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Nation

Obama to name pick to lead transportation

Foxx

– President Obama today will nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx as his new transportation secretary, a White House official said Sunday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood.

Foxx is Obama’s first black nominee among the new Cabinet members appointed for the second term. The president faced criticism early in his second term for a lack of diversity among his nominees.

The official insisted on anonymity to avoid public discussion of the pick before the official announcement.

During Foxx’s first term as mayor, Charlotte has broken ground on the Charlotte Streetcar Project to bring modern electric tram service to the city as well as a third parallel runway at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

Pre-K funding falls to decade lows

State funding for prekindergarten programs had its largest drop ever last year and states are now spending less per child than they did a decade ago, according to a report released today.

The report also found that more than a half million of those preschool students are in programs that don’t even meet standards suggested by industry experts that would qualify for federal dollars.

“The state of preschool was a state of emergency,” said Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, which produced the report.

States spent about $5.1 billion on pre-K programs in 2011-12, the most recent school year, researchers wrote in the report. Per-student funding for existing programs during that year dropped to an average of $3,841 for each student. It was the first time average spending per student dropped below $4,000 in today’s dollars since researchers started tracking it during the 2001-02 academic year.

Adjusted for inflation, per-student funding has been cut by more than $1,000 during the past decade.

4 people stabbed in New Mexico church

Police say a 24-year-old man stabbed four people at a Catholic church in Albuquerque, N.M., as a Sunday mass was nearing its end.

Police spokesman Robert Gibbs said Lawrence Capener jumped over several pews at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church about noon Sunday and walked up to the choir area where he began his attack.

The injuries to the four churchgoers weren’t life-threatening. All four were being treated at hospitals.

An off-duty police officer and others at the church subdued Capener. Gibbs said investigators don’t yet know the motive for the stabbings.

Police look for girl’s killer in California

Residents of a rural Northern California county were being told Sunday to keep their doors locked and report anyone considered suspicious as authorities continued the search for the killer of an 8-year-old girl.

Calaveras County deputies and law enforcement officials from neighboring counties, as well as California Highway Patrol officers and members of the California Department of Justice, were looking for a suspect after Leila Fowler was found stabbed in her Valley Springs home around noon Saturday.

The girl was found by her brother – reported by local media to be 12 years old – after he encountered a male intruder in the home. When the intruder ran away, the boy found his sister stabbed. She was pronounced dead at a hospital, officials said.

Court to hear case over Jackson’s death

The most complete account of Michael Jackson’s final months is about to unfold in a cramped Los Angeles courtroom nearly four years after the pop superstar’s death.

Lawyers for Jackson’s mother will attempt to convince a jury that the company promoting the pop superstar’s 2009 comeback concerts is responsible for his untimely death. The attorneys will try to prove that AEG Live hired and controlled the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter over Jackson’s demise.

AEG Live denies any wrongdoing and contests that they hired the physician who for months was giving Jackson doses of a powerful anesthetic to help him sleep.

Opening statements today will provide a road map for a case that will delve into Jackson’s addiction struggles.

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