Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

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Updated: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 02:16:00 EST

NAVY YARD-SHOOTING UPDATE: Gunman's path to DC emerges, but questions remain WASHINGTON (AP) — A police report says the Washington Navy Yard gunman heard voices during a stay in Rhode Island the month before the shooting rampage. The defense contractor told police in early August that the voices were harassing and following him. In the following weeks, Aaron Alexis moved on to the Washington area for work, and law enforcement officials say he was being treated for serious mental problems. But his security clearance was not stripped, and the 34-year-old Alexis entered the sprawling installation Monday with a valid pass. A picture of his path and what happened in the 30-plus-minute rampage emerged the day after the shooting that killed 12 victims and injured eight. But his motive remained a mystery, and other questions were left unanswered. Investigators have found no manifesto or other writings suggesting a political or religious motivation for Monday's massacre. NAVY YARD SHOOTING-SECURITY-REVIEW Navy Yard shootings sparks security review WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday's deadly shooting rampage at the Washington has led to at least three investigations into security and background screenings. The secretary of the Navy is ordering a pair of security reviews -- focusing on how well the Navy protects its bases, and how accurately it screens its workers. That's because the gunman, Aaron Alexis, had a valid security pass despite erratic behavior and mental health problems. At the White House, President Barack Obama has ordered his budget office to examine security standards for government contractors and employees across federal agencies. Officials say Aaron Alexis had been hearing voices and had been undergoing treatment for mental problems including paranoia in recent weeks, but he still kept his security clearance. NJ BOARDWALK FIRE NEW: Sandy continues to damage Jersey shore with fire TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — Investigators are blaming Superstorm Sandy for damaging electrical wiring that touched off last week's boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights — and warning that similar danger could be lurking elsewhere. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says "compromised wiring" could be underneath other boardwalks, businesses or homes exposed to flood waters from the Oct. 29 storm. He's urging property owners to have inspections done. Federal and county investigators said at a news conference Tuesday that the boardwalk fire began accidentally Thursday in wiring that dates to the 1970s, and was located under a custard stand and a candy shop. The blaze destroyed more than 50 businesses in the two towns. Gov. Chris Christie's administration is using Sandy-recovery money to pay for debris removal and to rebuild the burned businesses. COLORADO FLOODING-AGRICULTURE NEW: For Colo. farms, floods could bring recharged soil JOHNSTOWN, Colo. (AP) — The powerful flooding that hit Colorado caused widespread damage to the state's agricultural lands, but it also brought the promise of relief for a drought-stricken state. Aerial footage shows big sections of inundated farmland, although it's too soon to put a dollar amount on damages. Ron Carleton, the state's deputy agriculture commissioner, says areas of concern include damaged produce crops and irrigation ditches. But benefits are likely to include recharged soils in drought-stricken areas. That will benefit next season's plantings. The floods also may have refilled reservoirs that can help farmers next year. The agriculture industry is Colorado's third-largest, generating $8.5 billion last year. DEFENSE SECRETARIES-TEXAS Gates, Panetta question Obama's Syria strategy DALLAS (AP) — President Barack Obama's first two defense secretaries are expressing deep skepticism about the president's strategy in dealing with Syria's use of chemical weapons. Robert Gates and Leon Panetta spoke Tuesday night to an audience in Dallas. Obama had been pushing for a military strike on Syria in retaliation for a chemical attack the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, but that is on hold as a he pursues a diplomatic initiative. Gates says he strongly opposes any strike. While he's skeptical of Russia and Syria following through on a deal to turn over Syria's chemical weapons, Gates says a strike would throw gasoline "on an extremely complex fire." But Panetta says Obama has to follow through on his word and carry out a strike or risk damaging America's credibility. CHINA-JORDAN-SYRIA NEW: Jordan's king calls for China role in Syria crisis BEIJING (AP) — Jordan's King Abdullah is calling on China to exercise its influence to help resolve the conflict in Syria. Abdullah made his appeal in his opening remarks at a meeting Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state visit to China. Abdullah praised relations between the two countries and said they shared a commitment to promoting progress on global issues of concern. Abdullah then referred to the Syria conflict specifically, saying China was in a position to use its influence as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a "friend of Jordan and the Middle East." Beijing has called for a political settlement to the more than two-year-old