Rig closing in on trapped miners

HUNTINGTON, Utah - On Thursday, more than three days after the thunderous cave-in at a Utah mine, a drilling rig on the mountain above the Crandall Canyon site closed in on the men, trying to bore a hole a mere 21⁄2 inches wide to bring them air and lower a two-way communications device and a tiny camera to check for signs of life.

Bush opposes gas tax increase to pay for bridge repairs

WASHINGTON - A week after a deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis, President Bush on Thursday dismissed raising the federal gasoline tax to repair bridges at least until Congress changes how it spends highway money.

'The way it seems to have worked is that each member on that (transportation) committee gets to set his or her own priorities first,' Bush said. 'That's not the right way to prioritize the people's money. Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities.'

New Jersey police arrest teen, man in school yard killings

NEWARK, N.J. - A 15-year-old boy and a man were in custody and facing murder charges Thursday in the execution-style killings of three college students and wounding of another in a school yard shooting.

The teenager was arrested Wednesday night, and the 28-year-old surrendered Thursday, authorities said.

'We believe that others were involved in this heinous crime,' prosecutor Paula Dow said. 'We're looking for them.'

Mayor Cory A. Booker said fingerprint and ballistics evidence tied the man, Jose Carranza, to the crime. Carranza turned himself in on three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder and other charges.

The teen, whose name was not released because of his age, was arrested on the same charges, authorities said.

Bigamists' first wife charged in his killing

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A woman killed her longtime husband hours before he was to leave on a trip to Morocco to try to impregnate his new second wife, prosecutors said in filing murder charges Thursday.

Myra Morton, 47, turned herself in Thursday to face murder charges in the death of Jereleigh Morton, also 47, who was shot in his bed early Sunday morning in his million-dollar home outside Philadelphia.

The killing happened just hours before Jereleigh Morton was to travel to Africa to try to conceive a baby with his second wife, whom he met on the Internet last year and married in March, prosecutors said.

Judge tells state to reconsider execution protocol

RALEIGH, N.C. - A panel of North Carolina's top officials must reconsider the state's execution protocol because it failed to hear arguments from lawyers for inmates and mistakes in approving a revised injection process, a judge ruled Thursday.

The decision from Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison offers another victory for the attorneys of death row inmates, who have pushed the state's lethal injection laws into a legal tangle that has effectively halted executions since January.

The decision puts North Carolina's execution debate back in front of the state's top officials.

Corps tosses all charges against

two Marines

LOS ANGELES - The Marine Corps has dropped all charges against a captain accused of failing to investigate the deaths of 24 civilians and another Marine accused in some of the killings, the Corps announced Thursday.

Capt. Randy W. Stone, 35, a battalion lawyer from Dunkirk, Md., was one of four officers charged with failing to adequately probe the deaths in Haditha.

The Corps also announced that charges had been dismissed against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, who was accused of murdering three brothers in the assault that followed a deadly roadside bombing of U.S. troops.

Investigators look at link between two blasts at companies

THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Delivery trucks from one company appeared to be involved in a fire this week at a suburban Houston manufacturing plant and a blast last month at a Dallas gas facility that shot fiery debris into the sky, according to federal investigators.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said it will probe Tuesday's acetylene fire at Hughes Christensen Co. that led to the evacuation of 800 employees, that the agency said.

In both fires, the CSB said a delivery trailer from the same company appeared to be involved.