Republican considered for top commerce post
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama appeared yesterday to be leaning toward appointing a third Republican to his Cabinet, a move that would place the fiscally conservative Sen. Judd Gregg at the head of the Commerce Department even though a liberal Democrat was initially chosen for the post. The appointment of the New Hampshire Republican - his family has close ties to the family of former President George W. Bush - could also bring the Senate closer to the 60-vote majority Democrats need to thwart Republicans seeking to filibuster legislation. However, there was no guarantee that New Hampshire's independent-minded governor would replace Gregg with a Democrat. Gregg is the leading candidate to become commerce secretary, an Obama administration official said yesterday. A decision could come as soon as tomorrow, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss administration deliberations. Gregg's spokeswoman had no comment yesterday.
Mother of octuplets got her 14 kids via in vitro
LOS ANGELES: The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in vitro fertilization, is not married and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said. Angela Suleman said in an interview she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year. "It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday. "She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married." Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and her newborns for at least a month. A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said all eight babies were breathing unassisted and being tube-fed. While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of the other six children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home in Whittier, about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital, "I'm going to be gone."
Fireworks trigger blaze in bar, killing 15
BEIJING: Revelers celebrating a birthday set off fireworks inside a bar in southern China, triggering a blaze that killed 15 people and injured 20, state news media said. The fire in Changle, a city in the southern province of Fujian, started just before midnight yesterday, when 10 people lit the fireworks at their table, the Xinhua News Agency said. Fireworks are sold and set off everywhere during Lunar New Year festivities, which lasted all week and ended yesterday. Also known as Spring Festival, it is the country's biggest holiday. The explosion "set the ceiling on fire, and the entire place was soon engulfed in flames," Xinhua said, citing a city government spokesman. The spokesman said that it took 30 minutes to put out the fire and that 35 people were found in the bar. The 15 dead suffocated, he said. Three of the injured were in critical condition, while the other 17 were treated overnight at the Changle City Hospital, he said.