Minnesota mall stabbing could be realization of terror fears

By JEFF BAENEN and AMY FORLITI, Associated Press
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the stabbings of nine people at a Minnesota mall as a potential act of terrorism, a finding that would realize long-held fears of an attack in the immigrant-rich state that has struggled to stop the recruiting of its young men by groups including the Islamic State.
A young Somali man dressed as a private security guard entered the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud over the weekend wielding what appeared to be a kitchen knife. The city’s police chief said the man reportedly made at least one reference to Allah and asked a victim if he or she was Muslim before attacking.
The rampage ended when the man was shot dead by an off-duty police officer. None of the injured suffered life-threatening wounds.
The motive of the Saturday attack is still unclear, but FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Rick Thornton said Sunday that the stabbings were being investigated as a “potential act of terrorism” and the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Authorities were digging into the attacker’s background and possible motives, looking at social media accounts, his electronic devices and talking to his associates, Thornton said.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton planned to travel to St. Cloud to meet with the city’s mayor and other local officials Monday morning to discuss the case.
It doesn’t appear anyone else was involved in the attack, which began at around 8 p.m. and was over within minutes, Police Chief Blair Anderson said.
Leaders of the Somali community in central Minnesota united Sunday to condemn the stabbings. They said the suspect — identified by his father as 22-year-old Dahir A. Adan — does not represent them, and they expressed fear about a backlash.
Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali community, with census numbers placing the population at about 40,000 but community activists saying it’s even higher.
The community has been a target for terror recruiters in recent years. More than 20 young men have left the state since 2007 to join al-Shabab in Somalia, and roughly a dozen people have left in recent years to join militants in Syria. In addition, nine Minnesota men face sentencing on terror charges for plotting to join the Islamic State group.
The possibility of an attack on U.S. soil has been a major concern for law enforcement. Stopping the recruiting has been a high priority, with law enforcement investing countless hours in community outreach and the state participating in a federal project designed to combat radical messages. If Saturday’s stabbings are ultimately deemed a terrorist act, it would be the first carried out by a Somali on U.S. soil, said Karen Greenburg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law.
St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis said an attack like Saturday’s is the type of worry that keeps him “up at night.”
An Islamic State-run news agency, Rasd, claimed Sunday that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had heeded the group’s calls for attacks in countries that are part of a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition.
It was not immediately clear if the extremist group had planned the attack or even knew about it beforehand. IS has encouraged so-called “lone wolf” attacks. It has also claimed past attacks that are not believed to have been planned by its central leadership.
Authorities didn’t identify the attacker. The identification of Adan came from his father, Ahmed Adan, who spoke to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis through an interpreter. Ahmed Adan said his son was born in Kenya but was Somali and had lived in the U.S. for 15 years. Local activists also identified Dahir Adan as Somali.
Ahmed Adan said police told him around 9 p.m. Saturday that his son had died at the mall, and that police had searched the family’s apartment, seizing photos and other materials. He said police said nothing to him about the mall attack, and that he had “no suspicion” that his son had been involved in terrorist activity, the newspaper reported.
Police had had three previous encounters with the attacker, mostly for minor traffic violations, Anderson said.
A spokesman for St. Cloud State University confirmed that Adan was a student there, but had not been enrolled since the spring semester. Spokesman Adam Hammer said Adan’s intended major was information systems, which is a computer-related field.
Anderson said the man began attacking people right after entering the mall, stabbing people in several spots inside. The victims included seven men, one woman and a 15-year-old girl.
Five minutes after authorities received the first 911 call, Jason Falconer, a part-time officer in the city of Avon, shot and killed the attacker. Anderson said Falconer fired as the attacker was lunging at him with the knife, and continued to engage him as the attacker got up three times.
“He clearly prevented additional injuries and potential loss of life,” Anderson said. “Officer Falconer was there at the right time and the right place,” he said.
The attack in St. Cloud, a city of about 65,000 people, began shortly after an explosion in a crowded New York City neighborhood injured 29 people. A suspicious device was found a few blocks away and safely removed. Hours before that, a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before thousands of runners were due to participate in a charity 5K race. There was no immediate indication that the incidents were linked.
The mall was expected to reopen Monday after being closed Sunday.
Photos and video of the mall taken hours after the incident showed groups of shoppers waiting to be released, including some huddled together near a food court entrance.
Sydney Weires, 18, and two of her friends were shopping when the stabbings happened. Weires said she saw a man who appeared to be a security guard sprinting down the hallway, and then two men stumbled out.
“One was covered in blood down his face,” she said, and the other man had blood on his back. “They were screaming, ‘Get out of the mall. Someone has a knife,'” Weires said.
Falconer, who was shopping when he confronted the attacker, is the former police chief in Albany, which is about 15 miles northwest of St. Cloud, and the president and owner of a firing range and firearms training facility, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile says he focuses on firearms and permit-to-carry training, and also teaches “decision shooting” to law enforcement students at St. Cloud State University.
No one answered the door late Sunday at a home address listed for Falconer, and a voicemail box for a telephone listing was full and not accepting new messages. In a brief interview with the Star Tribune, Falconer said he had “been trying to stay away from it all, for the time being.”
He told the newspaper he wasn’t hurt and declined to talk further, citing the ongoing investigation for not saying more.
Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lebanon, contributed to this report. Forliti reported from Minneapolis.

