Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, the central figure in the biggest U.S. insider trading case in a generation, went to trial on Tuesday in a showdown with prosecutors that will feature wiretap evidence and the testimony of former friends and associates.

Onetime billionaire Rajaratnam, 53, was mobbed by photographers and TV crews when he stepped from a black suburban SUV and walked into Manhattan federal court. Dressed in a brown coat and a suit, he was escorted by one of his lawyers.

He sipped black coffee in the courthouse cafeteria, declining to comment to reporters. He then went to the courtroom where about 150 potential jurors were to be questioned by U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell.

Opening statements will start once the 12-member panel is in place for a trial expected to last up to two months.

Rajaratnam is the former head of Galleon Group, which once managed $7 billion. He could face a 20-year prison sentence if convicted on the most serious charge of securities fraud.

iTunes' top 10 selling singles and albums of the week ending March 7, 2011:


1. "Born This Way," Lady GaGa

2. "On the Floor (feat. Pitbull)," Jennifer Lopez

3. "Forget You," Cee Lo Green

4. "S&M," Rihanna

5. "Blow," Ke$ha

6. "I Need a Doctor (feat. Eminem & Skylar Grey)," Dr. Dre

7. "F(asterisk)(asterisk)kin' Perfect," P!nk

8. "E.T. (feat. Kanye West)," Katy Perry

9. "Rolling In the Deep," Adele

10. "Till the World Ends," Britney Spears

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has a message for the would-be democratic reformers of the Middle East: It's time to let women make decisions, too.

Clinton said Tuesday the transitions from autocracy in Egypt and Tunisia cannot continue to block half of society from participating in governance.

The secretary spoke at a ceremony honoring 10 women for efforts from promoting good governance and the education of girls to combating scourges such as sexual harassment, domestic abuse and so-called "honor killings."

Speaking before first lady Michelle Obama, the female president of Kyrgyzstan and prime minister of Australia, Clinton said women who protested against Hosni Mubarak's government expected a role in Egypt's future.

Yet she lamented that no women were included in efforts to redraft the constitution.

Thirteen adults and five juveniles have been arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged rape of a Texas girl, police said.

Darrell Broussard, assistant police chief for the Cleveland, Texas, police department, said Monday that the investigation into the incident "is continuous," with more significant developments possible. Cleveland is about 50 miles northeast of Houston.

"There have been leads during our investigation that have alerted us to other possible persons of interest," Broussard told CNN. "The investigation is ongoing."

The 18 individuals charged thus far are between 14 and 27 years old, he said.

On Friday, the Cleveland police department announced that four students in the Cleveland independent school district had been arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14.

Police in Spain found the body of missing U.S. college student Austin Taylor Bice, 22 early Tuesday in Madrid, authorities said.

The body was found after officials drained a portion of the Manzanares River near the discotheque where Bice was last seen after a night out with friends more than a week ago, said Jesus Sanchez, a spokesman for the central government's main regional office in Madrid.

There will be an autopsy, but an initial visual inspection of the body did not indicate any signs of violence, the officials said.

The San Diego State University student had not been seen since early February 26, when he told several friends he was going home alone while others stayed at the discotheque, family members and friends said.

"We are all very upset," said Carlos Lopez Terradas, head of international relations at Madrid's University of Carlos III, where Bice arrived last January for a semester of business-course study abroad.
President Barack Obama announced Monday that the United States will resume using military commissions to prosecute alleged terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.

In the announcement, the president said his administration remains committed to closing the controversial detention facility but will rescind its previous suspension on bringing new charges before military commissions. The commissions are military proceedings rather than trials in civilian courts.

Obama also called for prosecuting Guantanamo detainees in U.S. criminal courts when appropriate, and issued an executive order calling for periodic reviews of suspects held under indefinite detention.

The steps followed through on Obama's previous call to reform the process of prosecuting or holding Guantanamo detainees to make it more in line with international laws and standards, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on condition of not being identified by name.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights both criticized the administration for what they called institutionalizing indefinite detention of terrorism suspects who have yet to be formally charged or designated for transfer to another country, but are considered too dangerous to set free.
Financial companies are pushing stock indexes higher in midday trading. Oil prices dipped.

