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NATION IN BRIEF: Uncle helped Mich. stabbing suspect flee

FLINT, Mich. — The uncle of a man charged in a series of stabbings that terrified a Michigan city last summer helped his nephew try to flee the country after hearing he had been involved in an assault, according to newly unsealed court records that provide details on the hunt for a suspected serial killer.

Tony Sahwany knew police were looking for his nephew, Elias Abuelazam, and helped him move his car before driving him to a Detroit-area airport for the first leg of a hasty, unsuccessful dash for Israel, investigators said.

Sahwany told police he became aware of an “assaultive incident” involving Abuelazam and tried to send him overseas because the uncle feared he would be responsible for “potential mounting legal bills,” wrote Det. Sgt. Patrick Young of the Michigan State Police.

GM posts 1Q profit of $3.2B

DETROIT — GM is on Cruze control.

General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Cruze last October as its answer to the Toyota Corolla and other small car rivals. The timing couldn’t have been better. Gas prices have risen nearly 50 percent since the car hit the U.S. market. And sales of the Cruze worldwide are at 600,000, making it one of the most successful car launches in years.

It’s the biggest example of GM’s strategy to build better small cars, a market it ceded to the Japanese for years. While trucks and SUVs still provide much of its profit, GM is banking that higher fuel prices will drive customers toward smaller models. The company plans to launch its first compact Buick and the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic later in the year.

Video shows officer slamming teen into wall

PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officer has been placed on leave while his department investigates a YouTube video of him slamming an unarmed 15-year-old girl into a wall while on duty and her slumping to the ground.

A department spokesman said Thursday that Patrick Larrison, a six-and-a-half-year veteran of the force, was immediately placed on paid leave after another police employee found the video online and notified a supervisor.

Sgt. Trent Crump said the employee found the video Tuesday but the incident was videotaped Jan. 25. He said it was filmed while Larrison was responding to a call from the girl’s school and her mother saying she was drunk and had pushed a male teacher.

FBI: Bomb suspect was paranoid, hated Muslims

OKLAHOMA CITY — The man wanted in the bombing of a Florida mosque who was shot and killed when he pulled a gun on agents trying to arrest him in Oklahoma hated Muslims and had become increasingly erratic, according to FBI documents.

The FBI said Sandlin Matthews Smith of St. Johns County, Fla., was shot Wednesday in a field at Glass Mountain State Park near Orienta in northwest Oklahoma. FBI Agent Clayton Simmonds out of the Oklahoma City office said agents opened fire when Smith, 46, pulled out an AK-47 assault rifle as agents approached him.

The documents released Thursday say Smith recently pulled a gun on his niece and said he thought authorities were after him and “he was paranoid that everyone was a cop.”

Oil prices drop below $100

NEW YORK — Oil plunged nearly 9 percent to settle below $100 per barrel. Investors who had ridden a months-long rally fled the market Thursday because of concerns about weakening demand for fuel in the U.S.

The decline of $9.44 per barrel, or 8.6 percent, brings the week’s loss for oil to $14.13, or 12.4 percent. Other commodities like silver and cotton have plunged as well.

Purple Heart gets own stamp

WASHINGTON — The Postal Service issued a new stamp Thursday honoring the country’s oldest military decoration, the Purple Heart.

The stamp, valid for First-Class postage, shows an image of the medal hanging from the ribbon worn to display it.

The Purple Heart was created during the Revolutionary War by George Washington, and is awarded to members of the armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action. It is shaped like a heart and carries a profile of Washington.