Pro-painkiller echo chamber shaped policy amid drug epidemic

By MATTHEW PERRONE and BEN WIEDER, Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity
For more than a decade, members of a little-known group called the Pain Care Forum have blanketed Washington with messages touting prescription painkillers’ vital role in the lives of millions of Americans, creating an echo chamber that has quietly derailed efforts to curb U.S. consumption of the drugs, which accounts for two-thirds of the world’s usage.
In 2012, drugmakers and their affiliates in the forum sent a letter to U.S. senators promoting a hearing about an influential report on a “crisis of epidemic proportions”: pain in America. Few knew the report stemmed from legislation drafted and pushed by forum members and that their experts had helped author it. The report estimated more than 100 million Americans — roughly 40 percent of adults — suffered from chronic pain, an eye-popping statistic that some researchers call deeply problematic.
The letter made no reference to another health issue that had been declared an epidemic by federal authorities: drug overdoses tied to prescription painkillers. Deaths linked to addictive drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet had increased more than fourfold since 1999, accounting for more fatal overdoses in 2012 than heroin and cocaine combined.
An investigation by The Associated Press and The Center for Public Integrity reveals that similar feedback loops of information and influence play out regularly in the nation’s capital, fueled by money and talking points from the Pain Care Forum, a loose coalition of drugmakers, trade groups and dozens of nonprofits supported by industry funding that has flown under the radar until now.
Hundreds of internal documents shed new light on how drugmakers and their allies shaped the national response to the ongoing wave of prescription opioid abuse, which has claimed the lives of roughly 165,000 Americans since 2000, according to federal estimates.
Painkillers are among the most widely prescribed medications in the U.S., but pharmaceutical companies and allied groups have a multitude of legislative interests beyond those drugs. From 2006 through 2015, participants in the Pain Care Forum spent over $740 million lobbying in the nation’s capital and in all 50 statehouses on an array of issues, including opioid-related measures, according to an analysis of lobbying filings by the Center for Public Integrity and AP.
The same organizations reinforced their influence with more than $140 million doled out to political campaigns, including more than $75 million alone to federal candidates, political action committees and parties.
That combined spending on lobbying and campaigns amounts to more than 200 times the $4 million spent during the same period by the handful of groups that work for restrictions on painkillers. Meanwhile, opioid sales reached $9.6 billion last year, according to IMS Health, a health information company.
“You can go a long, long way in getting what you want when you have a lot of money,” said Professor Keith Humphreys of Stanford University, a former adviser on drug policy under President Barack Obama. “And it’s only when things get so disastrous that finally there’s enough popular will aroused to push back.”
Obama gave his first speech on the opioid epidemic last fall. In July, Congress passed its first legislation targeting the crisis, an election-year package intended to expand access to addiction treatment. But the law includes little new funding and no restrictions on painkillers, such as mandatory training for prescribers, a step favored by federal advisory panels.
Obama administration officials say they have tried to strike a balance between controlling the harms of opioids and keeping them available for patients.
“We did not want to deny people access to appropriate pain care,” said Michael Botticelli, Obama’s drug czar. “We were all trying to figure out what the balance was, and that’s still the case going forward.”
Painkillers are modern versions of ancient medicines derived from the opium poppy, also the source of heroin. Prescription opioids were long reserved for the most severe forms of pain associated with surgery, injury or terminal diseases like cancer.
That changed in the 1990s with a surge in prescribing for more common ailments like back pain, arthritis and headaches. A combination of factors fueled the trend, including new medical guidelines, insurance policies and pharmaceutical marketing for long-acting drugs like OxyContin.
The drug’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, pleaded guilty and agreed to pay more than $600 million in fines in 2007 for misleading the public about the risks of OxyContin. But the drug continued to rack up blockbuster sales, generating more than $22 billion over the last decade.
Despite having no physical address or online presence, the Pain Care Forum hosts high-ranking officials from the White House, Food and Drug Administration and other agencies at its monthly gatherings.
Purdue’s Washington lobbyist, Burt Rosen, co-founded the forum more than a decade ago and coordinates the group’s meetings, which include dozens of lobbyists and executives.
Purdue declined to make Rosen available for interviews and did not answer specific questions about its lobbying activities or financial support for forum participants. Purdue said it supports a range of advocacy groups, including some with differing views on opioids.
“In practice and governance, the Pain Care Forum is like any of the hundreds of policy coalitions in Washington and throughout the nation,” the company said in a statement, adding: “Purdue complies with all applicable lobbying disclosure laws and requirements.”
While Purdue, Endo Pharmaceuticals and other members have maintained the forum does not take policy positions, the AP and Center for Public Integrity’s reporting shows the group’s participants have worked together to push and draft federal legislation, blunt regulations and influence decisions around opioids.
Opioid drugmakers say they are striving to improve the safety of their products and how they are used. They point to new harder-to-crush pills and initiatives that, among other things, allow states to share databases designed to spot “doctor shopping” by patients.
Elsewhere, experts are reevaluating the effectiveness of opioids for most forms of chronic pain, noting little long-term research.
“The biggest myth out there is that there’s a conflict between reducing our dependence on opioids and improving care for patients in pain,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. “It’s an artificial conflict, but there are lots of vested interests behind it.”
By spring 2014, the figure that 100 million Americans suffered from chronic pain was getting new attention: as a talking point for the nation’s top drug regulator.
The head of the FDA used the statistic to illustrate the importance of keeping painkillers accessible, despite the escalating toll of opioid addiction and abuse in American communities.
In an online essay, then-Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said reducing the toll was a “highest priority,” but that her agency had to “balance it with another major public health priority: managing the pain that affects an estimated 100 million Americans.”
That line populated her speeches and interviews for months.
But Michael Von Korff of the Group Health Research Institute, whose research contributed to the statistic, said the number has no connection to opioids. Instead, he said, it mostly represents “people with run-of-the-mill pain problems who are already managing them pretty well.”
