Heat forcing schools' closure

The Philadelphia School District will close all schools at 1:30 p.m. today as temperatures are forecast to reach 97 degrees.

All after-school programs will be canceled. Staff will remain in the buildings until all students have left or have been picked up. Check on the district's website, www.philasd.org, for any updates. Updated information also will be posted on the district's information hot line at 215-400-4636.

Boy hospitalized after fire

A 10-year-old boy was in critical condition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia yesterday after suffering severe smoke inhalation in a fire at his Strawberry Mansion house Monday night, according to fire officials.

The child's father, who suffered burns when he arrived at the house, on 27th Street near Montgomery Avenue, and who tried to rescue the boy, was in critical but stable condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

The boy, identified by friends and neighbors as Albert Blassengale, was trapped in a second-floor room and was rescued by firefighters. He had no vital signs, but rescuers performed CPR and doctors at CHOP were able to revive him, Ayers said.

Islamic cultural event Saturday

The Islamic Cultural Parade and Festival will begin at noon Saturday at 6th and Market streets. It will proceed south on 6th Street to Chestnut, east on Chestnut to Front Street, then cross the Chestnut Street viaduct to the entrance to the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing. Police have been assigned to the event, but traffic in the area could be heavy at times.

Bill to ban abortion coverage

The state Senate is advancing a bill to ban abortion coverage from policies obtained through health-insurance exchanges that are to begin in 2014 under last year's landmark federal health-care law.

Senators voted 37-12 yesterday to send the bill to the House. The federal government says that the step is allowed under the law, but some abortion-rights proponents say that federal law already restricts taxpayer funding for abortion coverage, and that this bill goes further by restricting abortion coverage in private policies.

A number of other states are considering identical or similar bills. The federal law requires states to set up the exchanges to provide a marketplace where small businesses and individuals can buy coverage.

Another $5M+ jackpot winner

Lightning has struck twice at the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which has lost more than $11 million to two high-stakes gamblers since April. Just weeks after a blackjack player beat the casino for $5.8 million, a different gambler won $5.3 million last week.

New nuke plant weighed

Gov. Chris Christie yesterday outlined his vision for New Jersey's energy future, leaving the door open for a new nuclear plant in the state to replace one that will shut down in eight years.

Christie said a new nuclear plant should be considered "an option" as a replacement for the Oyster Creek nuclear plant, whose owners reached a deal with the state to close it in 2019 - a decade earlier than its license allows.

Carl Lewis wins primary

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis yesterday won an uncontested primary for the Democratic nomination for a seat in the state Senate.

-Staff and wire reports