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Blagojevich guilty: 17 counts

A federal jury today convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of corruption.

Blogojevich showed no reaction as the jury found him guilty on 17 of 20 counts against him. He then sat back in his chair with his lips pursed and looked toward his wife Patti and whispered, "I love you."

 As he left hisRavenswood Manor home for the courtroom today, Blagojevich had told reporters, 
“My hands are shaking, my knees are weak.” He said he was praying for the best.  “It’s in God’s hands.”

Blagojevich stopped to hug one onlooker and thanked her for her support.  Another onlooker jeered, calling to Blagojevich to enjoy his time in jail.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the head of Chicago'sFBI office, Robert Grant, were in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

Jurors had barely begun their 10th day of deliberations when they told Judge James Zagel they had reached a verdict on 18 of 20 counts against the former governor.

“The jury has come to a unanimous decision on 18 of 20 counts … We are confident that we will not be able to come to agreement on the two counts even with further deliberation,” a note from the jury read.

Blagojevich took the stand at his retrial and denied all 20 counts. One allegation is that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.

Jurors at Blagojevich's first trial last year came back deadlocked after deliberating for 14 days. They agreed on just one of 24 counts, convicting Blagojevich of lying to theFBI. He faces up to five years on that conviction.

If found guilty on all the counts this time, he faces up to 350 years in prison — though guidelines would dictate he get far less.

Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008, after theFBI had wiretapped hundreds of his telephone calls at work and home. TheIllinois Legislature impeached him a month later.

Both trials hinged on whether the former governor's bold ramblings to aides and others on the telephone was just talk, as he insisted, or part of "a political crime spree," in the words of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Before a national audience, the Blagojevich saga exacerbatedIllinois' reputation for graft. A conviction would mean Blagojevich is the secondIllinois governor in a row facing a prison sentence for corruption. His predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, is serving a 6{ year sentence.

The case also became a media spectacle, as the indicted governor and his wife, Patti, appeared on TV reality shows, and as the loquacious Blagojevich made theatrical appearances daily outside the courthouse during the first trial to profess his innocence and hug his remaining fans.

In a case full of high-level name dropping, defense attorneys in the retrial pulled into court Chicago's new Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Emanuel's appearance on the witness stand, the most anticipated by a Chicago mayor in a federal courtroom in decades, was over in just five minutes. Jackson was done in about half an hour.

Overall, though, the retrial had far less of the circus-like atmosphere that accompanied the initial trial. Blagojevich himself also was more subdued this time.

Other major differences were in the prosecution's dramatically streamlined case, and the fact that the defense put on a case after not doing so the first time around.

Prosecutors dropped racketeering counts against the ex-governor and dismissed all charges against his then co-defendant brother, Robert Blagojevich. They presented just three weeks of evidence — half the time taken at the first trial. They called fewer witnesses, asked fewer questions and played shorter excerpts ofFBI wiretaps that underpin most of the charges.

There was also a new variable at the retrial: The testimony from Blagojevich himself. At the first trial, the defense rested without calling any witnesses and Blagojevich didn't testify despite vowing that he would.

Retrial jurors saw a deferential Blagojevich look them in the eyes and deny every allegation, telling them his talk on the recordings was mere brainstorming. This time, jurors must decide if they believe him.

Contributing: Associated Press

U.S. Veteran Faces Legal Action for Flying American Flag

A member of a military Honor Guard stands at parade rest during a Memorial Day remembrance at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Boston Common in Boston, Thursday morning, May 26, 2011. Ten thousand American flags have been place near the monument to represent the number of Massachusetts citizens who have given their lives in America's wars. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

A retired U.S. Army chaplain is being threatened with legal action for flying the American flag in his front yard, the Daily Mail reports.

Fred Quigley, 77, of Macedonia, Ohio, a minister who served active duty during the Vietnam War, has been told by the homeowners’ association that his flag violates the property rules.

The association has offered to fly the flag at the entrance of the building development, but Quigley refused the offer.

