AP News in Brief at 8:58 p.m. EDT
Shutdown Impact: Tourists, Homebuyers Among First to Lose
Washington (ap) — If the government “shuts down” next Tuesday, your mail will still come. Doctors will see Medicare patients. NASA will keep talking to the astronauts circling Earth on the Space Station. In fact, the majority of government will remain on the job.
The closings would hit random Americans first: vacationers hoping to take in Mount Rushmore or a Smithsonian museum. Homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages. Veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits. Perhaps on the bright side — for some — tax audits would be suspended.
Troubles would spread the longer a shutdown lasted.
A prolonged furlough of more than one-third of civilian federal workers could mean delays in processing applications for new Social Security disability claims. Lost profits for businesses that sell goods or services to the government. Problems for hotels and restaurants that rely on tourism near national parks. Longer waits for kids seeking delinquent child support.
And, of course, a shutdown would mean no paychecks for an estimated 800,000 furloughed workers. They might get paid later for the missed days but couldn’t count on that. Don’t blame them for slacking off; the law forbids volunteering to work for free from home.
Top Kenyan Official Says
Military Caused Mall Collapse
Nairobi, Kenya (ap) — Kenya’s military caused the collapse of three floors of the Westgate Mall in the deadly terrorist siege, a top-ranking official disclosed Friday, while the government urged patience with the pace of an investigation that has left key questions unanswered.
Seven days after 67 people were killed in the attack on the upscale shopping center, there is still no clear word on the fate of dozens who have been reported missing and no details on the terrorists who carried it out.
The account of the roof collapse raises the possibility that the military may have caused the death of hostages in its rescue attempt. An undisclosed number of people are feared to be buried in the rubble.
The official said autopsies will be conducted on any bodies found to determine the cause of death — from the militants or the structural collapse. The high-ranking government official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge sensitive information.
The official also confirmed that Kenyan troops fired rocket-propelled grenades inside the mall, but would not say what caused the floors to collapse, if the action was intentional, or if it was an accident.
Burial Set for Remains of Airman Who Vanished In 1944 In New Guinea
Salt Lake City (ap) — Only a sole surviving sibling has a distant memory of a World War II pilot whose recently identified remains will be buried today with full military honors in Utah.
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird had more than a dozen brothers and sisters when he crashed over a Pacific Ocean island nearly 70 years ago. He disappeared over Papua New Guinea on a 1944 bombing run of Japanese airfields there. He was 25.
The crash site was discovered 12 years ago, but it wasn’t until this summer that the Air Force was able to identify partial remains found there as belonging to Bird.
This week, about 150 distant relatives showed up at the Salt Lake airport as those remains — only a single leg bone was recovered — arrived inside a flag-draped casket on an airliner.
None of them knew Bird personally. His younger sister, Elaine Bird Jack of Eugene, Ore., is his lone surviving sibling and the only one who has a memory of him, said Lorna Bird Snyder, the airman’s 66-year-old niece.