Senate panel approves Hagel for Defense chief Newtown pastor gets apology Violence Against Women Act OK'd Inmate stabs officer with glasses
WASHINGTON -- A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary in a rancorous session at which Republican questioned the former GOP senator's truthfulness and challenged his patriotism.
On a party-line vote of 14-11, the Armed Services Committee voted to send the nomination to the full Senate, where Republicans have threatened to delay a vote.
Democrats have the votes to confirm Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran and former two-term Nebraska senator. Hagel has faced fierce opposition from Republicans who have challenged his past statements and votes on Israel, Iran, Iraq and nuclear weapons.
ST. LOUIS -- The president of a conservative Lutheran denomination has apologized for reprimanding a Newtown, Conn., pastor who participated in an interfaith prayer vigil in apparent violation of the church's constitution.
The Rev. Rob Morris of Christ the King Lutheran Church offered the benediction at the Dec. 16 vigil with other religious leaders -- including Jewish, Muslim and Baha'i -- for victims of the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison subsequently reprimanded Morris, saying the synod constitution bars joint worship for fear of giving the appearance that theological differences about salvation and other doctrines are not significant.
On Monday, Harrison posted a video apology on the synod website saying his actions had only made things worse. "I exacerbated the problem," a somber Harrison said. "I caused greater offense. I caused trouble for Pastor Morris and difficulty for the congregation and offense there in the midst of their suffering. Please forgive me."
WASHINGTON -- By a robust bipartisan majority, the Senate voted Tuesday to renew the Violence Against Women Act with new assurances that gays and lesbians, immigrants and Native American will have equal access to the act's anti-domestic violence programs.
The 78-22 Senate vote to reauthorize the two-decade-old act that has shielded millions of women from abuse now goes to the House. The act expired in 2011.
MIAMI -- A manhunt is under way for a prisoner convicted of violent sexual assaults who stabbed one of two police escorts with his eyeglasses and escaped in the Dallas area as he was being transferred from Florida to Nevada, police said Tuesday.
Alberto Morales, 42, somehow stabbed an officer once in the neck and three times in the back with his eyeglasses Monday night outside a Walmart in Grapevine, police said. Miami-Dade Police Detective Jaime Pardinas is in serious but stable condition.
Pardinas and Detective David Carrero were scheduled to fly with Morales to Nevada, where he was to serve a sentence of 30 years to life for a conviction of sexual assault with a weapon. But the officers and Morales weren't allowed to get back on the plane during a layover in Texas because of the inmate's erratic behavior, authorities said.
The detectives were then forced to rent a vehicle at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with the intention of driving the nearly 1,200 miles to their destination. The officers stopped to use the restroom at the store late Monday night and were waiting for a third officer to meet them to help with the rest of the trip.