VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

OBAMA: MARTIN 'COULD HAVE BEEN ME' 35 YEARS AGO

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama grappled with the Trayvon Martin case in the most personal of terms on Friday, telling Americans that the slain youth "could have been me 35 years ago" and urging them to do some soul searching about their attitudes on race.

 

The nation's first black president said the nation needs to look for ways to move forward after the shooting and trial in Florida. And he said it may be time to take a hard look at "stand your ground" self-defense laws, questioning whether they contribute "to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see."

 

"Where do we take this?" Obama wondered aloud during an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room. "How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?"

 

His appearance marked his first extended comments on the Martin case since neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted last weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin's death last year. Jurors found that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot the unarmed black teenager. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

 

Obama said that as people process the verdict, it's important to put the pained and angry reaction of many African-Americans into context.

 

Protests and demonstrations, he said, are understandable, adding that "some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through - as long as it remains nonviolent."

 

"It's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away," he said.

 

The president said that distrust shadows African-American men: They sometimes are closely followed when they shop at department stores; they can draw nervous stares on elevators and hear car locks clicking when they walk down the street - experiences that he said he personally felt before becoming a well-known figure.

 

"It's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear," he said.

 

Obama said black Americans recognize a history of racial disparities in how laws are applied on the death penalty and involving drug cases, but he also said the African-American community was not "naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they're disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence."

 

The president said it's time "for all of us to do some soul searching," though he said it's generally not productive when politicians try to orchestrate a national conversation that ends up being stilted and politicized.

 

US WILTING IN A HEAT WAVE SOMEHOW STUCK IN REVERSE

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The oppressively hot weather in the Northeast has surprised meteorologists: It's moving backward across America, something that rarely happens.

 

Normally U.S. weather systems move west to east. The western Atlantic high pressure system behind the hot dry weather started moving east to west last week and by Tuesday was centered over lower Michigan, said Jon Gottschalck, the operations chief at the National Weather Service's prediction branch.

 

"It's definitely unusual and going the wrong way," Gottschalck said Thursday. "This is pretty rare."

 

He said the high pressure is about to return eastward, extending the Northeastern heat wave an extra day or so until the weekend.

 

And just before the high pressure moved east to west, a rainy and cooler low pressure system moved from the Mid-Atlantic to Texas, he said. That storm system broke off the jet stream, which is parked up in Canada, and made the U-turn first.

 

The unusual movement wasn't seen in computer models until four or five days in advance, which is relatively late for these models so meteorologists were surprised, he said.

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