WASHINGTONGOP to block envoy to Cuba

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday his chamber is unlikely to approve an American ambassador to Cuba, a quick rebuff to President Barack Obama and his drive to normalize relations. The Kentucky Republican also suggested that the GOP would fight administration efforts to lift trade and travel restrictions that have limited commerce and tourism with the communist-led island nation. McConnell said Cuba was led by "a thuggish regime." His comments came a day after Obama and President Raúl Castro announced that embassies in Havana and Washington would be opened July 20 and diplomatic relations severed in 1961 would resume. McConnell's remarks underscored that Republican leaders remain sympathetic to the party's more conservative, anti-Castro voices. Obama has yet to nominate an ambassador, but the current top U.S. diplomat there, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, was expected to be considered.

No shooting at Navy Yard

Investigators found no evidence of a shooting after the Washington Navy Yard went on lockdown yesterday when someone reported shots fired in the same building where a gunman killed 12 workers in a rampage two years ago. D.C. police said a woman called from inside a Navy Yard building to report she might have heard gunshots around 7:20 a.m. Investigators found no sign of a shooting or a shooter. A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said Navy security saw surveillance video of two people jumping the fence near the building a couple of minutes before the first report of gunfire, but no one was found in the building.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

SOUTH CAROLINAFire blamed on lightning

Investigators concluded that the fire Tuesday night that destroyed the Mount Zion AME Church near Greeleyville was sparked by lightning, not intentionally set. The State Law Enforcement Division declared the investigation complete. The NAACP had warned black churches to take "necessary precautions" as several fires over the last week were investigated.