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Associated Press

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Judge to announce verdict in trial of 2 Ohio high school football players accused of rape

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A judge planned to announce his verdict Sunday in the case of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer.

Prosecutors say the drunken girl was taken advantage of and treated like a toy. Defense attorneys counter that the girl has a history of heavy drinking and telling lies.

Testimony concluded Saturday night with the accuser recalling that she drank at a party in August but couldn't remember what had happened when she awoke the next day naked in a strange house.

Testimony in the four-day nonjury trial against Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond ended after the judge heard from the 16-year-old West Virginia girl and others in the juvenile court case.

If found delinquent — the juvenile court equivalent of guilty — the two defendants could be jailed until they turn 21, when they would be released.

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Tour bus carrying college lacrosse team crashes in Pa., killing pregnant coach and driver

CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) — A road trip by a college women's lacrosse team came to a horrifying end Saturday when the team bus veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and crashed into a tree, killing a pregnant coach, her unborn child and the driver and injuring numerous others.

Seton Hill University team players and coaches were among the 23 people aboard when the bus crashed just before 9 a.m. No other vehicle was involved, and police couldn't immediately say what caused the crash.

Coach Kristina Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, was flown to a hospital but died there of her injuries, Cumberland County authorities said. Quigley was about six months pregnant and her unborn child didn't survive, authorities said. The bus driver, Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown, died at the scene.

The other passengers were removed from the bus within an hour and taken to hospitals as a precaution. The crash appeared to have shorn away the front left side of the bus, which rested upright about 70 yards from the road at the bottom of a grassy slope.

The lacrosse team was headed to play Saturday afternoon at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania, for its fourth game of the year.

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Man, teenager die after race car careens off California track, into pit row

MARYSVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A teenage race car driver taking warm-up laps at a California raceway careened off the track and into pit row, killing a 14-year-old boy and 68-year-old man, officials said.

Six or seven cars were on the track Saturday night when the out of control car ran into the two victims, who were standing side-by-side, Yuba County Sheriff's Capt. Ron Johnson said. He said the two were affiliated with one of the cars or drivers but did not yet know how.

Neither the 17-year-old driver nor anyone else was injured, he said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene at Marysville Raceway Park some 40 miles north of Sacramento, and the boy was declared dead either at the hospital or in an ambulance, the officer told The Associated Press.

The raceway was hosting the California Sprint Car Civil War Series on the opening day of its season.

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Supreme Court to decide if states can ask for proof of US citizenship to register to vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will struggle this week with the validity of an Arizona law that tries to keep illegal immigrants from voting by demanding all state residents show documents proving their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections.

The high court will hear arguments Monday over the legality of Arizona's voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal "Motor Voter" voter registration law that doesn't require such documentation.

This case focuses on voter registration in Arizona, which has tangled frequently with the federal government over immigration issues involving the Mexican border. But it has broader implications because four other states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee — have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating similar legislation, officials say.

The Obama administration is supporting challengers to the law.

If Arizona can add citizenship requirements, then "each state could impose all manner of its own supplemental requirements beyond the federal form," Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. said in court papers.

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AP PHOTOS: St. Pat's day across the nation

A sea of emerald green is sweeping the nation this weekend as crowds gather in big cities and small towns to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

In New York, hundreds of thousands of revelers lined the St. Patrick's Day parade route, cheering the marching bands, dance troupes and politicians.

In downtown Chicago, thousands along the Chicago River cheered as workers on a boat dumped dye into the water, turning it a bright fluorescent green for at least a few hours in an eye-catching local custom.

And in Ireland, Dublin's five-day St. Patrick's Day festival was unfolding with a new addition. For the first time, up to 8,000 visitors from around the world were due to march in a so-called people's parade Sunday, when Ireland's capital city also intends hold its usual procession of bands and pageantry.

Here are some photos of St. Pat's celebrations around the country.

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New China premier committed to strong ties with US, says trade, investment opportunities good

BEIJING (AP) — China's government is committed to strong relations with the U.S. and sees a rosy outlook for trade and investment between the sides, newly appointed Premier Li Keqiang said Sunday in his first news conference in his new role.

Despite their differences, conflict between the world's biggest and second-largest economies is not inevitable as long as they respect each other's major concerns and manage their differences, Li said.

China's new leaders "attach great importance" to relations that meet the "fundamental interests of people in both countries and serves the global trend of peace and development," Li told reporters at the traditional premier's news conference that follows the close of the annual legislative session

Two-way trade hit almost $500 billion last year, although disputes linger over Chinese trade practices, opposition to Chinese investment in the U.S. and complaints over alleged Chinese computer hacking.

