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New England Conservatory youth conductor leaving

BOSTON (iBBC News) — The nation's oldest independent music school says the director and condutor of its Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is leaving.

The New England Conservatory on Thursday announced Benjamin Zander's departure effective immediately. President Tony Woodcock won't say what triggered the exit from the Boston-based conservatory, which was founded in 1867 and has hundreds of students.

Zander also is a Boston Philharmonic Orchestra conductor. He hasn't responded to messages seeking comment left at his home and with his assistants.

The announcement came shortly after conservatory officials said the president had disciplined a faculty member who retained a videographer he knew was a registered sex offender to record rehearsals and performances of preparatory school students over the past decade.

School officials haven't named the faculty member who allowed the videographer to record the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. The videographer has been banned.

Ind vs Aus: Ben Hilfenhaus gives Australia early breakthrough on Day 1

NEW DELHI (iBBC News) India's opening woes continued as the visitors lost Virender Sehwag for a duck on the first day of the third Test against Australia at the WACA ground in Perth on Friday.


Ben Hilfenhaus struck early when dangerous Sehwag looked to play to the offside that took an outside edge to Ricky Ponting at slip as India suffered early blow in the fourth over of the opening day.

Earlier, Australian skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bowl in the third Test of the four-match series.

Both Australia and India go with four quicks in the match. Pacer Vinay Kumar came in place of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for India whereas for the hosts Mitchell Starc replace spinner Nathan Lyon.

Australia hold a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series after convincing wins in Melbourne and Sydney.
India must win both remaining Tests to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will again chase his elusive 100th international century, in just his third Test at the venue, where he scored a 114 on his first tour of Australia in 1992.

Tendulkar has been stranded on 99 Test and one-day international centuries since March when he scored 111 against South Africa in the World Cup.

Friday's match got under way under clear skies and in warm conditions, but there was some rain forecast for the coming days as a cyclone edges down the WA coast.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar.

Australia: Michael Clarke (c), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Mitchel Starc.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Kumara Dharmasena ( Sri Lanka).

Third umpire: Paul Reiffel (Australia).

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).

Silent film "The Artist" wins top Critics' Choice award

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) - Silent film "The Artist" won the top prize at the Critics' Choice Awards on Thursday, taking home the trophy for best picture.

George Clooney ("The Descendants") and Viola Davis ("The Help") won the best actor and actress awards, and the cast of "The Help" - a story of African-American maids and their white employers in the 1960s U.S. South - was voted best acting ensemble.

The Critics' Choice Awards were given by the 250-member Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada.

The awards were handed out in Los Angeles before the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday as the Hollywood season heats up ahead of the Oscars -- the movie industry's top honors -- on February 26.

'Artist' wins 4 trophies at Critics' Choice Awards

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) — "The Artist" has its first wins of awards season.

The black-and-white silent film directed by Michel Hazanavicius (ha-zahn-a-VISH'-us) led winners with four honors at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Awards. "The Artist" waltzed away with trophies for best picture, score, costume design and director.

The winners in the acting categories included George Clooney as best actor for "The Descendants," Viola Davis as best actress for "The Help," Christopher Plummer as best supporting actor for "Beginners," Octavia Spencer for best supporting actress for "The Help," and Thomas Horn as best young actor for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Other winners included "Bridesmaids" as best comedy movie, "Drive" as best action movie, "Rango" as best animated feature and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" for best makeup and best sound.

Many Myanmar political prisoners to be freed: officials

YANGON (iBBC News) - Myanmar will free many prominent political activists on Friday in an amnesty for 651 inmates, prison officials said, as one of the world's most reclusive states continues to open up after half a century of authoritarian rule.

The United States and Europe have said freeing political prisoners is crucial to even considering lifting economic sanctions that have isolated the former British colony, also known as Burma, and, over the years, pushed it closer to China.

Among those to be freed are Min Ko Naing, a leader of a pro-democracy uprising in 1988 in which thousands of protesters were killed, and Shin Gambira, a well-known Buddhist monk who led 2007 street protests, prison officials said.

Family members and prison officials said many more political activists, including other members of the dissident "88 Generation Students Group," would be released in the second major prison amnesty in four months.

Secluded Myanmar has initiated radical reforms since a civilian government was allowed to take power in March after almost half a century of rule by the military.

Media curbs have been eased, some prisoners freed and the government has initiated a dialogue with Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led the fight for democracy and was herself released from years of house arrest in late 2010.

Last month, Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years and said Washington stood ready to support reforms in the country and possibly lift sanctions.

The next major step in the reform process will be April by-elections in which Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) will take part.

Authorities freed about 230 political detainees in a general amnesty on October 12. A senior political adviser to President Thein Sein told iBBC News in November that hundreds of political detainees may soon be released.


In Friday's amnesty, Min Ko Naing will be freed from Thayet Prison, a prison official and a member of his family told iBBC News.

A top leader of the 1988 protests that the military crushed with heavy loss of life, he was arrested in 1989, released in 2004, and then arrested again in 2007 on charges of organizing protests.

Shin Gambira was a leader of the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, which played a prominent role in street marches in 2007 that were again violently suppressed by the junta. He was 27 years old when he was sentenced in 2007 to 68 years in prison.

"Shin Gambira will be freed later today," said a prison official in Myaungmya prison, southwest of the commercial capital, Yangon.

An official from Taunggyi prison in Shan State said two other prominent activists, Ko Jimmy and Ko Zaw Thet Htwe, would be freed there.

"We are going to take them to the bus terminal later this morning," the official said.

Phyo Min Thein, brother-in-law of Htay Kywe, one of the leaders of the "88 Generation Students Group," said: "I've got confirmation that Ko Htay Kywe and almost all members of the 88 Group and other prominent figures like Shin Gambira and U Khun Tun Oo will be released today."

The exact number of political prisoners behind bars is unclear.

Rights groups and the United Nations have put it at about 2,100. But Minister for Home Affairs Lieutenant General Ko Ko told U.N. Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana in August the number was 600, or about 400 after the October 12 amnesty.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a group that tracks prisoners, had identified more than 1,000 "political prisoners." But diplomats and some independent analysts question those numbers and say they depend on different definitions of political prisoners and whether rebels or those who used force to oppose the government are included.

A review of the AAPP's list of prisoners by European diplomatic missions in Thailand suggested the number of non-combatant "prisoners of conscience" appeared to be about 600, or about 800 before October's amnesty.

Rights group Amnesty International has dropped an earlier estimate of about 2,000 political prisoners due to the conflicting definitions.

Owner of Detroit-Canada bridge ordered to jail

DETROIT (iBBC News) — A judge ordered the 84-year-old owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge to jail Thursday for failing to meet court orders on a construction project linking the span to adjacent interstates.

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards said Manuel "Matty" Moroun and top lieutenant Dan Stamper will stay in jail until they comply with a 2010 order to get the work going. It's unclear how long they'll be behind bars after an appeals court hours later refused to suspend the decision and release them.

"It is clear that the Detroit International Bridge Co. does not intend to comply with the court orders unless meaningful sanctions are imposed," Edwards said.

Lawyers for Moroun and Stamper asked Edwards to freeze his decision while they appeal, but the judge declined.

Ken Mogill, lawyer for Stamper, said the judge was "absolutely wrong" since it is the company, not the men, that was earlier found in contempt.

"Neither Mr. Moroun nor Mr. Stamper had received a notice that they individually could be facing consequences," Mogill said. "It's not enough that a company has been found in contempt. The law is so clear."

The bridge company also must pay $7,500, the maximum under state law for civil contempt, and the state's legal fees.

Moroun, listed by Forbes magazine as a billionaire, and Stamper were escorted out of the courtroom by deputies. After getting an emergency request, the Michigan Court of Appeals declined to release them while the broader case is appealed.

The three-judge panel said attorneys cited the wrong law in their filings, although one of the judges was in favor of granting a stay and freeing the men.

Moroun's son, Matthew Moroun, accused Edwards of having a "personal vendetta" against the bridge executives.

"A judge viciously lashed out at Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper and ordered a penalty outside the bounds of a civil case that was excessive, unwarranted and outrageous," the younger Moroun said in a statement.

Detroit International Bridge Co. was declared in contempt of court in November for failing to finish work on the project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two Detroit interstates.

The state of Michigan sued the company after it failed to meet a 2008 deadline to finish its part of a $230 million project to improve traffic at the bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The company claims the Department of Transportation repeatedly has changed construction plans and been obstructive, allegations the state denies.

Gregory Johnson, MDOT chief of operations, said it could take a year to get the work done.

"We take no joy or satisfaction in seeing these gentlemen incarcerated," Johnson said. "Our only goal is to see this contract, this project, completed."

The hearing began with lawyers for Moroun insisting he is not the real owner. They say a Moroun trust has a minority stake in a holding company that owns the bridge. But state officials say Moroun clearly is in charge, and the judge agreed.

"Mr. Moroun has the power, the authority to make sure there is compliance" with court orders, Edwards said.