Von Korff’s work is funded by federal, foundation and health insurance sources. He also is an officer with Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a group pushing for restrictions on the drugs.
Pain Care Forum participants spent nearly $19 million on lobbying efforts that included the legislation requiring federal research on pain and the Institute of Medicine report that first highlighted the figure.
Concerns about the use of the statistic in connection with opioids and ties between some of the report authors and the pharmaceutical industry were covered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2014.
Nearly half the experts assembled by the Institute of Medicine to write the 364-page report had served as leaders in Pain Care Forum-affiliated groups, such as the American Pain Foundation, the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine — all supported by industry funding.
Hamburg said in an email that the report was “another piece of scientific literature that helped inform the broader field,” which her agency had no role in producing.
The Pain Care Forum discussed the legislation that led to the report at its first meeting in February 2005, according to notes by one of the group’s principal members, The American Pain Foundation. Memos from the now-defunct foundation are among hundreds of documents obtained through public information requests by the AP and the Center for Public Integrity from the city of Chicago, which accused six drugmakers of misleading the public about opioid risks in an ongoing lawsuit.
In June 2006, the forum organized a Capitol Hill briefing headlined “The Epidemic of Pain in America.” Briefing materials included statements like: “Appropriate use of opioid medications like oxycodone is safe and effective and unlikely to cause addiction in people who are under the care of a doctor and who have no history of substance abuse.”
Attendees were asked to support a bill from then-Congressman Mike Rogers, which would later be rewritten by the forum and reintroduced in 2007 and 2009, according to the memos. It called for the Institute of Medicine — now a part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — to develop a comprehensive report on pain in America. Parts of the legislation eventually passed with Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul of 2010.
Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, received at least $310,000 in contributions from forum groups from 2006 to 2015, which went to his campaign and to a leadership account that he could use to donate to his peers.
Rogers, who left office last year, rejected the idea that he was influenced by the contributions, and said he began working on pain issues as a state senator after helping his brother through a series of back surgeries.
“I think they said, ‘This guy is a champion, he’s doing something we believe in and we want to support guys like that,'” he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who together introduced the Senate version of the bill, received more than $360,000 and $190,000 respectively from forum participants.
Staffers for Hatch did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Dodd, who left office in 2011, said in a statement: “Sen. Hatch and I worked together to increase awareness and understanding of this serious medical condition in the hopes of providing relief to the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain.”
Phil Saigh, the executive director of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, said he informed the Pain Care Forum years ago that his group did not consider itself a member of the coalition. Yet the academy has continuously appeared in directories of forum participants since 2006, including as late as 2013, the most recent documents available.
The academy and the American Pain Society say some of the funding they receive from drugmakers is in the form of grants used for expenses tied to educational meetings and events. Both organizations also operate separate “corporate councils,” in which companies are granted meetings with physicians in exchange for annual payments up to the $20,000 range.
Jennifer Walsh, a spokeswoman for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, said, “We stand by our report, the committee, and the process that produced it.”
Experts who could personally profit from reports are prohibited from serving on its committees, she added. But the academies, which advise the federal government on scientific and medical topics, declined to release financial disclosure forms completed by panelists.
Those on opposite sides of the opioids debate agree that the report raised important points about pain treatment, including warnings about the addictiveness of painkillers.
After the report’s release in June 2011, the American Pain Foundation received $150,000 from Purdue to promote its findings through the Pain Care Forum. The foundation planned “congressional briefings and hearings” and “meetings with the leadership of various federal agencies,” according to a November 2011 letter.
The foundation closed the next year. Senate investigators had asked about the nonprofit receiving nearly 90 percent of its funding from industry.
Meanwhile, a handful of lawmakers tried to draw attention to rising rates of painkiller abuse.
In 2010, then-Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, which focused on educating lawmakers about drug abuse. She clipped newspaper stories from her colleagues’ home states, but recalled, “They’d just say ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ and move on to more pressing matters.”
Bono, whose family had dealt with opioid addiction, drafted legislation in 2010 designed to curb opioid prescribing by requiring the FDA to limit the labeling for OxyContin and related drugs to “severe pain.” OxyContin had long been marketed for a broader indication listed on the label as “moderate-to-severe pain.”
According to Bono, a Purdue lobbyist visited her and threatened to pull back on its state-level funding for drug abuse initiatives.
“They were just letting it be known that if I didn’t play nicer with them, they could cause some things to happen that I wouldn’t like,” she said.
Purdue said in a statement that it met with Bono to support “her efforts to stop prescription drug abuse.” The company says it does not oppose measures that “improve the way opioids are prescribed,” even when they could reduce sales. Former Rep. Bill Brewster, D-Oklahoma, a contract lobbyist for Purdue at the time, said in an email that he recalled the conversation as “cordial and constructive.”
Purdue spent nearly $800,000 on lobbying efforts that included Bono’s bill and subsequent versions of it. Pain Care Forum participants gave her campaigns more than $60,000 from 2006 through 2012.
Bono’s bill, the Stop Oxy Abuse Act, never received a congressional vote or hearing, even after Republicans regained control of the House in the November 2010 elections. She lost her congressional seat in 2012.
In June 2012, a senior FDA official gave a presentation to the Pain Care Forum titled: “FDA and Opioids: What’s a regulator to do?”
For several years, the FDA had been developing risk-management plans to reduce misuse of long-acting opioids like OxyContin. With oversight of drugmakers and their marketing efforts, the agency seemed perfectly positioned to tackle the problem.
But the plans that the FDA laid out lacked the major reforms suggested by the agency itself in 2009, when it announced the initiative. Instead of mandatory certification training for doctors and electronic registries to track opioid prescriptions to patients, the FDA official outlined much milder steps: Drugmakers would fund optional classes for prescribers and supply pharmacy brochures to patients about opioid risks.