“If they can dictate to me that I cannot fly an American flag in America, then, to me, the country is lost,” Mr. Quigley told the paper.

 Quigley's lawyer Gerald Patronite said the association has no right to stop his client.

According to the Mail, Joseph Migliorini, the representative for the homeowners’ association and former mayor of Macedonia, which is between Cleveland and Akron, said he plans to take Quigley to court if the flagpole is not removed.

Migliorini said: “We just want the rules and regulations followed. “

Members of the local American Legion post joined Quigley last week in a flag-raising ceremony in protest at the association's policy.

Quigley said that he's been given until Monday to remove the flag, or legal action will be taken by the association.

"As a minister and a chaplain, I have fought for people," Quigley said. "Now I fight for myself."

Kansas: Golfers hit consecutive holes-in-one

Greg Bontrager, left, and Justin Pressnall had back-to-back hole-in-ones at the Hesston Golf Course at hole 17. (June 23, 2011) Photo by Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle

BY BOB LUTZ-The Wichita Eagle

What are the odds that a golfer will make a hole in one?

* Two players from the same foursome acing the same hole: 17 million to 1

* One player making two holes-in-one in the same round: 67 million to 1

I'm going to give you the details of what happened last Thursday on hole No. 17 at the Hesston Golf Park. You're not going to believe them. You're going to think I'm making them up to get attention. Or that I've gotten into the liquor cabinet.

On the 212-yard par 3 hole, Greg Bontrager and Justin Pressnall, involved in match play against one another, made back-to-back holes-in-one.

Stay with me here.

Pressnall, raised in Moundridge and now living in McPherson, hit first. The wind was blowing gently toward the No. 17 green as he launched a six-iron.

It was a pretty shot, one that was definitely going to land on the green.

But Paul Voran, who was in the foursome, screamed out that it was something more than just a good shot. He said Pressnall's ball went into the cup, although it was difficult for anyone to see exactly what happened.

Clearly, everyone in the group needed a moment to contemplate. And to wonder.

Then Bontrager, a music teacher in Buhler who lives in Newton, stepped to the tee box. He and Pressnall barely knew one another from their participation in the Hesston men's club. They've never been golfing buddies and could never have known they were about to do something so incredible, so amazing, so unbelievable that they would forever be bound together.

Using a 23-degree hybrid, Bontrager hit his tee shot. Remember, now, everyone on the tee box had just gone through the emotions of what at least one of them swore was a hole-in-one by Pressnall, so the energy level was high.

Bontrager's shot, he said, mirrored the shot hit by Pressnall. The golf ball took the same path of flight and landed on the green and looked to roll straight toward the flag stick.

Could it be? Had a couple of small-town Kansas guys — decent golfers but nothing close to scratch — done the impossible? Or at least accomplished something National Hole-In-One Registry determined has at least 17 million to 1 odds?

But that's on a typical par-3, whatever a typical par-3 is. Hesston's No. 17, at 212 yards, isn't typical.

Hesston pro Scott Welsh, who has been at the course for 11 years, estimates there are three or four holes-in-one on No. 17 a year, among the thousands of rounds played.

"It's not a hole that regularly gives up holes-in-one,'' Welsh said. "I don't remember where the pin was that day, but does it really matter?"

No, probably not.

Neither Bontrager nor Pressnall had ever had a hole-in-one.

As they neared the No. 17 green, neither saw his ball on the green. The anticipation was enormous, but had to be contained. The worst thing would have been for Bontrager and Pressnell to get their hopes up, then be disappointed.

"We all jumped out of our carts and went running up there pretty quick when we noticed there were no balls,'' Pressnall said. "Greg's partner (Voran) got to the hole first and looked into the cup and saw both balls sitting in there.''

Another moment was needed.

"We never really believed it until then,'' Bontrager said. "You want it to be, but you're not going to get too excited before you actually see it.''

At that point, both golfers went a little crazy. It was so loud, they said, that golfers on nearby holes stopped to take notice. And the celebrating lasted for a good long time, a combination of euphoria and disbelief.