After a November hearing, state engineer Tony Kratofil said the bridge company has done only "superficial" work to follow the judge's previous orders. Without the improvements, he said, trucks are stuck using neighborhood roads.

Kratofil said Thursday there's still a lack of progress on the project. The judge said he considered appointing a receiver or contractor to oversee the project but determined it would only lead to more delays and litigation.

An activist in the residential neighborhood near the bridge complimented Edwards.

"This is a win for the people," Scott Brines said. "This is not about people going to jail. It's about bringing a solution to get trucks off of our neighborhood streets, as the Gateway development was intended to do."

Midwest gets first big snowstorm of warm winter

MILWAUKEE (iBBC News) — An unusually mild winter finally gave way to the Midwest's first big snowstorm of the season Thursday, blanketing a region unfazed by a white Thanksgiving in a layer of powder and pack that forced all-too-happy snow plow drivers off their couches and into the streets.

The storm dumped several inches of snow on western parts of Wisconsin and Iowa before moving eastward into Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago, where up to eight inches were expected to fall by Friday morning.

In a typical year, such a storm would hardly register in the upper Midwest. But for virtually the entire season, cold air has been bottled up over Canada. La Nina, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean that affects weather worldwide, has nudged the jet stream farther north. And air pressure over the northern Atlantic has steered storm systems away from the East Coast.

For Steve Longo, a 47-year-old chiropractor from Wauwatosa, Wis., the wait to try out the cross country skis he got for Christmas was excruciating. He and friend Alex Ng, 56, wasted no time in hitting the trails at the Lapham Peak cross country ski area, about 25 miles west of Milwaukee.

"I wasn't worried," Longo said. "I was just anxious."

"This is Wisconsin," a confident Ng said. "There's going to be snow."

The storm dumped 2 to 6 inches of snow on eastern Iowa by Thursday evening, and was expected to drop 3 to 8 inches total on southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois as it moves further into the Northeast on Friday, according to Richard Castro, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

While the dry weather has been an unexpected boon to many cash-strapped communities, which have saved big by not having to pay for plowing, salting and sanding their streets, it has hurt the seasonable businesses that bank on the snow.

"If people don't see it in their yards they are not likely to come out and ski and snowboard so this is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful for us," said Kim Engel, owner of Sunburst Ski area in Kewaskum in southeastern Wisconsin, as she watched the snow come down out the window.

Rob Moser, a snow plow driver from Elkhart, Ind., said he couldn't wait for the flakes to start to fall. The weather service said lake effect snow could mean parts of Michigan and northern Indiana could get up to a foot.

"I love it. I make money plowing snow and I'm all about snowmobiling, so I love it," Moser said. "We haven't had enough snow to do much."

The storm was an annoyance for most commuters, and authorities said it caused hundreds of traffic accidents and at least three road deaths — two in Iowa and one in Missouri. And while some lucky grade-schoolers cheered an unexpected day of sledding, hundreds of would-be air travelers had to scramble to come up with a Plan B.

More than 400 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport on Thursday and flights that did depart were delayed 20 minutes, on average, because of deicing, the Chicago Department fo Aviation said. Across town at Midway International Airport, more than 100 flights were canceled, although Southwest Airlines said it planned to resume its flights Thursday evening.

In New York state, the storm dumped up to 8 inches of snow on the southern Adirondacks and forced scores of schools to cancel or delay the start of classes. The weather service said until Thursday's storm, Albany had received only 6.5 inches of snow this winter, which is about 10 inches less than it normally gets.

The ice and snow may have caused headaches for travelers, but 44-year-old Mike Norman, of Evanston, Ill., said it's about time. Norman co-founded Chicago Endurance Sports, which offers a Winter Warriors program to help runners stay committed to their training and teach them about the right gear for winter. But he said because of the unseasonably warm weather — temperatures exceeded 50 degrees on Wednesday — the program hasn't really geared up.

"It's one of my favorite times of year to run. It's clean. It's crisp. It's quiet," Norman said. "It's fun to put footsteps in the fresh snow."

Lisa Taylor, the director of the North American Vasa cross-country ski race near Traverse City, Mich., said the storm, which hadn't reached the area yet, would help reinforce the thick base of snow on the rolling trails that they needed for races.

"There's been a great feeling of confidence that we'd get some good snow," Taylor said. "Up in the hilly areas where the trails are, there's already more snow than you'd think."

Ind. officer: Looked up, saw stolen cruiser leave

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (iBBC News) — An Indiana police officer whose squad car was stolen by a suspect he'd handcuffed and put in the backseat said Thursday he only realized the cruiser was gone when he looked up and saw the taillights leaving the parking lot.

"I probably had a really dumb look on my face for maybe half a second," Kouts police Sgt. Dave Johnston told The Associated Press.

Johnston, an 11-year veteran, said he was responding to a call about a reckless driver when he pulled in behind William Francis Blankenship, 22, of Knox, at a gas pump Tuesday night. When he spotted what he thought was drug paraphernalia in Blankenship's car, Johnston said he handcuffed Blankenship with his hands behind his back and put him in the back of the running patrol car.

The officer said that after finding what he believed to be drugs in Blankenship's car, he informed the man he was under arrest and then went back to search more thoroughly. Johnston said he was searching for only another minute or two when he looked up.

As Johnston saw the taillights, a passer-by said: "Hey, a guy's driving off in your car."

The officer said when he asked the witness why he didn't say something earlier, the man replied, "I thought you had a partner."

Blankenship remained at large Thursday as police continued their search. The squad car was found in a drainage ditch Wednesday, and authorities recovered the police weapons stored in the cruiser. But Porter County Sheriff's Sgt. Larry LaFlower said Blankenship still is considered dangerous.

"I would definitely consider him a threat to society," LaFlower said.

The handcuffs have not been found, he said.

Johnston said he believes Blankenship somehow managed to contort himself to get the handcuffs in front of him, then hopped into the front seat and put the car into reverse before pulling away.

"There was a lot of traffic at the convenience store so I wasn't able to hear it," Johnston said.

The officer said the keys to Blankenship's car were on the driver's seat floor and he thought for a moment about pursuing the cruiser.

"But then I'm also thinking, 'I have an active crime scene.' Plus all the doors were open on the car, and I don't know how much more narcotics is in the car," he said.

He also didn't know how much gas he'd have, so he decided it would be better not to give chase. Johnston instead used his portable radio to report the escape and told the Porter County dispatcher to notify the police department in the direction the cruiser was headed.

"I just went with gut instinct," Johnston said. "I felt I did what I was supposed to do."

Johnston said he's "a little embarrassed" about the situation because he knows a lot of people will assume he did something wrong. But he said he has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Kouts Police Chief James Boyce.

A message seeking comment was left for Boyce at the police department Thursday.

SC makes it harder to get unemployment benefits

COLUMBIA, S.C. (iBBC News) — South Carolina has struggled with high unemployment for years. Now state officials are making harder for unemployed people to draw benefits.

The state's Department of Employment and Workforce will try to force people to take lower-wage jobs and make it easier for laid-off workers to be declared ineligible for benefits because of misconduct.

Department director and Maj. Gen. Abraham Turner told a state Senate committee Thursday that the policies begin immediately, but technology upgrades needed for the job-offer-acceptance plan are expected to take six months.

Turner says it's about providing an incentive to the jobless to get busy finding a new job, and not turn down offers.

An advocate for low-income people noted questions why the unemployed are being targeted by legislators.

3 Lake Erie rivers good Asian carp habitat: Study

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (iBBC News) — Lake Erie and some of its biggest tributary rivers have just the right water temperatures and other characteristics needed for greedy Asian carp to make themselves at home, says a federal study released Thursday.

A paper by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey says the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio, is a highly suitable area for Asian carp to lay their eggs. The Sandusky and Grand rivers are described as moderately suitable. Four others are less hospitable for the invasive fish but can't be ruled out, said Patrick Kocovsky, a fishery biologist based at Sandusky, Ohio.

"The potential certainly exists for Asian carp to spawn in tributaries of Lake Erie," Kocovsky said. "We are getting a clearer picture of the threat Asian carp pose to western Lake Erie, and that picture suggests there is cause for concern."

Bighead and silver carp gorge on plankton, the base of the aquatic food chain. Both were imported decades ago to cleanse Southern fish farms and sewage treatment lagoons of algae, but they escaped into the Mississippi River and have migrated northward since.

They have infested numerous tributaries of the Mississippi, including the Illinois River, and are threatening to enter Lake Michigan through a shipping canal near Chicago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says an electric barrier in the canal is blocking their path, although DNA from Asian carp has been found beyond the barrier. Genetic material from the carp also has been found past a dam upstream from Minneapolis, suggesting many of Minnesota's most popular lakes might be at risk.

Scientists say if the carp gain a foothold in the Great Lakes, they could damage the region's $7 billion fishing industry by starving out native plankton-eating fish, the primary diet of bigger species such as whitefish and salmon.

Particularly vulnerable is Lake Erie. The shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, it also has their most productive fishery. Its waters teem with walleye, perch, smallmouth bass and other species prized by sport anglers and commercial fishing interests.

