RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — After a surprise primary election loss, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor will resign his seat in the House of Representatives months earlier than expected.
The congressman will step down Aug. 18 and ask Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election to enable his successor to take office immediately, Cantor spokesman Doug Heye said Friday.
Hours after stepping down as House majority leader Thursday, Cantor told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he would step down instead of serving his full term, which would have ended in January.
Cantor told the newspaper a special election would give the winner seniority rather than waiting until January to take office with the new Congress.
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said Friday morning that the governor's office was reviewing the request for a special election.
Cantor lost to Dave Brat, an underfunded, tea party-backed opponent, in the June Republican primary.
"I want to thank Eric for his service to the Seventh District and to the entire Commonwealth," Brat said in a statement. "The time one has to sacrifice to be an elected official is enormous, and he has sacrificed a great deal to serve the people. I also want to thank him for his endorsement. I wish Eric and his family the best in their future endeavors."
Cantor, 51, is a seven-term House veteran who before his defeat had been seen as a potential rival — and likely successor — to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Though he had a conservative voting record, he was distrusted by some tea party supporters who suspected he might be too eager to reach compromise on immigration legislation.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with at least 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying an infantry officer may have been captured.
Israel and Hamas accused each other of breaking the cease-fire, which had been announced by the U.S. and the U.N. and took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday. The fighting broke out less than two hours later.
The breakdown of the cease-fire and the apparent capture of the Israeli soldier set the stage for a major escalation of the 25-day-old conflict, which has already devastated large swaths of the impoverished coastal strip.
Israel had said it would continue demolishing cross-border tunnels behind its own defensive lines during the cease-fire, and the military said its troops were attacked during one such operation.
Gunmen emerged from one or more tunnel openings and opened fire, with at least one of the fighters detonating an explosives vest, Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
He said 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old from the town of Kfar Saba, was apparently captured during the ensuing mayhem and taken back into Gaza through a tunnel, while another two soldiers were killed.
"We suspect that he has been kidnapped," Lerner said, adding that the attack took place an hour and a half after the cease-fire began.
An Israeli official said the apparent abduction marked a "very dangerous escalation of violence" and that there would be no three-day humanitarian cease-fire. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
It was not immediately clear if the possible abduction was linked to the heavy shelling in Rafah, which sent families fleeing from apartment blocks that had pillars of smoke rising from them. One woman carrying two children rushed toward a parked car. "Quickly, open the car door!" she yelled to a man standing nearby.
Ambulances ferried the wounded to Rafah's al-Najar hospital, where bloodied bodies on stretchers were carried inside and family members frantically searched for loved ones. Many of the injured were young children, their clothes stained with blood. In one hospital room, four children were treated on a single bed. Others were being examined on the floor.
The shelling killed at least 35 Palestinians and wounded another 200, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said.
He said the death toll could rise as rescue workers search for people buried under the rubble of several apartment blocks hit by shells. He did not say whether those killed were civilians or militants.
Israel launched an aerial campaign against Gaza aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire on July 8 and later sent in ground troops to target launch sites and tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks inside Israel. The war has killed nearly 1,500 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and more than 60 Israelis, nearly all soldiers.
At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting. Friday's temporary cease-fire was the longest to be announced thus far.
The military said Gaza militants had fired eight rockets and mortars at Israel since the cease-fire began, one of which was intercepted.
The cease-fire, which stemmed from the intensive diplomatic efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, was intended to be the first step toward a lasting truce, with Egypt inviting Israeli and Palestinian delegations to Cairo for talks.
Soon after the cease-fire went into force, Gaza's residents took advantage of the truce to return to their homes, many of which had been destroyed in the fighting.
Near a main road in the heavily bombarded Gaza district of Shijaiyah, less than a mile from the Israeli border, residents surveyed extensive damage.
Basem Abul Qumbus returned to find his three-story home -- in which he had invested tens of thousands of dollars -- uninhabitable. Tank shells had punched a hole in the ceiling of one bedroom and a wall had collapsed into the kitchen.
"The work of all those years is gone," he said, as he struggled to salvage flour from bags that had been torn apart by shrapnel. Food supplies are running short in the blockaded coastal territory in the war's fourth week.
