUS and @POTUS I wasn't alone …

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UN: El Salvador gangs forcing women, children into slavery

Violent gangs operating in El Salvador are forcing children and women into sexual and other forms of slavery, a UN special rapporteur on the issue said on Friday (April 29, 2016). Urmila Bhoola, a South African human rights lawyer appointed by the UN to look into contemporary slavery, said the gangs are forcing girls, teenagers and women to act as unpaid domestic servants and "participate in sexual activities," including in some cases conducting conjugal visits with imprisoned gang members. Bhoola, who is wrapping up a 10-day visit to the country on Friday, said in a statement that El Salvador's government is obliged to take steps to end those practices and provide victims access to justice and compensation. The activities the victims are forced to carry out "are both a cause and consequence of …

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Kenya torches huge elephant tusk stockpile

Eleven giant pyres of tusks will be set on fire Saturday (April 30, 2016) as Kenya torches its vast ivory stockpile in a grand gesture aimed at shocking the world into stopping the slaughter of elephants. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will be the first to set fire to the semi-circle of tusks expected to burn for days in the capital Nairobi's national park, on Friday demanded a total ban on trade in ivory to end trafficking and prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild. "To lose our elephants would be to lose a key part of the heritage that we hold in trust. Quite simply, we will not allow it," Kenyatta said at a summit meeting of African heads of state and conservationists. "We will not be the Africans who …

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France says it will increase forces in Ivory Coast

France will increase the number of its troops in Ivory Coast, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday (April 29, 2016) on a trip to the African nation which hosts a regional base for French forces. "This summer the French forces in Ivory Coast will increase from 500 to 900 men and form the forward operating base for west Africa," he said while visiting French forces in the Ivorian capital. The increase was already included in the military budget but comes at a time of growing regional terror threats, especially after an Islamist attack on the beach resort of Grand Bassam, near Abidjan, in March that left 19 people dead. Abidjan is one of three "reservoirs" of French troops in the world, along with Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates, providing entry points …

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US: China rejects Hong Kong port call by US aircraft carrier

WASHINGTON — China recently denied a request from a U.S. aircraft carrier for a port visit in Hong Kong, the State Department said Friday (April 29, 2016), in an apparent sign of mounting tension in the disputed South China Sea. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his Philippine counterpart visited the carrier, USS John C. Stennis, in those waters two weeks ago, a move that irked Beijing. Gabrielle Price, spokeswoman for East Asia, said the department was recently informed that a request for a visit by the Stennis and accompanying vessels was denied. She said the U.S. has a long record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including a current visit by the USS Blue Ridge, and it expects that will continue. She referred further inquiries to the Chinese government. The Chinese Embassy in …

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Norway oil-rig helicopter crash kills 13; flying ban issued

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A helicopter carrying Statoil workers from an offshore rig in the North Sea crashed Friday (April 29, 2016) on an island off western Norway, killing all 13 people on board, rescuers said. The Airbus EC-225 helicopter shattered into pieces as it slammed just after noon into the rocky shoreline of Turoey, a tiny island outside Bergen, Norway's second-largest city. It was heading to Bergen from Statoil's Gullfaks B oil field in the North Sea, 120 kilometers (74 miles) offshore. "We do not believe anyone can be found alive," said Boerge Galta of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center. The rescue operation was called off Friday at 5 p.m. after 11 bodies were found on land but divers were still looking for the other two bodies. Eleven Norwegians, one Briton and one …

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Argentina floods swamp soy crop; some must commute by boat

VILLA PARANACITO, Argentina — Water levels in the flooded town of Villa Paranacito have risen so much that the best way for residents to commute is by boat. The town in eastern Argentina is one of the worst-struck by weeks of heavy rains stemming from the El Nino weather phenomenon. With streets covered by several feet of water from swollen rivers, residents are getting to schools, banks and other town services on boats, the only means of transportation. Authorities have evacuated thousands of people across Argentina. Flood waters have reached grazing grounds, drowning livestock in the leading meat producing country. They have also swamped about a third of Argentina's soy farms, causing big losses to one of the world's top grains suppliers. Argentina's Rural Society said Thursday (April 28, 2016) that about 4 …

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