BOSTON - Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, sporting a new neck tattoo while making his first court appearance since being sentenced to life in prison for murder, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a charge he tried to silence a witness in a separate double murder case by shooting him in the face.
The tattoo, on the right side of his neck, includes the word "Lifetime" above a star. The bottom portion of the tattoo was obscured by his shirt collar.
DETROIT - Out of concern for the safety of drivers, the U.S. government may step in to manage a giant recall of air bags made by Takata Corp.
On Thursday, the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started the process to take control of the recall of 33.8 million air bags that can spew shrapnel into drivers or passengers.
The recall covers roughly one in seven vehicles on U.S. roads.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.
The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.
YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar has freed several prominent political prisoners, which has been a key condition set by Western countries for easing sanctions against the country.
Myanmar authorities freed the prisoners Friday as part of a presidential pardon for 651 detainees. Relatives and supporters of activists and ethnic minority politicians confirmed their release.
Myanmar state radio and television announced said that the 651 detainees were being freed to take part in "nation-building."
DETROIT - A judge ordered the 84-year-old owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge to jail Thursday for failing to meet court orders on a construction project linking the span to adjacent interstates.
Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards said Manuel "Matty" Moroun and top lieutenant Dan Stamper will stay in jail until they comply with a 2010 order to get the work going. It's unclear how long they'll be behind bars after an appeals court hours later refused to suspend the decision and release them.
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.
Two of the removed ministers had been censured by the opposition for making comments that were deemed inappropriate. Twelve posts were unchanged, including finance and foreign minister.
WASHINGTON - Pentagon leaders scrambled Thursday to contain damage from an Internet video that purports to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, an act that would appear to violate international laws of warfare and further strains U.S.-Afghan relations.
VIENNA - A senior U.N. nuclear agency team will visit Tehran on Jan. 28 with Iran saying it is ready after years of refusal to discuss allegations that it was involved in secret nuclear weapons work, diplomats said.
Diplomats have previously said that International Atomic Energy Agency officials were discussing such a trip with their Iranian counterparts. But before the diplomats' comments Thursday, no date — or indication that Iran was ready to talk about the allegations — had been mentioned.
WASHINGTON - America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.
Sales eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in December, to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion.
It was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Revised government data showed that sales in November also surpassed that level.