ATLANTA

Obama urges male grads to accept responsibilities

President Obama on Sunday summoned the graduates of historically black Morehouse College to “transform the way we think about manhood,” urging the young men to avoid the temptation to make excuses and to take responsibility for their families and their communities.

Delivering a commencement address at the all-male private liberal arts college in Atlanta, Obama spoke in deeply personal terms about the “special obligation” he feels as a black man to help those left behind.

“There but for the grace of God, I might be in their shoes,” Obama said. “I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family — and that motivates me.”

The president also reflected on the absence of his father growing up, noting that he was raised by a “heroic single mother” and urged the young graduates not to shrink from their family responsibilities.

“My whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me,” Obama said. “I want to break that cycle — where a father’s not at home, where a father’s not helping to raise that son and daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.”

In his 32-minute address, Obama was far more personal and reflective in his remarks than he traditionally has been, especially on matters of racial discrimination. Obama delivered a similar speech three years ago when he addressed the graduates of Hampton University in Virginia, another historically black college.

He paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., a Morehouse alumnus, noting that King’s education there “helped to forge the intellect, the discipline, the compassion, the soul force that would transform America.”

SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo’s board approves $1.1 billion Tumblr purchase

Yahoo’s board of directors has approved a $1.1 billion cash acquisition of blogging site Tumblr.

It’s the biggest and riskiest deal yet for Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, who is trying to make pioneering Internet company relevant to young people who have gravitated to other services and to mobile devices.

The board of the Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet company met Sunday to consider the transaction, which Mayer negotiated. The deal — a major statement about the direction she plans to take Yahoo — is expected to be announced Monday.

Tumblr is enormously popular with teenagers and young adults, a key demographic that Yahoo must reach to pull out of a prolonged slump.

Founded in 2007, Tumblr has ridden its popularity to acclaim but has failed to establish a thriving advertising business.

Since she took over Yahoo in July, Mayer has focused on redesigning Yahoo services to focus on mobile and to attract mobile engineers, mostly through the acquisition of tiny startups.

DAMASCUS, Va.

Officials: Medical condition likely caused parade crash

Authorities believe the driver who plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Virginia mountain town parade suffered from a medical condition and did not cause the crash intentionally, an emergency official said Sunday.

Officials did not have a formal confirmation or any specifics on the condition, but based on the accounts of authorities and witnesses on the scene, they are confident the issue was medical, said Pokey Harris, Washington County’s director of emergency management. “There is no reason to believe this was intentional,” she said.

In what witnesses called a frantic scene at the parade, about 50 to 60 people suffered injuries ranging from critical to superficial Saturday. No fatalities were reported. Three of the worst injured were flown by helicopter to area hospitals.

Two people were kept at hospitals overnight, but their injuries were not critical as of Sunday, Harris said. Most were treated and released.

The crash happened around 2:10 p.m. Saturday during the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, near the Tennessee state line about a half-hour drive east of Bristol.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.

Two FBI special agents killed in training accident off coast

Two FBI special agents on the agency’s elite Hostage Rescue Team have been killed in a training accident in Virginia, officials said Sunday.

The accident happened off the coast of Virginia Beach on Friday, the FBI’s national press office announced in a statement Sunday. No other details were given and the cause is under investigation.

The special agents were identified as Christopher Lorek, 41, and Stephen Shaw, 40. Lorek joined the FBI in 1996 and is survived by a wife and two daughters, 11 and 8. Shaw joined in 2005 and is survived by a daughter, 3, and son, 1.

“We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men,” Director Robert Mueller said in the statement. “Like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team, they accept the highest risk each and every day, when training and on operational missions, to keep our nation safe.”

The Hostage Rescue Team is part of the Critical Incident Response Group based at Quantico in northern Virginia. Most recently, members of the team successfully rescued a 5-year-old boy from a small underground bunker where he was being held hostage by a 65-year-old man. The man was killed by agents.

JERUSALEM

Netanyahu’s partner: Sides should seek an interim deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior coalition partner says that reaching a final peace agreement with the Palestinians is unrealistic at the current time and the sides should instead pursue an interim arrangement.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s assessment, delivered in a published interview Sunday just days before the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, throws a contentious idea into the mix as the U.S. searches for ways to restart peace talks.

It remains unclear whether the idea of a temporary arrangement will be raised during Kerry’s visit later this week. In March, American officials confirmed that an interim arrangement, while not their preference, was one of the ideas being explored.

With the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians on many key issues seemingly unbridgeable, pursuing a Palestinian state with temporary borders has emerged as an option in recent months, particularly among Israelis searching for a way out of the status quo. The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected this option, fearing an interim deal that falls short of their hopes will become permanent.

In order to allay Palestinian concerns, Lapid told the Yediot Ahronot daily that President Barack Obama should set a three-year timeline for determining the final borders of a Palestinian state. As a gesture to the Israelis, he also called on Obama to endorse the position laid out by President George W. Bush in 2004, allowing Israel to keep some of the Jewish settlements it has built on occupied lands.

The issue of Jewish settlements has been at the heart of the current 4½-year impasse in peace talks. The Palestinians have refused to negotiate, saying that continued Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is a sign of bad faith. The Palestinians claim both areas and the Gaza Strip, all captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for their future state.

Most Israelis, including Netanyahu, think that the continued control over millions of Palestinians would spell demographic suicide for Israel, and that creation of an independent Palestinian state is essential to preserving Israel’s identity as a democracy with a Jewish majority.

BEIRUT

Syrian regime forces launch attack on rebel stronghold

Syrian forces launched a large-scale assault Sunday on the city of Qusair, a rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border, in the government’s latest effort to push back opposition fighters from strategic areas of the country.

The opposition said fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group allied with the Syrian government, took part in the siege. Hezbollah did not confirm its involvement.

The onslaught commenced with shelling shortly after midnight and continued for hours, with artillery strikes and airborne bombardment targeting both the city and rebel-controlled suburbs, opposition activists said.

Pro-government news agencies reported that troops had fought their way to the town center, but rebels said the military’s advance had been halted amid heavy combat. It was impossible to independently reconcile the two accounts.

The bombardment was among the most intense of the more than two-year Syrian war, the opposition said.

The situation quieted down by nightfall, but rebels were anticipating a renewed assault on Monday.

– From news service reports