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Briefs

Middle schooler opens fire; 1 injured

– A student opened fire at his middle school Thursday afternoon, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck before an armed officer working at the school was able to get the gun away, police said.

Multiple shots were fired in the courtyard of Price Middle School just south of downtown about 1:50 p.m. and the one boy was hit, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said.

The wounded boy was taken “alert, conscious and breathing” to Grady Memorial Hospital, police spokesman Carlos Campos said. The hospital said he was later discharged.

Investigators believe that something occurred between the two students that may have led to the shooting.

“The obvious question is, how did this (gun) get past a metal detector?” Superintendent Erroll Davis asked.

Nation

Indiana murderer mistakenly released

Police in Indiana and Illinois are hunting for a convicted murderer who was mistakenly released from custody in Chicago.

Authorities in Cook County said Thursday that they’re investigating how and why 44-year-old Steven L. Robbins was released.

Robbins had served about eight years of a 60-year sentence for murder and weapons charges in Indiana when he was sent to Chicago on Tuesday to face a drug charge. Indiana officials say the drug charge was dropped and Illinois authorities released Robbins without returning him to Indiana.

Oregon man guilty in terror bomb sting

A federal jury found an Oregon man guilty of federal terrorism charges Thursday, rejecting the defense team’s argument that Mohamed Mohamud was entrapped or induced by a yearlong FBI sting that began to target him when he was a teenager.

Mohamud, 21, was accused of leading a plot to detonate a bomb at Portland’s 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. But the device he thought was a bomb was a fake, supplied by undercover FBI agents posing as members of al-Qaida. Mohamud faces up to life in prison at his sentencing.

Philly traffic judges accused of scheme

Six current and former Philadelphia traffic court judges have been charged with fixing tickets for friends and political allies in a sweeping federal indictment that also charges three suburban judges, a court clerk and two businessmen.

The defendants include former traffic judge Willie Singletary, who had been kicked out of office for showing lewd cellphone photos to a female clerk.

World

14 dead, 80 injured in oil plant blast

An explosion at the main headquarters of Mexico’s state-owned oil company in the capital killed 14 people and injured 80 on Thursday as it heavily damaged three floors of the building, sending hundreds into the streets and a large plume of smoke over the skyline.

There were reports that people remained trapped in the debris – as many as 30, according to civil protection and local media – from the explosion, which occurred in the basement of an administrative building next to the iconic, 52-story tower of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. There was no immediate cause given for the blast.

Syria, Iran threaten Israel after airstrike

Syria threatened Thursday to retaliate for an Israeli airstrike, and its ally Iran said the Jewish state will regret the attack.

Syria sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General stressing the country’s “right to defend itself, its territory and sovereignty” and holding Israel and its supporters accountable.

U.S. officials said Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria on Wednesday targeting a convoy carrying anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militant group allied with Syria and Iran.

Iran plans to speed up nuclear process

In a defiant move ahead of nuclear talks, Iran has announced plans to vastly increase its pace of uranium enrichment, which can make both reactor fuel and the fissile core of warheads. Eager to avoid scuttling those negotiations, world powers are keeping their response low-key.

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intentions last week, and the IAEA informed member nations in an internal note seen by The Associated Press on Thursday.

The planned upgrade could burden international efforts to coax Tehran into scaling back its nuclear activities and cooperating with the agency’s attempts to investigate its suspicions of secret weapons work. Talks are tentatively set for next month with a date and venue still open.

Brazilian nightclubs shuttered after fire

Brazilian authorities inspected and shuttered nightspots around the country Thursday as part of a crackdown on unsafe public spaces after a deadly nightclub fire left 235 people dead and shocked the nation.

The action comes just a week before annual Carnival celebrations start across the country, filling streets and venues with revelers.

Inspectors in the Amazon city of Manaus have ordered the temporary closure of some 58 bars, nightclubs and other public buildings there, the city’s Em Tempo newspaper reported. Owners of the affected nightspots staged a protest Thursday outside City Hall to denounce what they said were arbitrary closures, the newspaper said.

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