WASHINGTON – The government has recommended a site in Kansas for a new $450 million laboratory to study biological threats such as anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease, officials said Wednesday.
The Homeland Security Department’s choice of Manhattan, in central Kansas, beat out intense competition from sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.
The choice is not final until after a 30-day period for comments on the decision, which could face legal challenges from losing states.
Palin reports pair of free trips in 2007
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has added to her financial disclosure forms two free trips that she took nearly two years ago but failed to report.
Palin, who was Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, made the disclosures last month, but after Election Day. The trips were first revealed in a story by The Associated Press in October.
The free trips were taken in April and May of 2007 and should have been reported within 30 days under state ethics law.
California politico’s son held in killing
The son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez is among four men accused of stabbing a college student to death after being turned away from a fraternity party in October.
Esteban Nuñez, 19, and the others, all of whom live in the Sacramento area, returned to San Diego on Wednesday to face murder charges, a day after their arrests.
Each is charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism, said Paul Levikow, a spokesman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
They face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of murder.
22-year term stands in 1999 plot on LAX
Rejecting prosecutors’ calls for a life term, a federal judge in Seattle on Wednesday reimposed a 22-year prison sentence for an al-Qaida-trained terrorist convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport at the turn of the millennium.
Ahmed Ressam, whose plot was thwarted when border agents in Washington state caught him with a car packed with explosives, would be released in 10 years – at 51 – with credit for time served and good behavior.
“To say I’m profoundly disappointed would be an understatement,” U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said afterward, promising to ask the Justice Department to appeal.
Family sues store in Black Friday death
The family of a worker trampled to death in a “Black Friday” stampede at a Long Island Wal-Mart store filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday, claiming store ads offering deep discounts “created an atmosphere of competition and anxiety” that led to “crowd craze.”
The lawsuit also claims that Wal-Mart failed to provide adequate security.
Wal-Mart issued a statement saying it would cooperate with local law enforcement officials to develop stronger safety measures for the future.
Hudson in-law charged in slayings
A Chicago prosecutor alleged Wednesday that Jennifer Hudson’s brother-in-law killed three family members because he was angry that his estranged wife – the singer’s sister – was dating another man.
At a court hearing, prosecutor LuAnn Snow said William Balfour came to the family’s home on Oct. 24 and confronted wife Julia Hudson.
Balfour and Julia Hudson, Snow said, left together, but Balfour returned to the home. The bodies of Hudson’s mother and brother were found there later that day. The body of Julia Hudson’s 7-year-old son was found in an SUV three days later.
Balfour, 27, was charged with murder Tuesday after being held for weeks on a parole violation.
24 migrants’ bodies ashore in Yemen
Authorities in Yemen say the bodies of 24 Somalis washed ashore after an accident involving a boat trying to smuggle migrants.
Yemen’s Interior Ministry has not released any details on what caused the accident, but it says strong winds pushed the bodies on to beaches Tuesday and Wednesday. It says 184 more Somalis involved in the accident swam ashore.
Hundreds of Africans die every year trying to reach Yemen, with many drowning or being attacked by pirates between Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula.