KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ KRISTV.com National News National News en-us Copyright 2014, KRISTV.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:09:10 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ 144 25 Obama Praises House Vote on Arming Syrian Rebels http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-praises-house-vote-on-arming-syrian-rebels/ http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-praises-house-vote-on-arming-syrian-rebels/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 5:48:28 PM Obama Praises House Vote on Arming Syrian Rebels

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says a House vote granting authority for the U.S. military to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels is an important step toward confronting the Islamic State group.

The Republican-controlled House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to authorize the program. A Senate vote is expected as early as Thursday.

Obama says the House vote shows there's bipartisan support for a critical component of his strategy to confront Islamic State extremists, who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

The president says the training won't be conducted in Syria and U.S. military personnel won't be on the ground in Syria as part of the program. He says the U.S. has learned from fighting al-Qaida that it's better to use America's capabilities to help partners on the ground defend themselves.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Man Acknowledges Sex Crime During Border Crossing http://www.kristv.com/news/man-acknowledges-sex-crime-during-border-crossing/ http://www.kristv.com/news/man-acknowledges-sex-crime-during-border-crossing/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 4:00:59 PM Associated Press Man Acknowledges Sex Crime During Border Crossing

PHOENIX (AP) - A Mexican man accused of sexually attacking a 14-year-old girl as he smuggled a group of people into the U.S. has pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with a minor.

The plea marked a rare conviction for a crime that authorities say seldom gets reported by victims who are sexually attacked as they sneak into the country.

Jose Ramon Mancinas-Flores, 23, could face five to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday in Santa Cruz County to human smuggling and sexual contact with a minor that stemmed from an illegal border crossing in December.

Investigators say Mancinas-Flores separated the girl from a group of people being smuggled and sexually attacked her. The crime was reported to authorities after the group was apprehended by the Border Patrol.

It's rare for females who are sexually assaulted during illegal crossings to report the crimes, because they are threatened by their attackers and fear they will be deported if they hold attackers accountable, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, whose office investigated the case.

"Unfortunately, it happens more often than we get reports on," Estrada said.

James Miller, Mancinas-Flores' attorney, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 13.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Ex-VA Doctor: Phoenix Report a 'Whitewash' http://www.kristv.com/news/ex-va-doctor-phoenix-report-a-whitewash-/ http://www.kristv.com/news/ex-va-doctor-phoenix-report-a-whitewash-/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 3:58:11 PM Associated Press Ex-VA Doctor: Phoenix Report a 'Whitewash'

WASHINGTON (AP) - A doctor who first exposed serious problems at the troubled Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital said Wednesday that a report on patient deaths there is a "whitewash" that minimizes life-threatening conduct by senior leaders at the hospital.

Dr. Samuel Foote, a former clinic director for the VA in Phoenix, said a report by the department's inspector general appears designed to "minimize the scandal and protect its perpetrators rather than to provide the truth."

At best, "this report is a whitewash," Foote told the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "At its worst, it is a feeble attempt at a cover-up. The report deliberately uses confusing language and math, invents new unrealistic standards of proof ... and makes misleading statements."

The Aug. 26 report said workers at a Phoenix VA hospital falsified waiting lists while their supervisors looked the other way or even directed it, resulting in chronic delays for veterans seeking care. The inspector general's office identified 40 patients who died while awaiting appointments in Phoenix, but the report said officials could not "conclusively assert" that delays in care caused the deaths.

Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin denied that the report sugarcoated any information about the Phoenix hospital or the VA, and he disputed suggestions by several Republicans that the report was altered at the request of the VA.

The sentence declaring that investigators could not "conclusively assert" that delays in care caused any patient deaths was not included in a draft report, and some lawmakers have suggested that Griffin's office added the language in an attempt to soften an explosive allegation that helped launch the scandal in the spring - that delays in care may have resulted in patient deaths.

Griffin rejected that idea out of hand.

"This sentence was inserted for clarity to summarize the results of our clinical case reviews," he said, adding that the change was by his office on its own initiative.

"Neither the language nor the concept was suggested by anyone at VA to any of my people," Griffin said.

It is common practice for an inspector general to send a copy of its findings to the agency in question to elicit an official response, which is then included in the final report. Griffin said his office has a policy of making no substantial changes to reports after allowing the VA to inspect and comment.

Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., said language used in the report obscured the fact that delays in care likely contributed to the deaths of veterans.

