Former President George H.W. Bush has been admitted to the intensive-care unit at a Houston hospital "following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever," but he is alert and talking to medical staff, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said in a brief email that Bush was admitted to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on Sunday. He said that doctors are cautiously optimistic about his treatment and that the former president "remains in guarded condition."
No other details were released about his medical condition, but McGrath said that Bush is surrounded by family. Bush has been hospitalized since Nov. 23.
Earlier Wednesday, McGrath said that a fever that kept Bush in the hospital over Christmas had gotten worse and that doctors had put him on a liquids-only diet.
"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath said earlier in the day. "It's a stubborn fever that won't go away."
But he said the bronchitis-like cough that initially brought the 88-year-old to the hospital has improved.
SALT LAKE CITY - More than 200 Utah teachers are expected to pack a convention hall on Thursday for six hours of concealed-weapons training as organizers seek to arm more educators in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting.
The Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state's leading gun lobby decided to offer teachers the training at no charge to encourage turnout, and it worked. Organizers who initially capped attendance at 200 were exceeding that number by Wednesday and scrambling to accommodate an overflow crowd.
"Schools are some of the safest places in the world, but I think teachers understand that something has changed - the sanctity of schools has changed," Clark Aposhian, one of Utah's leading gun instructors, said Wednesday. "Mass shootings may still be rare, but that doesn't help you when the monster comes in."
MOSCOW - Defying a storm of domestic and international criticism, Russia moved toward finalizing a ban on Americans adopting Russian children, as Parliament's upper house voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a measure that President Vladimir Putin has indicated he will sign into law.
The bill is widely seen as the Kremlin's retaliation against an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human-rights violators. It comes as Putin takes an increasingly confrontational attitude toward the West, brushing aside concerns about a crackdown on dissent and democratic freedoms.
Dozens of Russian children close to being adopted by American families now will almost certainly be blocked from leaving the country. The law also cuts off the main international adoption route for Russian children stuck in often dismal orphanages: Tens of thousands of Russian youngsters have been adopted in the U.S. in the past 20 years. There are about 740,000 children without parental care in Russia, says UNICEF.
NEWTOWN, Conn. - Officials in Newtown, Conn., are asking people to stop sending gifts to the grief-stricken community following the deadly school shooting, saying that they're deeply grateful but can't handle the donation deluge.
The town's first selectman, police chief and schools superintendent made the request Wednesday through an editor at The Newtown Bee newspaper.
They say that since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults Dec. 14, gifts from school supplies to artwork have arrived in such numbers they've overwhelmed the small community's ability to process them.
Meanwhile, the United Way of Western Connecticut announced Wednesday that a fund established after the shooting to support Newtown has grown to $3.5 million.