US moves forces toward Syria, inquiry continues
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials are still trying to determine whether Syria's government unleashed a deadly chemical weapons attack on its people. At the same time, the Obama administration is preparing for a possible military response by moving naval forces closer to Syria.
President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Saturday. The White House says Obama received a detailed review of the range of options he requested for the U.S. and its international partners to respond if the fact-finding process concludes that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime engaged in chemical warfare.
Obama also discussed the situation in Syria by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The White House says the two leaders expressed "grave concern" about the reported chemical weapons use, which both of their countries oppose.
The Syrian government denies the claims. It also is warning the U.S. against taking military action, saying such a step would set the Middle East ablaze.
To underscore the regional concern about spillover effects of the Syrian conflict, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is attending a meeting starting Sunday in Jordan with Mideast defense chiefs.
Hagel says US still weighing response to Syria
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the Obama administration is still weighing the question of whether to use military force in Syria in response to a purported chemical weapons attack.
Speaking to reporters Sunday in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Hagel declined to say what action the U.S. might take.
He said the administration is weighing many factors. These include an intelligence assessment of the attack in Syria, as well as what he called legal issues and the matter of international support for any military response.
Hagel is in Malaysia to start a long-planned one-week Asia tour, even as he remains in contact with Washington about unfolding events in Syria.
MARCH ON WASHINGTON
King's son says 'The task is not done'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Martin Luther King III says today is "not the time for nostalgic commemoration" or "self-congratulatory celebration."
The oldest son of the slain civil rights leader told a crowd at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington that "The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more."
Tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall today to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Georgia Congressman John Lewis, the only surviving speaker from the 1963 march, railed against a recent Supreme Court decision that effectively erased a key anti-discrimination provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Lewis was a leader of a 1965 march where police beat and gassed marchers who demanded access to voting booths. He says he "gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Ala., for the right to vote."
Attorney General Eric Holder praised those who faced repression and brutality to march a half century ago. The nation's first black attorney general said that without them, he'd never be the attorney general and Barack Obama wouldn't be president.
Justice Dept. files court papers against Louisiana over school vouchers
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is trying to stop the state from distributing school vouchers in any district that remains under a desegregation court order.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the Justice Department said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to nearly 600 public school students in districts that are still under such orders, and "many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process."
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal called the department's action "shameful" and said President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder "are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools against the wishes of their parents."
The Justice Department says Louisiana has given vouchers this school year to students in at least 22 districts remaining under desegregation orders.
Jindal called school choice "a moral imperative."
Yosemite takes steps to protect sequoias from fire
GROVELAND, Calif. (AP) — As a wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park, officials are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to save two groves of giant sequoias.
The iconic trees can resist fire, but park spokesman Tom Medena said dry conditions and heavy brush are forcing fire officials to take extra precautions in the Tuolumne and Merced groves. About three dozen of the giant trees are affected.
The trees grow naturally only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
The fire has burned more than 200 square miles near the park's northern boundary. It is just 5 percent contained.
More than 5,500 homes are threatened and four were destroyed. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations have been ordered.
The fire has been burning for a week. The cause is under investigation.
Service held for Hannah Anderson's mom, brother
SANTEE, Calif. (AP) — Calling their deaths "an abomination," a priest memorialized a mother and young son killed by a family friend who also abducted the woman's 16-year-old daughter.
The service Saturday for Christina Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson at the Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church in Santee was open to the public.
The Los Angeles Times reports Rev. Kevin Casey told the memorial gathering that the community was "touched by this evil and we can never be the same again."
The mother and son were found at the home of James Lee DiMaggio, who set it ablaze earlier this month.
DiMaggio was killed by FBI agents Aug. 10 in the Idaho wilderness, six days after abducing 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, who was not physically harmed.
Authorities have declined to discuss a possible motive.
TRUCKING COMPANY SHOOTINGS
3 dead, 2 wounded in Fla. truck company shootings
LAKE BUTLER, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a longtime employee of a Florida trucking company killed himself after fatally shooting his former boss and a co-worker and wounding two others.
A news release from the Union County Sheriff's Office says gunman Hubert Allen Jr. drove to several locations Saturday morning and shot the four men. Three of them were Allen's former co-workers at Pritchett Trucking Inc., and the fourth was company owner Marvin Pritchett.
The sheriff's office says the gunman fatally shot Pritchett and Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado.
One of the wounded men was in critical condition and the other was in good condition.
Authorities say the 72-year-old Allen returned to his home in North Florida's Lake Butler and fatally shot himself.
Investigators declined to discuss a motive. Messages left seeking further comment from the sheriff's office weren't immediately returned.
99-YEAR-OLD WOMAN KILLED
Cops: 20-year-old man killed 99-year-old NY woman
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — Police have arrested a man they say killed a 99-year-old woman inside her upstate New York home.
Poughkeepsie (poh-KIHP'-see) City Police say 20-year-old Javon Tyrek Rogers was arraigned Saturday, charged with burglary and first-degree murder in the death of Fannie Gumbinger. They say he was arrested at 11 p.m. Friday night.
Gumbinger's body was found Wednesday morning after a caretaker suspected something was wrong inside the woman's house and called police. An autopsy Thursday determined that Gumbinger died from multiple injuries inside the home she'd lived alone in since her husband's death in 2007.
Police tell the Poughkeepsie Journal Rogers is suspected in other recent burglaries in the city.
Rogers was being held without bail.
Julie Harris, Broadway star, dies at 87
WEST CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — Broadway star Julie Harris has died.
Actress and family friend Francesca James says Harris, who won an unprecedented five Tony Awards for best actress, died Saturday at her home in West Chatham, Mass at the age of 87. She had previously suffered two strokes.
Harris' Tony-winning roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in "I Am a Camera" to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst," a one-woman show.
Television viewers knew Harris as the free-spirited Lilimae Clements on the prime-time soap opera "Knots Landing."
In the movies, she was James Dean's romantic co-star in "East of Eden" (1955), and had rolls in such films as "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1962), "The Haunting" (1963) and "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967).
DC zoo will try again for exam of baby panda
WASHINGTON (AP) — A team of panda caretakers at Washington's National Zoo will have to wait at least one more day to get the first close look at a day-old panda cub during an exam.
The minutes-long health assessment was planned for Saturday, but panda mom Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) didn't give keepers an opportunity to take her cub, which is about the size of a stick of butter. Zookeepers will try again Sunday. During the exam, they'll try to listen to the cub's heart and lungs, record its weight and collect a DNA sample.
The cub born Friday evening is Mei Xiang's third, but the cub she gave birth to last year died after living just a week. Before that, her last cub was born in 2005.
Zookeepers plan to be more hands-on with this cub after last year's death.
Trump lawyer denies NY AG's lawsuit claims
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Donald Trump's attorney accuses New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of trying to extort campaign contributions from the real estate mogul through his investigation of Trump University.
Trump attorney Michael D. Cohen tells The Associated Press that Schneiderman's lawsuit against Trump and Trump University filed Saturday is filled with falsehoods. Cohen says Trump and his university never defrauded anyone.
Cohen says Trump won't be extorted by anyone, including the attorney general.
Schneiderman sued Trump for $40 million, saying the celebrity businessman helped run a phony "Trump University" that promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars, and even failed to deliver promised apprenticeships.
Created: Sun, 25 Aug 2013 01:14:39 EST
Updated: Sun, 25 Aug 2013 01:14:39 EST