Sunday, November 11, 2012

Published:

Members of Congress say they want answers about probe into Petraeus affair

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Members of Congress said Sunday they want to know more details about the FBI investigation that revealed an extramarital affair between ex-CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, questioning when the retired general popped up in the FBI inquiry, whether national security was compromised and why they weren't told sooner.

"We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The FBI was investigating harassing emails sent by Petraeus biographer and girlfriend Paula Broadwell to a second woman. That probe of Broadwell's emails revealed the affair between Broadwell and Petraeus. The FBI contacted Petraeus and other intelligence officials, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Petraeus to resign.

A senior U.S. military official identified the second woman as Jill Kelley, 37, who lives in Tampa, Fla., and serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located.

Staffers for Petraeus said Kelley and her husband were regular guests at events he held at Central Command headquarters.

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Greek Parliament passes 2013 austerity budget with comfortable majority

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek lawmakers approved the country's 2013 austerity budget early Monday, an essential step in Greece's efforts to persuade its international creditors to unblock a vital rescue loan installment without which the country will go bankrupt.

The budget passed by a 167-128 vote in the 300-member Parliament. It came days after a separate bill of deep spending cuts and tax hikes for the next two years squeaked through with a narrow majority following severe disagreements among the three parties in the governing coalition.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledged that the spending cuts will be the last Greeks have to endure.

"Just four days ago, we voted the most sweeping reforms ever in Greece," he said. "The sacrifices (in the earlier bill and the budget) will be the last. Provided, of course, we implement all we have legislated. "

"Greece has done what it was asked to do and now is the time for the creditors to make good on their commitments," he stressed.

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10 Things to Know for Monday

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

1. CONGRESS DEMANDS ANSWERS IN PETRAEUS PROBE

"We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says of the FBI investigation that led the CIA chief to quit over an extramarital affair.

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Nation pays tribute to veterans in events ranging from somber to lighthearted on Veterans Day

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- From sea to shining sea, the nation paid tribute to its members of the armed services Sunday, both with somber traditions such as a Virginia wreath-laying ceremony attended by President Barack Obama to honor those who didn't make it back from active duty, and more lighthearted perks including red-carpet treatment at Las Vegas casinos for those who did.

In California, a long legal case drew to a close as a war memorial cross that had been deemed unconstitutional was being resurrected Sunday in the Mojave desert, capping a landmark case for veterans fighting similar battles on public lands.

Sunday marked the official commemoration of Veterans Day, but the federal holiday will be observed Monday.

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President Barack Obama laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and noted that this is the first Veterans Day in a decade with no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq, and that a decade of war in Afghanistan is coming to a close.

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VETERANS DAY PHOTO GALLERY: Memorable images of US troops at war, from WWI to Afghanistan

There are very few bonds in life stronger than among those who have served in the Armed Forces -- soldiers, sailors and others who volunteered out of a sense of duty or who responded when called upon.

Cemeteries across the country pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price.

The last U.S. veteran of World War I is gone and the ranks of World War II and Korean War vets are dwindling. Baby boomers who served in Vietnam are retiring. And with the pullout of troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. commitment there and in Iraq is coming to an end.

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120K customers without power from superstorm; few answers for homes where equipment flooded

NEW YORK (AP) -- New Yorkers railed Sunday against a utility that has lagged behind others in restoring power two weeks after the superstorm that socked the region, criticizing its slow pace as well as a dearth of information.

About 120,000 customers in New York and New Jersey remained without power Sunday, including tens of thousands of homes and businesses that were too damaged to connect to power even if it was running in their neighborhood. More than 8 million lost power during the storm, and some during a later nor'easter.

Separately, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited with disaster-relief workers Sunday in Staten Island's Midland Beach neighborhood, which is still devastated two weeks after Sandy hit.

The lack of power restoration for a relative few in the densely populated region at the heart of the storm reinforced Sandy's fractured effect on the area: tragic and vicious to some, merely a nuisance to others.

