Feds cut climate research to save on fuel costs

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - They haven't rechristened a ship the Irony, but federal researchers are canceling and cutting back on voyages aimed at studying climate change and ocean ecosystems so they can save money on boat fuel.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has scrapped at least four trips nationwide and is shortening others 'because of the increase in petroleum prices,' chief spokesman Anson Franklin said Wednesday. 'We're trying to determine whether we can move some resources around to keep some missions going."

Man who took parts from corpses gets up to 27 years

NEW YORK - A man convicted of secretly cutting up corpses - including that of 'Masterpiece Theatre' host Alistair Cooke - has received a sentence of nine to 27 years in prison for his role in a ghoulish multimillion-dollar body parts scheme.

Christopher Aldorasi, 36, was convicted in April of 20 counts, including enterprise corruption, grand larceny and reckless endangerment.

Prosecutors said Aldorasi and others took bone and tissue without family permission and sold the pieces to medical companies for use in transplants and other medical procedures.

N.C. state trooper fatally shot during routine traffic stop

CANTON, N.C. - Authorities charged a Florida man with first-degree murder Wednesday after a state Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 in western North Carolina.

Edwardo Wong II, 37, of Ormond Beach, Fla., is in custody at the Haywood County Detention Center, about 20 miles west of Asheville. He briefly appeared at a hearing Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to appear in court again July 9, according to District Attorney Michael Bonfoey's office. Bonfoey declined to comment on the case.

Trooper David Shawn Blanton Jr., 24, was shot after he stopped a vehicle in the eastbound lanes of I-40 near exit 31 about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, said Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin.

2 backpackers missing for days found alive in park

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A Denali National Park and Preserve spokeswoman says two backpackers missing for nearly a week in the Alaska park are alive and well.

National Park Service spokeswoman Kris Fister says 25-year-old Abby Flantz and 23-year-old Erica Nelson of Las Vegas were located in the park Wednesday. She says one of the women called her mother on a cell phone and a helicopter was sent out to pick up the hikers.

The two had been last seen last Thursday when they left for what was supposed to be an overnight camping trip. The search for them started Saturday when they didn't show up for work.

Fister says the women will be reunited with their families, who had flown to Alaska to be on hand for the search.

1 charged, 3 others sought in Florida mall shooting

LAKELAND, Fla. - Police say two 18-year-old men argued about their gang affiliations before one shot the other inside a Florida mall.

Witnesses told police that Andre Maurice Warner advanced on Ariel Scott before Scott pulled a handgun inside Lakeland Square on Tuesday afternoon. Some shots just missed patrons of a mall restaurant.

Warner was shot once in the chest and is in stable condition at a hospital. He was the only person injured.

New rating system in the works for nursing homes

WASHINGTON - The U.S. has five-star rankings for restaurants and hotels. So why not five-star rankings for nursing homes?

The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will put in place such a rating system by the end of the year. It's designed to give consumers another tool to consider when shopping for a nursing home. The ratings would be placed on a government Web site.

House overrides Bush veto of

farm bill, again

WASHINGTON - Congress on Wednesday moved toward enacting a $290 billion farm bill for a second time after a clerical error in the first bill threatened delivery of U.S. food aid abroad.

The House voted by a

317-109 margin - more than a two-thirds majority - to override President Bush's veto of the legislation. Bush vetoed it for a second time earlier Wednesday.

The Senate also was expected to override the veto.

Most of the bill was enacted in May.