AP News in Brief

Clinton challenges Obama to Lincoln-Douglas style debate as the Democrats campaign in Indiana

MARION, Ind. (AP) -- Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton turned up the rhetoric Saturday in their increasingly heated primary battle as she issued a new debate challenge and he complained of a race that's largely been reduced to trivia while working families feel economic pain.

Clinton took the debate dispute to a new level, challenging Obama to face off with her in a debate without a moderator, Lincoln-Douglas style.

"Just the two of us, going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions, we'll set whatever rules seem fair," Clinton said while campaigning in South Bend.

Her campaign made the offer formal with a letter to the Obama campaign.

Obama aides said he had already debated Clinton 21 times, "the most in primary history."


Family of slain groom may see hurdles in effort to have police held accountable for shooting

NEW YORK (AP) -- The family of an unarmed man killed in a hail of police gunfire on his wedding day pledged Saturday to continue its fight to have someone held accountable for his death, a day after a judge acquitted three officers in the slaying.

"I'm still praying for justice, because it's not over. It's far from over. It's just starting," Sean Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, told supporters at a rally in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood. "Every protest, every march, every rally, I'm going to be right up front."

If history is a guide, the family may indeed still have a chance at extracting some measure of retribution, but it would very likely come at the expense of the city and not the officers who pulled the trigger. Bell, 23, was killed and two friends wounded in a 50-shot barrage outside a Queens strip club hours before his wedding.

Legal experts said Bell's family faces an uphill fight in their attempt to have the officers charged with federal civil rights violations and might have to settle for battling them in civil court, where the city, not the officers, would be responsible for paying off any multimillion-dollar verdict.

Peter J. Neufeld, an attorney who represented police torture victim Abner Louima, said he believed the chances that the U.S. attorney's office would bring federal charges in the case were "close to zero," judging by Justice Department decisions in past police shootings.


Overnight fire in large Connecticut apartment complex leaves 150 homeless

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) -- A fast-moving fire destroyed a large apartment complex early Saturday, and authorities were looking for dozens of people reported unaccounted for.

No deaths had been confirmed, but Fire Chief Ken Scandariato said he couldn't rule out that some residents might not have escaped.

He said Saturday morning that 105 of the estimated 150 residents of the Peachtree Garden Apartments had been located. Some may have gone to stay with friends and relatives, he said, adding: "It's a question right now. It's in question."

The wreckage was still too hot by late morning to allow the use of arson dogs or cadaver dogs, Scandariato said, and officials expected to be at the scene until at least Sunday afternoon.

Fire and police officials were not giving updates Saturday afternoon. The cause of the fire remained unclear, but officials were treating the blaze as suspicious, said Mayor Benjamin Lathrop.


In medical marijuana states, a patient's authorized pot use could block access to transplants

SEATTLE (AP) -- Timothy Garon's face and arms are hauntingly skeletal, but the fluid building up in his abdomen makes the 56-year-old musician look eight months pregnant.

His liver, ravaged by hepatitis C, is failing. Without a new one, his doctors tell him, he will be dead in days.

But Garon's been refused a spot on the transplant list, largely because he has used marijuana, even though it was legally approved for medical reasons.

"I'm not angry, I'm not mad, I'm just confused," said Garon, lying in his hospital bed a few minutes after a doctor told him the hospital transplant committee's decision Thursday.

With the scarcity of donated organs, transplant committees like the one at the University of Washington Medical Center use tough standards, including whether the candidate has other serious health problems or is likely to drink or do drugs.


After strongest quake in a series shakes Reno, officials urge residents to prepare for worse

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Scientists urged residents of northern Nevada's largest city to prepare for a bigger event as the area continued rumbling Saturday after the largest earthquake in a two-month-long series of temblors.

More than 100 aftershocks were recorded on the western edge of the city after a magnitude 4.7 quake hit Friday night, the strongest quake around Reno since one measuring 5.2 in 1953, said researchers at the seismological laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The latest quake swept store shelves clean, cracked walls in homes and dislodged rocks on hillsides, but there were no reports of injuries or widespread major damage.

Seismologists said the recent activity is unusual because the quakes started out small and continue to build in strength. The normal pattern is for a main quake followed by smaller aftershocks.

"A magnitude 6 quake wouldn't be a scientific surprise," John Anderson, director of the seismological lab, said Saturday. "We certainly hope residents are taking the threat seriously after last night."

But Anderson stressed there was no way to predict what would happen, and said the sequence of quakes also could end without a major one.

Reno's last major quake measured 6.1 on April 24, 1914, and was felt as far away as Berkeley, Calif., said Craig dePolo, research geologist with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.