Mostly disbelief.

"I've always wanted to just witness a hole-in-one,'' Bontrager said. "It was just crazy.''

The two golfers might have stopped their rounds right there. Called it a night and rushed to a nearby watering hole to rehash the story over and over and over.

But there was a match to be decided. Pressnall had a one-hole match-play lead over Bontrager as they stood on the No. 17 tee and Pressnall, for good reason, probably thought he had locked up the match with his shot.

It turned into a push, however, and Bontrager won No. 18 with a par to Pressnall's bogey. It's probably justice that they tied the match.

Thursday night, Bontrager and Pressnall treated the other players in the men's league to a barbecue and drinks. Probably a few drinks, considering the immensity of their accomplishment.

"If something like this happened on the PGA Tour, I'm sure it would make the Top 10 plays,'' Bontrager said.

Instead, it happened in Hesston, Kan. Two shots heard 'round the world.

Or at least 'round Harvey County.

This is no urban legend. Years from now, when this story of back-to-back holes-in-one is being told yet again, non-believers will be shrill in their skepticism.

But this happened. It really happened.

Rare Billy the Kid photograph sold for $2.3 million

Henry McCarty, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, is pictured in this photograph

By Keith Coffman - DENVER
(Reuters) - The only authenticated photograph of infamous Wild West gunslinger Billy the Kid was auctioned off to Florida billionaire William Koch for an $2.3 million on Saturday night.

Koch, an energy company executive and well-known collector of art and American West artifacts, placed the winning bid in person before stunned onlookers at Brian Lebel's annual Old West Auction in Denver.

Lebel said at an auction preview that he expected the tintype image to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000.

Koch told Reuters after the auction that he plans to allow some small museums to display the piece, and after that he will "just enjoy" the iconic piece.

"I love the old West," he said. "This is a part of American history."

The metallic photo, taken outside a Fort Sumner, New Mexico, saloon in late 1879 or early 1880, depicts the outlaw gripping the upright barrel of a Winchester carbine, with a Colt 45 pistol strapped to his hip.

The photograph was owned by the descendants of Dan Dedrick, who was given the photo by his cattle rustling partner, Billy the Kid himself.

Born Henry McCarty, but known in New Mexico as William Bonney, the Kid was shot dead at age 22 by lawman Pat Garrett in 1881, months after a jailbreak in which Bonney reportedly killed two deputies.

In the 130 years since his death, Billy the Kid has been depicted, with varying degrees of accuracy, in scores of popular culture movies and books.

Koch's winning bid was actually $2 million, but a $300,000 "buyer's premium" was tacked on, bringing the total selling price to $2.3 million, an auction spokeswoman said.

Brian Lebel said he was pleased that the photo wasn't sold to an overseas buyer.

"I'm happy that it will stay in this country and will be shared with the public," he said.

Koch is one of the sons of Fred C. Koch, founder of Wichita, Kansas-based energy conglomerate Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in the United States.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Ellen Wulfhorst)

Gold Cup: Mexico 4–2 USA

Associated Press - US vs Mexico, Gold Cup
Mexico celebrate with the Gold Cup after defeating the USA 4-2 in the final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Photograph: Mike Nelson/EPA

Javier Hernández named the most valuable player.

West Ham United's Pablo Barrera scored twice as Mexico beat the USA 4-2 to claim a second consecutive Concacaf Gold Cup. Andrés Guardado and Giovani dos Santos also scored for Mexico, who have now won the tournament six times. "There's no better moment than victory," Mexico's coach, José Manuel de la Torre, said. "Everything else is in the past now."

The USA got off to a bright start as Michael Bradley headed in Freddy Adu's corner after eight minutes and Landon Donovan added to the lead 15 minutes later.

"You're worried and you don't want to become disorganised," De la Torre said about falling behind early. "The United States was playing well. They surprised us with the first goal. We pushed too far up in the second goal. Fortunately, we were able to maintain our calm."

