The corruption trial of US Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska was in disarray Thursday as the judge blasted prosecutors for withholding evidence that might have helped defense lawyers. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered a recess, asking "Why shouldn't I dismiss this indictment?" Stevens's defense team asked him to declare a mistrial.

Cellphone records show that the operator of a train blamed for the nation's worst crash in 15 years had been sening and receiving text messages only seconds before the accident, federal investigators said. Twenty-five people died in the Sept. 12 crash; 135 others were hurt. In Washington, the Senate passed and sent to President Bush Wednesday a railroad safety bill aimed at preventing similar accidents.

Searchers in rugged terrain near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., found the wreckage of a plane appearing to be that flown by millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. Fossett vanished Sept. 3 of last year while piloting a borrowed aircraft. Following an extensive search, a court last February declared him legally dead. The search was reopened earlier this week after a hiker outside the town found a sizable amount of cash and identity documents bearing Fossett's name and turned them over to authorities.

Natural gas for home heating should be in abundant supply this winter, an industry group said Thursday, despite the battering of production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico by hurricane Ike. The Natural Gas Supply Association. said new wells are expected to increase production by 8 percent with prices remaining about the same as those last winter.

Complaining of employer "intransigence," Screen Actors Guild negotiators sought approval for a strike vote since talks on a new contract with Hollywood studios have been stalled since July 1. A work stoppage by the guild, whose 120,000 members represent both film and TV, would be the second in the industry this year. A strike by the Writers Guild halted production for 14 weeks.

For the second time in three years, the town of Preston, Conn., appeared set to back out of plans for a $1 billion luxury resort on the former site of a hospital. In July, voters chose Northland Investment Corp. to build the complex. But Wednesday night the Board of Selectmen gave the company only until Oct. 17 to clarify its plans and prove it has the financing for the project. Control of the site will revert to the state at year's end if the negotiations collapse. In 2006, the town terminated a deal with a different developer.

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