Actress dead at 91; opposing party viewed as ‘threat’ to nation; secret terror trials

A roundup of the day's top stories
MCT Regional News
Jun 12, 2014

NATION

Actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee dies at 91

LOS ANGELES — Ruby Dee, an actress known as much for her civil rights activism as for her powerful stage and movie roles in productions including “A Raisin in the Sun,” has died. She was 91.

Dee died Wednesday of age-related causes in New Rochelle, N.Y., according to her Los Angeles agent, Michael Livingston.

Dee and her late husband, actor Ossie Davis, performed together in numerous plays, films and TV productions. They also were masters of ceremonies at Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1963 March on Washington.

Her film appearances included “The Jackie Robinson Story” (1950) and the Spike Lee productions “Do the Right Thing” (1989) and “Jungle Fever” (1991).

—Los Angeles Times

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McCarthy seen as a virtual lock for House majority leader

WASHINGTON — Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is all but assured of becoming the next House majority leader after a lawmaker considered to be a strong conservative challenger declined Thursday to run in the internal GOP race.

The affable McCarthy, now the No. 3 Republican in the House, is by no means the top choice among ``tea party’’ lawmakers who believe the current leadership is tied too closely to the party’s establishment wing. But the path for his ascent to the No. 2 spot seemed to clear Thursday as the potential challenger, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, said he would not seek the post.

McCarthy will likely still face opposition from another Texan, Rep. Pete Sessions, but with Hensarling out, a potential regional showdown between the two largest state delegations in the House appears to be easing.

—Tribune Washington Bureau

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Americans increasingly see opposing party as ‘threat’ to nation

WASHINGTON — More than one-third of Republicans and just over a quarter of Democrats see the other party as a “threat to the nation’s well-being,” reflecting a widening partisan division in the country that has congealed into animosity and distrust.

Through two decades of political battling across the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the ideological divisions among Americans have deepened. The percentage of Americans who hold consistently liberal or conservative views has sharply increased, and the antipathy between the two groups has shot upward.

Among those with a high level of political engagement — consistently voting in elections and following government and politics carefully — nearly half say they would go so far as to describe the other side as a threat to the country.

Those findings come from an unusually extensive survey of more than 10,000 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.

—Tribune Washington Bureau

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Phoenix priest killed, another injured in attack at rectory

Authorities are investigating an attack on a Phoenix Roman Catholic Church rectory that left one priest dead and another in critical but stable condition, police said on Thursday.

The attack took place about 9 p.m. Wednesday at the rectory attached to Mater Misericordiae Mission near the Arizona state Capitol building, city police Sgt. Steve Martos told the Los Angeles Times. When officers arrived they found one priest with gunshot wounds and the other assaulted, but not shot, he said.

Both priests were rushed to a hospital. The Rev. Kenneth Walker, 28, died from the gunshot wounds and the Rev. Joseph Terra, 56, was listed in critical condition on Thursday, Martos said.

There was no immediate motive for the attack, Martos said, though burglary is one possibility.

—Los Angeles Times

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Former President George H.W. Bush celebrates 90th birthday by going skydiving

Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday Thursday by jumping out of a helicopter.

The 41st president tweeted breezily several hours before the event: “It’s a wonderful day in Maine — in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump.”

Bush made the jump — his parachute was red, white and blue — even though he has mostly had to use a wheelchair to get around for the last year. He has vascular Parkinsonism, which causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

It was a tandem jump from a helicopter near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush was harnessed to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army’s parachute team.

—Los Angeles Times

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WORLD

Militias become Iraq’s only defense against Islamist fighters

ISTANBUL — Islamist fighters pushed toward Baghdad Thursday with little interference from what remains of Iraq’s disintegrating security forces as militias tied to religious or ethnic groups stepped in to try to stop the advance.

Only Kurdish and Shiite Muslim militias appeared to offer any real resistance to fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

An ad hoc coalition of Sunni Muslim tribes and militant groups opposed to the Shiite-dominated central government had joined with ISIS in the advance. Iraqi army and security forces continued to abandon their posts whenever confronted by the ISIS forces.

—McClatchy Foreign Staff

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British appeals court says terror trial can be held mostly in secret

LONDON — A British appeals court ruled Thursday that an upcoming terrorism trial can be held mostly in secret, despite objections from civil liberties groups and news organizations that argued for public access and from prosecutors who wanted the entire proceeding kept confidential.

Britain’s Court of Appeals said the case was an exceptional one, and agreed with government lawyers that, if the trial were open to the public, national security would be endangered. Exactly how was not explained.

The bulk of the trial of two men suspected of plotting a terrorist attack can therefore take place behind closed doors, the court ruled. The trial is scheduled to start next Monday.

The two suspects, Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, were arrested last year. Incedal faces charges of preparing an act of terrorism and collecting “useful” terrorist information. Rarmoul-Bouhadjar is accused of collecting terrorist information and possessing false identity papers.

—Los Angeles Times

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