Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi struck an oil pipeline and oil storage facility Wednesday, sending a giant yellow fireball into the sky as they pounded rebels with artillery and gunfire in at least two major cities. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya. State television claimed Gadhafi's forces had retaken Zawiya, the city closest to Tripoli that had fallen into opposition hands.
CAIRO (AP) — Clashes that broke out when a Muslim mob attacked thousands of Christians protesting the burning of a Cairo church killed at least 13 people and wounded about 140, officials said Wednesday. The Muslims torched the church amid an escalation of tensions over a love affair between a Muslim and a Christian that set off a violent feud between the couple's families.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Discovery ended its career as the world's most flown spaceship Wednesday, returning from orbit for the last time and taking off in a new direction as a museum piece. After a flawless trip to the International Space Station, NASA's oldest shuttle swooped through a few wispy clouds on its way to its final touchdown.
WASHINGTON (AP) — PBS says it was contacted by the same fake Muslim group that arranged a meeting with an NPR executive and secretly videotaped him calling the tea party racist. PBS spokeswoman Anne Bentley said Wednesday that they had an initial conversation with the Muslim Education Action Center but had concerns about the group. She says a PBS executive was contacted, but when PBS couldn't confirm the organization's credentials, they halted discussions.
LOYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Seven children, including a 7-month-old girl, perished in a fast-moving fire in a Pennsylvania farmhouse while their mother milked cows and their father dozed in a milk truck down the road, police said Wednesday. No cause or origin of the fire had been determined by early Wednesday morning, but the children's grandfather, Noah Sauder, told The Associated Press the blaze may have started in the kitchen, where the family used a propane heater. Fire marshals were investigating.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — While budget deficits threaten to cripple government services across the country, a handful of states with billions of dollars socked away in "rainy day" funds for troubled financial times are discovering they can't use that money to offset their cuts. Amid the worst financial crisis facing states in decades, stringent rules governing the use of reserve funds have tied the hands of lawmakers in nearly a dozen states even as they consider raising taxes, slashing health and social services and shuttering education programs.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Taxpayers' Social Security numbers, confidential child abuse reports and personnel reviews of New Jersey workers nearly went to the highest bidder after the state sent surplus computers out for auction. Nearly 80 percent of discarded computers in a comptroller's office sample had not been scrubbed of data before being shipped to a warehouse, according to an audit released Wednesday.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty Wednesday, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men. Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on Illinois' death row. They will now serve life in prison.
NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway's troubled "Spider-Man" musical is scheduled to open next week, a spokesman for the show said Wednesday, as talk swirled that the production will shut down for several weeks and the opening will be put off for months. "We are not confirming or commenting on the recent reports" in The New York Times and elsewhere, said Rick Miramontez, spokesman for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." The $65 million show, he said, is still scheduled to open March 15.
Beyond the rich players and even wealthier team owners arguing over how to divvy up $9 billion in revenue a year, the people who would suffer most if there's no NFL season this year are those whose jobs, businesses and even charity work depend on games. It's the 2,500 ticket-takers, janitors and other game-day employees at the Superdome in New Orleans, and the suburban dry cleaner who washes all their uniforms.