Morning News Brief and Thursday's Forecast

Posted: August 29, 2013

Winchester-Area Weather: Mostly cloudy this morning then becoming mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 80s. Partly cloudy tonight with lows in the mid-60s. Partly cloudy and 83 on Friday and Saturday. A chance of thunderstorms and 83 on Sunday. More storms possible on Labor Day and a high of 85.

Morning News Briefs from the Associated Press for Thursday, August 29, 2013

Obama: US action would send Assad 'strong signal'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is vowing that American retaliation for Syrian chemical weapons use would send a "strong signal," as U.S. intelligence officials readied briefings for Congress on evidence aimed at linking last week's attack to President Bashar Assad's government. But even as the U.S. moves closer to possible military action, new hurdles appear to be slowing the formation of an international coalition to undertake military action. And questions remain about the strength of the case against Assad.

AP sources: Intelligence on weapons no 'slam dunk'
WASHINGTON (AP) — The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least 100 people is no "slam dunk," with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say. President Barack Obama declared unequivocally Wednesday that the Syrian government was responsible, while laying the groundwork for an expected U.S. military strike.

UN chemical experts leave Damascus hotel
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — U.N. experts investigating purported poison gas attacks left their Damascus hotel Thursday, but anti-regime activists said the team's destination was not immediately known. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team would be leaving Syria on Saturday.

Before death, Fort Hood shooter faces long appeals
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won't let him go down without a fight — whether he likes it or not. The Army psychiatrist was sentenced Wednesday to die for the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won't be allowed to represent himself.

Obama inspires many in 50th-year King remembrance
WASHINGTON (AP) — For many among the tens of thousands of Americans who thronged to the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, President Barack Obama's challenge to seize the cause of racial equality from the "glorious patriots" of the tumultuous 1960s struck a deep generational chord. Standing on hallowed ground for the civil rights movement, the very steps on the Lincoln Memorial from which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke a half-century ago, Obama urged each person in the crowd Wednesday to become a modern-day marcher for racial harmony and economic justice.

Preemie study sparks debate over risks of research
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dagen Pratt's parents enrolled their tiny premature baby in a study of oxygen treatment believing she'd get the best possible care. They didn't understand it was an experiment to test what dose works best. No one mentioned any risks. Now 6, Dagen struggles with cerebral palsy, and they wonder: Is that long-ago study to blame?

Predator drone now part of Calif. wildfire battle
GROVELAND, Calif. (AP) — As crews made significant progress building containment lines around a giant wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park, officials said they would maintain use of a National Guard Predator drone to give them early views of any new flare-ups across in the remote and rugged landscape. The Rim Fire expanded to 301 square miles, but crews had a productive day Wednesday and containment increased to 30 percent. Cooler temperatures and lighter winds aided the firefighters.

Accuser testifies in Naval Academy sex assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — A midshipman testified Wednesday that she didn't remember being sexually assaulted by three former Navy football players after a night of heavy drinking, but she said one of the men told her she had sex with him and another accused player. The woman, who is now a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, testified for more than two hours at the Washington Navy Yard at a hearing to determine whether the three midshipmen will face court-martial. She described a night of drinking in her room at the academy with a friend before going to the toga-themed party in April 2012 at an off-campus house in Annapolis, Md.

Stats show Americans not that into driving anymore
WASHINGTON (AP) — Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over? After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. — the collective miles people drive — peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing. Just this week the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.

Venus Williams loses 3rd-set tiebreaker at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) — After her latest early Grand Slam exit, Venus Williams was asked what the future holds for her at the U.S. Open. In one breath, Williams brushed aside the unspoken reference to retirement, saying, "I definitely want to come back for the atmosphere."