Bank of America Corp. rose 4 percent, leading the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average, after analysts said that the bank may soon raise its dividend. Bank stocks in the S&P 500 index are up 2 percent Tuesday, the most of any of the index's 10 company groups.

Oil prices fell 0.4 percent to $105 a barrel after reports that OPEC may raise its oil output.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 115 points, or 0.9 percent, to 12,205 in midday trading. The S&P 500 is up 11, or 0.9 percent, to 1,321. The Nasdaq composite is up 22, or 0.8 percent, to 2,768.
A soccer player received a red card for tackling a scantilly-clad invader during an English sixth-tier match.

Dorchester player-manager Ashley Vickers was red-carded for violent conduct after ending the intruder's 30-second jaunt with a thudding tackle in the 70th minute of the game against Havant & Waterlooville on Monday.

Vickers says "the funny thing was, the stewards actually thanked me for it. But the ref decided to send me off."

Dorchester lost the match 3-1. The game was tied 1-1 before the intruder appeared on the field. He was wearing nothing but a bright green "mankini" thong and curly black wig.

Havant has banned the perpetrator from the stadium.
A litany of back-stabbing at Europe's top aerospace group is exposed in leaked U.S. cables, which show American diplomats avidly collecting details on the cracks in U.S. planemaker Boeing's main rival.

Dozens of pages of diplomatic reports reveal how feuding executives at Airbus parent EADS gave U.S. diplomats a running commentary on Franco-German rifts between 2005 and 2009.

The period coincided with a sharp rise in public tensions between Airbus and Boeing in a spat over subsidies, market battles for orders and a contest to sell tankers to the U.S.

The cables, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and made available to Reuters by a third party, shed new light on political cross-currents that have rarely been stilled in EADS.

Their disclosure comes as the group enters another sensitive phase in its history, triggered by a recent decision by German shareholder Daimler to reduce its 22.5 percent stake.

Chinese blogger and activist Michael Anti wants to know why he is less worthy of a Facebook account than company founder Mark Zuckerberg's dog.

Anti, a popular online commentator whose legal name is Zhao Jing, said in an interview Tuesday that his Facebook account was suddenly canceled in January. Company officials told him by e-mail that Facebook has a strict policy against pseudonyms and that he must use the name issued on his government ID.

Anti argues that his professional identity as Michael Anti has been established for more than a decade, with published articles and essays.

Anti, a former journalist who has won fellowships at both Cambridge University and Harvard University, said he set up his Facebook account in 2007. By locking him out of his account, Facebook has cut him off from a network of more than 1,000 academic and professional contacts who know him as Anti, he said.
Libya's 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Comoros has been moved from Tripoli because of the country's political turmoil.

The Confederation of African Football says it's seeking a neutral country to host the match. It was scheduled between March 25-27 in Tripoli's June 11 stadium.

After two matches, Libya leads the group, which includes Mozambique and Zambia.

Last week, CAF decided Libya was unsafe to host the eight-nation African Under-20 Championship scheduled March 18-April 1 in Tripoli and Benghazi.

CAF says a new venue and rescheduled match dates in April-May will be announced next week.

Algeria's federation says it and South Africa have offered to host the event, a qualifier for the Under-20 World Cup.
The United States will fund training for 140,000 African health care workers in an initiative to "transform and dramatically increase" medical education on the continent, the top U.S. AIDS official announced Tuesday.

Ambassador Eric Goosby said the plan will bring partnerships between African and U.S. medical schools by "really fostering and strengthening a collegial network" to empower medical professionals on the continent that shoulders the worst of the world's HIV-AIDS epidemic and its heaviest load of other chronic diseases.

He said he hoped it also would help stem, and even reverse, the brain drain of doctors and nurses who receive expensive, subsidized training in Africa, only to be recruited to work overseas amid a worldwide shortage of health professionals.

Some African countries have trained more doctors and nurses working abroad than remain in their countries, prompting critics to suggest recruiting countries should pay African governments for their lost expenses.

