Student killed, two others injured in dormitory fire

COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. - A pre-dawn dormitory fire killed one student Tuesday, and two others were rescued from a third-story window and taken to a hospital, officials said.

Firefighters saw flames coming from the roof of the three-story women's dorm at Southern Adventist University when they arrived about

4 a.m., said Lt. Jerry McDonald of Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. Fire officials said most of the damage appeared to be around a third-floor laundry and lobby area in the brick building, called Thatcher Hall.

Student charged with racist threats to fellow minorities

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. - A black college student was charged with a hate crime Tuesday for allegedly mailing racist threats to fellow minorities on campus, apparently because she was homesick and wanted to convince her parents the school was dangerous, authorities said.

The hate mail at 3,300-student Trinity International University spread fear among blacks and Hispanics on campus and prompted authorities at the Christian school to move more than 40 minorities out of their dormitories and into a hotel last week.

Alicia Hardin, 19, of Chicago was charged with disorderly conduct and a hate crime. The hate crime charge carries up to five years in prison.

Eleven injured in multicar crash involving taxi

NEW YORK - A taxi barreled out of control down busy 42nd Street, ramming a station wagon into a pedestrian and striking several other vehicles before coming to a stop. Eleven people, including the cab driver and his pregnant passenger, were injured.

Criminal charges were pending the driver, identified as Syed M. Zia, 54, authorities said.

The cab was driving along West 42nd Street on Monday morning when he hit a station wagon, which then hit a pedestrian, authorities said. The cab went around the station wagon, striking the pedestrian a second time, then sped off, and hit a minibus, a car and finally a row of taxicabs, police said.

Woman accused in Wendy's finger case waives extradition

LAS VEGAS - The woman who was arrested after claiming she bit into a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili waived extradition Tuesday, telling a judge she was eager to return to California to face charges.

Anna Ayala, 39, appeared before the same judge who issued a warrant for police to search her home outside Las Vegas on April 6. Records from that raid are sealed.

Ayala was arrested late Thursday, and San Jose police on Friday called her claim a hoax. Authorities said the attempted grand theft charge relates to millions in dollars of financial losses Wendy's has suffered since news broke of her claim.

Hearing begins for Marine charged in Iraqi deaths

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A preliminary hearing for a Marine accused of murder in the shooting deaths of two Iraqis began Tuesday with defense attorneys questioning whether an investigating officer is biased against the defendant.

Winn denied making the comments or holding a bias.

FBI agent makes first appearance on ethics charge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A veteran agent who once was in charge of ethics at the FBI's Charlotte bureau pleaded innocent Tuesday to lying about accepting two expenses-paid trips to Las Vegas from a witness in a criminal investigation.

With about two dozen other agents in court to support him, Erik B. Blowers made a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Horn, who released him on $25,000 unsecured bond.

He was charged earlier this month in a single-count indictment with making a false statement in a routine financial disclosure form he filed in October 2000.

Travel agent testifies about booking flight for accuser's family

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A travel agent testifying under immunity in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial said Tuesday she booked a flight to Brazil for the family of the pop star's accuser at the request of one of the singer's business associates.

Cynthia Montgomery testified that she arranged a $15,000 flight to Sao Paulo at the request of Marc Schaffel, who is named by prosecutors as one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Jackson case.

- From wire reports