Obama: Not neglecting blacks

WASHINGTON - President Obama yesterday rebutted critics who say he isn't showing enough compassion toward black America, citing his health-care effort as one example that he says "will be hugely important" for blacks.

Another example, he said, is the billions of dollars in aid to states included in the stimulus bill, money that he said was used to save thousands of teachers, firefighters, and police officers from losing their jobs. He said many of those workers are black.

"So this notion, somehow, that because there wasn't a transformation overnight that we've been neglectful is just simply, factually not accurate," Obama said in an Oval Office interview with April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.

"I cannot pass laws that say, 'I'm just helping black folks.' I'm the president of the entire United States," Obama said. "What I can do is make sure that I am passing laws that help all people." - AP

Polanski loses bid for dismissal

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court yesterday rejected director Roman Polanski's bid to have his 32-year-old sex case dismissed, but justices said they were "deeply concerned" about probable misconduct by a now-deceased judge and a retired prosecutor who advised him.

While a blow to Polanski's efforts to have the case dismissed and win his freedom from Swiss authorities - who have him under house arrest - the ruling cast serious doubt on how the case was handled.

Polanski, now 76, was accused of rape for having sex with a 13-year-old in 1977; he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse, then fled the United States in 1978 on the eve of sentencing.

The appeals court faulted Polanski, who is fighting extradition to Los Angeles, for fleeing rather than seeking legal remedies at the time. But it also said it was time for the case to be over. - AP

Oral Roberts is memorialized

TULSA, Okla. - For decades, Oral Roberts deftly used television to become one of the nation's most influential preachers. Yesterday, that same medium was used to broadcast his memorial service to tens of millions of homes across the world.

At Roberts' namesake university in south Tulsa, about 4,000 people - some who waited hours in their cars for the doors to open - packed a campus arena to pay final tribute to the charismatic leader who rose from poverty and tent revivals to build a multimillion-dollar ministry so enormous it had its own ZIP code. Roberts died last week at 91.

The guest list was a Who's Who of TV evangelists, and the service included video tributes and condolences from preachers and politicians. - AP

Elsewhere:

A cyber security czar has been chosen by President Obama, senior White House sources say. Obama is expected today to announce the appointment of Howard A. Schmidt, longtime computer security executive who worked in the Bush administration, senior White House sources said.