Palin implicated in ethics probe

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts, in the latest legal distraction for the former vice presidential candidate as she prepares to leave office this week.

The report obtained by The Associated Press said Palin is securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, set up by supporters.

An investigator for the state Personnel Board said in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the 'official' legal defense fund.

Senate votes to limit fighter jets

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted to terminate further production of the Air Force's topline F-22 fighter jets Tuesday, giving President Barack Obama a major spending victory and siding with the Pentagon's desire for smaller jets better suited to 21st century wars.

F-22 supporters complained the action would be a blow to long-term national defense - and cost thousands of jobs in the middle of the recession.

The 58-40 vote to cut the money from a $680 billion defense bill was a hard-fought victory for Obama, who had threatened to veto defense spending legislation if it included funds for more F-22s.

Senate takes up weapons bill

WASHINGTON - A measure taken up by the Senate Monday would give people the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines as long as they obey the concealed gun laws of the state they are visiting.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said his proposal would reduce crime by providing reciprocity to carry concealed firearms. 'My legislation enables citizens to protect themselves while respecting individual state firearms laws,' he said.

Bernanke: Fed can be supercop

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke ran into skepticism Tuesday from lawmakers wary of expanding the Fed's duties to police big financial companies. They argued that the Fed failed to spot problems that led to the financial crisis in the first place.

'The Fed has made some big mistakes,' said the House panel's highest-ranking Republican, Spencer Bachus of Alabama.

Dog drags baby from family home

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A father was frantically calling 911 to report his missing newborn when he spotted the baby, bleeding from the mouth and clutched in the jaws of a family dog who had carried him from his crib to the heavily wooded backyard.

Four-day-old Alexander James Smith was rushed to the emergency room at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, where he was listed in critical condition Tuesday with two collapsed lungs, a skull fracture, broken ribs and various cuts and bruises.

Panel delays vote on Sotomayor

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee put off its vote Tuesday on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor for one week amid objections from the panel's conservative Republicans, even as the judge's support among GOP moderates continued to grow.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary chairman, said his panel would vote on Sotomayor's nomination on July 28 and expressed confidence she would win confirmation by a bipartisan vote of the full Senate in time for the Supreme Court's earlier-than-usual first meeting Sept. 9.

Killer is 1,000th lethal injection

LUCASVILLE, Ohio - A man who went on a 1992 Christmas holiday killing spree that left six people dead, including an 18-year-old mother gunned down at a pay phone, was executed Tuesday, the state's second execution in two weeks and the 1,000th lethal injection in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Marvallous Keene, 36, who was convicted in five of the murders, chose not to file a late appeal over his death sentence.

NASA boss: Mars in my lifetime

WASHINGTON - NASA's new boss says he will be 'incredibly disappointed' if people aren't on Mars - or even beyond it - in his lifetime.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., who's 62, told The Associated Press that his ultimate goal isn't just Mars - it's anywhere far from Earth.