In the southern town of Khan Younis, residents searched for bodies in the rubble of their homes as rescuers and volunteers carried away corpses, some charred, on makeshift stretchers.
Nidal Abu Rjeila found the charred body of his disabled sister on the ground on the side of the road, her wheelchair flipped upside down. He said her body had been there for five days.
"I tried to reach human rights groups and the Red Cross, but no one was answering me," he said while lying next to her body.
Israel says it has tried to spare civilians, including by warning people ahead of military strikes, and has said Hamas endangers Gazans by firing rockets from residential areas.
Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since the start of the conflict, extending their reach to major cities but causing very few casualties, in part because Israel's Iron Dome defense system has intercepted many of the projectiles.
Hamas has vowed to keep fighting until Israel and Egypt lift a blockade of Gaza imposed after the Islamic militant group seized power there in 2007, which has devastated the local economy.
At least 1,496 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed since hostilities began July 8, according to Palestinian officials. Israel says 63 of its soldiers and three civilians in Israel have been killed.
Hours ahead of the cease-fire, Gaza police reported heavy Israeli tank shelling in northern and eastern Gaza, and the loud exchange of fire with militants could be heard across Gaza City. Tank shells slammed into the city itself, setting homes and shops ablaze.
Hamas fighters hit an Israeli tank with an anti-tank missile, Gaza police said. The militants then attacked Israeli troops who came to evacuate the tank crew. Clashes continued into the early morning hours, police said.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the matter.
Estrin reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press correspondents Karin Laub in Gaza City and Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
DALLAS, Ga. (AP) — The family of a 42-year-old woman badly beaten on the Silver Comet Trail has set up a fund to raise money for her medical expenses and a reward for information in the case.
People may contribute at SunTrust branches to the fund, which includes the phrase "take back the trail."
WSB-TV reports that the woman has been moved from an intensive care unit to a regular room in Kennestone Hospital. Her husband says she has several broken bones in her face and doctors will have to wire her jaw shut for six to eight weeks.
Paulding County sheriff's officials said a bicyclist spotted the badly injured woman lying on the side of the trail around 6:42 p.m. Tuesday.
The 61.5 mile-Silver Comet Trail runs from Smyrna to the Alabama line.
WATKINSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — If you don't think they're serious about sustainability out at the University of Georgia's J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center in Oconee County, then you haven't seen the revolutionary, yet old-fashioned, way they're tending their cattle herd.
Instead of herding cattle with trucks, humans on foot, or Kawasaki "mules," they're doing it with horses and men — not cowboys, but stockmen.
It's the old way, but it's a new way for many ranchers or farmers who raise cattle, said Richard Boatwright, who rides herd on the Campbell farm's cattle along with C.J. O'Mara.
"This is commonplace in many areas of the country, and it's good for the cattle and good for the people," said Boatwright, 42, who managed a Wyoming ranch before coming to work at UGA.
"Every now and then, people see us working with horses and they look at you kind of funny," said farm supervisor Eric Elsner. But he's come to believe horses and his two stockmen are better for the pastures and better for the cattle.
"I'd rather have a horse hoof print on my pasture than a 20-foot doughnut," he said.
UGA's herd numbers between 400 and 500 at any given time on the Oconee County farm, whose 1,050 acres includes about 650 acres of forage or pasture, he said.
At times, tending the herd is a full-time job for the two men, though at some times of the year the cattle may take up only about half their work time, Elsner said.
The cattle are used by UGA researchers investigating a range of questions related to cattle, forage and keeping farms and pastures sustainable.
Boatwright, whose official UGA job description is "Farmworker II," and O'Mara, a senior agricultural specialist, ride cow ponies, two American quarter horse mares named Crystal and Sunny.
Sunny's quick and what stockmen call light-footed, while Crystal is strong with a low center of gravity, Boatwright said.
The cows just seem to relate better to horses and riders than to humans on foot or in a vehicle, O'Mara said.
Cattle seem to instinctively see two-legged humans as predators, but they don't have to overcome that fear with horses, Boatwright said. To a cow, a horse is first a fellow four-footed vegetarian, a creature that some level speaks the same language, albeit a different dialect, he maintains.
