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NATION IN BRIEF: US braces as Hurricane Earl nears coast

The Associated Press. A boat is battered by waves in Sopers Hole during the passage of Hurricane Earl near Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Monday. The Category 4 hurricane was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the U.S. coast, potentially reaching the North Carolina coastal region by late Thursday or early Friday.

The Associated Press. A boat is battered by waves in Sopers Hole during the passage of Hurricane Earl near Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Monday. The Category 4 hurricane was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the U.S. coast, potentially reaching the North Carolina coastal region by late Thursday or early Friday.

US braces as Hurricane Earl nears coast

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A powerful Hurricane Earl threatened to sideswipe much of the East Coast just ahead of Labor Day, worrying countless vacationers who planned to spend the traditional last week of summer at the beach.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned people along the Eastern Seaboard to prepare for possible evacuations and islanders in the Turks and Caicos hunkered down in their homes Tuesday as the Category 4 hurricane steamed across the Caribbean with winds of 135 mph.

Earl was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the East Coast, bringing high winds and heavy rain to North Carolina's Outer Banks by late Thursday or early Friday. From there, forecasters said, it could curve away from the coast somewhat as it makes it way north, perhaps hitting Massachusetts' Cape Cod and the Maine shoreline on Friday night and Saturday.

Dolphins players search field for diamond earring

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins' practice fields have a hidden gem.

Several players crawled across the grass after practice Tuesday -- not due to exhaustion, but because they were looking for a diamond earring.

Defensive end Kendall Langford said he forgot to take his earrings out before practice and lost one of them during drills. He said the diamond was nearly 2.5 carats, which is why he was still on the field an hour after practice scanning the grass.

At least nine teammates helped. Some were on hands and knees, and a couple used rakes to comb through the turf. They had a lot of ground to cover, because the Dolphins practice on two fields.

One jewelry distributor said the earring could be worth more than $50,000.

Cell phone victim helps deputies recover property

MALIBU, Calif. -- A man who bought a cell phone online, only to find it was the same one that was stolen from his car, tipped off California sheriff's deputies, who arrested a man they believe broke into dozens of vehicles.

Deputies arrested 28-year-old Neil Hefner and recovered 163 cell phones, along with computers, wallets, gift cards and rare coins. He was booked for investigation of burglary.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. John Benedict said one victim was looking for a new phone on Craigslist, found one that looked like his old one and bought it.

When it arrived, many of his phone numbers were still programmed into it so he called deputies. Benedict said the seller's return address was on the package.

More charges predicted in Mich. serial stabbings

FLINT, Mich. -- A prosecutor said he anticipates more charges in September against a man accused in one stabbing and suspected in 13 others in Michigan.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton spoke to reporters Tuesday after a brief court hearing for Elias Abuelazam. The 33-year-old defendant stayed in jail and didn't attend.

Abuelazam is charged with attempted murder in one case. Five men were killed during a series of stabbings in the Flint, Mich., area.

Ex-bin Laden aide gets life for NY prison stabbing

NEW YORK -- A former top aide to Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to prison for life for stabbing a New York City prison guard as he awaited a terrorism trial.

Federal Judge Deborah Batts sentenced Mamdouh Mahmud Salim on Tuesday in the 2000 stabbing of guard Louis Pepe. The stabbing left Pepe brain-damaged and blind in one eye.

A federal appeals court said the judge should have imposed a terrorism enhancement to increase the sentence when she first sentenced Salim in 2004. At the time, she gave him a 32-year prison term.

3 die in medical helicopter crash in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A helicopter ambulance has crashed in the hills of central Arkansas, killing three crew members who were trying to reach a person injured in a traffic accident.

Air Evac Lifeteam and the Federal Aviation Administration said the Bell 206 helicopter went down near the Scotland community in Van Buren County around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Air Evac spokeswoman Julie Heavrin said pilot Kenneth Robertson, flight nurse Kenneth Meyer Jr., and flight paramedic Gayla Gregory all were killed in the crash.