6.7 quake hits Asia; no damage reported
BEIJING (AP) — A magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked the region where China, Russia and North Korea meet Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Though area residents said they did not feel the quake, office towers in Beijing — about 770 miles away from the epicenter — swayed slightly for about a minute.
The quake occurred 335 miles below the Earth's surface.
Publishing group to leave bankruptcy
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge Wednesday cleared the way for newspaper owner Morris Publishing Group to emerge from bankruptcy protection less than a month after it filed under Chapter 11.
Morris Publishing, owner of 13 daily newspapers including The Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News, sped through the court after a year spent formulating a plan to shed $288.5 million in debt — or about 70 percent of its total of $415 million — and winning approval from the vast majority of its creditors.
Judge John S. Dalis took less than 20 minutes Wednesday to approve Morris' prepackaged debt restructuring proposal after hearing no objections from creditors. The plan lets Morris' owners keep control of the privately held company, with creditors receiving no equity.
Tennis star's mother charged with neglect
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (MCT) — The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has charged tennis star Anna Kournikova's mother with child neglect for leaving her son, 5, alone in her Palm Beach home in January while she ran errands.
Alla Kournikova, 46, was arrested on Jan. 19. She is accused of leaving her son locked in a room for almost an hour while she went to the bank and the post office. She told police the boy did not want to accompany her and she left him with a phone.
The state attorney's office alleges that Alla Kournikova failed to make reasonable efforts to protect a child from abuse and neglect. Prosecutors also say Alla Kournikova failed to provide a child with the care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health.
She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Man who insisted he wasn't killer is freed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who insisted he was innocent of murder through more than 16 years in prison was declared a free man Wednesday after a groundbreaking exoneration pressed by the nation's only statewide innocence panel.
Greg Taylor's shackles were removed and he was swept into the arms of his relatives, including a daughter and the son-in-law he met for the first time. Taylor said he was looking forward to a good meal and was thrilled that he was no longer considered guilty of murdering a prostitute in 1991.
'Grand Slam' gets students suspension
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Dozens of students from a Rhode Island high school who skipped classes for a free breakfast at Denny's got grand slammed with suspensions.
Officials at West Warwick High School tell The Providence Journal that 46 students went to Denny's in Warwick on Feb. 9 to take advantage of a free "Grand Slam" breakfast.
Assistant Principal Paula Santos got wind of the outing and drove to the restaurant to tell the students to go to school. Principal Karen Tarasevich says students who immediately went back were dismissed with a suspension mark on their records. Those who didn't return got two-day suspensions.
Murtha replacement to be elected May 18
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The special election to fill the term of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha will be held on Pennsylvania's primary election day, May 18.
Gov. Ed Rendell made the announcement Wednesday. Rendell had 10 days after Murtha's death to make the announcement and was required to set the date at least 60 days away.
That means there will be two elections involving Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district on primary day.
One will decide the Republican and Democratic nominees to run in the general election in November. The other will fill the remainder of Murtha's term, which ends in January.
Foul odor sickens 30 students, 7 teachers
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — At least 30 high school students and seven teachers became sick Wednesday after reporting a foul odor that authorities were trying to identify. Officials canceled classes for the day.
Eight students were hospitalized, according to Exel Lopez, spokesman for the Commission of Public Services, who said he had no further details.
Their condition was not available, and it was unclear whether the students remained hospitalized late Wednesday afternoon. The remaining students and teachers were treated at the scene for vomiting, headaches and dizziness, said Brenda Rodriguez, fire brigade spokeswoman.
Kerrigan brother may get to stay at home
WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, charged with assaulting his father shortly before he died, will be allowed to live in the house where the assault occurred if he is able to post bail, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Mark Kerrigan, 45, is currently being held on $10,000 bond as he undergoes a psychiatric evaluation.
Prosecutors argued in Woburn District Court on Wednesday that Mark Kerrigan should not be allowed to return to the Stoneham home because his mother, who still lives there, is a witness in the case.
Mexican promises probe of drug crimes
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — President Felipe Calderon promised federal investigations into all complaints of extortion and kidnapping in a Mexican border city overwhelmed by drug gang violence.
Calderon made the pledge after meeting Wednesday with hundreds of residents of Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
It was the second time Calderon visited the city since the Jan. 30 massacre of 15 people in a working class neighborhood fueled anger over the government's failure to stem the bloodshed. More than 2,600 people were killed in the city of 1.3 million people last year despite the presence of thousands of federal troops and police, making it one of the world's deadliest cities.