White House wing evacuated
WASHINGTON - Reporters and photographers were evacuated briefly from the West Wing of the White House early Saturday because of smoke from an overheated transformer in a mechanical room.
President Obama and his family were not affected by the incident, according to the White House.
Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said that about 7 a.m., smoke was seen coming from a mechanical room closet on the first floor. Journalists and others were evacuated out of "an abundance of caution" and the city fire department was called, he said. People were allowed back into the building about an hour later. - AP
Lawyer: EMT not in on blast
WACO, Texas - A lawyer for a Texas paramedic arrested on charges of possessing bomb-making material says his client will plead not guilty and had no connection to the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last month.
Waco attorney Jonathan Sibley said Saturday that his client, Bryce Reed, awaits his next court appearance Wednesday, which will include a detention hearing.
Authorities arrested Reed on Friday, but stressed that he has not been linked to the April 17 explosion in West. Reed was a first responder, but two days after the explosion was let go from West EMS for unknown reasons. - AP
Obama urges mortgage help
WASHINGTON - President Obama said Congress must give more homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages to save money. He said that more than two million people are saving about $3,000 a year after restructuring their loans under his administration but that more deserve the same chance.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president also called on the Senate to confirm "without delay" his choice of Democratic Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees government-controlled mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In the Republican address, Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama discussed legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House to give private-sector workers the right to trade overtime pay for additional time off. - AP
Sinking area seeks Calif. aid
LAKEPORT, Calif. - Residents of a California subdivision that is sinking into a hilltop are hoping Gov. Jerry Brown approves a county request for disaster assistance.
The Lake County public works director and an expert hired by the county have been unable to determine why groundwater is bubbling to the top of the hill where homes were built 30 years ago. Since late March, eight homes have cracked apart and been abandoned, and 10 others could be evacuated. The region north of San Francisco was formed by volcanoes and earthquakes. - AP