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


Associated Press

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Spokesman: 3 dead — including shooter of self-inflicted wound — at Marine Base Quantico in Va.

QUANTICO, Va. (AP) — Three people, including the suspect, were killed in a shooting at Marine Base Quantico, a base spokesman said.

It began with a shooting around 11 p.m. Thursday that left one dead, said Lt. Agustin Solivan. That shooting lead to a standoff between authorities and the suspect, who was barricaded in barracks at the base.

Authorities entered the barracks early Friday and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound along with a second victim. Solivan could not say what prompted authorities to enter the barracks.

No names were immediately released but Solivan said the suspect and both victims were Marines. Authorities believe the suspect was a staff member at the officer candidate school at the base, Solivan said.

Solivan said the shooting was an isolated incident and authorities were confident there were no other casualties. The base was put on lockdown after the shooting but the lockdown was lifted early Friday.


Syrian president vows to rid country of extremists after suicide blast killed top Sunni cleric

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's president has vowed to rid the country of Muslim extremists whom he blamed for a suicide bombing that killed 42 people, including a top Sunni preacher.

Friday's statement by Bashar Assad came hours after the explosion ripped through a mosque in the heart of Damascus, killing Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti.

It was one of the most stunning assassinations of the two-year civil war and the first time a suicide bomber struck inside a mosque.

Al-Buti was a staunch supporter of Assad. More than 84 were wounded in the attack.

In the statement carried by Syria's state news agency, Assad says al-Buti represented true Islam in facing "the forces of darkness and extremist" ideology.


Cyprus lawmakers look to hammer out plan to get rescue money to prevent bankruptcy within days

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cypriot authorities were trying Friday to cobble together a plan they hope will convince international lenders to provide the money the country needs to avoid bankruptcy within days.

As well as trying to forge an overall financing package, lawmakers were meeting to decide the fate of the country's second largest lender Laiki which was hardest hit from its exposure to bad Greek debt.

The bank's restructuring is part of an alternative plan aimed at raising up to 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) to secure a larger rescue package of another 10 billion euros from the other 16 countries that use the euro currency and the International Monetary Fund. A new package is necessary after Cyprus' parliament rejected a plan earlier this week to grab up to 10 percent of bank deposits.

The country needs to have the plan in place by Monday as the European Central Bank has said it will cut off emergency support to the banks. That could trigger their collapse and leave the Cypriot economy reeling. Many in the markets think that would mean the country would have to leave the euro with potentially damaging repercussions across the 17-country eurozone.

Worried Laiki employees gathered near parliament for a second day after the governor of the country's central bank announced that authorities would look to safeguard the bank's viable parts and isolate its toxic assets. The hope behind the plan is to staunch any possible contagion effects to the country's other lenders.


Colo. investigators head to Texas to see if shootout with parolee links to prison chief death

DECATUR, Texas (AP) — A paroled Colorado inmate who may be linked to the slaying of the state's prison chief led Texas deputies on a 100 mph car chase that ended Thursday after he crashed into a semi and then opened fire before being shot down by his pursuers.

Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, was driving a Cadillac in Texas that matched the description of the vehicle seen leaving the neighborhood where prisons chief Tom Clements was shot. Ebel was hooked up to equipment for organ harvesting and authorities say he is not expected to survive.

Colorado investigators immediately headed to Texas to determine whether Ebel was linked to Clements' slaying and the killing Sunday of Nathan Leon, a Denver pizza delivery man. Police in Colorado would only say the connection to the Leon case is strong but would not elaborate or say if they believe Ebel killed Clements and Leon.

The Denver Post first reported Ebel's name, and that he was in a white supremacist prison gang called the 211s. A federal law enforcement official confirmed his identity and gang affiliation to The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The killing of Clements, 58, shocked his quiet neighborhood in Monument, a town of rolling hills north of Colorado Springs, for its brutality: He answered the door of his home Tuesday evening and was gunned down. Authorities wouldn't say if they thought the attack was related to his job, and all Clements' recent public activities and cases were scrutinized.


Obama ending Israel visit with stops at Holocaust memorial , wreaths for state heroes

JERUSALEM (AP) — President Barack Obama says Israel's Holocaust memorial illustrates the depravity to which man can sink but says it is also a reminder of the rescuers and the "righteous among nations who refused to be bystanders."

Obama visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial Friday as he wrapped up a three-day trip to Israel. He said the memorial represents a call to confront bigotry and racism, "especially anti-Semitism."

Obama also laid wreaths at the graves of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism who died in 1904 before realizing his dream of a Jewish homeland, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995.

He was also touring the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem


Senate Democrats on track to pass budget protecting safety net and raising taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the Senate appear on track to pass their first budget in four years, promising a second, almost $1 trillion round of tax increases on top of more than $600 billion in higher taxes on the wealthy enacted in January.

