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Aaron Hernandez sports neck tattoo at latest court hearing

Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez sports new neck tattoo at hearing in witness intimidation case
Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press

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.

The latest things to know about the Takata air bag recall

The latest things to know about the Takata air bag recall
Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

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.

World CP Feed

Police ticket boy after toy motorcycle hits SUV

Mexico police ticket 6-year-old boy, impound his toy motorcycle after crash with SUV
The Associated Press

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.

Myanmar frees prominent political prisoners

Myanmar releases prominent political prisoners after presidential pardon
The Associated Press

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."

Owner of Detroit-Canada bridge ordered to jail

Owner of US-Canada bridge ordered to jail for missing Detroit construction project deadlines
Ed White, The Associated Press

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.

Japan's PM reshuffles Cabinet to win tax support

Japan's leader reshuffles Cabinet to win opposition support for tax hike proposal
Malcolm Foster, The Associated Press

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.

Panetta assures Afghans of full probe into video

US assures Afghans of full probe of Marines video amid condemnation and fear of strained ties
Pauline Jelinek,Robert Burns, The Associated Press

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.

APNewsBreak: UN visit to Tehran set for Jan 28

APNewsBreak: Diplomats say Iran ready to discuss nuke arms allegations during IAEA visit
George Jahn, The Associated Press

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.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

Retail sales inch up to end record year; holiday-season layoffs boost unemployment claims
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

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.

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