World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Figure in Rosenberg Case Finally Admits Spying for Soviets

In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. He served more than 18 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, traveled to Cuba and Vietnam after his release in 1969 and became an advocate for progressive causes.

Through it all, he maintained his innocence.

But on Thursday, Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.

And he implicated his fellow defendant Julius Rosenberg in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets classified military and industrial information and what the American government described as the secret to the atomic bomb.

As Elections Loom, Democrats Changing Their Energy Policy

For decades, opposition to new offshore oil drilling has been a core principle of congressional Democrats, ranking in the party pantheon somewhere just below protecting Social Security and increasing the minimum wage.

But a concerted Republican assault over domestic oil production and the threat of political backlash from financially pressed motorists have Democrats poised to embrace a fundamental shift in energy policy.

Even more surprising, the turnabout is led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has a long history of fighting oil drilling going back to the early days of her career in California.

Under a measure being assembled for a vote next week, oil rigs could go up 50 miles from the shores of states that welcome drilling and 100 miles off any section of the U.S. coast — a stark reversal on an issue that has been a Democratic environmental touchstone since the 1980s.

Texans Flee Hurricane Ike as Authorities Warn of Danger

People along the Texas coast rushed to board up their houses and move inland on Thursday while Hurricane Ike, a storm 500-miles across with 100-mph winds at its center, churned across the Gulf of Mexico towards them.

Authorities ordered hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate low-lying areas from the Louisiana border to Corpus Christi. Traffic was building up on highways leading from the coast, and some gas stations ran out of fuel.

Hurricane Ike was expected to make landfall late Friday or before dawn on Saturday between Corpus Christi and Galveston, meteorologists said. Already whipping up 50-foot waves at sea, the storm is predicted to cause a surge of seawater in Galveston and Houston that could reach 20 feet above the normal tide, enough to submerge low-lying coastal areas.

“I cannot overemphasize the danger that is facing us,” Gov. Rick Perry said at a news conference in Austin.

Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center, said Hurricane Ike was expected to gain strength overnight and become a Category 3 storm with winds above 111 mph before it came ashore. Even if the storm does not strengthen, however, it is likely to flood the coast.