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   CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to hold around-the-clock talks to resolve the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

   Daley will hold a news conference in Chicago on Monday to publicly urge the governor to get more aggressive in trying to solve the crisis.

   Daley has formed an exploratory committee as he considers running against Quinn in next spring's Democratic primary.

   Daley campaign spokesman Pete Giangreco told The Associated Press on Monday that "a confluence of issues" in the last week has increased the urgency for Illinois lawmakers to solve the state's worst-in-the-nation pension problem.

   Giangreco says that includes the lowering of Chicago's bond rate, Detroit's bankruptcy and a higher Illinois unemployment rate.

   He says the state's problem is "beyond a crisis now."

   

Monday, 22 July 2013 06:36
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   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law new rules for tethering a dog outside.

   Quinn says the legislation ensures dogs are treated humanely.

   The Illinois Democrat says dogs bring unconditional love and comfort to their owners' lives and become "part of our families." He says the new law makes sure "our pets receive the same love and care they give us."

   The measure requires the leash used to tether a dog to be at least 10 feet long and to not exceed one-eighth of a dog's body weight. It also says people who don't provide sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary care could be subject to up to six months imprisonment.

   The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke, a Chicago Democrat, and Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

Monday, 22 July 2013 02:38
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   Palace officials say Prince William's wife, Kate, has been admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labor.  

   In a brief statement, Kensington Palace said: "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St Mary's hospital, Paddington, London, in the early stages of labour.

   "The duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo wing at St Mary's hospital with the Duke of Cambridge."  

   The duchess is expected to give birth in the private wing, where Princess Diana gave birth to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.  

   The baby will be third in line for the British throne - behind Princes Charles and William - and is anticipated eventually to become king or queen.

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   BEIJING (AP) — A strong earthquake in a dry, hilly farming area in western China knocked down power lines and damaged scores of homes early Monday, killing at least 47 people and injuring nearly 300, the local government said.

   The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland. Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometers (110 miles) north, and as far away as Xi'an, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the east.

   "You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren't any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began," said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the epicenter. The clerk surnamed Bao refrained from identifying herself further, as is common among ordinary Chinese.

   With a population of 26 million, Gansu is one of China's more lightly populated provinces, although the New Jersey-sized area of Dingxi has a greater concentration of farms in rolling hills terraced with fields for crops and fruit trees. Dingxi has a total population of about 2.7 million.

   The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of the municipality, Dingxi Mayor Tang Xiaoming told state broadcaster CCTV. Tang said damage was worst in the counties of Zhang and Min, where scores of homes were damaged and telephone and electricity services knocked out.

   Su Wei, leader of a 120-member rescue team from the paramilitary People's Armed Police, told state broadcaster CCTV that they were on their way to the epicenter, but progress was being slowed by mud and rock slides blocking the road.

   The Chinese Red Cross said it was shipping 200 tents, 1,000 sets of household items, and 2,000 jackets to the area and sending teams from both Lanzhou and Beijing to help with relief work and assess further needs.

   Heavy rain is expected in the area later in the week, raising the need for shelter and increasing the chance of further landslides.

   The government's earthquake monitoring center said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT Sunday) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6.

   The quake was shallow, which can be more destructive. The center said it struck about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) beneath the surface, while the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said it was just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) deep.

   The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the depth at 10 kilometers (6 miles).

   Initial measurements of an earthquake can vary widely, especially if different monitoring equipment is used.

   Dingxi is about 1,233 kilometers (766 miles) west of Beijing.

   China's worst earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude temblor that struck the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008, leaving 90,000 people dead or missing.

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