AP stories 5-in-1

  • Trader Joe’s company float, which won the Crown City Innovator Award, proceeds down the route during the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

  • Emergency Situations employees save a 10-month-old baby at the scene of a collapsed section of an apartment building, in Magnitigorsk, a city of 400,000 about 870 miles southeast of Moscow, Russia, Tuesday. (Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations/via AP)

  • New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, center, celebrates with school children as the New Horizons spacecraft made the closest approach of Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, early Tuesday. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

  • Migrants run as tear gas is thrown by U.S. Border Protection officers to the Mexican side of the border fence after they climbed the fence to get to San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

US fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants

TIJUANA, Mexico — U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the first hours of the new year to repel about 150 migrants who tried to breach the border fence in Tijuana.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement later Tuesday that the gas was used to target rock throwers apart from the migrants who were trying to cross.

“No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away,” the statement said.

An Associated Press photographer saw at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana’s beach that affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as journalists. The AP saw rocks thrown only after U.S. agents fired the tear gas.

The agency said agents saw “toddler-sized children” being passed over concertina wire with difficulty. It said its agents could not assist the children because of the rocks being thrown. Agents responded with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas, it said. The AP journalist also saw plastic pellets fired by U.S. agents.

The agency said 25 migrants were detained while others crawled back into Mexico through a hole under the fence.

Customs and Border Protection said that under its use of force policy the incident would be reviewed by its Office of Professional Responsibility.

Migrants who spoke with AP said they arrived in Tijuana last month with the caravan from Honduras.

The caravan, which left Honduras in mid-October, grew to more than 6,000 members during its month-and-a-half trek north. It has been a constant target of President Donald Trump, who referred to it frequently in the run-up to U.S. mid-term elections in November.

Many of the migrants are waiting in Tijuana for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S., but there was a backlog before the caravan’s arrival and the wait is expected to be many months. Others have found jobs in Mexico and tried to settle there.

In a previous incident, U.S. agents launched tear gas across the border after some migrants tried to breach the border following a peaceful march in Tijuana on Nov. 26. Hundreds of migrants who were downwind of the gas were affected.

Trump is currently locked in a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for the border wall that he wants to build. The stalemate has led to a partial government shutdown.

Spacecraft opens new year with flyby on solar system’s edge

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

LAUREL, Md. — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft pulled off the most distant exploration of another world Tuesday, skimming past a tiny, icy object 4 billion miles from Earth that looks to be shaped like a bowling pin.

Flight controllers in Maryland declared success 10 hours after the high-risk, middle-of-the-night encounter at the mysterious body known as Ultima Thule on the frozen fringes of our solar system, an astounding 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.

“I don’t know about all of you, but I’m really liking this 2019 thing so far,” lead scientist Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute said to applause. “I’m here to tell you that last night, overnight, the United States spacecraft New Horizons conducted the farthest exploration in the history of humankind, and did so spectacularly.”

The close approach came a half-hour into the new year, and 3 ½ years after New Horizons’ unprecedented swing past Pluto.

For Ultima Thule — which wasn’t even known when New Horizons departed Earth in 2006 — the endeavor was more difficult. The spacecraft zoomed within 2,200 miles of it, more than three times closer than the Pluto flyby.

Operating on autopilot, New Horizons was out of radio contact with controllers at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory from late Monday afternoon until late Tuesday morning. Scientists wanted the spacecraft staring down Ultima Thule and collecting data, not turning toward Earth to phone home.

Mission operations manager Alice Bowman said she was more nervous this time than she was with Pluto in 2015 because of the challenges and distance, so vast that messages take more than six hours, one way, to cross the 4 billion miles. When a solid radio link finally was acquired and team members reported that their spacecraft systems were green, or good, she declared with relief: “We have a healthy spacecraft.” Later, she added to more applause: “We did it again.”

MOSCOW — Laboring through sub-freezing temperatures, Russian rescue workers were digging into a sprawling heap of jagged rubble from a collapsed apartment building when one heard the faintest sound.

It was the sound of life.

On Tuesday, to everyone’s delight and surprise, they pulled a baby boy out of the rubble alive, nearly 36 hours after the disaster that blew apart his home. His father called it “a New Year’s miracle.”

The building collapse in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk before dawn Monday has killed at least nine people so far, and officials say 32 people who lived in the building have still not been accounted for.

The collapse followed an explosion that was believed to have been caused by a gas leak.

The boy, an 11-month-old named Ivan Fokin, was in extremely serious condition, officials said, with fractures, a head injury and suffering from hypothermia and frostbite after his ordeal in temperatures around minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit).