No reproducing populations of Asian carp are known to exist in any of the lakes, although a few bighead and grass carp — another Asian variety — have turned up in Lake Erie over the years. How they got there is unclear. Grass carp eat rooted plants instead of plankton.

After Asian carp were found in Indiana's Wabash River, authorities built a 1,177-foot chain-link fence near Fort Wayne in 2010 to prevent them from slipping through a marshy area and reaching the Maumee River.

Scientists differ over the likelihood that large populations of Asian carp could flourish in the Great Lakes.

The USGS study examined whether the Maumee and other rivers that flow into Lake Erie have the right conditions for the carp to reproduce. Previous research suggests the fish need summer water temperatures of about 70 degrees and at least 62 miles of undammed water flow where fertilized eggs can drift while incubating, although Kocovsky said those requirements might vary from one place to another.

His team found the Maumee has the best combination of temperatures, flow speed and length of passable waters to serve as an Asian carp nursery. The other leading candidates were the Sandusky River, which enters western Lake Erie at Sandusky, and the Grand River, which intersects with central Lake Erie at Fairport Harbor, Ohio.

Found to be less suitable were the Black, Huron, Portage and Vermilion rivers, although Kocovsky said there was a chance that carp could use them.

"One thing they've shown us is that they are highly adaptive," he said.

The study also concluded that western Lake Erie is warm enough to enable young Asian carp to mature.

Eugene Braig, an Ohio State University extension fishery biologist who wasn't involved with the USGS study, said he agreed with the assessment of the Maumee as prime territory for Asian carp spawning.

"It's the one river on the Great Lakes where all these (requirements) are most likely to come together," Braig said.

Advocacy groups and members of Congress from Michigan, one of five states suing the federal government to demand quicker action to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes, said the USGS report offered more evidence of the danger.

"Asian carp represent a critical threat to our boating, fishing and tourism industries," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.

Plan for sand mine near Starved Rock moves forward

OTTAWA, Ill. (iBBC News) — A Missouri company's plan to operate a sand mine near Starved Rock State Park moved forward Thursday after the LaSalle County Board approved a special-use permit for the project, despite objections from environmentalists and residents who say it could hurt tourism at one of Illinois' most unique and popular parks.

Mississippi Sand LLC plans to mine sand from a 314-acre site adjacent on the eastern border of the park and sell it to companies in other states for use in hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting oil and gas from deep underground. Company officials say the mine would create 39 high-paying jobs and pump more than $9 million a year into the local economy.

Sand mining has been an important part of LaSalle County's economy for more than a century. But opponents say the new mine could hurt one of the county's most important industries — tourism — by creating noise, vibrations, traffic and dust that could startle wildlife and ruin the outdoor experience for more than 2 million people who visit Starved Rock every year.

Ottawa attorney Paul Martin said he doesn't oppose sand mining, just one so close to Starved Rock.

Starved Rock "is a national treasure; it is a state of Illinois treasure and it is the economic engine for tourism in LaSalle County ... and we are going to damage that brand," Martin told board members.

Martin said new jobs will be created by another sand mine that was approved near Utica, and the 39 jobs that would be added by Mississippi Sand's mine did not compare to what he said are more than 1,200 tourism jobs in LaSalle County.

"Don't pit residents against each other for jobs," he said.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources must grant any permits for the mine, but company President Tony Giordano said he hopes to begin excavating by the end of the year. He has promised to try to lessen impacts on the park and traffic.

"Most of our partners have been in the mining business for 20 or 25 years; we know how to do things the right way," Giordano said.

The board voted 20-6 in favor of the change, rejecting a request from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon to delay the vote so her office could review the records of last month's Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. That panel voted unanimously to recommend approval of the zoning variance. Simon, who heads the Illinois River Coordinating Council, said she wanted to address concerns brought to her attention by members of that group.

Don Goerne, vice president of the Starved Rock Audubon Society, said he was disappointed in the vote.

"There is a dark cloud over Starved Rock State Park today," Goerne said.

DNR spokesman Chris McCloud said that agency's office of mines and minerals would work to resolve any concerns about the mine.

Former South Dakota Governor Janklow dies at 72

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (iBBC News) - Former four-term South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow, an outspoken, brash fixture of the state whose political career was brought to an end by a traffic accident, died on Thursday of brain cancer, state officials said.

Janklow, 72, said in November he was dying from a "very far advanced" cancer he had learned about only a few weeks earlier. He said the cancer had spread throughout his brain and he planned to submit to experimental treatments.

Elected as state attorney general in 1975 and to his first term as governor four years later, Janklow lured the credit card business of Citibank to South Dakota 30 years ago, driving a financial services boom for what was then a mainly farming state.

The former governor also served a brief stint in the U.S. House of Representatives before resigning in 2003 after a manslaughter conviction following a fatal car crash.

David Volk, a former South Dakota state treasurer and friend of Janklow's since 1974, said the former governor was an inspirational leader who never backed away from a decision because he thought it might be politically dangerous.

"He saw things that needed to get done and had courage to go out and do it and that's not an easy thing," Volk said in a telephone interview. "I never heard him say 'How is that going to impact us politically?' He would say 'I have to if it's good for South Dakota.'"

After Janklow's death, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard asked that all flags fly at half-staff in the state until Janklow's funeral.

"Our prayers go out to Mary Dean and to the Janklow family," Daugaard said in a statement. "He will always be remembered as a strong leader and one of our state's most consequential governors."

Janklow's body will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Pierre on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to noon local time, followed by a memorial service. His funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.

Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds described Janklow as "the epitome of a leader who stood up for his people all the time."

Janklow had been undergoing experimental treatments at the Mayo Clinic, and recently entered hospice care in Sioux Falls.

In a news conference with reporters in November at his Sioux Falls law office, Janklow described himself as outspoken and opinionated and said he would have done everything the same way if he had it do over again with one exception: He would stop at the stop sign.

Janklow ran a stop sign in 2003 and collided with a motorcycle ridden by Minnesotan Randy Scott, killing him. Convicted of manslaughter, Janklow served 100 days in prison.

Rio gets a Parisian makeover at Maria Bonita Extra

RIO DE JANEIRO (iBBC News) — The Girl from Ipanema had a Parisian touch Thursday, as Maria Bonita Extra fielded a winter 2012 collection of bourgeois cocktail dresses that look as if they'd be more at home in a Haussmanian apartment than on the sands of Copacabana.

In silk chemisier dresses and cocktail numbers with constructed skirts that stood out through the hips, the models looked like something out of a 1970-era film set in one of Paris' beaux quartiers.

The ultra-abbreviated hemlines, however, gave the clothes a youthful freshness: In the tres bourgeois collection's sole shout out to Brazil, some of the dresses were so short they looked like swimwear.

Guests were still scrambling for their seats when the lights went down and a model appeared, toting a plastic clutch kitted out with glowing lights. But that was the sole gimmick in the collection, one of the strongest yet in the first three days of Rio's five-day fashion extravaganza.

Bianca Marques' debut on the Rio calendar opened with some fine footwork by a ballerina, who pirouetted at the top of the runway between two gilded candlesticks to a soundtrack of Space Age blips. The delicate display set the tone for the collection of frilly, romantic, girly dresses. Everything glowed a soft pink, like the inside of a seashell, and some of the looks were covered in pearls.

Denbury to sell 'non-core' oil assets for $155M

PLANO, Texas (iBBC News) — Denbury Resources Inc. said Thursday that it agreed to sell oil assets in Mississippi and Louisiana to privately held Petro Harvester Oil and Gas for $155 million.

The sale is expected to close by late February. The company said it would use proceeds to pay down its credit facility partway.

Denbury said the assets being sold have proven reserves equal to 6.2 million barrels of oil based on prices of Dec. 31. The company earlier estimated the wells would produce about 1,400 barrels of oil per day in 2012.

Denbury, which is trying to sell an interest in Utah's Greater Aneth oil field, hopes that asset sales and early production at its Oyster Bayou operations will help fund a planned $1.35 billion investment program and stock buybacks without adding significant new debt.

Denbury shares fell 47 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $17.63.

Firm previews painkiller, abuse experts worried

NEW YORK (iBBC News) — A second drug company has confirmed it plans to market a new form of the powerful and addictive painkiller hydrocodone, worrying experts who fear a narcotics "arms race" that could worsen a national problem with prescription drug abuse.

Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals says its product, TD Hydrocodone, could be worth as much as $500 million annually in sales. The drug is in the final stages of testing, but the company has not yet applied for Food and Drug Administration approval.

Four companies have been working to develop pure forms of hydrocodone, the main ingredient in Vicodin, Lortab and other painkillers. They have been mostly quiet about their plans.

But William Marth, chief executive of the company's North Wales, Pa.-based North American division, gave a preview of TD Hydrocodone during an investors' conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

"We believe that's another product that will get approved and can be a three-, four-, $500-million product in a couple of years," Marth said.

