U.S. Virgin Islands prepare for Hurricane Omar

Schools, businesses and a large oil refinery closed Wednesday on several Caribbean islands in the path of Hurricane Omar, a Category 2 storm expected to come ashore today. U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John deJongh closed all public schools, told government employees to head home at midmorning and imposed a 6 p.m. curfew on the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. He also activated the National Guard. To the west in Puerto Rico, government offices closed early, adding to traffic jams as islanders headed home or sought emergency provisions. Omar should pass near Puerto Rico early this morning. Associated Press

Virginia Leesburg

A top lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for incest for having sex with his then-teenage daughter in the 1990s. The Rev. James Bevel was a key architect of the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., and other pivotal moments of the civil rights movement. He was convicted after a four-day trial earlier this year. Associated Press

California Corning

The family of a dead elderly woman cremated her remains in a backyard fire pit and continued collecting her retirement checks amounting to more than $25,000, authorities said. Ramona Allmond's daughter and grandson were arrested Sunday on suspicion of embezzlement, elder abuse and disposing of a body without a permit. Allmond, 84, likely died of natural causes, though investigators were still trying to determine the exact cause of death, police said. Associated Press


High-level talks between Russia, Georgia break down

The first high-level talks between Russia and Georgia since their war this summer broke down Wednesday, but international sponsors said the negotiations had only hit a procedural snag and will resume next month. The delegations from Russia and its allies in the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia left the talks before their scheduled end. The talks were called to discuss several issues including whether both sides were complying with an EU-brokered cease-fire, security, the return of refugees and human rights and what steps need to be taken. Associated Press

Zimbabwe Harare

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai expressed pessimism Wednesday about talks on Zimbabwe's proposed government of national unity, but his rival, President Robert Mugabe, was confident negotiations were nearing a conclusion. A second day of talks between Tsvangirai and Mugabe ended in the early evening and will resume today. A power-sharing agreement reached one month ago is in danger of collapsing after Mugabe's party laid claim to all the key ministries. Associated Press