Over several years, the FDA seemed to have backed away from any significant restrictions.
“It was my observation that the staff at FDA had really bought into the idea that pain was greatly undertreated in the United States,” said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, former chief medical officer with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, a federal health agency.
As early as December 2008, the Pain Care Forum was developing a strategy to “inform the process” at the FDA, according to meeting minutes from the American Pain Foundation.
When the FDA sought public comment on how to proceed, the forum helped generate more than 2,000 comments opposing new barriers to opioids, according to a 2010 foundation memo. Additionally, the forum produced a 4,000-signature petition opposing electronic registries for opioid prescriptions, which advocacy groups said would stigmatize patients.
Finally, in July 2010, the FDA assembled a panel of outside advisers — primarily physicians — to review its plans to manage opioid risks, including voluntary doctor training.
During a comment period, several members of the public warned it was a mistake. Dr. Nathaniel Katz, a former FDA adviser turned pharmaceutical consultant, traveled from Boston to implore the panel to support tougher requirements.
“The days of prescribers not being trained how to safely prescribe the number one medication in the United States have to be brought to an end by you today,” said Katz, who had previously chaired the FDA panel, according to a meeting transcript.
Ultimately, the panel voted 25-10 against the measures developed by the FDA, saying they would have little effect on opioid abuse. But the FDA put them in place anyway, one month after the agency briefed the Pain Care Forum on the plans. The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels.
Agency officials said they decided that requiring certification for opioid prescribers would have been overly burdensome and disrupted care for patients.
“You can’t imagine the bitter screeds we hear from the prescribing community about the paperwork involved,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA’s drug center. She added that the opioid crisis fundamentally stems from individual prescribing decisions, saying, “We don’t regulate medical practice.”
In the last two years, the FDA has placed several limitations on opioids, including adding new bolded warnings to immediate-release opioids such as Vicodin and Percocet. But prescriber training remains optional, even after a second FDA advisory panel again recommended the step earlier this year. Woodcock says the agency is still weighing that recommendation.
Currently, states such as Massachusetts are imposing their own physician-training requirements, a development that Katz attributes to a lack of federal action.
“The FDA failed to make a decision that could have averted many of the thousands of deaths we’re seeing per year,” Katz said. “So when people continue to die and communities continue to be devastated, then others will arise to do the policing.”
It was a federal agency hundreds of miles from Washington that finally sidestepped the influence of the pain care lobbyists.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, located in Atlanta, overcame threats of congressional investigation and legal action to publish the first federal guidelines intended to reduce opioid prescribing earlier this year.
Essentially, the agency said the risks of painkillers greatly outweigh the benefits for the vast majority of patients with routine chronic pain. Instead, the guidelines said, doctors should consider alternatives like non-opioid pain relievers and physical therapy.
For more than 15 years, CDC officials have tracked the precipitous rise in painkiller overdoses, which has been followed by a similar surge in heroin deaths. The CDC called the painkiller trend an epidemic in 2011, pushing Washington officials to do the same. The agency’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden, labeled opioids “dangerous medications” that “should be reserved for situations like severe cancer pain.”
When the CDC drafted its opioid guidelines, it moved quickly and quietly, initially giving outside groups just 48 hours to comment on draft guidelines distributed last September.
Opioid proponents said the guidelines were not based on solid evidence and criticized the CDC for not disclosing outside experts who had advised the effort, alleging that they included physicians who were biased against painkillers.
One pharma-aligned group, the Washington Legal Foundation, said the lack of disclosure constituted a “clear violation” of federal law. And a longtime Pain Care Forum participant — now known as the Academy of Integrative Pain Management — asked congressional leaders to investigate how the CDC had developed the guidelines. A House committee asked the CDC to turn over documents about its advisers, but staffers said the probe did not uncover any violations.
Some of the most vigorous pushback came from Pain Care Forum affiliates embedded in the federal system. Under the 2010 pain legislation backed by the forum, the NIH had created a 19-member panel to coordinate pain research made up of federal officials, civilian physicians and pain advocates.
At the group’s December meeting, panelists with connections to the Pain Care Forum called the CDC’s approach “horrible” and “shocking.”
Dr. Richard Payne, a former board member of the American Pain Foundation, questioned whether the experts advising the CDC had “conflicts of interests in terms of biases, intellectual conflicts that needed to be disclosed.”
Payne himself had received more than $16,240 in speaking fees, meals, travel and other payments from drugmakers, including Purdue, between 2013 and 2015, according to federal records.
Myra Christopher, a long-time Pain Care Forum participant, said the panel should inform the CDC that it could not support the opioid guidelines and that their release should be delayed.
Christopher holds a chair at the nonprofit Center for Practical Bioethics, which receives funding from opioid drugmakers, and her position was established through a $1.5 million gift from Purdue. Both she and Payne also served on the Institute of Medicine panel on pain in America.
Christopher and Payne said they were thoroughly vetted before serving on the panel and disclosed their past work and activities. Federal officials who oversee the panel responded that all members met federal requirements to serve, including completing financial disclosure forms, though the NIH said those cannot be publicly released.
One week after the NIH panel’s critique, the CDC said it would delay finalizing its guidelines to allow more public comment and released a list of advisers. One of 17 “core experts” advising the agency reported serving as a paid consultant to Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the law firm suing multiple opioid drugmakers on behalf of the city of Chicago.
In March, the final guidelines appeared.
The first recommendation for U.S. doctors: “Opioids are not first-line therapy” for chronic pain. It was a statement considered common practice by many doctors as recently as the early-1990s, a decade before the Pain Care Forum formed in Washington.
“We’re trying to chart a safer and more effective course for dealing with chronic pain,” Frieden said. “We don’t expect any magic. We don’t expect things to be better in 15 months when it’s taken 15 years to get this much worse.”
Reporters Geoff Mulvihill of The Associated Press and Liz Essley Whyte of The Center for Public Integrity contributed to this report.
Follow Perrone on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AP_FDAwriter and Wieder at http://twitter.com/benbwieder

