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NATION IN BRIEF: Boston tea rally missing state's top Republican

The Associated Press. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, at podium, speaks about the 29 miners killed one week ago in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine during a memorial service in front of the coal miner statue Monday at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

The Associated Press. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, at podium, speaks about the 29 miners killed one week ago in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine during a memorial service in front of the coal miner statue Monday at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

BOSTON -- When the Tea Party Express pulls into the city where the conservative movement got its name, the crowd will be as notable for who's not there as for who is.

Sarah Palin is the keynote speaker today, but Republican Sen. Scott Brown is skipping the event. The movement claims his upset January election as its proudest moment.

Brown said he's too busy with his congressional duties, but Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry said he believes the senator is worried about being associated with the movement's more radical elements.

Ex-mine official to lead probe of W.Va. blast

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Joe Manchin on Tuesday asked a former top federal mine safety official to conduct an independent investigation of an explosion that killed 29 West Virginia miners, and also called for more scrutiny of mines with a history of safety violations.

Manchin told The Associated Press that J. Davitt McAteer, who headed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration during the Clinton administration, will probe the explosion and serve as his special adviser on issues involving the blast at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine.

Wash. sues feds for abandoning nuclear site

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Washington state has filed suit to stop the federal government from permanently abandoning the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, marking the latest clash in a long-standing dispute over where the nation's nastiest radioactive waste should be stored.

Waste and spent nuclear fuel from south-central Washington's Tri-Cities, site of the highly contaminated Hanford nuclear reservation and the Northwest's only commercial nuclear plant, had long been intended to go to Yucca Mountain.

Jury: Boy Scouts liable in sex case

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jurors on Tuesday found the Boy Scouts of America negligent and awarded $1.4 million to a former Portland man who was abused by an assistant Scoutmaster in the early 1980s, following a three-week trial in which secret Scout ''perversion files'' were used as evidence.

The jury also decided the Irving, Texas-based Scouts organization was liable for punitive damages that will be decided in a separate phase of the trial. That would be in addition to the $1.4 million.

Woman pleads no contest to murdering teens

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. -- A woman accused of driving drunk when she caused a crash that killed four Michigan teenagers has pleaded no contest to four counts of second-degree murder.

Frances Dingle of Mount Clemens entered the plea Tuesday in Macomb County Circuit Court. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

Inquest begins in shooting by Ala. professor

QUINCY, Mass. -- One of the first police officers on the scene after Amy Bishop fatally shot her teenage brother in 1986 still believes ''in my own heart'' that it was an accident, he said Tuesday, even knowing now that she is charged with killing three colleagues at an Alabama university.

The police investigation after the 1986 shooting was proper and complete, Tim Murphy, a retired Braintree, Mass., police officer, said after testifying at an inquest into Seth Bishop's death that has the potential to produce a murder indictment.