Saturday, March 31, 2012

Published:

Romney looks to fall campaign with Wisconsin primary ahead, Santorum stokes lingering doubts.

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) -- Appearing ever-more confident in Wisconsin's primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney focused entirely on Democratic President Barack Obama during a campaign trip through this upper Midwestern battleground and predicted a victory that could effectively seal the nomination for him Tuesday.

"We're looking like we're going to win this thing on Tuesday," Romney told supporters, suggesting he could also claim wins in Maryland and the District of Columbia that day. "If I can get that boost also from Wisconsin I think we'll be on a path that'll get me the nomination well before the convention."

At the same time, fading rival Rick Santorum sought to stoke doubts about Romney's conservative credentials on the last weekend of campaigning before the critical showdown. It's Santorum's last chance to prove his strength in the industrial heartland, where he's said he can challenge Obama but where Romney has beaten him consistently.

Still, Romney nodded toward evangelical conservatives Saturday, acknowledging the doubts in the former Massachusetts governor that linger with these voters, and foreshadowing the balancing act that will face him in the months to come.

"President Obama believes in a government-centered society. He believes government guiding our lives will do a better job in doing so than individuals," Romney told more than 1,000 Wisconsin conservatives at a Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting in the heart of GOP-heavy Waukesha County. The county, just west of Milwaukee, is home to the state's largest evangelical mega-churches.

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Myanmar holds landmark polling likely to see dissident Aung San Suu Kyi elected to parliament

WAH THIN KHA, Myanmar (AP) -- Myanmar held a landmark election Sunday that was expected to send democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi into parliament for her first public office since launching her decades-long struggle against the military-dominated government.

Sunday's by-election, to fill a few dozen vacant seats, followed months of surprising reforms by a nominally civilian government that does not relish ceding ground to Suu Kyi, but which must appear more democratic in order to emerge from decades of international isolation that have crippled the Southeast Asian nation's economy.

Suu Kyi's party and its opposition allies will have almost no say even if they win all the seats they are contesting, because the 664-seat parliament will remain dominated by the military and the military-backed ruling party.

But if Suu Kyi takes office as expected, it would symbolize a giant leap toward national reconciliation after nearly a quarter-century in which she spent most of her time under house arrest. It could also nudge Western powers closer to easing economic sanctions they have imposed on the country for years.

In Wah Thin Kha, one of dozens of dirt-poor villages south of the main city of Yangon, which the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is vying to represent, hundreds of voters lined up outside a single-story public school to cast ballots in a local race pitting Suu Kyi against the ruling party's Soe Min, a former army doctor.

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Protesters march in Florida town where teen was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- Thousands joined a march Saturday through the Florida town where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, vowing to continue protesting until an arrest is made.

Protesters carried signs, chanted "Justice for Trayvon," and clutched the hands of their children while they walked to the Sanford Police Department from a local high school that served black students during the segregation era. The march was organized by the NAACP was one of several taking place over the weekend.

"We live in the middle of an American paradox," Rev. Al Sharpton told the crowd. "We can put a black man in the White House but we cannot walk a black child through a gated neighborhood. We are not selling out, bowing out or backing down until there is justice for Trayvon."

Martin was shot to death by 28-year-old George Zimmerman on Feb. 26 as he walked from a convenience store back to his father's fiancée's home in a gated community outside Orlando. The case has stirred a national conversation about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin, a black teenager from Miami, was unarmed when he was shot by Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic. Zimmerman told police the teen attacked him before he shot in self-defense.

Sharpton and other civil rights leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, spoke during a two-hour rally following the half-mile march.

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Congratulations, Mega Millions winners! You're part of the 1 percent ... but don't get cocky

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Congratulations, Mega Millions winners! You've just won the biggest lottery in history! Move over Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!

Not so fast, Richie Rich.

There's no doubt that you're now each a member of the 1 percent. A life of comfort and leisure awaits, and managed wisely, it just might await your friends and family for generations to come.

Let's just not get carried away.

A luxury box at the stadium you can afford, but forget about buying the franchise and becoming the "No. 1 fan" of your favorite NFL or Major League Baseball team. The Los Angeles Dodgers just sold for $2 billion, besting the NFL record price of $1.1 billion for the Miami Dolphins by nine times your take-home winnings.

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Supreme Court indicates in health care case that it, like public, has little faith in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court left little doubt during last week's marathon arguments over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that it has scant faith in Congress' ability to get anything done.

The views about Congress underlay questions from justices who appear to be on both sides of the argument over the constitutionality of the law's key provision, the individual insurance requirement, as well as whether the entire law should be thrown out if the mandate is struck down.

