USA

A hearing officer at Camp Pendleton, Cal., began taking evidence to determine whether Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, a squad leader who by his own account ordered his junior marines to shoot first and ask questions later as they searched several houses in Haditha, Iraq, should stand trial on murder charges. The November 2005 attack left 24 Iraqis dead, including several women and children. Wuterich, pictured at left in a family photo, faces a possible life sentence and dishonorable discharge if convicted at a court-martial.

Disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong pleaded not guilty Thursday to criminal contempt charges stemming from his failure to turn over complete DNA testing results during the now-discredited Duke lacrosse rape case. If found in contempt, Nifong could face up to 30 days in jail.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge. The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past several days.

In an effort to recapture the thriving business culture of Detroit's Paradise Valley, a historically rich African-American enclave, city officials approved $10 million for revitalization. Paradise Valley hopes to attract music clubs, galleries, and other cultural amenities. George N'Namdi president of an area gallery, predicts that it tourists of all races will visit.

United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization that helps military personnel stay connected with their children by reading books aloud via DVD, will benefit from an offer that appears on specially marked Kellogg's cereal boxes. A percentage of funds received through cereal purchases and consumer donations will help to further finance the organization.

Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists have observed for the first time hot water, considered a necessary ingredient for life, making its way to newly forming planets. According to the Spitzer Science Center, researchers detected enough water vapor to fill the oceans on Earth five times inside a forming star system. Astronomers say the vapor is pouring from the system's natal cloud and colliding into a dusty disk where planets are thought to form, providing the first direct look at how water enters into planets.

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