Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

February 4, 2013, 12:47 am


SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHOT

UPDATE: Officials: Rescued boy is fine, playful

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama boy held for nearly a week in an underground bunker by a man who killed a bus driver is said to be playing, laughing and eating -- and doing the things a normal 5-year-old would.

That's according to an FBI official who visited the child after he was rescued by officers who stormed the bunker on Monday afternoon.

Officials are declining to release details about the raid, but say the decision to carry it out was made because negotiations with Jimmy Lee Dykes had deteriorated and that the child faced imminent danger. Dykes had been seen with a gun.

The crime scene is still being processed and officials won't say if Dykes was fatally shot by officers or took his life. They're also reluctant to explain how the raid was accomplished so that the techniques can be used in future standoffs. Neighbors say they heard a boom at about the time officials say the raid was staged.

Dykes was known by neighbors for his anti-government rants and for patrolling his property with a gun, ready to shoot trespassers.

APARTMENT BODIES

Police: 4 people found dead in Ga. apartment

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) — Police in Georgia are investigating the slayings of two children and two adults as an apparent murder-suicide.

City spokeswoman Rosemary Taylor says authorities found the bodies of a man, woman and two children — believed to be 10 and 5 years old — in a Johns Creek apartment Monday morning.

It was unclear Monday evening how long the people had been dead. Their identities and causes of death were not immediately released.

Taylor said a co-worker of the slain woman called police and requested a welfare check when she did not show up for work.

Police chief Ed Densmore says authorities are investigating the slayings as a possible murder-suicide.

OBAMA

Obama presses for gun proposals in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama is pressing for a ban on military-style firearms and for universal background checks for gun buyers, taking his case directly to the public amid divisions over the proposals in Congress.

Obama says the measures to limit access to some weapons or to require a check of criminal histories during weapons purchases are common sense measures that have support of the public.

But he says: "We don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something."

Before his remarks Monday, Obama held a roundtable discussion at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center, speaking with law enforcement and community leaders.

US-SNIPER AUTHOR-SHOOTING

Iraq War vet accused in shooting on suicide watch

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas sheriff says the man charged with killing a former Navy SEAL and his friend was shocked with a stun gun and restrained in his jail cell after becoming aggressive.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant says 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh is on suicide watch.

Bryant says Routh also appeared ready to assault jailers Sunday night when they entered Routh's solitary confinement cell because he refused to return his food tray. Bryant says after using the stun gun once, jailers put Routh in a chair that restrains his arms and legs.

Routh is charged with fatally shooting Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book "American Sniper," and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range Saturday. The sheriff says Routh has an attorney but hasn't met with him.

DEBT LIMIT

Obama signs bill averting government default

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill raising the government's borrowing limit, averting a default and delaying the next clash over the nation's debt until later this year.

The legislation temporarily suspends the $16.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing. Experts say that will allow the government to borrow about $450 billion to meet interest payments and other obligations.

The Senate gave the bill final approval last week and sent it to Obama, who signed it Monday shortly after returning from Minneapolis.

Democrats and Obama had warned that failure to pass the bill could set off financial panic and threaten the economic recovery.

The bill includes a provision attached by House Republicans that temporarily withholds lawmakers' pay in either chamber that fails to produce a budget plan.

IMMIGRATION-BORDER SECURITY

Napolitano trumpets border security on 2-day tour

SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is in San Diego to trumpet what she calls dramatic improvements in border security.

Napolitano told reporters after touring the border Monday that the difference from 20 years ago is like comparing a rocket ship to a horse and buggy. She urged Congress to embrace a broad overhaul of immigration laws.

Napolitano travels to El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, which was second only to San Diego as the most popular corridor for illegal border crossings 20 years ago.

A bipartisan group of senators wants assurances on border security before beginning a path to citizenship.

Napolitano says the border is secure, though not 100 percent sealed. She cited 40-year lows in illegal immigration flows, lack of violence in major border cities and big investments in enforcement

SCOTTSBORO BOYS

Ala. legislation would exonerate Scottsboro Boys

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A bipartisan group of Alabama lawmakers has prepared legislation to clear the nine black Scottsboro Boys, who were convicted of raping two white women in 1931.

Republican state Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur says a resolution would exonerate the nine and a bill would give the state parole board the authority to issue pardons. The founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center, Sheila Washington, said Monday she has been working toward that goal since the museum opened in an old Scottsboro church in 2010. She said the announcement by the legislators gives her hope that an injustice will be corrected.

Only one of the Scottsboro Boys, Clarence Norris, was formally pardoned while he was still alive.

OBIT-STROM THURMOND'S DAUGHTER

Strom Thurmond's mixed-race daughter dies at 87

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The mixed-race daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career has died. Essie Mae Washington-Williams was 87.

Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Monday. A cause of death wasn't given.

Washington-Williams was the daughter of the one-time segregationist and his family's black maid.

There had been rumors for decades in political circles and the black community that Thurmond had fathered a daughter by a black woman. But Washington-Williams did not come forward and identify Thurmond as her father until after his death at age 100 in 2003.

Washington-Williams spent decades as a school teacher in Los Angeles. Thurmond was South Carolina's governor and for a time was the nation's longest-serving U.S. senator.

SUPER BOWL-TWITTER

Live action: Twitter grabs Super Bowl spotlight

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter is reporting record numbers from the Super Bowl.

Beyonce's splashy show, the power outage and a captivating game combined to generate a record 24.1 million posts.

That's up from 13.7 million last year -- and that doesn't even include the chatter surrounding the ads.

Twitter said late Sunday that about half of the more than 50 national TV spots that aired during the game included a "hashtag," a word or phrase preceded by a number sign that's used to organize subjects on the short messaging site.

During last year's game, only one in five ads included a "hashtag."

Some brands capitalized on the 34-minute blackout. Oreo, Tide and Budweiser were among those who captured online buzz by linking the blackout to their brands in humorous tweets.

Roughly 10 minutes after the power went out, Oreo's marketers tweeted a picture of an Oreo cookie in the half-dark with the words: "You can still dunk in the dark." As of this afternoon, the image had been shared on Twitter more than 15,000 times.

DOUBLE-LOTTERY WINNER-ARKANSAS

NEW: Arkansas couple twice win lottery on fishing trip

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas couple who set out for a day of fishing came home with quite the fish story: Two winning lottery tickets, including a $1 million prize.

The Arkansas Lottery Commission says Stephen and Terri Weaver were on a fishing trip when they stopped to buy the first ticket at T-Ricks convenience store in Pangburn, about 60 miles northeast of Little Rock. They stopped at the same store on their way home and bought another ticket.

That first ticket turned out to be a $1 million winner. And the second one netted the couple another $50,000.

The lottery commission says the Weavers claimed their cash Monday and that they plan to pay bills and invest in their retirement.

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