The British Medical Association reported that in 2005 sub-Saharan Africa had only 600,000 health care workers for a population of 682 million; Ghana had nine doctors for every 100,000 patients and Mozambique had 500 doctors for a population of 18 million. Only 60 of the 500 doctors trained in Zambia since independence remain in the country, the association said.
Two health groups are hoping a hungry caterpillar will take a bite out of childhood obesity.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle tells about a caterpillar who munches his way through a variety of foods.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and a group affiliated with former President Bill Clinton hope to use the book to help kids make nutritious food choices and lead healthier lives.

The groups announced plans Tuesday to send more than 17,000 pediatricians special copies of the book, along with growth charts and parent handouts on healthy eating.

Dr. Marion Burton, head of the pediatrics academy, says the campaign can teach kids healthy habits and a love of reading.

The author says he hopes his caterpillar will be a happy reminder for kids to grow healthy.
Saudi Arabia's oil minister on Tuesday denied the surge in oil prices reflects a shortage of crude on the market but said the kingdom is committed to tapping excess supplies if needed.

The 12-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has so far held its official output quotas unchanged, even as massive protests across the oil-rich Middle East have pushed global oil prices to their highest levels since late 2008. An uprising in OPEC member Libya has stoked supply concerns, increasing pressure on the producer bloc to pump more to ease prices.

The oil minister of OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, Ali Naimi, said the oil market remains well-supplied. In an interview with the Saudi state news agency, he reiterated the kingdom's stance that the spike in oil costs stems more from financial speculation and unwarranted investor sentiment than industry fundamentals.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been committed to promoting market stability in the interest of both producers and consumers, and in support of global economic growth and development," Naimi told the Saudi Press Agency.
The Obama administration is considering releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help Americans facing a spike in oil prices as a result of unrest in the Middle East, Obama Chief of Staff William Daley said Sunday.

The administration is considering all options when it comes to preventing the U.S. economy from backsliding as a result of recent increases in oil prices.

"The issue of the reserves is one we're considering. It is something that only is done -- and has been done in very rare occasions. There's a bunch of factors that have to be looked at. And it is just not the price," Daley said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I think there is no one who doubts that the uncertainty in the Middle East right now has caused these tremendous increases in the last number of weeks. ... All matters have to be on the table when you ... see the difficulty coming out of this economic crisis we're in and the fragility of it," he added.

Oil prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks, climbing to nearly $105 per barrel on Friday from about $90 one month ago. That puts the price of a gallon of gas at a national average of $3.50, according to AAA.

Security has been heightened at the Ohio Statehouse ahead of Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) first State of the State address.

Crowds of protesters and dozens of dignitaries planned to co-mingle Tuesday. The speech comes amid a dispute over a bill limiting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. Dozens of Highway Patrol troopers were on duty.

Democrats and labor groups scheduled a rally to begin 30 minutes before Kasich's noon speech, with loud music planned. Hundreds of opponents of the bill marched down the sidewalks toward a Statehouse lawn an hour before the speech, with some chanting "Kill the bill" and wearing firefighter and police uniforms.

Earlier, about 30 members of tea party groups gathered nearby to show support for the bill and for Kasich and lawmakers who support it.
Warner Bros. Television has fired actor Charlie Sheen from its comedy "Two and a Half Men" after a two-week public meltdown by the star that has included attacks on the show's creator.

"After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen's services on 'Two and a Half Men,' effective immediately," the company said in a statement issued Monday.

"This is very good news," Sheen said in a statement to TMZ. "They continue to be in breach, like so many whales.

"It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of their bazillions ... and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."

Sheen, 45, has been known for his highly publicized marital, legal and substance abuse problems as much as his acting. The show was put on hiatus after he entered a rehabilitation program in January, and production was halted after Sheen blasted show co-creator Chuck Lorre and Alcoholics Anonymous in a February 24 radio interview.
Cuba's Maximum Leader is also on top in cyberspace.

A Twitter account that tweets excerpts from former President Fidel Castro's frequent musings on world affairs has passed 100,000 followers - which the government says makes it the first official Cuban-themed Twitter account to break that threshold.

The account, set up about a year ago, has sent more than 1,750 tweets with Castro's thoughts, including his fears that the world is headed for nuclear Armageddon, and his warnings that NATO is planning to invade Libya.
Guards fired tear gas and warning shots to quell Yemeni prisoners who rose up chanting anti-government slogans, according to one of the prisoners who obtained access to a phone during the riot and spoke with CNN Tuesday.

