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NATION IN BRIEF: Obama, Clinton honor Sen. Byrd

The Associated Press . President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton talk at a memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd on Friday at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

The Associated Press . President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton talk at a memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd on Friday at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- President Barack Obama and thousands of ordinary West Virginians honored the late Robert C. Byrd at a memorial service in the late senator's home state Friday.

With the president, Vice President Joe Biden and other dignitaries on hand, pallbearers carried the late senator's casket down the red-carpeted steps of the Capitol to its main courtyard for the service honoring Byrd, who died Monday at the age of 92.

''I'll remember him as he was when I came to know him,'' Obama told the gathering, ''his white hair flowing like a mane, his gait steady with a cane, determined to make the most of every last breath. The distinguished gentleman from West Virginia could be found at his desk to the very end and doing the people's business.''

Obama also recalled an early discussion with Byrd, who as a young man joined the Ku Klux Klan. ''He said there are some things I regretted in my youth,'' Obama said. ''I said, 'None of us are absent of some regrets ... that's why we enjoy and seek the grace of God.'''

''As I reflect on the full sweep of 92 years, it seems to me that his life bent toward justice,'' Obama said. ''Robert Byrd possessed that quintessential American quality. That is a capacity to change, a capacity to learn. A capacity to listen, to be made more perfect.''

Court sides with gov. on wages

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A state appellate court on Friday sided with the Schwarzenegger administration in its attempt to impose the federal minimum wage on tens of thousands of state workers.

It was not immediately clear how the ruling would affect Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's order a day earlier to pay 200,000 state workers the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour as the state wrestles with a budget crisis.

The state controller, who cuts state paychecks, has refused to comply with the order. The office declined to comment because it is still reviewing the ruling.

Army drops 'psy ops' name

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The Army has dropped the Vietnam-era name ''psychological operations'' for its branch in charge of trying to change minds behind enemy lines, acknowledging the term can sound ominous.

The Defense Department picked a more neutral moniker: ''Military Information Support Operations,'' or MISO.

U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw said Thursday the new name, adopted last month, more accurately reflects the unit's job of producing leaflets, radio broadcasts and loudspeaker messages to influence enemy soldiers and civilians.

Mom cleared in online sex case

HOUSTON -- Prosecutors say they have dropped charges against a Houston mother accused by authorities of flying to Canada and luring a 16-year-old boy away from home after allegedly having an online sexual relationship with him.

Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said Friday charges were dropped against 43-year-old Lauri Price after investigators determined they would not be able to prove Price knew the teenager was a minor.

The three charges Price faced -- two counts of online solicitation of a minor and one count of enticing a child with the intent to commit a felony -- were dismissed earlier this week.

Des Moines levee springs a leak

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A leak in a vulnerable levee protecting an Iowa neighborhood from a swollen Des Moines River was characterized Friday as ''seepage'' by the Army Corps of Engineers, but experts said the flood barrier remained stable as the river continued to rise.

Officials spotted a crack late Thursday in the same part of the levee that gave way in 2008 and flooded the small, working-class Des Moines neighborhood of Birdland. Crews walked the levee early Friday, careful to avoid the cracked area, and noticed no other damage, said Tom Heinold, an Army Corps flood-risk management coordinator.

Boaters told to watch for sharks

BOSTON -- As the summer tourist season ramps up, the Coast Guard told recreational boaters and paddlers Friday to keep an eye out for predatory sharks in the ocean waters off the Northeast, warning that the creatures could easily capsize a small boat or kayak.

The shark advisory, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard district that covers waters from Maine to New Jersey, came several days after the crew of a tuna boat caught and later released a 7-foot juvenile great white shark in the Stellwagen Bank fishing area, about 20 miles off Massachusetts.