Nation and world briefs

  • Article by: Wire services
  • Updated: February 19, 2013 - 11:08 PM
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several injured in gas main fire in kansas city: Fire and smoke filled the sky Tuesday evening in Kansas City, Mo., after a car hit a gas main near JJ’s restaurant, igniting a blaze that engulfed an entire block and injured several people. JJ’s manager told police that three people were missing, but it was not clear whether they had been caught in the flames or had left earlier.

Photo: Keith Myers • Kansas City Star via Associated Press ,

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Idaho

Man accused of hitting tot appears in court

Joe Rickey Hundley, the Idaho man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight, made an initial appearance in federal court Tuesday in Couer D’Alene. Hundley, 60, surrendered to federal agents and then stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel H. Williams, who appeared via video at the federal courthouse. Hundley, of Hayden, was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.As conditions of his release, he cannot travel outside of Idaho, eastern Washington state, or the northern district of Georgia, where the case will be tried. Hundley was president of Unitech Composites and Structures, an aerospace company in Hayden. But he was fired last weekend because of the incident.

Michigan

Detroit nearer emergency oversight

A review team appointed by the state of Michigan has concluded that Detroit is mired in a serious financial problem, a step that draws the city ever closer to emergency oversight by a state-assigned financial manager. If Gov. Rick Snyder concurs with the findings in the coming days, state officials will appoint an emergency financial manager who would attempt to solve the city’s financial woes, or could ultimately urge Detroit to enter into bankruptcy proceedings. The review team’s conclusion seemed almost inevitable in a city that has wrestled with more than $14 billion in long-term liabilities.

Georgia

Execution halted at the last minute

The execution of a Georgia man who killed a fellow prisoner in 1990 was halted at the last minute so courts could consider claims that he’s mentally disabled and other issues. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted its stay of execution as 52-year-old Warren Lee Hill was being prepared for lethal injection.

Nationwide

Number of farms falls to six-year low

The number of farms in the United States, the world’s biggest agriculture exporter, fell 0.5 percent in 2012 to the lowest since 2006, the government said. Farm operations dropped to 2.17 million, compared with 2.18 million in 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report. The amount of land in use for cultivation or livestock production declined to 914 million acres from 917 million in 2011.

Afghanistan

Civilian deaths dropped in 2012

Civilian deaths caused by the war in Afghanistan have dropped for the first time in six years, the United Nations said in its annual report on the conflict’s toll on non-combatants. The report linked the 12 percent drop in civilian deaths in 2012 to reduced ground fighting by the warring sides, chiefly the Taliban and U.S. troops; a decrease in the number of NATO airstrikes; and fewer suicide attacks by the insurgents.

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