After Obama plea for more action on gun violence, White House says no push for new legislation
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will not push for stricter gun laws this election year, the White House said Thursday, one day after his impassioned remarks about the need to keep assault weapons off the streets suggested he may plunge into that political fight and challenge Congress to act.
Instead, Obama's stand on the government's role ended up right where it was after the mass shooting in Colorado last week: Enforce existing law better.
That is same view held by his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, as both reach for broader and more politically appealing ways to keep guns away from killers.
Obama still wants Congress to reinstitute a federal ban on military-style assault weapons that lapsed years ago, his spokesman Jay Carney said. But the president is not and has not been pushing for that ban, a nod to the politics of gun control.
There is no interest among many lawmakers of both parties to take on the divisive matter. Especially not with an election in just over 100 days.
Romney causes stir across Britain with comments about preparation for Olympic Games in London
LONDON (AP) -- Mitt Romney wanted to highlight U.S.-British bonds -- and show off his diplomatic skills to boot -- but he managed to rankle the Olympic hosts instead, from Prime Minister David Cameron on down.
The Republican presidential candidate, taking a turn on the world stage, called London's problems with Olympic Games preparation "disconcerting." That prompted Cameron to retort on Thursday that doubters would "see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver." And London Mayor Boris Johnson told tens of thousands gathered in Hyde Park: "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!"
Amid the uproar, Romney tried to back off his critique, finally concluding, "I expect the games to be highly successful."
Romney also caused a stir with his attendance at a fundraiser with banking executives tainted by a British interest rate-fixing scandal. And he inadvertently disclosed that he held a secret meeting with the head of Britain's intelligence service.
The bobbles threatened to undermine Romney's first international tour as the man who would replace Democratic President Barack Obama.
Poll: Qualms about Mormonism widespread, but may not impact Romney's run for the presidency
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Most of America doesn't relate to Mitt Romney's religion but that may not matter in his race against President Barack Obama.
Those are the findings of a new Pew Research Center poll released Thursday, about a month before Republican Romney is set to become the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party.
Misgivings about the Mormon faith are widespread and persistent. Nearly two-thirds of non-Mormons said they see Romney's faith as very different from their own while just half consider it a Christian faith. Those numbers are little changed since Romney's first run for the presidency pushed Mormonism to the political forefront in 2007.
Despite those qualms, most voters who know that Romney is a devout Mormon say they are comfortable with his religious beliefs, and few voters reject his candidacy solely because of concerns about his faith.
Romney rarely discusses the details of his faith in public, preferring to focus on how it has helped him connect with people. In an interview Wednesday with NBC News, Romney again credited his religion with shaping his perspective and said he would talk about his experiences in the church. He did not address his spiritual beliefs.
APNewsBreak: Ambulance near Colo. massacre idled for 20 minutes as police called for more aid
DENVER (AP) -- As police officers pleaded for all available medics to converge on the scene of the Colorado movie theater massacre last week, a two-man ambulance crew and their rig were idling just a few miles away.
While some ambulances were quickly called to duty, it took dispatchers more than 20 minutes into the crisis to ask the Cunningham Fire Protection District and other nearby agencies to provide aid at the multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
By the time the Cunningham crew arrived, it was more than a half hour after authorities got first word that a gunman opened fire at a packed midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.
Radio traffic from last Friday showed emergency personnel struggling to grasp both the scope of the tragedy and mobilize a response. The ambulance delays came during crucial minutes for the injured victims, though it's not clear whether a faster response would have saved more lives.
Officials have declined so far to release call records of the response, and the Aurora Fire Department declined to discuss the handling of ambulances from that night.
Probe of hepatitis C outbreak spreads from NH to other states; suspect was fired in Arizona
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A dozen hospitals in seven states are scrambling to identify people who might have been infected with hepatitis C by a traveling medical technician who was charged a week ago with causing an outbreak in New Hampshire.
With details of David Kwiatkowski's resume still emerging, a hospital official in Arizona said he had been fired from her facility in April 2010, after he was found unresponsive in a men's locker room with syringes and needles. Kwiatkowski was treated at the hospital, and tests showed he had cocaine and marijuana in his system, said Monica Bowman, chief executive officer of the Arizona Heart Hospital.
Kwiatkowski, 33, is accused of stealing anesthetic drugs from Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire and contaminating syringes used on patients. His same strain of hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues, has been diagnosed in 30 of the patients.
Testing has been recommended for about 4,700 people in New Hampshire alone, and officials are still determining who should be tested elsewhere. In addition to Arizona, hospitals and state health agencies have confirmed that Kwiatkowski also worked in Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania before being hired in New Hampshire in April 2011.
While other health care workers have been prosecuted for diverting drugs and infecting patients, the Kwiatkowski case stands apart, said U.S. Attorney John Kacavas.
