In the Nation

Michelle Obama at a ceremony honoring youth programs in humanities and arts.
Michelle Obama at a ceremony honoring youth programs in humanities and arts. (MARK WILSON / Getty Images)
Posted: November 20, 2012

Homicide probe into Ind. blast

INDIANAPOLIS - Authorities launched a homicide investigation Monday into the house explosion that killed a young couple and left numerous homes uninhabitable in an Indianapolis neighborhood.

Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons made the announcement after meeting with residents of the subdivision where the Nov. 10 blast occurred and hours after the funerals for the two victims, who lived next to the house where investigators believe the explosion originated.

Coons didn't indicate whether police had any suspects. Search warrants are being executed, and officials are looking for a white van that was seen in the subdivision on the day of the blast, authorities said. They are offering a $10,000 reward. - AP

First lady cites arts programs

WASHINGTON - Michelle Obama cited the "transformative power of the arts" Monday as she presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs that reach underserved youth.

The programs - including those focused on at-risk children - use music, dance, poetry, debate, theater, and other outlets to inspire creative development among young people. She thanked educators, leaders, and performers for "pushing and inspiring our kids" and "teaching them to believe in themselves."

The 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. - AP

FBI's files on Stalin daughter

MADISON, Wis. - Newly declassified documents show the FBI kept close tabs on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's only daughter after her high-profile defection to the United States in 1967, gathering details from informants about how her arrival was affecting international relations.

The documents were released Monday to the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act after Lana Peters' death last year at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home. Her defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the ruling communists and made her a best-selling author. And her move was a public relations coup for the United States.

One April 28, 1967, memo details discussion with a confidential source who said the defection would have a "profound effect" for anyone else thinking of trying to leave the Soviet Union. - AP

Elsewhere:

A storm bearing down on the Pacific Northwest has taken the life of an elk hunter on the Oregon Coast and hit the region with mudslides, high winds, and mountain snow.

Mustang Ranch brothel owner Lance Gilman, now a Storey County commissioner, is the first such owner to win election to public office in Nevada since prostitution was legalized here in 1971, said a state historian.

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