Riding the range on horseback is one of America's most romantic images, but working the herd with horses is just plain practical and cost-efficient, said Elsner and his stockmen.
"The J. Phil Campbell sort of philosophy is sustainability, and working cattle with horses basically is sustainable. The tires don't go flat on a horse," Boatwright said.
"Some people say it's just another mouth to feed," O'Mara said.
But the cost is low, Boatwright said. It costs less than $1 per day to maintain a horse, he estimated.
They do admit that herding cattle on a horse is more fun than doing it on foot or in a vehicle.
"You almost don't need to tell the horses what they need to do. It's easier on us, and it's easier on them (the cattle)," O'Mara said.
And though the work seems slower on a horse than on a motorized vehicle, it's not, they say.
"If you're quiet and savvy, you're going to get it done," O'Mara said.
The role of stockman is somewhat new for O'Mara, who grew up in a south Florida city before studying at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton and the University of Georgia.
But Boatwright, another University of Georgia graduate, is in a way following in his father's footsteps.
"My dad was a cowboy in central Florida. I grew up riding horses and roping chickens," he said. His father taught him to rope by having him lasso chickens, he explained.
Boatwright hopes UGA's use of horses and stockmen will accomplish another goal besides sustainability and reducing psychological stress on the university's cattle.
"If we can preserve these skills, I'd be a happy fellow," he said.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. markets were moving lower Friday, a day after a major sell-off. Energy stocks had some of the biggest losses after Chevron reported weaker oil and gas production. Exxon Mobil had reported disappointing production figures the day before.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,512 as of 11:31 a.m. Eastern. The blue-chip index lost 317 points the day before, its biggest one-day drop since February. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,924 and the Nasdaq composite fell 25 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,345.
In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 2 percent, France's CAC 40 fell 0.7 percent, and the FTSE 100 index fell 1.5 percent.
THE DAY AFTER: Investors were dealing with the aftermath of the worst day in months for financial markets. Factors include weak corporate earnings from big companies such as Exxon Mobil as well as the approaching end of stimulus from the Federal Reserve. Economic sanctions on Russia that have increased tensions with the West also played a role, as did Argentina's debt default Wednesday. And there's also the general worry by investors that stocks are overpriced.
JOBS: The market's losses were held in check by a relatively strong jobs report early Friday. Employers added jobs to their payrolls, but not at such a fast pace to suggest that wages will start rising soon. That might prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to curb inflation.
"In a nutshell, it's a good report," said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at brokerage firm BTIG in New York. "Not too hot, not too cold."
SAFETY IS KEY: Investors moved money into traditional safe havens: stocks that pay large dividends, bonds and gold. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.51 percent from 2.55 percent. Gold rose $13.50, or 1 percent, to $1,296.50 an ounce. Utility stocks, which investors favor during uncertain times because of their stable business models and high dividends, also rose. The Dow Jones utility index, which includes 15 utility companies, rose 0.5 percent.
EARNINGS: Proctor & Gamble rose $3.05, or 4 percent, to $80.37. The consumer products giant said it earned an adjusted profit of 95 cents a share, four cents better what analysts had expected. LinkedIn, the business social networking site, rose $18.01, or 10 percent, to $198.63 after its own results beat analysts' expectations.
LOW ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery slipped 76 cents to $97.43 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 77 cents to $105.26 in London.
Chevron, the world's second-largest energy company, sank $1.93, or 1.5 percent, to $127.31. While the oil and gas giant reported earnings that were better than analysts had predicted, oil and gas production fell in the quarter. Also, part of Chevron's profit was related to one-time asset sales.
Carlo Piovano contributed from London. Matt Craft contributed from New York and Kelvin Chan contributed from Hong Kong.
BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (AP) — Police in Brookhaven, just northeast of Atlanta, say they've apprehended four people in connection with a shooting that left a man dead.
Police say officers found 23-year-old Justin Acevedo lying on the side of a road around noon Thursday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Witnesses said a male suspect fled on foot into the nearby Parke Towne North Apartments. Police said detectives conducted a search at an apartment in the complex and later charged four people as a result of the investigation.
Police said in a statement that none of the people arrested had been charged with murder, and police said they were not releasing their names or charges due to the active investigation.