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NATION IN BRIEF: Bank robbers strap bomb to abducted teller

Bank robbers strap bomb to abducted teller

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Bank robbers pulled off a dramatic heist Friday, strapping a bomb to a teller and ordering him to steal as much money as he could grab from the vault — all while his father was being held hostage.

It began when the three masked, gun-toting thieves burst into the teller’s apartment shortly after midnight.

The men held the teller and his father hostage in the suburban Kendall apartment for seven hours, waiting for morning when the teller usually helped open his Bank of America branch near the University of Miami campus, according to the FBI and local police. One suspect stayed with the father, while the other two and the teller left for the bank in the teller’s red 1998 Ford Mustang.

Strapped to the teller’s body was a device the robbers said was a bomb.

Once at the bank around 8 a.m., the thieves sent the teller inside.

‘‘They said, ‘We have a triggering device. Get as much money as you can and bring it out to us,’’’ Coral Gables Police Chief Richard Naue told reporters.

Also inside the bank was the female branch manager, the FBI said. After the teller took an undisclosed amount of cash, the robbers took off in his car and the manager called police.

China target of bill on currency manipulation

WASHINGTON — A bill that would give the U.S. government the power to impose economic sanctions on China and other countries found to be manipulating their currencies to gain trade advantages has won approval from a key House committee.

The Ways and Means Committee approved the legislation Friday and Democratic leaders said the measure would be taken up by the full House next week. Supporters say the bill would protect U.S. jobs against unfair trade competition at a time of high unemployment.

The measure was expected to win easy House passage, although trade analysts said it was unlikely to be taken up in the Senate this year. However, they said the proposal would send a clear message to China that it risks U.S. trade sanctions unless it moves faster to allow its currency to rise in value against the dollar.

Stocks reignite a rally as goods orders increase

NEW YORK — Stocks rose sharply on Friday, giving the market its fourth straight week of gains, after a big increase in orders for manufactured goods allowed investors to shake off several days of doldrums.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped nearly 200 points, its first gain in three days.

A surprise jump in durable goods orders and corporate spending provided the boost to U.S. stocks, as did a strong earnings report from Nike Inc. and an increase in new home sales last month.

Mom pleads not guilty to giving toddler pot

CINCINNATI — A suburban Cincinnati woman accused of giving her 2-year-old daughter marijuana has pleaded not guilty.

Jessica Gamble entered the plea Friday to charges of corrupting another with drugs, child endangering and tampering with evidence. A Hamilton County magistrate ordered the 21-year-old Gamble to stay away from children and increased her bond to $10,000.

Prosecutors say Gamble gave the toddler marijuana and used her cell phone to record the girl smoking in August.

Man fined for euthanizing dogs in gas chamber

ROMULUS, N.Y. — An Amish kennel owner in New York has pleaded guilty to inhumane destruction of animals for using a makeshift gas chamber to euthanize dogs with carbon monoxide.

A federal report said 45-year-old David Yoder of Romulus euthanized 78 dogs and 15 puppies by putting several at a time into a wooden box and piping in engine exhaust.

LA judge weighs ownership of jumbo emerald

LOS ANGELES — One of several people claiming ownership of an 840-pound emerald told a judge Friday that he is the legal owner of the gigantic gem after paying just $60,000 for it soon after it was unearthed in Brazil.

Anthony Thomas said he bought the so-called Bahia Emerald in 2001. Its appraised value is now $372 million, and numerous parties are claiming ownership.

Competing claimants say they are the rightful owner, and their lawyers portrayed Thomas as an opportunist.