National briefs: U.S. airman to head NATO

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WASHINGTON -- A senior Air Force general is being nominated to take over as commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove is the top Air Force commander in Europe. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the nomination Thursday.

If confirmed, he would be the first Air Force general to hold the top NATO job since Joseph Ralston served from 2000-2003.

Gen. Breedlove would succeed Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has held the job since 2009.

Army vet tied to al-Qaida

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A U.S. Army veteran, who boasted on Facebook of his military adventures with Syrian rebels, was charged Thursday with firing rocket-propelled grenades as part of an attack led by an al-Qaida group against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was charged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction -- specifically, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher -- outside the U.S.

According to an FBI affidavit, he served three years in the Army before being medically discharged.

Arrested in gun transfer

DENVER -- Colorado authorities have arrested a woman accused of illegally transferring the gun allegedly used to kill the state prisons chief, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

In a move sometimes referred to as a "straw purchase," investigators believe Stevie Marie Vigil, 22, of Commerce City, Colo., legally bought the gun from a licensed dealer in the Denver suburb of Englewood before transferring it to Evan Ebel, 28, a felon barred from possessing a firearm.

Ebel, who died last week after allegedly using the same gun in a shootout with police in North Texas, is suspected in the shooting deaths of Tom Clements, 58, on March 19 and Nathan Leon, 27, a pizza delivery driver in Denver shot two days earlier.

Nevada legislator expelled

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A Nevada Democratic Assemblyman whose erratic behavior dominated headlines for weeks will go down in history as the first lawmaker ever expelled from the legislature by his peers.

The Assembly voted Thursday to oust Steven Brooks in a somber, emotional hearing in which several members were heard crying and Majority Leader William Horne said people didn't feel safe with him in the legislative building.

Mr. Brooks, 41, has been arrested twice since January and is accused of making threats toward his colleagues, including Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

Boston mayor won't run

BOSTON -- Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Thursday that he won't seek re-election to an unprecedented sixth term after nearly two decades in office.

Mr. Menino, who uses a cane, has had persistent health problems including a six-week hospital stay last year to treat a respiratory infection and a compression fracture in his spine. He also was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Winner owes for support

PATERSON, N.J. -- The New Jersey man who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot owes about $29,000 in child support.

Pedro Quezada, 44, on Tuesday claimed a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.

A spokesman for Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik says the sheriff's office's warrant squad is attempting to find Mr. Quezada to resolve the matter.

-- Compiled from news services

nation


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