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Reputed Klansman arrested in 1964 murder

A reputed Ku Klux Klansman was arrested late Thursday on murder charges in the 1964 slaying of three voter-registration volunteers _ a case that is one of the last pieces of unfinished business from the civil rights era.

Sheriff Larry Myers said Edgar Ray Killen was arrested at his home without incident. Myers said there would be more arrests in connection with the killings, which were dramatized in the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning.

Killen's arrest followed a grand jury session Thursday that apparently included testimony from individuals believed to have knowledge of the slayings. Myers said Killen, a 79-year-old preacher, is held on three counts of murder.

Ridge: Terror threat "chatter' lulls

WASHINGTON _ U.S. intelligence monitors are picking up less terror threat talk than a year ago, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday, but he warned that terrorists could be lying low before striking again.

"There certainly is a diminution, reduction in the amount of intelligence, and the decibel level is lower," Ridge said, comparing information picked up over the past several months to a similar period a year ago.

Ridge offered no single explanation for the drop, saying it could be stepped-up U.S. efforts to boost security, increase military action and disrupt terrorist leaders and their finances or, simply, the "hardening of America."

"Could be any of those and none of those," he said. "I suspect it's probably all of them."

Redesigned fuel tank boosts NASA morale

CAPE CANAVERAL _ A redesigned fuel tank for NASA's first post-Columbia launch emerged from a darkened barge into the morning sunlight Thursday, inspiring dozens of space shuttle workers who gathered to watch.

"We're no longer recovering from the accident. We're really heading toward a launch. Big change in momentum and morale," launch director Mike Leinbach said.

The arrival of the external fuel tank from a manufacturing plant in Louisiana moved the space program closer to its goal of a late spring liftoff for Discovery. It was a suitcase-size piece of insulating foam from Columbia's fuel tank that triggered that shuttle's breakup as it re-entered the atmosphere over Texas nearly two years ago.

On the new tank, no foam piece bigger than a couple of marshmallows should come off, said project manager Sandy Coleman. Anything that small would be harmless, she said.

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