Police search for missing student

HOUSTON - A straight-A computer science major at Rice University has been missing for nearly two weeks, but police said Wednesday they have few clues to go on.

Matthew J. Wilson, 20, of Haworth, Okla., was last seen by his roommate at their off-campus apartment on the evening of Dec. 14, five days before the deadline to turn in take-home exams.

Earlier that day, Wilson had withdrawn $400 from his bank account, which his family and authorities said was an unusual transaction. Wilson's car is also missing.

Rice Police Chief Bill Taylor said investigators have checked the account for further activity or clues but turned up nothing.

Divers search river for missing woman

CHICAGO - Fire department divers searched a river Wednesday for a woman who authorities say may have fallen in while placing a Hindu religious statue in the water to ward off bad luck.

Anu Solanki, 24, disappeared on Monday. Divers looked for her in the Des Plaines River after her car was found nearby in a forest in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling.

'I'm not going to give up hope,' said her husband, Dignesh Solanki.

A statue of Ganesh, the Hindu deity of good fortune and wisdom, was mailed to the family by relatives but arrived broken, her husband said. A religious leader told them it should be wrapped in a red cloth and placed in a lake or a river to prevent bad luck, he said.

He said his wife told him she had planned to place the statue in the river after she got off work on Monday. 'She said, 'I know where to go.' That's the spot my friend found her car,' Solanki said.

At least 6 found dead in rural home

CARNATION, Wash. - A man and a woman have been arrested in the deaths of six people, likely family members and including two young children, at a rural property east of Seattle, authorities said Wednesday.

The two, a 29-year-old woman and a man in his early 30s, were being held for investigation of homicide, King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said.

He said it was unclear whether the two are related, but they were known to the victims. The pair came to the crime scene after investigators arrived there this morning, were questioned by investigators, then arrested around 4 p.m.

Urquhart said investigators had not determined a motive in the slayings.

Bush signs $555B spending bill

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush, still voicing concern about special project spending by Congress, signed a $555 billion bill Wednesday that funds the Iraq war well into 2008 and keeps government agencies running through next September.

Bush's signed the massive spending bill as he flew on Air Force One to his Texas ranch here to see in the new year. His signature on the legislation caps a long-running fight with the Democratic-run Congress.

'I am disappointed in the way the Congress compiled this legislation, including abandoning the goal I set early this year to reduce the number and cost of earmarks by half,' the president said in a statement. 'Instead, the Congress dropped into the bill nearly 9,800 earmarks that total more than $10 billion. These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful government spending.'

Judge orders son of Farrakhan to court

HAMMOND, Ind. - A federal judge has ordered Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan to appear in court to explain why payments to his son are not considered income.

A Gary couple are seeking to collect $350,000 from Farrakhan's 48-year-old son, who lost a lawsuit after crashing his father's Hummer into their car in 2003 and leaving the scene.

Nasir Farrakhan has yet to pay any of the punitive damages awarded to Charles and Gladys Peterson, though they received $464,000 for their medical expenses from his insurance company.

Man gets stuck in septic tank

DES MOINES, Iowa - It was a stinky holiday for Robert Schoff.

The 77-year-old man spent part of Christmas Eve stuck upside down in the opening of his septic tank, with his head inside and his feet kicking in the air above.

'It wasn't good, I'll tell you what,' Schoff said Tuesday. 'It was the worst Christmas Eve I've ever had.'

Schoff reached into the tank Monday in an effort to find a clog, but he lost his balance and got wedged into the opening.

The 5-foot-5-inch, 135-pound Schoff hollered and screamed for help, but it was an hour before his wife, Toni, walked by a window and saw his feet in the air.

'I saw these kicking feet and ran out, but couldn't get him out,' Toni Schoff said.

She called 911 and two Polk County sheriff's deputies yanked her husband out of the tank.

'I thought it was the end of my life,' Schoff said.