Barrera scored his first when he sent the ball just inside the right post in the 29th minute and Guardado equalised for Mexico seven minutes later after a deflected pass from Dos Santos found its way into the winger's path.

Barrera gave Mexico the lead in the 50th minute, when he slipped a shot beneath the right hand of Tim Howard. Dos Santos sealed the win in the 76th minute by lofting the ball over Eric Lichaj into an empty net.

"Things were difficult, but the coach told us to fight every single play," said the Manchester United striker Javier Hernández, who scored seven goals and was named the tournament's most valuable player. "Our attitude is in our hands."

The USA coach Bob Bradley said he hoped the loss would be a "learning experience" for his squad. "We're disappointed," he added. "A game like this, when you're together for a month, you feel like you've grown and put yourself in the final and let it get away ... it's an empty feeling."

Donovan said the team did a good job containing Hernández but didn't have an answer for Mexico's other players, including Barrera and Dos Santos. "They're as dynamic as any Mexican team I've played against," he said. "They've got a few guys who can change the game in a heartbeat."

The attendance of 93,420 was the largest for a Gold Cup match in the United States, but the vast majority of the crowd were supporting Mexico.

"Obviously, the support that Mexico has on a night like tonight makes it a home game for them," Bradley said. "It's something that we expected. As a team, we understand that it's part of what we've got to deal with."

Souris River floods North Dakota town

MINOT, N.D. – The Souris River's full weight hit Minot on Friday, swamping an estimated 2,500 homes as it soared nearly 4 feet in less than a day and overwhelmed the city's levees. City officials said they expected more than 4,000 homes to be flooded by day's end.

More than a quarter of the city's 40,000 residents evacuated earlier this week, packing any belongings they hoped to save into cars, trucks and trailers.

"The river's coming up rapidly," Mayor Curt Zimbelman said. "It's dangerous and we need to stay away."

Fed by heavy rains upstream and dam releases that have accelerated in recent days, the Souris surged past a 130-year-old record Friday and kept going. The river was nearly 5 feet above major flood stage Friday afternoon and expected to crest over the weekend after reaching more than 8 1/2 feet beyond major flood stage.

The predicted crest was lowered a foot based on new modeling by the National Weather Service, but it was little consolation in Minot.

 "This has been a very trying time for our community," Zimbelman said. "It's emotionally draining for all of us."

As they had the past two days, emergency officials focused on protecting water and sewer systems to avoid the need for more evacuations. They were confident about the water system, but a little less so about the sewer treatment plant. It had been sandbagged as high as possible.

Also of concern was the Broadway Bridge, a key north-south route. Levees protecting the northern approach were being raised, but Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Col. Kendall Bergmann said it was touch and go. The levee work also protected the campus of nearby Minot State University.

Members of the state's congressional delegation pressed for a federal emergency declaration making people eligible for individual assistance, a step they said was needed for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up transitional housing centers.

 Sen. John Hoeven said a helicopter flight over the Souris valley showed damage to smaller cities nearby. He estimated more than 5,000 homes in the valley would eventually have water damage, including those in Minot and Burlington, where officials gave up sandbagging Thursday.

Deputy auditor Cindy Bader estimated Friday that more than half of the Burlington's 1,000 residents had left to escape the rising Souris River.

Burlington's city hall, school and police and fire departments appeared safe, but some homes in the evacuation zone had water up to their first floors and higher. In one neighborhood, the tops of two traffic signs barely peeked above the brown, brackish water, which reached just beneath the eaves of two nearby houses.

Wayne Walter, a Burlington city councilman and truck driver for a snack food company, said residents were stunned by the river's rapid rise.

"When we went to bed last night, and when we got up this morning, it was a big difference," Walter said Friday. "Down by the dikes, we saw it just trickling over (Thursday night). This morning, everything was gone."

Walter said he lived across the street from the evacuation area, and the Souris was still about 4 feet from his own home.

"Right now, we're staying there, but we've got the camper packed," he said. "They tell us to leave, we're gone."

