Officials: US to be out of Iraq in 18 months

WASHINGTON - The United States will withdraw most of its troops from Iraq by August 2010, 19 months after President Barack Obama's inauguration day, according to administration officials who expect Obama to make the announcement this week.

The withdrawal plan would fulfill one of Obama's central campaign pledges, albeit a little more slowly than he promised. He said he would withdraw troops within 16 months, roughly one brigade a month from the time of his inauguration.

The U.S. military would leave behind a residual force, between 30,000 and 50,000 troops, to continue advising and training Iraqi security forces. Also staying beyond the 19 months would be intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public.

Madoff judge denies claim deadline motion

NEW YORK - A bankruptcy judge in the Bernard Madoff case refused Tuesday to waive a deadline for claims against the disgraced money manager by people who may be asked to give back money they made investing with Madoff.

At a hearing in lower Manhattan, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland said he saw no need to clarify an earlier order approving the July 2 deadline. He also indicated he would deal with any future disputes about claims on a case-by-case basis.

The FBI arrested Madoff in December after investigators said he confessed to his sons that he had swindled investors of $50 billion in a Ponzi scheme. The 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman remains confined to his Manhattan apartment under house arrest.

Mistrial for Miss. mayor accused in duplex attack

JACKSON, Miss. - The outspoken mayor of Jackson could face another trial after a judge declared a mistrial Tuesday on charges that he led a vigilante-style sledgehammer attack on a suspected crack house.

Jurors told U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III they were hopelessly deadlocked after five days of deliberations. They said they were at an impasse last Thursday, but Jordan told them to keep trying.

Authorities: 1 injured in chopper crash

MOYOCK, N.C. - Federal authorities said one person is seriously injured following a helicopter crash on the North Carolina campus of the private security contractor Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said a small helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon when the aircraft's skid caught on an object and flipped over. Bergen said an instructor pilot was seriously injured and a student on board was able to walk away.

A spokeswoman said this is the first serious injury in the 11-year history of the company's training facility, located about 30 minutes south of Norfolk, Va.

Woman's mom: Boy made threats

PITTSBURGH - An 11-year-old boy accused of killing his father's pregnant fiancee had been threatening the woman for at least two months, the woman's mother said Tuesday.

Debbie Houk said Jordan Brown often gave 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk a hard time, especially when his father wasn't around. Brown and his dad, Christopher, lived with Houk and her two small daughters in a farmhouse in the rural western Pennsylvania town of Wampum.

Chimp victim's brother appointed her conservator

STAMFORD, Conn. - The brother of a woman mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee in Connecticut last week was appointed her conservator Tuesday as she remains in a medically induced coma.

Michael Nash was named temporary conservator of his twin sister, Charla Nash, who was critically injured Feb. 16 when a chimp owned by her friend, Sandra Herold of Stamford, attacked her.

In the order, Stamford Probate Judge Gerald M. Fox Jr. said Nash was in grave condition at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio with serious injuries to her face, head and hands.

Also in court papers, Michael Nash said the conservator status was needed to protect his sister's ability to recover damages in future litigation.