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Nation in brief: Loose bolts found in Big Dig tunnel

Boston’s Big Dig crisis deepened Thursday when Gov. Mitt Romney shut down the eastbound lanes of a major highway tunnel after two problem bolts were discovered in the ceiling.

The Ted Williams Tunnel, which carries traffic to and from Logan Airport under Boston Harbor, already had been limited to bus traffic since ceiling panels in a connector tunnel collapsed this month, killing a car passenger.

State engineers discovered that two bolts appeared to have slipped a half-inch and 1 inch in one ceiling panel, Romney said. He added that he expected the Ted Williams Tunnel to be shut down for hours, not days.

It was in a tunnel leading to the Ted Williams that 12 tons of concrete ceiling panels fell on a car July 10, killing 39-year-old Milena Del Valle.


Judge grants delay in Green trial

A federal judge on Thursday granted a three-month delay in the arraignment of a former soldier, who is charged with raping an Iraqi girl and killing her and three of her family members.

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell agreed to delay the arraignment until Nov. 8 after prosecutors cited logistical concerns in Steven Green’s case.

“It is unreasonable to expect that witnesses and evidence from Iraq will be available almost simultaneously to military prosecutors in Iraq and Department of Justice prosecutors in the Western District of Kentucky,” according to the motion filed Wednesday.

The prosecution involves coordinated efforts of military prosecutors in Iraq, federal prosecutors in the U.S. and FBI and Army investigators.

In addition to the charges against Green, who is no longer in the military, five soldiers in Iraq face military charges in the case. All are members of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

All but one of the defendants are accused of raping and killing Abeer al-Janabi and killing her parents and young sister at their home near the town of Mahmoudiya on March 12. One soldier is accused of failing to report the crime.


City bans feeding homeless in parks

In an effort to curb charity that is having unintended consequences, the City Council has made it illegal to give food to homeless people in city parks.

Residents complained that the large numbers of homeless gathering in the parks make it impossible for others to use them, said city spokesman David Riggleman.

The law, which went into effect Thursday, targets so-called “mobile soup kitchens.” It carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Riggleman said shutting down such soup kitchens will encourage homeless people will to go to a center or charity that offers services such as mental health evaluations or job placement.


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