Bravo Germany, the new World Cup champions, and Brazil for a great show
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Germany won the World Cup. Host Brazil won a world of new friends.
The now four-time champions, the first European team to win the World Cup on Latin American soil, earned the honor of lifting the most recognized trophy in sports with a tooth-and-nail 1-0 victory in a final as terrifically entertaining as the tournament itself.
For a 32-day showcase of football at its best, the winning goal was beautifully appropriate. Mario Goetze controlled the ball with his chest and then volleyed it into the Argentine goal, making difficult skills look so simple. Scored in the 113th minute, the mortal blow left Argentina too little time to recover.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sitting in the VIP section, waved a clenched fist as Goetze celebrated. When referee Nicola Rizzoli blew the final whistle a few minutes later, Vladimir Putin reached across and shook Merkel's hand. The Russian president's country hosts the next World Cup in 2018.
Another delighted German in the crowd was International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who'll be keeping a close eye on Brazil's next big organizational challenge: readying Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Games in 2016.
Thousands of Palestinians flee northern Gaza, fearing Israeli bombing
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Palestinian residents of the northern Gaza Strip fled their homes on Sunday and sought safety in U.N. shelters, heeding warnings from the Israeli military about impending plans to bomb the area in the sixth day of an offensive against Hamas that has killed more than 160 people.
The fighting showed no signs of slowing, despite international calls for a cease-fire and growing concerns about the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and voiced U.S. "readiness" to help restore calm, while Egypt, a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, continued to work behind the scenes.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate cease-fire in a statement issued late Sunday by his spokesman's office.
Ban "strongly believes that it is in the interest of both sides that steps toward dangerous escalation be replaced with immediate measures to end the fighting, thus preventing further casualties and greater risks to regional peace and security," it said.
Ban condemned Hamas' indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets as "a violation of international law," it said. He abhorred "the image of Israeli families hovering in shelters in fear of their children's safety" and demanded "an immediate cessation of these indecent attacks."
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
1. WHAT'S KEY TO HALTING FIGHTING IN GAZA
In a region where honor is critical, outside mediation will be needed to reach a mutually face-saving cease-fire between the Israelis and Palestinians, the AP's Dan Perry reports.
Obama administration tries to rally support among governors on child immigrants
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell met privately with dozens of governors Sunday as the Obama administration tried to get support from the leaders of states that will host thousands of the Central American children who have crossed the Mexican border on their own since Oct. 1.
Governors of both parties expressed concerns about the cost to states, including providing public education for the children, according to those who attended the meeting. Burwell left the meeting through a side door without talking to reporters.
"Our citizens already feel burdened by all kinds of challenges. They don't want to see another burden come into their state," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. "However we deal with the humanitarian aspects of this, we've got to do it in the most cost-effective way possible."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad were among the most vocal Republican critics. They seized on the administration's plans to place the children with friends or family members without checking on their immigration status.
Under current law, immigrant children from countries that don't border the United States and who cross into this country by themselves are turned over to HHS within 72 hours. From there, they often are reunited with parents or placed with other relatives already living in the country, while they wait for an immigration court to decide their future. The court process can take years.
Russian Foreign Ministry: 1 killed, 2 injured by Ukrainian shell near border
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign ministry said Sunday that a Ukrainian shell hit a Russian border town, killing one person and seriously injuring two others. Ukraine denied firing a shell into Russian territory.
President Vladimir Putin expressed "grave concern" over the incident, Russian news agencies quoted his spokesman as saying. A statement from Russia's foreign ministry labeled the event a "provocation," and warned of the possibility of "irreversible consequences, the responsibility for which lies on the Ukrainian side."
Russia said the shell hit the courtyard of a residential building in the Russian town of Donetsk — near the Ukrainian city of the same name that has become a rebel stronghold — early on Sunday. Ukraine's restless east has been mired in a pro-Russian separatist insurgency against the Kiev government.
Ukrainian officials denied that any Ukrainian shells had fallen on Russian territory. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, was quoted by Interfax Ukraine as saying that Ukrainian forces "do not fire on the territory of a neighboring country. They do not fire on residential areas." He placed blame for the attack on the rebels themselves.