"We can play with semantics all we want," Jolly told Griffin, "but right here at this table it was acknowledged that the (lengthy) wait list contributed to the deaths. That should be the headline," Jolly said.

Jolly was referring to testimony by Dr. John Daigh, assistant inspector general for health-care inspections, who said under questioning from Jolly that delays in care contributed to some patient deaths.

Daigh stopped short of saying delays "caused" the deaths, saying such a determination should be made by the judicial system.

Griffin disagreed with his subordinate, saying delays "may have contributed" to patient deaths. "I think in our report a careful reading shows they might have lived longer or could have had a better quality of life" without the delays in care, Griffin said.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald called the IG's report troubling and said the agency has begun working on remedies recommended by the report.

"It is clear that we failed, regardless of the fact that the report on Phoenix could not conclusively tie patient deaths to delays," said McDonald, who took office July 30.

Pressed by Jolly on whether he believes delays in care caused patient deaths, McDonald said, "What value is there in having the discussion?"

Still, McDonald told the committee he "owns" problems at the VA, including a lack of access to care and poor care for veterans. "I am committed to fixing this problem and providing timely, high-quality care that veterans have earned and deserve," he said.

Foote, who is now retired, started sending letters to the VA's Office of Inspector General last year, complaining about systematic problems with delays in care. He told investigators that up to 40 veterans may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix hospital and that staff, at the instruction of administrators, kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.

Foote later took his claims to the media and to Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House veterans' panel, who announced the allegations at an April hearing. The resulting scandal led to the ouster of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and a new law overhauling the agency and granting veterans easier access to treatment outside the VA.

Three high-ranking officials at the Phoenix facility have been placed on leave while they appeal a department decision to fire them.

___

Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Rain from Tropical Storm Odile Hits Arizona http://www.kristv.com/news/rain-from-tropical-storm-odile-hits-arizona/ http://www.kristv.com/news/rain-from-tropical-storm-odile-hits-arizona/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 2:44:28 PM Rain from Tropical Storm Odile Hits Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - People lined up in bumper-to-bumper traffic and scooped sand into trash and canvas tote bags Wednesday as rain from a weakened Pacific storm began to fall on Arizona.

Full coverage from Tuscon's KVOA

It's the second blast of hurricane-related weather to hit the desert region in the past two weeks - the result of an especially active Pacific storm season. Odile was once a Category 3 Hurricane, but was downgraded to a tropical depression by the time rain started falling in Arizona.

Storm activity is expected to pick up during the day, and the forecast called for Tucson to get slammed with up to 5 inches. Phoenix was expected to get soaked but with lesser amounts.

Fearful of widespread flooding, people across Arizona rushed to fill up sandbags to fortify their homes. Traffic backed up at two parks in Tucson where they were being given out. The mayor of the border city of Nogales used his pickup truck to deliver sandbags to residents.

More than 40 people with bags and shovels huddled around a pile of sand as a steady rain fell at Reid Park. The pile dissipated in just minutes. It was the third pile since the makeshift sandbag station opened at 8 a.m. in the parking lot, said Cat Beddard, a Tucson Parks & Recreation employee.

Griselda Valenzuela showed up with her 1 ½-year-old son and hoped to get 10 bags. "I don't want the house flooding and my son walking around," Valenzuela said.

Odile tore through the Mexican resort state of Baja California Sur late Sunday and Monday, where residents were still struggling Wednesday with a lack of power and drinking water. There were scattered reports of looting, and the Los Cabos airport was closed to commercial travel.

About 70 miles south of Tucson, officials in Nogales have spent the past week preparing for storms. Nogales is downhill of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, meaning rain water from the Mexican side doesn't take long to seep into the city's washes.

"This happens to us ever year. We don't need a hurricane for us to get flooded," Mayor Arturo Garino said. "This time we're being very, very proactive."

At the Arizona Department of Transportation's Traffic Operations Center, agency spokesman Doug Nintzel and other workers looked over a bank of monitors that showed traffic statewide and the track of the storm as it moved from Mexico into the U.S.

"It is unusual for us," he said. "We would be expecting to start getting into the drier fall season here in the area, so you never know with Mother Nature, and we've just said all hands on deck. You need to prepare for this type of thing, and we're doing the best we can, trying to keep our system as operational as possible."

