Attorney for soldier accused in Afghanistan attack says suspect is from Lake Tapps, Wash.
LAKE TAPPS, Wash. (AP) -- The attorney for a soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan said Friday the suspect is 38-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales from Lake Tapps, Wash.
The military had earlier declined to name the suspect. A senior U.S. official said Friday it was Bales, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into an incident that has roiled relations with Afghanistan.
John Henry Browne, a defense attorney from Seattle, confirmed his client's identity.
Bales has not yet been charged. He was being flown Friday from Kuwait to a military detention center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the military's only maximum-security prison.
Reporters swarmed Bales' neighborhood in Washington state on Friday night in the rural community, a wooded area filled with pine trees about 20 miles northeast from the base.
Details emerge about US soldier identified as Afghanistan village killings suspect
After five days cloaked in military secrecy, the soldier suspected in a massacre of 16 Afghan civilians has finally been identified, adding a critical detail to the still-sketchy portrait just beginning to emerge.
A senior U.S. official says the soldier accused in the killings is Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into an incident that has roiled relations with Afghanistan.
Bales, who is 38, is a husband and father of two young children and a veteran who was in the midst of his fourth tour in a war zone. But because of a tightly controlled flow of information, many of the details are incomplete and difficult to verify. Most information about the suspect -- before he was identified -- has come from two camps, each representing particular interests.
There's the U.S. government, almost always represented by the voices of unidentified "senior military officials." On the other side, there's the civilian lawyer, John Henry Browne, a veteran criminal defense attorney from Seattle, near Bales' home base.
College student guilty in webcam suicide case; 'Hopefully parents will use this as an example'
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- A former Rutgers University student convicted Friday in the webcam spying episode that ended in his gay roommate's suicide could be headed off to prison in a case experts say stands as a tragic lesson for young people about casual cruelties and unintended consequences in the Internet age.
Dharun Ravi was found guilty of all 15 charges against him, including invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation. The jury decided that he not only spied on Tyler Clementi and another man as they were kissing but also singled out Clementi because he was gay.
Ravi, 20, could get up to 10 years in prison by some estimates and could be deported to his native India even though he has lived legally in the U.S. since he was a little boy.
The case stirred a national conversation about anti-gay bullying and teen suicide. It also illustrated the dangers of technology in the hands of people who have grown up with the likes of Twitter and Facebook.
"They don't feel like they're spying. It's just their own iPhone they're using, their own laptop," said Annemarie McAvoy, an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School in New York. "Hopefully, parents will use this as an example for their children."
Clashes outside Syrian capital as rebels ignite new front
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian rebels ignited a new front Friday outside the capital, Damascus, in the first significant fighting there since regime forces swept over the suburbs weeks ago. The clashes highlight the shifting nature of Syria's conflict, with rebels lying in wait to rise up when the regime turns its guns elsewhere.
The return of violence to the Damascus suburbs raises questions about how long troops can control areas before they re-erupt. Though government forces have shown they can crushed armed fighters, the regime has appeared unable to conduct major offensives in more than one place at once.
That points to the likelihood that a conflict that is now a year old and is estimated to have killed more than 8,000 could grind on as it slides closer to a civil war.
Diplomatic efforts have so far brought no result, but U.N. envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council in a briefing Friday that he was determined to continue his mission and would return to Damascus. Talks last week between Annan and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus saw no progress in attempts to cobble together peace talks between the two sides.
After the confidential briefing via videolink, Annan told reporters in Geneva that he urged the council "to speak with one voice as we try to resolve the crisis in Syria." Russia and China have blocked council action against Assad's regime.
Spotlight on Illinois: Republicans Romney and Santorum -- and Democrat Obama -- trade new gibes
CHICAGO (AP) -- After two Deep South losses, Mitt Romney is intensifying his campaign efforts in the economically challenged Midwest -- a friendly region for him -- in hopes of regaining his front-runner's momentum when Illinois holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday.
But the race for Illinois and its cache of 54 delegates is tighter than might have been expected, thanks to Rick Santorum's recent rise in opinion polls. And President Barack Obama, the Democrat they both hope to oust, is making his presence felt, too, in his adopted home state.
Romney is clearly mindful of the threat from Santorum. He and his allies are pouring money into the state, near Michigan where he grew up and his father was governor. Romney won the Michigan primary on Feb. 28.
