AP News in Brief at 4:58 a.m. EST

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Associated Press

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 6:02 AM

States wary of trade-offs in accepting Medicaid expansion for millions of low-income uninsured

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's health care brinksmanship, with hundreds of billions of dollars and the well-being of millions of people at stake.

President Barack Obama's health care law expands Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people, but cost-wary states must decide whether to take the deal.

Turn it down, and governors risk looking callous toward the needy. Not to mention the likely second-guessing for walking away from a pot of federal dollars estimated at nearly $1 trillion nationally over a decade.

If the Obama administration were to compromise, say by sweetening the offer to woo a reluctant state, it would face immediate demands from 49 others for similar deals that could run up the tab by tens of billions of dollars.

As state legislatures look ahead to their 2013 sessions, the calculating and the lobbying have already begun.

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Egypt's top court postpones ruling on constituent panel, officials say

CAIRO (AP) — Officials say Egypt's top court has postponed its ruling on the legitimacy of the nation's Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, citing 'administrative" reasons.

The announcement came as several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi surrounded the Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday to prevent the judges from entering the Nile-side building in Cairo.

The officials did not know whether a new date has been set for the ruling.

A ruling from the court — regardless of which way it goes — would be a direct challenge to Morsi, who last month gave himself near absolute powers, placing himself and the assembly above any oversight, including by the judiciary.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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Murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs' Belcher stuns team as police piece together case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It began like any other Saturday for the Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL season, their general manager and coach at work early to put final touches on this weekend's gameplan. Then they got a call to hurry to the parking lot.

The two men rushed through the glass doors of Chiefs headquarters and came face-to-face with linebacker Jovan Belcher, holding a handgun to his head.

Belcher had already killed his girlfriend and sped the short distance to Arrowhead Stadium, right past a security checkpoint guarding the entrance. Upon finding his bosses, Belcher thanked general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel for giving him a chance in the NFL. Then he turned away and pulled the trigger.

The murder-suicide shocked a franchise that has been dealing with controversies now made trivial by comparison: eight consecutive losses, injuries too numerous to count, discontent among fans and the prospect that Pioli and Crennel could be fired at season's end.

Authorities did not release a possible motive while piecing together the case, other than to note that Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had been arguing frequently.

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Police: 2 men die after bus crashes into Miami airport overpass; 3 critically hurt

MIAMI (AP) — A charter bus carrying 32 members of a church group hit a concrete overpass at Miami International Airport after the driver got lost Saturday, killing two men on board and leaving three others critically injured, officials said.

The large, white bus was too tall for the 8-foot-6-inch entrance to the arrivals area, said airport spokesman Greg Chin. Buses are supposed to go through the departures area, which has a higher clearance, he said.

Police said that one man, Serafin Castillo, 86, of Miami, died at the scene. A second man, Francisco Urana, 56, also of Miami, died later at a hospital.

Chin said passengers told him they were part of a group of Jehovah's Witnesses headed to West Palm Beach. Police said in a news release that the group had chartered the bus to take them to a church convention there.

The group was made up of congregation members of Sweetwater's Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, said Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño.

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Taliban attack joint US-Afghan base in east of country, 5 Afghans killed

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban suicide bombers attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan air base in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down at militants before the attackers were defeated.

The attackers and at least five Afghans were killed, officials said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

It was the largest clash at the Jalalabad air base since February, when a suicide car bombing at the gate triggered an explosion that killed nine Afghans, six of them civilians.

In Sunday's attack, two vehicles packed with explosives barreled toward the main gate of the base around 6 a.m. local time. The first vehicle, a four-wheel-drive car, blew up at the gate, said Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Guards started shooting at the second vehicle before it too exploded, he added. It was unclear if the explosives were detonated by the attackers themselves or by shooting from the guards.

Two Afghan university students caught up in the attack and three other Afghan civilians working at the base were killed, Mashreqiwal said. He did not know if the three were private guards, members of the security forces or civilian employees.

