The court-martial of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez opened Wednesday in Fort Bragg, N.C., in the first alleged case of killing a superior officer in Iraq. The native of Troy, N.Y., is accused of detonating an antipersonnel mine in a window outside the room of Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, both of whom died in the 2005 blast. According to witnesses, Esposito and Martinez clashed over the latter's performance.

Initial tests on 30 powder-laced letters mailed to Chase banks in nine cities proved negative for poison toxins, the FBI reported Tuesday. The letters contained vague threats possibly linked to the nation's financial crisis. Investigators are zeroing in on possible suspects near Amarillo, Texas, where the letters were postmarked.

In perhaps the largest blow ever to a motorcycle gang, law enforcement agents arrested more than 60 members of the notorious, southern California-based Mongols Tuesday. The arrests, which grew out of a three-year undercover investigation, were made in six states on charges of murder, assault, and gun and drug violations.

A plump shorebird flies more than 7,200 miles on its annual migration from Alaska to New Zealand, which easily makes the bar-tailed godwit the world record holder for nonstop, muscle-powered flight, according to a Washington Post report. The discovery was made via satellite monitoring and documented in a study led by an American biologist. The previous record was held by eastern curlews, which fly 4,000 miles from eastern Australia to China.

Yahoo Inc. will lay off 1,500 people, which is 10 percent of its workforce, the struggling Silicon Valley company said Tuesday. Last spring Yahoo fended off a hostile takeover bid by Microsoft Corp. and has seen its third-quarter profit drop by 64 percent.

A $15 million veterinary hospital for US military dogs wounded in combat opened at San Antonio's Lackland Air Force Base Tuesday, The facility will provide treatment for dogs used in searching out explosive devices, drugs, and land mines.

Fans of the Delta Queen riverboat gathered in Cincinnati Tuesday to bid farewell to the last operational overnight steam-powered stern-wheeler in the US. The boat (above, in a file photo) is scheduled to cease operation at the end of the month, when a federal law that bans overnight passengers on boats largely made of wood goes into effect.

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