He said the drug could be on the market in the "relatively near future," adding it should replace revenue lost when the patent on another Teva drug, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, expires in 2014.

A recording of the speech was posted on the company's website on Thursday.

Teva did not respond to requests for more information. But documents filed with the National Institutes of Health show the company has been testing 12-hour, extended-release pills containing up to 45 milligrams of pure hydrocodone.

Existing medicines like Vicodin, which are not extended-release, contain no more than 10 milligrams of hydrocodone mixed with a non-addictive painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Another company, San Diego-based Zogenix, plans to file an application early this year for another pure hydrocodone product, Zohydro.

Purdue Pharma, the Stamford, Conn.-based maker of OxyContin, and Denmark-based Egalet are also working on hydrocodone pills, according to documents they have filed with the U.S. government.

Hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine fall into a category of painkillers known as opiates because they are chemically similar to opium. They are extremely powerful and can create a physical dependence. Users who try to stop can suffer intense withdrawal symptoms, from muddled thinking to stomach cramps, heart palpitations and nausea.

Experts in pain management say opiates are needed for legitimate pain control, especially as the U.S. population gets older. Analysts say the market is worth billions of dollars.

But critics fear the new hydrocodone drugs could unleash a new wave of abuse like the one that accompanied the debut of OxyContin in the 1990s.

"It's a prescription opiate arms race," said Gregory Bunt, medical director of the Daytop Village chain of drug treatment centers in New York. "As the companies all compete they promote it to the various doctors, and it leads to an increase in prescriptions and makes more of those super-potent painkillers available for abuse."

On Sunday, New York Sen. Charles Schumer sent a letter to the FDA warning against the approval of new hydrocodone products.

"I urge your agency to proceed with great caution before allowing these powerful narcotics to enter the market," Schumer wrote.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a report Wednesday on the state's "alarming" problem with prescription drug abuse. Oxycodone prescriptions have increased 82 percent and hydrocodone prescriptions by 16.7 percent between 2007 and 2010, the report said.

The TD in TD Hydrocodone stands for tamper deterrent, said Judson Clark, an analyst with the Edward Jones investment company who follows Teva. Addicts crush extended-release opiate pills to get the full impact of the medication and increase the high, so drug companies have been trying to develop tamper-resistant technologies to combat abuse.

Purdue Pharma has introduced a new form of OxyContin that "smooshes" instead of crumbling. Other companies are experimenting with chemical combinations or even encasing medicines in hard plastic pills that slowly leak out doses as they move through the digestive tract.

Zogenix says none of these methods is completely tamper-proof. Its Zohydro contains no tamper-resistant technologies.

Teva has not disclosed what tamper-resistant method it is using.

Clark said Teva's $500 million-a-year sales goal for TD Hydrocodone is likely within reach. That's about half the annual sales of a blockbuster drug like Viagra.

The drug should be quickly profitable because hydrocodone is already a proven painkiller, he said.

"You're not going to have to have the sales force that you would need for a new drug that you're taking to market that no one has heard of and, quite frankly, no one knows they need," Clark said. "So in that sense, it will more or less sell itself."

Danica Patrick at ease with crew chief Zipadelli

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (iBBC News) — Greg Zipadelli met Danica Patrick just over a week ago, with very little time to prepare for their first test session together.

One day into testing at Daytona International Speedway and the two were off and running.

"She's easy," Zipadelli said as Thursday's opening day of practice came to a close. "She's easy to hang out with, to talk with, she gets along with all the guys. It's just no drama, no drama at all."

Patrick is officially a full-time NASCAR driver now with her Daytona 500 debut a mere six weeks away. She'll run the race for new boss Tony Stewart, who has paired her with the crew chief who led Stewart to two of his three NASCAR championships.

Stewart and Zipadelli spent 10 seasons together at Joe Gibbs Racing, and were reunited last month when Stewart lured Zipadelli to Stewart-Haas Racing as competition director.

As part of his new job, Zipadelli will crew chief Patrick for the time being. She's running a full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports, and will run 10 Sprint Cup races for SHR in preparation for a full Cup schedule in 2013.

"We were trying to get Zippy hired as a competition director, but it really was a perfect opportunity for us because it's hard to get a really good crew chief hired to only run 10 races," Stewart said. "From a company standpoint, it made sense to have him since we had him in house anyway."

But, more than anything, Stewart liked that Zipadelli has worked with rookies before.

Zipadelli guided Stewart beginning in 1999, when Stewart fled IndyCar for NASCAR. They won three races in Stewart's rookie year, a total of 33 and two titles when Stewart left after 2008 to run his own team.

Zipadelli spent the past three years with Joey Logano, who replaced Stewart as a raw 18-year-old with much to learn about the fast-paced Cup Series.

"He has been a crew chief for the last 13 straight years," Stewart said. "The last two guys he had both were rookies when they came in. So he's familiar with this and the process of getting a rookie adapted to the car and knowing what to do to make them comfortable."

Patrick appreciated Zipadelli's patience through their first of three days of testing. Although she has 25 career Nationwide starts — and four at Daytona, including her 2010 stock-car debut in an ARCA race — she's yet to compete in a Sprint Cup race and her debut will be the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500.

"I feel respected, and I feel like he's been very patient," Patrick said. "Even the little things, getting here this morning and just kind of adjusting a belt a little bit and adjusting a throttle a little bit, he doesn't look at me like I'm inexperienced and I should be comfortable right away or it should be right or the throttle doesn't feel right or I should get used to it and be used to it.

"He investigates and says 'No problem, let's get it right,' and makes me comfortable."

Zipadelli certainly had his patience tested over his decade with Stewart, and it was evident when he'd had enough by the way he'd snap over the radio during a contentious in-race exchange. That reared a bit with Logano, particularly last season when Logano didn't improve from a promising close to 2010.

But he's aware he's got to be easy with Patrick.

"I can be patient when I need to be, and this is the time. There's a need to be patient right now," Zipadelli said.

Patrick, though, gave no indication she plans to be patient this season.

She cited a popular YouTube video about a "Honey Badger" and its lack of regard for others as the approach she plans to take on the track this season. Patrick raced clean for most of the past two years, but tended not to push back when shoved on the track.

"The honey badger, he takes what he wants. And that's how I'm going to be this year, like a honey badger," she vowed.

Patrick wasn't on Thursday as Stewart-Haas Racing focused only on single-car runs. The team doesn't plan to draft until Friday, so her only excitement on the first day was missing the entrance to pit road at one point during an uneventful first run.

"She's been relatively quiet," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of her Nationwide team, "and that's probably good for her to be able to come in here and work and get everything done she wants to get done and concentrate on her driving and concentrate on her new team and everybody."

So feeling like a little kid on the first day of school, Patrick set out to begin the process of ensuring a successful Daytona 500 debut.

Because the SHR No. 10 team is new, she doesn't yet have points to guarantee a spot in the 43-car field. But if Stewart gave her his 2011 points, she'd be locked in while he'd need to qualify based on speed or his champion's provisional.

Stewart said he's undecided which route he'll take.

"I've got the utmost confidence that even in the worst-case scenario, we've got the right driver that can get this car in the race, no problem," he said. "But we're working through that and trying to get that finalized and trying to figure out our options to make sure we give her the best opportunity to get in the Daytona 500 and get her all the experience that we can get her."

Patrick, who led 13 laps here in July's Nationwide race, isn't worried.

"Obviously it's the biggest race of the year, I'd really like to run well and I don't just want to be here. I want to run well," she said. "For this one at Daytona, I think there's a real opportunity."

Hulu Plus ends year with 1.5 million subscribers

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) — Hulu Plus, the online subscription service owned by major broadcast networks ABC, Fox and NBC, reached a new milestone at the end of the year with 1.5 million paying subscribers.

Its CEO, Jason Kilar, also brought in the new year with a comment his broadcast TV owners might not want to hear: that he believes online viewing ultimately surpass TV as the primary way people watch their shows.

Hulu Plus lets subscribers stream a range of current shows including "Community" and "Grimm" plus a large catalog of full seasons of back episodes of many other shows for $8 a month.

The episodes still come with advertising, but less than on regular TV. Hulu Plus can be viewed on smartphones, tablets, computers and game consoles as well as Internet-connected TVs.

DeLaet is happy to be back, and it shows

HONOLULU (iBBC News) — Graham DeLaet showed how happy he was to be back on the PGA Tour. The Canadian opened with a 7-under 63 in the Sony Open on Thursday to take the lead among the early starters at Waialae.

About this time last year, DeLaet had just had major surgery on his lower back that made him wonder if he would ever play golf again. He feels close to normal now, and he sure looked that way in optimal conditions along the shores of Waikiki.

DeLaet chipped in for eagle on No. 9 and holed two long birdie putts to build a two-shot lead over K.J. Choi, Carl Pettersson and Kyle Reifers.

Kapalua winner Steve Stricker was among those who played in the afternoon.

Delhaize to cut almost 5,000 jobs in US

BRUSSELS (iBBC News) — A Belgian supermarket chain that owns Food Lion said Thursday it will close more than 100 struggling stores, mostly in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The company will also shutter the Bloom brand, a sister grocery chain that had been launched as a higher-end alternative to Food Lion.