1 of 5 devices near train station explodes; no injuries

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A suspicious device found in a trash can near a train station exploded early Monday as a bomb squad was attempting to disarm it with a robot, officials said.
Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said the FBI was working to disarm one of five devices found in the same bag in a trash can by two men at around 8:30 p.m. Sunday near the Elizabeth train station. The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package, Bollwage said.
There was no immediate report of injuries or damage. The mayor warned that other explosions were expected.
FBI agents and police converged on an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant near the train station before 6 a.m. Monday, but it was not clear whether their search of the dwelling was connected to the explosion.
New Jersey Transit service trains resumed service on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line at 5:30 a.m. Monday, but they faced residual delays because service was suspended after the devices were found.
Amtrak was operating on a modified schedule.
Train passengers reported being stuck on Amtrak and NJ Transit trains for hours Sunday night, while some trains moved in reverse to let passengers off at other stations. Amtrak said 2,400 passengers were affected and trains were being brought in to other stations for people to get other transportation.
It wasn’t clear when the Elizabeth station would be open, a threat to cause major issues on the Monday morning commute into New York.
The discovery of the suspicious package came a day after an explosion in Manhattan injured 29 people, and an unexploded pressure-cooker device was found four blocks away in New York City. Also Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded about an hour from the Elizabeth train station in Seaside Park, New Jersey, forcing the cancellation of a military charity 5K run. Officials said it didn’t appear that those two incidents were connected, though they weren’t ruling anything out.
Investigators didn’t immediately comment on whether they thought the Elizabeth incident was connected to either of the two blasts.
Bollwage said that he wasn’t willing to say that Elizabeth had become a target and that it was possible that someone worried about the authorities was trying to get rid of the package.
“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it,” Bollwage said. “You have to wonder how many people could have been hurt.”
This story has been corrected to show that the bag was found at around 8:30 p.m., not 9:30 p.m.

