Nation, World Briefs: Salt Lake a finalist for GOP convention

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City has been selected as one of four finalists to host the 2012 Republican National Convention. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Salt Lake bid committee was notified of the decision in an e-mail late Friday. A local official said the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake showed the city can successfully host such a large gathering. Salt Lake City will play host to a Republican National Committee team in the spring that will review the site. The RNC is expected to make a final pick by early May. Salt Lake City was among about a dozen cities invited to bid.

Alabama: Lightning strike

An airport official said a U.S. Airways flight was struck by lightning on its way to Florida, forcing the plane and its 73 passengers to divert to Alabama. A Montgomery Regional Airport spokeswoman said Saturday that the flight was grounded after 9:30 p.m. Friday in Montgomery, where the passengers had been given overnight accommodations. Officials said there were no injuries but did not know the extent of damage to the plane. They said the plane will be taken to Pittsburgh for inspection.

D.C.: Clunker-crush deadline

The federal government has extended the number of days that car recyclers have to crush vehicles they received under the popular Cash for Clunkers program over the summer. Initially, they were required to crush or shred clunkers within 180 days of receiving them or face a $15,000-per-car fine. The National Highway and Safety Administration has extended the crush deadline by 90 days, to 270 days altogether, as part of the program officially called the Car Allowance Rebate System.

Arizona: Inmates hurt in riot

Eleven inmates were injured after a fight broke out at a prison complex west of Phoenix Saturday, a corrections spokesman said. One inmate was airlifted to an area hospital, four were taken by ambulance and another six were taken offsite by Corrections Department staff, he said. Weapons were involved in the fight, but he declined to say what type they were or how many were used. He said he didn’t know the extent of the prisoners’ injuries.

Missouri: Child is drugged

A woman is accused of drugging her 1-year-old granddaughter, hoping that the child’s divorcing parents would get back together if they had a sick child. Jefferson City police allege in a probable cause statement that 41-year-old Terri Chilton fed her granddaughter blood thinner on Jan. 12, causing the girl to bleed uncontrollably from her mouth, nose and minor scratches. The girl survived, but it’s not yet known if there was long-term organ damage.

New Jersey: Sorority paddling

National leaders of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority have suspended its Rutgers University chapter amid a probe of hazing allegations in which six members have been criminally charged. The North Carolina-based sorority took the action this week after the six women were charged with aggravated hazing based on allegations they paddled prospective pledges and denied them food. Rutgers has also suspended the sorority. One woman claimed she was struck 201 times with a paddle over a week.

South Africa: Gandhi ashes

Six decades after his death, some of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s ashes have been scattered off the coast of South Africa, where he was confronted by racial discrimination and developed some of his philosophies of peaceful resistance. A morning service Saturday in a harbor in Durban on the 62nd anniversary of Gandhi’s death included the laying of flowers and candles on the water’s surface. Gandhi, known as the Mahatma or “great soul,” was shot and killed by a Hindu hard-liner in 1948 in New Delhi. His ashes were divided, stored in steel urns and sent across India and beyond for memorial services. Soon after arriving in 1893, Gandhi was ejected from a train for refusing to leave the “whites only” compartment.

Indonesia: Flee from caning

Three men convicted of playing dominoes for money have escaped from jail moments before a public caning in devoutly Muslim Aceh province. The local Islamic police chief said Saturday the men bolted during an unguarded bathroom visit minutes before the punishment for violating anti-gambling laws. The men were caught playing dominoes for 10 cents per game. They were to be caned six times each outside a mosque on Friday. Last year, lawmakers in Aceh imposed stoning to death as a punishment for adultery.

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