View Mobile Site

Nation news briefs

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 6, 2013 9:24 p.m.

2 DROWN IN SACRAMENTO COUNTY RIVER: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Two men drowned in a Sacramento County river over the weekend in separate incidents that officials are blaming on the cold water.

An unidentified 25-year-old man drowned Sunday while swimming in the American River with another man and a 12-year-old girl. Sacramento fire officials say the man began struggling and slipped under the water. His companions were rescued from a nearby island.

On Saturday, a 23-year-old Rancho Cordova man drowned while swimming in the American River near Lake Natoma. Officials say Christopher Harris went into the water without a life jacket and began having difficulty while trying to swim across an inlet to a beach.

Officials say water temperatures are in the mid-50s, which brings a risk of hypothermia, especially for poor swimmers.

NC COUPLE ACCUSED OF ZIP-TYING 4-YEAR-OLD GIRL: RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina authorities are accusing a couple of using zip ties to bind their 4-year-old daughter's wrists and ankles to a baby gate.

Raleigh police say 26-year-old Gerald Thomas Swinehart and 28-year-old Marlaine Victoria Coffey are accused of tying the child to a gate with plastic ties normally used by electricians. They also say Swinehart pushed or kicked the girl so hard her lower teeth broke through her lower lip.

Arrest warrants say the abuse occurred earlier this year. The child was taken into the custody of social services March 31.

Swinehart is charged with two counts of intentional child abuse inflicting serious physical injury and is being held under $100,000 bond. Coffey faces one count and is being held under $50,000 bond. It's not known if they have attorneys.

LAURYN HILL GETS 3 MONTHS FOR FAILING TO PAY TAXES: NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill stood in federal court Monday and compared her experience in the music business to the slavery her ancestors endured before a judge sentenced her to three months in prison for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.

"I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them," Hill said before U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo. "I had an economic system imposed on me."

Hill, who started singing with the Fugees as a teenager in the 1990s before releasing her multiplatinum 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," pleaded guilty last year to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. Monday's sentencing also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought the total earnings to about $2.3 million.

Despite having paid more than $900,000 in the past several days, Hill still owes interest and penalties, the U.S. attorney's office said.

JOSH RITTER PROTESTS PA. COLLEGE'S GAY POLICY: GRANTHAM, Pa. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter says he won't play a central Pennsylvania Christian college again unless it changes its policy against "homosexual behavior."

Ritter made the announcement on Facebook hours after playing a Friday night concert at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., southwest of Harrisburg.

Messiah students and staff have to sign a "community covenant" promising to avoid homosexual behavior and premarital sex.

Ritter calls the policy exclusionary and bigoted. He says he's donating his fee to an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services.

Messiah spokeswoman Beth Lorow says the administration is disappointed that Ritter is speaking in favor of tolerance but isn't applying those principles to their religious freedoms.

Ritter talked about the policy during the show. Lorow says his comments on stage weren't as harsh as his Facebook posting.

NJ GOVERNOR 'SAVES' CHILDREN FROM SPIDER: TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn't in a pardoning mood when an itsy, bitsy spider crawled on his desk while he spoke to a group of schoolchildren.

The students spotted the arachnid near the governor's phone on Friday. Speaking softly, Christie gave the spider a smack down.

The governor told the students that one fun part of being governor is you're allowed to kill any bugs on your desk without getting into trouble.

Christie tweeted that he had "saved a few school children from a spider."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals President Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement saying Christie probably killed it without thinking. Newkirk said "some people put the spider outside, but spiders are often scary" and that can prevent people from pondering their worth.

AMMONIUM NITRATE WAS EXPLOSIVE IN WEST PLANT BLAST: AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A store of ammonium nitrate is what exploded April 17 at a Central Texas plant, killing 14 people, injuring hundreds and devastating an adjoining town.

The finding was expected, and officials had said they were focusing their investigation on the explosive chemical used in many fertilizers, said Rachel Moreno, spokeswoman for the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office. A spot where the ammonium nitrate was stored is now a 90-foot-wide crater, Moreno said Monday.

However, the ignition source for the explosive chemical remained undetermined Monday. Findings on the cause of the blast on the outskirts of the small town of West initially had been expected Friday. However, the investigation will take one to two extra weeks to complete, with dozens of investigators combing through plant wreckage and the adjoining wrecked neighborhood, Moreno said.

BILL CLINTON TRIED TO BROKER LED ZEPPELIN REUNION: NEW YORK (AP) — It's a diplomatic failure at the highest level: Bill Clinton couldn't get Led Zeppelin to reunite.

The CBS "60 Minutes Overtime" webcast reported Monday that the former president was enlisted to ask the British rock gods to get back together last year for the Superstorm Sandy benefit concert in New York City. He asked, they said no.

David Saltzman of the Robin Hood Foundation says he and film executive Harvey Weinstein flew to Washington to ask Clinton to make the plea. Led Zeppelin's surviving members Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page were in Washington just before the Sandy concert for the Kennedy Center Honors.

Led Zeppelin last played publicly at a one-night reunion in London in 2007.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...