Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Published:

'Blank expression' on his face: Knife-wielding teen stabs 22 at Pittsburgh-area high school

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- Flailing away with two kitchen knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy whose liver was pierced by a knife thrust that narrowly missed his heart and aorta, doctors said. Others also suffered deep abdominal puncture wounds.

The rampage -- which came after decades in which U.S. schools geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings -- set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

Police shed little light on the motive.

The suspect, Alex Hribal, was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound, then was brought into court in shackles and a hospital gown and charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was jailed without bail, and authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult.

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Obama shares in grief at Fort Hood memorial, reprising an all too frequent observance

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) -- President Barack Obama returned to the grieving Army post Wednesday where he first took on the job as the nation's comforter five years ago, mourning with families and uniformed comrades of those killed during last week's Fort Hood shooting spree. "We somehow bear what seems unbearable," he declared.

It was yet another sad observance for a president who has had to deliver words of consolation across the country many times. At Fort Hood, the ceremony was made more poignant as a remembrance for soldiers who didn't die in wars abroad but in the safety of their own compound.

"They were members of a generation that has borne the burden of our security for more than a decade of war," Obama said on a breezy, sun washed day in central Texas.

Three soldiers died and 16 others were wounded in the rampage last Wednesday by another soldier, who killed himself.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived late Wednesday morning at Fort Hood, where the camouflage fatigues of troops standing to salute his passing motorcade almost blended in with a patch of desert-like terrain. Flags were lowered to half-staff at the sprawling Army post, where Obama met with victims' relatives before offering his public condolences.

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10 Things to Know for Thursday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:

1. TEEN WIELDING KNIVES SLASHES, STABS CLASSMATES

A 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" injures 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school.

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Car crash into Fla. day care kills 1 girl, injures 14 others; police looking for SUV driver

WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) -- A car smashed into an Orlando-area day care Wednesday, killing a girl and injuring 14 others, at least a dozen of them children, and authorities were searching for the driver of an SUV who they say started the crash, officials said.

A Toyota Solara convertible went out of control after it was struck by a Dodge Durango, jumped a curb and smashed into the day care, breaking through the wall and into the building, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Wanda Diaz. The convertible driver was not hurt.

The Durango left the scene but was located almost two hours later after it had been abandoned at a home. The highway patrol said it is looking for 26-year-old Robert Corchado, who has been arrested eight times since 2000, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. Troopers said he was the driver of the Durango, but wouldn't say how they established that. Troopers said Corchado may be trying to leave the area, and troopers and deputies headed to Orlando International Airport to look for him.

Diaz said a girl died at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, but she didn't have any more information on her. One person at the hospital was in critical condition and five others were in serious condition, said spokeswoman Katie Dagenais.

In all, 13 people were hospitalized and two others were treated at the scene, said John Mulhall, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Rescue.

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Sailors who helped rescue family with ailing child describe rough seas, battered sailboat

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Six days after a family of four found themselves helpless and adrift in a sailboat far into the Pacific with a vomiting, feverish 1-year-old, a Navy warship delivered them safely Wednesday to San Diego, where they began their attempted around-the world voyage before the child was born.

The Rebel Heart, the 36-foot sailboat that had been their home for seven years, is at the bottom of the ocean 900 miles off Mexico, sunk by rescuers because it was taking on water after losing its steering and most of its communications.

A satellite phone ping from the boat Thursday set off a huge rescue effort that involved skydiving National Guardsmen, three federal agencies, a plane, a frigate and scores of personnel.

It also sparked a serious debate over parenting and the propriety of hitting the high seas with two young children.

The Navy warship, the USS Vandegrift, docked at Naval Air Station North Island with the Kaufman family safely aboard and the child recovering from her illness, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lenaya Rotklein said.

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Hearing more underwater 'pings' raises hopes that wreckage of Flight 370 will be found soon

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Planes and ships hunting for the missing Malaysian jetliner zeroed in on a targeted patch of the Indian Ocean on Thursday, after a navy ship picked up underwater signals that are consistent with a plane's black box.

