MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Helmeted rescue workers raced Tuesday to complete the search for survivors and the dead in the Oklahoma City suburb where a mammoth tornado destroyed countless homes, cleared lots down to bare red earth and claimed 24 lives. Scientists concluded the storm was a rare and extraordinarily powerful type of twister known as an EF5, which is capable of lifting reinforced buildings off the ground, hurling cars like missiles and stripping trees completely free of bark.
MOORE, Okla. (AP) - The principal's voice came on over the intercom at Plaza Towers Elementary School: A severe storm was approaching and students were to go to the cafeteria and wait for their parents to pick them up. But before all of the youngsters could get there, the tornado alarm sounded.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service gave it the top-of-the-scale rating of EF5 for wind speed and breadth, and severity of damage. Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Summoned by Congress, a key figure in the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups plans to invoke her constitutional right against self-incrimination and decline to testify at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Lois Lerner heads the IRS division that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns. She was subpoenaed to testify Wednesday before the House oversight committee.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy says he will not offer - for now - an amendment to an immigration bill allowing gay Americans to seek green cards for their spouses. The much-awaited announcement Tuesday by the Vermont senator clears the way for passage by his committee of the far-reaching legislation offering the possibility of citizenship to millions in this country illegally.
PHOENIX (AP) - Jodi Arias begged jurors Tuesday to give her life in prison, saying she "lacked perspective" when she told a local reporter in an interview that she preferred execution to spending the rest of her days in jail. Standing confidently but at times her voice breaking, Arias told the same eight men and four women who found her guilty of first-degree murder that she planned to use her time in prison to bring about positive changes, including donating her hair to be made into wigs for cancer victims, helping establish prison recycling programs and designing T-shirts that would raise money for victims of domestic abuse.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. has identified five men who might be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and has enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists, officials say. But there isn't enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers. The men remain at large while the FBI gathers evidence. But the investigation has been slowed by the reduced U.S. intelligence presence in the region since the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, and by the limited ability to assist by Libya's post-revolutionary law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which are still in their infancy since the overthrow of dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis' fascination with the devil took on remarkable new twists Tuesday, with a well-known exorcist insisting Francis helped "liberate" a Mexican man possessed by four different demons despite the Vatican's insistence that no such papal exorcism took place. The case concerns a 43-year-old husband and father who traveled to Rome from Mexico to attend Francis' Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Square. At the end of the Mass, Francis blessed several wheelchair-bound faithful as he always does, including a man possessed by the devil, according to the priest who brought him, the Rev. Juan Rivas.
MIAMI (AP) - A homeless man whose face was mostly chewed off in a bizarre attack last year appeared Tuesday to be mostly at peace with his disfigurement, strumming a guitar, making jokes and thanking people for their donations to help pay for his care. Ronald Poppo doesn't like to leave his hospital room, though, and he won't allow anyone to visit him, other than his doctors and nurses. "My face," he says.
MIAMI (AP) - An 18-year-old Florida cheerleader is facing felony charges that she had sexual contact with her underage, 14-year-old girlfriend, leading gay rights advocates to say the teen is being unfairly targeted for a common high school romance because she's gay. The criminal case against Kaitlyn Hunt is unusual because it involves two females, not an older male and a younger female. But advocates say older high schoolers dating their younger counterparts is an innocuous, everyday occurrence that is not prosecuted - regardless of sexual orientation - and not a crime on par with predatory sex offenses.