Judge sides with Pa. on base closing lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - In a blow to the Pentagon's plan to shake up National Guard units, a judge ruled Friday that the Defense Department does not have the authority to dissolve a Pennsylvania Air National Guard division without the governor's approval.

U.S. District Judge John R. Padova said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should have gotten consent from Gov. Ed Rendell before moving to deactivate the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Prosecutors: 22 years too short for would-be bomber

SEATTLE - Federal prosecutors said Friday they will appeal the 22-year prison sentence imposed on Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium.

The sentence that a judge handed down last month was significantly lower than the 35 years prosecutors had recommended.

Vioxx maker: Some suits could be settled

TRENTON, N.J. - Merck & Co. will consider settling a limited number of lawsuits over its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, a spokesman said Friday. The drug's link to heart attacks and strokes has spawned thousands of lawsuits and a $253 million jury verdict.

Charge dropped against boy in half-sister's death

MARION, Va. - With the backing of a prosecutor, a judge dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against a teenager who placed his 5-year-old half sister in a coin-operated washing machine.

The prosecutor, Roy Evans, said discussions with lawyers for the boy, who is 14, and law enforcement agencies led him to conclude the teenager would not be convicted in the death of Hope Wagoner on June 17 in Chilhowie.

FDA delays morning-after pill decision

WASHINGTON - The government on Friday put off its long-awaited final decision on whether to sell emergency contraception without a prescription, saying the pill was safe to sell over-the-counter to adults but grappling with how to keep it out of the hands of young teenagers.

The Food and Drug Administration postponed for 60 days a final decision on how to allow nonprescription sales of the morning-after pill called Plan B just to women 17 or older.

- From wire reports