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5 terror suspects appear in US courts after extradition
NEW YORK — An extremist Egyptian-born preacher entered a U.S. courtroom yesterday for the first time to face multiple terrorism charges, complaining that his prosthetic hooks, medication and special shoes were taken away from him. The preacher was one of five terror defendants rounded up in Britain and extradited overnight to the U.S.
Abu Hamza al-Masri was surrounded by several marshals in a Manhattan courtroom as he faced charges he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helped abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.
The 54-year-old, white-haired Al-Masri exposed both of his arms through his short-sleeved prison shirt. His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, asked that al-Masri, indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, have his prosthetics immediately returned “so he can use his arms.”
In the 1990s, al-Masri turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for extremist Islamists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
Al-Masri — jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges — was flown overnight to New York from London along with four others accused of U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and with helping terror operations in Afghanistan and Chechnya. The men, who could all face life in prison, have been battling extradition for between eight to 14 years.
Insurgents kill 2 US troops in eastern Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents yesterday killed two American troops in eastern Afghanistan, an area that has seen heavy fighting in recent months, the U.S. military said.
No other information about the deaths was disclosed, pending notification of family members.
But a U.S. military official said two U.S. special operations forces were killed by small arms fire in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose information about the deaths.
So far this year, 296 international troops, including at least 257 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan.
Georgia representative calls evolution a lie ‘from the pit of hell’
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.
The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.
“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible to be literally true. Broun spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti told the Athens Banner-Herald that Broun was recorded speaking off-the-record to a church group about his religious beliefs. He sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Calif. gas prices hit all-time high; prices might still rise before falling next week
LOS ANGELES — It’s a record, though just barely. The price of gasoline hit an all-time average high in California of $4.6140 a gallon yesterday, fueled by a reduced supply and a volatile market.
The record was set by a fraction of a penny, according to AAA spokesman Michael Green. The previous high was $4.6096 on June 19, 2008.
Prices throughout the state were expected to increase for several more days before leveling off, after a temporary reduction in supply triggered a price spike that saw fuming motorists paying $5 or more per gallon in some locations and station owners shutting down pumps in others.
AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report released Saturday said the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded across California rose 12 cents from its Friday mark of about $4.49.
Saturday’s price was the highest in the nation, with the Golden State leapfrogging Hawaii this week as the state with the most expensive fuel. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded across California was 47 cents more than a week ago, according to the AAA report.
Some jurors hope Sandusky gets life in Penn State abuse
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Jerry Sandusky should be sent to prison for life when a judge sentences him Tuesday, according to several of the jurors who convicted the former Penn State assistant coach of molesting several boys over a period of years.
None of the jurors interviewed by The Associated Press said they have had second thoughts about their June verdict, and several plan to attend the sentencing.
“There isn’t a sentence that I believe is harsh enough for what he has done and how it has affected the university,” said Joan Andrews, a juror who has worked for Penn State for 41 years and held football season tickets since 1969. “I don’t think there’s been one individual in this entire campus that has not been affected by this.”
Four jurors said they plan to be in the courtroom when Sandusky, 68, learns the penalty for sexually abusing boys he met through a charity for at-risk children. Sandusky’s own attorney expects his client to be handed a long sentence from Judge John Cleland after conviction on 45 counts.
Although a list of jurors has not been released by Cleland, the AP was able to contact five of them. They said they recently received a letter from the court informing them about the sentencing and offering to have a court official meet them outside the courthouse.