Thursday's search zone was the smallest yet in the monthlong search for Flight 370 -- 57,923 square kilometers (22,364 square miles) of ocean -- and comes a day after the Australian official in charge of the search expressed hope that crews were closing in on the "final resting place" of the vanished jet.

Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia's west coast, said Wednesday that equipment on the Australian vessel Ocean Shield had picked up two sounds from deep below the surface on Tuesday, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane's flight recorders, or "black boxes."

"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not-too-distant future," Houston said Wednesday.

No further sounds had been picked up overnight, Houston's search coordination center said Thursday. But the Ocean Shield was continuing its hunt, slowly dragging a U.S. navy pinger locator through the ocean's depths, hoping to find the signal again and get a more specific fix on its location.

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Putin turns up economic heat on Ukraine, threatens to demand advance payment for gas supplies

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin turned up the heat on Ukraine on Wednesday by threatening to demand advance payment for gas supplies, a move designed to exert economic pressure as Ukraine confronts possible bankruptcy, a mutiny by pro-Russian separatists in the east and a Russian military buildup across the border.

NATO's top commander in Europe warned that the alliance could respond to the Russian military threat against Ukraine by deploying U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, but Putin's latest tactics suggest he may be aiming to secure Russia's clout with its neighbor without invading.

Speaking at a Cabinet session, the Russian leader voiced hope that diplomatic efforts to ease the Ukrainian crisis would yield "positive results," an apparent reference to talks set for next week that will bring together the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine for the first time.

Russia wants the talks to focus on a roadmap for Ukraine that would include constitutional reforms to turn it into a federation and guarantee its neutral status. Those demands reflect the Kremlin's hope of retaining influence over its neighbor and ensuring it does not join NATO. Ukraine has responded by saying it will not be dictated by Russia.

Taking a tough stance before the negotiations set for next week, Putin instructed the government to be prepared to charge Ukraine in advance for gas supplies -- a step that would inflict more pain on a nation already teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. He said the change needed to be taken if "additional consultations" with the European Union fail to yield results.

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Answers to common questions about the Heartbleed bug and how to protect against it

NEW YORK (AP) -- Millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information may be at risk as a result of a major breakdown in Internet security revealed earlier this week.

The damage caused by the "Heartbleed" bug is currently unknown. The security hole exists on a vast number of the Internet's Web servers and went undetected for more than two years. While it's conceivable that the flaw was never discovered by hackers, it's nearly impossible to tell.

There isn't much that people can do to protect themselves until the affected websites implement a fix.

Here are answers to some common questions about Heartbleed and how you can protect yourself:

Q: What is Heartbleed and why is it a big deal?

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Republicans thwart Senate bill curbing gender pay gap, as Dems see an issue for fall campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans blocked a Senate bill Wednesday aimed at narrowing the pay gap between men and women, an election-year ritual that Democrats hope will help spur women to back them in this fall's congressional elections.

GOP lawmakers said the measure could hinder employers from granting raises, or permitting flexible hours in exchange for lower pay, for fear of costly lawsuits. For Democrats, the bill was the latest stressing income-fairness they are pushing this campaign season, a procession that includes proposals to extend jobless benefits, boost the minimum wage and help students and families afford college loans.

"Republicans in Congress continue to oppose serious efforts to create jobs, grow the economy, and level the playing field for working families," President Barack Obama said in a written statement after the vote. "That's wrong, and it's harmful for our national efforts to rebuild an economy that gives every American who works hard a fair shot to get ahead."

Republicans, whose campaign focus has been on an economy that is still recovering from a severe recession, said it was the Democratic bill itself that would wreak damage. They were backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

"At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss -- all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "In other words, it's just another Democrat idea that threatens to hurt the very people it claims to help."

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Going green: Prized jackets revered part of Masters history, with a few quirks along the way

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The green jacket is one of the most revered symbols in all of sports, right up there with an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup.

Yet, even with the strict sense of decorum that is afforded the prized garment awarded every Masters champion, it occasionally winds up in spots no one would ever expect.

Like underneath a garbage bag.

Or in Ohio.

Yep, an authentic green jacket is on display at a country club in suburban Cleveland -- a long, long way from Augusta National.