Nation & World briefly
Democrats push climate bill through
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats sidestepped a Republican boycott Thursday, pushing a climate bill out of committee in an early step on a long and contentious road to passage. Other committees still must weigh-in on the measure, but the partisan antics early on threatened to cast a pall over the bill – one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities – as it makes its way to the Senate floor and as nations prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to hammer out a new international treaty to slow climate change.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, had delayed the crucial vote for days because of a Republican protest over whether the cost of the legislation had been fully examined. But the California Democrat moved quickly to pass the bill Thursday, which for the first time would set mandatory limits on heat-trapping gases, without any of the seven GOP senators on the panel present. The measure cleared the panel on a 11-1 vote.
Boxer said the Republican demand for more analysis was “duplicative and waste of taxpayer dollars.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has agreed to do a full analysis on the final version of the legislation.
Oklahoma couple nearly hit elephant
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – It’s not unusual to see a deer or a cow crossing Oklahoma’s rural highways. But an elephant? A couple driving home from church nearly slammed into a giant pachyderm that had escaped from a nearby circus late Wednesday.
“Didn’t have time to hit the brakes. The elephant blended in with the road,” driver Bill Carpenter said Thursday. “At the very last second I said ‘elephant!”‘
Carpenter, 68, said he swerved his SUV at the last second and ended up sideswiping the 29-year-old female elephant on U.S. 81 in Enid, about 80 miles north of Oklahoma City.
“So help me Hanna, had I hit that elephant, not swerved, it would have knocked it off its legs, and it would have landed right on top of us,” he said. “We’d have been history.”
The couple, who own a wheat farm, weren’t injured. But the 8-foot, 4,500-pound elephant was being examined Thursday for a broken tusk and a leg wound. A local veterinarian said it appeared to have escaped major injury.
Relief as infant missing for 5 days is found alive
CHIPLEY, Fla. (AP) – Investigators spent five days searching dense vines and marshes for a missing infant, only to find her lying quietly in a 2-foot by 3-foot cedar box that had been shoved under her baby sitter’s bed.
Clothing was packed around it to muffle any sounds and baking powder placed inside to mask the stench of dirty diapers.
Authorities said the baby’s mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer, gave the infant to baby sitter Susan Elizabeth Baker early Saturday, then reported her missing about 10 hours later.
Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock choked up Thursday as he described how 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick was stashed in the box for 12 straight hours before investigators discovered her late Wednesday.