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NATION IN BRIEF: Reid says deal near for FAA

Reid says deal near for FAA

WASHINGTON -- Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end the two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has idled 74,000 federal employees and construction workers and cost the government about $30 million a day in uncollected airline ticket taxes, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA's operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. Passage of the bill is expected today. Senators have scattered for their August recess, but the measure can be approved if leaders from both parties agree to adopt it by ''unanimous consent.''

Feds: Toxic fumes no threat in spill

HELENA, Mont. -- The most toxic compounds in the estimated 50,000 gallons of oil that spilled into the Yellowstone River evaporated quickly after the pipeline break last month, leaving gobs of sticky crude that pose no threat to human health, federal officials said Thursday.

There were no surprises in the recently released results of air, water and soil samples taken after the July 1 pipeline break near Laurel, said Steve Merritt, the on-scene cleanup coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Samples taken downriver four days after the break showed that the most dangerous components like benzene, toluene and total xylenes were no longer in the oil. They likely evaporated, were broken down by ultraviolet light or dissolved into the water to be released at lower levels downstream, the EPA said.

Prison for woman who hid remains

READING, Pa. -- A woman who said she secretly gave birth in her bathtub five times, killed one of the babies and hid all five bodies in a closet pleaded guilty to murder Thursday and was sentenced to the maximum 20 to 40 years in prison.

Michele Kalina, 46, of Reading, conceived the babies through a long affair with a co-worker and hid the pregnancies from him and her husband. She told a psychiatrist she had wrapped each baby with a towel and then stored the body in a tub or container in a locked closet.

She thought four were ''essentially stillborn'' and denied doing anything ''malicious,'' testified Dr. Jerome Gottlieb, a defense psychiatrist. But over the course of several visits with him, she recalled that the third baby, a boy, had moved. That death is the basis for the one count of murder.

Polygamist guilty of child sex abuse

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Texas prosecutors say they will present evidence that a polygamist sect leader convicted of child sex abuse had 78 wives in addition to his legal spouse.

They said at the sentencing phase of Warren Jeffs' trial that 24 of those were under 17.

Jeffs was convicted Thursday in a case stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his church calls ''spiritual marriages.''

The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood stone-faced as the verdict was read. Jeffs, who acted as his own attorney, stood mostly mute for his closing argument, staring at the floor, for all but a few seconds.

At one point he mumbled, ''I am at peace.'' He now faces up to life in prison.

Man returns to face fire charges

FARGO, N.D. -- A former flight attendant who fled the U.S. nearly three years ago after he was accused of setting fire to an airplane bathroom has been returned to the country and now faces two charges instead of one.

Eder Rojas, 22, formerly of Woodbury, Minn., pleaded not guilty in federal court in North Dakota on Thursday to a charge of failure to appear. Rojas had been a fugitive since September 2008, when he missed a hearing on a charge of destruction of aircraft or facility.

Authorities said Rojas used a lighter to set fire to paper towels in the plane's bathroom because he was upset about having to work the route from Minneapolis to Regina, Saskatchewan.

Sheriff: No word on fed charges

PHOENIX -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio says federal officials investigating racial profiling allegations against his office have yet to inform him of any constitutional violations by his deputies.

Arpaio says the Justice Department would have to take action to stop racial profiling if investigators had found such violations.