Report shows drought in middle of US rapidly intensifying, with little relief in sight
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The widest drought to grip the United States in decades is getting worse with no signs of abating, a new report warned Thursday, as state officials urged conservation and more ranchers considered selling cattle.
The drought covering two-thirds of the continental U.S. had been considered relatively shallow, the product of months without rain, rather than years. But Thursday's report showed its intensity is rapidly increasing, with 20 percent of the nation now in the two worst stages of drought -- up 7 percent from last week.
The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought in various stages, from moderate to severe, extreme and, ultimately, exceptional. Five states -- Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska -- are blanketed by a drought that is severe or worse. States like Arkansas and Oklahoma are nearly as bad, with most areas covered in a severe drought and large portions in extreme or exceptional drought.
Other states are seeing conditions rapidly worsen. Illinois -- a key producer of corn and soybeans -- saw its percentage of land in extreme or exceptional drought balloon from just 8 percent last week to roughly 71 percent as of Thursday, the Drought Monitor reported.
And conditions are not expected to get better, with little rain and more intense heat forecast for the rest of the summer.
Culture war flares over chicken sandwiches; gay activists, Bible Belt conservatives take sides
ATLANTA (AP) -- All of a sudden, biting into a fried chicken sandwich has become a political statement.
Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain known for putting faith ahead of profits by closing on Sundays, is standing firm in its opposition to gay marriage after touching off a furor earlier this month.
Gay rights groups have called for a boycott, the Jim Henson Co. pulled its Muppet toys from kids' meals, and politicians in Boston and Chicago told the chain it is not welcome there.
Across the Bible Belt, where most of the 1,600 restaurants are situated, Christian conservatives have thrown their support behind the Atlanta-based company, promising to buy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries next week on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
The latest skirmish in the nation's culture wars began when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." In a later radio interview, he ratcheted up the rhetoric: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
Facebook's first public quarter proves solid as revenue grows 32 percent but stock tumbles
NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook's first earnings report as a public company had solid numbers, but in the end it landed with a thud -- much like its rocky initial public offering two months ago.
Facebook reported stronger-than-expected revenue and a gain in user numbers Thursday. But investors weren't impressed and after a brief spike, its stock fell more than 10 percent, or $2.74, to $24.10 in after-hours trading. The decline means Facebook's stock will most likely open at its lowest level since going public.
It's another big disappointment for the Harvard-born company that was supposed to usher in the next Internet boom.
"They didn't break any banks," said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer. "They did not come out any better than anybody had expected."
What may have rattled investors is that Facebook's revenue growth has slowed. Between 2009 and 2010, the company's revenue nearly tripled. In the first quarter of this year, revenue climbed 44 percent. In the second quarter, Facebook Inc.'s revenue increased 32 percent to $1.18 billion from $895 million a year earlier. Analysts, on average had expected slightly lower revenue of $1.16 billion, according to FactSet.
Fake Fla. doctor charged in patient's death, accused of botching buttocks enhancement
MIAMI (AP) -- A South Florida woman posing as a doctor was arrested Thursday and charged in the death of a woman who died after authorities said her body was pumped with unknown toxic substances during a buttocks-enhancement surgery.
Shatarka Nuby, a 31-year-old mother, paid a woman known as "Dutchess" hundreds of dollars to come to her house and inject her buttocks, hips, thighs and breasts with an unknown substance. The Dutchess, whose real name is Oneal Morris, sometimes wore medical scrubs and a stethoscope. She allegedly sealed Nuby's injections with super glue and cotton balls, according to Broward County Sheriff's deputies.
Nuby told friends the injections became hard and hot and that her skin turned black. She wrote a letter to Department of Health investigators before her death in March in Tallahassee. An assistant medical examiner said she suffered "massive systemic silicone migration" from the injections, according to a release from the sheriff's office.
Authorities said Nuby was one of several victims who sought out 32-year-old Morris for cosmetic procedures. Some of the victims developed complications and infections after the injections, which included bathroom caulk, cement, Super Glue, Fix-A-Flat and mineral oil into the bodies of his victims, deputies said.
Morris was arrested at her mother's South Florida home Thursday and charged with manslaughter. Her attorney, Michael Mirer, declined comment.
Record crowd greets Peyton Manning as four-time MVP begins his comeback with Denver Broncos
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Peyton Manning says it's going to take him a while to settle into his new digs in Denver after spending 14 years in Indianapolis.
He looked right at home in his new duds Thursday, though.
Manning's passes on the first day of Broncos training camp were as powerful and precise as ever, delighting his coaches, teammates and the 4,371 boisterous fans who crammed into the team's Dove Valley complex for their first glimpse of Manning in orange and blue.
The biggest crowd for a non-stadium practice in team history watched Manning's first practice in front of fans in nearly two years.
"We had (Tim) Tebow last year and he brings out his own fan base," Champ Bailey said. "Just to see more people out here on the first day than I've seen in the past, it's great. I think everybody's starting to expect some good things from us."