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Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

Jan 5, 2013 1:07am

ALASKA EARTHQUAKE

Tsunami warning canceled after Alaska quake

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Officials have canceled a tsunami warning for parts of southern Alaska and coastal Canada.

The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says a tsunami was generated by a strong, 7.5 magnitude earthquake, but the waves don't pose a threat to the areas.

The center says some areas are seeing small sea level changes, but there will be no widespread destructive wave.

The more than 700-mile warning area had included coastal areas from Cape Fairweather, Alaska, to the north tip of Vancouver Island, Canada.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck about 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska.

OBAMA-GOP

Obama urges action on debt ceiling

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says he is willing to consider more spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit -- one of the next big items on the agenda in his struggles with Congress.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama also says he "will not compromise" over his insistence that Congress lift the federal debt ceiling. The nation's credit rating was downgraded the last time lawmakers threatened inaction on the debt ceiling, in 2011.

For the Republicans, Michigan Rep. Dave Camp says it's time to "identify responsible ways to tackle Washington's wasteful spending."

He says America's credit cards are maxed-out and there's no money in the bank account so the spending must stop.

ITALY-VENEZUELA-MISSING PLANE

Missoni scion on small plane missing in Venezuela

ROME (AP) — Italian state radio says a son of the Missoni fashion family is among six passengers on a small plane that has gone missing over islands off the Venezuelan coast.

Venezuela's Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said the plane was declared missing hours after taking off Friday from Los Roques, a string of islands, cays and islets that is popular for scuba diving, white beaches and coral reefs. He said the plane was expected at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas but didn't arrive and that the four Italian tourists aboard had spent their Christmas and New Year at the resort. The plane had two Venezuelan crew members.

The Italian radio report Saturday says among those on board are Vittorio Missoni and his wife, and two of their friends from northern Italy.

ITALY-SLED CRASH

6 Russian tourists die in snowmobile crash

ROME (AP) — The Russian consul general in Italy says Italian authorities suspect a deadly snowmobile accident on a ski slope was caused by excessive speed but they're also checking into a possible mechanical issue.

Six Russian tourists died and two were injured when a snowmobile reportedly pulling a sled on a night run down an unlit slope on Mount Cermis, slammed into a fence and flipped over into a ditch.

Officials say the dead include four men and two women.

In 1998, a U.S. Marine jet, flying low on a training run from a nearby air base, accidently sliced a ski gondola's cable on Mount Cermis, sending the cable car crashing to the ground and claiming 20 lives.

PHILIPPINES-SHOOTING

Philippine police to charge suspect in rampage

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine officials say they're preparing to file criminal charges against a house caretaker who reloaded the pistol of a man who went on a shooting rampage near Manila that left nine people dead.

Deputy Cavite provincial police chief Dionicio Borromeo says John Paul Lopez surrendered to authorities late Friday, hours after the rampage, which left eight victims and the gunman dead. Eleven people were wounded in the incident in Cavite province's Kawit township.

Borromeo says Lopez explained that the gunman, Ronald Bae, had threatened to kill him if he did not reload bullets into the magazines of a .45-caliber pistol used in the killing spree.

Borromeo, however, says Lopez never tried to stop or talk Bae out of the rampage, whose victims included a pregnant woman and her young daughter.

SCHOOL-SHOOTING-GUN SHOWS

Gun shows face new scrutiny after school shooting

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Four gun shows about an hour's drive from Newtown, Conn., have been canceled.

Organizers say they weren't appropriate just weeks after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown.

But gun advocates aren't backing down from their insistence on the right to keep and bear arms.

The City Council in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has urged a group to not display military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines at its upcoming gun show.

Organizer David Petronis says it's not fair that the shows and their organizers are seen as the brunt of the problem. But he says he understands the reaction.

The group agreed to the city's request.

INDONESIA-TERRORISM

NEW: Report: Indonesia police kill 5 alleged terrorists

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's state-managed news agency is reporting that anti-terrorism police have shot and killed five suspected Islamist militants in eastern Indonesia.

The raids on Friday night and Saturday morning on Sumbawa followed the killings of two suspected militants earlier Friday on Sulawesi island, also in the east of the country.

Antara reported that the country's elite anti-terror squad carried out the operations and that they were linked to the raid in Makassar.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Indonesia was hit by four major al-Qaida-linked bombings between 2002 and 2009, but a sustained police crackdown is thought to have reduced the threat significantly.

However, small groups of local terrorists have carried out several attacks on police around the country over the last two years.

SYRIA

Report: Syrian journalist dies of wounds

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's official news agency says a journalist for a pro-government television station has died of wounds sustained in shooting attack in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

The state-run SANA agency says that the journalist died yesterday, four days after a "terrorist" fired on him as he was going to work.

Fighting has raged for weeks in neighborhoods and towns around Damascus as rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad press on with an offensive to take the city, the seat of his power.

Syrian state media refers to opposition fighters as terrorists.

The rebels frequently target regime officials and pro-government reporters.

FOOD SAFETY

FDA issues sweeping new food safety rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is proposing the most sweeping food safety rules in decades, requiring farmers and food companies to be more vigilant in the wake of deadly outbreaks in peanuts, cantaloupe and leafy greens.

The long-overdue rules are aimed at reducing the estimated 3,000 deaths a year from foodborne illness. Just since this summer, listeria in cheese and salmonella in peanut butter, mangoes and cantaloupe are linked to more than 400 illnesses and as many as seven deaths.

The rules proposed by the FDA Friday will require farmers to take precautions against contamination on the farm — making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and animals stay out of fields, for example. Food manufacturers will also have to submit food safety plans to the government.

SHELL-ARCTIC DRILL SHIP

Crews prep for recovery of grounded drilling rig

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The assessment of a Shell drilling rig grounded off a remote Alaska island continued Friday, with officials putting more salvagers onboard.

Officials say in a release that critical response gear was put into place for the eventual recovery operation.

The Kulluk (CULL'-uck) ran aground Monday near Kodiak Island.

Power generators also were delivered. A majority of 14 support ships are expected to be in place this weekend.

Members of the command team also met with Alaska Native leaders in the nearby community of Old Harbor to hear their concerns over the grounding.

The Kulluk performed preliminary work on a well during the open water season in the Beaufort (BOH'-fort) Sea.

It was being towed to Seattle last week for upgrades when it became separated from tow lines during a storm.

VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ

Venezuela VP: Chavez could be sworn in by court

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's vice president says that President Hugo Chavez could be sworn in by the Supreme Court later on if he's not able to take the oath of office next week before lawmakers.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro made the comment in a televised interview on Friday night. He dismissed the argument by some opposition leaders that new elections must be called if Chavez doesn't take office as scheduled on Thursday.

Maduro says Chavez, as a re-elected president, remains in office beyond the swearing-in date stipulated in the constitution, and could be sworn in if necessary before the Supreme Court at a date to be determined.

The vice president held up a small copy of the constitution and read aloud passages relating to such procedures.


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