Searchers expand hunt for Fossett

MINDEN, Nev. - Search teams dramatically expanded their hunt for adventurer Steve Fossett to encompass 10,000 square miles of rugged mountains and desert Thursday after nearly four discouraging days yielded no trace of his single-engine plane.

'As you can imagine, trying to make that needle stand out in a haystack that big is going to be a real challenge,' Nevada Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan said. 'It's going to be frustrating for a lot of people who were hoping for results early on.'

Ten airplanes and helicopters made repeated passes over a search area the size of Massachusetts known for its 10,000-foot peaks, strong winds and unrelenting harshness.

Arizona student stabbed to death

TUCSON, Ariz. - Briefly, they were 18-year-old freshmen sharing two things: their Navajo heritage and a University of Arizona dormitory room.

But less than three weeks after school started, something went terribly wrong between Mia Henderson and her roommate, Galareka Harrison.

On Wednesday, days after Henderson filed a police report accusing her roommate of stealing, a fight broke out between the two, and Henderson was stabbed to death, authorities said. Harrison was jailed on suspicion of murder.

Craig essentially drops bid to finish

WASHINGTON - Republican senators expressed relief Thursday that embattled Sen. Larry Craig has signaled he is highly likely to surrender his seat within a few weeks rather than fight to complete his term.

Craig's departure, perhaps as early as Oct. 1, would enable Republicans to sidestep one of the several ethics dilemmas they face, and avoid the embarrassment of dealing with a colleague who had been stripped of his committee leadership posts and urged to resign by party leaders. It also would negate the need for a Senate ethics committee investigation, which GOP leaders had requested.

Substance found at U.N. nontoxic

UNITED NATIONS - A substance found at a U.N. weapons inspectors' office last month and suspected of being a chemical warfare agent appears to be a nontoxic solvent, a U.N. official said Thursday.

The material was found Aug. 24 at a U.N. office in midtown Manhattan in inventory files with a label that indicated it could be phosgene, a chemical substance used in World War I weapons. It had been in the files for 11 years and was only identified when officials checked the inventory number against the many records in the vast archives.

U.N. and U.S. officials said after the discovery that the material posed no threat to anyone's health or safety. However, it was removed by a team of hazardous materials experts from the FBI and New York City police and taken to a laboratory for testing.

Jury anonymous in Fort Dix plot trial

CAMDEN, N.J. - An anonymous jury will hear the case of six men accused of plotting to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler agreed with prosecutors' concerns that jurors could be intimidated because of the nature of the charges and the possibility the media would pursue jurors if their names were released. He rejected defense complaints that such a jury would be biased.

'There is a need to limit the intrusion, potentially, into jurors' lives,' said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Stigall.

While the suspects are not accused of being part of a terrorist organization, there are groups in the U.S. that could sympathize with views attributed to the men, Kugler noted.

11 officials arrested in N.J. investigation

TRENTON, N.J. - FBI agents arrested 11 public officials in towns across New Jersey Thursday on charges of taking bribes in exchange for influencing the awarding of public contracts, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Two of those arrested are state lawmakers, two are mayors, three are city councilmen, and several served on the school board in Pleasantville, where the scandal began.

All 11, plus a private individual, are accused of taking cash payments of $1,500 to $17,500 to influence who received public contracts, according to criminal complaints.

No jail for woman in dog voting case

SEATTLE - A woman who faced up to 90 days in jail for registering her dog to vote has agreed to a deal that could remove the charge from her record.

Jane Balogh, 66, won't be prosecuted on the charge of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant if she does 10 hours of community service, pays a $250 fine and avoids violating the law for the next year, District Judge Mariane Spearman said Wednesday.

Balogh registered her Australian shepherd-terrier mix, Duncan M. McDonald, to vote in April 2006 by putting her telephone bill in the dog's name and using that as identification when she mailed the form to election officials. She said she did it to protest a change in the law that she believed made it too easy for noncitizens to vote.