National briefs: Prison term for terror aid
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CHICAGO -- A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.
Tahawwur Rana did not address the court before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber imposed the sentence and did not react afterward. But his defense attorneys said the judge was right to reject prosecutors' arguments that Rana deserved a stiffer sentence because the charges were related to terrorism.
Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam.
Afghan massacre case
SEATTLE -- An Army staff sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians must undergo an official sanity review before a mental health defense can be presented, the military judge overseeing the case said Thursday.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales deferred entering a plea Thursday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges related to a nighttime attack on two villages last March. The Army is seeking the death penalty.
First lady on Twitter
WASHINGTON -- Trying to find Michelle Obama on Twitter? Try tweeting her at @FLOTUS, which is Washington shorthand for "first lady of the United States."
Mrs. Obama's office unveiled her new Twitter identity Thursday, largely to replace a previous Twitter account under the handle of @Michelle Obama.
Energy drinks targeted
WASHINGTON -- Three Democratic U.S. lawmakers sent letters to 14 energy drink makers, including Monster Beverage Corp., Living Essentials LLC and Red Bull GmbH demanding information about the drinks and potential health problems.
Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Dick Durbin of Illinois want to know whether the companies consider the drinks food products or energy supplements.
Massacre site reopens
AURORA, Colo. -- The Colorado theater where 12 people were killed and dozens injured in a shooting rampage last year reopened Thursday with a somber remembrance ceremony and a screening of the latest "Hobbit" film for survivors -- but the pain was too much, the idea too horrific, for many Aurora victims to attend.
"We as a community have not been defeated," Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told victims, officials, and dozens of police officers and other first responders who filled half the theater's seats at the ceremony.
"We are a community of survivors," Mr. Hogan declared. "We will not let this tragedy define us."
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Corp. has settled what was to be the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving sudden, unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles, a company spokesman said Thursday.
Toyota reached the agreement in the case brought by the family of Paul Van Alfen and Charlene Jones Lloyd, spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said. They were killed when their Toyota Camry slammed into a wall in Utah in 2010.
First Published January 18, 2013 12:15 am