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June 11, 2012 at 8:16 AM   |   Comments

Commerce head Bryson cited for hit-and-run

SAN GABRIEL, Calif., June 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was cited for felony hit-and-run after causing separate accidents involving two cars in Southern California, police said.

Bryson was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Law enforcement officials said Bryson was driving a Lexus in San Gabriel Saturday when his vehicle allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, spoke to the Buick's occupants before he left the scene, then struck it a second time. The passengers of the vehicle followed Bryson's car and called emergency services.

A San Gabriel Police Department statement said Bryson then drove to the nearby city of Rosemead where his vehicle struck a car with two occupants.

Two of the three passengers in the Buick were treated for minor injuries, officials said.

The commerce chief was found "alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle," the statement said.

He was treated by paramedics and transported to an area hospital, police said. His condition was unknown.

"The investigation is in its preliminary stages. At this point in time, there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions," the police statement said.

Bryson, 68, a former chairman of Edison International, was appointed commerce secretary in October 2011.


Opposition chief urges officials to defect

DAMASCUS, Syria, June 11 (UPI) -- The new leader of the opposition Syrian National Council called on government officials to defect while heavy gunfire rocked the country Monday.

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, Abdulbaset Sieda also stressed the council rejects foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis, unless the intervention is U.N.-sanctioned, the BBC reported.

Sieda said the group is not seeking for "a foreign war or intervention. Rather it is the regime that is pushing our country in this direction; that is, waging unjust war on the nation and the people."

"Our intentions are peaceful, but this bestial regime is bent on extermination and a scorched earth policy," he told the BBC as he encouraged government leaders to defect.

Sieda also called on officials in Syria, Russia and China "to think carefully about the situation now because the whole stability of the region -- if not the whole stability of the world -- is at stake here. We would like to call upon them to support the Syrian people," CNN reported.

Russia and China, key trade allies of Syria, have blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions that many other nations said could have pushed Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop the killing. The two countries said they want more balanced resolutions that call on all sides to end the violence.

Opposition activists said at least 21 people were killed across Syria Monday, CNN reported.


Sandusky trial: Prosecution to use 2 weeks

BELLEFONTE, Pa., June 11 (UPI) -- The prosecution said it would use two weeks trying ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

The trial, which begins Monday, is expected to last three weeks, and Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III said the prosecution's case would likely take two of those.

Opening statements by Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina and lead defense attorney Joseph Amendola were expected to take up much of Monday.

The first witness against Sandusky was widely expected to be a 28-year-old man identified as Victim 4, although court officials did not release the witness list read to jurors, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

A grand jury report that led to the charges against Sandusky said Sandusky singled out that boy for special attention in 1996, during the boy's second summer with the Second Mile children's charity program Sandusky founded.

ABC News reported last week that man, who will be identified in the trial, received "creepy" love letters from Sandusky.

Sandusky, 68 -- who served under renowned head Coach Joe Paterno, who brought the team and the campus to national prominence -- is charged with 52 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.


Myanmar declares emergency after 17 die

YANGON, Myanmar, June 11 (UPI) -- Myanmar declared a state of emergency in the western state of Rakhine, where 17 people died in clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, officials said.

President Thein Sein's office issued the order Sunday, the government-run New Light of Myanmar reported. .

U.N. personnel in Rakhine were being relocated for safety reasons, CNN reported Monday

Violence erupted along the coastal area near Bangladesh after the alleged rape and killing last month of a Buddhist woman.

Buddhists last week attacked a bus in the Taungup area, killing 10 Rohingya Muslims in retaliation, authorities said. On Friday, seven people were killed in clashes that destroyed hundreds of homes

CNN said a growing number of clashes have been reported between the two groups.

"What is currently happening in the Rakhine state is about putting grievances, hatred, and desire for revenge at the forefront, based on racial and religious grounds, and that's why anarchic actions are becoming widespread," Thein Sein said Sunday in a televised address.

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