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Jan. 7, 2013 at 5:03 PM   |   Comments

Officers testify in Holmes hearing

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- James Holmes was calm and near his parked car when he was arrested for allegedly opening fire in an Aurora, Colo., theater, a police officer testified.

"He was very relaxed," police officer Jason Oviatt told an evidentiary hearing in Centennial, Colo., Monday. "It was like there weren't normal emotional responses to anything. He seemed very detached."

Police officers were the first to testify in what is expected to be a week-long hearing in Colorado's 18th Judicial District court to determine if sufficient evidence is available to move the case against Holmes to trial, The New York Times reported.

Holmes, 25, faces 164 counts of murder and attempted murder, and a weapons possession charge in the July movie theater rampage that killed 12 people and injured 58 others. He has not yet entered a plea.

Prosecutors are laying out their case for the first time, The Denver Post said.

Police reports from the day of the shooting noted Holmes "stared off in space" and "seemed out of it" at his arrest. Oviatt said in court Holmes understood directions and fully complied with officers, "not doing anything, not in any hurry, not excited, not urgent about anything."


As expected, Obama taps Hagel, Brennan

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- President Obama Monday nominated former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as his Pentagon chief and counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA.

Obama, during the nearly 30-minute announcement, called the men patriots who understand that "we are only successful because of the folks up and down the line" in the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Hagel, a Republican who once represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate, "is the leader our troops deserve," Obama said. "He is an American patriot."

If his nomination is approved by the Senate, Hagel would be the first enlisted man, and first Vietnam-era veteran, to lead the Defense Department. He would succeed Leon Panetta.

Brennan, Obama said, is a tireless public servant whose "integrity and commitment to values defines us as Americans. If confirmed, Brennan would succeed Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who assumed the directorship when David Petraeus resigned after an extramarital affair came to light.

If Brennan earns Senate approval, which he is expected to do easily, the men and women of the CIA will have one of their own, Obama said.


Clinton gets welcome-back helmet

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a gag present appropriate for the rough-and-tumble world of politics when she returned to work Monday: a football helmet.

Clinton returned to her soon-to-be vacated post Monday for the first time since suffering a concussion and a blood clot, officials said.

During a weekly staff meeting, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides presented Clinton a gift, telling her, "As you know, Washington is a contact sport," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland recounted.

The helmet has the State Department seal and "lots of good padding," Nuland said.

Clinton also got a football jersey that has "Clinton" and the number 112, "which symbolizes the number of countries that she's visited as secretary of state," Nuland said.

"And she loved it," the spokeswoman said. "She thought it was cool."


Challenge to stem cell research rejected

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected a challenge to expanded embryonic stem cell research.

The challenge to President Obama's 2009 executive order expanding the research was brought in August 2009 by James Sherley and Theresa Deisher, two researchers who work with adult stem cells. Sherley works at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute. Deisher is a cellular physiologist.

The researchers opposed the use of federal funding for the development of embryonic stem cell, or ESC, research saying such research was illegal under federal law -- the "Dickey-Wicker Amendment," which clearly provided "that no federal funds shall be used for 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero.'"

A federal judge in Washington agreed, issuing an injunction against the expansion, but the federal appeals court in the capital reversed.


Philippines shootout over bookie territory

QUEZON, Philippines, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Police in the Philippines said Monday a shootout in which 13 people were killed was spawned by a territorial war between illegal gambling ring rivals.

The shootout happened late Sunday in Quezon province, The Philippine Star reported. Thirteen people, including three members of the Philippine National Police, were killed.

A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case, told the newspaper the clash was between two rival groups of "bookies" that involved police and army personnel.

"The two groups have long been threatening each other. This has been happening since the brother of Marantan got into the bookies in Laguna," the source said.

"There are policemen and army soldiers involved; that's why they were covering it up."

Chief Superintendent James Melad said 14 firearms were recovered from the scene, four of which were unlicensed.

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