Nation roundup for August 15


Teenager posts about captivity

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hannah Anderson says a longtime family friend “tricked” her into visiting his house, tied up her mother and younger brother in his garage and kidnapped her, setting off a massive search that stretched across much of the western U.S.

And when she later learned they were found dead in her captor’s burning Southern California house, the 16-year-old said she cried all night.

“I wish I could go back in time and risk my life to try and save theirs. I will never forgive myself for not trying harder to save them,” she wrote in a harrowing account on a social media site roughly two days after she was rescued and FBI agents killed James Lee DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness.

Many of the hundreds of the questions she fielded on the social media site were typical teenage fare, including her favorite musical performers, but she also told of how she was kidnapped, how she survived captivity and how she is coping with the deaths of her mother and brother.

The postings, which began Monday night and stopped Tuesday night, appeared on the ask.fm social-networking site account for “Hannahbanana722” of Lakeside, the San Diego suburb where the teen lived with her mother and brother. The account was disabled Wednesday.

DiMaggio, 40, was shot at least five times in the head and chest, said authorities.

Tech is guilty in disease outbreak

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A traveling hospital technician accused of infecting patients in multiple states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes pleaded guilty Wednesday in New Hampshire to 16 federal drug charges under an agreement that calls for him to serve 30 to 40 years in prison.

Judge Joseph Laplante asked David Kwiatkowski, 34, why he wasn’t going to trial. “Because I’m guilty,” Kwiatkowski responded.

Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering in New Hampshire, along with two similar counts in Kansas, although he was never formally charged there. Sentencing was set for Dec. 3, at which time the judge could impose a different sentence.

Before he was hired by New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital in 2011, Kwiatkowski worked as a cardiac technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states, moving from job to job despite being fired at least four times over allegations of drug use and theft.

Forty-six people in four states have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C Kwiatkowski carries and is accused of spreading by replacing stolen painkiller syringes with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.

Likely Labor regs would help vets

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Thomas Perez now confirmed as head of the Labor Department, the agency is expected to unleash a flurry of new regulations that have been bottled up for months — a prospect that has business leaders worried and labor advocates cheering.

Some long-awaited rules would help boost employment for veterans and the disabled, increase wages for home health care workers and set new limits for workplace exposure to dangerous silica dust. Other, more controversial rules and actions could help labor unions in organizing campaigns and allow union officials to take part in safety inspections at nonunion companies.

Stocks slump on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market fell on Wednesday as a poor earnings report from Macy’s cast doubt on the outlook for consumer spending, a vital component of the U.S. economy.

Other department store stocks also fell after Macy’s reported disappointing earnings for the second quarter and cut its forecast for the year.

The stock market’s early summer rally has fizzled out after a strong July, and August is shaping up to be a lackluster month as many traders and investors take their summer breaks. The major indexes have drifted lower in the past week after climbing to all-time highs at the start of the month.

“I do feel we are going to have a slight negative bias (to stocks), at least until Labor Day,” said Chris Bertelsen at Global Financial Private Capital. “We’ve had a pretty significant run in the market. People are taking some of the stocks that have had big runs, and are moving away from them.”

Consumer discretionary stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which include clothing retailers and restaurant chains, have fallen in the past month, paring their gains for the year. Makers of consumer staples, which investors favored early in the year because of the steady earnings they offered, have also dropped in the last month.

The S&P index closed down 8.77 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,685.39. The index has declined in six of the last eight trading days.

Wildfire in Utah ruins 13 homes

WANSHIP, Utah (AP) — Utah fire officials say a wildfire that has already burned 13 homes near a mountain resort town continues to spread as wind gusts fan the blaze.

Fire official Mike Eriksson said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference that no more homes have been burned. But, he says it’s highly unlikely people will be able to return Wednesday to their evacuated homes.

The fire is still only 25 percent contained. It has grown to 2,000 acres, or about 3 square miles.

Eriksson says about 250 homes northeast of Park City remain in danger.

One additional home nearly burned Wednesday, but was saved.

Steady winds stoked the fire Wednesday afternoon, sending large clouds of brownish-black smoke into the sky.

Helicopters and a large plane dropped fire retardant on the blaze.

 

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