hAIDS Awareness Day
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Ryan Melvin and Sarah Holtz of Bridgeport, Conn., join several hundred others on the steps of the state Capitol for a rally on AIDS Awareness Day. The rally was Wednesday.
Internet drug networkleads to arrests of 20
WASHINGTON -- Authorities said Wednesday they have shattered Internet rings that illegally peddled drugs worldwide to tens of thousands of people, turning the Web into a drug pipeline for teenagers and abusers. Officials announced the arrest of 20 people in eight U.S. cities and at least two other countries over the past two days and described the operation as a major blow to rogue online pharmacies. Drug Enforcement Administrator Karen Tandy said the world of online sales of narcotics, amphetamines and depressants has been burgeoning. Unethical operators make little or no effort to verify the medical needs or ages of buyers. The illicit sales amounted to more than $6 million, officials said, adding that they are seeking the forfeiture of 41 bank accounts.
Judge to accept pleaof guilt from Moussaoui
WASHINGTON -- After more than three years of legal maneuvers and delays, a federal judge indicated Wednesday that she plans to accept a guilty plea from Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person in the United States charged in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema is expected to accept Moussaoui's plea at a hearing slated for Friday afternoon. Moussaoui, 36, a French citizen of Moroccan ancestry, is accused of involvement in an Al-Qaida conspiracy to commit terrorism, including the Sept. 11 attacks, and faces charges that carry the death penalty.
LITTLETON, Colo. -- Friends and family members of those killed in the Columbine school shooting marked the six-year anniversary of the massacre Wednesday by visiting victims' grave sites and placing flowers on black granite crosses honoring the dead. No formal observances were planned in the memory of the 12 students and one teacher who were gunned down in 1999 by students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at the suburban Denver high school. The two teens then shot and killed themselves.
Snowstorm hits Wyoming
ARLINGTON, Wyo. -- A powerful snowstorm pounded Wyoming on Wednesday, dumping 15 inches of snow on some areas and closing a 45-mile stretch of the state's main east-west highway. At least two injury accidents were reported in conditions that included blowing and drifting snow and limited visibility. Several cities reported large snowfall accumulations. Lander had 15 inches of snow, and Sinks Canyon reported 10 inches.
Italian leader calls it quits
ROME -- Italy's longest-lasting government since World War II collapsed Wednesday when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resigned. But the embattled Italian leader vowed to regroup immediately and hold on to power. Reeling from poor local election results, a sluggish economy and protest over Italy's involvement in the war in Iraq, the Berlusconi government has been in crisis for weeks. A parade of coalition partners abandoned Berlusconi and demanded fresh elections. The prime minister, who is also a billionaire businessman and media tycoon, hopes to avoid elections by handing in his resignation and then forming a new government. "I am confident this difficult moment can be overcome," Berlusconi said in an appearance at Parliament.
Move out of Gaza is on
JERUSALEM -- Furniture, computers and uniforms from an army base represent the Israeli military's first concrete step toward a planned pullout this summer. With Israel set to withdraw all troops and settlements from Gaza in just three months, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that he expects Palestinians to loot abandoned sites after the soldiers leave. The comment astonished Palestinian leaders, who say chaos is not inevitable. The army trucks began emptying the base of the Southern Brigade in Neve Dekalim, the largest Jewish settlement in Gaza.