Monday, December 16, 2013
US: Snowden should return to US, face charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says a National Security Agency official who suggested the U.S. consider granting Edward Snowden amnesty was expressing his personal opinion.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Barack Obama's position hasn't changed. He says Snowden faces felony charges and should be returned to the U.S. Carney says Snowden would be afforded due process if returned from Russia, which has granted him temporary asylum.
Carney's comments came after NSA official Richard Ledgett said it was worth discussing amnesty for Snowden under the right conditions.
Ledgett heads the task force assessing the damage from Snowden's leaks. He said he'd need assurances that the rest of the data Snowden stole could be secured to prevent further leaks. He told CBS News the bar for those assurances would be high.
Senate clears path for Obama DHS pick, others
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's picks to fill key national security and foreign policy posts, including a new leader at the Department of Homeland Security, are heading toward Senate confirmation.
Votes are scheduled Monday night to confirm former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh (JAY) C. Johnson to head Homeland Security, and diplomat Anne W. Patterson to lead the State Department's Middle East diplomacy. Both are expected to sail to confirmation.
Johnson is replacing Janet Napolitano and says filling vacancies at the agency is a top priority. Patterson, currently the U.S. ambassador to Egypt and a former ambassador to Pakistan, will serve as an assistant secretary of state.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to move forward on additional Obama nominees this week, including Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve.
GIRL KILLED-TRASH BIN
Sheriff: Ohio suspect last person seen with girl
WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in Ohio say an unemployed man accused of killing a 9-year-old neighbor had been building a snowman with the girl just a few hours before she was reported missing.
A sheriff's investigator says Jerrod Metsker was the last person seen with the girl at the trailer park where both lived.
Metsker is being held on $1 million bond following his arraignment Monday.
The 24-year-old was arrested Sunday, about 12 hours after deputies found Reann Murphy's body inside a trash bin at the trailer park. Authorities described Metsker as a family friend and neighbor.
They say the little girl was playing in the snow with several other children but she was left alone with the suspect after the others went home.
Authorities haven't given a motive for the killing.
Wave of attacks kills 65 people in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) — It's been the bloodiest day of violence in Iraq in nearly two months.
A double car bombing and a shooting killed 34 Shiite Muslims on a pilgrimage Monday. The attacks were the deadliest in the violence across the country that left at least 65 dead.
The worst attack took place in a southern Baghdad suburb, where two car bombs struck a group of Shiite pilgrims walking to the holy city of Karbala. The bombs killed 23 people and wounded more than 50 others.
Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are making their way to the city to commemorate the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
Earlier in the day, gunmen opened fire on a bus in Mosul that was carrying Shiite pilgrims also traveling to Karbala, killing eleven of them.
Congress may be asked to join NY-NJ bridge probe
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey state lawmaker wants Congress to investigate the agency responsible for traffic jams caused by lane closures at a bridge into New York City.
Democrats claim the gridlock was an act of retribution by loyalists of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, which he has denied.
Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Bergen County tells The Associated Press she is readying a resolution asking Congress to investigate the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In September, two lanes from Fort Lee to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge were shut without warning at the behest of a Christie appointee, who has since resigned.
Weinberg says Congress has a role to play since it created the Port Authority and its investigative arm has previously reviewed authority operations.
BIG SUR FIRE
Big Sur fire destroys 15 homes, forces 100 to flee
BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — At least 15 homes have been destroyed and about 100 people have been forced to evacuate as a wildfire burns in the Big Sur area of California, a popular tourist destination along the state's central coast. No injuries were reported.
Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen says the fire broke out early Monday near Pfeiffer Ridge Road and state Highway 1, about 1.4 miles from the Ventana Inn. He says it has burned about 500 acres by late afternoon.
Madsen says the fire destroyed the home of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens. Officials were hopeful that they could contain it within the next couple of days.
Madsen says the Red Cross has set up an overnight shelter for people who have been displaced by the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
LEAD PAINT COURT BATTLE
Judge: Paint companies to pay Calif. cities $1.1B
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A judge has ordered paint companies to pay 10 California cities and counties $1.1 billion to remove lead from millions of older homes.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg issued the verdict Monday in San Jose after a five-week nonjury trial. The judge found that Conagra Grocery Products Co., NL Industries Inc. and the Sherwin-Williams Co. marketed paint they knew was harmful to children. Atlantic Richfield Co. and DuPont Co. were found not liable.
Lead-based paints were barred from the U.S. market in 1978, but millions of homes painted before then still pose a health risk.
The industry argued that it never deliberately sold a harmful product and that the old paint is no longer a significant public health risk. An appeal is expected.
Chris Brown's probation revoked over DC arrest
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has revoked Chris Brown's probation because of his arrest for allegedly hitting a man in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin ordered Brown on Monday to return to court Feb. 10 for another update. The judge told Brown he is still required to perform 1,000 hours of community labor as part of his sentence for the beating his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
Brown was also ordered to stay in rehab. Brandlin said probation officials reported that Brown is doing well in treatment.
The Grammy-winning singer was arrested in October after a man accused the R&B singer of hitting him after he tried to get a photo with the star.
A probation report that Brandlin cited for his decision was not immediately available.
Country singer Ray Price dead at 87
MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas (AP) — Ray Price, a towering traditional country singer who was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, has died. He was 87.
Billy Mack Jr., the son of Bill Mack, says Price died Monday afternoon. Price had pancreatic cancer.
Mack, a family friend, said he was acting as a family spokesman. The wife of family friend and spokesman Tom Perryman, a DJ with KKUS-FM in Tyler, also confirmed his death.
Price was perhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson-written song "For the Good Times" in 1970 that became a pop hit. He was one of the most influential figures in country music in the 1960s and '70s, helping define the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then taking it in a more polished direction later.
Michael Jordan estate fails to sell at auction
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — Michael Jordan's 56,000-square foot home in suburban Chicago has failed to sell at auction after the bidding fell short.
Jordan spokeswoman Estee Portnoy says nobody offered the reserve price of $13 million for the seven-acre estate in Highland Park, north of Chicago.
Portnoy says Concierge Auctions publicized Monday's auction well, but that market conditions aren't ideal. She says options for the property will be evaluated next year.
The former Chicago Bulls superstar's home originally was listed at $29 million in early 2012.
It has nine bedrooms, 15 full bathrooms, a pool pavilion and a regulation-size indoor basketball court. It also features what's described as a "gentleman's retreat," complete with a library, wet bar and the original doors from the Playboy Mansion in Chicago.
Jordan now owns the Charlotte Bobcats.