October 30, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Chicago homicides surpass 2011 total

From Wire Reports

CHICAGO – With two months left in 2012, Chicago has surpassed the number of homicides it had for all of last year.

The 436th homicide this year came Monday with the shooting of Carlos Alexander, 33, in South Chicago. It was a grim milestone city officials wanted to avoid but knew was coming.

Last year Chicago recorded 435 homicides. It tied that number over the weekend when six people were fatally shot.

Chicago’s homicide rate has made national headlines for much of the year, starting in the spring when police reported the number of homicides was about 60 percent higher than for the same period last year.

Since then, the rate has slowed down considerably as police focus much of their attention on street gangs linked to most of the shooting deaths.

High court won’t review ‘personhood’

OKLAHOMA CITY – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that said a proposal to grant “personhood” to human embryos would be an improper ban on abortion.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which was never considered by voters, would have given human embryos the rights and privileges of citizens in Oklahoma and was called “clearly unconstitutional” by the state Supreme Court in an April ruling.

The measure was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of several Oklahoma doctors and residents before it could be placed on the ballot.

A personhood bill passed in the state Senate during this year’s legislative session but was not heard by the House.

Dempsey: Change not tied to Libya

WASHINGTON – The top U.S. military officer is denying reports that Army Gen. Carter Ham’s planned departure as head of U.S. Africa Command is linked to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey issued a written statement Monday calling speculation about the reasons for Ham’s move “absolutely false.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Oct. 18 that Gen. David Rodriguez is being nominated to succeed Ham.

Last week, Panetta said he, Dempsey and Ham all felt strongly that it would have been a mistake to insert U.S. forces into Benghazi during the attack, which killed four Americans.

Dempsey said Monday that Ham’s departure is part of “routine succession planning.”

Mourdock seeks to change discussion

GREENFIELD, Ind. – GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said he can’t “unring the bell” on comments he made last week about rape, and he’s joining a national Republican effort to shift discussion away from his remarks.

Mourdock also tells reporters he was surprised by the reaction to his remarks after last week’s Senate debate and didn’t realize he had said anything controversial. Mourdock has clarified what he meant when he said any pregnancy resulting from rape would be God’s intent, but hasn’t apologized.

Mourdock never mentioned the comments during a campaign stop with supporters Monday. Instead, he told the crowd it’s more important to talk about the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

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