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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / March 25, 2009



The single-engine plane that crashed in Butte, Mont., Sunday, killing all 14 people aboard, passed through a layer of air conducive to icing on the wings, much as happened during a fatal commuter flight to Buffalo, N.Y., recently, according to weather data.

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Lovelle Mixon, the parolee who shot and killed three Oakland, Calif., police officers and left one "brain dead" in a weekend rampage, was tentatively linked by DNA evidence to a February rape, a police spokesman confirmed Monday.

On Tuesday's 20th anniversary of the worst oil spill in US history, 21,000 of 11 million gallons of crude that flowed from the Exxon Valdez tanker still lingers in Alaska's Prince William Sound, researchers said

During a third and final spacewalk, shuttle Discovery astronauts were unable Monday to free an equipment storage platform accidentally jammed to the side of the International Space Station the day before. They did manage, however, to install the final pair of solar wings needed to power the station. Repair work to the platform will now fall to station residents or the next shuttle visitors. Discovery's scheduled landing is Saturday.

To complete his Treasury Department team, President Obama Monday named three people with Washington experience to join Secretary Timothy Geithner. Some have criticized the White House for being slow in filling key economic positions during trying times.

Former "enemy combatant," Ali al-Marri, a legal US resident, pleaded not guilty in a Peoria, Ill., courtroom Monday to charges of plotting terrorist attacks as an Al Qaeda "sleeper" agent in 2001. Federal authorities alleged the native of Qatar had ties to the 9/11 attackers and held him at a Navy brig in South Carolina for more than five years. Al-Marri earned a degree at Bradley University in Peoria. His lawyer says he harbors no ill will toward America.

Notre Dame still plans for President Obama to deliver the the school's commencement address May 17, the university said Monday, deflecting calls from some Roman Catholics to rescind the invitation on religious grounds. Orthodox Catholics say Obama's views on abortion and stem-cell research run counter to church teachings, but the university says it isn't endorsing his views.

Winter ice cover of the Great Lakes has declined more than 30 percent since the 1970s, according to a group of research scientists who study the world's largest freshwater lake system. They're concerned about environmental impacts, including greater shoreline erosion.

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