Nation briefs 5/8/07

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Survivor, 2 more victims found in tornado rubble

GREENSBURG, Kan. -- Rescue teams searching the rubble that was once Greensburg found two more victims and a survivor, raising the death toll from a powerful tornado that largely obliterated the small town to at least 10, authorities said Monday. The massive tornado, an enhanced F5 with wind estimated at 205 mph, was part of a weekend of violent storms that tore across the Plains and were also blamed for two other deaths in Kansas. One of the latest victims was found under debris in the middle of town, Greensburg city administrator Steve Hewitt said. The other body was pulled from a nearby lake. Rescue teams also found a survivor as they searched the wreckage Sunday, two days after the tornado hit, providing hope for other discoveries, said Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Ron Knoefel. He did not release details on the survivor's identity or condition, and authorities had not identified any of the victims.

VT gunman didn't get court-ordered treatment

WASHINGTON -- The gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech failed to get the mental health treatment ordered by a judge who declared him an imminent threat to himself and others, a newspaper reported Monday. Seung-Hui Cho was found "mentally ill and in need of hospitalization" in December 2005, according to court papers. A judge ordered him into involuntary outpatient treatment. However, neither the court nor community mental health officials followed up on the judge's order, and Cho didn't get the treatment, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified authorities who have seen Cho's medical files. Federal, state and local officials contacted Monday by The Associated Press said they had no idea whether Cho received the treatment because they are not privy to that information.

Flooding from storms swamps Plains states

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Flooding forced hundreds of people from their homes Monday and blocked streets and highways following a weekend of violent thunderstorms across the central Plains. Authorities rescued more than 500 people from flooded homes around Topeka, said Shawnee County spokesman Dave Bevans. He said he had no reports of injuries, and added that water had started to recede by early afternoon. Flooding also blocked roads Monday in parts of Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa, and chased people from their homes. One man drowned in western Oklahoma when high water swept his car off a county road near Elk City, the Highway Patrol said. The Iowa State Patrol closed a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 29 north of the Missouri state line because of flooding.

Engines focus of plane crash investigation

MBANGA-PONGO, Cameroon -- Investigators focused Monday on the possibility a Kenya Airways jetliner lost power in both engines during a storm just after takeoff and was trying to glide back to the airport when it plunged into a mangrove swamp 12 miles from the runway. All 114 people on board were killed in the crash, officials in this West African nation said after picking their way along a muddy path to the site strewn with pieces of metal, bodies and shoes. After being delayed an hour by storms, the Kenya-bound Boeing 737-800 sent a distress signal shortly after takeoff from Douala early Saturday, then lost contact 11 to 13 minutes later. There were no survivors, said Luc Ndjodo, a local official. Officials said it was too early to tell what caused the crash, but investigators concentrated on the stormy weather as a possible contributor.

Parliament takes step toward popular vote

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's parliament voted Monday in favor of holding presidential elections by popular vote and staging general elections every four years -- the first step toward a constitutional amendment the pro-Islamic government hopes will resolve a widening rift over religion.

-- From wire reports

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