Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

January 5, 2013, 12:00 pm


4 people dead after police standoff at a Colo. townhome

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A gunman and three other people are dead after in an hours-long standoff with police at a home in Aurora, Colo.

Police say the suspect barricaded himself inside his modest townhome and fired shots at officers from a second-story window early today. He died as SWAT team members stormed the home.

Police say they found the bodies of two other men and a woman when they entered the house. Investigators say they appeared to have been killed before officers arrived.

It's believed the four knew each other.

It's not known if officers shot the suspect or if he shot himself.

The shootings occurred about four miles southeast of the Aurora Mall, where 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded by a gunman at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20. The man charged in that shooting, James Holmes, goes to court Monday for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will present their case against him.


Crews narrow search area for skydiver in Wash.

NORTH BEND, Wash. (AP) — A more focused search for a skydiver who vanished during a jump above Washington's Cascade foothills has so far failed to locate the Florida man.

About 145 searchers combed the Mount Si area east of Seattle on Saturday for 29-year-old Kurt Ruppert, who disappeared Thursday afternoon after he jumped out of a helicopter at 6,500 feet.

A King County sheriff's spokeswoman says they looked specifically in a quarter-mile-square area near the summit, but kept searching other areas as well as darkness fell.

The search is expected to resume at dawn Sunday.

Ruppert, of Lake City, Fla., was wearing a special wing suit that allowed him to glide like a flying squirrel. The suit is brown and green, and likely blends into the terrain, though his parachute is reportedly blue.

He was skydiving with two friends who don't know if Ruppert's chute deployed.

A decision was made to narrow the search area based on the flight pattern of the helicopter he jumped from and information from his cellphone's location just before the jump.


Salvors ready Shell drill ship for tow attempt

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Spokesmen for Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the Coast Guard say naval architects have pronounced the oil company's drill ship sound and they're preparing for an attempt to pull it off rocks near a remote Alaska island.

Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield says the Kulluk (CULL'-uck) will be moved "as soon as we are ready and able."

The Kulluk ran aground New Year's Eve after breaking loose from its main tow vessel.

Churchfield says a tow plan has been developed and a salvage team is on board the 266-foot diameter barge but timing will depend on weather, tides and readiness.

The Coast Guard reported wind at 23 mph just before noon Saturday and 2-foot waves. The tow plan calls for 30-mile tow to shelter in Kodiak Island's Kiliuda (kill-OO'-dah) Bay.


Trial set for Christmas tree-lighting bomb plot

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The trial of a man accused of attempting to detonate an 1,800-pound bomb at a Portland Christmas tree-lighting ceremony begins this week.

Mohamed Mohamud is accused of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction in November 2010. The bomb was a fake provided by law enforcement.

His defense says they will argue Mohamud was entrapped by the FBI. The 21-year-old Mohamud is one of the youngest defendants ensnared by the Justice Department's terror stings. The operations and the FBI's informant network were ramped up after Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mohamud's attorneys say his youth made him a vulnerable target.

Prosecutors argue that Mohamud was predisposed to committing terrorism before the operation began. They say Mohamud was offered the option of peaceful resistance, but chose a path of violence.


House panel asks to see foreclosure settlement

UNDATED (AP) — A House oversight panel wants to review a proposed settlement between 14 banks and federal regulators over improper foreclosure practices.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has conducted hearings on foreclosure abuses, wrote a letter Friday to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency asking to see any proposed settlement before it is agreed to. In the letter, the committee asks for more information about how the settlement amount is to be determined. A comptroller spokesman declined to comment, and a Federal Reserve spokesman did not return a message.

The settlement had been expected as early as this weekend and total $10 billion. The agreement is designed to hold mortgage lenders responsible for widespread abuses such as processing foreclosures without verifying documents.


Syrian president to give speech Sunday

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's state run news agency says President Bashar Assad will deliver a speech on Sunday in a rare address to the nation.

SANA says Assad will speak about the latest developments in Syria.

The speech would be the first by the embattled leader in months, and comes amid intense fighting between government troops and rebels on the outskirts of Damascus.

Assad has rarely spoken in public since the uprising against him began in March 2011.


Md. firefighters resort to foam due to hoarding

BRENTWOOD, Md. (AP) — Firefighters in suburban Washington, D.C., say they had to resort to battling a blaze with foam because the burning house was so full of "stuff" they couldn't work inside.

Prince George's County firefighters were called to the two-story home in Brentwood, Md., on Friday evening. They tried to get inside but had to evacuate because of what they call "hoarder conditions" inside the home. Fire officials say combustibles were stacked from floor to ceiling in some parts of the house.

A department spokesman says the firefighters retreated and decided to fight the fire with foam from the outside instead. Foam is used to coat the burning material and smother the fire.

No injuries were reported.

The damage is estimated at $25,000.


NEW: British Spitfire search team arrives in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A team led by a British aviation enthusiast has arrived in Myanmar to begin the first of several digs they hope will unearth dozens of rare British fighter planes said to have been buried in the Southeast Asian country at the end of World War II.

The 21-member team led by farmer and businessman David Cundall will soon start excavations to find several stashes of Spitfires believed to be under the ground near the airport in the main city, Yangon.

The Spitfire remains Britain's most famous combat aircraft. Its reputation was cemented during the Battle of Britain when the fast-moving single-seater aircraft helped beat back waves of German bombers.

Cundall said Sunday the initial project would take about four to six weeks to complete.


Green Bay, Houston garner wins in NFL wild-card playoffs

UNDATED (AP) — Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers showed how dangerous they can be when they're at full strength, overwhelming the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game Saturday night that was never really close.

John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he threw for 274 yards.

Earlier, Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, and the Houston Texans used a stifling defensive effort for a 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC wild-card playoff game. Foster became the first player in NFL history to have 100-yard games in each of his first three playoff games.


Critics pick 'Amour' as best film of 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The National Society of Film Critics has selected "Amour" as the best picture of 2012.

The critics chose the star of "Amour," Emmanuelle Riva, as the best actress, and Daniel Day-Lewis was chosen best actor for "Lincoln."

The group of 60 prominent movie critics from around the country met Saturday at Lincoln Center in New York City to make its picks.

Austrian director Michael Haneke won best director for "Amour." The French-language movie depicts the slow deterioration of an elderly woman played by Riva.

Playwright Tony Kushner won best screenplay for "Lincoln."

Amy Adams was chosen best supporting actress for "The Master" and Matthew McConaughey was selected best supporting actor for "Magic Mike" and "Bernie."

Police in Sanford, Maine say 2 10-year-old girls made up the story
The flight was heading from Burkina Faso to Algie
The man was MedFlighted after found in Bourne, Mass.