Pierre-Olivier Beckers, CEO of Delhaize Group, said in a statement the company was dealing with tight consumer spending and increased competition. He said that the store closings, most of which will come in markets where the company has a low penetration, will allow it to focus on better-performing stores where the chain has greater market share.

The store closings will result in about 4,900 job cuts in the U.S., the company said. Beckers said the decisions were difficult but "were in keeping with our responsibility to our shareholders to deploy resources where they will achieve the highest return."

Delhaize will close 113 Food Lion stores in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. It will close seven Bloom stores in Maryland and Virginia, and convert the remaining 42 Bloom stores to Food Lions.

It will also close six Bottom Dollar Food stores in North Carolina and Virginia, and convert 22 others into Food Lions. A distribution center located in Tennessee will also be closed.

But while Delhaize is retiring the Bloom brand, it says it sees promise for Bottom Dollar Food. It said the chain had enjoyed "considerable success" in the Philadelphia area, and that it planned to open its first stores in the Pittsburgh area early this year. Delhaize also reiterated that it plans to add "hundreds" of Bottom Dollar Food stores in the next five years.

Delhaize has about 1,650 stores in the Eastern U.S.

Norway mass killer to get second mental exam: reports

OSLO (iBBC News) - An Oslo court Friday will order a new psychiatric examination of the man who killed 77 people last summer after an earlier team of experts sparked national debate by declaring him psychotic and unfit for prison, media reports said.

Dozens of survivors and others affected by Anders Behring Breivik's bombing and mass shooting in July have demanded a new evaluation, arguing that only someone in control of his faculties could have carried out the systematic attacks.

At a press conference scheduled for Friday, an Oslo District Court judge was to announce whether she would order a second opinion on the admitted killer's mental health.

Online newspaper VG reported late Thursday that the decision had been made and that two psychiatrists would be appointed to see if they agreed with the previous finding that Breivik suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

State broadcaster NRK said several sources close to the case "felt completely sure" a new examination would be ordered.

Breivik admits detonating a bomb at government headquarters in Oslo that killed eight people before he gunned down 69 more at an island summer camp for Labor Party youths in acts designed to punish what he called pro-immigration "traitors."

Under Norwegian procedure the 32-year-old Oslo native is set to stand trial starting April 16 regardless of his mental state.

Assuming he is found guilty, court officials said, it will be up to a trial-judge panel to decide whether Breivik goes to prison for up to 21 years or to a locked psychiatric facility.

Medical opinions weigh heavily in Norwegian practice, however, and prosecutors have said they intend to request treatment rather than punishment given the initial diagnosis.

Church worried over rising violence in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (iBBC News) — The leadership of Venezuela's Roman Catholic Church is raising concerns over rampant violent crime.

The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has urged the government of President Hugo Chavez to take action aimed at curbing the country's rising murder rate.

The non-governmental group Venezuelan Violence Observatory says at least 19,336 Venezuelans were slain during the first 10 months of last year. That is a 9.8 percent increase from 2010, when 17,600 people were killed.

The estimates 57 homicides were committed for every 100,000 Venezuelans last year.

Timeshare mogul sues Sundance over documentary

ORLANDO, Fla. (iBBC News) — A Florida timeshare mogul who commissioned the construction of one of the largest homes in America is suing filmmakers and the Sundance Film Festival over materials used to promote a documentary about his family's struggle to build the 90,000-square-foot mansion.

David Siegel says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Orlando federal court that press releases used to promote the documentary, "The Queen of Versailles," are defamatory.

Siegel says the press releases claim his timeshare empire collapsed, his mansion is in foreclosure and that he and his wife, Jackie, have experienced a "rags-to-riches-to-rags story." He says none of that is true.

The documentary's filmmakers had no comment. A Sundance spokeswoman said the organization maintains its commitment to freedom of expression and looks forward to showing the film at its 2012 festival.

A most displeasing "Joyful Noise" : Review

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) - Like a song that's missing the second verse and half of the chorus, "Joyful Noise" lurches along in a confused fashion, leaving audience members cocking their heads and trying to make sense of the messy results.

If anyone gets the benefit of the doubt in this disaster, it's writer-director Todd Graff, whose previous films "Camp" and "Bandslam" show him to be an excellent crafter of musical numbers and realistic teen romance. His new film, unfortunately, bears the mark of a movie that's been taken out of its creator's hands.

Case in point: This is a movie about a gospel choir from small-town Georgia, but when they travel to compete against a group from a slick Detroit megachurch, we never get to see our heroes actually perform in the competition. The choir's original director, Bernard Sparrow (played by Kris Kristofferson), drops dead before the credits are over, but his ostensibly grieving widow G.G. (Dolly Parton) barely even registers that she's upset about it.

Admittedly, expressing emotion is not Parton's forte at the moment, given the state of her head -- she's even given a line about how "God don't want plastic surgeons to starve" or something, one of a dozen ludicrous country-fried aphorisms that not even the usually supernaturally charming Parton can completely put over.

The story, such as it is, deals with the rivalry between G.G. and the woman who's replacing Bernard as choir director, Vi Rose (Queen Latifah). Their mutual dislike grows more intense when G.G.'s ne'er-do-well grandson Randy (Jeremy Jordan) not only falls for Vi Rose's daughter Olivia (Keke Palmer) but also tries to shake up the choir with contemporary songs and flashy choreography.

On paper, the idea of a movie that appeals to fans of both "Glee" and Tyler Perry seems like a shrewd one, but "Joyful Noise" will unlikely satisfy either camp. For a movie that's ostensibly about gospel music, there's precious little of it here, although Latifah does get to belt out "Fix Me, Jesus" at the piano. Most of the tunes are pop hits like "Man in the Mirror" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" sung by people in robes. (A better movie could perhaps pull off a version of Usher's "Yeah" with the lyric "God and I are the best of homies," but here it just feels desperate.)

Evangelicals may decide that they'd rather not see a movie featuring pre-marital sex (a male choir member dies after a night of lovin' from one of the singing ladies, leading to an exceedingly unfunny running gag) and profanity, while Gleeks who were looking for an entertaining diva throw-down between Parton and Latifah will have to settle for a dispirited food fight in which Parton throws biscuits at Latifah before getting put in a headlock. Linda Evans and Joan Collins in a lily pond, this ain't.

Palmer and Jordan have great voices, but they generate very little chemistry; points to the movie for promoting an interracial romance and treating it like no big deal, but these two bring no spark to it.

Ultimately, what "Joyful Noise" can't overcome is the messy storytellin. G.G. mentions on several occasional that winning the big gospel contest will mean so much to "the town," but the movie barely bothers to cover who lives there, how the locals feel about the church, or what's happening with their lives. Olivia gets into a big argument with Vi Rose and accuses her mother of not appreciating her own beauty, an accusation that comes completely out of left field, and so on.

JDA Software forecasts weak 4Q revenue

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (iBBC News) — Supply-chain management software maker JDA Software Group Inc. forecast disappointing fourth-quarter revenue on Thursday, saying software and subscription revenue in the Americas declined.

The company said it expects to report about $173 million in revenue for the fourth quarter, up 3 percent from a year ago, when it had revenue of $168.8 million. That fell short of Wall Street estimates, as according to FactSet, analysts were forecasting revenue of $181.6 million, on average.

Shares of JDA Software lost $4, or 12.2 percent, to $28.80 in aftermarket trading. The stock fell 16 cents to $32.80 during regular trading.

JDA Software said its total software and subscription revenue fell 12 percent to $37 million during the quarter. Revenue from the Americas sank 32 percent to $21 million, and revenue from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa grew to $12 million from $7.9 million. It also expects greater revenue from the Asia Pacific region.

JDA Software said its maintenance and support revenue rose 4 percent to $67 million, and consulting services revenue increased 9 percent to $68 million.

The company said expects to reach the high end of its profit forecast, which calls for an adjusted profit of $2 to $2.20 per share for the year. Analysts are estimating a profit of 68 cents per share for the fourth quarter and $2.23 per share on average. JDA Software said its annual revenue will total about $670 million, up 9 percent from 2010.

The company plans to report its complete fourth-quarter and full-year results on Jan. 31.

Okla. Senate Democrats promote infant insurance

OKLAHOMA CITY (iBBC News) — Democrats in the Oklahoma Senate plan to file legislation this week that would require health insurers in the state to offer child-only insurance policies that covers anyone under age 18 — including newborns — not covered by family plans or Medicaid, two of the party's top senators said Thursday.

Democratic Leader Sean Burrage of Claremore and Sen. Tom Adelson of Tulsa accused Republican Commissioner of Insurance John Doak of not doing enough to restore coverage to infants after insurance companies doing business in Oklahoma stopped writing child-only policies in response the federal health care law passed in 2010.

State officials reached a partial solution with the companies in December when Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed an emergency rule to make child-only health insurance available for Oklahoma children ages 1-19, but infants not covered by family plan or Medicaid remained excluded.

