14 SHOT DEAD, DOZENS INJURED AT SCREENING OF NEW BATMAN MOVIE IN COLO.
Updated at 5:59 a.m. ET: At least 14 people were killed early Friday when at least one gunman opened fire at a midnight screening of the summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises” near Denver, authorities and witnesses said.
Aurora police chief Dan Oates told reporters that 10 people died at the scene of the shooting and four others died after being taken to local hospitals. At least 50 other people were injured, Oates said.
One suspect was in custody, police said.
The incident occurred in the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center, police told NBC News. Aurora is a suburb less than 10 miles east of downtown Denver.
NBC station KUSA cited a witness as seeing a black-clad 6-foot-tall man wearing a riot helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest. The witness and her boyfriend crawled to the emergency exit, KUSA said.
The suspect was found in possession of a gas mask and two firearms, Oates said. The police chief said there was no evidence of additional shooters.
The suspect made a statement to police about possible explosives at his home, Oates said. An apartment building in north Aurora has been evacuated, Oates said. Read more…
Spain awaits bailout approval after huge protests
MADRID (AP) — Finance ministers from the 17 euro countries are expected to approve conditions for a bailout loan for Spanish banks on Friday, hours after the country was hit by massive anti-austerity protests in some 80 cities.
The document the ministers will consider in their teleconference calls for strict monitoring of Spain’s banks that receive aid. It also requires the Spanish government to present by the end of this month plans to reduce its budget deficit to under 3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2014.
The full amount of money needed to shore up Spain’s banks is unlikely to be known until September, after individual banks have been examined. The finance ministers have agreed to lend up to (EURO)100 billion ($122.9 billion), and the agreement to be considered Friday calls for an initial disbursement of (EURO)30 billion ($36.9 billion) this month.
Spanish banks are saddled with huge losses from soured real estate investments. The government cannot afford to rescue them itself, raising fears it may need rescue loans itself. More…
U.S. drought pushes world to food crisis
LINCOLN, Neb., July 20 (UPI) — The worst U.S. drought in 56 years is pushing the world to a food crisis, officials said as scorching Midwest heat sent corn and soybean prices to record highs.
The all-time-high corn and soybean prices — with corn closing just over $8.07 a bushel and soybeans trading as high as $17.49 — surpassed 2007-2008 peaks that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries.
Wheat prices exceeded prices reached during Russia’s 2010 export ban, reaching levels above $9.35 a bushel not seen since the last food crisis in 2008.
“I’ve been in the business more than 30 years and this is by far and away the most serious weather issue and supply-and-demand problem that I have seen by a mile,” a senior trading-house executive told the Financial Times. “It’s not even comparable to 2007-08.”
“It really is a crisis. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn told The New York Times after touring ravaged farms in the southern part of his state. Read more…