WASHINGTON: Missile defense priorities shifted

In adding 14 interceptors to a missile defense system in Alaska and California, the United States abandoned a key part of a European missile defense plan that had been strongly opposed by Russia. At the same time, the decision provided a potential opening for new arms control talks. The Obama administration cited development problems and a lack of money on Friday in announcing the cancellation of the interceptors that were to be deployed in Poland and possibly Romania next decade. Russian officials suspected that the interceptors were a counter to their missiles and had indicated that they would not consider further nuclear arms cuts unless their concerns were resolved. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made no reference to Russia's objections but said other parts of the missile defense plans in Europe would move forward and that the U.S. commitment to missile defense in the region "remains ironclad." Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, said "pressure is mounting" for action other than economic sanctions to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. "Everybody agrees that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program," Rogers (R-Mich.), said on CNN's "State of the Union."


CALIFORNIA: Two killed by runaway race car

A raceway crash killed a race car owner and the young cousin of the teenage driver whose vehicle sped off the track and struck the two victims, authorities said Sunday. Dale Wondergem Jr., 68, and Marcus Johnson, 14, were hit in the pit area about 6 p.m. Saturday at the Marysville Raceway Park, 40 miles north of Sacramento. Wondergem, of Grass Valley, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Johnson, of Santa Rosa, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Marcus Johnson was identified as the cousin of driver Chase Johnson, 17, who was not injured.

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Japanese wins Pritzker

Toyo Ito, 71, whose buildings have been praised for their fluid beauty and balance between the physical and virtual world, has won the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the sixth Japanese to win, the prize's jury announced Sunday in Los Angeles. The honor has been called architecture's Nobel Prize.