The nonbinding but politically symbolic measure would protect safety-net programs for the poor and popular domestic priorities like education, health research and federal law enforcement agencies from cuts sought by House Republicans, who adopted a far more austere plan on Thursday morning.

The Democratic plan caters to party stalwarts on the liberal edge of the spectrum just as the House GOP measure was crafted to appeal to more recent tea party arrivals. The $1 trillion in new revenue would accrue over the coming decade and would be coupled with a net $875 billion in spending cuts, generated by modest cuts to federal health care programs, domestic agencies and the Pentagon and reduced government borrowing costs.

The GOP budget proposal, similar to previous plans offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., demonstrates that it's possible, at least mathematically, to balance the budget within a decade without raising taxes. But to do so Ryan, his party's vice presidential nominee last year, assumes deep cuts that would force millions from programs for the poor like food stamps and Medicaid and cut almost 20 percent from domestic agency budget levels assumed less than two years ago.

Ryan's plan passed the House on a mostly party-line, 221-207 vote, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats against it.


Judge rules aggregator of AP content not allowed 'free ride' on newsgathering

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge concluded that an Internet news clipping service essentially resold stories from The Associated Press, saying in a decision released Thursday that the ability of news organizations to perform "an essential function of democracy" is jeopardized when a company merely redistributes the news of others.

Media observers say the ruling against Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc. and its Meltwater News Service, if upheld on appeal, could provide strong protection for the news industry as it struggles to survive in an Internet age.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote rejected Meltwater's claims that its use of Web stories drawn from a scan of 162,000 news websites from more than 190 countries was a fair use of copyright-protected material.

"Through its use of AP content and refusal to pay a licensing fee, Meltwater has obtained an unfair commercial advantage in the marketplace and directly harmed the creator of expressive content protected by the Copyright Act," Cote said.

She said in a ruling released to lawyers in the case Wednesday and to the public on Thursday that investigating and writing about newsworthy events worldwide was expensive and enforcement of the copyright laws permits the AP to earn revenue to fund it.


Tony Bennett honored at Amy Winehouse Foundation gala; Jennifer Hudson, Harry Belafonte attend

NEW YORK (AP) — Tony Bennett doesn't think Amy Winehouse's life was tragic. He believes the singer who died at age 27 lived a complete life because she was able to achieve her goal: becoming a respected musician.

"Her dream was to become famous and a beautiful singer and she accomplished that," he said Thursday night at the first annual Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards and Gala, where he received the lifetime achievement award.

"Even though she had a short life, she had a great life because she ended up praying for the success that she wanted and it happened. This is what this night's about."

Bennett, 86, was honored at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where attendees included Winehouse's father, mother and brother, her ex-boyfriend Reg Traviss, Harry Belafonte, Jennifer Hudson, Sean Lennon and producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, who was also honored.

Winehouse died in 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning. Though troubled, she was a critical darling and earned five Grammy Awards for her sophomore album, "Back to Black." The foundation established in her name assists disadvantaged youth. It was launched in Europe in 2011, and last year in the United States.


Smart win: Harvard pulls NCAA upset, ousts New Mexico from tourney

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Some people may have heard of the school that's suddenly generating a bit of March Madness buzz.


Yep, Harvard —the school known for producing U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices and Nobel Prize winners earned its first NCAA tournament victory Thursday night with a 68-62 upset of No. 3 seed New Mexico.

Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard made five 3-pointers to give 14th-seeded Harvard (20-9) its first tournament victory in only three measly trips.

"It's unbelievable," guard Christian Webster said. "We're still in disbelief. This is as good as it gets for us right now."


Iraq seeks to revive ailing cultural life to heal war wounds, grim reality could dash hopes

BAGHDAD (AP) — Sewing machines buzz inside the Iraq Fashion House as dressmakers work late into the night behind concrete blast walls readying intricately embroidered costumes. Models rehearse for an upcoming show upstairs.

The energetic atmosphere is in stark contrast to the nearby Iraqi National Museum, which remains closed to the public a decade after it was looted along with other government buildings following the U.S.-led invasion.

On Saturday, the Iraqi capital becomes this year's Arab Capital of Culture, and organizers are hoping to use the title to quicken the pulse of Baghdad's ailing cultural life. Manama, Bahrain, was the last capital to hold the honor bestowed by the Arab League under a program set up in 1995 with the help of the U.N. Education, Science and Culture Organization program.

But there are signs the battle-scarred city is not yet ready to reclaim its place among the Arab world's cultural jewels.

Despite a staggering $500 million budget for the yearlong initiative, security remains a worry and authorities have failed to renovate several cultural buildings that were damaged or neglected following the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.