 Back in Minot, a car parked near the Broadway Bridge was dry Friday morning but submerged by midday. Nearby, about a half-dozen gophers found themselves stranded in a small and shrinking dry patch. Furniture store workers cheered as one of the gophers swam 20 yards to safety.

 Water swept past the Minot Country Club.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched four boats to patrol flooded neighborhoods and respond to 911 calls. City officials said no injuries or incidents had been reported by Friday afternoon. The evacuation zone was empty except for emergency officials and some geese, who paddled in about 5 feet of water washing down the streets.

 George Moe, 63, whose house was about a block from the water's edge, returned briefly Friday to pick up some keys. Moe said the only thing left in his house was the mounted head of an antelope shot by his wife, who died about three years ago.

Moe worried about the home he's lived in for four decades and the shop where he works as a mechanic; it was taking on water and he wasn't sure he'd have a job after the flood.

"I hate to see something go to hell after 40 years," he said. "There ain't much you can do."


Associated Press writers Dale Wetzel in Burlington and John Flesher in Minot contributed to this report.

Boston College lab: Chemical blast hurts student

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston College spokesman says a doctoral student suffered minor injuries at a lab when a chemical used in making mustard gas exploded in her hand.

School spokesman Jack Dunn says the student suffered cuts on her face Saturday morning. He says she drove herself home after the small blast at the Merkert Chemistry Center in Boston.

The Boston Fire Department arrived at the Merkert Chemistry Center at 10:47 a.m. A Twitter post from Boston Fire said the student left the basement lab after the blast, but was found off campus at an apartment. No other injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, the chemistry building was evacuated and authorities were talking to a professor about a chemistry experiment.
Dunn says other students who later spotted evidence of an explosion called Boston police. Fire officials and hazmat crew evacuated the building.

The student told emergency workers that she was using a chemical called thionyl chloride alone in the lab. Thionyl chloride can be used to make mustard gas and nerve toxins.

Dunn says the student was decontaminated and doing fine.

The build has reopened.
CNN staff contributed to this story

Antarctic penguin ends up 4,000 miles away from home

London, June 24 (IANS) A penguin took a wrong turn in the Antarctic and landed up some 4,000 miles away in New Zealand, a media report said Friday.

The ten-month-old bird has been moved to Wellington Zoo so it can be better looked after, Daily Mail reported.

The penguin was taken to a hospital after it had eaten sand that it confused with snow. It showed signs of distress as it waddled up and down the Peka Peka Beach on the North Island.

Emperor penguins, the largest of the species, normally feed on fish, krill, and squid.

The penguin probably started eating the sand to cool itself down as they normally do with snow if they get too hot, the Mail quoted Peter Simpson of New Zealand’s conservation department as saying.

Despite it being winter in New Zealand, the country is enjoying temperatures of up to 18 degrees Celsius – too warm for a bird who is around 4,000 miles from its frozen Antarctic home.WELLINGTON, New Zealand — After planning to let nature take its course, wildlife officials moved a stranded emperor penguin from a New Zealand beach to a zoo Friday after its health appeared to be worsening.

The young penguin had been eating sand and small sticks of driftwood, which it tried to regurgitate. First seen on a North Island beach Monday, the penguin appeared more lethargic as the week progressed, and officials feared it would die if they didn't intervene.

The rare venture north by an Antarctic species captured public imagination, and experts initially said the bird appeared healthy and well-fed and intervention was unnecessary.

They became concerned enough to step in Friday.

Three experts lifted the penguin from the beach into a tub of ice and then onto the back of a truck. The bird was docile, so they didn't sedate it for the 65-km journey from Peka Peka Beach to the Wellington Zoo, said one of the helpers, Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand.

It made sense that a penguin might mistake sand for Antarctic snow, which emperors eat for hydration, Miskelly said, but he had no explanation for the bird eating wood.