conflict in Syria and joined Russia in blocking moves at the United Nations that could lead to the regime's removal. CHINA-NKOREA-NUCLEAR TALKS NEW: NKorea urges nuclear talks 'without preconditions' BEIJING (AP) — North Korea's leading nuclear envoy is calling for a new round of six-nation denuclearization talks without preconditions. First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan's remarks in Beijing on Wednesday are unlikely to gain traction in Washington. U.S. officials have rejected new discussions before the North makes a clear commitment to carry out earlier promises to disarm. South Korea and Japan are also dubious of such calls. The other two parties to the talks, Russia and China, have been more supportive of getting the dialogue back on track. The last round of talks in 2008 broke down over how to verify North Korea was meeting its pledges. Pyongyang has since ramped up tensions with a third nuclear test and missile launch, bringing a tightening of U.N. sanctions against the isolated regime. VIDEO CONFESSION-CAR ACCIDENT NEW: Man who confessed to DUI expected to plead guilty COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man who confessed in an online video to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of heavy drinking hopes to plead guilty. Defendant Matthew Cordle entered a preliminary plea of not guilty last week in a procedural move allowing a judge to be appointed to accept a guilty plea. Attorneys for Cordle have said he plans to plead guilty Wednesday to aggravated vehicular homicide to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for the crash. They're weighing whether to seek Cordle's release on bond before sentencing to allow him to spread his anti-drunk-driving message. In a video posted two weeks ago, Cordle admits he killed a man in June and says he "made a mistake" when he decided to drive. ALASKA-OIL CHECK NEW: Alaskans eager to hear amount of oil wealth checks ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — This year's payout to most Alaskans from the state's oil-wealth account isn't expected to be much, but it's still free money just for living in the state. Whatever the amount announced Wednesday, the dividends will go as usual toward new toys, fun trips, college savings or paying off bills. The announcement is an eagerly anticipated event that takes place with much fanfare in Anchorage. The dividends are distributed annually to people who have lived in Alaska for at least one calendar year. The amount is based on a five-year rolling average of the $47 billion Alaska Permanent Fund's investment earnings. This year's average includes 2009, a recession year when the fund posted a $2.5 billion net loss in statutory net income. Last year's dividend was $878 per person, the lowest since 2005. FOOD-UNIVERSITY-HEALTHY PLATES NEW: NH college uses dishes to promote healthy eating DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — Some college students in New Hampshire are thinking twice before filling up on fried food and other unhealthy options, thanks to reminders printed right on their plates. Inspired by the federal government's "MyPlate" dietary guidelines, the University of New Hampshire created its own image of what a healthy plate should look like and had it printed on 1,300 dining hall dishes. Reaction among students has been mixed. During one recent lunch hour, some were observed piling their plates with broccoli and other vegetables, while others reached for fried food. Some said they try to eat healthy but don't put a lot of thought into matching their meal to the fruit, vegetable, grain and protein sections of the plates. Others said they ignore them completely. LEARY PAPERS NEW: What a trip: Timothy Leary's files go public in NY NEW YORK (AP) — A trove of Timothy Leary files could shed new light on the LSD guru, his controversial research into psychedelic drugs and the emergence of the '60s counterculture. The New York Public Library acquired the vast archive for an undisclosed sum from the Leary estate in 2011. It is making the material available Wednesday for the first time to scholars and the public. Leary was fired as a psychology lecturer at Harvard and coined the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out." He advocated the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs including LSD. Much of the material is previously unpublished. Leary estate trustee Denis Berry says it will force a reworking of the current narratives on Leary and the counterculture. Leary died in 1996. WAHLBERG-HIGH SCHOOL GRAD NEW: Mark Wahlberg no longer a high school dropout BOSTON (AP) — Mark Wahlberg is now a high school graduate — 25 years after dropping out of a Boston high school. The 42-year-old actor-producer finished his diploma requirements after taking classes online. He dropped out of Copley Square High School, now known as Snowden International School at Copley, in the 9th grade. The Boston Globe reported Tuesday (bo.st/1emw7me) that Wahlberg wrote of the struggles he faced growing up surrounded by "drugs, violence and crime" in a column in The Huffington Post on Monday. In the column he says he's been taking classes and studying while on movie sets, traveling and at home. In June 2012, Wahlberg announced he was going back to school with the help of Snowden headmaster Kerry Torndorf who enrolled Wahlberg in his school's Accelerated Learning Academy.

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