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In brief: Bus crash kills driver, passenger

Tue., March 15, 2011

East Brunswick, N.J. – A luxury bus from New York City’s Chinatown to Philadelphia crashed Monday night on one of the nation’s most heavily traveled highways, killing the driver and another person, police said.

The driver was thrown through the windshield, and several passengers were badly injured in the New Jersey Turnpike crash, state police Sgt. Stephen Jones said. The other person who was killed had been on the bus, and about 40 people were sent to hospitals, he said.

The one-vehicle crash happened just days after a bus from an Uncasville, Conn., casino crashed as it was returning to New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood, in downtown Manhattan, killing 15 people.

The bus in Monday’s crash, operated by a company from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., slammed into a guardrail and a concrete abutment while traveling south on the turnpike in East Brunswick.

The cause of the crash hadn’t been determined.

Navy ship attack nets life sentences

Norfolk, Va. – Five Somali men convicted of attacking a Navy ship were sentenced to life in prison on Monday, the harshest sentences yet for accused pirates as the U.S. tries to halt piracy off Africa’s coast.

The federal prosecution in Virginia relied upon rarely used 19th century maritime laws and was the first piracy case to go to trial since the Civil War, when a New York jury deadlocked on charges against 13 Southern privateers. Last month, a Somali pirate who kidnapped and brutalized the captain of a U.S.-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Africa in 2009 was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison.

The five men also were sentenced to an additional 80 years in prison on other charges related to the attack on the USS Nicholas.

Several of the pirates told U.S. District Judge Mark Davis through an interpreter that they wanted to appeal their convictions and sentences while they maintained their innocence.

Defense lawyers had argued the men were innocent fishermen who had been abducted by pirates and forced to fire their weapons at the ship.

Lawmaker quits after comment

Concord, N.H. – A 91-year-old freshman lawmaker who suggested the mentally disabled should be shipped to Siberia resigned Monday from the state House and said he was sorry that his “big mouth caused this furor.”

Rep. Martin Harty’s comments came to light last week during testimony at a hearing on proposed cuts to the state budget. He said he was kidding around with a female caller who supported funding for the homeless when he raised the issue of eugenics and the world’s population growth.

Harty, a Republican from Barrington, said he didn’t know what to do with mentally disturbed people and suggested renting a spot off Russia. He said the woman called him an Adolf Hitler and hung up.

“I was just getting the hang of it some, but with the slightly unfavorable publicity I’ve been getting the last few days, I’ll never be an effective lawmaker,” Harty said in his handwritten resignation letter.


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