Sen. McCain makes trip to Syria to visit rebels

Sen. John McCain, a proponent of arming Syrian rebels, quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with anti-government fighters Monday. Spokeswoman Rachael Dean confirms the Arizona Republican made the visit. She declined further comment about the trip. The visit took place amid meetings in Paris involving efforts to secure participation of Syria’s fractured opposition in an international peace conference in Geneva. And in Brussels, the European Union decided late Monday to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition while maintaining all other sanctions against Bashar Assad’s regime after June 1, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said following the meeting. Continue Reading

Report: Man kills self, daughter with kids in home

Authorities say a man has killed one of his adult daughters and critically wounded another before taking his own life while three grandchildren were in the house in California. The Fresno Bee reported ( ) on Monday that it appears 63-year old Anthony Alvarez died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds sometime before 4:39 a.m., when a child called to report gunfire in the home in Orosi. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department says 37-year-old Jennifer Kimble died, and 33-year-old Valerie Alvarez was wounded and flown to a Fresno hospital. She is in critical condition. Authorities say the children were unharmed and have been reunited with their father. Continue Reading

Alaska man charged in toddler's rape, couple's murder is sex offender

A man who has been charged with killing an elderly Alaska couple and raping their 2-year-old great-granddaughter is a registered sex offender convicted of breaking into a home and assaulting an 11-year-old girl four years ago. Jerry Andrew Active, 24, was convicted in 2010 of assaulting the girl near Dillingham, Alaska, while her family slept. Authorities say that on Saturday, Active broke into the apartment home of Touch Chea, 71, and his wife Sorn Sreap, 73, and beat the couple to death. He also raped Sreap, police said. He was still inside the residence when their grandson, his pregnant wife and son arrived. Continue Reading

'Spellbound' star reflects on a Spelling Bee life

Of the 85 kids who have won the National Spelling Bee, only one became an instant movie star. For the millions who watched back in 1999, her face is frozen in time. She’ll always be the 14-year-old girl from Tampa, Fla., with the glasses and dark shoulder-length hair, her arms raised while leaping for joy. But that was a half-life ago for Nupur Lala. Like all bee winners, she’s since had to deal with the perks, drawbacks and stereotypes that come with the title — all magnified because she won the same year the competition was featured in an Oscar-nominated documentary. Continue Reading

Police arrest suspect in murder of missing New York dad

A daughter’s refusal to give up on finding her father has led to an arrest in the missing man’s murder. Last September, Florida businessman Charles Butler disappeared after spending time at his girlfriend’s Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment. Butler was excited to be back in New York, his hometown, to be closer to his daughter, Molly, and his new love, Anna Lioznov, who Charles Butler met on the Internet months earlier. “Somebody doesn’t just disappear,” Molly Butler told WABC-TV in an interview this month. “They can’t find his cellphone; they can’t find a body. Continue Reading

2 dead, 5 hurt in Texas shooting

A Texas gunman opened fire Sunday, killing one and wounding five, including the sheriff of Concho County, before the suspect was killed in a shootout with police, Reuters reported. The 23-year-old suspect, said to be from North Carolina, randomly opened fire from his pickup truck at about 4:30 a.m. near Eden, according to Reuters. A statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety identified the dead victim as 41-year-old Alicia Torres, who was shot dead in her car. A search of the suspect’s vehicle reportedly uncovered an assault rifle, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. After wounding five others, including Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, the gunman was killed in a shootout with a Highway Patrol trooper and game warden who arrived to assist Doane, Reuters reported. Continue Reading

Man shot dead at Florida shooting range

Authorities are awaiting the autopsy results for a man fatally wounded at a central Florida shooting range. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Larry Simpson of Clermont died of a single gunshot wound to the chest while shooting clays with a friend at the Tenoroc Mine Shooting Range in Lakeland. According to detectives, Jaime Gonzalez of Orlando said he was at the shooting station and Simpson was operating the remote control for the clay machine. Gonzalez told detectives that he heard a shot directly behind him, and he turned around to find Simpson with a gunshot wound to his chest. Simpson’s gun was lying beside him. Continue Reading

America's female soldiers: Bravely serving and dying in the line of duty

Brittany Gordon was a 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst when an Afghan suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest under his military uniform in Kandahar province, killing her instantly and adding her name to the growing ranks of female American service members killed in the line of duty. Gordon, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died Oct. 13, 2012, along with five others, when a delegation including U.S. coalition members was delivering furniture to an intelligence office in a remote area of Kandahar. She was on her first deployment to Afghanistan and had volunteered for the mission that ended in her death. Continue Reading

Schumer: Group of senators to look at media leaks

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday a group of eight senators will look at setting rules on how leaks about government secrets are investigated. “We’ll be announcing that we have four Democrats and four Republicans … another Gang of Eight,” Schumer said Sunday on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” Schumer said in mid-May that he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will reintroduce the so-called media shield bill pursued unsuccessfully four years ago. The New York Democrat said Sunday that before the government asks a news organization to divulge sources it first must go to a judge. Continue Reading

3 tickets split $50M Powerball jackpot

Florida has its second Powerball winner in a week, but this one will split a much smaller jackpot with winners in Louisiana and Delaware. Each winner will get a third of the estimated $50 million jackpot. A week ago, a ticket bought in Zephyrhills, Fla., won $590 million over 20 years or a cash prize estimated at $376.9 million. Lottery officials in Louisiana and Florida said Saturday’s winning tickets were bought in New Orleans and Tampa. Delaware’s lottery website did not say where that state’s winner was bought. Continue Reading