Morning News Briefs and Wednesday's Weather

Posted: September 25, 2013

Winchester-Area Weather: Another chilly start to the day before warming up into the mid-70s this afternoon under partly cloudy skies. A low of 52 tonight. Partly cloudy and highs around 72 and lows near 45 -- that's the forecast right now for Thursday through Sunday.

Morning News Briefs from the Associated Press for Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shabab: 137 killed in Kenya mall attack
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The militant group behind the four-day takeover of a Nairobi mall claimed Wednesday that Kenyan government forces used chemical weapons in their assault on the building, then carried out "a demolition" to cover evidence and buried 137 hostages. In a series of Twitter posts from an account believed to be genuine, al-Shabab said that "having failed to defeat the mujahideen inside the mall, the Kenyan govt disseminated chemical gases to end the siege."

Iran's president tones down anti-Israel rhetoric
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Iranian president's first speech to world leaders was absent anti-Israel rhetoric and offered up negotiations with the U.S. and its allies over the disputed nuclear program, showing a more moderate face of the hard-line regime in Tehran. However, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani also took repeated digs at America and the West on Tuesday, much like those that were staples of his predecessor's annual messages to the United Nations General Assembly.

Senate moves toward test vote on Obamacare
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled Senate is on a path toward defeating tea party attempts to dismantle President Barack Obama's health care law, despite an overnight talkathon on the chamber's floor led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The freshman Cruz and other conservative Republicans were trying to delay a must-pass spending bill, but were virtually sure to lose a test vote on that legislation planned for later Wednesday.

Analysis: Republicans in a risky fight with Obama
WASHINGTON (AP) — Under relentless pressure from their right wing, Republicans are in the midst of a risky fight with President Barack Obama they know they will lose, little more than a year before an election that history says they should win. To minimize the damage, the party must redefine victory as something less than a full defunding of Obama's 3-year-old health care law, yet convince the most conservative GOP supporters that Republican lawmakers succumbed after a principled fight. All without triggering a government shutdown or a default by the Treasury, or otherwise offending independents whose ballots will settle the 2014 elections.

Premiums unveiled for health overhaul plans
WASHINGTON (AP) — With new health insurance markets launching next week, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents. Before tax credits that work like an upfront discount for most consumers, sticker-price premiums for a mid-range benchmark plan will average $328 a month nationally for an individual, comparable to payments for a new car.

Militant Sunni group takes aim at minorities
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Sunni militant group known for targeting rival Muslims has emerged as a dangerous new player in Pakistan, sending a pair of suicide bombers this week to detonate themselves inside a church in the deadliest ever attack against Pakistani Christians. The brutal assault, which killed 85 worshippers during Sunday services, was the first time that a militant group has taken direct aim at Pakistan's tiny Christian community.

Massive quake in southwest Pakistan kills 210
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Rescuers struggled Wednesday to help thousands of people injured and left homeless after their houses collapsed in a massive earthquake in southwestern Pakistan the day before as the death toll rose overnight to 210. The earth moved with enough force to create a small island visible off the southern coast after the huge tremor, said Pakistani officials.

'Yellow brick road' leading to Mass. pirate booty
BREWSTER, Mass. (AP) — He calls it "the yellow brick road" because it's literally sprinkled with gold dust. This road runs along Cape Cod's shifting seafloor, and undersea explorer Barry Clifford believes it leads to undiscovered treasure from the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah.

Amazon unveils Kindle Fire HDX with 24/7 live help
SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon is refreshing its line-up of tablet computers with new devices called Kindle Fire HDX, which are significantly faster and lighter than the previous generation. The 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions also have sharper, more colorful displays than older models, and both have more pixels per inch than the latest iPad.

Oracle wins 7th straight in America's Cup
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Skipper Jimmy Spithill and his mates aboard Oracle Team USA are on the brink of finishing one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. An America's Cup that had the look of an embarrassing loss for software tycoon Larry Ellison's American syndicate comes down to a winner-take-all race Wednesday: Two 72-foot, space-age catamarans are set to make a final, adrenaline-fueled sprint around San Francisco Bay, on a five-leg course framed by the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.