Morning News Briefs and Friday's Forecast

Posted: May 17, 2013

WINCHESTER-AREA WEATHER: Partly cloudy today with a high of 79 before becoming overcast tonight with a 40 percent chance of rain and a low of 57. Cooler on Saturday, a high of 63 and a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. Heay rainfall possible Saturday night. Storms likely on Sunday and a high of 64.

Morning News Briefs by the Associated Press for Friday, May 17, 2013.

House committee to grill ousted IRS chief
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers are ready to question the ousted head of the Internal Revenue Service as Congress holds its first hearing on the tougher scrutiny the IRS gave tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. With the scandal joining the parade of political headaches buffeting President Barack Obama, the Republican-run House Ways and Means Committee planned to question the agency's ousted chief, Steven Miller, on Friday.

Obama vows to end 'scourge' of military sex abuse
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is pledging to eliminate the "scourge" of sexual assault in the military while cautioning that it will take a long and sustained effort by all military members. "There is no silver bullet to solving this problem," Obama said Thursday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the top brass from all the military services.

Some lost everything to North Texas tornado
GRANBURY, Texas (AP) — Raul Rodriguez counts himself a lucky man. For two years, the 42-year-old auto mechanic and his family have enjoyed life in his house in the Rancho Brazos Estates subdivision of Granbury, a North Texas town 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Built by volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, it was the first home Rodriguez has ever owned.

Syria ex-minister leads rebuilding plan
BEIRUT (AP) — A six-member U.N. team led by a former Syrian planning minister is drawing up a comprehensive postwar reconstruction plan even as the country's civil war rages on with no apparent end in sight. A joint U.S.-Russian push to bring together Syria's political opposition and representatives of President Bashar Assad's regime to negotiate a peaceful transition has given their work new urgency.

As yen falls, goods from Japan are more affordable
Japanese goods are getting more affordable. For consumers worldwide — and for Japan's economy — it's welcome news. Credit Japan's drive to pump cash into its economy to stimulate growth. The extra money flooding its financial system is helping shrink the value of the yen. A U.S. dollar now buys about 100 yen. Last fall, it bought fewer than 80.

California fuels $550 million Powerball jackpot
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The numbers sum up the frenzy that has taken over the Golden State since it joined the madness over Powerball, which has seen its jackpot soar to $550 million for Saturday's drawing. California has sold $83 million worth of Powerball tickets since April, when it joined 42 other states that offer the game. Since then, the most populous state has accounted for 11 percent of the game's sales, fueling such fast-growing mega-jackpots like the latest one that has the potential to be a record-breaker.

NYC artist's secret photos raise privacy issues
NEW YORK (AP) — In one photo, a woman is on all fours, presumably picking something up, her posterior pressed against a glass window. Another photo shows a couple in bathrobes, their feet touching beneath a table. And there is one of a man, in jeans and a T-shirt, lying on his side as he takes a nap. In all the photos, taken by New York City artist Arne Svenson from his second-floor apartment, the faces are obscured or not shown. The people are unidentifiable.

How Candice Glover won 'American Idol'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With a flawless voice that recalled past "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson and a sense of determination after not making it in previous seasons, Candice Glover did the one thing Hudson wasn't able to do: She won the title of "American Idol." ''I always knew for some reason that it would happen if I kept going," said Glover backstage Thursday after her coronation.

Beckham's role after retirement to remain global
PARIS (AP) — After David Beckham's long and distinguished soccer career ends on an artificial turf field in northwestern France, his life promises to be perhaps even more glamorous than it already has been. Nearly 20 years after breaking into the Manchester United lineup, the 38-year-old former England captain won the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain this season.