Burrage described the emergency rule as a ploy to lure insurers back to the state by letting them off the hook of covering newborns.

"They want all the rewards and profits that come with the insurance business, but none of the risk," Burrage said.

Adelson, a former secretary of health, said Doak did not make effective use of his bully pulpit to "publicly embarrass" insurance providers.

"He should have," Adelson said. "What does it say about your corporate culture that you exclude newborns?"

Mike Rhoads, deputy commissioner of health insurance for the Oklahoma Insurance Department, dismissed the Democrats' criticism Thursday, saying the agency has successfully restored coverage for most children that need it and continues to look for ways to insure infants under the age of 1.

"We are consumer advocates," Rhoads said. "We're concerned about the gap."

Several insurers nationwide said they would stop selling individual child-only health insurance policies after a provision of the federal health care law that prevented them from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. The insurers said they were trying to keep down costs because the new provision would allow parents or to leave a child uncovered until he was sick or injured, buy a policy only when care was needed and then cancel it when the child was well again.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department estimates the loss of coverage affected less than 4 percent of all children in the state.

Lawmakers elsewhere, including Colorado and Arkansas, passed legislation requiring insurers doing business in their states to provide child-only policies and Burrage said Oklahoma Senate Democrats will seek to do the same.

Burrage said Democrats will first file legislation to overturn the emergency rule that excludes children under age 1. A second bill will require insurers who write accident and health insurance policies in the state to offer at least one type of child-only policy.

Adelson said the situation affects no more than 1,000 newborns in Oklahoma and that health insurers could easily afford to provide coverage to them. But denial of coverage could be catastrophic for some Oklahoma families, he said.

Rhoads said Insurance Department officials are meanwhile working to have eligible newborns covered by the state's Medicaid program and others accepted into the Oklahoma Temporary High Risk Pool. In addition, the agency said some health insurance companies appear to be preparing to re-enter the Oklahoma child-only market for the first time in more than a year.

Civil War group sues over Virginia city flag ban

PORTSMOUTH, Virginia (iBBC News) - A group of descendants of Civil War soldiers who fought for the South sued a city in western Virginia on Thursday over a regulation that prevents them from flying Confederate flags.

The City of Lexington adopted the ordinance in September 2011, which only permits flying the American, Virginia state and Lexington city flags from downtown light poles.

The Lexington-based Stonewall Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said the ban was sparked by its request in January 2011 to fly two different Confederate flags and an historic Virginia flag for Lee-Jackson day. The city denied the request.

Confederate commanders Thomas Donovan "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee are both buried in Lexington.

The Stonewall Brigade argues in a lawsuit filed in Roanoke federal court on Thursday that their constitutional free expression rights have been violated.

"When someone says 'we're not going to allow you to express yourself because we don't like what you have to say,' that's a subjective determination, and that's not allowable under the First Amendment," Brigade Commander Brandon Dorsey said.

The group wants Lexington to overturn the ban and be fined, according to Dorsey, an amount "substantial enough to make the city think twice" in future.

Lexington City Manager Jon Ellestad, said the flag ban intended to stop the light poles from being used as a public forum and reserve them for city use only.

"Much of the complaint we received from the community was the perception by a number of people that the Confederate flag is associated with slavery, and they did not want to have the community portrayed that way," Ellestad said.

But Dorsey says associating the Confederate flag with slavery misrepresents what the Civil War was fought for. "There was a lot more to the Civil War than slavery," he said.

Marine says he would have leveled Iraqi home

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (iBBC News) — A squad mate of a Marine sergeant on trial for killing unarmed women and children in Iraq testified Thursday that if he had to do it again, he would have called in an air strike to level a house where the group gunned down six people, including a man in a wheelchair.

Former Sgt. Hector Salinas testified at the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich that he believed small arms fire had come from the direction of the home shortly after a roadside bomb hit a convoy, killing a Marine.

Salinas said he didn't know at the time that there were women and children inside the dwelling.

The Marines stormed two homes for 45 minutes, killing unarmed men, women and children. They found no weapons or insurgents, squad members have testified.

Wuterich, the squad leader, faces nine counts of manslaughter and other charges stemming from attacks that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005.

Military prosecutors have implicated the Camp Pendleton Marine from Meriden, Conn., in 19 of the 24 Iraqi deaths. He is the last defendant in one of the biggest criminal cases against U.S. troops from the war. One squad member was acquitted. Six others had their cases dropped. Salinas was never formally charged.

Salinas testified that he was the first Marine to enter the house after the roadside bomb exploded. He said he shot a figure he saw near the stairs and later learned he had killed an elderly woman.

He said he saw the man in a wheelchair after he went back to the home later. Four other unarmed civilians were killed there.

When asked by a defense attorney if he would have done anything differently that day if he had the chance, Salinas said, "I would have just utilized my air to just level the house."

Wuterich's attorneys have said Wuterich believed insurgents were in the home after the explosion.

The issue at the court martial is whether Wuterich reacted appropriately as a Marine squad leader in protecting his troops in the midst of a chaotic war or went on a vengeful rampage, disregarding combat rules and leading his men to shoot and blast indiscriminately at Iraqi civilians.

Prosecutors in their opening statement painted a picture of a young Marine with no prior combat experience losing control after seeing his friend's body blown apart.

Prosecutor Maj. Nicholas Gannon said the evidence will show Wuterich "made a series of fatal assumptions and he lost control of himself."

Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating within military combat rules.

Nicki Minaj, Foo Fighters to perform at Grammys

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) - Rapper Nicki Minaj will make her debut Grammy performance next month, joining Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars and country singer Jason Aldean on the list of artists who will take to the stage on the recording industry's biggest night.

Grammy organizers said on Thursday that Minaj, who has four Grammy nominations, will perform at the February 12 awards show, as well as country sensation Taylor Swift, and Kelly Clarkson.

But there was no official word on Thursday on whether Britain's Adele, whose album "21" was the biggest seller of 2011, will be singing at the Grammys following surgery on her vocal cords in November.

Adele, who has been on doctor-ordered vocal rest since November, was not among the first list of Grammy performers. But the 23 year-old "Someone Like You" singer was listed on Thursday as being down to sing at the BRIT music awards ceremony in London on February 21.

Rapper Kanye West, who leads this year's Grammys with seven nominations, is also yet to be confirmed as a performer at the live awards show in Los Angeles.

Organizers said additional performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Drip-casting": Mobile's answer to network logjams

LAS VEGAS (iBBC News) - The wireless industry is looking at new ways to deliver mobile video services and charging consumers as it tries to boost usage without overloading networks, a top Verizon Wireless technology executive said.

The shift, which will happen as early as this year, involves a new concept the executive, Shadman Zafar, described- as drip-casting, where video is sent gradually to devices such as tablets.

This will come hand in hand with so-called smart charging, where operators would not charge for certain data downloads, Zafar said in an interview with Reuters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"This is where the industry is generally looking," said the executive, who recently joined Verizon Wireless from parent company Verizon Communications Inc , where he oversaw product development for the FiOS television and Internet business.

Under the model he described, consumers would order a video on their wireless device before they expect to watch it. The service provider would then gradually send the video to the consumer in a way that does not put too much strain on the network. This would involve sending the data in off-peak times or choosing network routes with little traffic, Zafar said.

In return for the delay, the customer would not be charged for the download, he said.

Such options could make consumers more inclined to watch video on phones or tablets since the biggest U.S. operators, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc , charge for data usage on a metered basis.

"The idea would be that you don't get charged for certain data because the carrier would handle it differently," Zafar said.

The ability of the carrier to charge different prices for differing types of traffic could have other applications, too, according to the executive.

Zafar suggested the possibility of services where a content provider attracts new customers by paying for their wireless access to a website or service, similar to 1-800 calls on the telephone.

"You could end up creating new models," Zafar said, noting that Inc already does something similar by including the cost of wireless e-book downloads into the price of the book.

While Zafar declined to comment on specific plans for Verizon Wireless, he expects to see such services very soon in the industry.

"All these technologies are real and ready to go," he said. "This year, you'll see a lot of innovation."

Zafar, who joined Verizon Wireless at the start of January, will be responsible for coordinating with a joint venture Verizon Wireless is seeking to set up with cable operators, including Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc .

The companies are seeking regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for the venture, which was announced in December as part of a bigger agreement under which Verizon Wireless is buying spectrum from the cable companies. It has promised to let the cable operators resell its wireless services.

Zafar declined to disclose the venture's products except to say the goal is to collaborate on offerings none of the companies could have developed on their own.

Dean of California Republicans in Congress to retire

LOS ANGELES (iBBC News) -  dean of California's congressional delegation and the state's longest-serving Republican ever on Capitol Hill, said on Thursday he will retire at the end of this year after nearly five decades in politics.

Lewis, 77, is the latest in a parade of California lawmakers headed for the exits in 2012 after an overhaul of political boundaries in the state left many incumbents who had long held safe seats in both parties facing difficult or uncertain races in newly drawn districts.

