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Aug. 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

7 reported dead at Sikh temple

MILWAUKEE, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- At least seven people were killed, including a gunman, during an attack Sunday at the Sikh Temple in a Milwaukee suburb, police said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said four of the dead were inside the temple in Oak Creek, Wis. and three of the dead were outside, including the gunman.

The newspaper said police SWAT team members were still sweeping the building about 1 p.m. local time when an explosion was heard from inside. The report said it was unclear what the explosion was.

The first officer on the scene encountered the gunman and exchanged fire with him, Greenfield, Wis., Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt told reporters.

The officer was hit multiple times, but is expected live, while the shooter went down, Wentland said, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Wentland was acting as police spokesman for the incident, the Journal Sentinel said.

The newspaper said children were taken to the temple's basement after the firing started.

One of the temple's committee members, Ven Boba Ri, said people inside the temple said the gunman was a white male in his 30s, the newspaper reported.

Ri said the man walked up to a priest outside the temple and shot him. Then he went inside and started shooting, the newspaper said.

The White House released a statement by President Obama on the shooting.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin. At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded," the statement said.

The president said the administration "will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting," adding that Sikhs "are a part of our broader American family."


Reid criticized for Romney tax remarks

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Republicans called Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., a "liar" Sunday for remarks made on the Senate floor regarding Mitt Romney's taxes.

Reid last week said he had "heard" Romney paid no federal income taxes for a decade. Romney, the presumed GOP presidential nominee, released his 2010 tax returns and promised to release 2011 but has declined going further back.

Speculation has been swirling for weeks about how much he has paid in taxes and Reid said Thursday: "When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it's his obligation to put up, and release several years' worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades."

Reid said he got the information from an investor at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney headed, but did not provide any evidence.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," called Reid a liar.

"I've been around this town for a while. I actually like Harry. But what he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he's lying about his statement of knowing something about Romney. So this is what's wrong with America -- ...

"I think he has created an issue here. I think he's making things up. And at a time when the country is just about to fall apart. ... I just cannot believe that the majority leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, in my view, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues.

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus also called Reid a liar.

"I'm not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn't filed a single page of tax returns himself," Priebus said on ABC's "This Week." "[He] complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street. ... This is just a made-up issue."


Republicans say harsh weather is cyclical

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Republican lawmakers contend this year's harsh weather that has produced drought and wildfires does not prove the existence of global warming.

An analysis by WeatherBank and AccuWeather shows the summer of 2012 will likely be one of the three hottest since 1950 and has yielded the most widespread drought in 50 years, The Hill reported Sunday.

Many Republicans, however, say the climate is cyclical and its current state does not prove a trend.

"I think the science suggests you have to have long-term trends, not one-year droughts," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., adding that his district saw worse conditions in the 1950s and 1980s and "variability in the drought is not unusual."

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., agreed.

"We've got oppressive heat and we've broken some records, but there's a lot of records standing that have been there for a long duration. These things cycle and we've been unseasonably wet and we're cycling into a hot, dry period."

In a floor speech Monday, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said, "Look at the patterns. It gets cold, it gets warmer, it gets colder, gets warmer. God is still up there, and I think it'll continue in the future."

To the contrary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called Inhofe's stance on climate change "dead and dangerously wrong."

Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., said there are likely more Republicans who believe in climate change than their public statements suggest.

"I think [GOP members] are really saying we need to see what's happening and if there's something we need to do, or whether we just need to say that this is a change in the weather and it's going to shift back. So I think more [Republicans] are concerned about it," she said.


Report: Molesters slip past Boy Scout list

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The Boy Scouts' system for blocking sexual predators from its ranks of adult leaders has apparently been far from foolproof, organization records showed.

The Los Angeles Times said Sunday its review of more than 1,200 files from 1970-1991 turned up 125 instances in which leaders kicked out of scouting for sexual abuse issues had found their way back in.

The newspaper said banned individuals sometimes used assumed names or never filled out the Boy Scouts' paperwork. But in other instances, blackball lists were not checked or had errors in them that allowed molesters to get back in.

"Basically, there were no controls," said Bill Dworin, a retired Los Angeles police expert on child sexual abuse who reviewed hundreds of Boy Scout files in an Oregon civil case.

Boy Scouts of America told the Times its computerized system has been used to routinely check volunteers and paid employees but conceded some bad apples managed to sneak through.

"The Boy Scouts of America believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA's best efforts to protect children were insufficient," organization said in a written statement. "For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims. ... We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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