Miskelly said experts at the zoo were considering sedating the penguin and putting it on an intravenous drip as they tried to nurse it back to health. Ideally, the bird would heal enough that it could be released into the wild.

Miskelly noted no facilities in New Zealand were designed to house an emperor penguin long-term. It's the tallest and largest penguin species and can grow up to 4 feet (122 centimetres) high and weigh more than 75 pounds (34 kilograms).

Christine Wilton, the local resident who discovered the penguin Monday while walking her dog, was back at the beach Friday to say goodbye.

"I'm so pleased it's going to be looked after," she said. "He needed to get off the beach. He did stand up this morning, but you could tell that he wasn't happy."

Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said veterinarians would give the bird a full health check. The zoo clinic has a salt water pool which has been used in the past to nurse smaller varieties of penguins, she said.

Often sick birds require rehabilitation for a month or two before being released, Baker said, adding that some creatures with severe injuries remain in captivity.

Experts believe the penguin is about 10 months old. It stands about 80 cm high. Experts haven't yet determined whether it is male or female.

Emperor penguins typically spend their entire lives in Antarctica, the coast of which is about 3,200 km from the North Island beach where the penguin was stranded. It has been 44 years since an emperor penguin was last spotted in New Zealand.

'Cars 2': Fast start at the box office

Disney's 'Cars 2' has grossed $8.4 million as Friday afternoon and is expected to cume roughly $60 million this weekend.

Disney Pixar's "Cars 2" is off to a racing start at the domestic box office, cuming $8.3 million at 4,115 locations as of Friday afternoon.

Sony's "Bad Teacher" grossed $1.4 million in 3,049 domestic plexes, with B.O. observers expecting an uptick with the over-25 Friday night auds.

"Teacher" tracking, which popped Friday, puts the film in line to collect in the high $20 to low $30 million range through Sunday, according to insiders. Even if the laffer doesn't hit that range, a bow north of $20 million would still be an exceptional start given the film's production costs at just under $20 million. "Cars 2" will likely top out around $60 million for the weekend.

The toon's Friday numbers suggest that more families headed to the multiplexes in the afternoon than anticipated, perhaps due to many schools' summer vacations. Pic should still show a sizeable uptick on Saturday with parents not working.

"Cars" will likely see the frame's best hold on Sunday as family films typically play better than any other genre.

"Teacher" should see a nice Friday evening cume with the popularity of R-rated comedies like "Hangover 2" and "Bridesmaids" likely boosting appeal for the Sony laffer.

"Bridesmaids" saw a 26% uptick on opening Saturday numbers over Friday numbers with a 26% downturn on Sunday. B.O. observers could expect to see similar percentage shifts for "Teacher."

"Cars 2" is in the lead with Friday ticket sales, accounting for 72% via online ticketing service Fandango. Contact Andrew Stewart at andrew.stewart@variety.com

For more informaton visit:

Mexican troops cross into the United States

A convoy of three military trucks loaded with Mexican soldiers crosses the border at Bridge Number Two clearly violating international law.

It happens as Customs and Border Protection inspectors try to figure out what to do.

A CBP spokesperson says they got on the phone with Mexican authorities after being alerted that the military trucks were heading their direction loaded down with soldiers and weapons.

Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Nuevo Laredo, didn't know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two.

It's important to note that CBP did not tell us about the potentially serious situation. It came from another law enforcement agency.

Some callers to our newsroom were upset inspectors allowed the Mexican military to get so close to all those inspection booths over at Bridge Number Two.

Some noted had it been Mexican drug lords they could have taken inspectors by surprise and easily crossed the international border deeper into the United States.

For more information contact:

Dept. of Home Land Security

Customs and Border Protection

Breaking News Alaska: Tsunami warning canceled after major 7.4 quake

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for Alaska's coast.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center WCATWC said a tsunami warning was canceled for the coastal areas from Unimak Pass to Amchitka Pass.

The quake on the Fox Islands - 163 kilometres east of the tiny fishing port of Atka - struck at 6.09pm local time on Thursday (1309 AEST Friday), the US Geological Survey said in a statement.

