VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

US CLOSER TO HIGH-LEVEL TALKS WITH IRAN

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Obama administration edged close to direct, high-level talks with Iran's new government on Monday, with Secretary of State John Kerry slated to meet his Iranian counterpart this week and the White House weighing the risks and rewards of an encounter between President Barack Obama and Iran's president, Hasan Rouhani.

 

An Obama-Rouhani exchange on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly would mark the first meeting at that high level for the two nations in more than 30 years. Such talks could signal a turning point in U.S.-Iranian relations - but also could be seen as a premature endorsement for a new Iranian government that has yet to answer key questions about the future of its disputed nuclear program.

 

Obama advisers said no meeting was scheduled. But they added that the U.S. planned to take advantage of diplomatic opportunities while in New York and indicated they were not leaving a possible encounter between Obama and Rouhani to chance.

 

"I don't think that anything would happen by happenstance on a relationship and an issue that is this important," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told reporters traveling with the president to New York.

 

The election of Rouhani, a moderate cleric, has led to speculation about possible progress on Iran's nuclear impasse with the U.S. Particularly intriguing to American officials are Rouhani's assertions that his government has "complete authority" in nuclear negotiations. That would be a marked change from previous governments and their relationship with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

ORACLE WINS AGAIN TO STAY ALIVE IN AMERICA'S CUP

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Skipper Jimmy Spithill accelerated his 72-foot catamaran off the starting line and steered defending champion Oracle Team USA to its fifth straight win against Emirates Team New Zealand on Monday to stay alive in the America's Cup.

 

The 34-year-old Spithill and his brain trust of Olympic gold medalists - British tactician Ben Ainslie and Australian strategist Tom Slingsby - kept the American-backed boat ahead the whole way around the five-leg course on San Francisco Bay for a 33-second victory.

 

Oracle's remarkable comeback from what seemed like certain defeat has closed the Kiwis' lead to 8-6 and no doubt has all of New Zealand on edge.

 

Team New Zealand has been on match point since Wednesday, only to watch Spithill and Oracle's improved 72-foot catamaran sail ahead in a determined attempt to keep the oldest trophy in international sports.

 

Oracle Team USA, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison, has won eight races. But it was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas called the America's Cup World Series, so it needs three more wins to keep the Auld Mug.

 

The regatta would be tied if Oracle hadn't been handed the harshest penalties in the 162-year history of the America's Cup. Besides being docked two points, Oracle wing sail trimmer Dirk de Ridder was disqualified from the regatta and replaced by 24-year-old Kyle Langford four days before the match started. Races 17 and 18, if necessary, are scheduled for Tuesday.

 

MIDDAY NAPS HELP PRESCHOOLERS LEARN, STUDY SAYS

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Any parent knows that a daytime nap can help keep preschoolers from getting cranky. Now a small study suggests that it helps them learn, too.

 

The lesson for grown-ups: Don't cut out the naps if you try to cram more learning activities into a preschooler's day, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

They studied 40 children, ages 3 to 5. In the mornings of test days, the children were shown a grid with pictures of nine or 12 items like a cat or an umbrella. That afternoon and the next morning, the children were tested on how well they remembered the location of each image.

 

All the children were tested under two conditions, one in which they were encouraged to nap before the afternoon test, and another in which they were kept awake. Without a nap, they were about 65 percent accurate. With a nap, their accuracy reached about 75 percent.

 

The research shows that "naps are important for preschool children," Rebecca Spencer, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

 

The study was published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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