Shuttle wings examined for signs of damage

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Discovery's astronauts used lasers and digital cameras Wednesday to examine the shuttle's wings for any signs of launch damage as they gained on the international space station with every circling of Earth.

The inspection is standard procedure, but it's an even higher priority this time because of questions about possible flaws in three wing panels.

Flight director Rick LaBrode said a preliminary look at the images revealed nothing of significance, but it will take another few days before experts on the ground finish analyzing everything.

Rice: 'Two-state solution' in trouble

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that a 'two-state solution' in the Middle East was in jeopardy and described a narrow window of opportunity to push Israel and the Palestinians toward peace.

In a House hearing interrupted by anti-war protesters, Rice said an upcoming peace conference in Annapolis, Md., is needed to give hope to moderate Palestinian forces. She blamed Iran for fanning flames in the region, including what she called 'troubling' new support for Hamas militants.

As Rice entered the hearing room, one woman rushed toward her and waved her hands - painted blood red - in front of the secretary's face. Rice was stoic and continued with her business as the protester was removed.

Jonesboro shooter pleads not guilty to new gun charge

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A man who took part in a schoolyard ambush as a teen pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a new weapons charge.

Mitchell Johnson, 23, appeared before a federal magistrate on one count of possession of a firearm while either a user or addicted to a controlled substance, said Debbie Groom, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

Johnson and Andrew Golden were convicted in juvenile court of the 1998 shootings of four classmates and a teacher at Jonesboro Westside Middle School. The pair opened fire on students and teachers after Golden pulled the fire alarm. Johnson was then 13. Golden was 11.

Jurors deciding whether killer of expectant mother should be executed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jurors deciding whether to recommend the death penalty for a woman convicted of killing an expectant mother and cutting the baby from her womb listened Wednesday to a 911 call in which the victim's mother described the gruesome crime scene.

'It's like she exploded or something,' a sobbing Becky Harper told the dispatcher in the recording. 'There's blood everywhere.'

The federal jury convicted Lisa Montgomery on Monday of killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett on Dec. 16, 2004, in the pregnant woman's home in the northwest Missouri town of Skidmore. The baby survived, and Montgomery was arrested the next day after showing the infant off as her own in her hometown of Melvern, Kan.

Fugitive arrested 28 years after escape from state prison

PHILADELPHIA - A man who escaped from a New Jersey prison 28 years ago was arrested Wednesday at his Philadelphia home, making one last bid to conceal his identity and remain a free man.

Maximo Jurado, 75, was serving a 4- to 10-year prison sentence for a drug offense when he left the state's since-closed Marlboro Camp in central New Jersey. He had served less than four months of his term.

Confronted by officers from several law enforcement agencies, Jurado initially insisted his name was 'Juan.' A few minutes later, when shown a prison photo of himself from 1979, he confessed: 'It's me.'

Democrat Kerrey says he won't run for Senate in 2008

OMAHA, Neb. - Democrat Bob Kerrey said Wednesday that he won't enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel.

The former senator and governor cited family and unfinished plans at The New School, the university where he is president, in his decision not to run for the Republican Hagel's seat.

But, 'I got much closer to saying yes than I thought I would,' said Kerrey, 64.

'Bringing a voice of moderation in the Senate was very important to me,' he said. 'I'm very worried about the direction of the country. We're polarized on many issues.'

Egyptian student pleads not guilty in explosives case

TAMPA, Fla. - An Egyptian college student accused of making an Internet video demonstrating the construction of a detonator for terrorist bombs pleaded not guilty to federal charges Wednesday.

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, remained jailed on charges of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction. His arraignment was set for today.

Mohamed, an engineering student suspended by the University of South Florida, and another Egyptian student, Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, also are charged with carrying explosive materials across state lines.

TV reporter charged with carrying gun on school grounds

MIAMI - A television reporter investigating a story on school violence was arrested after carrying a loaded gun onto school property, authorities said.

Jeffrey Weinsier of WPLG-TV, an ABC network affiliate, was taken into custody Tuesday at Miami Central High School after ignoring several warnings not to walk on school property, Miami-Dade schools police said.

'Kindly go across the street now,' an officer is shown telling Weinsier during the videotaped encounter.

'I'm not,' Weinsier replied. The officer then handcuffed him.

Weinsier, 40, was charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds, trespassing on school property with a weapon and resisting officers without violence.