AP U.S. NewsBrief at 1:21 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Bin Laden spokesman pleads not guilty in NYCNEW YORK (AP) _ A senior al-Qaida leader and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, captured in Jordan a week ago, pleaded not guilty Friday in a heavily secured New York courtroom to plotting against Americans before and immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks in his role as the terror network's top spokesman. Bearded and balding, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was escorted into the largest courtroom at the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where he entered the plea through a lawyer to one count of conspiracy to kill Americans in a case that marks a legal victory for President Barack Obama's administration.
Long-lived winter storm plagues New EnglandBOSTON (AP) _ A slow-moving storm centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of New England, caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts and turned the morning commute in the region into a slushy crawl. Flooding from the enduring storm, which buried parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic in deep snow this weeek before sweeping northward, closed some coastal roads north and south of Boston. An unoccupied home north of the city fell into the ocean, according to the Newburyport Daily News.
Colo. shooting judge won't overturn insanity lawDENVER (AP) _ The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shootings has denied a request by defense lawyers to declare a state law on the insanity plea unconstitutional. In a ruling released Friday, state District Judge William Sylvester granted one defense request, for a written explanation of the consequences of pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
Report details flaws in Army's handling of PTSDSEATTLE (AP) _ An Army report released Friday finds the service still has trouble diagnosing and treating soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, despite more than doubling its number of military and civilian behavioral health workers over the past five years. Confusing paperwork, inconsistent training and guidelines, and incompatible data systems have hindered the service as it tries to deal with behavioral health issues, the report said. It's a crucial issue: After a decade of war, soldier suicides outpace combat deaths.
Parents seek US probe into son's Singapore deathHELENA, Mont. (AP) _ The parents of a software engineer whose body was found last June hanging in his Singapore apartment are calling for the U.S. to take over the investigation. Rick and Mary Todd of Marion, Mont., say they have found evidence that leads them to believe their son may have been killed over his semiconductor research in New Jersey.
Forest Service may let more fires burnSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ After coming in $400 million over budget following last year's busy fire season, the Forest Service is altering its approach and may let more fires burn instead of attacking every one. The move, quietly made in a letter late last month by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, brings the agency more in line with the National Parks Service and back to what it had done until last year. It also answers critics who said the agency wasted money and endangered firefighters by battling fires in remote areas that posed little or no danger to property or critical habitat.
Prosecutors seek constraints in Ind. poison caseINDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Prosecutors who charged a mother with murdering her infant because she ate rat poison while pregnant have asked the Indiana judge trying the case to take steps that critics say could stifle any sympathy jurors might have for the woman. Bei Bei Shuai's story has generated a wave of support from advocates who fear that her case could establish an unequal system that would effectively make pregnant women beholden to stricter rules than others under Indiana law.
Coroner: Lion killed woman after escaping cageDUNLAP, Calif. (AP) _ The investigation into a lion attack that killed a 24-year-old woman who loved big cats is focusing on a cage door that the 550-pound animal managed to escape through to reach the volunteer intern, officials say. Authorities said Thursday they believe the 5-year-old male lion broke the neck of the woman at a Central California animal park after it got out of its feeding cage and attacked as she cleaned its bigger area.
Interior pick puts outdoor industry in spotlightSALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ She doesn't wear a cowboy hat favored by traditional picks for interior secretary. Sally Jewell prefers fleece and Gore-Tex jackets and wears a safety helmet when she needs it for scaling cliffs, skiing or kayaking. Jewell, the 56-year-old chief of Recreational Equipment Inc., represents a new face for a cabinet post more often associated with ranching or oil, gas and mining development. The fact that a mountain-climbing CEO of an outdoors company is President Barack Obama's nominee underscores a new reality in Washington and beyond: the growing influence of outdoor recreation as a political and economic force.
Killer of 5 in Tenn. admits to 6th in AlabamaHUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ A man who killed his estranged wife and four other people in Tennessee in 2009 admitted Friday to killing a sixth person in north Alabama at the start of the rampage. Jacob Shaffer, 33, pleaded guilty to murdering 50-year-old Sidney Wade Dempsey, who was beaten to death at a marble company in Huntsville.
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