Gunman who opened fire in Wisconsin Sikh temple was former leader of white supremacist band
OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) -- Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.
The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.
A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page’s life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. He left no hate-filled manifesto, no angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.
Page, who was shot to death by police, joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998. He was described Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "frustrated neo-Nazi" who had long been active in the obscure underworld of white supremacist music.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., said Page played in groups whose sometimes sinister-sounding names seemed to "reflect what he went out and actually did." The music often talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities.
Syrian prime minister defects, widening cracks in Bashar Assad’s regime
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria’s
The full scope of Riad Hijab’s carefully executed flight to the rebel side -- described by an aide who escaped with him to Jordan -- reverberated Monday through Syria’s leadership. Hijab became the highest-ranking government official to defect, emboldening the opposition and raising fresh questions about the regime’s ability to survive the civil war.
Although Assad has been hit by a string of embarrassing defections of military and political figures, they have yet to cause visible changes in the regime’s abilities on the battlefield. The loss of high-profile government officials, however, suggests fissures are reaching deeper into the ruling system and could force Assad to retreat further behind a cadre of loyalists as fighting flares on several fronts.
"Every defection is another door closed for Assad and another one open for the rebels," said Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center based in Geneva. "It may not be the tipping point for the regime, but each breakaway is another crack."
Hijab and an entourage of family members were expected to head next to the Gulf state of Qatar, a key backer of the Syrian rebels, in a further sign of the regional brinksmanship and gambits over Assad’s fate. Gulf states and Turkey have strongly backed the rebel forces while Assad has counted on support from a dwindling list of allies such as Iran and Russia.
Will Obama have enough money? Romney trumps him in fundraising third month in a row
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Can Barack Obama raise the money he needs to hold onto the White House?
Money wasn’t supposed to be a worry for the president’s campaign, which smashed fundraising records in 2008. But Mitt Romney’s team has hauled in more than Obama and his allies for a third straight month, raising the once-unthinkable question.
While the race for voter support is tight, according to polls, Romney’s robust fundraising and a crush of money from Republican-leaning political action committees have forced the president’s campaign to spend heavily through the summer.
Highlighting the challenge for Obama, Romney on Monday reported a July fundraising haul of more than $101 million along with the Republican National Committee, compared to the $75 million that Obama’s campaign said it had brought in along with the Democratic National Committee.
Before Romney’s summer surge, Obama had not been outraised by an opponent since 2007.
Egypt vows to go after Sinai militants after 16 soldiers killed, but faces daunting obstacles
EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) -- Egypt vowed Monday to take on Islamist militants who have turned the Sinai peninsula into a lawless haven and are suspected of killing 16 Egyptian troops as the fighters were en route to a failed assault on neighboring Israel.
But the goal of reining in jihadists in Sinai is complicated by limits on military activity in the area under the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and by tensions between Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the country’s powerful military.
"The armed forces have been careful in the past months and during the events of the revolution not to shed Egyptian blood," said a statement by the military. "But the group that staged this attack is considered by the armed forces as enemies of the nation who must be dealt with by force."
Morsi, who is enmeshed in a power struggle with the military leadership, pledged he would make the killers pay for their crime and would restore security to Sinai, home to several of the most popular Red Sea resorts in Egypt.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who visited Egypt last week and met with its new leaders, said the U.S. had concerns about security threats in Sinai. Egypt has seen a sharp deterioration in security throughout the country since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and drove the hated police force from the streets. But even before the uprising, there was rampant lawlessness in Sinai.
Judge in Arizona mass shooting case schedules competency, change of plea hearings for Loughner
PHOENIX (AP) -- The judge overseeing the deadly Tucson, Ariz., mass shooting case on Monday scheduled competency and change of plea hearings for defendant Jared Lee Loughner.
U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns’ scheduling order confirms that a plea agreement has been reached in the shooting that left six dead and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others wounded.
Before Loughner can enter the plea, Burns must find that Loughner is mentally competent and understands what is happening. The hearings are set for Tuesday in Tucson.
Loughner has spent more than a year in a federal medical facility in Missouri being treated for mental illness.
Loughner had pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting outside a Tucson supermarket where Giffords was holding a meet-and-greet with constituents.
Tropical Storm Ernesto heads for pass along Honduras’ coast then plunge into Mexico
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- Tropical Storm Ernesto’s forward movement slowed Monday as it headed for an expected close pass along Honduras’ northern coast after dropping heavy rains on Jamaica without causing serious problems.
On Sunday, the storm passed to the south of Jamaica, where authorities said rains fell over much of the island.
Ernesto hasn’t made any direct hits on land since entering the Caribbean early Saturday, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ernesto could bring rain to the coast of Honduras late Monday and Tuesday morning.
The storm is then expected to grow to near-hurricane force before moving ashore near the Belize-Mexico border early Wednesday and eventually passing into the southern Gulf of Mexico.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the coast of Honduras, from the border with Nicaragua westward to Punta Sal, including the Bay Islands. Mexico issued a hurricane watch for the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.