Morning News Brief and Thursday's Forecast

Posted: August 22, 2013

WINCHESTER-AREA WEATHER: Partly sunny today with a slight chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Partly cloudy tonight becoming mostly cloudy with a chance of storms after midnight. Lows in the mid-60s. Temperatures fall back to the lower 80s beginning Friday. A chance of morning precipitation on Friday, then drying out for the weekend.

Morning News Briefs from the Associated Press for Thursday, August 22, 2013

NSA reveals more secrets after court order
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has given up more of its surveillance secrets, acknowledging that it was ordered to stop scooping up thousands of Internet communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism — a practice it says was an unintended consequence when it gathered bundles of Internet traffic connected to terror suspects. One of the documents that intelligence officials released Wednesday came because a court ordered the National Security Agency to do so. But it's also part of the administration's response to the leaks by analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, who revealed that the NSA's spying programs went further and gathered millions more communications than most Americans realized.

Syrian forces bomb area of alleged chemical attack
BEIRUT (AP) — President Bashar Assad's forces pressed on with a military offensive in eastern Damascus on Thursday, bombing rebel-held suburbs where the opposition said a chemical weapons attack the day before killed over 100 people. The government has denied allegations it used chemical weapons in artillery barrages on the area known as eastern Ghouta on Wednesday as "absolutely baseless." The United States, Britain and France have demanded that a team of U.N. experts already in Syria be granted immediate access to investigate the site.

New tactics emerge in fight for Manning's freedom
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The fight to free Pfc. Bradley Manning takes a new turn as he returns to prison to serve a 35-year sentence for leaking classified information and his lawyer says he will ask the Army for leniency — and the White House for a pardon. Even Manning's supporters have pivoted. During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, they wore T-shirts reading, "truth," as they had for the entire court-martial. Hours later, they had changed into shirts saying, "President Obama: Pardon Bradley Manning."

Ousted China politician denies taking bribes
JINAN, China (AP) — Standing trial Thursday in China's biggest scandal in decades, ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai defended himself against allegations that he took bribes, saying he was coerced into making a confession and hoped that the court will judge his case fairly. And after months in which little was revealed about the case against Bo, prosecutors began rolling out details, saying that he used his wife and son to help collect more than $4.3 million in illicit money.

Egypt's Mubarak to be put under house arrest
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak is expected to be freed from prison and placed under house arrest on Thursday after being ordered released the previous day, following more than two years in detention. The development is a new twist in the saga of the long-time president, toppled in Egypt's popular uprising in 2011, and could potentially stoke tensions in the deeply divided nation. It could also amplify the anger against the military-backed government and Islamist allegations that last month's military coup against Mubarak's successor, Mohammed Morsi, was a step toward restoring the old regime.

Jury in Fort Hood rampage trial set to deliberate
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is sending only a single piece of evidence to the jury room when deliberations likely start Thursday about whether he is guilty of the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood: an evaluation from his boss that called him a good soldier. Then there's the trove military prosecutors are handing over.

Family: Woman battled to recover from shark attack
HONOLULU (AP) — A 20-year-old German woman who lost her right arm in a shark attack off of Hawaii last week is being remembered by her family as beautiful and strong after fighting to stay alive in a Maui hospital. "We are sad to say that she lost her fight today," her family said Wednesday in a statement through Maui Memorial Medical Center.

'Boyfriend Tracker' app raises stir in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilians were outraged when they learned their country was a top target of the U.S. National Security Agency's overseas spying operation, with data from billions of calls and emails swept up in Washington's top secret surveillance program. Yet when it comes to the cloak and dagger effort of catching philandering lovers, all high-tech weapons appear to be fair game — at least to the tens of thousands of Brazilians who downloaded "Boyfriend Tracker" to their smartphones before the stealthy software was removed from the Google Play app store last week, apparently in response to complaints about privacy abuses and its potential to be used for extortion or even stalking.

Test-tube babies: A simpler, cheaper technique?
LONDON (AP) — Since the first test-tube baby was born more than three decades ago, in vitro fertilization has evolved into a highly sophisticated lab procedure. Now, scientists are going back to basics and testing a simpler and cheaper method. In the West, many would-be parents spend thousands of dollars for IVF, which involves pricey incubators and extensive screening. But European and American scientists say a simplified version of the entire procedure aimed at developing countries could be done for about 200 euros ($265) with generic fertility drugs and basic lab equipment that would fit inside a shoebox.

Going bananas: Pa. city gearing up 'split' bash
PITTSBURGH (AP) — People are going nuts in one western Pennsylvania city that claims to be the birthplace of the banana split. The residents of Latrobe, a city of 9,000 some 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, are poised to scoop on peanuts, chocolate sauce and whipped cream as they honor the frozen concoction.