The Homeland Security Department will soon require advance information on private flights to the United States to prevent a terrorist from smuggling a nuclear bomb into the country. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday that the new regulations could eventually be expanded to include radiation scans at points in Europe and Asia for private planes flying to the United States. Private aircraft have not undergone the intense screening given to US-bound cargo and commercial flights. (AP)
Soldier sues after promotion deniedTOPEKA - A soldier asserted yesterday that his promotion was blocked because he had said in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist. Lawyers for Specialist Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation refiled the federal lawsuit in Kansas City, and added a complaint alleging that the blocked promotion was in response to the legal action. Hall alleges he was denied his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while he was deployed in Iraq with his military police unit. (AP)
Man, 64, dies in house explosionPLUM - An explosion flattened a house yesterday, killing a man, injuring his 4-year-old granddaughter, and damaging at least eight neighboring homes, authorities said. Natural gas appeared to have fueled the explosion, a utility spokesman said, but it remained unclear why it happened. Richard Leith, 64, of Trafford, died at a Pittsburgh hospital, said John J. Smith, an investigator with the Allegheny County medical examiner's office. Lynn Celia said she ran across the street right after the explosion and found Leith's granddaughter sitting in debris near the house next door. (AP)
Two drug kingpins face life in prisonMIAMI - Two Caribbean smugglers designated by the White House as international drug kingpins were convicted on smuggling charges and could face life in prison, prosecutors said yesterday. Jamaican Leebert Ramcharan led a smuggling organization that received as many as 15,000 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia from 1998 to 2004, prosecutors said. In a separate case, Bahamian Samuel Knowles was found guilty of two drug counts and ordered to forfeit nearly $14 million of illegal proceeds for bringing thousands of kilograms of cocaine to the United States in 1995 and 1996, prosecutors said. (Reuters)
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