At least two inmates were killed and seven others injured, said the prisoner, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal from prison guards.

The protests at Sanaa Central Prison erupted Monday evening when inmates gathered in the main hall, said the prisoner, who has spoken with CNN in the past. The inmates raised their voices against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government and demanded more rights.

Guards ordered the prisoners to return to their cells. The inmates refused but dispersed and re-entered their cells after the guards exerted force, the prisoner said.

Tuesday morning, they again assembled in the main hall and resumed their protests, the prisoner said. Again guards responded with tear gas and bullets fired in the air. That's when the two prisoners were killed, the prisoner said.
How do you solve a problem like Prince Andrew?

The embarrassing antics of Queen Elizabeth II's second son are just the latest royal misdemeanors to vex British politicians. From Prince Harry and his Nazi costume to the Duke of Windsor and his Nazi sympathies, members of the monarch's family have often troubled governments - who find there is little they can do to rein in wayward royals.

Andrew is facing pressure to step down as a British trade envoy because of a string of unfortunate relationships. He hosted the son of Tunisia's dictator shortly before a popular uprising overthrew the leader, associated with the Libyan leader's son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, and is friends with billionaire U.S. sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Labour Party lawmaker Chris Bryant, a former government minister, has called for Andrew to be fired because of "his boorish gaffes and dodgy friendships," and historian Max Hastings wrote in an article Tuesday that "a man as bereft of judgment, taste and discretion as the prince" should never have been allowed to represent Britain.
Somalia's defense minister says intelligence reports indicate that an American from Alabama who joined the militant group al-Shabab has been killed.

Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Fiqi told The Associated Press that the information has not been confirmed. Fiqi says officials don't have a body but have received intelligence reports indicating the American is dead.

Omar Hammami has been featured rapping in al-Shabab recruitment videos that have been posted online. Hammami joined the Somali militants in 2007 while he was in his early 20s. He had taken on the nom de guerre of Abumansur Al-Amriki.

Somali and African Union troops launched an offensive late last month that has resulted in a spike in fighting in Mogadishu.
World Cup leader Tarjei Boe of Norway has won the men's race at the world biathlon championships for his first major title. He was followed Tuesday by Russia's Maxim Maksimov and Austria's Christoph Sumann.

Boe missed one target and was timed in 48 minutes, 29.9 seconds over the 20-kilometer course for his fifth top-three finish this season.

Maksimov shot cleanly but couldn't keep Boe's pace and finished 40.0 seconds behind. This was Russia's first medal in six races at the championships.

Sumann led Boe by 48 seconds entering the final shooting range, but a miss added a minute to his time. He ended 45.5 seconds behind the winner.

The women's 15-kilometer individual race is Wednesday.
The International Cycling Union says Italian rider Franco Pellizotti has been found guilty of doping and must serve a two-year suspension in a landmark case for the sport's biological passport project.

The UCI tells The Associated Press that the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by cycling's governing body seeking to ban Pellizotti after he was cleared by an Italian anti-doping court.

The UCI says CAS also rejected Pietro Caucchioli's appeal against a two-year suspension imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee.

Pellizotti and Caucchioli never tested positive for banned drugs, but showed irregular results in blood samples taken for their biological passport.
The Taliban detonated a car bomb in Pakistan's third-largest city on Tuesday, killing 20 and wounding more than 100 people in an attack they said targeted the offices of the country's main intelligence agency.

The blast in the Punjabi city of Faisalabad underscored the reach of al-Qaida and Taliban in the U.S.-allied nation.

The militants are based in the tribal regions close to Afghanistan, but have been able to tap into extremist networks in the country's heartland of Punjab and strike there with regularity over the last three years.

The remote-controlled bomb also devastated a gas station and an office of Pakistan's state airline in the industrial city. Police said the offices of a "sensitive" security agency were nearby but were not damaged in the attack.

A 25-room mansion that some scholars believe was an inspiration for "The Great Gatsby" is to be razed to make room for a subdivision.

Randy Bond, village clerk in Sands Point on New York's Long Island, tells the New York Post that it will be replaced by five houses priced at $10 million each. The location affords magnificent views of the Long Island Sound.

