LONDON – Radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other terror suspects who fought for years to avoid facing charges in the United States lost their grounds for appeal and were flown to the U.S. from Britain late Friday, officials said.
The U.S. Embassy said it was pleased with the ruling by Britain’s High Court, and Scotland Yard said the five departed from an air force base in eastern England just before midnight on two jets bound for the U.S.
Judges John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley rejected last-ditch applications by al-Masri, Khaled al-Fawwaz, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary and Syed Talha Ahsan, who had been battling extradition for between eight and 14 years.
The five have sought to avoid extradition by raising concerns about human rights and the conditions they would face in a U.S. prison.
Friendly fire cited in shootings of agents
A preliminary investigation has blamed friendly fire in the shootings of two border agents along the Arizona-Mexico border, the FBI said.
The shootings Tuesday about five miles north of the border near Bisbee left one agent dead and another wounded.
Panetta scolds Karzai for remarks
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Afghan President Hamid Karzai should say thank you now and then to the allied military forces that are fighting and dying in Afghanistan, rather than criticizing them.
Panetta on Friday was responding to Karzai’s recent complaints that the U.S. is failing to go after militants based in Pakistan, and instead is concentrating on the insurgents in Afghanistan.
The uncharacteristic shot from Panetta comes as tensions between the two countries have escalated over the increase in attacks in which Afghan security force members or insurgents dressed in their uniforms turn their guns on coalition troops.
Ex-school chief in Texas sentenced
A federal judge has sentenced the former El Paso Independent School District superintendent to 42 months in prison for his participation in a scheme to bolster high-stakes testing scores by getting rid of students deemed likely to fail.
Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty in June to two counts of fraud and was sentenced Friday. He’s accused of orchestrating a scheme that prevented low-performing students from taking the state assessment test in the 10th grade. Some were held back in the ninth grade or pressured to drop out and take the GED elsewhere. Others were threatened with fines for living outside the district.
Six other people are implicated in the scheme and an FBI investigation continues.
Cold front delays sky-dive record bid
The highest, fastest free fall in history has been postponed.
Red Bull Stratos announced Friday that the jump by extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner have been moved from Monday to Tuesday thanks to a cold front with gusty winds. The jump can be made only if winds on the ground are under 2 mph for the initial launch of a balloon carrying Baumgartner.
The man dubbed Fearless Felix is attempting to become the first sky diver to break the sound barrier. If he doesn’t, a gruesome demise could be live-streamed on the Internet for the world to see.