2 levees rupture as Mo. River rises
HAMBURG, Iowa - The swollen Missouri River punched a nearly 300-foot hole into a levee near the southwest Iowa town of Hamburg, and powerful floodwaters were continuing to widen the breach, federal officials said.
The levee was one of two that ruptured along the river Monday morning, sending torrents of water over rural farmland toward Hamburg and the Missouri resort town of Big Lake. Floodwaters are expected by Wednesday to reach the top of a secondary levee protecting Hamburg, home to about 1,100 people.
The Army Corps of Engineers said crews were working to add three more feet to that levee. If it breaks, parts of Hamburg could be under 10 feet of standing water. - AP
Yemeni rejects plea in yacht case
NORFOLK, Va. - A Yemeni man charged with piracy for his role in the hijacking of a yacht off the African coast that resulted in the deaths of four Americans decided not to take a plea deal Monday. His attorney said the man was forced to join a band of Somalian pirates against his will.
Mounir Ali was scheduled to plead guilty Monday to piracy, but attorney Jim Theuer told a federal judge Ali had changed his mind.
If convicted, Ali faces a mandatory life sentence. Ten Somalian men in the case pleaded guilty to piracy in exchange for the possibility they could serve less time than that and eventually be deported back to Somalia. They agreed to help prosecutors with this case.
The yacht owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death in February several days after being taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman. - AP
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld ethics laws that forbid legislators and city council members from voting on matters in which they have a conflict of interest, rejecting the argument that governmental votes cast by elected officials are "free speech" protected by the First Amendment.
Tammy Duckworth, an Illinoisan who lost both legs in the Iraq war when the helicopter she was piloting was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, resigned Monday as an assistant Veterans Affairs secretary. Her name has surfaced recently as a potential candidate for Congress.