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Nation in brief

Bomb threat forces flight evacuation

By wire services
Published August 6, 2005

HOUSTON - A note found in a Southwest Airlines seat pocket claiming a bomb was on the plane prompted a landing and evacuation on an isolated stretch of runway Friday, but bomb-sniffing dogs found no signs of explosives, authorities said.

Investigators interviewed and re-screened the 136 passengers who had been on the flight from Dallas to Houston.

Three passengers who saw the note were still being interviewed late Friday afternoon, but no one had been taken into custody, FBI spokesman Al Tribble said.

Tribble said he didn't have the exact wording of the note, but "it definitely announced there's a bomb on the plane."

A passenger alerted crew members to the note while the plane was in the air, saying it had been found in a seat pocket. It was unclear whether the note was written on that flight or had been left during a previous flight, Tribble said.

Presbyterians' stance upsets Israeli leaders

A Presbyterian committee accused five companies Friday of contributing to "ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine" and pledged to use the church's multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop.

The move follows a vote last year by leaders of the Presbyterian Church, USA, to put economic pressure on companies that profit from Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

The vote had outraged Jewish groups, who said it failed to recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and the tensions worsened after other Protestant bodies adopted similar tactics.

David Elcott, head of interreligious relations for the American Jewish Committee, said the Presbyterian strategy was meant to "punish and attack" Israel.

Crews still digging for missing miner

CUMBERLAND, Ky. - After two days of digging inside an eastern Kentucky coal mine, crews still had not found a missing miner who was buried in a rock fall and presumed dead.

Rocks crashed down on top of two miners Wednesday night at the Stillhouse Mining Mine No. 1 outside Cumberland. Crews recovered the body of 23-year-old Brandon Wilder on Thursday morning. They have been trying to dig through a wall of rocks in search of the missing miner, identified as 39-year-old Russell Cole.

A section of mine roof 20 feet wide, 20 feet long and 11 feet high collapsed without warning while an eight-man crew was performing retreat mining - a process of removing coal pillars that support the roof in played-out mines.

Argument over Iraq war prompts fatal shooting

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. - A disagreement between two friends over the war in Iraq ended with the fatal shooting of one of the men.

Prosecutors and Kentucky State Police determined that Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, acted in self-defense when he shot Harold W. Smith, 56, in the chest.

Both men had booths at a flea market when they began arguing over the war.

Police said the argument escalated into a fight, and Smith drew a small pistol from his pocket, threatening to kill Moore. Witnesses said Moore pulled a .38-caliber pistol from his pocket and shot Smith once in the chest.

Investigation begins into deadly plane collision

RENTON, Wash. - Investigators will listen to communications with two planes to figure out why they collided in flight, killing two people when one crashed into an empty school, officials said Friday.

A single-engine Cessna 152 and a deHavilland Beaver DHC-2 collided Thursday over Interstate 405 northeast of Renton Municipal Airport, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A 25-year-old student pilot and a 26-year-old instructor, both Boeing Co. engineers, were killed when the Cessna crashed through the roof of Kennydale Elementary School in this Seattle suburb. The victims' identities were not released Friday, pending autopsies.

[Last modified August 6, 2005, 01:43:02]

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