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Locke, commerce secretary to be ambassador to China

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to nominate Gary Locke, the commerce secretary and one of the highest-ranking Chinese-Americans in the administration, as the next U.S. ambassador to China, administration officials said Monday. Locke, 61, would replace Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down next month to explore a bid for the Republican nomination for president.

Locke, a former governor of Washington, was both the first Chinese-American commerce secretary and the first Chinese-American governor, serving for two terms, from 1996 to 2005. The son of immigrants from Hong Kong, he was born in Seattle and traces his Chinese ancestry to southern Guangdong province.

Before coming to Washington, Locke built a reputation as an expert on trade relations with China.

After leaving the governor’s office, Locke helped run the China practice at Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm in Seattle. He also helped organize a visit to Washington State in 2006 by China’s president, Hu Jintao.

—Mark Landler, The New York Times

Tucson shooting autopsy reports are released

TUCSON, Ariz. — Witnesses to the Tucson shooting rampage describe it in emotional language, and court documents lay it out in legalese. Now, newly released autopsy reports give a glimpse of the chilling attack from the clinical viewpoint of the forensic pathologist who examined the bodies of the six people who were killed.

“A gunshot entrance wound is at the left lower back, 24 inches from the top of the head and three inches left of midline,” Dr. Eric D. Peters, the deputy medical examiner for Pima County, wrote in the autopsy report for Judge John M. Roll of U.S. District Court, which was released Monday.

For Gabriel M. Zimmerman, an aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Peters noted two gunshot wounds, one to the head and another to the left buttocks. “Death of this man is due to a gunshot wound to the head with perforations of skull and brain,” he wrote.

It was Giffords, who was holding a constituent event outside a supermarket on Jan. 8, who was the intended target of the gunman, according to the authorities, who have charged Jared L. Loughner. Giffords was struck in the head and is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston after suffering a bullet to the brain. A dozen other people were also shot.

—Marc Lacey, The New York Times

Fears of wheat crisis in China 
recede as drought eases

HONG KONG — Rain and snow during the past two weeks, together with a huge irrigation effort, appear to have saved much of the wheat crop in northern China from drought, Chinese and international agricultural and meteorological experts said Monday.

This winter was the driest in perhaps 200 years in parts of China, the world’s largest wheat producer. That prompted alarm a month ago that China might need to sharply increase its usually modest wheat imports, at a time when world food prices were already surging. Supplies were tight after bad weather in other wheat-producing countries, including Russia and Australia.

But days of snow and rain across the heart of China’s wheat belt in northern Henan and western Shandong Provinces have brought moisture to fields so dry that large cracks appeared in the dirt. The precipitation arrived at just the right moment, experts said, as vulnerable wheat planted last autumn was coming out of its winter dormancy and needed to grow or it would die.

—Keith Bradsher, The New York Times