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Italy votes for center-left candidate, polls show main party in lead for general election

ROME (AP) — Italians are choosing a center-left candidate for premier for elections early next year, an important primary runoff given the main party is ahead in the polls against a center-right camp in utter chaos over whether Silvio Berlusconi will run again.

Sunday's runoff pits a veteran center-left leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, 61, against the 37-year-old mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, who has campaigned on an Obama-style "Let's change Italy now" mantra.

Nearly all polls show Bersani winning the primary, after he won the first round of balloting Nov. 25 with 44.9 percent of the vote. Since he didn't get an absolute majority, he was forced into a runoff with Renzi, who garnered 35.5 percent.

After battling all week to get more voters to the polling stations for round two, Renzi seemed almost resigned to a Bersani win by Sunday, saying he hoped that by Monday "we can all work together."

Bersani, a former transport and industry minister, seemed confident of victory as well, joking about Berlusconi's flip-flopping political ambitions by asking "What time did he say it?" when told that the media mogul had purportedly decided against running.

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7 feared missing in collapse of highway tunnel in Japan; risk of more damage hampers rescue

TOKYO (AP) — At least seven people were feared missing Sunday after about 150 concrete panels fell from the roof of a tunnel on the main highway linking Tokyo with central Japan.

Efforts to rescue any survivors trapped inside the tunnel were hindered by heavy smoke after one vehicle caught fire inside the Sasago Tunnel, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) outside Tokyo.

Rescuers also temporarily suspended work because of fears of a further collapse. They were attempting to reach at least several vehicles believed buried in the rubble, including a truck whose driver was trapped inside and had called his company for help.

"I could hear voices of people calling for help, but the fire was just too strong," said a woman interviewed by public broadcaster NHK after she escaped from the tunnel.

Local media reported that at least three bodies had been found inside the tunnel. However, Norio Furusawa, a spokesman for the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, said he could not confirm that information.

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Police: Wyo. instructor fought son in bow-and-arrow, knife attack, enabled students to flee

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Gravely wounded by an arrow fired into his head, a Wyoming college instructor still managed to wrestle with his 25-year-old son who carried out the attack and give his students time to flee the classroom, say police who hailed the actions as heroic.

More grisly details of the horrific murder-suicide in Wyoming came to light Saturday, a day after the younger man killed his father's live-in girlfriend and then barged into his father's computer science class and shot him in the head with a high-powered bow and arrow.

As James Krumm, 56, then fought with son Christopher Krumm of Vernon, Conn., during Friday's attack, the handful of students in the Casper College classroom escaped.

Christopher Krumm had just stabbed to death 42-year-old Heidi Arnold at the home she shared with James Krumm two miles away.

When police arrived at the classroom, they found Christopher Krumm bleeding from self-inflicted knife wounds and taking his last breaths.

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Stars turn out for film academy's Governors Awards, honoring Jeffrey Katzenberg, others

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stars such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are arriving at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles to pay homage to four industry heavyweights.

The film academy's fourth annual Governors Awards are being presented Saturday to honorary Oscar winners Jeffrey Katzenberg, stuntman Hal Needham, documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and American Film Institute founding director George Stevens Jr.

The four men will accept their Oscar statuettes during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' private dinner program in the Ray Dolby Ballroom. Portions of the untelevised event may be included in the Feb. 24 Academy Awards telecast.

Other guests expected at Saturday's ceremony include Quentin Tarantino, Bradley Cooper, Kristen Stewart, Bryan Cranston and Oscar host Seth MacFarlane.

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BCS bonanza: Tide rolls to Miami to play Notre Dame for national championship

Alabama vs. Notre Dame. The BCS championship game couldn't get much bigger.

The Crimson Tide locked up a spot in the title game in Miami on Jan. 7 with a 32-28 victory over Georgia for the Southeastern Conference championship Saturday.

Sunday's selection show is just a formality.

The hype can begin now for what could be the most-watched BCS title game since the system was implemented in 1998. It'd be hard to find two more popular programs and a more enticing matchup.

The top-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) have won eight AP national titles — matching Alabama for the most — but none since 1988. They'll be playing in their first BCS championship game.

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