Chinese President Hu Jintao denied his country is a military threat despite its arms buildup and pressed the U.S. on Thursday for closer cooperation between the global powers. He urged the United States to treat China "with respect and as equals" after encountering a fresh barrage of criticism from lawmakers over human rights. In a luncheon speech to American business executives, Hu also urged the U.S. to continue to recognize China's sovereignty over Taiwan and Tibet.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran brought in as Google Inc.'s "adult supervision" a decade ago, is relinquishing the CEO job to Larry Page, one of the prodigies who co-founded the company behind the Internet's dominant gateway. The surprise shake-up announced Thursday appears to be driven by Schmidt's desire to tackle other challenges as much as Page's personal ambition.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Erik Prince, whose former company Blackwater Worldwide became synonymous with the use of private U.S. security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has quietly taken on a new role in helping to train troops in lawless Somalia. Prince is involved in a multimillion-dollar program financed by several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, to mobilize some 2,000 Somali recruits to fight pirates who are terrorizing the African coast, according to a person familiar with the project and an intelligence report seen by The Associated Press.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday felt the sunshine on her face for the first time since she was shot, as doctors prepared her to leave behind the Arizona hospital where she dazzled them with her rapid recovery. Her next stop will be a Houston rehab center, where she will face an even more arduous task: Getting life back to normal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA doesn't know yet where it will get the money, but on Thursday the space agency officially added another space shuttle launch to its schedule — the final one for the fleet. The space agency set a target launch date of June 28 for shuttle Atlantis and started preparations for the 135th and last shuttle flight. The four-member crew will take up supplies to the International Space Station, make one spacewalk, and return a faulty pump that has bedeviled engineers.
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities orchestrated one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history Thursday, charging 127 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades. Past investigations have resulted in strategic strikes aimed at crippling individual crime families. This time, authorities used a shotgun approach, with some 800 federal agents and police officers making scores of simultaneous arrests stemming from different mob investigations in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wal-Mart, the nation's largest grocer, says it will reformulate thousands of products to make them healthier and push its suppliers to do the same, joining first lady Michelle Obama's effort to combat childhood obesity. The first lady accompanied Wal-Mart executives Thursday as they announced the effort in Washington. The company plans to reduce sodium and added sugars in some items, build stores in poor areas that don't already have grocery stores, reduce prices on produce and develop a logo for healthier items.
NEW YORK (AP) — It was a miserable morning in New York, rain falling heavily and a 30 mph wind that made holding an umbrella difficult. Yet a man walked briskly up Fifth Avenue, balancing his umbrella and dodging pedestrians as he texted from his smart phone. As a sheer physical act, it was almost Olympian in the strength, dexterity and concentration required.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — As if his portrayals of Borat and Bruno weren't outrageous enough, Sacha Baron Cohen's next role will be playing Saddam Hussein. The British comic will star in and co-write "The Dictator," which is scheduled for release in May 2012, Paramount Pictures said Thursday. Larry Charles, who directed Baron Cohen in "Bruno" and "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," will direct once again.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees has been named the recipient of the 2011 Bart Starr Award. The award honors players who demonstrate good character in the home as well as leadership on their teams and in their communities. NFL players vote on the award when they vote on the Pro Bowl.