The comments were particularly striking from the conservative justices who have called on unelected judges to show deference to the actions of elected officials.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who appeared strongly in favor of striking down the entire law, was the most outspoken in his disdain for the branch of government that several justices can see from their office windows.

"You can't repeal the rest of the act because you're not going to get 60 votes in the Senate to repeal the rest. It's not a matter of enacting a new act. You've got to get 60 votes to repeal it. So the rest of the act is going to be the law," Scalia said, explaining it might be better to throw the whole thing out.

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Stricken cruise ship repaired after 24 hours adrift, heading to Malaysia from Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A cruise ship with 1,000 people on board that had drifted for 24 hours after being disabled by a fire was headed toward Malaysia following repairs and was expected to reach shore Sunday, the ship's company said.

The Azamara Quest, which had embarked on a 17-day Southeast Asian cruise, was left drifting in southern Philippine waters after a fire broke out Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship's engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, the ship's operator said. Five crew members suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care.

The ship informed the Philippine coast guard late Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and that it was moving slowly toward Sandakan, Malaysia, its next destination after it left Manila on Thursday, spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said.

Azamara Club Cruises, the ship's operator, said in a statement Sunday that the ship was sailing at a top speed of only 6 knots (11 kilometers or 6.9 miles per hour) and was expected to reach Sandakan at 10 p.m. (1400 GMT).

"Unfortunately, the ship has not been able to restore power to the air conditioning compressors. While this is a very difficult undertaking, the onboard team is diligently working to resolve this issue. The guest sentiment onboard continues to be calm and upbeat," the statement said.

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Bieber, Berry among the victims as slime pours freely at 25th annual Kids' Choice Awards

At the 25th annual Kids' Choice Awards, the slime runneth over.

Host Will Smith opened the 25th annual Kids' Choice Awards promising a record amount of the show's trademark green gunk. Though some 20 awards are presented at the KCAs, the real suspense isn't who will take home a "Blimp" (the show's Oscar), it's when and on whom the slime will spill.

It's like a baptism into kid-dome that can come at any moment: from a hidden bucket, dumped from the rafters or exploded from little orange blimps.

"No one is safe from the slime!" screamed Smith. "You have to earn the slime! It's an honor."

Halle Berry was the first to be covered, but she was far from alone. She was joined by "Twilight" star Taylor Lautner (who won favorite "buttkicker"), "Glee" star Chris Colfer and male singer winner Justin Bieber, who was utterly drenched along with Smith at the end of the show.

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Tribune says it has not reached settlement with DirecTV, channels to be dropped at midnight

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tribune Broadcasting said there's been no settlement with DirecTV Inc. in their contract negotiations, which means DirecTV subscribers in 19 U.S. markets will lose access to certain programming.

In a statement late Saturday, Tribune Broadcasting said that without a deal in place, by federal law DirecTV cannot carry the signal of Tribune's local television stations after midnight, when the agreement expires.

The affected markets include New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Tribune president Nils Larsen called the situation "extremely unfortunate."

In its own statement, DirecTV said it had hoped Tribune would allow its programming to remain up while negotiations continue.

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Stay a little longer: Big comeback leads KU to 64-62 win over Ohio State; Wildcats next

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Same story, new night for Kansas. The team that's been teetering on the edge of the tournament since before it even began is now one of the last two left.

Tyshawn Taylor made two big free throws late, and Thomas Robinson finished with 19 points and eight rebounds Saturday night to lift the Jayhawks to a come-from-behind 64-62 win over Ohio State in the Final Four -- a game Kansas led for a grand total of 3 minutes, 48 seconds.

After scoring the first bucket, Kansas didn't lead again until Travis Releford made two free throws with 2:48 left. That lasted for 11 seconds, but the Jayhawks (32-6), who trailed by as many as 13, overcame another deficit and finally held on against the Buckeyes (31-8).

Taylor's two free throws with 8.3 seconds left gave Kansas a 64-61 lead, matching its biggest of the game. The Jayhawks intentionally fouled Aaron Craft with 2.9 seconds left. Craft made the first, then quickly clanked the second one of the front of the rim but was called for a lane violation.

Kansas dribbled out the clock and celebrated a win that played out sort of the way the whole season has in Lawrence.

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Lin-surgery! Knicks sensation done for regular season because of surgery on left knee

NEW YORK (AP) -- Say so long to Linsanity.

Jeremy Lin will miss the rest of the regular season because he needs knee surgery that will sideline him six weeks and could leave the Knicks without their star point guard in the playoffs -- if they make it that far.

Lin had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear and he has elected to have surgery next week in New York.

With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is done unless the Knicks make a deep postseason run.

Speaking slowly during a pregame press conference, Lin was unable to hide his disappointment with the decision that was reached earlier Saturday after a painful workout.