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Morning headlines: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Screen capture via YouTube/139thAirliftWing)
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking a federal emergency declaration for the state because of flooding along the Missouri River system. The National Guard is working to hold back the swollen river. This is aerial footage over the St. Joseph, Mo. area.

Nixon seeks federal emergency declaration due to flooding

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking a federal emergency declaration for the state because of flooding along the Missouri River system and flash floods in the northeast.

The governor made the request yesterday in a letter to President Barack Obama. Nixon notes that the Missouri has already caused extensive flooding and is expected to threaten 25 counties in all, from the far northwest to St. Louis. He says flash floods have also affected Clark and Lewis counties in the northeastern part of the state.

Nixon's request specifically asks for federal assistance in operations to save lives and property, including material to support long-term shelter operations. He's also requesting help and equipment for flood-fighting operations, such as pumps, sand and sandbags.

Akin offers apology

Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin has offered an apology to individuals offended by his statement that quote "at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God."

Akin, who is running for U.S. Senate, made the comment last week during a radio interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. They were discussing a TV clip of the Pledge of Allegiance that omitted the phrase "under God" during NBC's broadcast of the U.S. Open golf tournament.

NBC has since apologized.

Akin said Tuesday that his statement was directed at the political movement of liberalism, not at any specific individual, and apologized if his wording gave a different impression.

Ryan with ailing wife when she died

Imprisoned former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was with his ailing wife as she was taken off a respirator and died at a northern Illinois hospital.

Ryan's lawyer, former Gov. Jim Thompson, says Ryan was released from his prison in Terre Haute, Ind., to visit his wife. Thompson says the couple spent her final hours together. Lura Lynn Ryan died Monday evening. She'd been diagnosed with lung cancer. Court records show she was hospitalized last week when she had trouble breathing and a fever.

George Ryan is serving a 6 1/2-year federal prison sentence after being convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI. Thompson says Ryan had been secretly released four times since January to be with his wife of 55 years. Thompson says the prison warden allowed the visits.

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