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Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

Nov 17, 2012 12:59am

EGYPT-TRAIN ACCIDENT

Egypt: Train hits school bus; 47 children killed

ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) — A security official says a train has collided with a bus carrying kindergarteners to their school in southern Egypt, killing at least 47.

The official says the crash occurred Saturday as the bus crossed tracks near a village in Manfaloot district in the southern province of Assiut. He says others are still missing. Distraught families are searching for the remains of their loved ones along the tracks.

The official says it appears that the railroad crossing was not closed as the train sped toward it. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Egypt's railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on badly maintained equipment and poor management.

VETERANS PARADE-TRAIN CRASH

War-time instinct takes over in Texas train crash

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — With the thunderous crack of a freight train slamming into a parade float, instinct kicked in for Sudip Bose.

A front-line physician in Iraq, Bose and other veterans instantly tended to the injured after the train traveling more than 60 mph in West Texas crashed into the float. It was carrying wounded war veterans and their spouses.

Four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were killed, including an Army sergeant who'd pushed his wife off the float to save her. Sixteen people were injured.

Bose said Friday that the aftermath reminded him of a combat triage situation.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the small parade had been given enough warning to clear the tracks. They hope that cameras on the train and a sheriff's vehicle provide some answers.

GULF RIG FIRE

Coast Guard searches for 2 after Gulf rig fire

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard is searching for two workers missing after a fire erupted on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

It sent an ominous black plume of smoke into the air reminiscent of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that transformed the oil industry and life along the coast.

Friday's blaze started on a rig southeast of Grand Isle, La., while workers were using a torch to cut an oil line. At least four workers were critically injured and being treated at the burn center at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said late Friday that a Coast Guard cutter would continue its search into the night. A broader rescue effort resumes after daybreak Saturday.

SMALL PLANE CRASH

Plane hits truck during takeoff, crashes; 3 dead

OWLS HEAD, Maine (AP) — Officials say the small plane that crashed in a wooded area in Maine shortly after taking off, killing three people, hit a truck on the runway just before the accident.

The Knox County sheriff's office says the Cessna 172 was heading north on the runway during takeoff Friday evening when it struck a pickup truck crossing the runway. The plane continued to climb and, as it turned to the east, it spiraled downward into the woods and burst into flames.

The fire destroyed the plane. Officials were still working to identify the three people aboard.

The crash happened near the end of a runway at the airport in Owls Head. The airport manager says the truck was authorized to be on the airport grounds and was driven by a pilot.

OBAMA

Obama presses Congress to avert fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is urging Congress anew to approve legislation that ensures taxes don't go up on 98 percent of all Americans, families earning less than $250,000 a year.

Obama again used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to urge action to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, which would raise taxes on all Americans and cut spending across the board starting Jan. 1.

Obama says he had a constructive meeting with congressional leaders Friday as officials look for ways to reduce the federal deficit and strengthen the economy.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says in the Republican response that failure to act on the fiscal cliff is not an option. She says any effort to address the crisis without reforming entitlements such as Social Security "can't be taken seriously."

SUPREME COURT-ALITO

Alito takes on critics of Citizens United ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is defending the court's 2010 decision in the case that helped fuel hundreds of millions of dollars to independent groups in the just-concluded campaign season.

Alito told some 1,500 people at a Federalist Society dinner that the First Amendment protects political speech, whether from an individual or a corporation. His comments to the overwhelmingly conservative and Republican crowd were part of his broader analysis of Obama administration arguments that he says curtail individual freedoms.

Alito says opponents of the 5-4 Citizens United decision have conducted an effective, but misleading, public relations campaign. Before the decision, he says, media companies were the only corporations that enjoyed free speech. The Citizens United case extends that right to all corporations and individuals with deep pockets.

OBAMA-ASIA

Obama turns to foreign policy with Asia trip

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first trip abroad since the summer heat of the re-election campaign, President Barack Obama will seek to reinforce American influence in Southeast Asia in spite of the large shadow cast by China.

Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Myanmar, an appreciation for its steps toward democratization, as well as Cambodia.

The four-day trip that begins Saturday will be the president's fourth to Asia.

Obama is eager to return to foreign policy matters that were put on the back burner by the campaign. The unprecedented visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, gives the trip a historic edge while shoring up a strategic regional goal sought with stops in Thailand and in Cambodia, where he will attend the East Asia Summit.

CAR ON RUNWAY

Mother: Sky Harbor woman has mental health issues

PHOENIX (AP) — The mother of a woman who crashed through a gate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and drove on the runway with her infant son in the car says her daughter has a history of mental illness.

Bebe Anderson told The Associated Press late Friday that her daughter suffers from a bi-polar disorder and she's fearful of what will happen if the 21-year-old doesn't get the care she needs while in jail.

KoKo Nicole Anderson of Mesa was booked into jail on aggravated DUI and criminal damage charges following Thursday night's incident at the airport.

Authorities say Anderson was so impaired that she didn't even know her son was in the car.

Police told KPHO they are aware of the woman's possible mental health issues and that she will be evaluated at the jail.

SCHOOL BUS CRASH-MINNESOTA

School bus crash kills at least 3

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) — At least three people are dead after a car collided head-on with a school bus in Minnesota.

Police say no children were on the bus during the fiery crash late Friday afternoon in Inver Grove Heights, just a few miles south of St. Paul.

Officers found both vehicles on fire when they arrived

Police say officers found at least three people dead in the car. The bus driver, who was the only person on the bus, was not hurt.

Inver Grove Heights police Lt. Sean Folmar says there were no survivors in the car. Names of the victims were not immediately released.

The wrecked car and bus were still at the scene Friday evening. Inver Grove Heights police and the Minnesota State Patrol are investigating.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

Israeli military counts 800-plus Gaza airstrikes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's military says it has struck more than 800 targets in the Gaza Strip, as it expands a fierce air assault responding to rocket launches from the Palestinian territory.

The military's early Saturday count includes nearly 200 overnight airstrikes. The campaign began Wednesday with the assassination of the ruling Hamas militant group's military chief after days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza.

The Gaza Interior Ministry says Israeli aircraft have struck government and police compounds, smuggling tunnels and a three-story apartment building.

Militants have struck back with about 500 rockets, including one unprecedented attack aimed at the holy city of Jerusalem.

The Israeli military has also called up thousands of reservists and massed troops and armored vehicles along the border with Gaza, signaling a ground invasion could be imminent.

SIX-WEEK CONGRESSMAN

Michigan congressman has 6 weeks to make his mark

WASHINGTON (AP) — Driving from Michigan in his Ford F150 pickup truck, David Curson arrived in Washington a week ago. He set up an office on Capitol Hill last Sunday, was sworn in as a congressman on Tuesday and has logged his first votes and given his first floor speech.

The Democrat has no time to waste. In six weeks, he'll be gone.

In Congress' packed lame-duck session, Curson is a curiosity: He's one of four members of the House sworn in this week to fill a partial term, but he's the only one who didn't win a full term.

In January, Curson will drive his truck home and be replaced by Republican Kerry Bentivolio, who won his bid for a full two-year term. Curson had sought only the six-week gig.


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