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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

  |   March 2, 2013 at 10:13 PM
ISAF apologizes for shooting children

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 2 (UPI) -- The head of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan apologized Saturday for the killing of two young children in an airstrike gone tragically awry.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said NATO forces Thursday mistook the children for insurgents and fired at them from the air.

"I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed," Dunford, said. "I am committed to ensuring we do the right thing for the families of those we harmed, as well as for the community in which they lived. We take full responsibility for this tragedy."

He pledged NATO forces would do everything possible to prevent Thursday's mistake from happening again.

The shooting took place in Shahid-e Hasas district, Uruzgan province, in central Afghanistan.


Brush fire briefly closes I-95 in Florida

ORMOND BEACH, Fla., March 2 (UPI) -- A brush fire in central Florida shut down Interstate 95 and State Road 429 for several hours Saturday and forced hundreds of people to evacuate, officials said.

The fire began in Flagler County, with winds spreading the blaze to Volusia County and within Ormond Beach's city limits, Pat Kuehm of Volusia County Fire Services told NBC News.

I-95 and SR 429 had reopened in the evening after being closed for several hours, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

However, the fire was zero percent contained as 100 firefighters fought the flames with help from helicopters and bulldozers, NBC said.

The fire started about 4 miles west of Ormond Beach Airport, south of Daytona Beach. The cause was unknown.


Alcohol levels in Bud beer questioned

ST. LOUIS, March 2 (UPI) -- Independent testing of three varieties of Budweiser beer shows alcohol content slightly under the levels listed on the label, CNN said.

The cable news channel reported Friday that it arranged testing by an independent lab of Budweiser, Bud Light Lime and Bud Ice. Budweiser, labeled as being 5 percent alcohol tested at 4.94 percent, while Bud Light tested at 4.13 and was labeled at 4.2 and Bud Ice tested at 5.35 with 5.5 on the label.

Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Budweiser brand, is the target of a lawsuit alleging the company is misleading consumers. The company says the suit is "groundless."

"The sample test results you provided are well within the variability of the all-natural brewing process and all in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws, as we noted," said Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply for Anheuser-Busch.

Joshua Boxer, who represents two California residents who filed the lawsuit this week, says the company saves millions of dollars every year in small reductions in alcohol content. The suit did not list alleged strengths, but Boxer said the plaintiffs believe Budweiser averages 4.7 percent alcohol.


Egypt tour companies angry over suspension

CAIRO, March 2 (UPI) -- Workers in Egypt's tourism industry are threatening protests if a government suspension of hot air balloon rides isn't lifted following a deadly crash.

The balloon business in Luxor is a primary tourist attraction and tour companies running the rides employ hundreds of workers who have been laid off since a crash Tuesday that killed 18 tourists and an Egyptian woman when their balloon burst into flames and plummeted 1,000 feet to the ground.

Luxor Gov. Ezzat Saad promised the balloon rides would resume within a month, once the investigation into Tuesday's incident is complete.

He told Middle East News Agency Saturday the company operating the balloon has insurance and is prepared to compensate victims' families. Saad said tour companies operating balloon rides must have two forms of insurance, for the balloon and for the occupants. They also face periodic government safety checks, he said.


Vacationers cause backup in French Alps

LYON, France, March 2 (UPI) -- French railways and roads were packed Saturday with travelers heading for the ski slopes of the Alps, officials said.

Vacationers in French ski country faced a traffic jam that covered 50 miles, while railway officials said they were braced for a million train passengers.

The annual French winter holiday for students in Paris and Bordeaux is a popular time to hit the Alps for some skiing, but it was delayed for many who sat in traffic instead. Particularly bad was the A43 between Lyon and Chambery, the heart of ski country.

Air quality alerts were posted in the region due to the heavy traffic.

Those seeking to return from the Alps faced 25 mile delays, Radio France Internationale said.

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