National briefs (7/18/12)
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A gunman stood outside of a crowded downtown bar and opened fire from two different positions Tuesday, sending patrons running or crawling for cover. At least 17 people were hurt as bullets ricocheted and glass shards and brick chunks fell around the nightclub.
Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, surrendered about 10 hours after the 12:30 a.m. shooting near the University of Alabama campus, police said. Authorities believe he targeted someone during the bar rampage and that it was connected to an earlier shooting at a home. Mr. Wilkins was also suspected of setting three fires to equipment or property owned by an oil and gas company where he worked.
Most of the injured were treated and released, a spokesman at DCH Regional Medical Center said. Two people were in intensive care, one in critical condition. At least three of the injured were university students.
SAN ANTONIO -- Fighting back tears, a woman testified Tuesday that a Texas Air Force base instructor facing charges in a widening military sex scandal refused her pleas of no after luring her into his office and then sexually assaulted her on a bed.
The alleged victim said that after the attack, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker told her not to tell anybody about what happened. She was the first of 10 alleged victims who are to testify at Sgt. Walker's court-martial at Lackland Air Force Base.
Sgt. Walker is among 12 instructors at the Lackland base who are facing charges or being investigated.
WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that baby bottles and children's drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging.
Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the FDA said its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry's main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence.
The ban does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other food containers, said an FDA spokesman.
President Barack Obama's proposal to raise taxes on households making at least $250,000 a year seems to be a winning political position for now, at least.
A new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 44 percent said the tax increase would help the economy, 22 percent said it would be harmful, and 24 percent said the tax hike would not make a difference.
The poll was conducted July 12-15 among 1,015 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
NEW YORK -- A New York City bus driver was being hailed as a hero for saving a 7-year-old girl who fell three stories from an air conditioning unit outside a Brooklyn building.
"I just prayed that I'd catch her," Stephen St. Bernard recalled Monday.
Mr. St. Bernard said he saw a commotion outside the Coney Island housing complex. He saw the girl, a special needs child, standing on the unit, seemingly unafraid and moving about. Then suddenly she fell.
The girl was taken to a Coney Island hospital with minor injuries.
Mr. St. Bernard, a father of four, suffered a torn tendon in his shoulder. Police said no charges were filed against the parents.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published July 18, 2012 12:00 am