former Official convicted in mine disaster
The former head of security at the Upper Big Branch coal mine was convicted Wednesday of impeding the investigation into a 2010 explosion that killed 29 men. A federal jury found Hughie Elbert Stover, 60, guilty of lying to investigators and disposing of thousands of security-related documents. He is the first person criminally prosecuted in the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in decades. The jury began deliberating Wednesday after two days of testimony in which prosecutors painted Stover as an obstructionist and defense attorneys claimed he was a scapegoat. He remains free pending sentencing Feb. 29.
Thousands flee ahead of flooding
Tens of thousands of residents jammed bus stations and highways Wednesday to flee the flood-threatened capital as the city's governor ordered evacuations in two swamped northern districts for the first time since the crisis began. Floodwaters bearing down on the city have killed 373 people nationwide since July, caused billions of dollars in damage and closed Bangkok's second-largest airport. Satellite views of the city show it almost entirely surrounded by water. The government has repeatedly vowed to protect the capital. But official assessments have turned grim in recent days, and flooding seems all but inevitable. Authorities were also forced to move hundreds of inmates from three prisons, many on death row, to other provinces.
Tough abortion law goes into effect
One of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws took effect Wednesday in North Carolina after a federal judge temporarily halted the law's most controversial requirement — that a woman getting an abortion must first view a narrated ultrasound image of the fetus. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ordered a preliminary injunction late Tuesday, ruling that the ultrasound requirement likely violates patients' First Amendment rights. She upheld other parts of the law, including a 24-hour waiting period to provide information on abortion risks and alternatives. The injunction will remain at least until Dec. 5, when Eagles will hear more arguments in the case. Legal challenges have temporarily blocked similar laws in Texas and Oklahoma.
3 Marines face court-martial
Three Hawaii-based Marines accused of hazing a fellow Marine who later committed suicide in Afghanistan will be tried in a court-martial. The Marine Corps said Wednesday that Brig. Gen. Frederick Padilla, 3rd Marine Division commander, decided the case should go to trial. A trial date for Sgt. Benjamin E. Johns, Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Jacoby and Lance Cpl. Carlos Orozco III has not been set. The three are charged with wrongfully humiliating and demeaning Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, who killed himself April 3.