NEW YORK — Police found an apparent truck bomb in a parked sport utility vehicle Saturday evening in New York City’s Times Square, then evacuated buildings and cleared streets of thousands of tourists in “the Crossroads of the World.” A mounted police officer noticed smoke coming from the SUV at 6:30 p.m., police said. Bomb investigators found propane tanks, powder and an apparent timing device inside, according to a law enforcement official. FBI agents are on the scene with the New York Police Department, and the matter is being taken seriously, the head of the FBI’s public affairs office in Washington said.
Arkansas: Emergency plan
Gov. Mike Beebe has declared a state of emergency in an area hit by Friday’s deadly tornadoes. A spokesman said Beebe toured an area Saturday south of Little Rock that suffered extensive damage. The declaration will free state money to help residents. Tornadoes ripped through neighboring Van Buren County late Friday, killing one woman and destroying several homes. Beebe is scheduled to tour that area today.
Tennessee: Flooding kills 5
At least five people died and hundreds were being evacuated Saturday as heavy rains pounded Tennessee, causing widespread flooding across the state. The forecast called for more rain through the weekend. The five deaths were storm related, but the exact causes were not yet known, a spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said Saturday evening. Hundreds of homes had been evacuated and shelters were being opened across the state for people stranded due to flooded roads.
Pennsylvania: Flight threat
A United Airlines Airbus A-320 flight from Chicago to Philadelphia has landed safely after the crew found “a suspicious message.” A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said Saturday the agency was notified by the crew of Flight 148 that “a suspicious message was found on board.” The flight landed safely at 6:55 p.m. at Philadelphia International Airport, near its scheduled time. The agency said the plane was directed away from the terminal as a precaution and met by law enforcement officers and TSA officials.
Alaska: Bering earthquakes
Two strong earthquakes rumbled Friday under the Bering Sea off Alaska, but officials say they posed no tsunami risk and were too far from land to be felt. An official at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer said a 6.0-magniitude quake struck at 3:12 p.m. and was followed minutes later by another of about equal strength. The quakes were centered about 480 miles southwest of Nome and about 10 miles beneath the seabed. He said people at a National Weather Service station on St. Paul Island, about 400 miles southeast of the epicenters, report they didn’t feel anything.
India: Terrorism warning
The U.S., Australia and Canada warned Saturday that terror groups were likely planning “imminent attacks” in India’s capital and foreigners there should be vigilant. The U.S. Embassy’s alert, adding the word “imminent,” appeared to be more urgent than an advisory last month that cited increased indications of attacks in New Delhi. The warnings noted that markets and other areas frequented by Westerners in New Delhi have been targeted in past attacks. The U.S. alert said Americans in India should maintain “a high level of vigilance,” remain aware of their surroundings and watch out for unattended packages.
Taiwan: Flight is diverted
A scheduled flight from the Taiwanese capital of Taipei to the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai was diverted to a nearby Chinese airport Saturday after a passenger told cabin crew his luggage contained explosives. A spokesman for Taiwan’s China Airlines said the plane landed safely at Hangzhou and that Chinese authorities took the passenger away for questioning. He said the man was surnamed Lin and that he was traveling on a U.S. passport. He said that he did not appear to have been drinking excessively.
China: No Japan Expo flags
Japan decided not to display its national flag Saturday, the first day of the Shanghai World Expo in China, apparently concerned about anti-Japanese feelings harbored by many Chinese. “There’ve been past exhibitions where we also didn’t put up the national flag,” a staffer at the Japan Pavilion said. Another staff member, at the Japan Industrial Pavilion, said, “We’ve been careful to ensure our exhibits are not tied to political issues.” In China, the flag is often seen as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.
From Herald news services