National briefs: Firm settles 9/11 lawsuit

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NEW YORK -- Cantor Fitzgerald will receive $135 million from American Airlines to drop its lawsuit in which the carrier is accused of failing to stop the hijacking of the plane that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 658 of the financial services firm's employees.

Cantor disclosed the accord in a court hearing last week and on Tuesday told U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan the size of the settlement, Robert Hubbell, a spokesman for Cantor, said. A hearing on approval is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Al-Qaida terrorists flew jetliners into the Twin Towers, causing both to burn and collapse. Two other planes were hijacked. One hit the Pentagon near Washington, and another crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought the terrorists. About 3,000 people died in the plot.

Heroic guide dog

NEW YORK -- When Cecil Williams, who is blind, fell with his guide dog onto the track bed at a Harlem subway station on Tuesday morning, the dog stayed with him, even as a train rumbled into the station and over them.

Both had only minor injuries, and Mr. Williams, 60, later credited the dog with helping to save his life. But with Orlando scheduled to retire from service next month, Mr. Williams worried he that would be unable to afford to keep him without insurance subsidies.

On Wednesday, Mr. Williams learned that he and Orlando, an 11-year-old black Labrador, will be able to remain together indefinitely. Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a New York organization that trained Orlando, announced that it had received enough donations for Mr. Williams to afford to keep his dog as a pet after he retires.

Synthetic pot, teens

WASHINGTON -- Fewer teens are trying fake marijuana known by such names as K2 and Spice, apparently getting the message that these cheap new drugs are highly dangerous, according to the government's annual survey on drug use.

Synthetic marijuana is thought to have appeared in the U.S. in 2009, and soon after came a spike in emergency room visits, even deaths, as the drug caught on among young people.

About 8 percent of high school seniors said they have used some type of synthetic marijuana this year, according to the report released Wednesday by the National Institutes of Health. That's a sharp drop from the 11 percent of seniors who had experimented with fake pot in 2012.

CIA pretender sentenced

WASHINGTON -- A former high-level official at the Environmental Protection Agency, who pretended to work for the CIA to avoid the office, said he was motivated by a sense of excitement and the rush of getting away with something.

John Beale, 65, a former EPA senior policy adviser, explained his motivations for the first time in a federal courtroom Wednesday before he was sentenced to more than 2½ years in prison for stealing nearly $900,000 in taxpayer funds.

Also in the nation ...

Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain conceded the race for Virginia attorney general to Democrat Mark Herring on Wednesday in the historically close contest. ... Kurt Mix, a former low-level BP engineer, was found guilty Wednesday in Houston of obstruction of justice for deleting messages during a federal investigation into how much oil leaked in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion.



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