North Korea's Kim Jong Il made his elusive youngest son a four-star general in a major promotion seen Tuesday as confirmation that he is slated to become the country's next leader. The announcement appeared in state media hours before a historic Workers' Party meeting Tuesday where Kim, 68 and apparently in deteriorating health, was expected to grant son Kim Jong Un and other family members top posts in plans to take the communist dynasty into a third generation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession. The top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's president on Tuesday fired Yury Luzhkov, ending the 18-year rule of the Moscow mayor who gave the crumbling capital a glamorous facelift but was maligned for outdated values and bellicose posturing, and for continuing his vacation while smog from forest fires choked his city. Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree relieving the 74-year-old mayor of his duties because of a "loss of confidence" in him, according to the Kremlin website. There was no immediate reaction from Luzhkov.
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Before the BP oil spill, the Gulf Coast was a place of abundant shrimping, tourist-filled beaches and a happy if humble lifestyle. Now, it's home to depression, worry and sadness for many. A Gallup survey released Tuesday of almost 2,600 coastal residents showed that depression cases are up more than 25 percent since an explosion killed 11 people and unleashed a gusher of crude into the Gulf in April that ruined many livelihoods. The conclusions were consistent with trends seen in smaller studies and witnessed by mental health workers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Another day of searing heat was on tap for California Tuesday, but temperatures were expected to begin heading downward. A blistering fall heat wave broke records across the state Monday, including an all-time high of 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Washington's special Mideast envoy, using a slim lifeline from the Palestinians, rushed to the region on Tuesday on an emergency mission to keep peace talks from collapsing just weeks after they began. Israel's decision to resume new West Bank settlement construction after a 10-month moratorium expired on midnight Sunday has provoked Palestinian threats to walk out of the talks. It has also caused new friction between Israel and its powerful U.S. patron, which said it was "disappointed" with Israel's refusal to relent.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With five weeks left to Election Day, President Barack Obama is trying to rekindle some of his 2008 campaign magic on college campuses while also devoting more time to a relatively new format of backyard visits that give him time to explain his policies in cozy, unhurried settings. The two-step strategy, which will play out in four states Tuesday and Wednesday, confronts Democrats' two biggest needs: to pump enthusiasm into young supporters who may stay at home this fall, and to persuade undecided voters that Republican alternatives are unacceptable.
PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) — Emergency workers planned early morning inspections Tuesday of a 14-mile sand levee that was partially breached by floodwaters, turning one rural Wisconsin neighborhood into a virtual island. Greg Matthews, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said Monday night he was "cautiously optimistic" the levee protecting the Blackhawk Park area would hold. Still, he said it would likely be at least another day before the water level drops.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gloria Stuart, the 1930s Hollywood beauty who gave up acting for 30 years and later became the oldest Academy Award acting nominee as the spunky survivor in "Titanic," has died. She was 100. Stuart died of respiratory failure Sunday night at her Los Angeles home, her daughter, Sylvia Thompson, said Monday. The actress had been diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago and had beaten breast cancer about 20 years ago, Thompson said.
CHICAGO (AP) — Still doubting the Bears? Jay Cutler threw for 221 yards, Brian Urlacher forced a key fumble and Chicago took advantage of a team-record 18 penalties by the Packers to beat Green Bay 20-17 on Monday night. Robbie Gould won it with a 19-yard field goal with 4 seconds left. The Packers' James Jones lost a fumble on a hit by Urlacher in the final minutes. Then Morgan Burnett was called for pass interference on Earl Bennett, setting up the winning kick.