August 12, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Afghan officer kills 10 colleagues

From Wire Reports
 

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan police officer killed at least 10 of his fellow officers on Saturday, a day after six U.S. service members were gunned down by their Afghan partners in summer violence that has both international and Afghan forces questioning who is friend or foe.

Shakila Hakimi, a member of the Nimroz provincial council, said the policeman who opened fire on his colleagues at a checkpoint in Dilaram district is believed to have had ties to militants. He was killed in an ensuing gunbattle, she said in a telephone call from the provincial capital of Zaranj, along Afghanistan’s western border with Iran.

Dems endorse marriage equality

DETROIT – The national Democratic Party’s platform committee endorsed gay marriage Saturday for the first time and called for the repeal of a federal law that recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The platform is a broad statement of the party’s priorities on the economy, social issues and national defense and next goes to the national convention in North Carolina in September.

Scott Dibble, a committee member and a state senator from Minnesota, said support for gay marriage can attract new voters.

“Young people are looking for a political home right now. This has become a defining moral question of our time,” said Dibble, who is gay.

The platform says Democrats support “marriage equality” and the “movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”

“We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference,” the platform says.

Virginia man wins senior spelling bee

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A 67-year-old Virginia man out-spelled four of his cousins to capture first place at this year’s AARP National Spelling Bee.

Michael Petrina Jr., of Arlington, Va., spelled better than 48 others Saturday to become the bee’s first repeat winner. He won the bee in 2009, and placed second last year and in 2008.

Wyoming AARP spokeswoman Joanne Mai said the retired attorney won by correctly spelling the word “rhizoctonia” (rhy-zahk- TOH’-nee-uh), a type of imperfect fungi.

Petrina’s prizes include $1,000 and a five-year AARP membership.

More than 50 competitors from 24 states signed up for the 16th annual senior bee. It’s open to anyone age 50 and older.

Coast Guard works on grounded ship

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Coast Guard has removed a total of more than 600 tons of oil-covered cargo from a stranded freighter near Puerto Rico, but more work remains to be done, a spokesman said Saturday.

Crews have to remove more debris before pumping the 202-foot ship dry and patching and plugging holes as needed, Chief Petty Officer Paul Roszkowski said in a phone interview.

Crews already have removed an additional 5,000 gallons of oil and 22 55-gallon drums of hazardous materials including aerosol cans and batteries, he said.

“Not one drop of oil has hit the water at this point,” he said. “That’s great. You don’t see that a lot with a ship grounding.”

The Honduran-flagged Jireh freighter hit a reef off Mona Island in late June.

Twitter abusers flagged by police

LONDON – British police say they have arrested a man and a woman in relation to a probe into child abuse on Twitter.

Metropolitan Police say the pair, both in their 40s, have been released to return in November pending further questioning. They were arrested at a London apartment Friday.

Police took action after receiving information from the Sunday Mirror newspaper, which carried out a probe into sex offenders operating on the social media network.

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