HARTFORD, Conn. One of the nations best-known and most prosperous Indian tribes will soon have a new public face: that of a woman, its first female tribal chief in almost 300 years. Lynn Malerba was introduced Thursday as incoming chief of the Mohegan Tribe, whose Mohegan Sun casino complex in Connecticut is one of the worlds largest gaming and hotel facilities and employs nearly 10,000 people. Malerba, who will be inducted in August, becomes the Mohegans first female chief since 1723.
Virginia: Cessna hits home
Officials said a plane crashed into a house, killing the pilot and setting the building on fire. Authorities said the owner of the one-and-a-half story house was in the basement and was able to escape. Virginia state police said the Cessna T303 Crusader landed around noon Thursday at Louisa County Airport and then took off with 148 gallons of fuel before crashing minutes later about a quarter of a mile from the airport. An FAA spokesman said preliminary accounts were that the planes engines quit.
Vermont: Fire volunteer held
Bennington police said a fire department volunteer set fire to his home twice in two days because he wanted insurance money to pay for infertility treatment for his wife. Ralph Brown, 41, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to arson and other charges. He remains jailed. Police said Brown set fire to his home on Friday morning and then again on Saturday night. Police said the first fire was started by crossing wires, the second with a torch. Investigators said Brown told them he wanted insurance money so his wife could have a procedure that would allow her to become pregnant.
California: Baby in trash bin
Redondo Beach police said they are investigating whether a newborn was alive when she was dumped in a trash bin before her mother returned to a party. Jessica Canfield was booked Wednesday for investigation of murder after her daughter was found dead, just blocks from a fire station where unwanted babies can be surrendered. Police said Canfield was attending the party over the weekend when she went into labor. California implemented a law in 2001 to allow parents to give up their babies without fear of prosecution.
Pakistan: Militant arrested
Intelligence agents have arrested a senior Afghan Taliban commander, the latest move in a crackdown on the insurgent network in Pakistan. Agha Jan Mohtasim, a former finance minister for the Taliban before the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, was detained in Karachi, two intelligence officials said Thursday. One of the officials said two other Taliban associates were arrested along with Mohtasim, though he would not identify them. The arrests have been hailed by U.S. officials as a major blow to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
China: Budget for military
China announced Thursday the smallest increase in its defense budget in years, in an apparent attempt to assuage international fears that its military is growing too powerful. Coming after almost two decades of double-digit increases, the relatively modest 7.5 percent increase in the budget to $78 billion also highlights the Chinese leaderships stated commitments to channel funding to social programs. China is committed to peace, a spokesman for the National Peoples Congress said Thursday.
Sweden: Ships stuck in ice
Dozens of ships including a passenger ferry with nearly 1,000 people on board were trapped Friday in heavy pack ice in the Baltic Sea off Swedens east coast, officials said. Ice breakers were trying to free the ferry Amorella and two cargo ships stuck at the edge of an archipelago northeast of Stockholm. Gale-force winds were hampering the effort, the Swedish Maritime Administration said. As soon as they break the ice, it freezes over again, a rescue spokesman said.
Mexico: Tagger gets tagged
A mayor said he has fired one of his town officials for spray-painting the buttocks of a teenage boy as punishment for graffiti tagging. The mayor of San Juan del Rio in Queretaro state said police caught the 13-year-old tagging a wall last week and turned him over to the official. The officials job is to impose penalties for petty crime. The mayor said Thursday that he fired the official because he should have notified the boys parents so they could pay for the damage.
From Herald news services