Some F. Scott Fitzgerald experts believe the author used the sprawling 1902 property as a model for the home of character Daisy Buchanan, though the current owner believes the mansion's "Gatsby" link has been overstated.

David Brodsky says his family bought it in 2004 from Virginia Payson, the late wife of former Mets owner Charles Payson. He says the house is beyond repair.
The Libyan government wants the United Nations to investigate the violence during the country's bloody uprising, a senior EU official said Tuesday.

The official, who returned from Tripoli late Monday, told reporters that top leaders at the Libyan foreign ministry offered a U.N. fact-finding mission free, unfettered travel throughout the North African nation with a security escort.

Many within the European Union, however, continued to blame Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for violence against civilians. French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said Gadhafi "keeps shooting his own people" and added that Paris is considering all options, including no-fly zones, to end the crisis there.

France and Britain have taken the lead in planning for a no-fly zone over Libya, but other EU members are more skeptical.
Israel's prime minister declared Tuesday that his country must retain a strategic section of the West Bank under any future peace deal - a position unlikely to win Palestinians over to his reported plan to offer them a temporary state.

In a rare visit to the occupied territory, Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that Israel's security depends on maintaining a military presence in the Jordan Valley - a strip of West Bank land along the border with Jordan. Without troops there, Israel fears militants could smuggle weapons into the West Bank.

"The Jordan Valley is Israel's line of defense," Netanyahu said atop a rocky hilltop overlooking the valley. "There is no alternative. It will remain that way in any future situation and any future deal. The military must remain here along the Jordan border."

Netanyahu has made similar comments in the past. But the location and the timing - just as officials say he is working on a new diplomatic initiative - were notable, signaling that any new plan would fall far short of Palestinian demands.

The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, for a future state. Israel captured all three areas in 1967, then withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Hamas militants overran Gaza two years later.
Doctors have created urethras using patients' own cells for the first time - another example that scientists may be able to grow replacement body parts one day

"It's not so much science fiction anymore to think we can grow replacement organs," said Patrick Warnke, a tissue engineering expert at Bond University in Australia.

American doctors made the urethras for five boys in Mexico, aged 10 to 14, after they were injured in accidents.

The urethra is a thin tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder; cells from both organs are very similar. Tissue grafts are normally used in such cases, but there's a less than 50 percent success rate.

After removing a postage stamp-sized piece from the boys' bladders, scientists put the cells into a special mixture in a laboratory to speed their growth. They then fashioned a tiny mesh tube out of the same material used for dissolvable stitches in surgeries to act as a scaffold.
Almost one third of all people with diabetes don't know they have it. The symptoms seem so harmless, like symptoms of just getting older. This article goes into the different types of diabetes and some of the common symptoms of each to help you understand diabetes a little better.

In this article we'll go over the three main types of diabetes. They are Type 1, Type 2, Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes has also been called insulin-dependent and immune-mediated diabetes. It occurs when your body can't produce insulin. The immune system attacks insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.
"The Informationist" (Crown), by Taylor Stevens: Vanessa Monroe - known to her clients as "Michael" or "Monroe" - specializes in extracting valuable information for anyone who can pay for it, from wealthy individuals to heads of state. Monroe has a gift for compiling a thorough dossier in any circumstance, any country, under any regime. She speaks 22 languages (not counting dialects), and her knack for picking up local customs allows her to blend in and manipulate almost any situation to her advantage.

She was born to missionaries in central Africa, and by the age of 14 had taken up with a group of gunrunning mercenaries who taught her to fight. She eventually became as feared as her mentor, but a violent, traumatic experience led her to flee the continent.

So when Richard Burbank, a Texas oil tycoon, hires her to find his daughter who disappeared in Africa four years ago, Monroe is at first reluctant to take the case - she doesn't work missing person cases. But the facts in Emily Burbank's disappearance don't add up, and Monroe finds herself back in a place she didn't think she'd ever see again.

"The Informationist," Taylor Stevens' debut novel, starts out a bit slow, but not sluggish. There's a lot of groundwork to put down and a measured, deliberate buildup to the point at which Monroe is attacked, drugged and led out into the ocean on a boat, where she comes to as she's about to be killed by her abductors.
An Egyptian court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family against a top prosecutor's move to seize funds that could total in the billions of dollars.

