MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are ready to face New Hampshire voters and answer their questions, especially about the Republican plan for Medicare that has left some seniors skittish.
Romney and Ryan on Monday will try to explain to voters — particularly seniors, who reliably cast ballots — that their proposal to offer a private alternative to Medicare would not affect anyone over age 55. Some 14 percent of New Hampshire residents are over the age of 65, and this state, which holds the nation's first presidential primary, is known for its voters' sharp questioning of candidates during such town hall-style events.
President Barack Obama spent Saturday in New Hampshire, casting doubts on what the GOP ticket would do for older voters.
"You would think they would avoid talking about Medicare, given the fact that both of them have proposed to voucherize the Medicare system," he said Saturday in Windham. "But I guess they figure the best defense is to try to go on offense.
"So, New Hampshire, here is what you need to know: Since I have been in office, I have strengthened Medicare."
Paul Ryan's strong views on abortion add to campaign's polarization on women's issues
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Since Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, the presidential campaign's focus has largely centered on the Wisconsin congressman's ambitious plan to transform Medicare and slash government spending.
But President Barack Obama's re-election team and its allies have also been highlighting the congressman's staunchly anti-abortion stance, hoping to buttress its argument that the Republican ticket is hostile to women's rights.
Ryan has earned a perfect rating from the National Right to Life Committee for his votes during his 14 years in Congress. The National Abortion Rights Action League tallied 59 votes that Ryan took on abortion-related bills. On each measure, he voted against abortion rights.
"I'm as pro-life as a person gets," Ryan told The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, in 2010.
Shortly after the formal announcement of Ryan's selection on Aug. 11, Obama's team tweeted that Ryan would ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest and had sponsored a bill that would outlaw some forms of birth control. The Democratic campaign emailed female supporters to stress Ryan's record on women's issues, including his vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill Obama signed when he took office.
Chinese, Japanese activists up stakes in escalating regional dispute over islands' ownership
TOKYO (AP) — When Tokyo's nationalist governor suggested buying uninhabited islands at the center of a long-simmering dispute with China, Beijing immediately denounced him and even Japan's government played down the plan, fearing an international firestorm.
Now activists on both sides have put the islands front-and-center in one of the biggest territorial flare-ups between the two Asian giants in years, a collision of the persistent animosities over Japan's imperialist past and the new fears of China's rising economic and military clout.
An unauthorized landing by Japanese activists on a tiny island in what the Japanese call the Senkaku chain — and the Chinese call the Diaoyu — has sparked an outpouring of anger and anti-Japanese protests across China and fueled calls for aggressive government action that some fear could lead to a dangerous escalation of tensions.
Japanese authorities on Monday questioned the 10 Japanese, including Tokyo city assembly members, who swam ashore on the disputed island the day before. News of the landing prompted thousands of Chinese to hold demonstrations in 10 cities, where protesters sang the Chinese national anthem or carried banners demanding Japan give up the islands.
Some vandals targeted Japanese-brand cars.
Ousted Chinese politician's wife gets suspended death sentence for murder of UK businessman
HEFEI, China (AP) — The wife of a disgraced Chinese politician was given a suspended death sentence Monday after confessing to killing a British businessman by poisoning him with cyanide in a case that rocked the country's top political leadership.
A suspended sentence is usually commuted to life in prison after two years.
Sentenced along with Gu Kailai was a family aide who was given nine years' imprisonment for his involvement in the murder of Neil Heywood, a former family associate, Hefei Intermediate People's Court official Tang Yigan told reporters.
Four policemen accused of covering up the crime were given sentences from five to 11 years.
The sentencing closes one chapter of China's biggest political crisis in two decades, but also leaves open questions over the fate of Gu's husband, Bo Xilai, who was dismissed in March as the powerful Communist Party boss of the major city of Chongqing for unspecified violations.
Authorities say 'Top Gun' director Tony Scott dies after jumping off Los Angeles County bridge
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood hits as "Top Gun," ''Days of Thunder" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died Sunday after jumping from a Los Angeles County bridge, authorities said.
The 68-year-old Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide, Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said.
