WASHINGTON

Charlotte, N.C., mayor is Obama pick for transportation secretary

President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx as his new transportation secretary, a White House official said Sunday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood.

Foxx is Obama’s first black nominee among the new Cabinet members appointed for the second term. The president faced criticism early in his second term for a lack of diversity among his nominees.

The official insisted on anonymity to avoid public discussion of the pick before the official announcement.

The official noted that Foxx has led efforts to improve his city’s transit infrastructure to expand economic opportunity for businesses and workers.

Foxx, an attorney who has worked in several positions with the federal government, was first elected mayor in 2009. He also served as a member of the Charlotte City Council.

BAGHDAD

Iraqis suspend Al-Jazeera’s broadcast operating licenses

Iraqi authorities suspended the operating licenses of pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera and nine Iraqi TV channels on Sunday after accusing them of escalating sectarian tension. The move signaled the Shiite-led government’s mounting worries over deteriorating security amid Sunni unrest and clashes that have left more than 180 people dead in less than a week.

The suspensions, which took effect immediately, appeared to target mainly Sunni channels known for criticizing Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik’s government. Apart from Al-Jazeera, the decision affected eight Sunni and one Shiite channels.

The government’s action comes as Baghdad tries to quell rising unrest in the country that erupted last week after Iraqi security forces launched a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest site in the central city of Hawija, killing 23 people, including three soldiers.

Since then, more than 180 people have been killed in gunbattles with security forces and other attacks. The recent wave of violence follows more than four months of largely peaceful protests by Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

Iraqi viewers will still be able to watch the channels, but the suspensions issued by Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission state that if the 10 stations try to work on Iraqi territory they will face legal action from security forces. The decree essentially prevents news crews from the stations from reporting on activities in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera, based in the small, energy-rich Gulf nation of Qatar, said it was “astonished” by the move.

ROME

Unemployed bricklayer shoots and wounds police

In the very moments Italy’s new coalition government was being sworn in, ending months of political paralysis in a country hoping to revive a bleak economy, a middle-aged unemployed bricklayer opened fire Sunday in the square outside the premier’s office, seriously wounding two policemen, authorities said.

The alleged gunman from Calabria, a southern region plagued by joblessness and organized crime, told investigators he wanted to shoot politicians. But finding none in the square, he instead shot at Carabinieri paramilitary police.

A bullet pierced one of the policemen in the neck, passing through his spinal column, doctors said, adding it wasn’t yet known if the 50-year-old officer would have any paralysis. The other one was shot in the leg and suffered a fracture.

The newly sworn in interior minister, Angelino Alfano, said a preliminary investigation indicated the shooting, which also slightly injured a pregnant bystander, amounted to a “tragic criminal gesture of a 49-year-old unemployed” man.

But the shooting was also a violent expression of social tensions in Italy, where unemployment is soaring, an increasing number of businesses are shutting their doors permanently and new political corruption scandals make headlines nearly every day.

Politicians described the attack as a disturbing call to fix Italy’s economy.

SAN FRANCISCO

Police conduct door-to-door search for 8-year-old’s killer

Residents of a rural Northern California county were being told Sunday to keep their doors locked and report anyone considered suspicious as authorities continued the search for the killer of an 8-year-old girl.

Calaveras County deputies and law enforcement officials from neighboring counties, as well as California Highway Patrol officers and members of the California Department of Justice, were looking for a suspect after Leila Fowler was found stabbed in her Valley Springs home around noon Saturday.

The girl was found by her brother — reported by local media to be 12 years old — after he encountered a male intruder in the home. When the intruder ran away, the boy found his sister stabbed. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital, officials said.

Initially Leila was reported as being 9 years old, but Coroner Kevin Raggio said Sunday that she would have turned 9 in June.

Authorities spent Saturday night and into Sunday conducting a door-to-door sweep of homes scattered across hilly terrain, checking storage sheds and horse stables, and even searching attics.

“It is a difficult area to search, it’s rural, remote,” sheriff’s Capt. Jim Macedo said.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Man attacks members of congregation and choir

Police say a 24-year-old man stabbed four people at a Catholic church in Albuquerque as a Sunday mass was nearing its end.

Police spokesman Robert Gibbs said Lawrence Capener jumped over several pews at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church and walked up to the choir area where he began his attack.

The injuries to the four church-goers weren’t life-threatening.

An off-duty police officer and others at the church subdued Capener and held him down until police arrived. Some of those who were stabbed were members of the choir.

Gibbs said investigators don’t yet know the motive for the stabbings.