First tropical storm forms in Caribbean

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Atlantic hurricane season's first named storm headed north Thursday toward the Gulf Coast as Florida residents, still recovering from last year's devastation, watched with a wary eye.

Tropical Storm Arlene, which strengthened from a tropical depression that formed Wednesday, was centered about 115 miles south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba at 5 p.m. It was moving north at about 8 mph, meaning parts of the Florida Keys could start getting rain late Thursday, forecasters said.

One dead, another One dead, another hurt in plant fire

RANTOUL, Ill. - Alcohol used in manufacturing hair-care products fed a plant fire that killed one person and injured another, officials said.

Firefighters reported at least six explosions after arriving at the Conair Corp. plant in this central Illinois city on Wednesday night. Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire Thursday.

Man charged with having child porn

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A man was arrested on child porn charges after he brought sexually explicit pictures of his 2-year-old granddaughter to a drug store photo shop, and a clerk who was stunned to see the images notified authorities, police said.

Fearing the girl was in danger and not knowing her identity, police released photos of the toddler. Her father saw the pictures Wednesday on national television and called authorities, according to an affidavit filed in Manchester District Court.

Four Cubans caught in taxi-boat allowed to remain in U.S.

MIAMI - Four of the 14 Cubans intercepted at sea aboard a vintage taxi converted into a boat will be allowed to stay in the United States because they have valid immigration documents, but the others will be sent back to Cuba, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Rafael Diaz Rey, the mechanic who built the blue, 1948 Mercury taxi-boat, and his wife and their two children appear to have legitimate documents that would permit them to stay in this country, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Miami.

Cost of fixing leaks in highway project growing, report says

BOSTON - The Big Dig highway project already has authorized $37 million to repair and prevent leaks in the tunnels beneath the city - more than twice the amount estimated by the turnpike authority, a newspaper reported.

Thursday's editions of The Boston Globe cited two government officials and a construction industry official who have been briefed on a preliminary audit.

Teacher who taught creationism for 15 years to end lessons

ROANOKE, Va. - For 15 years, biology teacher Larry Booher secretly taught creationism to his public high school students, using a homemade, 500-page textbook he titled ''Creation Battles Evolution.''

That book, a three-ring binder of collected material from other sources, was removed from John S. Battle High School in Bristol after administrators received an anonymous tip about it. But they have no plans to remove Booher, a respected teacher who said he only handed out the book to his Biology 2 students as a voluntary option.

Jury finishes day without a verdict

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial completed a scheduled half-day of deliberations Thursday and left court without reaching a verdict.

The panel has spent more than 22 hours deliberating over five days.

- From wire reports