Obama honors late Sen. Inouye

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama delivered an emotional address Friday to political leaders and diplomats gathered for a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral celebrating the life of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a fellow Hawaii native who in the president's admiring words "would probably be wondering what all the fuss was about."

Those imagined sentiments did not stop Mr. Obama from making a fuss over the long-serving Democratic senator and war hero who died this week at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at the age of 88.

A president about to begin his second term explained that Inouye's fight for honest government and racial equality, both in his public work and in the way he lived his life, inspired his own political career.

"It hinted to me what might be possible in my own life," said Mr. Obama, recounting the questions about his own mixed-race identity that he was beginning to confront as a boy.

Inouye was the first Japanese American to be elected to Congress, breaking that cultural barrier to become the second-longest-serving senator in U.S. history.

New air pollution rules

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency finalized rules late Thursday to curb pollution from industrial boilers and cement plants, agreeing to give industry additional time for compliance and easing some emissions limits from earlier proposals.

The new rules, which have been enmeshed in a fierce regulatory and legal fight for more than a decade, drew criticism from environmentalists. Earthjustice staff attorney James Pew, who fought earlier versions in federal court, called the set of rules "an avalanche of bad news."

Inmates with HIV

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A federal judge on Friday ordered Alabama to stop isolating prisoners with HIV.

Alabama and South Carolina are the only states where HIV-positive inmates are housed in separate prisons in an attempt to reduce medical costs and stop the spread of the virus.

A group of inmates argued in a class-action lawsuit that they had been stigmatized and denied equal access to educational programs. Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama called the state's policy "an unnecessary tool for preventing the transmission of HIV" but "an effective one for humiliating and isolating prisoners living with the disease."

Plotting deadly explosion

INDIANAPOLIS --The woman who owns a house that exploded last month in Indianapolis, leveling much of the neighborhood and leaving two people dead, was arrested Friday along with two others, authorities said, and all three were charged with murder.

Monserrate Shirley, 47; her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, 43; and his brother, Bob Leonard Jr., 54, are accused of intentionally leaking natural gas into the house and then using the kitchen's programmable microwave to trigger the blast.

Jail escapee captured

CHICAGO -- A convicted bank robber captured days after a daring escape from a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago will likely return to the same federal lockup, although this time he'll most likely be held in a special isolation unit, his attorney said Friday.

Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, made an initial appearance in court, Mr. Banks said "yes" when a judge asked if he understood he had been charged with escaping from a jail just two blocks from the courthouse.

-- Compiled from news services



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