Explosion investigation may take weeks
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The investigation into an explosion in Indianapolis that killed two people and damaged a dozen homes could take weeks, officials said Sunday.
The explosion was reported just after 11 p.m. Saturday in the Richmond Hill neighborhood, WISH-TV, Indianapolis, reported.
Citizens Energy has shut off gas to all the homes in the area and investigated potential gas issues in the neighborhood.
Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Bonnie Hensley said the department continued investigating Sunday.
Some of the 200 people who were evacuated from the area were allowed back into their homes Sunday morning, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Firefighters allowed people to return to homes with little or no structural damage.
One resident of the Richmond Hill neighborhood, Kurt McDonald, told WISH-TV he went outside and saw one house "just gone." He said the house next door was caved in and people were yelling.
"My son, nephew and I went in and got one daughter out [and] got another daughter out. She had a pretty big head wound," McDonald said. "The husband was trapped under a ton of stuff and all kinds of debris, and the wife was stuck in the recliner."
Resident Whitney Paflanzer said it was "like a war zone."
"And it was dark and dusty, and I thought it was a nightmare -- it was a nightmare," he said.
Obama honors veterans
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama honored U.S. military veterans Sunday by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
The wreath, Obama said, was "to remember every service member who has ever worn our nation's uniform."
"On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well. And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said in a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater.
Obama spoke on the "9/11 Generation" who "stepped forward after the towers fell, and in the years since, have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known."
The president also said Sunday was the first Veterans Day in a decade with no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq.
"Thirty-three thousand of our troops have now returned from Afghanistan, and the transition there is under way. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life. They'll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role. They will be veterans," he said.
Morsi prepares for trip to U.S.
CAIRO, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is set to make his first trip to the United States to discuss a promised $450 million economic aid package, officials said.
Dates for Morsi's visit have not been confirmed, but Cairo and Washington are currently reviewing the schedules of Morsi and Obama to prepare, Ahram Online reported Sunday.
Egyptian ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Tawfik, said Morsi will pursue the immediate processing of the aid package while he is in the United States. The package was promised in the first quarter of 2011.
"The transfer of an aid package of $450 million is a priority that we are currently working on; this is the first installment of a wider aid package that the U.S. has promised," Tawfik said.
The ambassador added that Egypt is also keen on strengthening its "strategic relations" with the United States, adding that the recent re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama could "help keep a good pace for the upgrading of relations between the two countries."
Larger fed role sought in Sandy recovery
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A New York congressman said he wanted the Obama administration to send in federal reinforcements to play a bigger role in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Sunday his Long Island constituents were losing patience over the pace of recovery work, particularly the seemingly slow progress being made restoring electricity as winter closes in.
"We still have more than 100,000 customers that do not have power, and there is no timeline as to when they're going to get it," King said on CNN's "State of the Union."
King said Washington needed to be more aggressive in leading the recovery and had asked President Obama to put the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of the effort that would include more personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
"I'm hoping that they can set up a federal infrastructure led by the Army Corps of Engineers, which would have a comprehensive plan which LIPA [Long Island Power Authority] would be required to follow."
King chastised LIPA for being bogged down and failing to clearly communicate with Long Island storm victims.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., told CNN things were going better in his state with power to be largely restored in the next day or two. There remained, however, the problem of shelter for people whose homes were wrecked by Sandy.
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