Posted: Feb 24, 2013 3:32 AM
Updated: Feb 24, 2013 3:32 AM
Here are the top stories at this hour from The Associated Press. At the Nerve Center, news producer Richard Somma can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). Times EST.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. With the start of the Daytona 500 just hours away, NASCAR officials still have some cleaning up to do amid growing questions about fan safety. The season opener will go off as planned Sunday less than 24 hours after at least 33 people were injured when a car flew into the fence during a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway, hurling a tire and large pieces of debris into the stands. The final-lap accident Saturday marred the second-tier Nationwide Series race on the eve of a spectacle often called the Super Bowl of motorsports. By Mark Long.
NASCAR-FAN ACCIDENTS Daytona crash shows it's not just the drivers who face risks at the track.
NASCAR-DAYTONA-NATIONWIDE-PHOTO GALLERY Frightening last-lap crash at Daytona.
JOHANNESBURG The family lawyer of Oscar Pistorius said that the double amputee athlete's brother is facing a culpable homicide charge for a 2010 road death. Lawyer Kenny Oldwage would not confirm details of the case Carl Pistorius is facing, but Sunday's development compounded problems for the family after Oscar was charged with premeditated murder in the Feb. 14 shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. By Raf Casert.
WASHINGTON Exasperated governors join a White House push to intensify pressure on Congress to prevent a looming budget crisis. By Stebe Peoples and Ken Thomas.
WASHINGTON Secretary of State John Kerry embarks on his first official overseas voyage, bringing new ideas to capitals in Europe and the Middle East on how to end nearly two years of brutal violence in Syria. By Matthew Lee.
VEGAS GUN BATTLE
LAS VEGAS Police have named a 26-year-old man as the prime suspect in last week's pre-dawn shooting and crash on the Las Vegas Strip that killed three people and injured several others. By Ken Ritter.
KABUL, Afghanistan A series of early morning attacks hit eastern Afghanistan Sunday, with three separate suicide bombings in outlying provinces and a shootout between security forces and a would-be attacker in the capital city of Kabul. By Heidi Vogt And Rahim Faiez.
ROME Will Italy stay the course with painful economic reform? Or fall back into the old habit of profligacy and inertia? These are the stakes as Italy votes in a watershed parliamentary election Sunday and Monday that could shape the future of one of Europes biggest economies. Fellow EU countries and investors are watching closely, as the decisions that Italy makes over the next several months promise to have a profound impact on whether Europe can decisively put out the flames of its financial crisis. By Victor L. Simpson and Colleen Barry.
ITALY-ELECTION-Q&A Q&A: Investors are wary of the outcome of the Italian elections and the effect on the eurozone.
SEOUL, South Korea Even before she takes office Monday as South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye's campaign vow to soften Seoul's current hard-line approach to rival North Korea is being tested by Pyongyang's recent underground nuclear detonation. By Foster Klug And Hyung-Jin Kim.
OSCAR COUNTDOWN-STARS IN SNEAKERS
LOS ANGELES Some dressed down in jeans and hoodies. Others looked camera-ready in suits or chic dresses and spiky stilettos. But no matter how they looked, all of the stars who rehearsed for the 85th Academy Awards seemed excited about being a part of the big show. They paraded through the Dolby Theatre in 15-minute increments: Meryl Streep. Ben Affleck. Reese Witherspoon. Richard Gere. Jennifer Aniston. John Travolta. Nicole Kidman. Jack Nicholson. And dozens more. By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen.
LOS ANGELES The "Twilight" team finally has earned some love or loathing from Team Razzies. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" was picked as last year's worst picture Saturday by the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof that hands out prizes for Hollywood's lousiest movies on the eve of the Oscars.
Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:
ABC's "This Week." Topics: Cyber-threats from China; Syria; and Iran. Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.
NBC's "Meet the Press." Topic: The budget impasse; and politics. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Govs. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., and Bobby Jindal, R-La.
CBS' "Face the Nation." Topic: The budget impasse. Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Govs. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., Bob McDonnell, R-Va., Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.; Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.; Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Tim Kaine, D-Va,
CNN's "State of the Union." Topic: The budget. LaHood; Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Gov. Daniel Malloy, D-Conn.
"Fox News Sunday." Topic: The budget. Govs. Jack Markell, D-Del., and Scott Walker, R-Wis.; Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.