US Marines deploying in southern Afghanistan province to help tame violence

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S. Marines are crossing the sands of southern Afghanistan for the first time in years, providing a boost to a NATO coalition that is growing but still short on manpower.

They hope to retake the 10 percent of Afghanistan the Taliban holds.

Some of the Marines that make up the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit helped to tame a thriving insurgency in western Iraq. The newly arrived forces hope to move into regions of Afghanistan now controlled by the Taliban.

The troops are working alongside British forces in Helmand province -- the world's largest opium-poppy region and site of the fiercest Taliban resistance over the last two years. The director of U.S. intelligence has said the Taliban controls 10 percent of Afghanistan -- much of that in Helmand.

"Our mission is to come here and essentially set the conditions, make Afghanistan a better place, provide some security, allow for the expansion of governance in those same areas," said Col. Peter Petronzio, the unit's commander.


Dalai Lama welcomes China's offer to hold talks with his emissary

DHARMSALA, India (AP) -- The Dalai Lama said Saturday he welcomed China's offer to hold talks with his envoy but cautioned it would be meaningless to meet if Beijing was not serious about trying to solve the problems that caused recent unrest in Tibet.

But just as it appeared China was reaching out to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Beijing's state media on Saturday blamed him for the deadly violence in the Tibetan capital that threatens to overshadow this summer's Olympics.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile here in this northern Indian town, said the two sides needed to talk seriously about how to resolve the problems that triggered the riots in the Tibetan capital last month.

"We have to explore the causes of the problems and seek solution through talks," the Tibetan spiritual leader said a day after China said it would meet his envoy.

He said he has yet to receive detailed information about the offer but stressed that talks would be good.

"We need to have serious talks about how to reduce the Tibetan resentment within Tibet," he said.


Paddleboarders return to San Diego waters despite warnings after fatal shark attack

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A few paddleboarders ignored posted signs warning that a great white shark still could be lurking below the surface Saturday, just a day after a swimmer was killed in a rare attack near San Diego.

"It's like going to see 'Jaws' -- getting in the water the next day, all you could think about was the music," said Bob Rief, 63, who was teaching a friend how to stand up on a paddleboard. "But if you're afraid of the ocean, you shouldn't be in it."

The San Diego-area native was worried that the attack would scare away vacationers or weekend beachgoers and hurt businesses. Solana Beach is 14 miles northwest of San Diego.

Despite the summer-like temperatures and cloudless skies that normally lure large crowds, beaches were mostly empty near where triathlete David Martin was killed Friday.

A shark, presumed to be a great white, lifted Martin, 66, out of the water with his legs in its jaws, leaving deep lacerations and shredding the retired veterinarian's black wetsuit.


Tegan and Sara return to Coachella with trademark comedic banter between songs

INDIO, Calif. (AP) -- Tegan and Sara, the identical twin powerpop duo, are accustomed to writing intimate, emotional songs about heartbreak.

But when performing, for every song like "Back in Your Head," there's a balance of silliness. Between nearly every song played by the singing-songwriting pair, the two casually -- often hysterically -- banter back and forth in what amounts to indie music's answer to Laurel and Hardy.

"Sometimes I like it more than music," said Tegan Quin in an interview backstage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The 27-year-old Quin sisters and their band played at Coachella on Friday, their second trip to the annual desert festival. (In 2005, the excitement of playing the festival was greatly diminished because a case of the whooping cough had weakened two band members.)

This time around, Tegan and Sara played a brisk set on the main stage, and while they didn't take too much time to chat, they still found reason to discuss dreams in which David Bowie appears. They also briefly lamented the poor acts that on Saturday were to play at the same time as Prince (the festival's biggest draw).

For Tegan and Sara, who hail from Calgary and released their fifth album ("The Con") last year, such comic relief is nothing new.


It's official: Tackle Jake Long is No. 1 for Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Jake Long visited New York City for the first time this week and landed a nifty souvenir -- a Miami Dolphins jersey bearing uniform number 1.

The former Michigan tackle held the jersey on the stage at Radio City Music Hall after officially becoming the first player taken in the NFL draft Saturday.

The Dolphins had committed to choosing Long when they signed him to a five-year contract Tuesday for $57.75 million, including $30 million guaranteed.

"I was a little more relaxed just knowing where I was going and just being here to make it official," Long said in a conference call. "That solidified it all. It was just breathtaking to walk out there and shake the commissioner's hand and hold up that jersey. It was a dream come true."

With Long to help him celebrate were his parents, two brothers and girlfriend.