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NATION IN BRIEF: UAL, Continental approve airline merger deal

UAL, Continental approve airline merger deal

The biggest airline in the world will have the United name, Continental’s globe logo and potentially far-reaching effects on air travel.

Shareholders who approved combining the two companies Friday hope the new airline attracts more top-dollar corporate travelers with its larger network while reducing costs. Some industry watchers said the deal will lead to higher fares, but United and Continental say there’s enough competition from low-cost airlines to keep prices from rising.

The vote for the deal topped 98 percent at both companies, which expect the $3 billion stock swap to close in the next two weeks after loose ends are tied up. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have already signaled approval.

19-year-old pleads guilty in coffee shop blast

NEW YORK — A teenager has pleaded guilty to attempted arson at a New York City Starbucks coffee shop in a pre-dawn blast that was inspired by the movie ‘‘Fight Club.’’

Nineteen-year-old Kyle Shaw also pleaded guilty Friday to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, and will be sentenced to 31⁄2 years in prison on Nov. 16. He faced a minimum 15 years had he been convicted on more serious arson charges.

The 2009 explosion near the Guggenheim museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side shattered the store’s windows but caused no injuries.

Authorities said Shaw was trying to emulate the character named Tyler Durden from the 1999 film about a secret club where men beat each other up in an attempt to feel more alive. Brad Pitt’s character orchestrates escalating attacks on symbols of corporate America.

Prosecutors: Man stabbed over feet insult

EVERETT, Wash. — Prosecutors in Washington state said an 18-year-old woman stabbed a 19-year-old man for teasing her that her feet smelled.

The Herald of Everett reports the man was found by police with a steak knife sticking out of his back, buried a few inches in. His lung had collapsed. Officials say he’ll recover.

Charging papers said trouble started when Dallas Amber Smith was drinking and hanging out with friends and was challenged to do a back flip. When she took off her shoes to do the back flip, the teasing started.

Smith had no criminal history. She faces charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

Murder charge expected in serial stabbings

DETROIT — A man suspected in a series of stabbings in Michigan and two other states will likely be charged with murder next week, his lawyer said Friday.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said he would hold a news conference on Monday to announce new charges against Elias Abuelazam, but he declined to discuss them until then.

Abuelazam’s lawyer, Brian Morley, told The Associated Press that he understands the case against his client will greatly expand to include at least one murder charge and three to four charges of assault with intent to murder.

‘‘I’ve been anticipating additional charges,’’ Morley said. ‘‘Now that they’re here, I want to look at the police reports and figure out what we’re facing and what defenses are available.’’

Cement starts flowing to plug BP well for good

NEW ORLEANS — Crews started pumping cement Friday deep under the seafloor to permanently plug BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

A BP spokesman said there no longer was a need to use mud in tandem with the cement because pressure from the well wasn’t an issue.

BP expects the well to be completely sealed today. The government had previously said it expected the well to be declared dead by Sunday, but on Friday the Coast Guard indicated the culmination was likely to be today.

Man, abducted as a boy, turns his father in

BEDFORD, Texas — Twenty-year-old Stephen Michael Palacios came across a newspaper story recently about a boy allegedly abducted by his father in 1993. Palacios, it turns out, was that boy.

After learning about his past, Palacios persuaded his father to turn himself in — even accompanying him to a lawyer’s office this week — and will soon be reunited with the mother who desperately searched for him for 17 years.