Hamas sends rocket barrage into israel
Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Wednesday in the heaviest bombardment on the area in months, drawing ominous Israeli threats of retaliation. The violence came a day after a landmark visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar. Israeli officials suggested the visit, the first by a head of state to the Hamas-ruled territory, emboldened the militants. Israeli officials said some 80 projectiles were fired. Israel responded with a series of airstrikes on rocket launchers, killing two Palestinian militants, according to Gaza medical officials. Israeli leaders threatened tougher action.
Would-be bomber gets 37 years
An Algerian man convicted of plotting to blow up the Los Angeles airport around the turn of the new millennium was sentenced Wednesday to 37 years in prison after previous 22-year terms were thrown out by an appeals court as too lenient. Ahmed Ressam, who trained with al-Qaida in Afghanistan, was arrested in December 1999 when a customs agent noticed he appeared suspicious as he drove off a ferry from Canada onto Washington's Olympic Peninsula. A resulting search turned up a trunk full of explosives.
Wildfire destroys at least 14 homes
A wildfire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people around a small southern Colorado town has destroyed at least 14 houses, and the count could rise, authorities said Wednesday. About 380 people were evacuated in Custer County after the fire began Tuesday and quickly grew to more than 3 square miles in winds gusting up to 79 mph. The fire continued to spread overnight, forcing authorities to go door-to-door to evacuate seven homes in neighboring Pueblo County.
China ends ban on nuclear plants
China has decided to approve new nuclear power plants as part of plans to reduce reliance on oil and coal, ending a moratorium it imposed because of Japan's Fukushima disaster last year. The government's decision Wednesday that nuclear power is safe takes China in the opposite direction from some developed nations. The government hopes to generate 30 percent of power from solar, wind and other renewable sources as well as from nuclear energy by late 2015.
Kennedy cousin denied parole
Imprisoned Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel lost a bid for freedom Wednesday at his first parole hearing since he was convicted a decade ago of beating his teenage neighbor to death with a golf club. He won't be eligible to be considered again for release for five years. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, was convicted in 2002 of fatally beating Martha Moxley in Greenwich in 1975, when they were 15. He is serving 20 years to life.
San Antonio, TeXas
Road opens with 85 mph speed limit
The final 41-mile stretch of a Texas toll road with the nation's fastest speed limit — 85 mph — opened Wednesday after three years of construction. Texas Highway 130 is intended to help alleviate the increasingly crowded Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio.
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