Sources: Yale grad student asphyxiated
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Yale graduate student Annie Le was asphyxiated and her body was stuffed into a crawl space in the lab where she had been working, sources said Tuesday.
The unnamed sources also told The Hartford (Conn.) Courant a research technician who worked in the lab was a "person of interest" and the killing was not random.
Connecticut Chief State Medical Examiner Wayne F. Carver had been expected to release a cause of death but decided against doing so Tuesday because, he said, that could affect the investigation.
The lab, near Yale's medical school in New Haven, Conn., had been under examination by investigators since last Tuesday, when video cameras captured the 24-year-old Le entering the building. She was never seen leaving.
Le was to have been married Sunday in Syosset, N.Y., to Jonathan Widawsky, a graduate student at Columbia University. Police say he is not a suspect.
The state police crime squad found Le's clothed body behind a wall in the crawl space Saturday, and a source told the Courant only someone who knew the lab's layout could have gotten to the crawl space.
The "person of interest" -- who was not identified -- had worked for the Yale Animal Research Center for at least four years, the Courant said. Any possible connection to Le other than taking care of animals she used in lab work, was unknown.
Officials: Kelly tried to kill self before
CHICAGO, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Chris Kelly, the former fundraiser for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, attempted suicide last Tuesday, four days before his fatal overdose, officials said.
In the first attempt, he took an over-the-counter medication, said Regina Evans, the police chief in Country Club Hills, Ill., the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
That attempt came hours after Kelly pleaded guilty to a scheme involving $8.5 million in roofing fraud at O'Hare International Airport. He was to report to federal prison this week to begin serving an 8-year-sentence.
Evans said Kelly, 51, called a friend for help Tuesday and they drove to a hospital but never went inside because he said he was better.
Friday night, Kelly set up photographs of his children in a rented trailer in a lumber yard in Country Club Hills and took pills, a source told the Tribune.
He then attempted to drive away and was found slumped over the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital Saturday morning.
A friend of Kelly gave police a note he may have written, Evans said, but she declined to speak about its contents beyond calling it rambling and "personal in nature."
The Chicago Sun-Times, quoting an unnamed source, said Kelly also had ingested rat poisoning but that was not believed to have been a factor in his death. The "extraordinarily large dose of aspirin'' was lethal, the source said.
After Kelly was hospitalized Friday, he told doctors what had happened, the source told the Sun-Times, adding, "He meant (to kill himself) and he did it.''
Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, plan to attend Kelly's funeral Wednesday, the Tribune said.
House rebukes Rep. Wilson
WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines Tuesday to rebuke a South Carolina Republican for his outburst during President Obama's healthcare remarks.
By a 240-to-170 vote, the House said Rep. Joe Wilson's shouting "You lie" during Obama's address was a "breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings."
Seven Republicans voted for the resolution and 12 Democrats voted against it. Five members voted "present."
The resolution also said the House of Representative "disapproves of the behavior" of Wilson during the joint session last week. Wilson later apologized for his remark, and an Obama aide accepted it.
However, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said, "it was the House of Representatives itself that was (offended)."
If Wilson had apologized to the House, "that would have ended the matter," Hoyer said. "It's about the conduct we expect of one another in the course of doing our business."
In his defense, Wilson said the resolution wouldn't create jobs, halt spending or reform healthcare.
"I think it is clear to the American people that there are far more important issues than what we're considering now," Wilson said.
Republican speaker after speaker poked criticism at the healthcare measure floating the House.
The resolution of disapproval was nothing more than a "partisan stunt aimed at trying to divert from real issue ... healthcare," House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said.
"Joe Wilson is a decent human being. He did the right thing," Boehner said, voice rising. "To put him through this is unacceptable and it is a partisan stunt."
"I believe what is going here is a reflection of the unease" of the American people at the actions of Congress, said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich.
Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina said the resolution "is not a partisan stunt. I do not participate in partisan stunts. This is about the proper decorum" in the House.
If a member hurls "accusations of mendacity" at the president and refuses to "formally express remorse," Clyburn said, "we at a minimum are duty-bound to express our disapproval."
