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Regional Headlines for Saturday, March 17th, 2012


Kansas House Gives Budget First-Round Approval
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas House members have given first-round approval to a proposed $14.1 billion state budget. The House's voice vote Friday came after members boosted spending on mental health services and to help public schools cover unanticipated costs.
The chambers action sets up a final vote Monday, which will determine whether the spending plan passes and goes to the Kansas Senate. The measure would cut overall spending by about $600 million, or 4 percent, during the fiscal year beginning in July. It sticks close to many of the recommendations from Republican Governor Sam Brownback.
The extra money for schools is $25 million and would help districts deal with the costs associated with higher-than-expected student enrollments and greater-than-anticipated demands for some programs.
House members also added $5 million for community mental health centers.


Suspect in Killing of Afghan Civilians Identified, Transported to Leavenworth
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- A senior U.S. official says the soldier accused in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians is Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into an incident that has roiled relations with Afghanistan. American officials had previously said the suspect was a 38-year-old staff sergeant and that he had spent 11 years in the Army. But they had refused to release his name, saying it is military policy to publicly name a suspect only after he has been charged with an offense.
Bales has not yet been charged. He was being flown Friday from Kuwait to a military detention center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Topeka Man Held in Slaying of 8-Year-Old Girl
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A 28-year-old Topeka man has been charged with killing an 8-year-old neighbor girl whose family said she was sleeping when she was kidnapped from an apartment. The capital murder charge filed Friday against Billy Frank Davis, Jr. gives Shawnee County prosecutors the option of seeking the death penalty.
Davis was found hiding in a bushy creek bed Tuesday morning, just hours after Ahliyah Irvin's body was found. Davis also is charged with rape of a child, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, burglary to a residence and criminal damage to a property.
Davis is being held in the Shawnee County Jail on $10 million bond. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney. Calls to the prosecutor's office rang unanswered and the jail declined to leave a message for him.


Missouri, Duke Out; KU and K-State Advance in Men's NCAA Tournament
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) For the first time since the seeding system began in 1979, two number two seeds were beaten on the same day in the NCAA men's basketball tournament:  Missouri and Duke.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Jayhawks advanced after a 65-50 victory over Detroit last (FRI) night. The next team to face-off the Jayhawks is Purdue - Sunday at 5:10 p.m.
Kansas State tips off at 11:15 this (SAT) morning in Pittsburgh against Syracuse.
The K-State women's basketball team also plays this morning. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Wildcats open against Princeton at 10:20 a.m.
The KU women play tomorrow (SUN) night at 6:30 in Little Rock, Arkansas, against Nebraska.







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