National editor's pick of the top news stories in the nation and world at this hour:
Israel has begun bombing the homes of Hamas activists in Gaza, sharply raising the number of civilians killed in its 6-day-old offensive. A Gaza health official said 24 civilians have been killed in just under two days, with 96 Palestinians and three Israelis reported dead overall. One airstrike on a Gaza City high-rise used by media organizations killed a senior figure in Islamic Jihad's military wing, Ramez Harb. Egyptian-led efforts to mediate a cease-fire appeared to have little hope of success soon, with the leader of Hamas rejecting Israel's demand for a halt to rocket fire from Gaza. "We don't accept Israeli conditions because it is the aggressor," Khaled Mashaal said. "We want a cease-fire along with meeting our demands." An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said, ''We prefer the diplomatic solution if it's possible. If we see it's not going to bear fruit, we can escalate."
President Barack Obama on Monday became the first U.S. president to visit Cambodia, a day after being the first to set foot in Myanmar. But after being greeted by euphoric crowds in the long-isolated country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, Obama's visit to Cambodia was far more muted because of U.S. differences with the government. The White House stressed that Obama is in Cambodia to attend an East Asia Summit and that his visit should not be seen as an endorsement of Prime Minister Hun Sen or his government. Obama headed straight to the Peace Palace for a meeting with Hun Sen, described as a tense encounter dominated by Obama's call for human rights improvements, free elections and the release of political prisoners. Earlier in Myanmar, Obama met with President Thein Sein as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and addressed Yangon University, offering the country a "hand of friendship."
Paula Broadwell is telling friends that she is devastated by the fallout from her extramarital affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus and deeply regrets the harm she has done to her family. A person close to Broadwell speaking on condition of anonymity said she is trying to repair the damage and move forward. A group of friends and neighbors welcomed Broadwell, her husband, Scott, and their young sons back to their home in Charlotte, N.C., after Broadwell spent more than a week staying at her brother's home in Washington. The FBI is still investigating how Broadwell obtained classified documents found on her laptop and in her home. Investigators say some of the documents are old and may no longer be classified, and they say Broadwell told them she did not get them from Petraeus.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is accusing U.S. forces of capturing and holding Afghans in violation of an agreement to turn over detainees to government forces. "These acts are completely against the agreement that has been signed between Afghanistan and the U.S. president," said a statement by Karzai late Sunday that urged Afghan officials to take control of the Parwan detention center at Bagram Air Field, the only facility where Americans confirm that they are holding Afghan prisoners. A detainee transfer agreement was signed in March, but it was vaguely worded, and U.S. officials say the Afghans are not ready for a complete hand-over of all detainees. Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, told reporters Monday that more than 70 detainees are still being held by U.S. troops even though Afghan courts have ordered them released. Much of the disagreement is over detention without trial, or administrative detention, which the U.S. says is sometimes necessary but Afghans say has no place in their law.
They don't buy sports car and run off with their secretaries, but researchers says chimps and orangutans do have midlife crises just like people. A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the human tendency toward discontent in midlife may have been passed on by evolution, rather than resulting from the stresses of the workplace or married life. Studies have long found that human happiness tends to follow a U shape, starting high, declining until the late 40s and then rising again. Andrew Oswald and other researchers found the same pattern in a study of 508 great apes from zoos and research centers around the world. The apes' perceived happiness was measured by caretakers, who filled out a questionnaire on the degree to which the apes were in a positive or negative mood, how much pleasure they got from social situations and how successful they were at achieving goals. "We find it for these creatures that don't have a mortgage and don't have to go to work and don't have marriage and all the other stuff," Oswald said. "It's as though the U shape is deep in the biology of humans."
The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.