The world at a glance . . . United States
SeattleGraduation melee: A middle school graduation descended into mayhem this week after two teenage girls attacked an off-duty police officer, forcing school officials to delay the ceremony. The incident began shortly before the start of the graduation at Meany Middle School, when officials spotted a 14-year-old girl who had been ordered to stay away from the school. When two off-duty officers working security at the event approached the girl, a second, 15-year-old girl intervened and assaulted one of the officers, police said. Onlookers then became involved in the melee, and dozens of police officers were called to the scene. Both girls were arrested and charged with assault and disturbing the peace.
SacramentoBailout plea denied: California’s sharply polarized legislature was scrambling this week to plug a $42 billion budget gap, after the Obama administration rebuffed the state’s plea for federal aid. Administration officials were concerned that granting California’s requests would trigger a flood of similar appeals from other hard-pressed states. Finance officials in Sacramento say the state could run out of money next month. Attempts to pass a budget have been stymied by a state constitutional requirement that spending bills clear the legislature by a two-thirds majority. “At this point, we’re on our own,” said state Treasury official Tom Dresslar.
Las VegasSenator admits affair: Nevada Sen. John Ensign, a rising star in the Republican Party, admitted this week that he had an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer. Ensign, 51, said he became involved last year with the campaign worker, who is married to someone who worked in his Washington office. “Our families were close,” Ensign said. “That closeness put me into situations which led to my inappropriate behavior.” Press accounts indicated that Ensign revealed the affair after the woman’s husband demanded hush money. Ensign’s wife, Darlene, released a statement saying that “with the help of our family and close friends, our marriage has become stronger.” Ensign is a member of Promise Keepers, a Christian group that promotes strong family ties, and was seen as a possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Arivaca, Ariz.Supremacist connection: Three suspects in a double murder have ties to white supremacists and planned similar killings, authorities say. On May 30, Shawna Forde, Jason Bush, and Albert Gaxiola allegedly burst into the home of a suspected drug dealer, Raul Flores, killing him and his 9-year-old daughter and wounding his wife. This week, Forde’s half-brother, Merrill Metzger, said in an interview that Forde was planning “a revolution against the United States government,” and had enlisted members of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations to rob drug dealers, hoping to use the proceeds to finance an armed uprising. Police also said that Bush, one of Forde’s alleged accomplices, has “longstanding ties to the Aryan Nations.” Forde is a leader of Minutemen American Defense, a vigilante group that patrols the U.S.-Mexican border.
Asheville, N.C. Scouts felled by flu: Ten Boy Scouts who attended a camp in western North Carolina have tested positive for swine flu, and dozens more scouts and camp staffers are believed to be suffering from the disease. Officials say that 38 campers and staff members of Camp Daniel Boone, near Asheville, complained of flu-like symptoms last week, and that 19 scouts were sent home. The staff members were quarantined, and the camp reopened this week to accommodate a fresh group of 700 scouts from around the country. The camp was disinfected, and medical staff will screen campers for flu symptoms once a day.
Cape Canaveral, Fla.Shuttle launch delayed: A hydrogen gas leak forced NASA to once again delay the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, this time until July. The postponement complicates the space agency’s efforts to repair the International Space Station. The tiny leak of the highly flammable gas was spotted this week in the gas vent line that connects the craft to an external fuel tank—the same place a leak was found last week, forcing NASA to delay the shuttle’s originally scheduled weekend launch. A similar problem stalled a shuttle flight three months ago. “We postponed again,” commander Mark Polansky, who leads the ,dealseven-member crew, wrote in a Twitter update. “It’s a reminder that spaceflight is not routine.”