Dalai Lama does not mention Tibet at conference

SEATTLE - In his first public appearance since arriving for a five-day conference on compassion, the Dalai Lama made no mention of the situation in Tibet, instead welcoming what he said was a new scientific interest in human emotion.

Organizers say the Seeds of Compassion gathering is essentially nonpolitical, but co-founder Dan Kranzler alluded to Tibet, telling the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader on stage, 'The world knows the truth.'

The first event Friday, a dialogue between scientists and the Dalai Lama about early childhood development and compassion, went smoothly without any demonstrators on either side of the Tibet issue.

Car jumps curb, pins man on steps of N.Y.C. courthouse

NEW YORK - A car smashed into the steps of a court building Friday, pinning a man who had to be freed by emergency workers.

The car went over the sidewalk of the state Supreme Court building in downtown Manhattan, hit a coffee cart and went up several steps before hitting the man.

The coffee vendor suffered minor injuries. The driver, his passenger and two other bystanders were also hurt.

Explosion levels 2 homes in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH - Two row houses exploded or collapsed into rubble on the city's North Side on Friday morning, but both were believed to be unoccupied, authorities said.

At least 10 other homes were damaged and glass was scattered on the sidewalk and in the street after the neighborhood was shaken about 10:30 a.m.

Crews had no reports of injuries, said Robert McCaughan, the city's chief of Emergency Medical Services.

Polygamist sect told its children that the outside world is immoral

SAN ANGELO, Texas - All their lives, the girls in the polygamist sect in the West Texas desert were told that the outside world was hostile and immoral, and that venturing beyond the brilliant white limestone walls of their compound would consign them to eternal damnation.

Now, if the state gets its way, hundreds of the girls could be put in foster homes, in what could be a wrenching cultural adjustment that may require intensive counseling.

'What they are up against is having to deprogram an entire community,' said Margaret Cooke, who left the sect with seven of her eight children near the end of 1994. The children 'are so naive and they have been sheltered to the point that they don't even trust their own judgment.'

Husband of slain Fla. woman plans to sue sheriff

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - The husband of a 21-year-old mother who was kidnapped, raped and killed plans to sue a sheriff's office over how it handled a witness's 911 call about her disappearance.

Nathan Lee blames Charlotte County sheriff's officials for not saving Denise Lee, whose body was found buried in a wooded area on Jan. 19, two days after she was abducted from her home in neighboring Sarasota County. Michael King was charged with killing her.

Lee's attorney gave the sheriff's office the six-month notice required by state law before suing a government agency.

Long Island man accused of passing phony money for bail

MELVILLE, N.Y. - Police say it was no surprise a bogus $50 bill got a Long Island man arrested: He was trying to use it to pay his bail on a traffic charge.

The transaction compounded Cyheam Forney's legal problems and landed him in jail.

Police say they spotted the 31-year-old Forney making an illegal left turn in Melville on Thursday and discovered his license had been suspended.

President Bush gives White House dinner in honor of the pope; the pope is not attending

WASHINGTON - Guess who's not coming to dinner?

Pope Benedict XVI - he's not attending a White House dinner in his honor on Wednesday.

President Bush will go out to Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday to welcome the pope on his first visit to the United States since he was elected pontiff in 2005. On Wednesday there will be a formal welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House with up to 12,000 guests.

White House planners are anxious about getting that many people through the metal detectors and in place for the splashy ceremony at 10:30 a.m.

Afterwards, the president and the pope will meet in the Oval Office.