Nation briefs 1/13/05

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Vehicles pile up amid fog in Michigan, Indiana

ALAIEDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- At least two people died and 25 others were injured when about 100 vehicles crashed Wednesday in thick fog on a Michigan highway, police said. One person also was killed in Indiana when 20 vehicles piled up amid heavy fog on a highway east of South Bend. The National Weather Service had issued a dense fog advisory for the area, saying visibility could be less than a quarter of a mile. In Michigan, about 50 vehicles wrecked in one pileup on Interstate 96 outside Lansing on Wednesday afternoon, killing one person, police said.

Lights, heat back on in northern Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Electricity was restored to most homes in an Arctic village Wednesday, four days after the community lost power in a fierce blizzard and was thrown into the deep freeze. Drifting snow prevented a cargo plane from landing in Kaktovik, a village of 300 people more than 200 miles above the Arctic Circle. But an Alaska Air National Guard helicopter delivered technicians and equipment on Tuesday. The outage may have been caused by power lines slapping together and arcing during the storm, officials said.

Ex-Klansman accused in killings posts bail

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. -- The reputed Ku Klux Klansman charged with the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers was freed Wednesday on $250,000 bail. Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon set a March 28 trial date for Edgar Ray Killen, arrested in one of the most notorious crimes of the civil rights era. The 79-year-old part-time preacher was arrested last week, the first person to be charged with murder by the state of Mississippi in the killings that focused national attention on the civil rights struggle in the South.

Witness: Abu Ghraib suspect disobeyed orders

FORT HOOD, Texas -- The first witness for Army Spc. Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse case, said under cross-examination Wednesday that Graner routinely disobeyed orders while serving as a guard. The testimony from Master Sgt. Brian Lipinski could undermine Graner's contention that he was just following orders to soften up Iraqi inmates for interrogation. Lipinski, then the top noncommissioned officer in the 372nd Military Police Company, said Graner wore his hair too long, altered his uniform in violation of regulations and refused to stay away from Pfc. Lynndie England despite repeated orders.

Feds crack down on lasers aimed at pilots

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced changes Wednesday to the way pilots report lasers beamed at airplanes -- a response to a rash of such incidents in recent weeks. Mineta also issued a stern warning that federal officials will aggressively prosecute those caught shining laser beams into cockpits. The bright lasers -- usually green -- can temporarily blind pilots. Mineta said the Federal Aviation Administration will now require pilots to immediately report laser incidents to air traffic controllers, who would then repeatedly broadcast warnings and notify law officers.

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