U.N. panel faults Israel, Hamas in Gaza
GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters committed war crimes during the Gaza conflict, a U.N. commission said in a report released Tuesday.
The panel headed by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa faulted both sides for failing to carry out "credible investigations" of their own actions, The New York Times reported. The commission recommended that the U.N. Security Council refer alleged crimes to the International Criminal Court unless investigations are done within six months.
"The prolonged situation of impunity has created a justice crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action," the report said.
While the 574-page report faulted Hamas for its rocket fire into southern Israel, the focus was on Israeli acts. About 1,200 Palestinians died during the brief conflict, including several hundred civilians, 13 Israelis were killed, including three civilians.
Israeli forces deliberately attacked civilians on a number of occasions, including firing on two hospitals, the report said. In some cases, civilians were shot after leaving a building under orders from Israeli soldiers.
Israel released a statement through its Geneva mission describing the report as "clearly one-sided" but promised to read it carefully.
Mullen hearing turns into Afghan debate
WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The re-appointment of Adm. Mike Mullen as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman became a forum for U.S. senators to air views on increasing troops in Afghanistan.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday he thought it was in the United States' national interest to ramp up aid to the Afghan army and police to become self-sufficient as well as "demonstrate our commitment to the success of (that) mission."
"I believe these steps should be urgently implemented before we consider a further increase in U.S. ground combat troops beyond what is already planned to be deployed by the end of the year," Levin said in opening remarks.
The Obama administration indicated it would seek to deploy more troops to Afghanistan as part of its military-diplomatic-civilian strategy to stabilize the area.
Disagreeing with Levin's assessment was Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the committee's ranking Republican.
"I strongly disagree with a wait-and-see recommendation that we should deploy no additional U.S. combat forces through Afghanistan until this action has been taken," McCain said in his opening statement.
President Barack Obama's mission to disrupt, dismantle and defeat extremists can't be accomplished by force alone, Mullen said.
"You can't do that from offshore and you can't do that by just killing the bad guys," he said. "You have to be there where the people are, when they need you there and until they can provide for their own security."
Noting he shared Levin's view that a more capable Afghan security force was vital to the nation's viability, Mullen said, "We cannot achieve these goals without recognizing that they are both manpower and time intensive."
He said he didn't know what additional resources Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, would seek.
"But I do believe that having heard his views ... a properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces, and without question, more time and more commitment to the protection of the Afghanistan people and to the development of good governance," Mullen said.
Obama: Stimulus package starting to work
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The stimulus package and legislation are nudging the U.S. economy from its malaise and will help revive the middle class, President Obama told the AFL-CIO.
"And when our middle class succeeds -- that's when the United States of America succeeds," Obama said during the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh. "That's what we're fighting for."
Obama said he wants to build a future "where the success of all of us is built on the success of each of us. ... That's the future the AFL-CIO wants to build. That's the future the American people want to build."
Facing a tanking economy, Obama said the White House and Congress "acted boldly and swiftly to pass an unprecedented economic recovery act. ... We're putting Americans to work across this country rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges and waterways with the largest investment in our infrastructure since Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s."
He said the United States must build a foundation for future prosperity by creating jobs of the future, reforming healthcare, protecting consumers from abuse, letting financial markets operate "fairly and freely," and ensuring the country "never experience another crisis like this again."
"That's how we'll grow our great American middle class," he said.
The president also said he backed the Employee Free Choice Act "because if a majority of workers want a union, they should get a union."
In earlier remarks to the AFL-CIO, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., said he has worked with other senators to produce "an employees choice bill which will meet labor's objectives," The Hill reported.
"I believe before the year is out ... that there will be passage of an Employees Free Choice Act, which will be totally satisfactory to labor," Specter said.
During his comments on healthcare reform, Obama repeated much of the message he's been delivering since his address before a joint session of Congress, including his desire for a public option to be part of the healthcare bill.
Incoming AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said his union will not back a healthcare reform bill unless it has a public option.