Morning News Briefs and Wednesday's Weather

Posted: September 4, 2013

Winchester-Area Weather: Another mild and dry day ahead, as it appears to be for at least the next four or five days. Sunny today with a high of 81. Clear tonight before becoming partly cloudy and a low of 55. Partly cloudy and 77 on Thursday. Clear and 72 on Friday. Lower 80s for the weekend.

Morning News Briefs from the Associated Press for Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ohio man who held 3 women captive commits suicide
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The man who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade before one escaped and alerted authorities has been found dead and is believed to have committed suicide, a prison official said. Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, located south of Columbus in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman, said early Wednesday.

Obama faces Syria test as House holds 1st hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is facing a tougher examination of its plans for military intervention in Syria, squaring off against tea party Republicans and other skeptical House members a day after gaining Speaker John Boehner's critical endorsement and finding significant support in the Senate. With President Barack Obama in Europe, his top national security aides were to participate Wednesday in a series of public and private hearings at the Capitol to advance their case for limited strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in retaliation for what the administration says was a deadly sarin gas attack by his forces outside Damascus last month.

France: Syria action would 're-balance' situation
PARIS (AP) — France's government offers a preview Wednesday of what the Obama administration faces next week, as lawmakers debate the wisdom and necessity of a military response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed hundreds. Shoring up support for a military response, French officials said a punitive military response would help shift the balance in a 2 ½-year-old civil war that was tipping in favor of Bashar Assad.

AP Interview: Putin warns West on Syria action
NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin warned the West against taking one-sided action in Syria but also said Russia "doesn't exclude" supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes if it is proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people. In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television, Putin said Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has frozen further shipments. He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without U.N. Security Council backing.

Medical pot looks to 'color inside the lines'
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Medical marijuana businesses worried that federal agents will close them down now have a roadmap to avoid prosecution, courtesy of the Justice Department's decision to allow legal pot in Colorado and Washington state. The agency said last week that even though the drug remains illegal under federal law, it won't intervene to block state pot laws or prosecute as long as states create strict and effective controls that follow eight conditions.

In Sweden, Obama to showcase common global goals
STOCKHOLM (AP) — President Barack Obama is seeking to use a 24-hour visit to this Swedish capital to show a softer side of American diplomacy even as the world's gaze remains fixed anxiously on Syria. He intends to focus in the Nordic nation on climate change, trade and technology, a trio of issues on which there is broad consensus with European allies. The topics are a marked departure from the thorny, pressing matters he's facing back home on national security and the economy. He also plans to pay homage to a Holocaust-era hero whose name is commemorated on street signs from Paris to Tel Aviv.

Immigrant fights to become California lawyer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sergio Garcia arrived in the U.S. illegally 20 years ago to pick almonds in the field with his father. But that was not all he wanted for his life. Working the fields and at a grocery store, he attended community college, studying to become a paralegal, and passed the California bar on the first try, a boast Gov. Jerry Brown, former Gov. Peter Wilson and nearly 50 percent of all first-time test takers can't make.

Study: Most states lack disaster plans for kids
WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight years after Hurricane Katrina, most states still don't require four basic safety plans to protect children in school and child care from disasters, aid group Save the Children said in a report released Wednesday. The group faulted 28 states and the District of Columbia for failing to require the emergency safety plans for schools and child care providers that were recommended by a national commission in the wake of Katrina. The lack of such plans could endanger children's lives and make it harder for them to be reunited with their families, the study said.

Review: 'Mega' phone is huge, with limited appeal
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Please turn off all electronic devices, the flight crew instructs as we approach Los Angeles. With a small phone, I might have gotten away with ignoring safety regulations. Samsung's new Galaxy Mega phone was too conspicuous for that. The Mega shouldn't even be called a phone, if it weren't for the fact that it makes phone calls. With a screen measuring 6.3 inches diagonally, the Mega is more like a small Android tablet computer. It shares the tablet's advantages in showing more detail in photos and video. Text is larger and easier to read, too.

Judge orders Armstrong to answer doping questions
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge is pushing Lance Armstrong closer to his first sworn testimony on details of his performance-enhancing drug use, ordering the cyclist to answer questions about who knew what and when about his doping, including possibly his ex-wife and his attorneys. Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Holding is seeking the information in its lawsuit to recover $3 million in bonuses it paid Armstrong from 1999 to 2001. A judge previously refused to dismiss the case.