Nation & World

Published Feb 4, 2013 at 04:00AM

California bus crash — Authorities say at least eight people are dead and 38 people are injured after a tour bus collided with two other vehicles in the mountains of Southern California. California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez says the bus driver reported having brake problems as the bus came down the mountain on State Route 38, rear-ending a sedan, then flipping over and hitting a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer.

Obama talks budget — President Barack Obama said in a televised interview Sunday that he could foresee a budget deal in Congress that did not include further increases in tax rates but instead focused on eliminating loopholes and deductions. Obama has generally insisted that all revenue options, including higher rates, should be considered to slow the rise of federal budget deficits. But in the interview with Scott Pelley of CBS News, he said, “I don’t think the issue right now is raising rates.” Obama said the focus now should be on targeted spending cuts and changes to the tax code.

Iraq suicide attack — A suicide car bomber attacked a provincial police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Sunday morning, the police and the city’s civil defense director said, killing at least 36 people and wounding 105. Three more suicide attackers who tried to enter the general directorate of Kirkuk police after the blast were killed by the police.

Alabama standoff — An Alabama standoff and hostage drama marked a sixth day Sunday. Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., was buried Sunday. The FBI said in a statement Sunday that authorities continue to have an open line of communication with Dykes. The little boy requested Cheez-Its and a red Hot Wheels car, both of which were delivered to the bunker, a separate statement said.

Afghanistan commitment — The Pentagon’s top civilian and military officials Sunday expressed expectations, even a desire, that U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in December 2014, although they emphasized that no decision had been made. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. would sustain a strategic partnership with Afghanistan, and cited a decision by NATO heads of state during a summit meeting in Chicago that long-term support for Kabul would include military assistance.

Irish tycoon mystery — The story of an emaciated man found wandering barefoot on a country road last week in County Leitrim, Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland, continues to confound the police, even after he was identified as a missing Irish property tycoon who said he was abducted eight months ago and tortured during his captivity. The Irish police say Kevin McGeever, 68, has been unable to give them a coherent statement about his ordeal as he recovers in a Mullingar hospital.

Paraguayan candidate dies — Lino Oviedo, a candidate in Paraguay’s presidential elections and one of the country’s most polarizing political figures, was killed in a helicopter crash Saturday night while returning from a political rally in northern Paraguay, government officials said Sunday. The fiery crash killed Oviedo, 69, an aide and the pilot. After authorities confirmed his death and called it an accident, officials in his party, the National Union of Ethical Citizens, immediately questioned whether he had been assassinated.

Syrian conflict — The Israeli attack last week on a Syrian convoy of anti-aircraft weapons appears to have damaged the country’s main research center for work on biological and chemical weapons, according to U.S. officials who are sorting through intelligence reports. While the main target of the attack Wednesday seems to have been the SA-17 missiles and their launchers — which the Israelis feared were about to be moved to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon — video shown on Syrian television backs up assertions that the research center north of Damascus also sustained moderate damage.

— From wire reports

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