Official: 1 winning ticket sold in Florida in historic $590.5 million Powerball drawing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ It’s all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials said Sunday.
The single winner was sold at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Fla., according to Florida Lottery executive Cindy O’Connell. She told The Associated Press by telephone that more details would be released later.
“This would be the sixth Florida Powerball winner and right now, it’s the sole winner of the largest ever Powerball jackpot,” O’Connell told AP. “We’re delighted right now that we have the sole winner.”
She said Florida has had more Powerball winners than any other state.
The winner was not immediately identified publicly and O’Connell did not give any indication just hours after Saturday’s drawing whether anyone had already stepped forward with that winning ticket.
Investigators probe for cause of Conn. train collision; cleanup, restoration, workweek ahead
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ Investigators will look closely at a broken section of rail to see if it is connected to the commuter train derailment and collision outside New York City that left dozens injured, as the focus begins to shift toward cleanup and rebuilding ahead of challenging times for travelers and commuters along the Northeast Corridor.
A member of the National Transportation and Safety Board said Saturday that a fractured section of rail is of substantial interest to investigators and a portion of the track will be sent to a lab for analysis. Officials also said Saturday the incident was not the result of foul play.
It’s not clear if the accident caused the fracture or if the rail was broken before the crash, the NTSB’s Earl Weener said. He emphasized the investigation was in its early stages and said he won’t speculate on the cause of the derailment. Data recorders on board are expected to provide the speed of the Metro-North trains at the time of the crash and other information, he said.
Seventy-two people were sent to the hospital Friday evening after a Metro-North train heading east from New York City derailed and was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Most have been discharged.
Officials earlier described devastating damage and said it was fortunate no one was killed.
Officer accidentally kill Hofstra University student as masked invader points gun him
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) _ In what police are describing as a crime of opportunity, a wanted man with a criminal history dating nearly 15 years entered a front door that had been left open at a New York home near Hofstra University.
A short time later, the intruder, Dalton Smith, and a 21-year-old college junior, Andrea Rebello, were both dead. The two were killed early Friday by a Nassau County police officer who fired eight shots at the masked man, hitting him seven times but also accidentally hitting Rebello once in the head, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said Saturday.
Smith was holding Rebello in a headlock and pointing a gun at her head before he turned his gun at the officer, Azzata said, prompting the shooting.
“He kept saying, `I’m going to kill her,’ and then he pointed the gun at the police officer,” Azzata said.
A loaded 9 mm handgun with a serial number scratched off was found at the scene, police said.
Medical emergency eyed as possible cause of driver plowing into Va. parade; 50 to 60 injured
DAMASCUS, Va. (AP) _ Witnesses described a frantic scene and close calls after an elderly driver plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a small Virginia mountain town’s parade. Investigators were looking into whether the motorist had suffered a medical emergency before the accident.
About 50 to 60 people suffered injuries ranging from critical to superficial, but no fatalities were reported. Three of the worst injured were flown by helicopter to area hospitals. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.
Another 12 to 15 victims were taken to hospitals by ambulance and the rest were treated at the scene, where some paramedics and other first-responders were participating in the parade.
It happened around 2:10 p.m. during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, near the Tennessee state line about a half-hour drive east of Bristol.
Damascus Police Chief Bill Nunley didn’t release the driver’s name or age but said he was participating in the parade and he had traversed the Appalachian Trail in the past. Several witnesses described him as an elderly man.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang heads to India to seek improved ties after border standoff
NEW DELHI (AP) _ Just weeks after a tense border standoff, China’s new premier headed to India on Sunday for his first foreign trip as the neighboring giants look to speed up efforts to settle a decades-old boundary dispute and boost economic ties.
China says Premier Li Keqiang’s choice of India for his first trip abroad since taking office in March shows the importance Beijing attaches to improving relations with New Delhi.
“We think very highly of this gesture because it is our view that high-level political exchanges between our two countries are an important aspect and vehicle for our expanded cooperation,” said India’s external affairs ministry spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin.
Jasjit Singh, a defense analyst and director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in New Delhi, said last month’s border standoff was unlikely to overshadow Li’s three-day visit, the first stop of a foreign tour in which he will also visit Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany.
Singh said Indian and Chinese leaders are likely to review border talks that have failed to produce a breakthrough despite 15 rounds of discussions over the past 10 years. The two sides also will probably discuss working together in Afghanistan after next year’s U.S. pullout and cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, he said.