Conference opens in South Carolina on slave dwellings

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A historian says people should learn from the old homes that slaves lived in, just as they would from the more beautiful buildings from more than a century ago.
The State newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/2cBO7gI) that Joe McGill has slept in more than 100 slave dwellings in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
McGill founded the Slave Dwelling Project, which starts its third annual conference in Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday.
The goal of the Slave Dwelling Project is to “identify and assist property owners, government agencies and organizations to preserve extant slave dwellings.”
McGill says there’s a tendency in this country to focus history on those who kept slaves, rather than upon the slaves themselves.
Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

John Lewis to receive Liberty Medal for civil rights work

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia will be honored Monday night with Philadelphia’s Liberty Medal for his dedication to civil rights.
In announcing the award in June, National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen says Lewis’ leadership “helped to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans.”
Lewis is a civil rights veteran who was repeatedly threatened with violence while working for voting rights in the Jim Crow South. He was also the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. He has represented Georgia in the U.S. House since 1987.
The ceremony is held Monday night.
The medal is given annually to those who strive to secure liberty for people worldwide.
Previous Liberty Medal winners include the Dalai Lama, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and rock singer Bono.

US Marine on life support after being shot in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police in Los Angeles say a young U.S. Marine shot in the city while on weekend leave is unlikely to survive his injuries.
The Los Angeles Police Department says Carlos Segovia was shot once in the back of the head while sitting in a car Friday night. KABC-TV reports police say a vehicle pulled up beside Segovia’s Dodge Charger, and one or more people opened fire on Segovia. Police tell the Los Angeles Times that Segovia has little to no brain function.
A family friend tells the Times that Segovia was on leave from Camp Pendleton near San Diego and was visiting family and friends in Los Angeles.
Police say Segovia wasn’t in uniform during the shooting, and no suspects have been identified. Investigators don’t have a motive.

Canelo Alvarez knocks out Liam Smith in 9th round

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Canelo Alvarez knocked out Liam Smith and called out Gennady Golovkin.
Alvarez stopped Smith in the ninth round Saturday night after dropping him in the previous two rounds, winning the WBO light middleweight championship before a record crowd of 51,240 at AT&T Stadium.
The victory kept the 26-year-old Alvarez (48-1-1) on pace for a showdown with undefeated, unified middleweight champion Golovkin that is expected be held by September 2017, according to Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
“I fear no man,” Alvarez said in the AT&T ring through an interpreter. “I am the best fighter in this. About a month ago, we offered GGG three or four times as much to make the fight.”
Golovkin is a 34-year-old based in Santa Monica, California and the Kazakhstan native has said he wants the fight as soon as possible. Signals have been mixed from the Alvarez camp whether he was waiting to better negotiating terms and location as well as wanting to spend more time training at a higher weight.
Alvarez had won a middleweight title but vacated it for this shot at the junior middleweight championship, sparking criticism that he was avoiding the hard-punching Golovkin.
“We are ready for him and he doesn’t want to accept,” Alvarez said. “As I said, we are a team and I fear no one. I fight the best and I want to fight the best. I am the best at this sport and Viva La Mexico!”
Negotiations toward a fight this fall fell apart, and some were surprised Alvarez said Golovkin had been offered a fight.
The large crowd for the Mexican Independence weekend bout will keep the home of the Dallas Cowboys in the running for the prospective match with Golovkin. The attendance record had been set in a Manny Pacquiao fight.
Alvarez was loudly cheered throughout the fight as well as every time he was shown on the screen during undercard bouts. Before the knockout in the ninth, his blistering pace of right uppercuts continued to take a toll and he opened a cut above Smith’s right eye.
Smith (23-1-1) wasn’t the pushover some expected when Alvarez announced the fight instead of meeting Golovkin. An inch taller and a little stronger, Smith had never been knocked down. He was willing take some hits while trying to land his knockout right. Alvarez was much quicker and had a strong and swift left while trying to set up a barrage of left and right body blows.
“If I would have waited a little longer and gotten more experience I would have been able to fight a guy like that better,” Smith said. “I am very disappointed. Canelo was too good. I needed better timing, my timing was off.”

