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Headline News from Associated Press


ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- In a bloody finale, Algerian special forces stormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end a standoff with Islamist extremists that left at least 23 hostages dead and killed all 32 militants involved, the Algerian government said.

With few details emerging from the remote site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed on Saturday - seven - was how many the militants had said that morning they still had. The government described the toll as provisional and some foreigners remain unaccounted for.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- On the brink of a second term, President Barack Obama invoked Martin Luther King Jr.'s commitment to service Saturday as inauguration-goers flocked to the capital city for a distinctly American celebration including an oath-taking as old as the republic, a splashy parade and partying enough to last four years.

"I think we're on the cusp of some really great things," Vice President Joe Biden predicted for a country still recovering from a deep recession.

Freshly built inaugural stands at the Capitol gleamed white in the sun, and hundreds of chairs for special guests were set out on the lawn that spills down toward the National Mall as the president and vice president began their inauguration weekend.


Public access group joins state in trail lawsuit

A judge has agreed to allow a group advocating for public access to Maui's Haleakala Trail to join with the state in a lawsuit to open the trail to hikers.

The Maui News says Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza approved the move Wednesday in ongoing litigation about the trail owned by Haleakala Ranch Co., which wants to keep hikers off the trail. The move makes the state Department of Land and Natural Resources an ally of the plaintiffs instead of a defendant in the public lands access case.

The judge's action was the latest development in the group's nearly two-year legal battle to gain public access to the former horse path, also called the Haleakala Bridle Trail. The ranch controls access to the trail through its property.


FBI looking for person who made fake hijacker call

HONOLULU (AP) — The FBI says it is very interested in finding the person who made a crank call reporting that there was a possible hijacker on board a plane.

Special Agent Tom Simon in Honolulu said Friday shortly before noon that no one was in custody and no arrests had been made. But, he said, the FBI "absolutely" wants to know who made the call.

The call resulted in military jets being scrambled Thursday night to escort an Alaska Airlines flight from Kona, Hawaii, into Seattle. Once there, authorities took a passenger off the plane for questioning.

Agents talked to the unidentified person for nearly two hours and decided the call was a hoax.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said airport K-9 dogs then checked the plane and found nothing amiss.


Surfer recovering from shark attack

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — A surfer who was attacked by a tiger shark in a bay on the Big Island is recovering.

A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente's Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu says 43-year-old Paul Santos is alert and in stable condition with bites to his right arm and leg.

The attack by the shark estimated to be between 15 and 18 feet occurred Wednesday afternoon in about 8 feet of water at Kiholo Bay. Aaron Walters, who works as a chef, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that he was outside picking herbs when someone called for help, and he saw a man running down the beach in an effort to get help for his friend.

Walters says he helped the man use the surfboard leash to tie a tourniquet around Santos' right arm.

Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald,


Police arrest man in homicide case

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A 30-year-old Kurtistown man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a Big Island man.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Claude Keone Krause has been arrested for questioning in the disappearance of 44-year-old Dante Peter Gilman of Hawaiian Acres. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock.

Gilman was reported missing on Jan. 10. Police said that he was last seen in Hawaiian Acres on or about Dec. 30.

The missing person case now has turned into a homicide investigation. Police say they continue to search for Gilman's body.

Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald,


Flu remains widespread in US; eases in some areas

Health officials say nine more deaths of children from the flu have been reported, bringing the total this flu season to 29.

In a typical season, about 100 children die of the flu, so it is not known whether this year will be better or worse than usual.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says half of confirmed flu cases so far are in people 65 and older.

This year's season is earlier than normal and the dominant flu strain is one that tends to make people sicker. The flu is widespread in all states but Tennessee and Hawaii and is starting to ease in some areas.

Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot to help protect against the flu.