Perhaps none of the utilities have drawn criticism as widespread, or as harsh, as the Long Island Power Authority. Nearly 50,000 of the homes and businesses it serves were still without power Sunday evening, and 55,000 more couldn't safely connect even though their local grids were back online because their wiring and other equipment had been flooded. It would need to be repaired or inspected before those homes could regain power, LIPA said.

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Israel fires at Syria for first time after mortar fire strikes military base

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel was drawn into the fighting in neighboring Syria for the first time Sunday, firing warning shots across the border after an errant mortar shell landed near an Israeli military installation in the Golan Heights.

While Israel appeared eager to calm the situation, its response was a potent reminder of how easily the Syrian civil war -- already spilling across borders with Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan -- could explode into a wider regional conflagration.

Israeli officials threatened even tougher retaliation if attacks persist.

They have feared that the instability in Syria over the past 19 months could spill across the border into Israel, particularly as President Bashar Assad's grip on power grows increasingly precarious.

Israel has little love for Assad, who has provided refuge and support to Israel's bitterest enemies through the years. But the Syrian leader -- and his father before him -- have kept the frontier quiet for nearly four decades, providing a rare source of stability in the volatile region.

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Deadly blast leaves blackened pits where homes once stood in Indianapolis neighborhood

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Splintered beams and boards on a piece of charred earth were all that remained Sunday where at least two Indianapolis homes were leveled in a blast that killed two people and rendered homes for blocks uninhabitable.

A backhoe raked through the rubble in the middle-class subdivision as clusters of firefighters and rescue workers weary from a long, chaotic day that began late the night before waited for their next assignment.

The two-story, brick-faced homes on either side of those demolished by the blast were ruins. One home's roof was gone, a blackened husk left behind. On the other side of the gap, the side of a home was sheared off. Across the street, garage doors had buckled from the heat.

It wasn't yet clear what caused the blast that shook the neighborhood at 11 p.m. Saturday. Residents described hearing a loud boom that blew out windows and collapsed ceilings. Some thought a plane had crashed or that it was an earthquake.

Alex Pflanzer, who was asleep when the nearby homes were leveled, said he heard his wife screaming and thought someone was breaking in his house. Grabbing his gun, he checked the house and saw the front door was standing open.

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Long revered BBC faces extraordinary crisis, calls for shake-up in wake of sex-abuse scandal

LONDON (AP) -- The bungling of reports that powerful Britons sexually abused children has thrown one of the largest and most respected broadcasters in the world into a deep crisis.

It is hard to overstate the importance of the BBC in British society; its influence stretches throughout the former British empire and beyond. Over the years, the BBC has been behind almost all of the U.K.'s broadcast milestones, serving as a voice for the British nation. Its airwaves have carried the clanging of Big Ben's bells, wartime messages from Winston Churchill, and the music of the Beatles -- exporting British culture to a global audience.

The head of the BBC's governing body called Sunday for an overhaul of the broadcaster. That could mean many things for the sprawling organization that has long emphasized its obligations to the public. To know what it would take, it is important to know what the BBC is and the scale of the crisis it faces.

WHAT HAPPENED:

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Kickers on both sides miss field goals in overtime as Rams and 49ers play to 24-24 tie

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Two typically reliable kickers missed. Penalties doomed both sides. And a furious, thrilling finish to regulation ended with a dramatic dud in overtime: a tie.

And nobody particularly likes a tie. Especially not the NFC West-leading 49ers, with a chance to separate themselves against a division rival. Or the Rams, eager to snap a three-game losing streak.

San Francisco and St. Louis played the NFL's first tie game in four years as both teams missed overtime field goals in Sunday's 24-24 outcome.

"I have to say, I've been doing this a while. I don't think I've ever been in a game like this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "As I told our guys, we had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't."

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game -- which holder Johnny Hekker said was his fault. Zuerlein tried again from 58 as Fisher played for the win, and missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.