Asked about recent allegations that China's military was behind massive hacking attacks on U.S. companies and government entities, Li reiterated Beijing's statements that China is a major target of global hackers and opposes all such criminal activity.

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China leaders pledge cleaner government, less waste as congress wraps up leadership transition

BEIJING (AP) — China's new leaders pledged to run a cleaner, more efficient government and slash spending on official perks Sunday as the ceremonial legislature wrapped up a pivotal session to install a new leadership in a once-a-decade transfer of power.

The transition that began in November under strict orchestration by China's ruling Communist Party has taken place at time of lower estimates of future economic growth and rising public anger over massive corruption, waste, and extravagant spending that are exasperating a yawning wealth gap.

President Xi Jinping told the nearly 3,000 delegates gathered at Beijing's hulking Great Hall of the People that his government would "resolutely reject formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations."

Shortly afterward, freshly appointed Premier Li Keqiang said the central government would slash its payroll and freeze spending on overseas trips, guest houses, office buildings and new vehicles in response to falling revenues.

"The central government will lead by example and all local governments must follow suit," Li said in his first major appearance before domestic and international media.

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In shadow of China, Uighurs released from Guantanamo languish on Pacific island

KOROR, Palau (AP) — Ahmat Abdulahad can't help but laugh at the irony of his predicament.

He and five other Chinese Muslims released from America's Guantanamo military prison in 2009 thought they would be living on this remote island for a few months, maybe a year.

But more than three years later, they are still in Palau, and the patience — and funding of this poor nation — is running out. The government has cut Abdulahad's monthly stipend, so he can't pay his bills, not even those from the Palau Power Utility Corp., where he works as a night watchman. So he and his family, inadvertent inhabitants of one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific, are learning to make do without electricity.

Palau has become a prolonged stopover in what is now a 12-year odyssey for a half dozen men from China's ethnic Uighur minority. They were swept up in Afghanistan as suspected terrorists, held without trial in Guantanamo for more than eight years, then became a cause celebre for Guantanamo opponents in the U.S., who saw them as hapless victims of the anti-terrorism effort and the circumvention of due process in the name of national security.

Now, all but one of them — who quietly managed to make his way to Turkey to join his wife a few months ago — remain stuck on Palau because no one else will take them.

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A decade after shock and awe, signs of progress tempered by turbulence in today's Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — It's been more than six years since a bomb ripped away the eyes from Shams Karim, killed her mother and left the little girl, now 7, blind and disfigured for life. Psychiatric drugs help control her outbursts of crying and screaming.

Throughout Iraq there are tens of thousands of victims like her whose lives are forever scarred by the violence of war. Their wounds — and those of tens of thousands of U.S. and other foreign service members — may never entirely heal.

In Baghdad, life goes on much as it has since the Ottoman sultan ruled these parts. Porters force loaded carts through narrow bazaars as amateur breeders' beloved pigeons swoop overhead. The calls to prayer from turquoise-domed mosques provide a rhythm to the day.

Yet the legacy of a war that began a decade ago remains very much a part of life here too. Bullet holes still pockmark buildings, and towers wrecked by American missiles and tank shells have not fully been rebuilt. Iraqi soldiers in body armor corral cars into road-clogging checkpoints, their fingers close to the trigger, ever wary of the next attack. At 1 a.m., a curfew shuts down the capital's streets, many still lined with blast walls.

It's hard nowadays to find anybody in much of the country who hasn't lost a friend or relative to the bloodletting that followed the U.S.-led invasion. Shams' mother is buried among the densely packed graves in Najaf, where an ancient cemetery is at least 40 percent larger than it was before the war. Each new bombing sends more coffin-topped cars south to the hot, dusty city of the dead.

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Police question 20 men in connection with gang-rape of Swiss woman in central India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police detained 20 men Sunday in central India's Madhya Pradesh state after a Swiss woman on a cycling trip was gang-raped.

No arrests have been made so far but police were questioning the men in connection with the rape and assault on the woman and her husband in Datia district of the state, said senior police officer D.K. Arya.

He said the couple told police the woman had been raped by seven or eight men, but that it was dark and they could not be sure of the exact number. As a first step, police have registered a case of rape against seven unidentified men and were searching nearby villages, he said.

The attack comes three months after the fatal gang-rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians and spurred the government to pass laws to protect women.

The couple were on a three-month vacation in India. They had visited the temple town of Orchha and were planning to cycle to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the monument to love, nearly 210 kilometers (130 miles) away.

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