Around the World: April 17, 2015

Here's what's happening across the United States and around the world today.

Obama, Italian PM Matteo Renzi to discuss Ukraine, Libya, Islamic State, other issues

WASHINGTON (AP) — Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is getting an audience with President Barack Obama.

Obama is hosting Renzi at the White House on Friday to compare notes on a range of issues, including Ukraine, Libya and Islamic State militants.

The leaders are also expected to discuss Europe's economy, a pending trade pact between the U.S. and Europe, climate change and energy security.

With Italy mired in a recession, Renzi also comes seeking Obama's support for his economic program, though it has yet to significantly improve the country's fiscal outlook.

Obama and Renzi plan to brief reporters at an East Room news conference after their Oval Office meeting and before they retire to the Cabinet Room for a working lunch.

Police say 5 adults found dead in Phoenix home; woman says it was family situation gone wrong

PHOENIX (AP) — Five adults were found dead inside a Phoenix home after a shooting in a suspected dispute over the family's business, police said.

Police said Thursday the three men were brothers and the dead women apparently were the men's mother and a spouse of one of the brothers. Two other women and two children managed to escape the home unharmed.

One of those women told officers that the shooting stemmed from a family dispute gone wrong, police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said.

"Our dispatcher could hear shots fired in the background while that call was coming in," Crump said. "A caller had been able to escape the home at that point, get out and start to give us information."

Crump said the family had origins in Morocco. During an hours-long standoff before the bodies were found, police used a megaphone to try to communicate with the occupants of the home, addressing the family in Arabic.

Following Germanwings crash, aviation safety experts weigh ground functions to override pilots

NEW YORK (AP) — To improve airline safety, maybe we need to remove the pilots.

That radical idea is decades away, if it ever becomes a reality. But following the intentional crashing of Germanwings Flight 9525 by the co-pilot, a long-running debate over autonomous jets is resurfacing. At the very least, some have suggested allowing authorities on the ground to take control of a plane if there is a rogue pilot in the cockpit.

The head of Germany's air traffic control agency on Wednesday became the latest to raise such a prospect.

Such moves might seem logical in the aftermath of this crash, but industry experts warn that the technology is fraught with problems. Besides, no matter how tragic the deaths of the 149 other passengers and crew were, it was an anomaly. Each year, more than 3 billion people around the globe step aboard some 34 million flights. The number of crashes purposely caused by commercial pilots in the last three decades: fewer than 10.

"Would this really be the wisest investment of our air safety dollars?" asks Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot for 25 years and author of "Cockpit Confidential."

Intersex kids' surgeries spark move to more acceptance, less drastic treatments

CHICAGO (AP) — She was born to a young Chicago couple, named Jennifer, and grew into a beautiful long-lashed child with wavy dark hair, big brown eyes and a yearning, youthful desire to be just like all the other girls.

Only she wasn't. Doctors first noticed her slightly enlarged genitals, and then discovered she had testes inside her abdomen and male chromosomes. And so began a series of surgeries to make things "right."

Jennifer Pagonis was born intersex, an umbrella term for several conditions in which an infant's reproductive anatomy doesn't conform to standard definitions of male or female. The physical effects can be subtle, or very obvious.

A century ago, intersex adults were top draws at circus sideshows. Then, as surgical techniques for ambiguous genitals evolved, doctors began performing surgeries on affected infants and encouraged parents to raise children as the sex they visibly resembled. Many families kept the conditions hidden, fearing stigma and shame.

Pagonis' parents knew nothing about the conditions — or about the surgeries' troubling risks, including damage to sexual function, satisfaction and psyche later on.

'Bad boy' Nigel Farage battling for seat in Parliament as UKIP tries to build on recent gains

DOVER, England (AP) — Saul Webster enjoys a good tipple, and nobody begrudges him one. But that doesn't make it good politics for the retired schoolteacher to pose for a campaign event with Nigel Farage, the U.K. Independence Party leader, while carrying a bottle of hard cider and a half-drained glass.

