AUSTIN — Nearly four weeks after losing her bid to unseat Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison abandoned plans Wednesday to resign from the Senate, saying she intends to serve the remainder of her term to fight the growth of the federal government. “For family reasons, I had planned to begin making a transition home to Texas this spring,” Hutchison said at a hurriedly called news conference in San Antonio. “But it is clear to me that the stakes in our nation’s Capitol have never been higher.” Hutchison’s pledge to serve out the two-plus years in her term contrasted with her earlier promises to give up her Senate seat regardless of the outcome of her unsuccessful race against Perry in the March 2 Republican gubernatorial primary.
Missouri: Emergency landing
A Delta Airlines flight from New York has made a safe emergency landing in St. Louis after the crew reported a smoky odor in the cabin. A Delta spokesman said Flight 721 was en route from Kennedy Airport to San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon when the crew noticed the smell. He said the Boeing 757 was diverted to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport as a precaution and landed safely shortly before 5 p.m.
D.C.: Missile shot denied
The Pentagton denied Wednesday that the United States test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads during a joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia. A Western military official in Saudi Arabia said a Trident missile was launched Wednesday out of the kingdom. But a Pentagon spokesman said there was no launch of Trident or any other missile during the exercise, which began last week.
China joins sanctions talks
Six major world powers agreed Wednesday to begin putting together proposed new sanctions on Iran over its suspect nuclear program after China dropped its opposition. China, long a holdout against fresh international penalties against Iran, signaled its willingness to consider a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution. “China has agreed to sit down and begin serious negotiations … in New York … as a first step toward getting the entire U.N. Security Council on board with a tough sanctions regime against Iran,” said Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the U.N.
No reprimand for general
A high-ranking Army general won’t be formally reprimanded after urging troops to lobby to keep the ban on openly gay military service. President Barack Obama supports lifting the ban, and an active attempt to keep it in place could be considered insubordination. But Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon’s civilian boss said the three-star Army general won’t receive a letter of reprimand or be forced to step down.
Florida: SeaWorld autopsy
A SeaWorld Orlando trainer attacked by a killer whale died of drowning and blunt-force trauma to her head, neck and torso, an autopsy released Wednesday showed. The report by the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Dawn Brancheau’s cause of death as drowning and traumatic injuries. Her death was ruled an accident, and toxicology tests found no drugs in her system. The killer whale snatched the 40-year-old trainer from a poolside platform in its jaws and thrashed her around underwater, killing her in front of a horrified audience on Feb. 24.
New York: Suicide plunge
A Yale University junior left a suicide note in his dorm room before heading to New York, where he apparently plunged to his death by jumping from the Empire State Building, police said Wednesday. Cameron Dabaghi, 21, from Austin, Texas, jumped from the 86th floor observation deck Tuesday during evening rush hour. His note said he was sorry and he would be jumping from either the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River, or the Empire State building, police said.
Ohio: Salvation Army theft
A man has been sentenced to four years in prison for shoving a Salvation Army bell ringer to the ground and swiping one of the charity’s red kettles. Shawn Krieger pleaded no contest to robbery two weeks ago. A Toledo judge sentenced him on Tuesday and noted that Krieger had a prior theft conviction. Police said Krieger told the Salvation Army bell ringer in late November that he hated Christmas and then grabbed the kettle stuffed with hundreds of dollars. The bell ringer tried to pull the kettle away and gave chase until police said the thief tossed the kettle into the back of a stolen pickup truck and sped away.
From Herald news services