WASHINGTON — The second-ranking House Democrat on Sunday joined the party leadership in urging Rep. Anthony Weiner to quit because of his sexting scandal, a request the New York lawmaker has sidestepped in favor of a temporary leave of absence.
The Republican Party chairman criticized Democratic leaders for not taking a more forceful stand earlier on the affair, which has overshadowed much of the legislative business on Capitol Hill over the past week.
Weiner has acknowledged exchanging messages and photos, ranging from sexually suggestive to explicit, with several women online. The latest to surface appeared on the gossip website TMZ.
The photos posted Sunday were purportedly taken in the House members’ gym and show a shirtless Weiner with a towel around his waist and his hand on his crotch. TMZ said the photos were sent online to at least one woman.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, spoke of Weiner’s “bizarre and unacceptable behavior” in sending inappropriate pictures of himself to young women. Hoyer said it would be “extraordinarily difficult” for Weiner to continue to represent his constituents effectively.
In New York, foes and supporters of Weiner confronted each other.
“He’s not fit to be our congressman,” said Jim Scott, 61, one of about two dozen constituents who rallied in front of Weiner’s office in the Kew Gardens section of Queens. “People are sick of him, especially his attitude.”
Half a dozen Weiner supporters gathered a few yards away. College student Olivia Lurrie, 18, said Weiner was a good leader who made a mistake.
Weiner announced Saturday that he was entering professional treatment at an undisclosed location and wanted a leave of absence from Congress. A statement from an aide did not say where he would receive treatment or what type was involved.
That announcement came right after House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the national party head, said Weiner must go.
Obesity surgery fails to extend life in older men
CHICAGO — Very obese older men hoping to live longer may be let down by a new long-term study that found weight-loss surgery didn’t increase survival for people like them — at least during the first seven years.
Prior studies have found stomach stapling and other obesity surgeries improved survival rates after two to 10 years. The new study in mostly older male veterans suggests one of two things: Not everyone gains equally from surgery, or a survival benefit may show up later in older men, after more years of follow-up.
Previous findings came mainly from studies of mostly younger women.
Evidence has been mounting for the health benefits of obesity surgery, so the new results may surprise some people. U.S. doctors now perform more than 200,000 obesity surgeries a year at an estimated cost of $3 billion to $5 billion.
The new study, released Sunday to coincide with a medical meeting, will appear in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
Filipino named world’s shortest man
SINDANGAN, Philippines — A poor Filipino blacksmith’s son who stands less than 2 feet tall was declared the world’s shortest man by Guinness World Records on his 18th birthday Sunday, sparking a celebration in his hometown.
The title was bestowed on Junrey Balawing in Sindangan in the southern Philippines, with his parents, villagers and officials showering the coastal town’s newly famous resident with a feast of roasted pigs and seafood, cake, balloons and cash gifts.
Balawing, measuring 23.5 inches tall, took over the title from Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, who is 26.4 inches tall.
Roadside bomb kills 15 Afghan civilians
KABUL — A roadside bomb Saturday killed 15 Afghan civilians, including eight children, in a volatile southern district where U.S. forces last year made a major push to dislodge the Taliban, provincial officials said.
The blast was one of a series of attacks across the country that killed at least 21 people in 24 hours, including a Western service member who died in the south.