Lawyers in Detroit airline attack
about to resolve case
DETROIT — Lawyers for a Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a plane near Detroit on Christmas said Thursday they’ve talked to prosecutors about resolving the case with a deal.
The disclosure was made in a court filing that seeks a new deadline to challenge evidence against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The deadline to file motions is Friday.
Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit last year with nearly 300 people aboard. He’s due in federal court Monday for a pretrial hearing.
In the court filing, defence lawyers said they’ve met with prosecutors on “multiple occasions, by phone and in person, to explore options for resolution of this case.”
Abdulmutallab’s lead attorney, Miriam Siefer, declined to comment on the filing.
The defence team said prosecutors are opposed to extending Friday’s motion deadline.
The government has said Abdulmutallab has co-operated with investigators since his arrest Dec. 25. He has been described as a young recruit to al-Qaida’s nascent terrorist branch in Yemen.
Passengers aboard the plane pounced on him and put out flames, then dragged him to the front of the jet where he was subdued.
Igor weakens to tropical depression
MIAMI — Igor has weakened to a tropical depression drifting in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa near the Cape Verde Islands.
Maximum sustained winds for the storm Thursday are near 35 mph (55 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm could begin strengthening some on Friday.
All tropical storm warnings related to Igor have been cancelled.
The storm is located about 155 miles (255 kilometres) west-northwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and is moving northwest at about 13 mph (17 kph).
Appeals judges allow stem cell research to continue
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court is permitting government funding of stem cell research to proceed temporarily until the court rules on the merits of the Obama administration’s position in the case.
The government is asking the appeals court in Washington, D.C., to strike down a preliminary order by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth blocking federal funding for some stem cell research.
The three-member appeals panel says it is suspending Lamberth’s ruling for now as they want more time to deal with issues in the government’s appeal.
Police searching Swiss city for gunman
GENEVA — Police in Switzerland are searching the western city of Biel for a gunman who fired several shots at officers, badly injuring one.
Police say the gunman has fled a house where he had been holed up overnight following a dispute over the forced sale of the building.
Local media have reported that heavily armed police have taken up positions in the area and are also searching nearby woods.
Online news site 20min.ch reports that the Swiss army has dispatched a helicopter equipped with heat detecting cameras to the scene.
It was unclear how the 67-year-old man managed to escape from the house where he had barricaded himself Wednesday.
UN mission says U.S. hostage to be released
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s envoy to the United Nations has confirmed that a female American held for more than a year will be released.
Iran had earlier announced that one of the three Americans captured by Iran in July 2009 would be released to mark the holidays at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Bak Sahraei, second counsellor of the UN mission confirmed Thursday that Sarah Shourd would be the one set free on Saturday.