The WCATWC put the magnitude at 7.3, and said if a tsunami had been generated, the waves would first reach Adak, Alaska, at 8.12pm local time (1512 AEDT).

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based in Hawaii, said there was "no current warning, watch, or advisory" after the quake, which struck more than 1600km west of the major Alaskan city of Anchorage.

The WCATWC tsunami advisory warned coastal residents on the remote island chain to "move immediately inland to higher ground and away from all harbours and inlets including those sheltered directly from the sea".

"Those feeling the earth shake, seeing unusual wave action or the water level rising or receding may have only a few minutes before the tsunami arrival and should move immediately," warned the WCATWC.

"Homes and small buildings are not designed to withstand tsunami impacts. Do not stay in these structures," officials warned.

The Fox Islands are an eastern group of the Aleutian Islands, off southwestern Alaska.

(Reuters) - A major earthquake of 7.4 magnitude hit in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday 107 miles east of Atka, Alaska, and at a depth of about 25 miles in the Pacific Ocean, and a tsunami warning was in effect for coastal Alaska, the U.S. Geologic Survey said. (Writing by Philip Barbara, editing by Peter Cooney)

Earthquake Details
Magnitude    7.4

    Friday, June 24, 2011 at 03:09:39 UTC
    Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 06:09:39 PM at epicenter
    Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location    52.042°N, 171.842°W
Depth    46.8 km (29.1 miles)
Distances    64 km (39 miles) SW of Amukta Island, Alaska
103 km (64 miles) SW of Yunaska Island, Alaska
1677 km (1042 miles) WSW of Anchorage, Alaska
2429 km (1509 miles) W of WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory, Canada
Location Uncertainty    horizontal +/- 20.2 km (12.6 miles); depth +/- 11 km (6.8 miles)
Parameters    NST=283, Nph=283, Dmin=228.2 km, Rmss=0.97 sec, Gp= 61°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6

Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good - Official Movie Trailer

Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good - Official Movie Trailer

Breaking News: 6.7 magnitude earthquake rocks Japan

(Reuters) - A preliminary 6.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan's northeast coast on Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
An advisory warning of a possible tsunami of up to 50 cm in height was issued and authorities warned residents of areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake to be wary of mudslides.

Arizona Sheriff: Wildfires Likely Started by Traffickers, Smugglers

By Joshua Rhett Miller
Massive wildfires in eastern Arizona that have scorched 250,000 acres were probably started by Mexican drug traffickers or human smugglers, an Arizona sheriff told Fox News on Wednesday.

During a televised interview on Fox News, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said the most recent blaze -- the so-called Monument Fire -- was "man-caused" and began about a week ago near Coronado National Forest, where the border fence ends. Dever said the 4,700-acre park had been closed for days prior to the start of the fire.

"The bottom line is, there was nobody in the park [who] would've been there legally," Dever said. "There were no vehicles, no nothing.  It's a high-intensity drug trafficking and human smuggling area. We have scouts that hang out there all the time. They light signal fires, they light warming fires because it gets cold at night … There is nothing to indicate that there was any other cause. And the highest probability -- not possibility -- is that this is how this fire started."

Mexican Drug Smugglers to Blame for Arizona Wildfire?

Sheriff responds to McCain's comments

Federal authorities have said humans started the three major wildfires currently raging in Arizona, but it remains unclear whether illegal immigrants were involved. The second major blaze, the Wallow fire, is now 58 percent contained as of Wednesday after destroying at least 32 homes and burning nearly 828 square miles in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico since late May. The Horseshoe Two, meanwhile, is now 95 percent contained after scorching 348 square miles and 23 structures since May 8.

"It's a man-caused fire," Dever continued. "Whether it was a random campfire, a signal fire, a cigarette flung by a smuggling group, or arson, there's no way to know at this point."

An aerial photograph purportedly taken on June 12 of the area by American Border Patrol, an independent organization that monitors the border, claims the blaze actually started in Mexico and traveled upwind into the United States. Dever said that was an "accurate picture" of what occurred.

