Veterans group seeks ouster of secretary
The nation's largest veterans group called Monday for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and two top department administrators over alleged issues with quality of care and coverups at some VA medical centers. The American Legion said it will formally ask President Barack Obama to remove Shinseki from office, along with Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel and Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey. The White House indicated Monday that Obama will stand behind Shinseki, noting that the department's inspector general is investigating the allegations. The Veterans of Foreign Wars also disagreed with the American Legion's position, calling for strong action from Shinseki and greater congressional oversight rather than resignations.
Clip suspected in circus accident
Investigators suspect that a snapped clip sent eight aerial acrobats plummeting 20 feet or more during a daring act in which performers dangle from their hair. One injured performer told her father she didn't notice anything amiss before her "plunge into darkness." The clip, a common type called a carabiner that is used for everything from rock climbing to holding key rings, was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelierlike apparatus that suspended the performers, fire officials said. After the accident, the 4- to 5-inch steel clip was found in three pieces on the ground. The acrobats remained in the hospital.
Prosecutor blasts judge in rape case
A Dallas judge's handling of a rape case and her suggestion that the 14-year-old victim was lying has outraged Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who said Monday that the case makes other victims reluctant to help authorities. State District Judge Jeanine Howard voluntarily recused herself from the case of Sir Young, 20, who pleaded guilty to raping the girl in 2011. Howard sentenced Young to probation and limited some of the conditions a sex offender might normally receive. She told the Dallas Morning News last week that she questioned the veracity of the teenager's story.
Residents assess wildfire damage
Residents in an Oklahoma community where a wildfire killed one person, burned thousands of acres and destroyed at least six homes returned to survey the damage Monday as firefighters continued to battle the stubborn blaze. The fire in Guthrie, about 35 miles north of Oklahoma City, went awry Sunday and swept through the parched countryside with wind gusts at 31 mph. Fire officials said Monday afternoon the blaze was about 75 percent contained and they are investigating to determine whether any criminal conduct occurred when it was set. A burn ban was not in place at the time.
Washington: The Obama administration on Monday announced enhanced diplomatic standing and $27 million in new aid for the Syrian Opposition Coalition, the main opposition group.
Los Angeles: The primary air traffic control system around Los Angeles shut down last week because data from a U-2 spy plane's flight plan confused software that helps track and route aircraft in the region, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday.