LOS ANGELES

Airport security hamstrung by lack of caller ID system

A Los Angeles International Airport police dispatcher who received a call seconds after a gunman opened fire last year didn’t know where to send officers because no one was on the line and the airport communications system didn’t identify that the call was from a security checkpoint emergency phone, two officials said.

A screening supervisor in the airport’s Terminal 3 picked up the phone but fled before responding to a dispatcher’s questions because the gunman was approaching with a high-powered rifle and spraying bullets, the officials said.

One official likened the situation to a 911 call but police not knowing what address to go to. Airport dispatchers knew something was wrong but didn’t know where to send help because the system didn’t identify locations of its emergency phones. An airline contractor working in the terminal called dispatch directly from his cellphone, and officers were dispatched 90 seconds after the shooting started.

WASHINGTON

Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to give senior senator his backing

The sniping between establishment Republicans and tea partiers resumed Thursday as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz refused to endorse his state’s senior senator in next week’s Republican primary.

Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican leader, faces tea party-backed Rep. Steve Stockman in Tuesday’s election. Cruz declined to tell reporters how he plans to vote.

“I am not supporting any of the senators from my party or their opponents” in this year’s primaries, Cruz said, adding that he might change his mind later.

Cruz, a tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate, has infuriated fellow Republicans by forcing uncomfortable votes on issues such as the debt, and by raising money for conservative groups trying to defeat veteran Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

PHOENIX

Governor’s veto exposes split among Republicans

Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays exposed a fracture within the Republican Party between social conservatives and the pro-business wing, a split that Democrats hope to turn into a midterm election campaign issue.

The Republican governor has made job creation and business expansion the centerpiece of her administration, and she was more than willing to disregard the wishes of social conservatives amid protests from major corporations such as American Airlines and Apple Inc.

As a result, the Republican base was left dispirited, and opponents of gay marriage are struggling to find their footing after significant losses in the courts and statehouses.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. chief: Syrian atrocities ‘a shameful indictment’

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that 20 years after the Rwanda genocide the international community’s collective failure to prevent atrocities in Syria is “a shameful indictment.”

The U.N. chief also pointed to “grave and blatant” human rights violations in the Central African Republic.

Ban spoke at the New York launch of “Kwibuka 20” to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.

The event comes as the United Nations grapples with how to respond to the religious killings in Central Africa. Last week, Ban called for the rapid deployment of at least 3,000 additional troops and police to bolster the 6,000 African Union peacekeepers, 1,600 French troops already in the conflict-wracked nation, and another 500 promised by the European Union.

Ban plans to recommend deploying a U.N. peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, but that will take months and he was warned the country can’t wait that long.

CARACAS, Venezuela

National holidays fall short of getting protests off street

The start of a weeklong string of holidays leading up to the March 5 anniversary of former President Hugo Chavez’s death did not completely pull protesters from the streets Thursday as the government apparently hoped.

Hundreds of students rallied on a street in east Caracas demanding an end to the government crackdown on protests and the release of those jailed in recent weeks.

When some of the demonstrators later moved toward a major highway, government security forces opened fire with tear gas.

In Valencia, about 105 miles west of the capital, protesters manned burning street barricades and clashed with authorities.

President Nicolas Maduro announced this week that he was adding Thursday and Friday to the already scheduled long Carnival weekend that includes Monday and Tuesday off, and many people interpreted it as an attempt to calm tensions.

– From news service reports