"There's really only one likely source of this fire and that's someone who was moving through the area illegally," Dever told FoxNews.com during a brief interview. "It's evidence of illegal trafficking. It's the result of illegal activity any way you look at it. It wasn't naturally caused."

Dever continued: "And this isn't the first time. This has been going on for years. I'd ask anyone to present me another logical explanation."

Jeff Olson, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told FoxNews.com that the cause of the Monument Fire remains under investigation by National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service personnel.

Dever's statements came just days after Sen. John McCain ignited a firestorm of his own by saying there is "substantial evidence" that illegal immigrants were to blame for the blazes. During a weekend news conference, McCain said undocumented aliens "have set fires because they wanted to signal others … and they have set fires because they wanted to divert law enforcement agencies."

On Tuesday, following a barrage of criticism regarding those statements, McCain told NBC's "Today" show he was "puzzled" by the barrage of criticism after his remarks.

"We know that people who come across our border illegally … that these fires are sometimes, some of them, caused by this," he said. "I'm puzzled … that there should be any controversy."

McCain said he was repeating information given to him during a recent briefing with federal officials.

McCain's statements angered Roberto Reveles, the founding president of the Phoenix-based Hispanic civil rights group Somos America.

"It's his constant refrain for everything that ails mankind," he told the Associated Press. "It just seems like we have an epidemic of, 'Blame it all on the illegal aliens, blame it all on the Mexicans.' It's amazing that the public doesn't rebel against this type of scapegoating."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Gary Sinise Foundation launches July 4th

by Michael Starr
The "CSI: New York" star, who's headlined the CBS series since (believe it or not) 2004 now, is devoting a lot of time and attention to The Gary Sinise Foundation, which officially launches July 4 with the mission to "Serve Our Nation by Honoring Our Defenders, Veterans, First Responders, Their Families and Those in Need."

As part of that mission, Sinise's foundation helped raise money to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in KeySpan Park -- honoring those who both risked and gave their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks -- and helped raise funds for The Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, County, Va., dedicated to the 184 people killed in attack on The Pentagon on Sept. 11.

'CSI: New York' star Gary Sinise will launch The Gary Sinise Foundation on July 4 in conjunction with a documentary about his band, The Lt. Dan Band, which has entertained US military personnel worldwide.
"CSI: New York" star Gary Sinise will launch The Gary Sinise Foundation on July 4 in conjunction with a documentary about his band, The Lt. Dan Band, which has entertained US military personnel worldwide.

The launch of Sinise's foundation will coincide with the release of "Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good," Jonathan Flora's documentary about Sinise's band (named after his "Forrest Gump" character), which has entertained military related organizations worldwide (among other groups). Flora's doc will be released online for 30 days (ltdanbandmovie.com); when someone streams the movie, one out of every four bucks will go to The Gary Sinise Foundation to support its many programs (including relief for wounded warriors, school supplies for children where US troops are deployed and scholarships for veterans).

Sinise, by the way, is also the spokesman for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which broke ground last November in Washington, DC.

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Glen Campbell Reveals Alzheimer's Diagnosis

By Kiki Von Glinow
Glen Campbell alzheimers'Rhinestone Cowboy' singer, Glen Campbell, may have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's but that won't keep the 75-year-old country crooner from his music, People reports. He may just need a little extra help when it comes to remembering his famed lyrics.

"Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer," his wife, Kim, told People. "But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage, I wouldn't want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?'"

A conclusion that the couple wanted to avoid by going public with Campbell's disease. But in lieu of his diagnosis, the singer does not seem to be slowing down. The chart-topping Grammy-winner is hoping to organize a farewell tour with a full schedule of live performances kicking off this fall.

"I still love making music," Campbell said. "And I still love performing for my fans. I'd like to thank them for sticking with me through thick and thin."

We have no doubt that Campbell's concert goers will be more than happy to help the country legend out if he stumbles on stage.

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