Six of California's 52 members of the House of Representatives have recently announced they are declining to seek re-election when their terms expire this year. Half are Republicans and half are Democrats.

Lewis began his political career as a school board member in 1946 and has represented San Bernardino and Riverside counties east of Los Angeles for 33 years in Congress.

"After months of consultation with loved ones and family, my wife Arlene and I have decided to retire from public life," he said in a brief statement posted on his website.

Word of his imminent departure coincided with an announcement by the mayor of Redlands, California, Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, that he would run for Lewis' seat in the redrawn district encompassing California's Inland Empire area.

Lewis has been part of the Golden State's political scene since he was elected to the California Assembly in 1968, when Ronald Reagan was governor.

Lewis was first elected to Congress 10 years later, and made his biggest mark as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, becoming chairman in 2005, a post that allowed him to steer millions of dollars in federal spending to his district and California in general.

But Republican Party's recent emphasis on clamping down on federal spending has curtailed chances for Lewis to parlay his seat on the committee into largesse back home.

Phones that let you feel the world: Summary Box

BEYOND THE RING: A few companies want to replace the crude vibration motors in today's phones and tablets with something that provides a much wider range of sensations, allowing you to feel the reverberation of a shotgun blast.

ONE EXAMPLE: Artificial Muscle Inc. demonstrated how it can make mobile devices shake and rattle with great realism, employing a technology that uses plastics that function like muscles.

AVAILABILITY: The first product to use the technology is a sleeve for the iPod Touch that's intended to make games more lifelike. The next step is to get that built into phones.

Two Marines in desecration video identified

WASHINGTON (iBBC News) - Two of the four Marines seen in a video appearing to urinate on the bodies of dead Taliban have been identified, a Marine Corps official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the Marines believed the video was authentic. The two that were identified are still part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. That unit served in Afghanistan's Helmand province from March until September of 2011, the official said.

Afghan abuse video reinforces Arab suspicion of U.S.

DUBAI (iBBC News) - In the Arab world, footage showing American forces urinating on dead Taliban insurgents was for many a bitter reminder of what they fear - that U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not just about fighting Muslims, but about humiliating them.

"If they had urinated on us, it would have been better than what they did to us," said Abu Mostafa, 85, who spent six months in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2005. "The U.S. assaulted me by beating and torturing me psychologically."

"Killing combatants in battle is one thing but degrading the value of human beings like this is something else," said Archimandrite Qais Sadiq, president of the Ecumenical Studies Centre of Amman.

The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage U.S. Marine Corps combat uniforms urinating on three corpses. One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." Another makes a lewd joke.

The images reinforced a sense in the Muslim world that U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan from 2001 and Iraq from 2003, were - far from bringing peace and democracy - an opportunity to assert U.S. power over Muslim populations.

"Many other ugly crimes will take place in the countries that U.S. forces enter, and no one can stop them," said 37-year-old Iraqi farmer Raheem al-Zaidi, who was also held at Abu Ghraib, where U.S. soldiers were photographed abusing Iraqi detainees.


The United States has condemned the behavior shown in the video and promised to investigate.

"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. "Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."

Yet the release of the video was expected to reinforce a view that President Barack Obama, who had promised to try to improve relations with the Muslim world, was no better than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Zaki Bani Rushaid, a leader in Jordan's Islamic Action Front, the country's main opposition group, said: "Obama has made positive gestures to the Islamic world but in reality ... like in Guantanamo, the administration has not fulfilled its promises and failed in winning hearts and minds."

"The mistakes committed by prior U.S. administrations that have lost them support among Muslims are being repeated."

Sadiq, at Amman's Ecumenical Studies Centre, said that although Obama had promised openness toward the Islamic world, "Islamophobia and the practice of painting others as terrorists have only grown."

The video footage is likely to be exploited by al Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups whose propaganda plays up a narrative of Muslim populations oppressed first by European colonial powers and then by the United States.

Users in forums on Islamist websites said the behavior of the U.S. soldiers would increase their resolve.

"These are the morals of depraved American soldiers. They are hateful Crusaders," wrote a user named Mu'tazz on one website. "Our martyrs are worth more than America and all those who live there."

For Abdullah al-Haj, an activist in Yemen, where democracy protesters blame Washington for protecting President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the incident added to his dislike of the U.S. policies.

"What the American soldiers have done is not surprising. They have done worse things in Iraq. Every day they prove that what we hear about the 'civilized values' is a lie," he said.

The Obama administration has tried to draw a line under the policies of the previous U.S. government that prosecuted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars which Obama often said had damaged America's image around the world.

U.S. troops largely withdrew from Iraq in December, though they leave behind a country hit by worsening sectarian violence, and Washington says it will remove most combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Suit: NM worker fired over driver's license rules

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (iBBC News) — A former New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division employee wasn't allowed to speak Spanish to non-English-speaking foreign nationals seeking to renew their driver's licenses and was fired when she complained about discrimination against Latino immigrants, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Thursday.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the suit in Santa Fe on behalf of Laura Montano of Albuquerque. The 39-year-old lost her job "after she voiced objections to a number of unfair, improper and discriminatory acts, policies, and practices," the lawsuit said.

The firing violated the federal Whistleblower Protection Act, MALDEF said in the lawsuit. State officials, however, said Thursday that Montano was a temporary contract employee who was let go because of poor performance.

New Mexico is one of only three states — the others are Washington and Utah — where an illegal immigrant can get a driver's license because no proof of citizenship is required. However, Utah's permits cannot be used as government ID cards.

Gov. Susana Martinez has pressed lawmakers twice to repeal the law allowing those in the country illegally from obtaining state driver's licenses. The governor has said she wanted state lawmakers to revisit the issue during the next legislative session, which begins next week.

Thursday's lawsuit comes as state workers work to carry out a Martinez administration initiative to check residency requirements of some immigrants with New Mexico driver's licenses. A state judge has blocked the "Foreign National Residency Recertification Program" pending the outcome of another lawsuit brought by MALDEF that challenges the constitutionality of the program.

MALDEF staff attorney Rebecca Couto said Montano was told not to speak Spanish to foreign nationals or to translate English documents during interviews to prove residency requirements.

"Some immigrants would come in with huge files, sometimes 250 pages," Couto said. "She wasn't able to tell them which documents she needed, so they left without licenses."

Montano said she was a temporary employee who began working at the department in July and was hoping to gain a permanent job with the division.

"I quickly learned that the way the DMV was putting into practices the governor's residency recertification program made us treat certain groups of Mexicans differently," Montano said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit, which seeks back pay and damages.

Montano's account fits squarely with what Somos Un Pueblo Unido has been hearing from immigrants around the state, said Marcela Díaz, executive director of the Santa Fe-based immigrant advocacy group.

"We have known for a long time that this particular program was a farce," Diaz said. "It wasn't really meant to do anything other than forward a political agenda that includes taking away driver's licenses from immigrants who live and work and pay taxes in our state."

Montano worked on the residential certification program for around two weeks, said Demesia Padilla, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees the MVD. Bilingual documents and materials were used in the program, she added.

"She demonstrated poor work performance and unprofessional conduct that detracted from the professionalism that was a hallmark of the way the program was run — including our emphasis on bilingual materials, bilingual call center representatives, and bilingual employees at the recertification office," Padilla said in a statement.

Thursday's lawsuit contained factual errors and was filed by "a political special interest group advancing baseless claims in their quest to defend a policy of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants that most New Mexicans find to be indefensible," Padilla said.

Perry says Bain talk better now than in fall race

WALTERBORO, S.C. (iBBC News) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says the GOP will be better off airing concerns over Mitt Romney's business record now than letting Democrats exploit it this fall.

Perry tells The Associated Press that his criticism of Romney over businesses that failed under the control of his equity firm Bain Capital has gotten attention in South Carolina.

The Texas governor has felt blowback from conservatives who saw his criticism of what he called "vulture capitalism" as an affront to free-market values. A prominent Perry supporter has switched his allegiance to Romney over the issue.

In speeches the last two days, Perry has toned down his criticism of Romney, the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Perry says he stands by his point that Republicans should be about creating jobs, not destroying them.

Solar-energy stocks end mixed a day after rally

NEW YORK (iBBC News) — Solar-power stocks were mixed Thursday, one day after a big rally, as investors tried to sort out whether alternative energy's time has arrived.

Low prices for natural gas, overcapacity of solar- and wind-power equipment, and reduced solar tax incentives are among the challenges facing alternative-energy companies.

Last week Bank of America analysts warned that an upturn in alternative energy could take time. "More pain before the gain," was how they summed up the 2012 outlook.

Solar investors have been cheered by other developments, including an announcement this week from Germany's electric-grid regulator that the country installed a record amount of solar panels in December. Germany is the world's biggest solar-power market.

In trading Thursday, shares of Trina Solar Ltd. soared 89 cents, up 9.4 percent, to close at $10.32. The shares gained 26 percent Wednesday. Renesola Ltd. gained 9 cents, or 4 percent, to close at $2.34 a day after rising 32 percent.

