Sep 20, 2008 2:39 PM

Travis Barker and DJ AM critically injured in plane crash

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and Hollywood music spinner D.J. AM were critically injured in a South Carolina plane crash that left four others dead, authorities said Saturday.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Les Dorr told AFP they and four others were on a Learjet 60 that crashed after takeoff from Columbia, South Carolina. The four people killed included two crew but Dorr did not immediately identify the four dead.

"Our understanding was that the two injured were Travis Barker and DJ AM" Dorr said, noting that the small jet had crashed onto a highway and burst into flames, apparently after a concert in Columbia.

Barker's marriage to former Miss USA, Shanna Moakler, was the focus of MTV's Meet the Barkers reality show (2005-2006). And after filing for divorce in 2006 his brief relationship with socialite-reality TV star Paris Hilton was tabloid fodder.

DJ AM was formerly engaged to Nicole Ritchie, who was Hilton's reality TV sidekick in "The Simple Life."

Sep 13, 2008 2:40 PM

The National News Briefs

FDA hires 1,300 new doctors, scientists

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it has hired more than 1,300 professional staffers in a move that officials hope will help the beleaguered agency better protect the public health amid rapid technological and scientific change.

"Every pay period, we have had more than 100 people walking through our doors," said Kimberly Holden, the senior manager directing the special recruitment initiative. "We have had some people who left to go into industry and ended up wanting to come back. The revolving door swings this way every once in a while."

The staffing drive, launched just five months ago, will result in an estimated 10 percent increase in the FDA's work force. Holden said the new hires will provide critical expertise after years of losing valuable medical and scientific people who took industry jobs or went into retirement.

Rosenberg transcripts raise possibility of perjury
WASHINGTON -- Grand jury transcripts released Thursday from the biggest espionage case of the Cold War raise questions about whether Ethel Rosenberg was convicted and executed based on perjured prosecution testimony.

The Rosenbergs were convicted of passing nuclear weapons secrets to the Soviet Union and were executed in 1953. Since then, decrypted Soviet cables have appeared to confirm that Julius Rosenberg was a spy, but doubts have remained about Ethel Rosenberg's role.

At the Rosenbergs' trial, the key testimony against Ethel Rosenberg came from her brother and sister-in-law, David and Ruth Greenglass.

They testified that Ethel Rosenberg had typed stolen atomic secrets from notes provided by David Greenglass.

In recent years, David Greenglass recanted his testimony about the typing.

On Thursday, historians spotted a major omission in Ruth Greenglass's newly released grand jury testimony preceding the trial. Nowhere in the grand jury testimony does Ruth Greenglass tell the story about seeing Ethel Rosenberg type up the secrets.

Navajo Nation seeks control of national monument
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation is seeking full control of one of the only national monuments entirely on reservation land, the majestic Canyon de Chelly and its hundreds of ancient rock carvings and paintings.

Since 1931, the National Park Service has been charged with preserving thousands of artifacts and ruins within the monument's towering red sandstone walls, while the land revered by the Navajos as sacred remained tribally owned.

Now the Tribal Council wants full control of the 131-square-mile monument in northeastern Arizona and the more than $1.8 million in federal funding that goes with it. Doing so would strengthen the tribe's sovereignty and demonstrate its expertise and competence in administering tribal land and resources to benefit Navajo people, supporters say.

Fire injures 16 at complex for elderly, disabled
WATERBURY, Conn. -- A fire broke out early Thursday at an apartment building for the elderly and disabled, forcing firefighters to use a ladder truck to rescue residents from upper floors and leaving 16 people injured, authorities said.

The fire in the Eastgate complex was reported shortly before 4 a.m. in a first-floor apartment and sent smoke throughout the four-story building. Four apartments were declared uninhabitable.

"The smoke was heavy in the halls. It was hard to breathe," resident Harriet Brown told WTNH-TV.

Two female residents were in critical condition at Bridgeport Hospital, and a man was in fair condition, hospital spokesman John Cappiello said.

Florida man charged in wife's 1999 killing
TAMPA, Fla. -- Florida authorities have arrested a man in the nearly decade-old slaying of his wife after his girlfriend recently came forward and admitted she helped bury the body.

Lesley Stewart, 31, this week led Pinellas County detectives to the woods in North Florida, where she said she and Robert Temple buried his 43-year-old wife in a plastic container. The container was still there, about two feet deep in the soil, and the remains were positively identified as Temple's wife, Rosemary Anne Christensen, who disappeared in 1999.

Stewart's attorney said she hadn't come forward sooner out of fear.

"Mr. Temple had said he could have her killed from prison," said Jay Hebert, Stewart's attorney. "I think she also was extremely scared for what her limited involvement was at the time."

Temple, 58, was arrested in California on Wednesday, where he and Stewart were living with their three-year-old daughter. He was charged with first-degree murder in the Christensen's slaying.

Attorneys representing Temple on alleged threats toward Stewart in California did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. It was unclear whether he had an attorney to represent him on the Florida charge.

Tenn. teacher's husband convicted in student death
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee teacher's husband charged with first-degree murder in the death of her student lover was convicted Thursday on a lesser charge of reckless homicide.

Eric McLean, 33, faces a maximum of two to four years in prison in the shooting death of 18-year-old lover Sean Powell outside the McLeans' home in Knoxville.

McLean testified he only wanted to scare Powell away on March 10, 2007, when he approached him with a high-powered rifle. He said the teen grabbed the barrel, and as McLean pulled back with his finger on the trigger, the gun accidentally went off.

When the jury's verdict was read, McLean was shaking as he hugged his lawyer. He appeared relieved to have avoided a first-degree murder conviction, which carries a mandatory 51 years in prison.

The jury deliberated for about 11 hours over two days after hearing six days testimony on the disintegrating 10-year marriage of Eric and Erin McLean, and the three-month affair she had with Powell.

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