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Briefs

More 9/11 insurance money denied

– The owners of the World Trade Center can’t demand billions of dollars more in insurance money for the destruction caused by the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal judge decided Thursday.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled after hearing testimony by economic experts for the trade center owners and for the airlines linked to the planes that were hijacked in the attacks.

The nonjury trial was held to decide whether the owners could collect more than the nearly $5 billion they’ve already received toward reconstruction.

In ruling against developer Larry Silverstein and World Trade Center Properties, the judge cited state laws that bar “windfalls and double recovery on the same loss.”

Wind shift changes California wildfire

A wildfire in the Southern California mountains shut down the famed Pacific Crest Trail and was threatening a popular tourist destination Thursday, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 6,000 residents and tourists.

The blaze about 100 miles east of Los Angeles had grown to more than 35 square miles in size and had destroyed at least six houses and mobile homes.

Tensions heightened late Wednesday after winds shifted, causing the fire to change course and head in the direction of Idyllwild, an artist community and hiking destination in the San Jacinto Mountains.

By midday, flames wreathed a ridge above the town and were about 2 to 3 miles away, fire officials said.

Judge won’t drop leak suspect charge

A military judge at Fort Meade, Md., refused Thursday to dismiss a charge that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning aided the enemy by giving reams of classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

It is the most serious charge Manning faces, punishable by up to life in prison without parole. Col. Denise Lind, the judge in Manning’s court-martial, denied defense motions to acquit him of that charge and a computer fraud charge. The defense had cited a lack of prosecution evidence.

Texas governor signs abortion law

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions on Thursday that could shutter most of the state’s clinics that provide the procedure, a final step for the Republican-backed measure after weeks of sometimes raucous protests at the state Capitol.

Supporters credited God’s will and prayer as the governor signed the legislation, with protesters’ chants of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” echoing from the hallway. Opponents have vowed to fight the law, though no court challenges were immediately filed.

“Today, we celebrate the further cementing of the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon,” Perry told an auditorium full of beaming GOP lawmakers and anti-abortion activists. “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.”

Obama may cancel summit with Putin

The White House is considering canceling a fall summit between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, a move that would further aggravate the tense relationship between the two leaders.

The White House is dangling that option over the Russians as Moscow considers a temporary asylum petition from Edward Snowden, the American accused of leaking information about classified U.S. intelligence programs.

But officials have privately signaled that scrapping the bilateral talks would also be retaliation for other areas of disagreement with Russia, including its continued support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s attacks against civilians.

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