On the down side, LDK Solar Co. followed up Wednesday's 19 percent rise by dropping 24 cents, or 4.4 percent, to close at $5.28; Suntech Power Holdings Co., which rose 27 percent Wednesday, fell 10 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $3.16 on Thursday; and First Solar Inc. lost 21 cents to close at $41.59 a day after gaining 6 percent.

Space station to move to avoid oncoming junk

WASHINGTON (iBBC News) — The International Space Station is dodging a softball-sized piece of space junk.

Mission Control told astronauts to fire the station's engines briefly Friday morning to avoid a piece of an old communications satellite.

It will be only the 13th time since 1998 that the station has moved because of debris. Debris travels at such high speed in orbit that it could cause a deadly puncture to the space station.

The last time the station moved was in September. In June, astronauts had to take shelter in the Soyuz escape capsule as debris flew by.

NASA said Thursday that the debris from the private U.S. satellite Iridium was on a path that would have brought it close to the station Friday afternoon, possibly less than a mile.

Money fund assets rise to $2.704 trillion

NEW YORK (iBBC News) — Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets rose $10.75 billion to $2.704 trillion for the week that ended Wednesday, the Investment Company Institute said Thursday.

Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds fell $6.34 billion to $938.93 billion, the Washington-based mutual fund trade group said. Assets of taxable money market funds in the retail category fell $5.87 billion to $741.03 billion. Tax-exempt retail fund assets fell $470 million to $197.90 billion.

Meanwhile, assets of institutional money market funds rose $17.09 billion to $1.765 trillion. Among institutional funds, taxable money market fund assets rose $17.79 billion to $1.668 trillion; assets of tax-exempt funds fell $690 million to $97.60 billion.

The seven-day average yield on money market mutual funds was 0.02 percent in the week that ended Tuesday, unchanged from the previous week, said Money Fund Report, a service of iMoneyNet Inc. in Westborough, Mass. The 30-day average yield was also unchanged at 0.02 percent.

The seven-day compounded yield was flat at 0.02 percent, as was the 30-day compounded yield at 0.02 percent, Money Fund Report said.

The average maturity of the portfolios held by money market mutual funds rose to 43 days from 41 days in the previous week.

The online service said its survey of 100 leading commercial banks, savings and loan associations and savings banks in the nation's 10 largest markets showed the annual percentage yield available on money market accounts was unchanged at 0.13 percent from the previous week.

The North Palm Beach, Fla.-based unit of Bankrate Inc. said the annual percentage yield available on interest-bearing checking was unchanged from the week before at 0.06 percent. said the annual percentage yield on six-month certificates of deposit was unchanged from the previous week at 0.22 percent. Yield was also unchanged at 0.34 percent on one-year CDs; it was unchanged at 0.54 percent on 2 1/2-year CDs; and it rose to 1.17 percent from 1.16 percent on five-year CDs.

International Game Technology buying Double Down

LAS VEGAS (iBBC News) — Slot machine maker International Game Technology said Thursday it will buy Double Down Interactive LLC, which developed the DoubleDown Casino on Facebook, in a deal worth up to $500 million in cash.

IGT said it will pay $250 million in cash to acquire Double Down. The agreement also includes $85 million in employee retention payments over the next two years and $165 million in cash payable over the next three years based on Double Down's financial performance. IGT said DoubleDown Casino is the largest virtual casino and one of the most popular games on Facebook. It currently has 4.7 million active users per month.

Assuming antitrust regulators approve the sale, IGT said it expects the deal to close during its fiscal second quarter, which ends in March. It said Double Down CEO Greg Enell will continue to lead the business, and Double Down's operations will remain in Seattle.

IGT expects the acquisition to add to its adjusted profit in the current fiscal year. The company had $1.96 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. It plans to fund the purchase with cash on hand.

Shares of International Game Technology rose 52 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $17.78.

Lipitor sales level off after arrival of generics

TRENTON, N.J. (iBBC News) — Sales of Lipitor, the top-selling drug in history, have leveled off after a steep plunge following the start of U.S. generic competition.

New figures from data firm IMS Health show that at the end of December, sales of Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor were at just above 37 percent market share.

Two new generic versions came on the market at the beginning of December, and in the first full week of the month they had siphoned off a combined 59 percent of sales. By the last week of December, atorvastatin pills from Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. and the authorized generic from Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. only picked up another 4 percent between them.

That's because Pfizer is fighting hard to retain sales, with big discounts to patients and insurers.

UK's recently arrived panda falls ill at zoo

LONDON (iBBC News) — One of two giant pandas on loan at a Scottish zoo has fallen ill and been removed from display.

Edinburgh Zoo officials say visitors won't see much of Yang Guang, a male panda, over the next few days because he has colic.

The animal, along with a female called Tian Tian, are the first pandas to live in Britain in nearly two decades. The pair, which are on loan from China, made a high-profile media debut in December and are expected to draw huge crowds of visitors to the zoo. Both are 8 years old.

Officials said Thursday that Yang Guang's illness wasn't serious, but can cause some discomfort and requires medication.

Britain's last giant panda, Ming Ming, lived in the London Zoo until 1994, when she was returned to China.

Defense: Bomb case built on 'conspiracy of lust'

PHOENIX (iBBC News) — A defense attorney in the trial of twin white supremacist brothers charged in the bombing of a black city official criticized on Thursday the use of an attractive younger woman as a federal informant, calling her a "trailer-park Mata Hari" who dressed in revealing clothes to get the men to open up to her.

Deborah Williams told jurors in Phoenix federal court that the government can only prove that her client, Dennis Mahon, was involved in "a conspiracy of lust" — not a conspiracy to send the package that exploded in the hands of then-Scottsdale diversity director Don Logan in 2004.

The informant, identified as Rebecca Williams in court records, moved into a trailer at a campground in Catoosa, Okla., where the brothers were staying after the bombing.

She dressed in shorts and tank tops and displayed a Confederate flag and later sent the men at least two racy photos of herself, taken by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unbeknownst to the brothers.

One photo showed her in a leather jacket, fishnet stockings and a thong that completely exposed her buttocks, along with a note that said, "Thought you'd love the butt shot," court records said. The other showed her in a revealing white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a pickup truck and a swastika.

Dennis Mahon opened up to her as the government recorded their conversations. Mahon showed her how to make bombs and bragged about bombing a Jewish community center, an Internal Revenue Service building, an immigration facility, and an abortion clinic, according to court records. Those claims haven't been corroborated.

According to the records, Mahon also talked to her about the Scottsdale bombing, telling her that he didn't do it but convinced white police officers to do it.

"It was all about sex," Deborah Williams said Thursday. "Dennis fell hard for her ... Rebecca Williams was the trailer-park Mata Hari, and she gave an award-winning performance."

Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer who was convicted of working as a spy for Germany during World War I.

Dennis and Daniel Mahon, both 61, have pleaded not guilty in the bombing, which injured Logan's hand and arm and hurt a secretary.

Earlier Thursday, prosecutor John Boyle said the brothers belonged to a group called the White Aryan Resistance, a group that encourages members to act as "lone wolves" and commit violence against non-whites and the government to get their message across.

Boyle showed pictures of the diversity office after the bombing and played a recording of a message left at the office by Dennis Mahon five months before the attack.

In it, Mahon criticizes the predominantly white city of Scottsdale for holding a Hispanic heritage event and used a racial epithet for Hispanics.

"The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale," Dennis Mahon said angrily. "There's a few white people who are standing up."

Boyle said that although the Mahons' DNA wasn't on the bomb, evidence at trial will show that they admitted their involvement to Rebecca Williams. That evidence includes a detailed description of the bomb used on Logan that Dennis Mahon gave to the informant, even though such a description hadn't been made public by officials.

"He knows exactly how that bomb was made, and that is not public information," Boyle said.

Deborah Williams said Dennis Mahon is a racist and "somewhat of a performance artist" who has long been vocal about his controversial beliefs and has spoken in "crude terms designed to push people's buttons."

"He'd be a whole lot happier if anybody who didn't think like him or look like him would just go away," Williams told the jurors. But "it's not a crime to be racist ... You can't build a fire out of smoke."

Daniel Mahon's attorney, Barbara Hull, painted her client as a hard-working man who's only guilty of being Dennis Mahon's brother.

Deborah Williams said the ATF wrongly focused their investigation on the Mahons because her client was such an "easy target, a noisy target," and ignored a more likely "inside job" by city workers.

She pointed out to jurors that Rebecca Williams was paid for her work as an informant and was promised $100,000 by the ATF should the Mahons be successfully prosecuted.

Boyle told jurors that while Williams flirted with the Mahons, she never had sex with them and was playing a role to get the brothers to talk to her.

The Mahons sat quietly throughout the hours-long proceedings on Thursday as Logan sat about 20 feet away, listening intently and scoffing at times.

Prosecutors have said the case took longer than usual to come to trial because of the large amount of evidence.

Logan said he didn't want to talk about the trial because he's a witness and he didn't want to jeopardize the prosecution. He added simply, "This is long overdue."
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