He was flown to Moscow late Tuesday in a desperate attempt to save his life. He was in stable condition on arrival in the capital, the head of the national public health institute Vladimir Uiba was quoted as telling state news agency Tass.

Although Ivan’s prospects for survival appeared dire, “it’s a New Year’s miracle,” his father Yevgeny was quoted as saying by the RT satellite TV channel.

The father was at work when his wife phoned to say the building had collapsed. She escaped the rubble with a 3-year-old son, Russian news reports said.

“I was sleeping on the couch with my older son, hugging him and the young one was sleeping in his baby bed,” mother Olga Fokina said on Russian TV. “I and the older one fell down and quickly got out and I didn’t know what happened to the baby bed afterward.”

Rescue worker Pyotr Gritsenko said on Russian television that baby’s discovery came after one of the crew heard faint cries.

“They stopped all the equipment. He began to cry louder,” but the crew couldn’t find him, he said. A search dog was brought in and confirmed that someone was under the rubble, focusing the rescue effort.

“You will get well soon, you are a fighter,” Russian president Vladimir Putin told the boy, one of five people hospitalized from the building collapse.

PASADENA, Calif. — Floral floats and marching bands took to the streets under a sunny California sky as the 130th Rose Parade drew hundreds of thousands of spectators on New Year’s Day and millions more watched on TV.

Among the fanciful floats was an award-winning entry from the UPS Store that featured a book-reading, ballet-practicing ostrich named Olive decked out with more than 30,000 pale pink carnations.

The annual extravaganza in Pasadena kicked off with a performance by singer Chaka Khan, the grand marshal of the parade, and featured 40 floats decorated with countless flowers and waving celebrities. The theme was “The Melody of Life.”

There was plenty of sunshine and calm breezes, with temperatures reaching about 60 degrees after a chilly and windy night. Dozens of people staked out prime viewing spots on Monday and slept bundled up along the route, where overnight temperatures dipped into the 30s.

The parade was briefly interrupted when a float celebrating U.S. railroad heritage broke down and erupted in smoke. Marching bands were able to move around the Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s “Harmony Through Union” entry, but other floats couldn’t, causing a brief backup.

“We’ve had a bit of a malfunction,” Leeza Gibbons told KTLA-TV viewers. “They’re scrambling right now.”

The disabled float was eventually towed from the route, and the parade resumed. The interruption caused long gaps, and some people began leaving until a monitor came along yelling, “The parade’s not over!”

Spectators shouted, “Thank you,” to U.S. Forest Service firefighters marching behind a float with Smoky Bear and traded “alohas” with horseback riders from Hawaii.

California Polytechnic State Universities’ entry, “Far Out Frequencies,” was awarded for its use of statice, marigolds and strawflowers grown on the San Luis Obispo campus. It featured a pair of astronauts playing music to communicate with aliens they encountered on a distant planet.

Along with the many floats, the parade featured 18 equestrian groups and 21 marching bands. Among them are bands from Ohio State University and the University of Washington, whose teams will compete in Tuesday’s Rose Bowl.

Local high school senior Louise Deser Siskel was crowned the 101st Rose Queen. She wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about how she would use the platform to advocate for science education, the importance of science informing public policy and the value of inclusion.

“Personally, I am happy to be the first Rose Queen to wear glasses on the float (even though they clash with the crown), and the first Rose Queen to talk about being Jewish. I feel an additional responsibility to myself and to this tradition, to share that I am bisexual,” she wrote.

American arrested in Russia as spy was there for a wedding

By LYNN BERRY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine arrested in Russia on espionage charges, was visiting Moscow over the holidays to attend a wedding when he suddenly disappeared, his brother said Tuesday.

Whelan, 48, who is head of global security for a Michigan-based auto parts supplier, was arrested on Friday. In announcing the arrest three days later, the Russian Federal Security Service said he was caught “during an espionage operation,” but gave no details.

“We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being,” his family said in a statement that his brother David Whelan posted on Twitter. “His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected.”

The Russian spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

David Whelan said in an interview that his brother had been to Russia several times previously, so when a fellow former Marine was planning a wedding in Moscow with a Russian woman he was asked to come along to help out.

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The morning of his arrest, he had taken a group of wedding guests on a tour of the Kremlin museums. The last time anyone heard from him was at about 5 p.m. and then he failed to show up that evening for the wedding, his brother said. “It was extraordinarily out of character,” he said.

The family feared he had been mugged or was in a car accident, David Whelan said, and it was when searching the internet on Monday that he learned of the arrest. “I was looking for any stories about dead Americans in Moscow, so in a way it was better than finding out that he had died,” he said.