Top 25 Takeaways: Action Jackson and The Ville on the rise

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer
Week three of the college football season set the tone for the College Football Playoff race and will rearrange the AP Top 25 poll.
Observations, thoughts and takeaways from a weekend during which new national championship contenders emerged and other hopefuls were all but eliminated.
1. In a season filled with returning stars and high-profile Heisman Trophy contenders, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has passed them all to become the must-see player of 2016. Conjuring up memories of Michael Vick , Vince Young and Marcus Mariota, the sophomore is the Heisman front-runner and so far nobody is close.
2. Clemson’s DeShaun Watson gets to make his counterpoint to Jackson in two weeks, when No. 5 Clemson hosts the Cardinals, who will be making a big jump from No. 10 in the rankings Sunday.
3. Jackson was the star, but the beat down of Florida State was thorough and well-rounded. The Cardinals’ defense, which features three big-time players who transferred to Louisville — Devonte Fields, Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemmons — smothered the Seminoles.
4. For all of his missteps throughout his career, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best offensive minds in football. But he has never had a quarterback like Jackson. Credit Petrino for modernizing his scheme, which had previously been built around more traditional pocket passers, and embracing spread principles that allow Jackson to flourish.
5. Why not Louisville No. 1 when the new AP Top 25 comes out Sunday?
6. Because Alabama.
7. Though Nick Saban still has plenty to be upset about after the Crimson Tide gave up 524 yards in snapping a two-game losing streak to No. 19 Mississippi.
8. Alabama ran for 334 yards, with quarterback Jalen Hurts getting 146 on 18 carries. The transformation that started with Blake Sims in 2014 has moved into the next phase. The Crimson Tide is a spread team now.
9. Louisville at No. 6 Houston on Nov. 17. Just so you know.
10. Who’s out? Ole Miss, No. 14 Oklahoma and No. 18 Notre Dame . It’s the middle of September and your chances of making the playoff are basically gone. Enjoy the rest of your seasons.
11. Urban Meyer has never lost a road game at Ohio State. He improved to 19-0 by beating up Oklahoma . Only Alabama reloads like the Buckeyes.
12. Just keep underestimating Michigan State.  The Spartans have now won 12 of the last 18 games under Mark Dantonio in which they were underdogs.
13. Barring injury, the only Georgia quarterback to take a meaningful snap over the next three seasons should be Jacob Eason.
14. Do not assume Houston wins the American Athletic Conference. USF (3-0) won going away at Syracuse and hosts Florida State in Tampa next Saturday. Willie Taggart’s Bulls and Tom Herman’s Cougars do not play in the regular season, but could be moving toward quite a conference title game.
15. Beating No. 22 Oregon might not qualify as the signature win it was just a few years ago, but it will get Nebraska into the rankings. With a favorable schedule ahead, there is reason for optimism in the Mike Riley era in Lincoln for the first time.
16. It feels as if Tommy Armstrong Jr. has been at Nebraska longer than Tom Osborne. Not quite. The senior quarterback might never be beloved, but there is still time for him to be appreciated.
17. Oregon went 1 for 5 on 2-point conversions in a 3-point loss and had its NCAA-record streak of 82 straight games with a touchdown pass broken.
18. The Mark Helfrich confidence meter in Eugene has probably hit a new low .
19. North Dakota State did it again , and at this point if you’re surprised the Bison, the five-time defending FCS champions, beat No. 13 Iowa, you are simply not paying close enough attention. North Dakota State is 5-0 against Power Five teams since 2010.
20. The de facto Big Ten West leader: Western Michigan. The Boat-Rowing Broncos dominated Illinois and also have a victory against Northwestern.
21. There is no easy way for Penn State to play it halfway. Keep many of the alumni happy by giving an occasional nod to Joe Paterno , while trying to put the Sandusky scandal to rest.
22. Under Al Golden, Miami too often played poorly even with the talent advantage. Props to coach Mark Richt (and Brad Kaaya) for not allowing the Hurricanes to get ambushed at Appalachian State.
23. No big deal, coach Butch Jones, just the biggest game of your career next week when No. 15 Tennessee faces No. 23 Florida. The Vols did not look ready for the Gators against Ohio, but Florida’s got its own problems. Luke Del Rio went out with injury against North Texas.
24. How about instead of shortening the games , schools stop scheduling games where the teams have no business being on the field with each other?
25. The best thing to happen Saturday: Army beat UTEP to start the season 3-0, just days after teammate Brandon Jackson was killed in a car accident.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

Team Europe believes beating US is just the beginning

By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Hockey Writer
TORONTO (AP) — Getting skated out of two rinks by a group of players age 23 and younger was the best thing to happen to Team Europe.
“I thank the kids for spanking us so hard because we had adversity early, which brought us together and clarified what we needed to do,” coach Ralph Krueger said.
Melding together players from eight countries wasn’t an easy job, but post-spanking Team Europe shut out the United States 3-0 on Saturday in the World Cup of Hockey opener. The upset, a shocker on paper, gives Europe a very real chance of getting out of Group A and advancing to the semifinals.
“It set us up for some fun now in the tournament,” Krueger said. “We didn’t just come here to have one nice game. We’ve come here to compete and to be around next weekend.”
Krueger said Saturday afternoon that his players were “ready to look America in the eyes.” A team thrown together from Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway, France and Slovenia didn’t look like it could hang with the deep Americans, but Europe was opportunistic and efficient.
“We realize we can’t really run and gun with teams and (our plan is) staying patient and waiting for our chances and help our goalie out and all those things,” captain Anze Kopitar said. “It’s not the flashiest thing. It’s actually pretty boring, but it works.”
Despite self-inflicted mistakes from roster construction and lineup decisions to poor execution and ill-timed turnovers, the U.S. credited Europe for putting together a winning recipe. Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak made all the saves in goal while on the wrong side of a 35-17 shot differential, but Europe helped limit the quality scoring chances to almost none.
Exhibition play against 23-and-under Team North America and Sweden gave Europe enough time to blend together on and off the ice. Krueger noticed players sitting at separate nation tables for meals early on but began integrating to the point where “you don’t know who’s from where anymore.”
On the ice, Europe looked like a team in the purest sense of the word.
“We stayed as a unit of five, and I think the key is staying most of the time out of the (penalty) box,” said Halak, who was playing his first meaningful game since March because of a groin injury. “For the most part even tonight that’s what we did.”
Gifted a 2-on-0 rush by Patrick Kane on an “unacceptable” turnover, Germany’s Leon Draisaitl and Switzerland’s Nino Niederreiter looked like they had been playing together for years. Draisaitl knew to expect a pass back on an uncontested give and go, making the most of a pro hockey rarity.
Asked the last time he had a 2-on-0, Draisaitl said: “Probably sometime in Pee Wee. I probably missed it, too.”
Draisaitl didn’t miss Saturday, and neither did Slovakia’s Marian Gaborik or France’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. With goal differential a potential tiebreaker, every goal counts, and Europe will try to keep things rolling against the Czech Republic on Monday and Canada on Wednesday.
“These are going to be tough games,” Krueger said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Europe has rightfully welcomed the underdog role at the World Cup, but now it’s game on with higher expectations.
“We didn’t see ourselves as just a sideshow ever,” Krueger said. “We have a difficult challenge still ahead of us. We haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno .

