LONDON – A prosecutor electrified Britain’s phone hacking trial Thursday by revealing that Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson – the two most senior U.K. tabloid editors accused of illegal eavesdropping and bribery – had an affair for at least six years.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis said the relationship between the two powerful editors – both former top Rupert Murdoch aides and associates of Prime Minister David Cameron – goes to the heart of the case’s key question: Who knew what during years of illicit activity at Murdoch’s News of the World and Sun tabloids?
The fact they had an affair and kept it secret means they trusted each other a lot, Edis said. He said there was absolute confidence between the two of them about issues at their work.
Brooks and Coulson, both 45, Brooks’ current husband, Charles Brooks, and five others are on trial in the first major criminal case spawned by the revelation of the paper’s eavesdropping. The eight defendants all deny a variety of charges related to phone hacking, bribing officials and obstructing a police inquiry.
Children escape bus overturned in creek
Ten Kansas children and a school bus driver were pulled to safety from a fast-moving creek Thursday after the bus toppled into the water and landed half-submerged on its side.
The children, ages 13 and younger, clambered through a roof hatch to await rescue as the 60-year-old driver called 911 to report the accident in rural Butler County, Sheriff Kelly Herzet said.
Wrestling mat death to get closer look
A federal prosecutor said Thursday that he is conducting a formal review of facts and evidence in the death of a teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his high school gym.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said that if he uncovers sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal civil rights investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson, he will ask the FBI to conduct it.
The 17-year-old’s body was found Jan. 11 stuck in an upright mat in the school gym after his parents reported him missing the night before. Lowndes County sheriff’s investigators concluded Johnson died in a freak accident, but his family insists that someone must have killed him.
Texas abortion law in effect after all
A federal appeals court Thursday ruled that most of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions can take effect immediately – a decision that means as least 12 clinics won’t be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as today.
A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling three days after District Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision serves no medical purpose.
Fancy drug tunnel found in San Diego
A tunnel designed to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego was equipped with lighting, ventilation and an electric rail system, U.S. authorities said Thursday, making it one of the most sophisticated secret passages discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Authorities seized 8 1/2 tons of marijuana and 327 pounds of cocaine in connection with the tunnel’s discovery, according to court records. Three men who authorities say worked as drivers were charged Thursday with possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute. U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said they face prison sentences between 10 years and life if convicted.
Kenya hits militants over mall attack
Kenya’s military says its air force has attacked a militant training camp in Somalia in retaliation for last month’s al-Shabab assault on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.
Col. Cyrus Oguna said the military won’t know how many of the 300 militants in the camp were killed or wounded until today. Oguna said many more such attacks will be carried out.
The al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab said it carried out the mall attack that began Sept. 21, which killed at least 67 people, in retaliation for the Kenyan military’s push into Somalia in 2011.
Toronto police have mayor’s crack video
Toronto police said Thursday they have obtained a video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking a crack pipe – a video that Ford had claimed didn’t exist and has been at the core of a scandal that has embarrassed and gripped Canada for months.
Police Chief Bill Blair said the video, recovered after being deleted from a computer hard drive, did not provide grounds to press charges. Ford, a populist mayor who has repeatedly made headlines for his bizarre behavior, vowed not to resign.
Snowden lands job in tech support
Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer for former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, says his client has found a technical support job at a Russian website.
Kucherena told the RIA Novosti news agency Thursday that Snowden starts his new job today. Kucherena declined to name the company that has hired Snowden but says it’s a major Russian website.
Snowden, 30, who was granted asylum in Russia in August, faces espionage charges in the U.S for uncovering a mass surveillance scheme at the National Security Agency.