Weather and climate experts said it's rare to have back-to-back weather events like this in Arizona.

The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is 50 percent more active than usual, while the Atlantic is 50 percent less active. The result has been fierce storms striking Mexico in recent weeks, while the Atlantic had its first major hurricane - Edouard - form just this week.

Last week, the remnants of Hurricane Norbert caused deadly flash flooding in Arizona. The single-day rainfall totals in Phoenix eclipsed the average total precipitation for the entire summer. Freeways became submerged after pumping stations could not keep up with the downpour, and sections of Interstates 10 and 17 were closed most of the day.

Despite the heavy rains, it still might not be enough to pull Arizona out of its drought.

Rain alone will not help refill reservoirs on the Colorado River. The current drought is drawing down Colorado River storage - in Lake Mead and Lake Powell in particular - to dangerous levels, said Jonathan Overpeck of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona. The snowmelt from snowpack is what fills reservoirs that supply drinking water. So the upcoming winter, not hurricane season, is a crucial weather period.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Obama Reaffirms Opposition to US Combat in Iraq http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-reaffirms-opposition-to-us-combat-in-iraq/ http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-reaffirms-opposition-to-us-combat-in-iraq/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:26:01 PM Associated Press Obama Reaffirms Opposition to US Combat in Iraq

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own.

"The American forces do not and will not have a combat mission," Obama told troops at MacDill Air Force Base.

It was a firm response to suggestions raised Tuesday by his top military commander that under certain circumstances, American ground forces may be needed.

Obama said U.S. troops "will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists."

But, he added, "As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq."

Obama offered a vision of a potent force that can have a major role in conflicts, a more forceful view than he has embraced before. But he still stressed that for the effort to succeed against the Islamic State group, the U.S. will need to lead the international coalition and local forces must handle a significant role.

"Frankly, there just aren't a lot of other folks who can perform in the same way. In fact, there are none. There are some things only we can do. There are some capabilities only we have," he said.

"Our armed forces are unparalleled and unique. So when we've got a big problem somewhere around the world, it falls on our shoulders. Sometimes that's tough. But that's what sets us apart. That's why we're American."

Obama spoke after consulting with officers at U.S. Central Command, which oversees American military efforts in the Middle East.

Obama's speech to troops at MacDill Air Force Base was one more chance to try to make the case for the airstrike campaign against the militant group.

"We're going to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a sustained counterterrorism strategy," he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State organization. "We mean what we say. Our reach is long. If you threaten America you will find no safe haven we will find you eventually."

His meeting Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Central Command head, and other officers took place as Congress prepared to vote on Obama's request for authority to equip and train Syrian opposition fighters.

Lawmakers in both parties have raised worries that the U.S. might be unable to find enough Syrian rebels who could be trusted to confront the Islamic State group or that their numbers would be sufficient.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters traveling with him to Paris that about half of Iraq's army is incapable of being an effective partner with the U.S. to push the Islamic State group back in western and northern Iraq. He said the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment.

Dempsey told senators on Tuesday that if it became necessary for U.S. military advisers to accompany Iraqi troops into combat, he might "go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of ground forces."

___

AP National Security Writer Robert Burns in Paris and contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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After Making 'Mistake,' Vikings Bench Peterson http://www.kristv.com/news/after-making-mistake-vikings-bench-peterson/ http://www.kristv.com/news/after-making-mistake-vikings-bench-peterson/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:40:49 AM Associated Press After Making 'Mistake,' Vikings Bench Peterson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Hours after reversing course and benching Adrian Peterson indefinitely, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Wednesday that the team "made a mistake" in bringing back their superstar running back following his indictment on a felony child-abuse charge in Texas.

"We made a mistake and we need to get this right," he said at a crowded news conference. "It is important to always listen to our fans and the community and our sponsors. Our goal is always to make the decision we feel is right for the Minnesota Vikings ... We want to be sure we get this right."

Wilf and his co-owner brother, Mark Wilf, announced their decision around 2 a.m. Eastern after concluding it was best for the Vikings and for Peterson, their All-Pro workhorse who has played his entire NFL career with Minnesota and is accused of injuring his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a wooden switch earlier this year.

The organization put Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, meaning he is off the active roster while he deals with his legal affairs. General manager Rick Spielman would not put a timeframe on when Peterson might be back.

"Until these legal matters are resolved, that he will remain on this exemption list," he said.