He looks crestfallen as a UKIP functionary discretely removes the drink from his hands before the gathered media horde starts snapping away at Farage and his backers in front of an anti-immigration billboard at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Farage — the bad boy of British politics — is trying to clean up his image ahead of the May 7 general election. His once surging party has started to languish in the polls and Farage himself admits he is in a dog-fight to try to win his first seat in the British Parliament.

So the UKIP leader is running a tightly focused campaign that relentlessly pushes a single message: Opposition to continued membership in the European Union and the increased immigration that membership has brought. It's a nationalist theme that is gaining momentum in other major European nations including France and Germany.

Webster is on Farage's side. After a lifetime supporting the Labour Party, with its socialist roots, the 68-year-old is jumping to UKIP. He agrees that Britain is hosting far too many immigrants from countries like Romania and Bulgaria, both poor EU newcomers whose people have the right to live and work in Britain.

In idea from movie '50 First Dates,' families make videos to calm, reassure dementia patients

NEW YORK (AP) — For 94-year-old Louise Irving, who suffers from dementia, waking up every day to a video with a familiar face and a familiar voice seems to spark a flicker of recognition.

"Good morning, merry sunshine, how did you wake so soon?" Irving's daughter, Tamara Rusoff-Hoen, sings in a video playing from a laptop wheeled to her mother's nursing home bedside.

As the five-minute video plays, with stories of happy memories and get-togethers, Irving beams a bright smile before repeating the traditional family send-off.

"Kiss, kiss ... I love you."

Such prerecorded messages from family members are part of an apparently unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale aimed at helping victims of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness that can often cause them agitation and fear.

India touts 30 percent rise in tiger numbers, but scientists say victory may be only on paper

SUNDARBAN TIGER RESERVE, India (AP) — At first, the numbers seem impressive: India's tiger population has gone up 30 percent in just four years. The government lauded the news as astonishing evidence of victory in conservation.

But independent scientists say such an increase — to 2,226 big cats — in so short a time doesn't make sense.

They worry an enthusiastic new government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is misinterpreting the numbers, trumpeting false claims of a thriving tiger population that could hurt conservation in the long run.

"The circus is not necessary," said tiger expert K. Ullas Karanth, science director for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Asia. "All of this tom-tom'ing and arm-waving, claiming we've had stupendous success, is ridiculous and unscientific."

The first numbers were released in January. Last week, the government offered details of the data.

Google's new search formula for mobile devices to favor sites easier to read on smartphones

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as "mobile-friendly." Websites that don't fit the description will be demoted in Google's search results on smartphones and tablets while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google's new formula won't affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That's why Google's new rating system is being billed by some search experts as "Mobile-geddon."

"Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices," said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.

It's probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

AP PHOTOS: Images of Oklahoma City bombing of federal building ahead of 20th anniversary

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A cargo truck laden with more than two tons of explosives was detonated in front of Oklahoma City's nine-story federal building on April 19, 1995 — an act of terrorism that at the time was the worst such attack ever committed on U.S. soil.

The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children, injured hundreds more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to structures and vehicles in the downtown area.

President Bill Clinton led a memorial service for the victims as the FBI launched a nationwide investigation to find those responsible.

Within days, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested and accused of conspiring to destroy the federal building in retribution for the government's handling of the siege of the Branch Davidian religious group at their compound in Waco, Texas, two years earlier.

McVeigh and Nichols were tried and convicted on federal charges, and Nichols was convicted of murder following a separate trial in Oklahoma. McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed and Nichols received multiple life prison sentences.

No Kobe, no D-Wade, no Melo and more: NBA playoffs will be missing some of the game's best

MIAMI (AP) — No Kobe. No D-Wade.

Not even any wild Russell Westbrook outfits.

New standouts might emerge during these playoffs, but there's no arguing that there's plenty of star power missing.

If jersey sales are a true measure of a player's popularity, then four of the NBA's top nine stars — the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, New York's Carmelo Anthony and Miami's Dwyane Wade — have already seen their seasons come to an end.

So has Westbrook, the league's first scoring champion to miss the playoffs since Tracy McGrady in 2004. And that means his collection of "what was he wearing" shirts won't be on display in those postgame news conferences this year.

That's what's happening. Read more stories to jump start your day in our special Breakfast Buzz section.

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