The decision clears the way for a criminal investigation and a possible trial of Egypt's ousted leader.

Mubarak stepped down Feb. 11 at the end of 18 days of massive protests demanding his ouster after nearly 30 years in power. He, his wife, two sons and their wives have also been banned from travel abroad.

Judicial officials described the decision in closed court to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

There are no official figures on the funds held by Mubarak and his family but many believe they run into the billions, with much of it held overseas.

The officials said presiding judge Makram Awad rejected a defense request for more time to prepare the defense and decided instead to reject the appeal. The opposition that ousted Mubarak has pushed for a criminal investigation and a possible trial for members or all of the family. Prosecutors' actions suggest that they would be willing to pursue that course of action.
NFL.com is reporting that NFL Films president Steve Sabol is in a Kansas City hospital recovering from a seizure he had Saturday night.

The 68-year-old Sabol was in Kansas City to accept an award on behalf of NFL Films when he became ill.

Sabol was taken to a hospital, underwent a series of tests over the weekend, and was awake and alert Monday.

Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday wished him well on Tuesday.

"We hope Steve Sabol is doing much better. Our prayers are with him," Saturday said before heading into labor negotiations between the NFL and the players' union in Washington.

Steve's father, Ed, is the founder of NFL Films and was selected for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month.

Steve Sabol began working for his father in 1964. He has won multiple Emmy Awards for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing.
Police barricaded a main square in Kuwait's capital Tuesday before planned protests for greater political freedoms that could bring another Gulf state into the surge for reforms around the Arab world.

The police cordons around Kuwait City's central Safat Square were a high-profile warning to demonstrators, but organizers used social media to point to alternative sites in attempts to keep a step ahead of the crackdown.

Although the calls for protests would mark the first in Kuwait since the stunning Arab uprisings, the oil-rich Gulf nation is no stranger to political showdowns. Kuwait has the region's most powerful parliament and opposition lawmakers have waged open battles against the ruling system, including nearly bringing down the prime minister two times with no-confidence votes.

One of the protest slogans: "Leave! We Deserve Better!"

The planned rallies were timed to dovetail with the return of parliament from a nearly monthlong recess.

One of the first acts was the swearing-in of the new interior minister, whose predecessor was dismissed in January following an uproar when a suspect accused of illegal liquor sales was beaten to death in police custody.
Author Greg Iles is hospitalized in serious condition after being injured in a traffic accident in southwestern Mississippi.

Patrice Guilfoyle, a spokeswoman for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, says Iles was admitted Monday night. She said privacy issues prevent her from giving out any other information.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield says Iles, who lives in Natchez, was injured when his car collided with a pickup truck in U.S. Highway 61.

Iles has written a number of books including "The Devil's Punchbowl."
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is getting a new assignment: President Barack Obama plans to nominate him to become the next U.S. ambassador to China, making Locke the first Chinese-American to hold that post.

An announcement was expected this week, administration officials said. They requested anonymity to speak freely before Obama makes the nomination official.

If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would succeed Jon Huntsman, a Republican who is ending his stint as ambassador in a Democratic administration at the end of April.

Huntsman is seen as a potential GOP challenger to Obama in the 2012 presidential contest.

Locke, 61, is the first Chinese-American to serve as commerce secretary, and the Commerce Department said he would likewise be the first Chinese-American ambassador to China. Locke's father and grandfather were born in China and settled in Washington state after emigrating to the U.S.
A New York man has been sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for killing his former girlfriend while she was home from college for Thanksgiving break.

Steven Pieper of Liverpool was sentenced Tuesday morning in Onondaga County Court in Syracuse.

The 21-year-old Pieper pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the November slaying of 20-year-old Jenni-Lyn Watson. Pieper admitted strangling and suffocating Watson inside her parents' home in the town of Clay on Nov. 19 and dumping her body in a wooded area in a nearby park.

Watson had returned home from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., for Thanksgiving the day before she was killed. Her body was found eight days later.
Iran urged the U.S. on Tuesday to provide new information about a retired FBI agent who disappeared inside the country, and says it will keep trying to discover his fate.