A day-and-a-half earlier, the Vikings said Peterson would rejoin the team after missing Sunday's loss to New England. The backlash to that announcement was significant. The Vikings had at least one major sponsorship suspended. Several prominent NFL advertisers, including Anheuser-Busch, expressed concern about the league's recent off-the-field problems, which include former Ravens running back Ray Rice and the indictment of Peterson. The governor was critical. Fans were angry.

Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson. Twin Cities area Nike stores pulled Peterson's jerseys from its shelves and the team canceled an appearance at a children's home.

Mark Wilf dismissed the suggestion that Peterson was barred strictly because of sponsor concerns.

"Absolutely not," he said. "We value our partners, our sponsors, our community and especially our fans. In the end, it really is about getting it right. We made a mistake."

Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said the decision was "the best possible outcome given the circumstances."

"Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation," Dogra told The Associated Press. "We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence."

The NFL Players Association said it had worked with Peterson and the team to resolve "this unique situation.

"Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues," the union said. "We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."

Peterson has an Oct. 8 court appearance scheduled in Montgomery County, outside of Houston, on a felony charge of injury to a child. Peterson has taken responsibility for the incident, insisting he meant no harm and alluding to similar punishment he endured from his parents while growing up in Palestine, Texas.

Peterson hasn't appeared publicly since the grand jury indictment, but in a statement this week he said he's met with a psychologist and acknowledged there are "alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."

The case is expected to take several months to proceed through the court system, so the possibility of Peterson playing again in 2014 appears slim. His future with the Vikings is another matter. He turns 30 next year and will continue to carry a huge salary cap hit in 2015.

The Vikings held Peterson out of the 30-7 loss to New England on Sunday to let the situation simmer. Then on Monday they announced Peterson would rejoin the team and play this weekend at New Orleans. But the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings and Papa John's pizza considered doing the same.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who spearheaded an effort to secure $477 million in public money to help build the team a new stadium, and Sen. Al Franken were among the many who called for the Vikings to reconsider their position.

The Vikings said they had deliberations with the NFL over the previous two days. They said they informed the league they were revisiting the original decision. Executives were at the team's Winter Park headquarters late into the night Tuesday, discussing how to respond to the avalanche of criticism. It explained the early-morning announcement.

"There were a lot of people discussing this, working through it, a lot of different parties in this," Mark Wilf said. "We felt once we get it right, to get it out when we got it right."

Peterson has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2007, one of the most popular and marketable stars in the NFL whose All Day Foundation charity is devoted to helping children.

But the foundation's website was shuttered Tuesday, at one point posting a message that it "will re-engage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian's philanthropy."

___

Online:

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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House Committee on Benghazi Gets to Work http://www.kristv.com/news/house-committee-on-benghazi-gets-to-work/ http://www.kristv.com/news/house-committee-on-benghazi-gets-to-work/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:17:40 AM House Committee on Benghazi Gets to Work

WASHINGTON (AP) - A special House panel on Benghazi made its public debut in a surprisingly subdued and bipartisan atmosphere Wednesday after two years of pitched political battles between Republicans and Democrats over the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in eastern Libya.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Republican chairman, vowed to pursue the facts wherever they lead him. Opening the panel's first public hearing since its establishment four months ago, he said the U.S. must learn from past violence on U.S. facilities from Beirut to East Africa to Benghazi to prevent repeat attacks.

Gowdy credited a Democrat on the 12-member panel, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, with recommending the subject - embassy security - for the gathering. The committee's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, echoed the importance of improving the protection of American facilities and the State Department's diplomatic security chief was the first witness to testify.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when militants stormed the Benghazi diplomatic post and, hours later, fired on a CIA compound nearby. The incident became immediate political fodder given its timing in the weeks before a presidential election.

Some Republicans argue the military held back assets that could have saved lives and that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lied to the public about the nature of the attack. Democrats deride the interest in Benghazi as a right-wing effort to keep talk of scandal fresh and harm a potential Clinton bid for the presidency in 2016. Seven congressional investigations have yet to fully settle the matter.

When House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called for the establishment of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in May, he accused the Obama administration of "obstructing the truth about Benghazi." The new body, Boehner vowed, will work "quickly" to get answers.

