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May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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Clinton: Plot shows terrorists' resolve

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The latest thwarted bomb plot shows terrorists still try to develop ways to "kill innocent people," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in India.

"These terrorists keep trying ... to devise more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people, and it's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant at home and abroad in protecting our nation and in protecting friendly nations," Clinton said during a news conference Tuesday in New Delhi.

The plot was foiled about two weeks after intelligence assets in Saudi Arabia provided a tip, a source familiar with the operation told CNN Tuesday.

On Monday, officials said U.S. and other intelligence agencies seized a bomb similar to ones used before by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, described by Western officials as the terror network's most dangerous affiliate.

The plot was discovered before it posed a threat any Americans, and no airplanes were at risk, a U.S. counter-terrorism official said. Police said they recovered a non-metallic explosive device, which is being analyzed by the FBI.

The device was meant to be placed on a U.S.-bound airline, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN. Its discovery is part of an ongoing operation.

"It's not over as far as the operation itself, which is why you're seeing very few details being given out," he said.

Both King and a senior administration official said the intended user of the bomb is no longer a threat, CNN said. The recovered device never reached an airport or airplane.

The plot also demonstrates how far terrorist organizations will go to achieve their goal, King said.

"This seems to be a new level of sophistication by al-Qaida," King told CNN.

Yemeni authorities criticized the United States for not sharing any of its information concerning the plot, CNN said.

"Yemen has been a key ally to the United States when it comes to fighting terror and cooperates in every way possible," one Yemeni senior intelligence official said. "It's very sad to know that the United States did not share such critical intelligence information with Yemen."

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said authorities have "no specific, credible information regarding an active terrorist plot against the U.S. at this time" but still monitor efforts to implement such attacks.

President Obama was told of the plot in April, a White House spokesman said, adding that the attempt "underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad."

Leaders protest treatment of Tymoshenko

YALTA, Ukraine, May 8 (UPI) -- European leaders shunned a summit in Yalta, Ukraine, in protest of the treatment of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, officials say.

Ukraine was forced to postpone the Central European summit after leaders of Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic threatened not to show up. The leaders accused Ukraine of poorly handling Tymoshenko's fragile medical condition.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dykusarov said Ukraine plans to hold the summit at a later time.

"Ukraine decided to postpone the summit and not to hold it on May 11-12 in Yalta," Dykusarov told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. "The event will be held at a later time that will be determined through diplomatic channels."

Tymoshenko's treatment during her time in Kachanivka women's penal colony No. 54 in Kharkov has been a source of controversy, since photos circulated last week of her covered in bruises she said were inflicted by prison guards.

Tymoshenko, 51, is serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted last year of abuse of office. RIA Novosti reported Western governments have called Tymoshenko's trial politically motivated.

The Ukrainian News Agency said Tymoshenko will be moved to Ukrzaliznystia Central Clinical Hospital for in-patient treatment for severe back pain caused by a herniated spinal disc.

Team Obama rips Romney's 'treason' answer

CLEVELAND, May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama's re-election campaign condemned likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney's non-response to a woman who accused Obama of treason.

During a campaign event near Cleveland Monday, Romney criticized Obama's comments on the Supreme Court when asked by a woman whether the former Massachusetts governor thought Obama was "operating outside the structure of our Constitution," and "should be tried for treason," USA Today reported.

"Time after time in this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric and time after time, he has failed to do so," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said.

Romney later told CNN he doesn't "correct all of the questions that get asked of me."

"Obviously," Romney said, "I don't agree that he should be tried."

When he was in the race, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., was taken to task for not correcting a comment made during a Florida town hall meeting that Obama is a Muslim. Obama is Christian. After the town hall event, Santorum told CNN he didn't think it was "my obligation every time someone says something I don't agree with to contradict them."

During the 2008 campaign, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona corrected a woman during a Minnesota event who said Obama was a Muslim.

Half of Americans back same-sex marriage

PRINCETON, N.J., May 8 (UPI) -- Half of Americans say they believe same-sex marriages should be legally recognized as valid, a Gallup poll released Tuesday indicated.

The results, based on Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, are down slightly from 53 percent last year, but mark the second time in Gallup's history of tracking the same-sex marriage question that at least 50 percent of Americans support legal gay marriages. Forty-eight percent said same-sex marriages should not be legal.

The issue of same-sex marriage falls along political and religious lines. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats support legalizing it, compared with 57 percent of independents and 22 percent of Republicans, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

Fifty-one percent of Catholics said same-sex marriages should be legal while 47 percent said they should not. Protestants were more divided, with 38 percent saying gay marriages should be legally recognized and 59 percent saying they should not be legal. Those who identify with no religion overwhelmingly approve, 88 percent to 12 percent.

Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea that same-sex and heterosexual couples are "entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,024 adults conducted May 3-6. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

2 at Florida A&M ID'd as hazing victims

ORLANDO, Fla., May 8 (UPI) -- Two more Florida A&M University band members were identified as victims of hazing aboard the bus in which Robert Champion was severely beaten, officials said.

The charges involving the victims, Lissette Sanchez and Keon Hollis, are misdemeanors, which suggests they were not severely abused on the bus, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported. Documents provided no further details of the alleged hazing.

Eleven current or former members of the band are to be arraigned on felony hazing charges June 14 in the death of Champion. The 26-year-old drum major was repeatedly beaten, kicked and choked on the bus in November outside an Orlando hotel after a football game at the Citrus Bowl, where the band performed.

All except one of the 11 felony defendants have been released after posting $15,000 bond. A judge denied bail for Caleb Jackson, who had been on probation for battery, the Sentinel said.

Rikki Wills, 24, of Miami has been charged with misdemeanor hazing of Hollis, and Harold Finley, 20, of Riviera Beach has been charged with misdemeanor hazing of Sanchez. Wills and Finley are among the 11 charged with felony hazing in Champion's death.

Under Florida's anti-hazing law, which the Sentinel called one of the nation's toughest, a felony act of hazing causes "serious bodily injury or death," a misdemeanor "substantial risk of physical injury."

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