"I can confirm that Tony Scott has passed away. The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time," Scott's spokesman, Simon Halls, said in a statement.
Several people called 911 around 12:35 p.m. to report that someone had jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbor, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Tim Nordquist.
A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water several hours later, Nordquist said. Scott's body was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner's office.
Intense clashes mark 2nd day of major Muslim holiday in southern Syrian city, Damascus suburbs
BEIRUT (AP) — Intense fighting on Monday between rebels and Syrian regime forces killed six people, including two children and two women in the southern city of Daraa, two rights groups said.
The fighting comes on the second day of Eid al-Fitr, a major Muslim holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and a day after the United Nation's new envoy to Syria acknowledged that he had no concrete ideas to end the conflict.
Lakhdar Brahimi also said in a Sunday interview that his mission would be difficult without a unified position by the U.N. Security Council.
"The problem is not what I can do differently, it is how others are going to behave differently," Brahimi told The Associated Press at his Paris home on Sunday.
"If they spoke in one voice and were clearly supportive of what I will be doing on their behalf, that is what I need," Brahimi said in response to what he wants from the Security Council. "Without a unified voice from the Security Council, I think it will be difficult," the former Algerian foreign minister added.
US Senate candidate, Mo. congressman Todd Akin stirs outcry with comments on rape, pregnancy
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, sparked a furor and earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney's campaign after saying in an interview broadcast Sunday that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" and that conception is rare in such cases.
Akin, a six-term congressman running against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in an interview on St. Louis television station KTVI if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
"It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said of a rape victim's chances of becoming pregnant.
Akin said in an emailed statement later Sunday that he "misspoke" during the interview, though the statement did not specify on which points or comments.
"In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year," Akin's statement said.
Distance swimmer Diana Nyad said to be steady, strong, on Day 2 of Cuba-Florida record attempt
HAVANA (AP) — Endurance athlete Diana Nyad forged ahead in the Straits of Florida with renewed vigor Sunday in pursuit of a record 103-mile (166-kilometer), unassisted swim in open waters without the aid of a shark cage.
The 62-year-old Los Angeles woman was said to be comfortable, confident and steady at around 50 strokes per minute after a harrowing Saturday night of painful jellyfish encounters — despite an improved bodysuit that she had hoped would offer better protection.
Nyad was stung four times on the neck, lips, hand and forehead, according to members of her 50-member crew who updated fans through social media.
"Today is more like swimming," one member quoted her as saying, via Twitter. "I don't know what you would call last night ... probably surviving."
Sunday night, her team reported when she passed the 28-hour mark, but gave no details on the distance she had traveled. Earlier, it said Nyad had made 27.7 miles and was taking advantage of "ideal conditions" with calm seas and little wind.
Andrew Luck resilient, Roethlisberger so-so as Steelers top Colts 26-24
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Andrew Luck doesn't expect this whole NFL thing to be easy.
Still, there have been times during the rookie quarterback's first two games for the Indianapolis Colts that he certainly made it look that way.
Showcasing the mental toughness — not to mention the breathtaking skills — that made him the top pick in the draft, Luck won over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 26-24 preseason loss on Sunday night.
Luck shook off his first two interceptions as a pro to pass for 175 yards and run for a touchdown to erase an early 14-point deficit and exit with the lead.
"He's a tough kid," Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He's a good quarterback. I think he's going to play a long time. (Colts offensive coordinator) Bruce (Arians) is, I'm sure, a happy man."
Scott McKenzie, who sang 1967 counterculture anthem 'San Francisco,' dies in Calif.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Singer Scott McKenzie, who performed "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" — which became a hit in 1967 during the city's "Summer of Love" — has died.
A statement on McKenzie's website says the 73-year-old died on Saturday in Los Angeles. McKenzie battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system, and had been in and out of the hospital since 2010.
"San Francisco" was written by John Phillips, the leader of the 1960s group The Mamas and the Papas. But McKenzie sang it and it has stood as an anthem for the 1960s counterculture movement.
McKenzie also co-wrote "Kokomo," a No. 1 hit for The Beach Boys in 1988, and toured with The Mamas and the Papas in the 1990s.