Thousands await Benedict visit

WASHINGTON - Lori Brown keeps the winning ticket voucher in her purse as a good luck charm, and tells practically everyone she runs into about it.

'It's ridiculous,' said Brown, a mother of two from Laurel, Md., recalling how excited she was when her raffle ticket won her a seat at the April Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate in Washington. 'I'm just so out of my skin jumping for joy with this.'

Brown is one of tens of thousands of people eagerly awaiting the first visit by a pope to Washington since 1979. The Archdiocese of Washington is distributing about 46,000 tickets for the event, and has set aside 14,000 seats for Catholic dioceses nationwide, archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said.

White House says aid plagiarized

WASHINGTON - A White House official who serves as President Bush's middleman with conservatives and Christian groups was chastised Friday after admitting to plagiarism. More than 20 columns he wrote for an Indiana newspaper were determined to have material copied from other sources without attribution.

Timothy Goeglein, who has worked for Bush since 2001, acknowledged that he lifted material from a Dartmouth College publication and presented it as his own work in a column about education for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.

'His behavior is not acceptable and we are disappointed in Tim's actions,' said spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. 'He is offering no excuses and he agrees it was wrong.'

Judge orders Bonds' testimony unsealed

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on Friday unsealed Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony, an order that would make public what the home run king said under oath about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Federal prosecutors accused Bonds of lying under oath during his December 2003 testimony to a grand jury investigating steroid use in professional sports, and a separate grand jury indicted on him on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston signed an order Friday making Bonds' testimony public after ordering prosecutors to amend Bonds' indictment so each of the five counts against him don't cite multiple allegedly false statements. Prosecutors originally accused Bonds of lying 19 different times during his grand jury appearance.

The indictment cites snippets of testimony in which Bonds denies ever ingesting steroids or human growth hormone. It quotes Bonds denying his personal trainer Greg Anderson ever injected him with steroids, which prosecutors alleged was a lie.

USDA places two inspectors on leave

LOS ANGELES - A union that represents federal meat inspectors says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended at least two employees following the largest beef recall in history.

Stan Painter, chairman for the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, says the agency told him Friday that they have placed one inspector and one veterinarian on paid administrative leave while they investigate.

Police find ricin in man's hotel room

LAS VEGAS - Authorities on Friday confirmed that the deadly toxin ricin was found in a motel room most recently occupied by a man who has been in critical condition with breathing problems at a hospital for more than two weeks.

Las Vegas police said there was no apparent link to terrorist activity, and no indication of any spread of the deadly substance beyond the several vials of powder found in a plastic bag in the man's room on Thursday. But what the ricin was doing there remained a mystery.

A pinprick of ricin is enough to kill.

'Six to eight hours, you're going to start showing symptoms,' said Greg Evans, director of the Institute for Biosecurity at Saint Louis University in Missouri.

A friend or relative of the sick man found the vials after going to the Extended Stay America motel, several blocks west of the Las Vegas Strip, to retrieve his belongings, police Deputy Chief Kathy Suey said.

Powell stepping down as storm chief

NEW ORLEANS - A federal official in charge of rebuilding the Gulf Coast after the 2005 hurricanes has told The Associated Press that he is resigning.

Donald Powell says he notified President Bush and expects his position to be filled. The executive order establishing the position expires in November, three years after it was signed. Powell has given no date for when his resignation would take effect but expected it to be within three weeks.

Alleged gangster arrested in shooting

LOS ANGELES - A suspected gang member was in custody Friday, accused of shooting into a crowd at a south Los Angeles bus stop and wounding five children and three adults.

Billy Ray Hines, 24, was arrested Thursday while walking on a street less than a half-mile from the shooting after detectives recognized him in security surveillance video that recorded the scene a day earlier.