LONDON – Britains Supreme Court on Wednesday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assanges appeal against extradition to Sweden to face questions about allegations of rape, sexual assault and unlawful coercion.
At a short hearing in central London, the president of the Supreme Court, Nicholas Phillips, said the court dismissed the defense teams argument that the warrant that led to Assanges arrest was flawed.
Assange – who shot to international fame when his anti-secrecy Web site spilled official state secrets in the form of Afghanistan and Iraq military reports and a mammoth cache of diplomatic cables – did not appear in court Wednesday. His lawyers told reporters he was stuck in traffic.
New Mexico wildfire state’s largest ever
A massive wildfire that has burned more than 265 square miles in the Gila National Forest has become the largest fire in New Mexico history, fire officials confirmed Wednesday.
The erratic blaze grew overnight to more than 170,000 acres, surpassing a blaze last year that burned 156,593 acres in Los Conchas and threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the nations premier nuclear facility.
Pickup plows into pedestrians; 9 hurt
A high school student in a pickup truck ran into a group of teenagers who were crossing a street outside a California high school Wednesday, leaving nine people injured, and backpacks and clothing strewn across an intersection, officials said.
The accident occurred shortly after school ended for the day at Hemet High School, Riverside County fire officials said in a statement. Three people were in critical condition, they said.
Romney popularity rising, poll shows
Republican women are rallying to Mitt Romney – their partys now-certain presidential nominee – boosting him to his best-ever showing on a fundamental measure of personal popularity, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, Romneys favorability rating still trails President Obamas, but the gap is far more narrow than it has been. In the new poll, 41 percent of all Americans express positive views of Romney; 52 percent do so for Obama. Just over a month ago, the president had a 56 percent-to-35 percent advantage on this score.
Gay marriage battle launched in Illinois
Building on the momentum of President Obamas recent support of gay marriage, two major civil rights groups in his home state filed lawsuits Wednesday in hopes of legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois.
The two lawsuits – brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the New York-based Lambda Legal – represent 25 couples statewide.
Both challenge a state law that defines marriage as between a man and woman, arguing that the Illinois Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry under due process and equality clauses.
Surgeons remove firework from chest
A Minnesota man is in critical condition after surgeons removed an unexploded firework from his chest while taking advice from the bomb squad.
Anoka County Sheriffs Detective Mike Lapham says 31-year-old Nick Beheng was launching fireworks from a hand-held mortar tube Saturday when one misfired. Lapham says the firework blew out of the bottom of the tube, directly into the 31-year-old mans chest.
Corn syrup can’t be renamed, FDA rules
High fructose corn syrup wont get a wholesome new name after all. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday rejected the Corn Refiners Associations bid to rename its sweetening agent corn sugar.
Given the sweeteners bad reputation in recent years, the association submitted an application to the agency in 2010 to have the product renamed on nutrition labels. But the FDA said that it defines sugar as a solid, dried and crystallized food – not a syrup.
Central bank seen as Europe debt answer
As Europes debt crisis intensifies, top officials say the continent urgently needs a central authority with the financial muscle to fix its broken banks.
The proposal could give immediate relief to Spains increasingly fragile economy, with its borrowing rates rising to unsustainable levels, rattling investors.
The European Commission called Wednesday for a banking union that can oversee and, if needed, bail out banks without having to go through national governments.
Markets tumbled Wednesday on concerns about the debt crisis. For more, turn to Page 7B.
Burmese in Thailand treat Suu Kyi as star
Downtrodden but hopeful immigrants from Myanmar crowded streets in Thailand for a look at opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who said she will do all she can to reverse decades of economic ruin and make it possible for them to go home.
Thousands crowded around her Wednesday in Mahachai, home to Thailands largest population of Burmese immigrants, and chanted: Long Live Mother Suu!
I had only seen her on TV and in newspapers, said Saw Hla Tun, who left Myanmars Karen state seven years ago and earns a meager wage carrying heavy salt sacks on his back. I couldnt hold back my tears when I saw her.
Now an elected member of Parliament, she will speak this week at the World Economic Forum on East Asia.