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NATION IN BRIEF: Police: Officer kills Times Square scammer

The Associated Press. Crime Scene Unit officers stand over a Mac-10 machine gun and nearby magazine in the parking garage of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square where a shooting took place Thursday in New York.

The Associated Press. Crime Scene Unit officers stand over a Mac-10 machine gun and nearby magazine in the parking garage of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square where a shooting took place Thursday in New York.

Police: Officer kills Times Square scammer

NEW YORK -- A plainclothes cop chased a scam artist through sidewalks crowded with holiday shoppers and tourists Thursday in the heart of Times Square, killing the suspect near a landmark Broadway hotel after a gunfight that shattered box office and gift shop windows, police said.

No one else was injured.

The 25-year-old suspect and his brother were trying to dupe tourists into buying CDs and movies along Broadway and 46th Street just before noon when he was recognized by a sergeant who runs a task force that monitors aggressive panhandling, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The officer asked them for their tax identification, which allows peddlers to sell on the streets. But the suspect took off running, through to the Marriott Marquis hotel's passenger drop-off area, Kelly said.

The sergeant pursued, and the man turned and fired with a stolen Mac-10 machine pistol that held 30 rounds; he got off two shots before it jammed, police said. The officer fired four times, striking the suspect in the chest and arm and killing him, Kelly said.

Goldman Sachs execs won't get 2009 cash bonus

NEW YORK -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s top executives will not receive cash bonuses this year, as the Wall Street giant bows to sharp criticism over its pay practices.

The 30 high-ranking executives will instead receive stock that cannot be sold for at least five years, the New York-based bank said Thursday.

But the restrictions won't affect the more than 31,000 other employees at the bank, potentially including some of its top traders who could be rewarded handsomely for helping Goldman turn big profits this year.

Stuck Mars rover struggles with faulty wheel

PASADENA, Calif. -- A faulty wheel on the Mars rover Spirit is complicating efforts to free it from a sand trap where it has been stuck for the past eight months.

NASA said Thursday it will continue to run tests to see if there's any movement in the right rear wheel. Spirit, which landed on the red planet with six working wheels, lost the ability to move its right front wheel three years ago.

Engineers are studying whether it's possible to free Spirit with only four operable wheels.

Spirit became bogged down in soft soil in April during a routine drive. NASA last month outlined a rescue plan with little progress made.

Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, landed on Mars in 2004 and have outlasted expectations.

McDonald's to roll out breakfast dollar menu

CHICAGO -- McDonald's Corp. will begin selling a variety of breakfast items for $1 early next month, a spokeswoman for the world's largest hamburger chain said Thursday.

The move to add to its already popular dollar menu comes as McDonald's tries to fight a decline in U.S. sales, which have slipped following months of success when its cheap eats were a big draw for recession-strapped diners.

On tap to be added to the menu, which already includes eight items for lunch and dinner time, are the company's Sausage McMuffin, a sausage burrito, a sausage biscuit, a small coffee and a hash brown.

Natural gas prices surge as crude fades

NEW YORK -- Natural gas prices surged 8 percent Thursday as the government reported supplies dropped for the first time in nine months, yet the price of crude fell for the seventh straight day.

A barrel of crude dipped below $70 for the first time in two months.

Crude and natural gas prices move for very different reasons, but when there is a sell-off in oil markets, a lot of that money can flow into natural gas contracts.

Trading volumes in natural gas this week have nearly doubled.

Man cleared after woman says rape claim was lie

NEW YORK -- A construction worker behind bars for nearly four years for a gang rape that never happened was cleared Thursday after his accuser admitted she lied to make her friends feel sorry for her.

William McCaffrey hugged his lawyer after the same judge who had sentenced him to 20 years in prison threw out the case and apologized.

''I've been waiting for this for a long time,'' the soft-spoken McCaffrey, 32, said outside a Manhattan court. ''I'm just glad it's over.''