News briefs for Sept. 7

Published 12:10 am Sunday, September 7, 2008

McCain, Obama enter final 8 weeks of race

ST. PAUL, Minn. — They embody four uniquely American stories. They offer messages of transformation with two distinct world views. They pursue one goal.

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama and their respective running mates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, begin the final eight weeks of their historic and close presidential contest ready to rewrite national politics.

Race, gender and age barriers are at stake. A shifting political landscape will take the fight to previously ignored states. Advertising will suffocate the airwaves with intensely negative exchanges. Debates could be as decisive as the final Carter-Reagan debate of 1980. And more money will be spent by the hour in politics than ever before.

Rice: ‘time isn’t right’ for civilian nuclear cooperation between US-Russia

ALGIERS, Algeria — Now is not the right time for the U.S. to move forward on a once-celebrated deal for civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

Her comment increased speculation that President Bush is planning to punish Moscow for invading Georgia, a former Soviet republic, by canceling the agreement. Such a move is being planned, according to senior Bush administration officials, but is not yet final.

Ike strengthens to Category 4 hurricane

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos — A strengthening Hurricane Ike loomed over this low-lying island chain Saturday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, prompting thousands of people to evacuate while those staying behind hunkered down and hoped for the best.

As the massive gray wall of clouds approached from the east, people poured into the main supermarket in Providenciales, expecting that power would be knocked out and that food would suddenly become scarce.

Shopkeepers and homeowners covered windows with plywood. Boats were hauled ashore or secured with multiple anchors.

Rock slide crushes Egyptian shantytown

CAIRO, Egypt — Massive boulders crashed down on a shantytown on the outskirts of Cairo Saturday, killing at least 24 people and burying many more under tons of rubble, Egyptian authorities said.

Frantic residents in the sprawling Manshiyet Nasr slum were digging by hand and trying to lift huge rocks to reach any survivors, shouting out the names of relatives and family members trapped below. Haidar Baghdadi, the parliamentarian for the region, told Al-Jazeera television buried residents were calling for help from under the rubble using their cell phones.

Once unknown Palin gains celebrity status

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The banners, buttons and signs say McCain-Palin, but the crowds say something else.

“Sa-rah! Pa-lin!” came the chant at a Colorado Springs rally on Saturday moments before Republican nominee John McCain took the stage with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a woman who was virtually unknown to the nation just a week earlier. The day before, thousands screamed “Sa-rah! Sa-rah! Sa-rah!” at an amphitheater outside Detroit.

“Real change with a real woman,” read one sign at a Wisconsin rally. “Hurricane Sarah leaves liberals spinning,” cried another.

No prosecutions in civil rights era killings

WASHINGTON — Flanked by officials from the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center, FBI Director Robert Mueller last year announced with considerable fanfare a new partnership between his agency and civil rights organizations.

The goal: To bring justice in long-ignored murders from the civil rights era.

The outcome: Not one case has been prosecuted under the FBI’s Cold Case Initiative, which actually began two years ago with no fanfare at all.

–The Associated Press