Al-qaida in Iraq figure killed in raid, U.S. says
A key al-Qaida in Iraq figure involved in smuggling hundreds of suicide bombers across the border from Syria has been killed in a raid in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Thursday. The military called the death a blow to the insurgent organization in Iraq but acknowledged that it remains very much capable of carrying out well-planned, coordinated assaults with large body counts. The man was identified as Saad Uwayid Obeid Mijbil al-Shammari, also known as Abu Khalaf, the military said in a statement. He was believed to have been moving foreign fighters across the border since 2006, the same year a U.S. airstrike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Black box located in deep waters
Search crews used sonar Thursday to scan the sea floor for an Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea early Monday just minutes after takeoff from Beirut in a fierce thunderstorm. All 90 people on board were feared dead. A U.S. Navy ship, the USS Ramage, detected signals from the black box flight recorders at 4,265 feet under the sea, the Lebanese army said Thursday. It could take days to find and retrieve the black box, which is key to determining the cause of the crash. Rescue teams have recovered some bodies and pieces of the plane, but hope for finding any survivors has faded. At least a dozen bodies have been pulled out of the chilly waters.
Manson follower may be paroled
Bruce Davis, a member of Charles Manson's murderous cult who participated in two killings, was recommended for parole Thursday after nearly four decades in prison. The 67-year-old Davis has been in prison since 1972 after being convicted in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea. Attorney Michael Beckman, who represented Davis at the parole hearing, said Davis acknowledged for the first time that he shared responsibility for the crimes, even though he didn't kill anyone himself. The recommendation by a two-member panel came after the 26th hearing for Davis, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said. The process still requires approval by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other parole board members.
2 Republicans cancel Tea Party
A planned convention of Tea Party activists lost two prominent speakers Thursday, the latest sign of disagreement over how best to showcase the movement's growing political force. Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee canceled appearances at the gathering next week in Nashville. Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin remains a headline speaker at the event.