"On a humanitarian basis, we will continue our efforts," to find Robert Levinson, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at a weekly briefing.

"If there is reliable information, relaying it to Iranian officials can turn this into a collective effort," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appealed to Iran for information about Levinson last week after Levinson's family received proof late last year that he was alive.

The State Department issued a three-sentence statement by Clinton Thursday saying there were indications Levinson was in southwest Asia and asking Iran for help.

Iran has long said it has no information about Levinson, but U.S. officials say they believe he was taken by Iranian government agents.
The governor of Wisconsin has signed it. So have most of the Republicans in California's Legislature.

As state lawmakers grapple with how to address massive budget deficits, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is leaving his fingerprints on legislatures across the country. His pledge against taxes is embraced by conservatives and reviled by liberals and some moderates.

In states as varied as Georgia, Arizona and California, Norquist has intervened at critical times to issue a warning or offer his critical stamp of approval to Republican lawmakers.

To many conservatives, signing the anti-tax pledge has become a badge of honor. To others, it's a shield that gives Republican lawmakers an easy out from working toward compromise or making difficult decisions about tax increases or reforms.

Norquist is president of the Washington, D.C.-based group Americans for Tax Reform and has become a flashpoint in the debate over how best to address states' budget deficits, whether he likes it or not.
Two failed marriages were the cost of war for Sgt. Jennifer Schobey.

The breaking point in her first marriage came when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, the last in a long line of separations they had endured as they juggled two military careers. Schobey married another combat veteran, but eventually that union failed under the weight of two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder - his and hers. They are now getting divorced.

Separations. Injuries. Mental health issues. All are added weights to the normal strains of marriage.

For women in the military, there's a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are more than twice as likely to end in divorce as those of their male comrades - and up to three times as likely for enlisted women. And military women get divorced at higher rates than their peers outside the military, while military men divorce at lower rates than their civilian peers.

About 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in roles ranging from helicopter pilots to police officers. Last year, 7.8 percent of women in the military got a divorce, compared with 3 percent of military men, according to Pentagon statistics. Among the military's enlisted corps, nearly 9 percent of women saw their marriages end, compared with a little more than 3 percent of the men.

Like all divorces, the results can be a sense of loss and a financial blow. But for military women, a divorce can be a breaking point - even putting them at greater risk for homelessness down the road.

It has an effect, too, on military kids. The military has more single moms than dads, and an estimated 30,000 of them have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why military women are more burdened by divorce is unclear, although societal pressure is likely a factor.
Every day, hundreds of animals are taken in trucks, vans and cars from overcrowded Southern shelters where euthanasia rates sometimes reach 70 percent to states in the North, where puppies and kittens are not as plentiful.

It's a labor of love for those whose main goal is getting the animals off death row, but it can also have a dark side ranging from unscrupulous operators looking to make a quick buck to well-meaning incompetence.

Animal advocates say the transports are here to stay, thanks to a supply and demand imbalance between the South and the North, where spay and neuter programs are far more widespread. These advocates want to create standards to ensure pets aren't taken from overburdened shelters to an even worse fate.

"If you could take a truckload of dogs and cats up to Connecticut, and somebody is going to pay you $100 a dog, you're going to get as many animals as you can on that truck," said Kimberly Alboum, director of the North Carolina chapter of the Humane Society of the U.S.

"It's quite a market at this point, and it's really creating problems as far as unscrupulous transporters and unscrupulous rescuers," she said.

The worst-case scenario for Alboum is a situation like the one described by police in North Carolina's Rockingham County last October. Sheriff's deputies charged Thomas and Amber Adkins with misdemeanor animal cruelty after finding around 90 dogs on the couple's property.
She played a girl who studied hard. But "Harry Potter" actress Emma Watson says she is going to take a break from her working on her degree to focus on her film career.

The actress - who plays the character of bookworm Hermione Granger - said Tuesday that she had found it hard to juggle her blossoming film career with her studies.

Watson enrolled to study literature at Brown University in Rhode Island in 2009. She says she still plans to finish her studies but will take some extra semesters to complete her degree.

Watson has just finished filming "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" which will premier in London in July. She has also just finished filming "My Week With Marilyn", opposite U.S. actress Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.