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NATION IN BRIEF: L.A. avoids feared 'Carmageddon'

The Associated Press. Interstate 405 is free of traffic, seen looking south from the Skirball Drive bridge, as the demolition of two lanes on the Mulholland Drive bridge continue in Los Angeles at dawn Saturday. Ramps to the normally clogged Interstate 405 were shut down Friday evening before the entire roadway was closed at midnight, setting the stage for a 53-hour bridge demolition project that will test whether this car-dependent city can change its driving habits for a weekend.

The Associated Press. Interstate 405 is free of traffic, seen looking south from the Skirball Drive bridge, as the demolition of two lanes on the Mulholland Drive bridge continue in Los Angeles at dawn Saturday. Ramps to the normally clogged Interstate 405 were shut down Friday evening before the entire roadway was closed at midnight, setting the stage for a 53-hour bridge demolition project that will test whether this car-dependent city can change its driving habits for a weekend.

L.A. avoids feared 'Carmageddon'

LOS ANGELES -- Southern Californians appeared Saturday to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to avoid the dreaded ''Carmageddon'' -- leaving their cars in the garage.

Unusually light traffic flowed freely through the nation's second-largest city despite fears of epic traffic jams spawned by the 53-hour shutdown of a 10-mile stretch of one of the region's most critical freeways.

Authorities closed the segment of Interstate 405 on the western side of the metropolis to allow partial demolition of a bridge, warning motorists to stay off the roads or plan alternate routes.

Officials were optimistic that the public far and wide had gotten the message, though there was some concern that the lack of gridlock would make the public complacent and that drivers would get behind the wheel before the freeway's scheduled reopening early Monday.

N.H. police: Men kidnapped boy, glued mouth shut

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Police in Manchester, N.H., said two men held a 15-year-old boy at knifepoint, glued his lips shut and burned him while filming the incident with an iPod.

The men were arraigned Friday and held on $100,000 bail each.

Police found the teen naked under a bed in an apartment Friday. They noted his lips appeared to be glued shut and he had wounds to his arm. Police said 19-year-old Ismael Bangs allegedly burned a rubber glove over the boy and let it drip onto him. He also allegedly used a lighter to heat a knife blade and applied it to the boy's shoulder.

Bangs and 25-year-old Yvens Luclaise were charged with kidnapping. Bangs also was charged with multiple counts of criminal threatening and assault. Luclaise was charged with criminal liability.

Astronauts fix, haul gear on last shuttle flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Astronauts kept busy fixing and hauling gear aboard the linked Atlantis and International Space Station on Saturday, as the last shuttle flight drew closer to an end.

Atlantis' pilots got a jammed storage locker open and retrieved air purifiers for the space station.

In more good news, they brought back online a computer that abruptly stopped working two days earlier, the second computer failure in five days aboard Atlantis. NASA wants to run more diagnostic testing, but so far the computer seems to be working fine, officials said.

TWA Flight 800 families mark 15 years since crash

NEW YORK -- Families and friends of some of the 230 people killed when a Paris-bound jumbo jet mysteriously exploded in the sky off the Long Island coast are planning to mark the early evening moment with a quiet beach gathering today.

The destruction 15 years ago of TWA Flight 800 off east Moriches just 12 minutes after takeoff from Kennedy International Airport set off a mammoth FBI investigation amid fears that a bomb or a missile had downed the plane and introduced sky-based international terrorism to U.S. shores.

The unity of family members after the July 17, 1996, crash -- and the impact of an organization formed by one of them for those who lost loved ones in disastrous circumstances -- are an enduring legacy of the crash.

Police: Woman shooting at dog kills husband

JACKSON, Miss. -- Police in Mississippi said a woman opened fire on a puppy that had threatened children, but wound up shooting and killing her husband.

Witnesses tell police that the pit bull named ''Cocaine'' had lunged at some children and tried to attack them on Friday. The dead man's son said the children were taken inside and his father picked the dog up.

It was then that police said Betty Walker fired twice, hitting the dog once and her husband once in the chest. Jackson police spokeswoman Colendula Green said the death of 53-year-old Robert Walker appears to have been accidental.

She said a Hinds County grand jury will decide whether to charge Betty Walker.

-- From wire reports