National briefs: Slain general brought home

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DOVER, Del. — The remains of Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, the first U.S. general killed in a combat zone since the Vietnam War, arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Thursday. In traditional fashion, U.S. soldiers carried out the fallen service member from an aircraft to a waiting military vehicle and then to the mortuary.

On Thursday, two Army officials were there, Gen. Raymond Odierno, the chief of staff, and Army Secretary John McHugh. Also attending were the upstate New York native’s wife, retired Army Col. Sue Myers, a daughter, Amelia, and a son, Matthew, a recent graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Gen. Greene, 55, was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, a training academy for Afghan officers west of Kabul. A lone gunman is said to have opened fire with a machine gun from about 100 yards away, hitting the general several times and wounding at least 15 others.

Ebola outbreak

WASHINGTON — Western Africa’s raging Ebola outbreak may produce more victims than the combined tally of all previous epidemics of the deadly virus, the head of the U.S.’s disease tracking agency told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Thomas Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the outbreak a crisis, though one that can be stopped by “core public health interventions” — quickly diagnosing patients and isolating them before they can infect others.

Obama signs new vets law

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Tens of thousands of military veterans who have been enduring long waits for medical care should be able to turn to private doctors almost immediately under a law signed Thursday by President Barack Obama.

Other changes will take longer under the $16.3 billion law, which is the government’s most sweeping response to the problems that have rocked the Veterans Affairs Department and led to the ouster of Eric Shinseki as VA secretary.

Veterans who have waited at least a month for a medical appointment or who live at least 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs hospital or clinic now will be able to see private doctors at government expense.

Little drought relief

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A powerful El Nino that had been emerging in the Pacific is fizzling out, evaporating hopes it will deliver a knockout punch to California’s three-year drought.

A new report from scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decreases the probability of an El Nino — the condition that occurs when warm Pacific Ocean water at the equator affects the jet stream — to 65 percent starting in October, down from 82 percent in June.

Airline stowaway

SAN FRANCISCO — The woman who flew from San Jose to Los Angeles without a boarding pass was a homeless loner who was briefly ordered into mental treatment earlier this year because of her past attempts to sneak aboard flights, officials said.

Marilyn Jean Hartman — who tried to sneak aboard flights a half-dozen times in the past — made at least three attempts on Monday before she finally went past a screener who was busy checking a family’s documents at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Montana U.S. senator

HELENA, Mont. — U.S. Sen. John Walsh of Montana has dropped his election bid under pressure from fellow Democrats following a plagiarism scandal, the Montana Democratic Party said on Thursday.

Mr. Walsh, appointed to the post by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock earlier this year to replace outgoing Sen. Max Baucus, was already seen as vulnerable to a strong Republican opponent in advance of November's election.

Tennessee GOP primary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican Lamar Alexander became the latest U.S. senator to fend off a Tea Party challenge in a primary race Thursday, defeating a state senator who had used a familiar tactic in trying to cast him as an out of touch insider.

In Tennessee, State Sen. Joe Carr had high-profile endorsements from tea party-allied figures, but he could not overcome Alexander’s fundraising advantage and 40 years in Tennessee politics. He had about 38 percent of the vote with 24 percent of precincts reporting, compared with about 52 percent for Mr. Alexander.

— Compiled from wire reports


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