But Wednesday's hearing began in low-key fashion, with many empty seats in the Capitol auditorium where it was held.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, attempted to rebut arguments that lawmakers should move on from the attacks. He said the committee was reviewing new Obama administration documents, interviewing new witnesses and asking new questions of individuals who've testified in previous congressional investigations.

"Given the gravity of the issues at hand, I am willing to risk answering the same question twice rather than risk not answering it once," he said.

Cummings, who previously clashed with Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California as part of a lengthy House Oversight Committee probe of Benghazi, pressed Republicans to acknowledge past reports. He didn't get into details, but Democrats point to testimony they say disproves notions of a military "stand down" order during the attack of Clinton playing any direct in security decisions. Some Republicans agree on these points.

Gregory Starr, the State Department's diplomatic security chief, said officials were looking for ways to reduce risks. He said dangers in diplomacy couldn't be eliminated fully.

The department also released a summary of its efforts to implement the recommendations of an independent review board formed shortly after the attack, saying nearly all of the department's work was complete. These include better identification of high-risk posts and greater coordination on decisions concerning security levels.

However, another witness, Todd Keil, a member of an expert panel on best security practices, lambasted the department for failing to change its practices.

The special investigation's initial budget is $3.3 million. No limits have been placed on what it can examine or when it should finish.

___

Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Ikea Recalls Children's Swing Due to Safety Concerns http://www.kristv.com/news/ikea-recalls-children-s-swing-due-to-safety-concerns/ http://www.kristv.com/news/ikea-recalls-children-s-swing-due-to-safety-concerns/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 4:04:54 AM Ikea Recalls Children's Swing Due to Safety Concerns

NEW YORK - Ikea is recalling a swing after reports that four children were injured while using the product.

According to the Swedish company, the suspension fitting connecting the swing to the ceiling could break.

Ikea is taking about 2,000 of its green polyester fabric swings off the market in the US.

The Gunggung swing, as it's called, can be returned to any Ikea store for a full refund - even without a receipt.

 


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Teacher Beaten, Tied Up, Suspect Still On The Loose http://www.kristv.com/news/teacher-beaten-tied-up-suspect-still-on-the-loose/ http://www.kristv.com/news/teacher-beaten-tied-up-suspect-still-on-the-loose/ National News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 3:56:19 AM Teacher Beaten, Tied Up, Suspect Still On The Loose

CALIFORNIA - Fresno police are looking for the attacker who they say tied up a Central Unified teacher on campus, assaulted her and then robbed her.

Police say the victim is in her 50s and she was at Teague Elementary School over the weekend prepping for classes this week. School leaders believe this is an isolated incident but they're beefing up patrols to make sure no one else gets hurt.

Family members of students who attend Teague Elementary were frightened after finding out a teacher was brutally beaten there.

Police say the 50-something-year-old victim was working after hours on Saturday evening when she took a short break. Lt. Joe Gomez with the Fresno police says the teacher went to the bathroom and when she is came out the suspect pushed her back in knocking her down. He then got inside and tied her up.

The teacher told police the attacker used a shirt to hide his face during the crime. "She started screaming and he said not to scream. He punched her in the face several times during this encounter. He tied her up with different things. He told her he was going to rape her at one point," said Lt. Gomez.

Detectives don't believe he sexually assaulted the woman but they say he stole her ring and cellphone.

Right now, additional patrol units are standing guard at the school. Central Unified school counselors are also helping the victim and other teachers cope after the traumatic experience.

The district is urging all staff members to operate on the buddy system especially after classes. "If they are going to be here after hours they are going to be here with at least one other person and notify the principal," said Wagner.

Police say they are reviewing surveillance video to see if they can identify the suspect.

 


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NASA Selects Boeing and SpaceX for Commercial Flights http://www.kristv.com/news/nasa-selects-boeing-and-spacex-for-commercial-flights/ http://www.kristv.com/news/nasa-selects-boeing-and-spacex-for-commercial-flights/ National News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 6:06:44 PM NASA Selects Boeing and SpaceX for Commercial Flights

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners at a late-afternoon news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The news had been eagerly anticipated for weeks.

The deal will end NASA's expensive reliance on Russia. U.S. astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since NASA's shuttles retired in 2011. The latest price tag is $71 million per seat.

