Man charged with murder in Missouri church shootings

n NEOSHO, Mo. - Prosecutors filed three murder charges Monday against a Micronesian man accused of opening fire in a church, killing three people and wounding five others during a service for a mostly Micronesian congregation.

Prosecutors also charged the man, Eiken Elam Saimon, 52, with assault, felonious restraint for holding the congregation hostage, and armed criminal action. Another assault charge was pending, Newton County Prosecutor Scott Watson said.

NASA attempts to assess damage to shuttle Endeavour

n CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA conducted a swift series of tests on the ground Monday to determine whether spacewalking astronauts need to fix a deep gouge in Endeavour's belly for re-entry, and assembled a special team to weigh the three repair options.

The gouge is relatively small - 31⁄2 inches by 2 inches - but part of it penetrates through the protective thermal tiles, leaving just a thin layer of coated felt over the space shuttle's aluminum frame to keep out the more than 2,000-degree heat of re-entry. The exposed area is 1 inch long and less than a quarter-inch wide.

Teens bargain in bomb plot case

n GREEN BAY, Wis. - Three teens accused of helping to plan a Columbine-like attack on a high school pleaded no contest Monday in separate plea agreements.

William Cornell, 18, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit homicide, possession of explosives for unlawful purposes and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

Shawn Sturtz, 18, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit homicide, while Bradley Netwal, 19, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to damage property with explosives.

New Orleans councilman pleads guilty, resigns

n NEW ORLEANS - The vice president of the City Council, once thought to be a likely candidate for mayor in 2010, pleaded guilty Monday to taking $15,000 in bribes from a prominent businessman and resigned from the council.

The councilman, Oliver Thomas, apologized at a news conference and said he hoped his troubles do not become a distraction to Hurricane Katrina recovery.

'I'm sorry I didn't live up to the faith you put in me,' he said. 'It was wrong, and I accept full responsibility for this action and for using incredibly poor judgment.'

Jurors in Padilla trial to weigh intent

n MIAMI - To decide whether Jose Padilla and two other men are guilty of supporting terrorism, jurors are going to have to get inside their heads.

Was Padilla the 'star recruit' of a terror support cell, or just a recent convert to Islam learning Arabic and the Quran? Did his co-defendants aim to support Islamic extremists in global conflict zones, or were they trying to help innocent Muslims suffering in those same areas?

The question of intent is critical for jurors who are expected to begin deliberating this week whether Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi conspired to murder, maim and kidnap people overseas and provide material support to extremists in places like Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Bosnia and Lebanon.

Video shows no sign of missing Utah miners

n HUNTINGTON, Utah - Ghostly video images from deep underground showed shards of broken rock, a twisted conveyor belt and dripping water but no signs of life as the arduous search for six missing miners stretched Monday into a second week.

Even as the grainy footage played for reporters, the mine's co-owner insisted there was reason to believe the miners could be alive - the mine's roof was intact, there was abundant open space and plenty of drinkable water.

Lawyers argue over where to send former dictator

n MIAMI- Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega wants U.S. officials to send him back to his home country when he finishes his drug trafficking and racketeering sentence next month, but American prosecutors are pushing for him to be extradited to France to face another trial.

Noriega, 72, appeared in federal court Monday as attorneys debated the ongoing question of where he will be sent when he finishes his sentence in a Miami prison on Sept. 9.