7 Marines killed in training drill in Nev.
RENO, Nev., March 19 (UPI) -- A mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise at an Army munitions depot in Nevada, killing seven Marines , the military said.
At least a half-dozen others were injured.
A 60mm mortar exploded in a tube at Hawthorne Army Depot in the Nevada desert as Marines were preparing to fire it late Monday, rocking the facility near the California state line, NBC News reported Tuesday.
CNN said a traffic accident at the facility was related to the explosion, but officials did not explain how it was connected.
The cause of the accident was under investigation.
The depot is a storage facility for ammunition and other equipment being removed from service, as well as a training facility for Special Operations forces preparing to go to the Middle East, KRNV-TV, Reno, said.
The Hawthorne Army Depot is about 140 miles southeast of Reno. The facility also provides high desert training facilities for military units.
Hospital officials said the injured were taken to two area hospitals where three were listed in serious condition.
Hacker accesses Clinton Benghazi emails
WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- A hacker sent confidential emails to Hillary Clinton from longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal to journalists and politicians worldwide, TheSmokingGun.com said.
The hacker, known as "Guccifer," gained access to Blumenthal's AOL email account last week and sorted out all memos the senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton sent to the former secretary of state, TheSmokingGun reported Monday.
In a series of weekend email blasts, Guccifer sent four of the emails discussing the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to congressional aides, political figures and journalists.
Guccifer's location remains a mystery to authorities because hackers are known for their ability to conceal their trail through proxies, Internet protocol spoofing and anonymizing software, TheSmokingGun said.
Two IP addresses connected to Guccifer's recent online maneuvers trace him to Russia. The hacker did show another connection to Russia by forwarding Blumenthal's emails to Russian journalists even though most of the other journalists he sent them to were based in the United States.
NASA researcher accused of being spy
STERLING, Va., March 19 (UPI) -- Authorities said they arrested a NASA researcher accused of being a Chinese spy as his plane pulled away from the gate at Dulles International Airport.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said Bo Jiang was a researcher at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and worked on programs involving "source code for high-technology imaging," information that could be used by the Chinese military.
Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA, said he was contacted about Jiang by a whistleblower who said the man traveled to China with laptops containing his classified work.
Authorities arrested Jiang Saturday night as "he was leaving the United States abruptly to return to China on a one-way ticket" after Wolf publicly named him as a suspect Wednesday, an FBI affidavit said.
Federal prosecutors charged Jiang with lying to them about the electronic devices he was carrying, CBS News reported Monday.
Jiang allegedly said he had a cell phone, a memory stick, an external hard drive and a new computer. Agents said they discovered Jiang failed to disclose "an additional laptop, an old hard drive and a SIM card."
Jiang appeared in court briefly Monday and was set to remain in custody at least until a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, CBS News reported.
Missouri contraception law struck down
ST. LOUIS, March 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal court struck down a Missouri law allowing employers to deny insurance coverage of contraception to their employees as unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig in St. Louis based her ruling on a provision of the U.S. Constitution that says federal laws take precedence over contradictory state laws.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri welcomed the ruling in a news release.
"This is a victory for Missouri women and their families," said Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. "This ruling ensures that all Missouri women -- no matter who their boss is -- have access to basic preventive health care without a co-pay, including birth control.
"This is a decision for women, not their bosses to make. Bosses don't have to take birth control, and they don't have to pay for it -- and thanks to the federal court ruling, they can't decide whether the women who work for them are able to have birth control covered by their insurance like any other prescription."
Planned Parenthood estimated approximately 940,000 Missouri women will benefit from the Affordable Care Act's provision allowing access to free birth control, MissouriNet reported.