NASA has set a goal of 2017 for the first launch under the commercial crew program. Both companies will use crew capsules. Launches will originate from Cape Canaveral.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


___

Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

Boeing: http://tinyurl.com/qjx5p9u

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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US Airstrikes Target Islamic Militants in Iraq http://www.kristv.com/news/us-airstrikes-target-islamic-militants-in-iraq/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-airstrikes-target-islamic-militants-in-iraq/ National News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 4:44:48 PM US Airstrikes Target Islamic Militants in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Defense Department says the U.S. military on Tuesday pressed its expanded campaign against Islamic State militants with five airstrikes across Iraq.

U.S. Central Command says military forces using fighter aircraft launched two airstrikes northwest of Irbil and hit an armed truck and fighters. Three other airstrikes southwest of Baghdad hit anti-aircraft artillery, a truck and two boats on the Euphrates River that were resupplying the militants.

The strikes are part of the new broader military mission in Iraq authorized by President Barack Obama that began Monday. Under the new mission, U.S. forces are going after Islamic State militants wherever they are. Previously, the strikes were limited to protecting U.S. interests and personnel, assisting Iraqi refugees and securing critical infrastructure in Iraq.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Kentucky Man Accused of Killing, Eating Girlfriend http://www.kristv.com/news/kentucky-man-accused-of-killing-eating-girlfriend/ http://www.kristv.com/news/kentucky-man-accused-of-killing-eating-girlfriend/ National News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:33:21 AM Kentucky Man Accused of Killing, Eating Girlfriend

KENTUCKY (WAVE) - Horrific details of a southern Indiana homicide were released Monday, including allegations that Joseph Oberhansley ate portions of Tammy Jo Blanton's brain, heart and lungs after stabbing her to death.

Detectives were called to Blanton's home in Jeffersonville on Thursday.

The Clark County Prosecutor's Office said Blanton called police at about 3 a.m. to complain that Oberhansley was outside the home trying to get in.

Officers arrived and defused the situation, sending Oberhansley home.

But officers were again called to the home at about 10 a.m., and what they found was far worse.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1AR8toQ

 


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Mom Sentenced in Death of 'Baby Angel' http://www.kristv.com/news/mom-sentenced-in-death-of-baby-angel-/ http://www.kristv.com/news/mom-sentenced-in-death-of-baby-angel-/ National News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 4:42:30 AM Mom Sentenced in Death of 'Baby Angel'

NEW YORK - A mother in New York who admitted to killing her own newborn son is sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Maria Guaman-Guaman accepted a plea for manslaughter in June.

She admitted to killing her son last year and dumping his body into a trash bin.

The infant, known as "Baby Angel," was later found in a recycling center.

Guaman-Guaman was originally charged with murder. But doctors for both the prosecution and the defense determined she has limited mental abilities because she was kicked in the head by a horse as a child.

While Guaman-Guaman's mental abilities may be limited, prosecutors contend she still could have taken other steps and avoided the tragic death of her child.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Guaman-Guaman could be released in about ten years.

But she is then expected to be deported back to her native Ecuador.

 


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First US Airstrikes in Expanded Iraq Fight http://www.kristv.com/news/first-us-airstrikes-in-expanded-iraq-fight/ http://www.kristv.com/news/first-us-airstrikes-in-expanded-iraq-fight/ National News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 6:09:44 PM WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials say the United States took the first step in the planned expanded fight against Islamic State militants Monday, going to the aid of Iraqi security forces south of Baghdad who were being attacked by enemy fighters.

The officials say Iraqi forces requested assistance when they came under fire from militants. Officials say the strike represents the newly broadened mission authorized by President Barack Obama to go on the offensive against the Islamic State group wherever it is.

Previous U.S. airstrikes in Iraq were conducted to protect U.S. interests and personnel, assist Iraqi refugees and secure critical infrastructure. Monday's strike was in direct support of Iraqi forces fighting the militants.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the mission publicly by name.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Vietnam Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor http://www.kristv.com/news/vietnam-soldiers-receive-medal-of-honor/ http://www.kristv.com/news/vietnam-soldiers-receive-medal-of-honor/ National News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 1:09:12 PM Associated Press Vietnam Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Monday will bestow the Medal of Honor on a pair of soldiers for their acts of bravery in the Vietnam War.

Congress granted an exemption so Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat could receive the medal, because recommendations typically must be made within two years of the act of heroism, and the medal presented within three.

