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Call to honour black marines

The leader of the US Marine Corps wants the first black troops to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and hopes their story will inspire more black men and women to rise through its ranks.

Commandant General James Amos told hundreds of Marine Corps officers at the National Naval Officers Association meeting in California that it was time for Congress to honour the group known as the Montford Point Marines.

About 20,000 black marines trained at Montford Point in North Carolina in the 1940s after President Franklin Roosevelt integrated the Marine Corps.

White House intruder held

A homeless man was in custody last night after climbing over the White House fence.

James Dirk Crudup (41), was immediately captured by uniformed Secret Service agents, who guard the complex around the clock.

He had a backpack that was being examined for possible explosive material.

A CNN news crew caught some of the drama on tape as it unfolded.

President Barack Obama was believed to be in the White House at the time.

Genes 'key to

a longer life'

Avoiding the vices of over-indulgence and idleness is no guarantee of reaching a ripe old age, a study has found.

New research suggests that genes are more important than lifestyle, or "nurture", when it comes to exceptionally long lifespans.

Scientists came to their conclusion after interviewing 477 Ashkenazi Jews between the ages of 95 and 112 in a study of longevity.

Ashkenazi Jews are descended from a small founder group and more genetically uniform than other populations.