Syrian activists: Regime shells strategic town near Lebanese border, killing 16
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Syrian activists say government airstrikes and heavy shelling of a strategic town near the Lebanese border have killed at least 16 people, including rebel fighters.
The rebel-held Qusair is home to about 20,000 residents and has been besieged for weeks by government troops. Opposition activists say members of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group are also fighting with President Bashar Assad’s troops in the area.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 16 people were killed Sunday in Qusair but that the death toll is expected to rise.
The town is strategically important because it links Damascus with the coast, where regime loyalists are concentrated. This includes Alawites, followers of a Shiite offshoot to which the Assad family belongs. The rebellion against Assad is largely driven by Syria’s majority Sunnis.
Evidence lacking that Marines performed simple test that could have uncovered Lejeune toxins
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) _ A simple test could have alerted officials that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated, long before authorities determined that as many as a million Marines and their families were exposed to a witch’s brew of cancer-causing chemicals.
But no one responsible for the lab at the base can recall that the procedure _ mandated by the Navy _ was ever conducted.
The U.S. Marine Corps maintains that the carbon chloroform extract (CCE) test would not have uncovered the carcinogens that fouled the southeastern North Carolina base’s water system from at least the mid-1950s until wells were capped in the mid-1980s. But experts say even this “relatively primitive” test _ required by Navy health directives as early as 1963 _ would have told officials that something was terribly wrong beneath Lejeune’s sandy soil.
A just-released study from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry cited a February 1985 level for trichloroethylene of 18,900 parts per billion in one Lejeune drinking water well _ nearly 4,000 times today’s maximum allowed limit of 5 ppb. Given those kinds of numbers, environmental engineer Marco Kaltofen said even a testing method as inadequate as CCE should have raised some red flags with a “careful analyst.”
“That’s knock-your-socks-off level _ even back then,” said Kaltofen, who worked on the infamous Love Canal case in upstate New York, where drums of buried chemical waste leaked toxins into a local water system. “You could have smelled it.”
Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest wins Eurovision song contest ahead of Azerbaijan, Ukraine
MALMO, Sweden (AP) _ Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her ethno-inspired flute and drum tune “Only Teardrops,” despite tough competition from spectacular stage shows by performers from Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
Juries and television viewers across Europe awarded the barefoot, hippie-chic 20-year-old for the catchy love song that is driven by her deep, Shakira-like voice. She received a total of 281 points in the glitzy music battle, which also featured a bizarre opera pop number from Romania, the comeback of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” star Bonnie Tyler and an Armenian rock song written by the guitarist of Black Sabbath.
“It was overwhelming and I could really feel the fans and the audience and the people in the arena,” de Forest told reporters after the winners were announced early Sunday.
“Of course I believed in the song and I thought we had a great song, but that’s the exciting thing with Eurovision, you never know what’s going to happen,” she added.
De Forest grew up in northern Denmark and has been singing since she was 14, touring around Denmark with the Scottish musician Fraser Neill. She said it is important to be persistent to succeed as a young musician.
Stephenson spurs late rally to lead Pacers past Knicks 106-99, into Eastern Conference finals
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Indiana spent the entire season perfecting its defense.
On Saturday, it produced the biggest payoff for the Pacers in nearly a decade.
Roy Hibbert’s block of Carmelo Anthony’s dunk attempt midway through the fourth quarter spurred an 11-2 run that rallied the Pacers to a 106-99 victory in Game 6 of their second-round series, sending them into their first Eastern Conference final since 2004.
New York native Lance Stephenson scored nine points in the run, finishing with a playoff career-high 25.
“That’s why they pay me the big bucks this summer, so I have to protect the paint,” said Hibbert, who signed a $58 million contract last summer. “If all else fails, meaning the offense, I have to protect the paint.”
Obama agenda withstanding IRS focus on tea party groups, Benghazi fallout, other controversies
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Despite Democratic fears, predictions of the demise of President Barack Obama’s agenda appear exaggerated after a week of cascading controversies, political triage by the administration and party leaders in Congress and lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office.
“Absolutely not,” Steven Miller, the recently resigned acting head of the Internal Revenue Service, responded Friday when asked if he had any contact with the White House about targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for special treatment.
“The president’s re-election campaign?” persisted Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
“No,” said Miller.
The hearing took place at the end of a week in which Republicans repeatedly assailed Obama and were attacked by Democrats in turn _ yet sweeping immigration legislation advanced methodically toward bipartisan approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure “has strong support of its own in the Senate,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a member of the panel.