Karzai remarks prompt U.S. troop alert
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan quietly told his forces to intensify security measures Wednesday, issuing a strongly worded warning that anti-American statements by President Hamid Karzai had put Western troops at greater risk of attack. The order came amid a growing backlash against Karzai's public excoriation of the United States. An array of Afghan political leaders issued a joint statement criticizing Karzai and saying his comments did not reflect their views.
In mom's arms, baby survives fall
A woman clutching her baby son in her arms plunged eight stories out of an apartment window to her death in an apparent suicide Wednesday, but the baby survived, police said. Cynthia Wachenheim, 45, was found on the street with her son, 10-month-old Keston, near her arms. The baby was hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Police found a seven-page suicide note under a bed in the apartment Wachenheim shared with her husband. In the note, she said she recognized what she was about to do was "evil" but she was concerned about how her child was developing, the Associated Press reported.
Chavez unlikely for permanent display
Venezuela's acting president said Wednesday it is highly unlikely Hugo Chavez will be embalmed for permanent viewing because the decision to do so was made too late for the socialist leader's body to be properly prepared in time. President Chavez died March 5. The decision to preserve his body permanently was announced two days later. Chavez's embalmed body was to be put on display at a military museum a mile from the presidential palace.
Fewer monarch butterflies counted
The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico dropped 59 percent this year, the lowest level since record-keeping began 20 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday. It was the third straight year of declines for the orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from the United States and Canada. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997. The decline now is a statistical long-term trend, experts said, but they differed on possible causes.