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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.

Court asked to release Moroun, top aide from jail

Lawyers ask Michigan appeals court to release Moroun, Stamper from jail in bridge dispute
The Associated Press

DETROIT - Lawyers have asked the Michigan appeals court to release the owner of the Ambassador Bridge while he appeals an order that put him in jail for civil contempt.

The filing came hours after Manuel "Matty" Moroun and Dan Stamper were sent to jail Thursday as the consequence for the bridge company failing to finish work connecting the bridge to interstates.

Ringtone halts NY Philharmonic performance

Maestro halts NY Philharmonic's performance of Mahler until ringing cellphone is shut off
The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - It's the dreaded sound at any live performance — a ringing mobile phone.

That's what happened Tuesday night at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall during the final movement of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony by the New York Philharmonic. Maestro Alan Gilbert stopped the orchestra until the phone was silenced.

The Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/xvTkcr) reports that when an iPhone's distinctive "Marimba" ringtone initially went off, Gilbert turned his head to signal his displeasure. But the ringing from the first row persisted and minutes went by.

Russian spacecraft turned space junk to crash soon

Stranded Russian spacecraft to crash to Earth soon, risks posed by its fiery plunge unclear
Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

MOSCOW - A Russian spacecraft designed to burnish the nation's faded space glory in a mission to one of Mars' moons has turned into one of the heaviest, most toxic pieces of space junk ever.

It will come crashing down to Earth in just a few days.

DNA shows remains not of Franco-Canadian reporter

Brother: DNA tests show remains from Ivory Coast not those of Franco-Canadian reporter
The Associated Press

PARIS - The brother of a dual national French-Canadian journalist who disappeared in Ivory Coast in 2004 says DNA tests show human remains recently unearthed there are not those of his missing brother.

The brother of Guy-Andre Kieffer says a French investigating judge told him Thursday the tests were negative "so it's not my brother. It's an unknown person."

The remains were retrieved in an area of western Ivory Coast under orders from investigating judge Patrick Ramael and flown to France, fanning speculation that they might be Kieffer's.

UK spies will face criminal inquiry over Libya

UK spies will face criminal inquiry into claims that intelligence shared with Gadhafi regime
Paisley Dodds, The Associated Press

LONDON - Britain's spy agencies will face a criminal investigation into claims that intelligence shared with Moammar Gadhafi's regime led to the torture or rendition of two Libyan men and their families, authorities announced Thursday.

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