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NATION IN BRIEF: Man confesses to shooting Kan. abortion provider

Photo by Noah Berger

Photo by Noah Berger

Man confesses to shooting Kan. abortion provider

WICHITA, Kan. -- Defiant and unapologetic, a man accused of shooting a Kansas abortion provider confessed to the slaying Monday, telling The Associated Press that he killed the doctor to protect unborn children.

Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., spoke to the AP in a telephone call from jail, saying he plans to argue at his trial that he was justified in shooting Dr. George Tiller at the abortion provider's Wichita church in May.

''Because of the fact preborn children's lives were in imminent danger this was the action I chose. ... I want to make sure that the focus is, of course, obviously on the preborn children and the necessity to defend them,'' Roeder said.

Trucker dies as big-rig plummets off Calif. bridge

SAN FRANCISCO -- A trucker died Monday after his big-rig plummeted 200 feet from a new section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that has seen about 40 crashes since it opened, authorities said.

The rig hauling a full load of pears was traveling at high speed when the driver lost control on a westbound S-curve, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said. The rig went over the side and landed on Yerba Buena Island.

Judge hears arguments on Smart case list

SALT LAKE CITY -- Defense attorneys for the man charged in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart argued Monday that testimony by experts in Mormon fundamentalism and religious extremism is irrelevant and should not be allowed at a hearing to decide his mental competency.

A self-proclaimed religious prophet, Brian David Mitchell was indicted in Smart's kidnapping in March 2008, six years after she was taken from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint. His competency for trial is in question and a 10-day hearing is set to begin Nov. 30.

7 rescued after home invasion; suspect killed

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Police rescued seven people from an apartment building after exchanging gunfire in an overnight standoff with an armed intruder who was later found dead, apparently killed by officers' bullets.

Police identified the suspect Monday as Charles Jennings, a 32-year-old Syracuse man who was released from prison on parole last month after serving time for a drug conviction.

More than 20 dead animals found in backyard

SELDEN, N.Y. -- Dozens of concerned pet owners have contacted authorities following the gruesome discovery of more than 20 animal carcasses in the backyard of a Long Island home, a scene described by one veteran SPCA official as something out of a horror movie.

In addition to the dead animals, five dogs and a cat were found alive, suffering from maltreatment, inside cramped cages in a room of the house, said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County SPCA.

Sharon McDonough, 43, of Selden, was released without bail following her arrest on Saturday on six counts of animal cruelty involving the dogs and cat.

Authorities: 4 bodies found inside home

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Firefighters found four people dead in a burning southwest Oklahoma City home early Monday, and homicide detectives were looking for clues about what had happened.

Firefighters arrived at the home about 5:20 a.m. and found the one-story brick building engulfed in flames, Battalion Chief Brian Jackson said. They managed to pull one body from the house, but the rest of the victims ''were too far gone,'' he said.

The cause of the fire and the deaths remained under investigation.

All four were pronounced dead at the scene.

Kraft's $16.4B Cadbury bid starts tussle

NEW YORK -- Kraft Foods has gone hostile in its bid to buy Cadbury but didn't sweeten its first bid, drawing an immediate rejection from the British candy maker in what is likely to be a lengthy takeover struggle.

Kraft made the offer, worth about $16.4 billion, just hours before a Monday deadline imposed by Britain's takeover law that required the company to make a formal offer or back off for six months. Kraft now has 28 days to file a prospectus, which will then trigger more deadlines that could last months.