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This image, taken from the Iranian state TV’s Arabic-language channel Al-Alam on Tuesday, shows what Iranian authorities purport to be a captured intact U.S. spy drone put on display.
Briefs

US denies Iran has captured spy drone

– Iran claimed Tuesday it had taken another prize in a growing showdown with Washington over drone surveillance, displaying a purported U.S. unmanned aircraft it said was captured intact. The U.S. Navy, however, said none of its drones in the region was missing.

The conflicting accounts raise questions, including how Iran could manage to snatch the Boeing-designed ScanEagle drone without noticeable damage to its lightweight, carbon-fiber body or whether the aircraft could be from another Gulf country that deploys it.

There is even the possibility the drone is authentic but was plucked from the sea after a past crash and unveiled for maximum effect amid escalating tensions over U.S. reconnaissance missions – including a Predator drone coming under fire from Iranian warplanes last month.

A year ago, Iran managed to bring down an unmanned CIA spy drone possibly coming from Afghanistan.

Nation

Suspect in custody after fatal NYC subway push

Police questioned a suspect Tuesday in the death of a New Yorker who was pushed onto the tracks and photographed just before a train hit him – an image that drew virulent criticism after it appeared on the front page of the New York Post.

Witnesses told investigators they saw the suspect talking to himself Monday afternoon before he approached Ki-Suck Han at the Times Square station, got into an altercation with him and pushed him into the train’s path. Police took the man into custody Tuesday, but he hasn’t yet been charged.

Han, 58, of Queens, died shortly after being struck. Police said he tried to climb a few feet to safety but got trapped between the train and the platform’s edge.

Defendant pleads guilty to synagogue bomb plot

A New York man pleaded guilty Tuesday to rare state-level charges that he plotted to blow up city synagogues, saying he had wanted to “send a message of intimidation” to the city’s Jewish community.

Ahmed Ferhani, 27, was one of two men arrested in a May 2011 weapons-buying sting. Authorities called him a home-grown terrorist out to avenge abuse of Muslims around the world. He envisioned posing as a Jew so he could infiltrate a synagogue and leave a bomb inside, prosecutors had said in court documents.

New judge appointed in Fort Hood massacre case

The Army’s highest legal branch appointed a new judge to preside over the case of the Fort Hood shooting suspect, indicating the court-martial is on track to move forward after lengthy delays.

U.S. Army Col. Tara Osborn was named Tuesday to head the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings that killed 13 and wounded more than two dozen on the Texas Army post.

The previous judge was ousted for appearing biased against Hasan.

NASA taking Curiosity on Mars to the next level

If you thought NASA’s latest Mars landing was a nail-biter, get ready for a sequel. The space agency on Tuesday announced plans to launch another mega-rover to the red planet in 2020 that will be modeled after the wildly popular Curiosity.

While the science goals remain fuzzy, NASA sciences chief John Grunsfeld said the rover at the very least should kick-start a campaign to return Martian soil and rocks to Earth – a goal trumpeted by many scientists as key to searching for evidence of past life. Curiosity doesn’t have that capability.

World

More than 100 dead in Philippines typhoon

Philippine officials say the death toll from Typhoon Bhopa has climbed to more than 100 people, mostly in flash floods. Scores of others are missing in the worst-hit areas in the country’s south.

Army Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo told The Associated Press on Wednesday that 43 people died when torrents of water rampaged down a mountain in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley province and engulfed a school and village hall to which people had fled. Nine soldiers remain missing.

Fugitive software maker seeks Guatemala asylum

Software company founder John McAfee has surfaced in public for the first time in weeks, saying Tuesday that he plans to ask for asylum in Guatemala because he fears persecution in Belize.

Police in Belize have called him a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat but say there is no warrant for his arrest.

Indiana

Kruse: Donít appoint Indiana superintendent

The leader of Indiana’s Senate Education Committee said Tuesday that Republicans shouldn’t change the state schools superintendent position to one appointed by the governor after the election of a Democrat to that office.

Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse said he would oppose any effort to make the job an appointed one, at least until incoming schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s term expires in 2016.

Kruse was meeting with Ritz on Tuesday afternoon to discuss issues ahead of the 2013 legislative session. Kruse said lawmakers plan to review the A-F school grading system Bennett rolled out just before the election and could find common ground with Ritz with concerns over the national Common Core Standards and a new third-grade reading test.

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