Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

January 6, 2013, 12:58 am



4 people dead after police standoff at a Colo. townhome

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A gunman and three other people are dead after 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.


Salvagers 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.


Christie: Comments on Obama, Boehner part of job

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie says his praise of President Barack Obama's visit to the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy and his smackdown last week of House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote on a $60.4 billion storm-aid package are part of the job.

The Republican has earned near-universal praise for his handling of the natural disaster. But some within his party call him out for embracing the Democratic president and hurling angry words at a fellow Republican.

Christie tells The Associated Press in an interview that the storm and its aftermath should transcend politics.

He says he praised the president because Obama was on the front lines helping New Jersey, and he called out the speaker after 66 days had elapsed without Congress acting on the aid package.


Pakistan accuses India of deadly cross-border raid

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Pakistani military is accusing forces from neighboring India of crossing the boundary between the two sides' forces in Kashmir and attacking a Pakistani border post, killing a soldier.

The military's public relations office said in a statement Sunday that another Pakistani soldier was critically wounded in the incident early Sunday.

They said troops are still exchanging gunfire in the area.

They said the raid crossed the "line of control" dividing the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir, a flashpoint of violence between these two neighbors for decades.

Both claim the region as their own.

A 2003 cease-fire ended the most recent round of fighting.

Each side occasionally accuses the other of violating it by lobbing mortars or shooting across the LOC, but accusations of cross-border raids are rare.


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.


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.


NEW: Chinese city cuts off water after chemical leak

Residents in a northern Chinese city are without water after the local government cut off the supply because of industrial chemicals that contaminated a river.

The Handan city government in Hebei province says it cut off the water Saturday afternoon after an accident in neighboring Shanxi province caused pollutants to pour into a river. It didn't say how many residents were affected. The population of the city and its rural areas is 9 million.

Xinhua (shin-wah) News Agency said Sunday that a loose drainage valve in a chemical plant was to blame for the leaking of nearly 9 tons of the chemical aniline into the river. It said another 30 tons of aniline have been contained in a disused reservoir.

Aniline, used in manufacturing polyurethane, can be toxic to humans.


NEW: Israel leader appeals for right-wing votes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is appealing to his right-wing base to cast ballots for his election list, as opposed to a pro-settler alternative, to prevent his being unseated by a potential center-left coalition.

Netanyahu's rare interviews to Israel Radio and Army Radio on Sunday come after polls show significant of voters withdrawing support for his Likud Beiteinu list and redirecting it to a pro-settlement party, Jewish Home.

That's left Netanyahu more vulnerable ahead of the Jan. 22 vote. But while polls show support for Likud Beiteinu dropping, respondents at the same time overwhelmingly choose Netanyahu for prime minister.

Netanyahu urged voters who want him as prime minister not to vote for lists other than Likud Beiteinu. He said the center-left had one objective: "To topple the government I lead."


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.

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