Briefs package


2nd opinion for brain-dead teen

With a family fighting a hospital to keep their brain-dead daughter on life support just days before Christmas, a California judge on Monday ordered a second medical evaluation for 13-year-old Jahi McMath. Jahi experienced complications following a tonsillectomy at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. An Alameda County judge called for Jahi to be independently examined the chief of child neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. The examination was expected to occur later Monday.


U.S. softens deadline stance

With about a week left in the year, the Obama administration is backing away from a Dec. 31 deadline for securing a deal to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, though it is standing by its warning that a total military withdrawal is still possible if delays continue, American and Afghan officials said. The officials spoke only in vague terms about timelines that stretched into the new year, and reiterated earlier statements about how the administration’s preferred outcome is to reach a deal that would permit a small U.S. force, along with some European troops, to stay on to train and advise Afghan soldiers and the police.


Stepfather shoots, kills teen

Police say a 14-year-old Colorado girl was fatally shot by her stepfather after a report of a burglary at her home. Colorado Springs police spokesman Larry Herbert said the girl’s stepfather fired the shot, but said it wasn’t known if he had mistaken the teen for a burglar. Police say the girl was shot about 6 a.m. Monday and later died at the hospital. The stepfather hasn’t been arrested or identified.


Government forces bomb towns

Government forces widened a bombing campaign in rebel-held areas of northern Syria on Monday, striking the northern city of Aleppo and a town on the Turkish border in raids that left an estimated 45 people dead, activists said. The attack on the border town of Azaz was the latest attack using powerful but inaccurate “barrel bombs” on the Aleppo region, said activist Abu al-Hassan Marea. He said residents in the town told him that 15 people were killed in the strike. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that multiple air raids on the Aleppo neighborhoods of Sukkari, Maadi, Marjeh and Nairab left at least 30 people dead.


Tiger fatally mauls mate at zoo

The San Diego Zoo says a male tiger fatally mauled a female mate. The zoo said Monday that the tigers were introduced to each other for breeding purposes. After a good start, the interaction turned violent and employees were unable to separate the two. No visitors saw the attack. The Malayan female tiger, named Tiga Tahun, died Saturday of neck injuries and breathing difficulties. She was born in 2009 at the Bronx Zoo but was owned by the Omaha Zoo. Her attacker, Connor, was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2011.


13 hurt in tour bus crash

A tour bus heading back from a Southern California casino crashed on a freeway east of Los Angeles early Monday, injuring 13 people, authorities said. The bus went off the shoulder of an Interstate 10 off-ramp in Baldwin Park shortly after 4:30 a.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Christian Cracraft said. Nearly 40 people were on board the bus, which was returning from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. They were briefly trapped by a blocked door before rescuers freed them.


Possum drop allowed to go on

The annual New Year’s Eve possum drop can go on as planned in Brasstown, a judge said Monday. The judge said he won’t block the organizer of a mountain town’s celebration from getting a state permit allowing him to capture a possum and lower it in a cage at midnight. Attorneys for the Wildlife Resources Commission and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were in court in Raleigh on Monday. The animal-welfare organization sought to block the annual Possum Drop. A PETA lawyer said the lights, noise and crowd of people can wreck a possum’s nerves and health.