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March 4, 2013 at 5:17 PM   |   Comments

Elderly woman dies after nurse denies aid

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 4 (UPI) -- An elderly woman died at a California senior living facility after a nurse refused to give her CPR because it violated company policy, emergency officials say.

A worker at the facility called 911 after Lorraine Bayless, 87, passed out in the dining room while eating and was barely breathing, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The dispatcher pleaded with a nurse to perform CPR on the resident until emergency medical personnel could arrive at the independent living facility, Glenwood Gardens.

"Is there anybody that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?" the dispatcher is heard on tape asking the nurse.

"Um, not at this time," the nurse replied.

The ambulance arrived a few minutes later. Bayless died Tuesday at an area hospital.


Obama talking Medicare, Social Security cuts

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is talking to Democrats and Republicans about cutting Medicare and Social Security entitlements, a White House official said.

"He's reaching out to Democrats who understand we have to make serious progress on long-term entitlement reform, and Republicans who realize that if we had that type of entitlement reform, they'd be willing to have tax reform that raises revenues to lower the deficit," Gene Sperling, director of Obama's National Economic Council, told CNN's "State of the Union."

During his introduction of three Cabinet nominees Monday, Obama touched on the automatic $85 billion, across-the-board cuts in federal spending, known as the sequester, saying Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget, and acting OMB chief Jeff Zients "will do everything in their power to blunt the impact of these cuts on businesses and middle-class families.

But many people eventually "are going to feel some pain," the president said.


Raqqa, Syria, falls to rebels

RAQQA, Syria, March 4 (UPI) -- Syrian rebels fought government forces on several fronts Monday, and controlled the city of Raqqa after days of clashes, activist groups said.

The fall of the provincial capital signifies a potentially important turn in the Syrian conflict, Raqqa being the first capital completely taken over by armed resistance to President Bashar Assad, The New York Times reported Monday.

Videos posted on the Internet showed the destruction of a statue of Hafez Assad, the former Syrian president and Bashar's father. Footage showed the statue being pulled down, its head smashed in the fall, the newspaper said.

Regime opponents said fighting in the central city of Homs also escalated Monday, a day after high casualties in battles in Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, said fighting flared in Homs after government forces launched an offensive, backed by tanks and warplanes, to dislodge rebels.

Successions of "explosions that shook the whole city" and clouds of black smoke were observed, activist Abu Bilal said, and The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, reported "fierce and continuous shelling from heavy artillery and rocket launchers."


Fake bishop gets into Vatican meeting

VATICAN CITY, March 4 (UPI) -- Italy's ANSA news agency said a man posing as a bishop managed to enter a pre-conclave meeting of cardinals at the Vatican before being ejected.

The news agency said the man, reportedly Australian, dressed in a bishop's outfit comprised of a shorter-than-usual cassock, an unusual crucifix chain and a purple scarf worn to look like an Episcopal sash to get into the Monday meeting.

The meeting of more than 100 cardinals from around the world precedes the upcoming secret meeting of the conclave to elect a new pope.

The man was eventually discovered and ejected in view of journalists, ANSA said.


Romney: 'It kills me' not to be president

SAN DIEGO, March 4 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney says it "kills" him not to be U.S. president, and his wife, Ann, says she has cried over the loss and blames the news media at least in part for it.

"I look at what's happening right now, I wish I were there," Romney told "Fox News Sunday" in a wide-ranging interview at his San Diego beach house, his first on television since he lost November's presidential election.

"It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done," the former Massachusetts governor said.

"I have to tell you, the hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment, just slip away with politics," he said.

He accused President Barack Obama of using automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester to score political points.

"No one can think that that's been a success for the president," Romney said. "He didn't think the sequester would happen. It is happening. To date, what we've seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing."

Ann Romney, who sat alongside her husband for part of the interview, said, "I totally believe, at this moment, if Mitt were there in the office, that we would not be facing sequestration right now."


Queen Elizabeth out of hospital

LONDON, March 4 (UPI) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been released from the London hospital where she was treated during the weekend for a stomach illness, palace officials said.

"The queen has left The King Edward VII's hospital, having been admitted briefly as part of the assessment of symptoms of gastroenteristis," Buckingham Palace said in a statement Monday afternoon, local time.

Although the 86-year-old monarch is feeling better than she was when she was admitted to the hospital Sunday, all official engagements for this week will either be postponed or canceled, People.com said.

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