One dead, 10 injured after bridge collapses

MARCY, N.Y. -- A pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed Thursday as concrete was being poured onto its steel girders, killing one worker and injuring 10 others, authorities said.

At least three of the injured were in critical condition.

The workers were standing on the bridge when the girders crashed onto an unfinished highway 20 feet below, said Paul Obernesser, regional construction engineer for the state Transportation Department.

It took dozens of emergency workers about 45 minutes to free everyone from the debris.

The steel skeleton had been put in place over the summer and had passed safety inspections, Obernesser said.

Spacewalking astronauts wire up new girder

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Two spacewalking astronauts floated outside and wired up a new $390 million girder to the international space station on Thursday.

David Wolf and Piers Sellers shouted, "Yippee!" and "Excellent!" when it was time to get to work on the 45-foot-long, 14-ton girder that arrived with them aboard space shuttle Atlantis on Wednesday.

Wolf connected power and data cables, as Sellers released the locks on the three folded-up radiators mounted to the girder.

Sellers, a first-time spacewalker, marveled at the view more than 240 miles below.

"Where am I?" Sellers asked. When told he was flying over the Pacific and coming up on South America, he observed, "Wow -- it's too beautiful for words -- unbelievable."

Kansas gets statue on statehouse dome

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Construction workers once again hoisted a statue of a Kansa Indian to its place atop the Statehouse dome Thursday, while officials on the ground hoped the second attempt would be the last.

Hundreds of people had watched on Monday as a crane lifted the bronze statue 300 feet to the top, but workers had trouble bolting it to the dome, and the statue came down a few hours later.

Workers redrilled some of the bolt holes before the second try Thursday.

"There's no question about it. All the bolts fit perfectly," project manager Gregg Lynch said in declaring the second attempt a success.

The 4,100-pound statue, by Kansas sculptor Richard Bergen, depicts a loincloth-clad hunter with his bow drawn and arrow pointed to the North Star.

Security tightens in NYC after al-Qaida threats

NEW YORK -- New York's landmark buildings, bridges, financial centers and tourist attractions came under heavier guard Thursday after the release of taped al-Qaida threats against the United States and its economy.

Harbor patrols were keeping a closer watch on bridges linking Manhattan to the city's other boroughs, police said. Tunnels were also under closer scrutiny, and police presence was increased throughout lower Manhattan, the part of town where the World Trade Center once stood.

On Wednesday, the FBI alerted state and local authorities nationwide that taped statements by al-Qaida leaders may signal that another attack on the United States has been approved.

School fire scheme adds to bank robber's term

PHILADELPHIA -- A man who set fire to a rural elementary school to divert police while he robbed a bank was sentenced to decades in federal prison for that crime and a string of others.

Prosecutors said Gary Ramsey, 32, masterminded the November 2000 heist that netted $275,000 from a First Union bank branch in suburban Philadelphia.

Shortly before the robbery, Ramsey and three others tried to distract authorities by setting the classroom fire at East Pikeland Elementary School in Chester County. The school was closed for Thanksgiving break and no one was injured, but the fire caused $550,000 in damage.

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Ramsey to 75 years without chance of parole, plus mandatory consecutive terms totaling 45 years.

--From wire reports

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