Defense rules the day as UCLA defeats BYU 17-14

PROVO, Utah (AP) — UCLA will take any win it can get after a season-opening loss to unranked Texas A&M, but Saturday night sure wasn’t pretty.
Josh Rosen threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as UCLA suffocated BYU 17-14 on Saturday night.
Neither offense shined as the two defenses controlled most of the night, but UCLA (2-1) was able to hold BYU (1-2) to 273 yards, including 23 on the ground. The Cougars were limited to negative rushing yards until late in the third quarter and 91 of those offensive yards came on their final possession.
UCLA fans hoped to see the Rosen that’s expected to be a high first-round NFL draft pick after a mediocre start to the season, but BYU never allowed him to feel completely comfortable. Rosen, however, completed a handful of big passing plays, including a 33-yard touchdown to Darren Andrews.
“Josh has such high expectations for himself that, sometimes, he lets it get the best of him,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “He has to realize he’s not going to play a perfect game. He just has to play up to his ability level and his capabilities.”
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill finished with 250 passing yards, one touchdown one interception and was sacked four times.
“We’ve got to start clicking offensively,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “We were able to do it some drives … but we have to start doing that throughout the game. We need to be able to sustain that and be more consistent. Obviously, that’s what our focus is going to be on going into this next week.”
BYU: A second consecutive loss puts BYU in an awkward position. Such is life as an independent. Without a conference championship to play for, a berth in the College Football Playoffs is basically eliminated. The Cougars are already contracted for the Poinsettia Bowl if they aren’t selected to a New Year’s Six bowl. With two losses and nine games to go, including Michigan State and Mississippi State, that’s unlikely. The BYU defense continued to play better than expected this season, but the offense regressed for a third consecutive game.
“Yeah, it’s gut check time,” Sitake said. “You can either let adversity divide you or unite you. I think our team is united. We are all on the same page and nobody is pointing fingers or blaming anybody else we just have to be better in some phases than others.
“We just have to get to work. You can’t blame it all on one phase – special teams wise, defensively and offensively we just need to play our game plan.”
UCLA: The Bruins defense solidified after a pair of shaky performances to start the season.  UCLA gave up 378 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in the first two games, but held running back Jamaal Williams to 28 yards and shut down the mobile Hill. The Bruins also blanketed the Cougar receivers, giving Hill few options in the pass game. Jayon Brown had a team-high nine tackles.
“We played a ton of man coverage,” Mora said. “Those young men did a tremendous job under a lot of stress and that allowed our rush to get there.”
BYU: The Cougars play their fourth consecutive team from a Power 5 conference with a neutral site game against West Virginia at FedEx Field — home of the Washington Redskins — in Greater Landover, Maryland on Saturday.
UCLA: The Bruins begin Pac-12 play, hosting No. 7 Stanford on Saturday.
UCLA is now 34-1 under Jim Mora when leading at halftime. The Bruins have also won 47 straight regular season games when holding an opponent under 20 points.
The Cougars first scoring drive came with the help of three defensive holding calls that totaled 24 yards. One came on a pass in the end zone to give BYU first-and-goal from the two-yard line. That’s seven points and a 75-yard drive that may not have happened without the penalties — plus the final 91-yard drive — making the game look closer than it actually was.
Hill struggled mightily for the second consecutive game despite a decent stat sheet. He missed open receivers and was repeatedly run down from behind trying to scramble. Sophomore Tanner Mangum is considered a better pure passer, if Mangum isn’t creating with his legs. Sitake said they considered making the change at halftime, but decided against it.
BYU has held all three Power 5 opponents to 20 points or less this season. Sitake is a former defensive coordinator at Oregon State and Utah, but the defensive unit has exceeded expectations. Butch Pau’u had a career-high 19 tackles Saturday.
“I just wasn’t connecting,” Rosen said. “I wasn’t executing. It gets frustrating when balls just kind of sail and get away from you.
“It gets real frustrating. Sometimes you got to go back to basics and kind of look at yourself in the mirror and hit the reset button.”