Sunday, December 23, 2012

Published:

Newtown turns to clergy, counselors in town changed forever by tragedy

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- The grief will not end. Yet the healing must begin. So as the shock of Newtown's horrific school shooting starts to wear off, as the headlines fade and the therapists leave, residents are seeking a way forward through faith, community and a determination to seize their future.

At religious services Sunday, church leaders received standing ovations from parishioners they have been helping to cope with the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.

"This has been the worst week of my life," said Monsignor Robert Weiss of the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which lost eight children and two adults in the massacre. He thanked the community for giving him strength to get through the week filled with funerals.

Meanwhile, a former teacher, Carole MacInnes, said she remembers the gunman as a smart, sweet boy in her second-grade class at Sandy Hook.

To deal with the short-term trauma, the state sent dozens of mental health professionals to Newtown. Sessions were available every day, at a half-dozen locations. Relief also has been provided by therapy and service dogs, massage therapists, acupuncturists and art therapists, from around Connecticut and the nation.

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Police: Idaho US Sen. Crapo arrested in northern Virginia, charged with DUI

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Idaho U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said.

Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m..

"There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries," Donaldson said. "Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI."

Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08.

Donaldson said he didn't immediately know what Crapo's blood alcohol level was, where he was coming from or the type of vehicle he was driving.

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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 Monday:

1. 'WE CAN'T LOSE CHRISTMAS TOO'

The community of Newtown, Conn., nurtures its holiday spirit in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

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Lieberman fears country may go over 'fiscal cliff,' cites 'congressional irresponsibility'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senators bickered Sunday over who's to blame for lurching the country toward a year-end "fiscal cliff," bemoaning the lack of a deal days before the deadline but bridging no differences in the debate.

With the collapse Thursday of House Speaker John Boehner's plan to allow tax rates to rise on million-dollar-plus incomes, Sen. Joe Lieberman said "it's the first time that I feel it's more likely we'll go over the cliff than not," meaning that higher taxes for most Americans and painful federal agency budget cuts would be in line to go ahead.

"If we allow that to happen it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history because of the impact it'll have on almost every American," said Lieberman, a Connecticut independent.

Wyoming Sen. Jon Barrasso, a member of the GOP leadership, predicted that the new year would come without an agreement, and he faulted the White House.

"I believe the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. He senses a victory at the bottom of the cliff," he said.

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Syrian airstrike kills dozens as international envoy pushes for peace with top officials

BEIRUT (AP) -- A government airstrike Sunday on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country's civil war.

The strike on the town of Halfaya left scattered bodies and debris up and down a street, and more than a dozen dead and wounded were trapped in tangled heap of dirt and rubble.

The attack appeared to be the government response to a newly announced rebel offensive seeking to drive the Syrian army from a constellation of towns and village north of the central city of Hama. Halfaya was the first of the area's towns to be "liberated" by rebel fighters, and activists saw Sunday's attack as payback.

"Halfaya was the first and biggest victory in the Hama countryside," said Hama activist Mousab Alhamadee via Skype. "That's why the regime is punishing them in this way."

The total death toll remained unclear, but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 60 people were killed. That number is expected to rise, it said, because some 50 of those wounded in the strike are in critical condition.

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Analysis: Constitution 'yes' gives Egypt's Islamists foundation to create more religious state

CAIRO (AP) -- With the passage of a divisive constitution, Egypt's Islamist leadership has secured its tightest grip on power since Hosni Mubarak's ouster nearly two years ago and laid the foundation for legislation to create a more religious state.

The opposition's response -- a vow to keep fighting the charter and the program of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi -- ensured that the turmoil of the past two years will not end as many, especially the tens of millions of poor craving stability, had fervently hoped.

"The referendum is not the end game. It is only a battle in this long struggle for the future of Egypt," the opposition National Salvation Front said in a strongly worded statement on Sunday.

"We will not allow a change to the identity of Egypt or the return of the age of tyranny," added the front, which claims the new constitution seeks to enshrine Islamic rule in Egypt and accuses the Islamists of trying to monopolize power.

Critics say the new constitution does not sufficiently protect the rights of women and minority groups and empowers Muslim clerics by giving them a say over legislation. Some articles were also seen as tailored to get rid of Islamists' enemies and undermine the freedom of labor unions.

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AP PHOTOS: Remembering the victims of the Conn. school massacre

The victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre have been laid to rest more than a week after the shootings.

As the families and community grieve, they also remember and share stories about those who were lost: 20 children, six educators and the mother of the shooter.

Here are some images of the victims, funerals and memorials.

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Official: Navy SEAL commander dies of apparent suicide while deployed in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. military officials are investigating the apparent suicide of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan.

Navy SEAL Cdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Saturday of a non-combat-related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

A U.S. military official said the death "appears to be the result of suicide." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the death is still being investigated.

"The Naval Special Warfare family is deeply saddened by the loss of our teammate," said Capt. Robert Smith, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Group Two, which manages all Virginia-based Navy SEAL teams. "We extend our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family, friends, and NSW community during this time of grieving."

"As we mourn the loss and honor the memory of our fallen teammate, those he served with will continue to carry out the mission," Smith added Sunday.

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Members of public say final good-bye to late Sen. Daniel Inouye with memorial in Honolulu

HONOLULU (AP) -- The late Sen. Daniel Inouye was remembered Sunday as an American hero whose legacy as a war veteran and longtime senator would be felt across Hawaii for years to come.

The memorial service at Honolulu's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was attended by about 1,000 people, including President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Hawaii's congressional delegation and a number of other senators, cabinet secretaries and other dignitaries.

"Daniel was the best senator among us all," Reid told those assembled, adding later: "Whenever we needed a noble man to lean on, we turned to Sen. Dan Inouye. He was fearless."

The cemetery, a strikingly beautiful site located in an extinct volcano, is the final resting place to thousands of World War II veterans. More than 400 members of the storied Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team -- of which Inouye was a part -- are buried at the site.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the Navy's U.S. Pacific Command, said this also will be Inouye's final resting place.

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Seahawks race to 28-6 halftime lead over 49ers in front of rocking Seattle fans

SEATTLE (AP) -- Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes, Marshawn Lynch scored twice, Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for another score and Seattle raced to a 28-6 halftime lead over San Francisco on Sunday night in front of the Seahawks' rocking crowd.

Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense were noticeably rattled by the noise echoing off the walls of CenturyLink Field. San Francisco was forced to take two timeouts and had a delay of game penalty in the first quarter alone as the 49ers struggled to handle the roar of the rabid Seattle fans.

With steady rain and the Seahawks' famous "12th Man" making simple communication almost impossible it quickly turned into a miserable night for young San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and an unhappy 49th birthday for 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh.

Lynch scored on Seattle's first two possessions, the first on a 24-yard run and the second on a 9-yard reception. It was just the third touchdown catch of Lynch's career.

And just when the 49ers finally pieced together a drive, it quickly went the other way with Red Bryant blocking David Akers' 21-yard field-goal attempt and Sherman scooping up the loose ball and sprinting untouched for a 21-0 lead.