NATION IN BRIEF: Camera provides no sign of trapped miner yet

Camera provides no sign of trapped miner yet

SPOKANE, Wash. — A tiny camera inserted into open space behind tons of collapsed rock and debris has so far found no sign of a missing silver miner in Idaho, a spokeswoman for the mining company said Wednesday.

The camera is designed to work in plumbing pipes and is not capable of immediately giving a large-scale view of the open space, said Melanie Hennessey of Hecla Mining Co.

“It will take a bit of time to get an understanding of the area,”’ she said.

The camera, inserted through a 180-foot-long bore hole completed on Tuesday, provides images from such a small area at a time that rescuers are not sure how large the open space is, she said.

Rescuers have had no contact with Larry “Pete’’ Marek, 53, since Friday’s cave-in more than a mile below the surface of the Lucky Friday Mine near Mullen, Idaho.

Roommate charged with hate crime in suicide

TRENTON, N.J. — A former Rutgers University freshman was indicted Wednesday on a hate crime charge after allegedly using a webcam to spy on a same-sex encounter involving his roommate, who committed suicide shortly afterward in a case that started a national conversation on bullying.

A 15-count indictment was handed up Wednesday by a Middlesex County grand jury against Dharun Ravi, of Plainsboro, who had already faced invasion of privacy charges along with another student, Molly Wei.

The indictment charges Ravi with bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering, and other charges stemming from the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi in September.

Obama works to ‘friend’ young voters

PALO ALTO, Calif. — President Barack Obama likely has a few more “friends” after a town hall at Facebook headquarters that drew questions from site users and the youthful employees of the social media giant.

The president’s first question Wednesday came from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who asked Obama about his plan to curb the federal deficit.

Most of the conversation centered on earnest discussion of the president’s policies on the economy, immigration, energy and education.

Blagojevich retrial gets off to quiet start

CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich’s second corruption trial began Wednesday with little hoopla, as potential jurors quietly began filling out questionnaires aimed at weeding out anyone with strong biases for or against the ousted Illinois governor.

Blagojevich faces 20 charges, including allegations he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash or a top job.

Since Blagojevich’s first trial ended last year with jurors deadlocked on all but one count of lying to the FBI, federal prosecutors have simplified their case and dropped complex charges to address previous juror complaints that the evidence was too difficult to follow.

More than 100 would-be members of the jury that will decide Blagojevich’s fate this time around started filling out their 38-page questionnaires Wednesday in a part of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse set aside to process potential panelists, court official Donald Walker said.

Federal team helping Texas as 2nd firefighter dies

DALLAS — Federal firefighters and officials from several U.S. agencies joined the fight against a massive wildfire burning 70 miles west of Fort Worth on Wednesday, the same day a Texas firefighter died from injuries suffered while battling a blaze earlier this month.

The fire at Possum Kingdom Lake is among several that have scorched about 1 million acres across bone-dry Texas in the past two weeks. The federal team joined local personnel to help fight a blaze that has burned 150,000 acres and destroyed about 50 homes, said Haven Cook, a spokeswoman for the Southern Area Incident Management Team.

It’s the second time a federal management group has been assembled in Texas to help battle the blazes that have been burning across the state for weeks.

A spokesman for University Medical Center in Lubbock said 49-year-old Elias Jacquez of Cactus, Texas, died Wednesday morning, 11 days after he was critically injured fighting a fire about 40 miles north of Amarillo.