Tuesday, November 26, 2013
CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING-GUNMAN
Report: Newtown shooter was obsessed with Columbine
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A report on the Newtown school shooting says that the gunman had an obsession with mass murders but that investigators did not discover any evidence he had indicated to others an intention to carry out such a crime.
The summary of the investigation by Connecticut State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky says Adam Lanza was obsessed in particular with the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.
The report on the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults says the question of Lanza's motive may never be answered conclusively.
Lanza killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School and carrying out his rampage. He committed suicide as police arrived.
Conn. gunman once wrote of a mother shot in head
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Documents show the gunman in last year's Connecticut school shooting wrote a violent book in the fifth grade that included passages in which a character shoots his mother in the head.
The homemade manuscript is titled "The Big Book of Granny" and was among items seized from Adam Lanza's home. Details are in documents that were part of a report released Monday.
Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a rifle in Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. He fatally shot his mother in the head, then drove to the school, carried out the killings and committed suicide.
The documents say the main character in Lanza's book has a gun in her cane and shoots people. There's nothing to indicate Lanza ever handed the book in at school.
The son character sinks his mother to the bottom of the ocean with a "cement floatation device." Another character likes hurting people, especially children.
NEW: UN envoy: Syria war fueling Iraq terrorist threat
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.N. envoy in Iraq says the conflict in neighboring Syria is helping fuel terrorism and sectarian tensions in Iraq, enabling groups like al-Qaida to forge links with similar factions across the border.
Nickolay Mladenov told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that resolving the Syrian crisis and adopting a regional strategy against all forms of religious or sectarian extremism "are vital to bringing stability to Iraq."
He said deteriorating security in Iraq is being exploited by terrorists and armed groups trying to incite sectarian hatred and undermine the government and elected officials.
The Security Council condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq "in the strongest terms" and stressed that "no terrorist act can reverse a path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction" in the country.
Obama pushes back on critics of Iran deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pushing back at critics of an interim nuclear deal the U.S. and world powers struck with Iran.
Obama says the U.S. cannot close the door to diplomacy or rule out peaceful solutions to the world's problems. Speaking in San Francisco, he says that wouldn't be right for America's security.
The president said Monday that America's commitment to peace and diplomacy is what makes the nation a beacon to the world. He says the goal is what people can build together, not what they can criticize.
Some U.S. lawmakers are criticizing the deal because they say it's too soft on Iran. Israel and other U.S. allies are also expressing major doubts.
Guantanamo envoys make first joint prison visit
MIAMI (AP) — The two envoys appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the effort to close the Guantanamo Bay prison have made their first joint visit to the U.S. base in Cuba.
Defense Department Special Envoy for Detainee Affairs Paul Lewis and State Department Special Envoy Clifford Sloan were named to their posts earlier this year as part of Obama's renewed effort to close the prison.
Lewis says in a statement that he and Sloan met with troops at Guantanamo. He says the troops are doing their jobs "admirably in extremely difficult circumstances."
The one-day visit was Monday.
Lewis and Sloan are trying to find ways to resume prisoner transfers amid restrictions imposed by Congress. The U.S. holds 164 men for suspected involvement with terrorism or links to the Taliban.
Fla.'s GOP chair calls on Radel to step down
MIAMI (AP) — The chairman of the Republican Party of Florida is calling for U.S. Rep. Trey Radel to step down following his recent cocaine conviction.
Chairman Lenny Curry released a statement Monday saying Radel's district needs a congressman "who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida." Curry said Radel should resign and devote his time to rehabilitation and his family.
Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last week. On Oct. 29, Radel attempted to buy $250 worth of cocaine from an undercover police officer in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood.
Radel has since taken a leave of absence and checked himself into a rehabilitation facility. Curry joins a growing number of Republican leaders from Radel's district demanding his resignation.
Radel's spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment.
ARIZONA CHILD ABUSE
Arizona plan to tackle case backlog delayed
PHOENIX (AP) — A plan to respond to 6,000 child abuse reports that Arizona failed to investigate in recent years has been delivered to the governor.
The plan's public release was expected Monday evening but has been delayed.
A member of the Legislature's Child Protective Services oversight committee says the plan was sent to Gov. Jan Brewer. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee says it still might be released later Monday night.
Department of Economic Security director Clarence Carter revealed the problems Thursday and was grilled by members of the Legislature's Child Protective Services oversight committee. He promised the plan to address the backlog by close of business.
Some Democrats have called on Carter to resign. But Brewer, a Republican, is supporting him.
State police are reviewing how the mistakes happened.
COLLEGE HATE CRIME
Official: School failed student in harassment case
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The president of a California university where four white students are accused of harassing a black student says the school failed to adequately intervene or impose sanctions.
San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi told the campus in a letter on Monday that the school will soon name an independent expert to look into the case.
Among the questions he said must be answered is how the abuse of the student could have gone unchecked or undetected for weeks.
Police say the white students taunted their freshman dorm-mate with racial slurs, barricaded him in his room and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck.
The four students are currently facing misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges.
Qayoumi's comments came as the NAACP called on prosecutors to file felony charges against the students. Prosecutors say they are continuing their investigation.
Couple arrested in burglary of Nicolas Cage's ex
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police have arrested a couple on suspicion of burglarizing the home of Nicolas Cage's former girlfriend — a case that turned bizarre when the man disappeared for days and left behind his dog and a bloody leash.
Police say 22-year-old Darwin Vela and his fiancee, 24-year-old Kelly McLaren, were arrested in Inglewood on Monday. They're jailed on $20,000 bail.
There was no answer Monday evening at a phone number for McLaren, and police didn't know if she or Vela had attorneys.
Police suspect that the couple and Ricardo Orozco were involved in an August break-in at the home of Christina Fulton. A computer was taken and police were investigating whether the theft might have involved a purported sex tape.
Vela vanished last week before he could testify at Orozco's preliminary hearing. He turned up later and claimed he was attacked while walking his dog.
NEW: Sean Penn: Madonna in Haiti to see his aid work
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Sean Penn says ex-wife Madonna is in Haiti to visit projects that the actor's aid organization runs.
Penn told The Associated Press in a brief phone call Monday night that he had invited Madonna to visit several times over the years and she had now come with her son Rocco. He said they arrived a "couple of days" ago. It's unclear when she leaves.
She's been busy posting photos on Instagram. One shows her posing with others for a photo at the new hospital built by public health pioneer Dr. Paul Farmer. The caption: "Revolution of Love in Haiti." Another picture shows a view of the mountains at dusk.
Penn is an ambassador-at-large for Haiti. He has been running the J/P Haitian Relief Organization since Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010.