A soldier who fought in the Civil War was expected to receive the Medal of Honor posthumously at a later date. First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing died in July 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Adkins, who served 22 years and lives in Opelika, Alabama, planned to attend the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House. Adkins was deployed three times to Vietnam with the Special Forces and was being recognized for actions during his second combat tour, in 1966, when he ran wounded through enemy fire to drag injured comrades to safety.

Sloat, of Coweta, Oklahoma, was killed in action on Jan. 17, 1970, at age 20. While on patrol, a soldier in his squad triggered a hand grenade trap that had been placed in their path by enemy forces. According to the White House, Sloat picked up the live grenade, initially to throw it away. When he realized it was about to detonate, he shielded the blast with his own body in order to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Sloat's brother, William, planned to accept the medal from the president Monday.

The Medal of Honor is given to Armed Forces members who risk their lives in acts of great personal bravery.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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GM Expert says 19 Deaths Eligible for Compensation http://www.kristv.com/news/gm-expert-says-19-deaths-eligible-for-compensation/ http://www.kristv.com/news/gm-expert-says-19-deaths-eligible-for-compensation/ National News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:39:20 AM Associated Press GM Expert says 19 Deaths Eligible for Compensation

DETROIT (AP) - The death toll tied to faulty ignition switches in General Motors small cars has risen to 19, according to a compensation expert hired by the company. The number is likely to go higher.

Kenneth Feinberg said Monday that he has determined that 19 wrongful death claims are eligible for payments from GM. General Motors' estimate of deaths has stood at 13 for months, although the automaker acknoledged the possibility of a higher count.

Feinberg received 125 death claims due to the faulty switches in older-model small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt. The rest remain under review or require further documentation, he said in a report issued Monday.

"The public report is simply reporting on those eligible to date," Feinberg spokeswoman Camille Biros said in an e-mail. "There will certainly be others."

GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for more than a decade. Yet it didn't begin recalling the switches in 2.6 million small cars until earlier this year. The automaker hired Feinberg to compensate victims of crashes caused by the switches, and Feinberg has said GM has not limited the total amount he can pay. Some lawmakers have estimate the death toll is close to 100.

Biros, citing confidentiality agreements, said Feinberg will not identify any of those eligible for payments, nor will he say if the 19 deemed eligible include the 13 deaths that GM has documented. GM has not identified the 13 victims. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has not tallied the total number of deaths.

Biros said no claims have been rejected yet, although Feinberg is in the process of turning down a few because they don't meet the requirements for compensation. Feinberg will issue reports each Monday on how many claims have been granted, she said.

Feinberg also has received 320 claims for compensation due to injuries. Of those, 12 have been deemed eligible for payments so far.

Of the injury claims, 58 were in the most serious category, seeking compensation for injuries resulting in loss of use of limbs, amputation, permanent brain damage or pervasive burns, the Feinberg statement said. Another 262 claims are for less-serious injuries that required hospital stays or outpatient medical treatment within 48 hours of the crash.

The deadline for filing a claim is Dec. 31.

The faulty ignition switches can slip out of the "run" position into "accessory" or "off," cutting off power to the engine. That can knock out power steering or brakes and disable the air bags if there's a crash.

The ignition switch problem triggered a companywide safety review that has resulted in 29 million GM vehicles being recalled through August.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Civil War Officer's Heroism Earns Medal of Honor http://www.kristv.com/news/civil-war-officer-s-heroism-earns-medal-of-honor/ http://www.kristv.com/news/civil-war-officer-s-heroism-earns-medal-of-honor/ National News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 5:26:05 AM Civil War Officer's Heroism Earns Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON (AP) - After an act of Congress and years of lobbying by descendants and admirers, a Union Army officer who made the ultimate sacrifice more than 150 years ago will be recognized for his heroism when President Barack Obama grants him the nation's highest commendation for battlefield valor.

Obama on Monday is bestowing the Medal of Honor on 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, who was killed in July 1863 during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle is often described as the turning point of the Civil War, in which the North prevailed over a breakaway South.

Congress granted an exemption so Cushing could receive the medal, since recommendations normally must be made within two years of the act of heroism, and the medal presented within three.

Obama will also present medals to a pair of Vietnam War soldiers also granted congressional exemptions: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat.

Cushing was born in Delafield, Wisconsin, raised in Fredonia, New York, and buried at his alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, after his death at age 22. He commanded about 110 men and six cannons, defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that was repelled by Union forces.

