Obama to stand in for Ted Kennedy
BOSTON - Barack Obama has agreed to deliver the commencement address at Wesleyan University in place of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who pulled out Thursday after finding out he had brain cancer.
Kennedy, 76, had planned to address the graduates - including stepdaughter Caroline Raclin - Sunday in Middletown, Conn. The commencement exercises coincide with 25th reunion festivities for his son, Edward Kennedy Jr., who graduated from the school in 1983.
Kennedy decided against making the trip after suffering a seizure last Saturday and undergoing a brain biopsy Monday. A malignant brain tumor was diagnosed Tuesday.
400 jurors could be screened for Simpson trial
LAS VEGAS - Court officials and lawyers preparing for O.J. Simpson's armed robbery trial said Thursday that lengthy questionnaires will be given to a jury pool that could number 400 or more.
The judge told prosecutors and lawyers for the former football star and two co-defendants that she plans to summon prospective jurors and have them start filling out forms at least two weeks before the trial starts Sept. 8.
The questionnaires haven't been made public but will include at least 115 questions.
2 Picasso etchings stolen from gallery
PALM BEACH, Fla. - Police say two Pablo Picasso etchings worth a combined $450,000 have been stolen from a gallery in Palm Beach.
Authorities responded to an alarm at Gallery Biba at about 3:40 a.m. Thursday. Palm Beach police spokeswoman Janet Kinsella says a glass back door had been smashed and the two etchings were missing.
She says the etchings were valued at $150,000 and $300,000. The gallery has identified the pieces as 'The Frugal Meal' and 'Jacqueline Lisant.'
McDonald's now cooking fries in trans-fat-free oil
CHICAGO - McDonald's said Thursday its french fries are now trans-fat-free in all its restaurants in the United States and Canada, catching it up with its fast-food rivals in that category.
CEO Jim Skinner made it official at its annual shareholders meeting at McDonald's Corp. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.
McDonald's has lagged other restaurant operators in switching over to a zero-trans-fat cooking oil out of worries it would compromise the taste of its trademark fries. It has been under increasing pressure from consumer advocates and some public officials to make the change, but it did so quietly.
House panel subpoenas Rove for Justice inquiry
WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed President Bush's former chief political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.
Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to the resignation last year of Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.
It's unclear whether Rove will ever be forced to testify. The White House refuses to let him or other top aides testify about private conversations with Bush, citing executive privilege to block Congress' demands.
The subpoena orders Rove to appear before the House panel July 10. Lawmakers want to ask him about the White House's role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.
Bush dealt a defeat on Iraq bill
WASHINGTON - In a stunning vote that illustrated President Bush's diminished standing, the Senate on Thursday ignored his veto threat and added tens of billions of dollars for veterans and the unemployed to his Iraq war spending bill.
A majority of Republicans broke ranks with Bush on a veto-proof 75-22 vote while adding more than $10 billion for various other domestic programs, including heating subsidies for the poor, wildfire fighting, roads and bridge repair, and health research.
Democrats crowed about their victory. But the developments meant more confusion about when the must-pass measure might actually become law and what the final version will contain.
Car dealer offers free handgun with purchase
BUTLER, Mo. - Salesmen at one Missouri car dealership aren't just kicking in a free CD player or factory air: They're offering a free handgun with every purchase.
Through the end of the month, car buyers at Max Motors in Butler will have a choice - $250 toward either a gun purchase or gasoline.
General manager Walter Moore said that so far, most buyers have chosen the gun, adding that he suggests they opt for a semiautomatic model 'because it holds more rounds.'