National News: Ernesto Will Pass South of Jamaica

By: AP
By: AP
Ernesto expected to skirt Jamaica...  AP source: Loughner would get life in shooting... Fire under control; governor tours town burned by wildfire... China summons US diplomat over S. China Sea remark... Yemen officials: suicide bomb kills 15 at funeral... Long Island man accused of flying plane too low... Demonstrators hold Vietnam

Oklahoma Wildfire

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Tropical Storm Ernesto has become less organized as it moves over open waters in the Caribbean and isn't expected to gain strength as it heads for a pass well south of Jamaica on Sunday.
The islands in the eastern Caribbean are preparing for heavy rain as the storm moves through the region.
Long lines formed at grocery stores in the Jamaican capital of Kingston on Saturday as people bought water, bread and canned goods.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ernesto was centered at 2 a.m. EDT Sunday about 290 miles (470 kilometers) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. Forecasters say the storm has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) and Ernesto is moving westward at 22 mph (35 kph).
The Miami-based forecasting center says little change in strength is expected throughout Sunday though slow strengthening is expected Monday as Ernesto treks across the Caribbean.
Forecasters say Ernesto could still grow into a hurricane in coming days as it continues along a course forecast to take it over the coastal resorts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a new tropical storm, Florence, has formed far out in the Atlantic and is beginning to pick up strength. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and is about 600 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. The hurricane center says it could be near hurricane strength Sunday.

(AP) -- A person familiar with the Jared Lee Loughner case says a court-appointed psychiatrist will testify Tuesday that Loughner is competent to enter a plea in the murders and attempted murders including the wounding of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity about upcoming events in the criminal case, says the plan is for Loughner to enter a guilty plea that would result in a sentence of life imprisonment. The source was not authorized to discuss the case publicly
The plan is contingent on the judge in the case allowing Loughner to enter the plea.
Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the January 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six people and wounded Giffords and 12 others.

LUTHER, Okla. (AP) -- Firefighters in drought-stricken Oklahoma have brought under control a wildfire that authorities suspect may have been intentionally set.
The fire near Luther burned dozens of homes and forced evacuations Friday. Gov. Mary Fallin toured the community Saturday morning, saying the fire and damage are "heartbreaking."
Officials estimate 56 homes and other buildings have been damaged by the blaze.
The Oklahoma County sheriff's department says it's looking for someone in a black pickup truck who was seen throwing newspapers out a window after setting them ablaze.
Department spokeswoman Mary Myers said there are "no arrests, no suspects" but deputies are "working around the clock" to find anyone responsible.
Meanwhile, residents in two other towns are being ordered to evacuate their homes.
An Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman says the number of wildfires this year is shaping up to be among the worst in state history.

BEIJING (AP) -- Beijing has summoned an American diplomat to express its dissatisfaction over U.S. criticism of China's new military garrison in the South China Sea.
China's Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Chunsheng on Saturday summoned the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Robert S. Wang, to say that Washington has "totally ignored the facts, confounded right and wrong and sent the wrong signal."
A U.S. State Department statement Friday said China's move to formally establish the city of Sansha and a military garrison there was risking an escalation in tensions. It voiced strong support for diplomatic efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate with China.
Also late Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang reiterated China's position that the country has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemeni military officials say a suspected al-Qaida suicide bomber attacked a funeral service in the city of Jaar in southern Yemen, killing 15 and wounding 25.
The officials say they believe the funeral was targeted on Saturday because it was for a man who had been close to civilian militias that helped the army in its campaign against al-Qaida. The military regained control of Jaar from militants in June after two months of fighting.
Military officials also say five suspected al-Qaida militants were killed on Saturday in a suspected U.S. aerial drone strike on their vehicle in southeastern Hadramawt province.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

BELLMORE, N.Y. (AP) -- A Long Island man has been arrested on a reckless endangerment charge after police say he flew his plane too low in the vicinity of a high school.
Nassau County Police say Marc Capus flew his 1972 Cessna at altitudes between 200 feet and 400 feet on the afternoon of June 17. Police say the 49-year-old man flew over Bellmore near Kennedy High School and also made sharp banking maneuvers at low altitudes.
Police say Control Tower personnel identified him to the Nassau County Air Bureau police after he landed his plane at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
Police say he was arrested at his home Saturday with assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration. He was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment. A phone number for Capus went unanswered Saturday.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- More than 100 demonstrators are riding bicycles and motorbikes through Vietnam's capital in the country's first-ever gay pride parade to call for equal rights for gays and lesbians.
Organizer Nguyen Thanh Tam says she expects more than 150 people to join the parade that began at Hanoi's national stadium Sunday and is moving toward downtown in scorching heat while trailing rainbow-colored streamers.
Demonstrators said that Vietnamese society is starting to accept gays and lesbians, but stigmas persist.
Until a few years ago, Vietnam labeled homosexuality a "social evil" alongside drug addiction and prostitution.
But the Justice Ministry recently proposed to include same-sex couples in its overhaul of the country's marriage law. The new law could provide rights for owning property, inheriting and adopting children.

BEND, Ore. (AP) -- A longtime Oregon concert promoter sparked an online backlash against Alaska Airlines with a Facebook post describing what he called "the worst of humanity."
Cameron Clark of Bend wrote to his Facebook friends Friday that he saw a man miss a flight because airline personnel refused to give him extra assistance, even after Clark intervened and asked employees to help. Clark said the man told him he has Parkinson's disease.
KTVZ reports ( Clark's story spread quickly and sparked a series of angry Facebook posts directed at the airline.
Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy told The Associated Press on Saturday that the man never told airline employees that he had Parkinson's or any other disability, and officials believed he was intoxicated because they smelled alcohol. He says the man's ticket was refunded and he boarded a new flight Saturday morning.

NASA picks 3 private firms to develop space taxis
WASHINGTON (AP) -- NASA has picked three aerospace companies to build small rocketships to take astronauts to the International Space Station.
This is the third phase of NASA's efforts to get private space companies to take over the job of the now-retired space shuttle. The space agency is giving them more than $1.1 billion.
Once the spaceships are built, NASA plans to hire the private companies to taxi astronauts into space within five years. Until they are ready, NASA is paying Russia to do the job
The three companies are the Boeing Co. of Houston, Space Exploration Technologies, called SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif., and Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo.
NASA's commercial crew development program started with seven commercial companies.

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