Man admits role in fatal bank robbery plot
ERIE, Pa.: A man admitted in federal court yesterday that he helped plot a bizarre bank robbery that ended when a bomb strapped around a pizza deliveryman's neck exploded and killed him, the first conviction in the five-year-old case. Kenneth Barnes pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a charge of aiding and abetting at a hearing in which prosecutors also revealed new details, based on a statement by Barnes, about deliveryman Brian Wells' involvement in the scheme. According to Barnes, Wells got cold feet on the day of the robbery, refusing to put on the collar bomb after realizing it was real. Another plotter then fired a single shot from a gun, scaring him into putting it around his neck. Barnes, 54, could be sentenced to life in prison, but his attorneys hope he will get a lighter sentence in exchange for his cooperation.
Background checks get Tennessee trooper fired
NASHVILLE, Tenn.: A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper accused of conducting unauthorized background checks on nearly 200 people, including two journalists and a country music figure, was fired yesterday. Lt. Ronnie Shirley was fired for gross misconduct and violating the public's trust, Highway Patrol Col. Mike Walker said. Shirley conducted 182 background checks, and of 139 people interviewed by investigators, only seven had asked Shirley to do the check, officials said. Shirley is entitled to a hearing to contest the firing.
Detroit deal seen near in mayor's perjury case
DETROIT : Prosecutors accusing Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of lying on the witness stand to cover up an extramarital affair with a top aide said yesterday that a plea deal is expected soon, a surprise development that appeared likely to cost him his job. The office of Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said yesterday that an agreement is expected soon, first saying it would come that afternoon and later saying it would be this morning. The Detroit city charter automatically expels any mayor guilty of a felony. Kilpatrick is charged with eight felonies in the perjury case and would have to get them all reduced to misdemeanors - or beat the charges in court - in order to keep his job. A member of the mayor's legal team cautioned that talks continued.
Manhattan-size ice shelf breaks off in Canada
TORONTO : A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said yesterday. Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, said in an interview that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and the 19-square-mile shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean. Mueller also said that two large sections of ice detached from the Serson Ice Shelf, shrinking that ice feature by 47 square miles and that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has also continued to break up, losing an additional eight square miles.
More of ancient walls of Jerusalem are found
JERUSALEM: Israeli archaeologists say they have uncovered new sections of Jerusalem's ancient walls, continuing a project started more than a century ago. Yehiel Zelinger of the Israel Antiquities Authority said yesterday that he located two wall segments just south of the Old City. The project continues work begun in the 1890s by American archaeologist Frederick Bliss and his British assistant, Archibald Dickie. The two tunneled along the length of the ancient wall and marked its route.
New peace talks begin on reuniting Cyprus
NICOSIA, Cyprus: The leaders of Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities started new peace talks yesterday and said they hoped to reach accord soon on reuniting this Mediterranean island partitioned by war 34 years ago. Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias met for two hours with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat inside the U.N.-patrolled buffer zone that separates the two communities. The leaders emerged to express confidence that they can reach an agreement. They plan to meet again Sept. 11, U.N. officials said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey's army invaded after a coup by Greek Cypriots who hoped to unite the island with Greece. Turkey set up a Turkish state in the northeast but it never won international recognition.