OSLO, Norway – The EU received the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for promoting peace and human rights in Europe following the devastation of World War II, and the bloc was urged to use that unity in its battle with an economic crisis that is causing suffering for many of its citizens.
About 20 European government leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, attended the ceremony in the capital of Norway, an oil-rich country that has twice rejected joining the European Union.
Not everyone approved the decision to give the prize to the EU, created 60 years ago as Europe was struggling to recover from a war that killed millions of people.
Three Peace Prize laureates – South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina – have demanded that the prize money of $1.2 million not be paid this year. They said the bloc contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security.
Mexican singer was among crash victims
U.S. authorities confirmed Monday that Jenni Rivera, a U.S.-born singer whose soulful voice and openness about her personal troubles made her a Mexican-American superstar, was killed in a plane crash in northern Mexico.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help investigate the crash, and the board was told by Mexican authorities that Rivera had died in Sunday’s crash.
Also aboard the plane were Rivera’s publicist, Arturo Rivera, her makeup artist, Jacob Yebale, two friends, one named Mario Macias and another who was identified only as Gerardo, and the two pilots, said Mexico’s Communications and Transportation Department in a statement.
Alejandro Argudin, of Mexico’s civil aviation agency, said Monday it would take at least 10 days to have a preliminary report on what happened to the plane.
Man who killed girl in ’57 gets life term
Friends and family who had all but given up on seeing anyone brought to justice for the murder of a young Illinois girl more than 50 years ago said they were at peace Monday after a former police officer was sentenced to life in prison.
Jack McCullough, 73, was convicted in September in one of the oldest unsolved crimes in American history to make it to trial. He was sentenced in a small-town courtroom a few blocks from where Maria Ridulph played with a friend on Dec. 3, 1957, before she was grabbed, choked and stabbed to death in an alley. The 7-year-old’s body was found months later, dumped in woods more than 100 miles away.
SEAL killed in rescue in Afghanistan ID’d
A Navy SEAL killed during a weekend rescue mission in Afghanistan was identified by the Pentagon on Monday as Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque of Monroeville, Pa.
The 28-year-old died of combat-related injuries, the Defense Department said in a statement that gave no further details of the mission.
Checque was a member of SEAL Team Six, which freed an American doctor abducted by the Taliban. The same team killed Osama bin Laden last year, but it’s unclear whether Checque was involved in the bin Laden mission.
Child-porn sentence follows odd defense
A former Los Angeles official who once blamed a spinal tumor for his obsession with child pornography was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Monday to be followed by a lifetime of supervision.
Albert Abrams, white haired and balding, addressed a judge at a hearing attended by his family and friends.
I’m truly sorry for these crimes that I committed, said Abrams, 64. I never intended to harm anyone and I apologize to those that I harmed.
In court documents, prosecutors said Abrams told a television station that a tumor made his alternate personality download child pornography. He later claimed the growth was a cyst and now says an unidentified back problem was responsible.
Auto fatalities down 26 percent since ’05
Deaths behind the wheel of an automobile fell last year to the lowest level since the Truman administration, but there was an increase in fatalities among bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders and big-rig truck drivers, according to federal figures released Monday.
Overall, traffic deaths dropped to 32,367, almost 2 percent lower than the 2010 total, and a 26 percent decline since a peak in 2005.
The downward national trend began before the recession took some drivers off the roads, and it accelerated last year. It has been attributed to several factors, including increased use of air bags, seat belts and other vehicle safety features, improved roadway designs, and increasing awareness of the perils of driving drunk.
Recreational pot legal in Colorado
Marijuana for recreational use became legal in Colorado on Monday, when the governor took a purposely low-key procedural step of declaring the voter-approved change part of the state constitution.
Colorado became the second state after Washington to allow pot use without a doctor’s recommendation. Both states prohibit public use of the drug, and commercial sales in Colorado and Washington won’t be permitted until after regulations are written next year.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed the measure but had no veto power over the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution.
GOP to contemplate cause of misfortune
The Republican National Committee on Monday announced an inquiry to look at what went wrong in 2012’s presidential election and how the GOP can respond to the nation’s shifting demographics and adopt smarter political strategies.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus asked a group of five respected party leaders to examine how the GOP can better talk with voters, raise money from donors and learn from Democrats’ tactics. Preibus also asked the group, known as the Growth and Opportunity Project, to look at how campaigns are best organized and deployed, how they can work with independent groups such as super political action committees, and how the party should approach the 2016 presidential primaries as part of a top-to-bottom review.
Powerball jackpot’s 2nd winner named
The second winner of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot is a 37-year-old electronics industry professional who grew up in a modest home in Pennsylvania and moved to an affluent Phoenix suburb last year before striking it rich in the lotto.
The winner is Matthew Good of Fountain Hills, who chose to remain anonymous after claiming the prize last week. Lottery winners in Arizona are a matter of public record, and The Associated Press filed a public records request to learn his name.