Russia has made repeated claims that settlements along its porous border with Ukraine — which the West and Kiev say is a key supply route for the rebels — have been hit by Ukrainian fire, but no deaths have been previously reported.
Michelle Knight, freed after 11 years of captivity, says her new fame comes with complications
CLEVELAND (AP) — Michelle Knight has discovered that the fame that followed her escape from Ariel Castro's house of horrors cuts both ways.
There has been some obvious good. The girl who grew up without a toothbrush and spent nearly 11 years in captivity can provide for herself. She has her own apartment. Her book, "Finding Me," spent five weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List. She and the other two women kidnapped by Castro split $1.4 million in donations collected after their escape. Phil McGraw of "Dr. Phil" television fame presented Knight with an oversized check for more than $400,000 from his foundation.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Knight said she is ready to assume a normal life and, with it, a new name and identity — Lily Rose Lee.
"I'm not a celebrity," said Knight, 33. "I don't want to be. I want to be me."
Fame has brought some frustrations. Knight becomes frightened when crowds sometimes gather around her as she walks alone. She finds it annoying when people snap cellphone photos without asking.
Kerry, fellow big powers make no breakthrough on Iran in Vienna as deadline looms
VIENNA (AP) — Joint efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and three other Western foreign ministers failed Sunday to advance faltering nuclear talks with Iran, with the target date for a deal only a week away.
"There has been no breakthrough today," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague after meetings with Kerry and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Iran.
The trip gave Kerry a chance to ease an espionage dispute with Germany. After meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, both stressed the importance of their cooperation in solving global crises, yet offered little indication they have fully mended ties.
Separately, Kerry spoke by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the escalating Mideast violence. Like the others, he also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"We're working, we're working, we just got here," said Kerry, chiding reporters asking about progress as Sunday's meetings wound down.
Governors group skirts 'radioactive' Common Core education standards it once championed
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Reviled by staunch conservatives, the common education standards designed to improve schools and student competitiveness are being modified by some Republican governors, who are pushing back against what they call the federal government's intrusion into the classroom.
The Common Core standards were not on the formal agenda during a three-day meeting of the National Governors Association that ended Sunday, relegated to hallway discussions and closed-door meetings among governors and their staffs. The standards and even the words, "Common Core," have "become, in a sense, radioactive," said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican whose state voluntarily adopted the standards in 2010.
"We want Iowa Common Core standards that meet the needs of our kids," Branstad said, echoing an intensifying sentiment from tea party leaders who describe the education plan as an attempt by the federal government to take over local education.
There was little controversy when the bipartisan governors association in 2009 helped develop the common education standards aimed at improving schools and students' competitiveness across the nation. The standards were quickly adopted by 44 states.
But conservative activists who hold outsized influence in Republican politics aggressively condemned Common Core, and lawmakers in 27 states this year have proposed either delaying or revoking Common Core. The issue has forced many ambitious Republicans who previously had few concerns to distance themselves from the standards and the issue has begun to shape the early stages of the 2016 presidential race.
2 Koreas agree to meet at border village to discuss North Korea's Asian Games participation
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A Seoul official says the rival Koreas have agreed to meet to discuss North Korea's participation in the upcoming Asian Games in the South.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do says North Korea agreed Monday to meet at a border village on Thursday to discuss its plans to send athletes and cheerleaders to the games.
The participation in the games is part of measures North Korea recently proposed to lower tension between the rivals.
The announcement comes as the North has been conducting an unusually large number of missile and rocket tests.
Analysts say the launches indicate Pyongyang is aiming to keep bolstering its defense to cope with what it calls U.S. and South Korean threats unless the allies make major concessions such as scaling down their regular military drills.
INFLUENCE GAME: Train crashes trigger high-stakes campaign to shape safety rules for railroads
WASHINGTON (AP) — A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules.
Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Their universal message: Don't make us pay for increased safety because that's another industry's problem.
The pitches illustrate why government officials, who must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules, often struggle for years, only to produce watered-down regulations.
The Association of American Railroads, for example, is pushing for tougher safety standards for tank cars than the current, voluntary standards agreed to by industry in 2011. Railroads, though, typically don't own or lease tank cars and so wouldn't have to buy new cars or retrofit existing ones. The oil and ethanol industries that own the cars want to stick with the voluntary standards, also known as "1232" tank cars.