National news briefs: 1/1/13

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Wilmington 10 pardons issued

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons Monday to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted 40 years ago in a notorious Civil Rights-era prosecution that led to accusations that the state was holding political prisoners.

Ms. Perdue issued pardons of innocence for the nine black men and one white woman who received prison sentences totaling nearly 300 years for the 1971 firebombing of a Wilmington grocery store during three days of violence that included the shooting of a black teenager by police.

The pardon means the state no longer thinks the 10 -- four of whom have since died -- committed a crime.

The three key witnesses in the case later recanted their testimony. Amnesty International and other groups took up the issue, portraying the Wilmington 10 as political prisoners.

Adam Lanza's remains

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The body of the man who massacred 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school was claimed by his father, a family spokesman said Monday, but the public may never know what happened with the remains.

Like families of other mass killers, Adam Lanza's father has to balance his own mourning with consideration for the victims, intense media scrutiny and the risk that a public grave site could be desecrated.

"I know it's very sensitive for the family. They have many, many concerns and it's a very sad time for them," said Kingston, N.H., police Chief Donald Briggs, a family acquaintance who helped the Lanzas coordinate services for Lanza's slain mother.

Ore. crash investigation

LOS ANGELES -- Federal investigators were en route Monday to what officials described as "one of the most hazardous" stretches of road in northeast Oregon, the site of a tour bus crash Sunday that killed nine passengers.

The bus, operated by Mi Joo Tour & Travel of British Columbia, was returning to Vancouver from Las Vegas when the driver lost control on an icy stretch along westbound Interstate 84 and tumbled almost 100 feet down a hill, officials said.

Justice prods Congress

WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice John Roberts used his year-end report on the federal judiciary to give congressional budget negotiators a little nudge.

"Our country faces new challenges, including the much-publicized 'fiscal cliff' and the longer-term problem of a truly extravagant and burgeoning national debt," he wrote. "The public properly looks to its elected officials to craft a solution."

Offshore rig under control

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- An enormous Shell Oil offshore rig that had broken free and gone adrift in stormy seas in the Gulf of Alaska for the better part of three days was brought under control Monday, the company said.

Two tow lines from the rig, the Kulluk, which was used for test drilling in the Arctic last summer, had been reattached to support ships about 19 miles south of Kodiak Island, and officials were discussing what to do next.

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