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briefs

Sender apologizes for dud bombs

– A former Iowa letter carrier who sent threatening letters and dud pipe bombs to investment firms has apologized in a federal courtroom in Chicago, telling a judge that he is ashamed of what he did.

John Tomkins, known as “The Bishop” bomber because he signed his notes with that moniker, made the apology at a pre-sentencing hearing Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“Let me start by saying how incredibly sorry I am,” Tomkins told the judge. “There are no words to describe the shame and disappointment I feel in myself.”

In court testimony last year, Tomkins admitted to sending threatening letters and nonfunctioning bombs to investment advisers from 2005 to early 2007 as part of an extortion scheme intended to drive up the value of stocks he owned.

Avalanche kills 5 snowboarders

Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon in a backcountry avalanche on Colorado’s Loveland Pass, authorities said.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said in a statement that six snowboarders were caught in the slide. The condition of the lone survivor was not released, and it was unclear if the victims were still buried.

Saturday’s deaths bring the total number of avalanche fatalities in the state to 11 this year, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Laundry, hospital search for stillborn

The Minnesota laundry service that discovered the remains of a stillborn baby in hospital linens says that no other remains have been found at its facility.

Crothall Healthcare in Red Wing made the statement after Regions Hospital in St. Paul announced the remains of a second stillborn baby were missing. Crothall says the hospital is reviewing the laundry over the weekend in hopes of recovering the missing stillborn.

Regions said Friday that it believes the remains of a stillborn at 19 weeks gestational age had been placed in the same basket as the remains of another stillborn discovered Tuesday.

That stillborn was 22 weeks gestational age.

2nd term for Italy’s president is a first

Italy’s Parliament on Saturday re-elected Giorgio Napolitano to an unprecedented second term as president, after party leaders persuaded the 87-year-old to serve again in hopes of easing the hostility that has thwarted formation of a new government.

Napolitano easily surpassed the simple majority required to be elected Saturday afternoon. He garnered 738 votes, far more than the 504 needed for victory for another seven-year mandate.

Once he takes a new oath of office, Napolitano can formally begin one of the head of state’s most important tasks.

He must figure out who has the best prospects of putting together a new government, with enough support to successfully work with Parliament and survive a mandatory vote of confidence.

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