Libyans cast ballots in historic vote
TRIPOLI, Libya, July 7 (UPI) -- Libyans went to the polls Saturday to vote in the African country's first general election in 60 years, officials said.
Voters are electing candidates for a 200-seat national assembly, which will form a temporary government and draft a constitution, Voice of America reported.
The assembly will choose a cabinet and prime minister, and full parliamentary elections are to be held next year.
The election comes less than nine months after the end of the revolution that led to dictator Moammar Gadhafi's ouster and eventually his death.
The Tripoli Post reported some violence in the eastern part of the country and said an official of the Electoral Commission, Abdullah Al-Barassi, 22, was killed when the helicopter he was in was targeted by small arms fire east of Benghazi. VOA said the motive for the attack remained unclear.
Also in the east, supporters of autonomy called for a boycott of the elections and threatened to sabotage polling. A polling station in Benghazi was attacked by pro-autonomy activists, who seized electoral papers and ballot boxes, and ballot papers were set on fire at an election office in Ajdabiya, the BBC said.
The British broadcaster said many people in eastern Libya worry the area, rich in oil, will be under-represented in the assembly.
Some former rebels had threatened to disrupt the vote by targeting the oil industry.
Former rebels have shut down up to five oil terminals, the BBC said, reducing Libya's ability to export oil.
More soaring temps, then relief expected
BALTIMORE, July 7 (UPI) -- Temperatures are expected to soar again Saturday from the Plains to the Eastern seaboard before the heat begins to ease, forecasters say.
The National Weather Service has forecast a high of 109 degrees Saturday in St. Louis, Mo., CNN reported, while Accuweather said temperatures in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., were expected to rise into the low 100s.
In Chicago, temperatures could climb past 100, which would mark the first time ever of four straight days of temperatures recorded over 100, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Five deaths -- of men ages 48, 58 and 59 and two women ages 81 and 91 -- were attributed to "heat stress," city public health spokesman Efrat Stein said Friday, while another heat-related death was reported elsewhere in Cook County.
Taking into account the intense sun and high humidity, temperatures will feel like they're as high as 115 in some major metropolitan areas, Accuweather said.
CNN said about 350,000 customers in 12 states and in Washington, D.C., still were without power Friday night, and many have not had power for a week after strong storms knocked out electricity.
In West Virginia, about 167,000 customers had no power Friday night.
Lower temperatures were expected with a cold front moving across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes on Saturday and into Ohio and the northeast Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
Report: Romney has begun debate prep
NEW YORK, July 7 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney began preparing for his first debate with U.S. President Barack Obama last month, campaign sources told the New York Daily News.
The Daily News reported Saturday "Romney sources" say two prep sessions were shoehorned into Romney's schedule during a three-day retreat for Republican leaders and big donors at the Chateaux at Silver Lake in Park City, Utah. The sources said Romney and several aides got together to discuss what questions are likely to come up and the best answers for them.
Romney and Obama are scheduled to square off in three debates, the first one Oct. 3 in Denver.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has already been identified as Obama's sparring partner in practice sessions. But a campaign source told the News Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, does not especially like "podium practices" and will not spend a lot of time in that kind of preparation.
"There will be some role-playing but not as much as other presidential candidates," the adviser said. "The traditional model doesn't fit his style."
Those around him say Romney understands the debates will be critical and that Obama is a tougher opponent than the Republican candidates he took on during the primaries.
"He needs to stay totally focused on the economy and not take the bait on red herrings," one source told the News. "He has to be the most knowledgeable guy on the podium and avoid dumb comments that get him off message."
The other debates are scheduled to be at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Oct. 16 and in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22.
Syrian shells hit Lebanon, killing 3
DAMASCUS, Syria, July 7 (UPI) -- A cross-border attack on northern Lebanon from Syria Saturday left three people dead and nine more injured, officials said.
The attack happened in the Wadi Khaled region, where Syrian civilians and armed rebels have fled to escape violence in their own country, the BBC reported.
The first artillery shells from Syria Saturday morning landed on farm buildings and killed a woman, local residents said. During a second strike about an hour later, two more people died.
Several children are believed to be among the injured, residents said.
It was not immediately clear whether the victims were Syrian refugees or Lebanese nationals, the BBC said.
|Additional U.S. News Stories|
SANFORD, Fla., May 24 (UPI) --Pictures and texts from Trayvon Martin's cellphone show a different side of the teenager a Florida man is accused of killing unprovoked, defense attorneys say.
NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) --A New York judge has released Amanda Bynes on her own recognizance after the actress was arrested for throwing a bong out of her 36th-floor apartment window.
OSLO, Norway, May 24 (UPI) --Norwegian oil and gas company DNO International said tests from a field in the Kurdish region of Iraq yielded an average flow rate of more than 100,000 bpd.
BRENTWOOD, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) --A New York state dockworker said one of his first acts as a $26.5 million lottery jackpot winner was to quit his job.