WASHINGTON

White House backs off push for new surgeon general

The White House is backing off its push for quick confirmation of President Obama’s pick to be surgeon general in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and concerns among Democrats up for re-election who don’t want to take another tough vote on a controversial nominee.

Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, a Harvard Medical School physician and Obama political organizer, is the latest nominee to be targeted for defeat by an outside group in the midst of the midterm election campaign. Murthy’s support of gun control drew the ire of the NRA, which was a driving force 11 months ago in the defeat of Obama-endorsed stronger background checks for firearms purchases.

The White House has decided that, at least for now, it won’t put its vulnerable incumbents in the position of taking a vote that could hurt them in the November elections.

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.

Military prison escapee caught after nearly 40 years

Convicted killer James Robert Jones, who escaped from the maximum-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth nearly 40 years ago, carved out a new life for himself in Florida, living under an assumed name, getting married and working for an air conditioning company.

Jones, 59, was recaptured this week with the help of facial-recognition software technology.

Jones was one of the Army’s 15 most-wanted fugitives after his 1977 escape from the Kansas prison dubbed “The Castle” for its large walls and tower keeps. He was convicted of murder and assault in the 1974 killing of a fellow soldier at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

– From news service reports