On the third day of battle, Cushing's small force stood its ground under severe artillery bombardment and an assault by nearly 13,000 advancing Confederate infantrymen. Already wounded in the stomach and the right shoulder, Cushing insisted on ordering his guns to the front lines. He eventually was shot and killed.

"His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the Confederate assault," the White House said.

The Medal of Honor has been bestowed on more than 1,500 soldiers who fought in the Civil War, most recently Cpl. Andrew Jackson Smith of Clinton, Illinois. Smith was honored by President Bill Clinton in 2001 before Clinton left office. It was unclear why Cushing wasn't similarly honored, but his descendants and admirers took up his cause in the late 1980s.

The Cushing name is prominent in Delafield, in southeastern Wisconsin. A monument to Cushing and two of his brothers - Naval Cmdr. William Cushing and Army 1st Lt. Howard Cushing - stands at Cushing Memorial Park, where the town holds most of its Memorial Day celebrations.

Wisconsin lawmakers in Congress attached an amendment to honor Cushing to a defense spending bill in 2010, but then-Sen. James Webb, D-Va., stripped it out. Webb argued that it was impossible to go back 150 years to determine who should receive a medal. He predicted that doing so could spark a flood of claims.

Adkins, who served 22 years and lives in Opelika, Alabama, planned to attend the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House. Adkins was deployed three times to Vietnam with the Special Forces and is being recognized for actions during his second combat tour, in 1966, when he ran wounded through enemy fire to drag injured comrades to safety.

Sloat, of Coweta, Oklahoma, was killed in action on Jan. 17, 1970, at age 20. He picked up a live grenade that was triggered by a fellow soldier and used his body to shield the blast, saving other soldiers.

The Medal of Honor is given to Armed Forces members who risk their lives in acts of great personal bravery.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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US Creating Programs to Counter Extremists http://www.kristv.com/news/us-creating-programs-to-counter-extremists/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-creating-programs-to-counter-extremists/ National News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 5:20:48 AM US Creating Programs to Counter Extremists

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department is launching a series of pilot programs to deal with American extremists intent on joining the fighting in countries like Syria and Iraq.

Attorney General Eric Holder says in a video message released Monday that the pilot programs will involve religious leaders, prosecutors and community representatives.

He says the goal is to counter violent extremism, share information on best practices and improve training.

The White House, meanwhile, is scheduled to host a summit on the topic next month.

American law enforcement and intelligence officials have for months expressed concerns about Westerners who have traveled to Syria to take part in the fighting there. Last week, a 19-year-old Colorado woman pleaded guilty to trying to help the militant Islamic State group.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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US Border Agency's Misconduct Review Moves Forward http://www.kristv.com/news/us-border-agency-s-misconduct-review-moves-forward/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-border-agency-s-misconduct-review-moves-forward/ National News Fri, 12 Sep 2014 3:29:12 PM Associated Press US Border Agency's Misconduct Review Moves Forward

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The agency that oversees the U.S. Border Patrol says 155 cases of use of force and alleged misconduct merit further investigation.

Mark Morgan, who heads Customs and Border Protection's internal affairs office, said Friday that he has no timeline to complete the review and doesn't know how much detail will be released on individual cases. One case resulted in a death.

CBP reviewed 809 cases dating back to 2009. They include most of the 67 cases of use of deadly force that are addressed in a highly critical, government-commissioned report released this year.

Morgan is a longtime FBI official who was named to the job on an interim basis in June amid criticism that authorities use excessive force and the agency is slow to investigate.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Head of Clinic where Rivers had Surgery Steps Down http://www.kristv.com/news/head-of-clinic-where-rivers-had-surgery-steps-down/ http://www.kristv.com/news/head-of-clinic-where-rivers-had-surgery-steps-down/ National News Fri, 12 Sep 2014 2:50:32 PM Head of Clinic where Rivers had Surgery Steps Down

NEW YORK (AP) - The medical director of the facility where Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest during a routine procedure is no longer at the clinic.

A Yorkville Endoscopy spokeswoman said Friday that Dr. Lawrence Cohen is no longer the facility's medical director, nor is he performing procedures there.

The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the circumstances of the respected gastroenterologist's departure.

Cohen is listed as a co-owner of the facility in New York state records.

The 81-year-old Rivers died Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City a week after going into cardiac arrest.

The state health department has said it's investigating "the whole matter."

A spokesman for the department didn't immediately return a message Friday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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