Logistically, he's also looking to take advantage of Santorum's failure to get the signatures needed to ensure he's on the ballot statewide in Illinois.
And Romney's on the attack.
US March weather: 80 degrees and twisters in Michigan and 250,000 tons of snow in Anchorage
WASHINGTON (AP) -- America's weather is stuck on extreme.
Nearly 11 feet of snow has fallen on Anchorage, Alaska, this winter. That's almost a record, and it's forcing the city to haul away at least 250,000 tons of snow. Yet not much snow has dropped on the Lower 48 this year.
The first three months of 2012 have seen twice the normal number of tornadoes. And 36 states set daily high temperature records Thursday. So far this month, the U.S. has set 1,757 daily high temperature records. That's similar to the number during last summer's heat wave, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Six rare, but not unprecedented, March tornadoes struck Thursday in Michigan, which also set 26 heat records. Temperatures were in the 80s in some parts of the state.
Nationwide, there have been 132 tornadoes confirmed in January and February, with preliminary reports of more than 150 already in March.
Experts: Afghanistan shooting suspect may have post-traumatic stress; had head, foot injuries
They are questions already being debated: Did the soldier suspected of killing Afghan villagers have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD? And did the people who sent him back to war after he was injured properly determine he was mentally fit to return?
It's way too soon to psychologically dissect the state of mind of the 38-year-old longtime soldier accused in the killings. However, several mental health experts said PTSD is a reasonable thing to consider.
The soldier's lawyer said his client had seen a fellow soldier's leg blown off a day before the killings last weekend, and had suffered a head injury and lost part of a foot during three earlier deployments to Iraq. The soldier left for Afghanistan in December.
"This kind of a person would fit the profile for someone who might well have PTSD," said Dr. Roger Pitman, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who heads the PTSD Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
He has no knowledge of the case and spoke hypothetically, but said that if the soldier had recently witnessed a major injury to a comrade, it could have been an important trigger.
Radio's 'This American Life' retracts story about Apple workers in China, cites 'fabrications'
CHICAGO (AP) -- The public radio program "This American Life" on Friday retracted a story about what a monologist said he found while investigating Apple operations in China, citing "numerous fabrications."
The show's Friday broadcast will detail inconsistencies in the highly popular Jan. 6 episode that was an excerpt from writer Mike Daisey's critically acclaimed one-man show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," which currently is at the Public Theater in New York.
"We're retracting the story because we can't vouch for its truth," Ira Glass, host of "This American Life," said in a letter posted on the show's website. Spokeswoman Emily Condon said Glass wouldn't take calls for comment until after Friday's episode airs.
In his program, Daisey describes meeting workers who put in very long hours and were forced to do crippling, repetitive motions at factories that make Apple products in China.
But "This American Life" says Rob Schmitz, a China correspondent for the public radio show "Marketplace," located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter, who disputed much of the artist's claims.
Clooney, others arrested in protest at Sudanese Embassy over claims of humanitarian crisis
WASHINGTON (AP) -- George Clooney and his father were arrested Friday during a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy, and the actor said he has asked President Barack Obama to engage China on stopping a humanitarian crisis in northern Africa.
The protesters accuse Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of provoking a humanitarian crisis and blocking food and aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan.
Clooney, his father, Nick Clooney, and others were arrested after being warned three times not to cross a police line outside the embassy. Those taken into custody included NAACP President Ben Jealous, Martin Luther King III, and actor and comedian Dick Gregory.
Several members of Congress also were arrested, including Massachusetts Reps. James McGovern and John Olver, Texas Rep. Al Green and Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. They were handcuffed and placed into a U.S. Secret Service van.
Clooney was released several hours later after paying a $100 fine.
Higher gas prices would threaten economy if consumers cut back spending sharply
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Inflation remains tame throughout the U.S. economy, with one big exception: gas prices.
Those higher prices haven't derailed a steadily improving economy. But if they surpass $4 or $5 a gallon, experts fear Americans could pull back on spending, and job growth could stall, posing a potentially serious threat to the recovery.
And the longer prices remain high, the more they could imperil President Barack Obama's re-election hopes.
A few weeks ago, economists generally agreed that the economy was in little danger from higher gas prices as long as job growth remained strong. But fears are now mounting that gas prices could begin to weaken consumer confidence.
The average pump price nationwide is $3.83 a gallon. Energy analysts say it's bound to climb higher in the weeks ahead.