u.s. arrests, charges iranian scientist
The United States has arrested and charged an Iranian semiconductor scientist with violating U.S. export laws by buying high-tech U.S. lab equipment, a development likely to worsen Iran-U.S. tensions. Prison records show Seyed Mojtaba Atarodi, 54, a microchip expert and assistant professor at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology, was held in a federal facility near San Francisco. He was detained Dec. 7 after getting off a plane in Los Angeles. He was approved for release on bail Thursday, in part for health reasons, subject to electronic monitoring.
17 are killed in insurgent attacks
Insurgents stepped up attacks in Iraq on Thursday, killing 17 people including 10 in the bombing of a house of two policemen and their families, authorities said. At least 190 people have been killed since the beginning of the year, raising concerns that the surge in violence and an escalating political crisis might deteriorate into a civil war, just weeks after the U.S. military withdrawal.
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Gray wolf loses federal protection
A legal shield that has protected gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region for nearly four decades disappears today. Removal of the animal from the federal endangered species list in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin follows the same move last year in the Northern Rockies. Now states are challenged with protecting enough of the 4,400 wolves that have been painstakingly brought back here while accommodating enthusiastic hunters and ranchers tired of collecting bloody carcasses left by wolf packs.
Washington: The Senate voted Thursday to allow a further increase in the federal debt limit, permitting President Barack Obama to borrow $1.2 trillion more to operate the government.
Afghanistan: A suicide car bomber who took aim at a Western convoy in southern Afghanistan on Thursday killed four Afghan civilians and injured more than 30 other people, officials said.
Washington: Retiring Rep. Barney Frank, 71, a gay pioneer in Congress, said Thursday he will marry his partner of five years, Jim Ready, 42, in his home state of Massachusetts.