Suspect in videotaped sexual assault arraigned

LAS VEGAS - The man accused of abusing a 3-year-old girl in an explicit sex videotape was arraigned Wednesday on 23 felony charges that could land him in prison for life.

Chester Arthur Stiles, 37, did not enter pleas during the two-minute hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.

He waived a reading of the charges and spoke briefly to confirm that he could not afford a lawyer. Three charges date back to the alleged molestation of a 6-year-old girl in December 2003.

2 people missing in sound off Connecticut coast

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Rescuers searched Wednesday for a man and woman whose overturned boat was found in Long Island Sound after they failed to return from a fishing trip.

The man and woman left Clinton Harbor on Tuesday morning and were reported missing by the woman's husband early Wednesday. The 19-foot pleasure boat was found before daybreak about four miles outside Clinton Harbor with its anchor down in 25 feet of water, near a drop-off of about 80 feet.

Report: Warming threatens Arctic caribou, permafrost

WASHINGTON - The Arctic is under increasing stress from warming temperatures as shrubs colonize the tundra, changing wildlife habitat and local climate conditions, researchers said Wednesday.

Sea ice fell well below the previous record, caribou are declining in many areas and permafrost is melting, according to the update of the State of the Arctic report.

Focus on preventing wars is new U.S. naval strategy

WASHINGTON - In the first major revision of U.S. naval strategy in two decades, maritime officials said Wednesday they plan to focus more on humanitarian missions and improving international cooperation as a way to prevent conflicts.

'We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars,' said the new strategy announced by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Attorney general nominee critical of torture policies

WASHINGTON - Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey told senators Tuesday he will reject White House political meddling and overstepping its authority in terrorism cases if approved to run the Justice Department.

He said he would resign if his legal or ethical doubts about administration policy are ignored. Mukasey, a retired federal judge, said he also would review all of the opinions issued by the department's Office of Legal Counsel to make sure they are legally sound.

Witness: Woman accused of killing expectant mom suffered from delusions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A woman accused of killing an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb has given different accounts of the crime, but an expert witness testified Wednesday that's not unusual for someone who is delusional.

Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran said that 'fluctuating' beliefs are consistent with mental illnesses that he believes Lisa Montgomery was suffering when she allegedly killed 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett and cut the baby from her womb.

Kan. prosecutor charges clinic with providing illegal late-term abortions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Planned Parenthood clinic was charged Wednesday with providing unlawful abortions and other crimes by a county prosecutor who had engaged in a high-profile battle with the clinic when he was Kansas attorney general.

Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline charged the Overland Park, Kan., clinic with 107 counts, 23 of them felonies.

Social Security recipients to get 2.3 percent boost

WASHINGTON - Social Security benefits for nearly 50 million people will rise 2.3 percent starting in January, the smallest increase in four years. The typical retiree will face the challenge of using the extra $24 to cover costs for everything from gasoline and food to medical care.

Vote to label Armenian deaths a genocide in doubt

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the prospects of a vote on World War I era Armenian genocide were uncertain, after several members pulled their support amid fears it would cripple relations with Turkey.

'Whether it will come up or not, or what the action will be, remains to be seen,' Pelosi told reporters.

Bill would ban lobbyists from paying to save seats

WASHINGTON - A Missouri senator wants to forbid lobbyists from paying people to wait in line for them outside hearing rooms, saying the practice reinforces the culture of buying access to Congress.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a freshman Democrat, proposed legislation Wednesday that would require lobbyists to certify twice a year that they have not paid anyone to save a seat for them at hearings.

Police officer pulls S.C. woman from car seconds before it's hit by train

GREER, S.C. - A woman whose car got stuck on railroad tracks was rescued by a police officer moments before an Amtrak train carrying 180 passengers smashed into the vehicle.

'I am very, very grateful,' Betsy DeVall, 53, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. 'If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't be here right now.'

Study: Newer test twice as good as Pap smear at spotting cervical cancer

NEW YORK - A relatively new screening test was about twice as accurate as the traditional Pap smear at spotting cervical cancer, according to the first rigorous study of the test in North America.

The HPV test, which looks for the virus that causes cervical cancer, correctly spotted 95 percent of the cancers. The Pap test, which checks for abnormal cells under a microscope, only found 55 percent, according to researchers at McGill University in Montreal, who published their findings in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Campus closed following telephone bomb threat

LIMA, Ohio - Two state colleges evacuated their shared campus in northwest Ohio and canceled classes Wednesday because of a telephoned bomb threat, a school spokeswoman said.

Sheriff's deputies and bomb-sniffing dogs found no evidence of explosives materials in a search of the nine buildings shared by Rhodes State College and an Ohio State University regional site.