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— Child Death-Footlocker
— Navajo Generating Station
— Arizona Governor-Duval
— Old Mars Lander
PHOENIX — Child abuse charges were dismissed against the cousin of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who authorities say died after another relative padlocked her in a footlocker. A judge threw out the charges against 26-year-old Ammandea Stoltzmann after prosecutors said there's not enough evidence for the case to move forward and asked that the charges be dismissed. Her trial would have been the first trial over the severe abuse that authorities say 10-year-old Ame Deal suffered at the hands of family members before her July 2011 death. By Jacques Billeaud.
NAVAJO GENERATING STATION
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Navajo lawmakers soon are expected to reconsider a lease extension for the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. The bill that had been ruled out of order earlier this year was brought back before the Tribal Council's committee of the whole Thursday. The committee narrowly rejected it, but the rules allow it to move forward to next week's spring session agenda. Coal miners and power plant workers descended on Window Rock to show their support for keeping the power plant in Page running. Critics maintain the tribe isn't getting a good deal. By Felicia Fonseca.
PHOENIX — Arizona's leading Democratic gubernatorial contender pledged Thursday to usher in a friendlier era toward immigrants in a bid that reflects the state's evolving stance on immigration reform. Fred DuVal, a former Arizona Board of Regents president with deep roots in Democratic Party politics, said he would not continue Republican Gov. Jan Brewer's hard-line immigrant policies that have made the state an epicenter for anti-immigration reform. By Cristina Silva.
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer held the latest in a series of rallies at the Capitol on Thursday to show she has broad support for her proposal to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 more poor Arizonans. And her effort appears to be paying off. A growing number of lawmakers in both parties seem to believe the Legislature will pass Brewer's expansion. That's a change from earlier this year, when the main voices heard in the debate were those of conservative Republicans opposed to the expansion, a signature part of President Barack Obama's heath care overhaul law. By Bob Christie.
PHOENIX — The prosecutor and defense attorney in Jodi Arias' murder trial are presenting dueling portraits of the victim, that of a man who feared for his life as he tried to distance himself from her and a manipulative liar who courted multiple women while claiming to be a virgin, as Arias' team works to build sympathy with jurors and the state tries to keep the focus on the killing and Arias' lies. Psychotherapist Alyce LaViolette has been testifying for more than a week about her conclusion that Arias was a victim of physical and emotional abuse by the victim. By Brian Skoloff.
PARIS — Is there such a thing as too sacred to sell? That's the question a French judge could answer Friday in a potentially landmark decision in Paris on whether dozens of Native American tribal masks can go up for auction. The masks are undoubtedly striking pieces of art — surreal faces made from wood, leather, horse hair and feathers — and painted in vivid pigments of red, blue, yellow and orange. But to Arizona's Hopi Indians they are also stolen spiritual vessels, and they want them back. By Thomas Adamson.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Defense lawyers for an Arizona prison fugitive charged with killing an Oklahoma couple in New Mexico plan to present evidence that he has a mental defect or disease. John McCluskey is scheduled to go on trial in federal court in Albuquerque in July for the 2010 killings of Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla. They were abducted at a rest stop near Santa Rosa and later shot. Their remains were found in a burned-out camping trailer at an eastern New Mexico ranch.
HUMAN SKELETON FOUND
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A body found nearly a year ago in western Nebraska was that of a Wisconsin fugitive who'd been convicted of trying to produce a biological weapon, authorities say. The man had an apartment in Phoenix and was prosecuted in Arizona.
NEW YORK — David Lyle, CEO of the National Geographic Channel, has seen enough of the letters to know how they go. The writer is typically a longtime reader of the magazine, who perhaps recalls the times he leafed through its glossy pages while perched on grandpa's knee. "The second paragraph," he said, "would always be, 'So you can imagine my disappointment when ...'" Fill in the blank. By David Bauder.
WASHINGTON — Democratic and Republican negotiators have reached agreement on all the major elements of sweeping legislation to remake U.S. immigration laws and expect to present the bill next week, lawmakers said. As proposed, the bill would enact the biggest changes to immigration law in more than a quarter century. The landmark legislation would greatly boost border security, put the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally on a path to citizenship and require all employers to verify the legal status of their workers.
OLD MARS LANDER
LOS ANGELES — Space fans from Russia scanning NASA images have spotted what may be a Soviet spacecraft that landed on Mars in 1971 and then mysteriously stopped working. Photos taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling the red planet pointed to what may be the Mars 3 lander along with its parachute, heat shield and other hardware that it jettisoned during the descent through the thin Martian atmosphere. The University of Arizona is in charge of the camera aboard the reconnaissance orbiter.
PHOENIX — A pair of sisters whose plan for a combination brewery and winery in southern Arizona was thwarted by liquor laws can now draw up blueprints and buy brewing equipment. The governor signed legislation last week allowing such operations. By Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic.
— LOTTERY PRIVACY — The Arizona Senate is set to give final approval to a bill allowing lottery winners to keep their anonymity, just months after a Phoenix-area man won half of a $587.5 million Powerball jackpot.
— LIONS IN CHINO VALLEY — A neighborhood in the Yavapai County community of Chino Valley last weekend became the latest point of contact in Arizona between humans and mountain lions and it had a peaceful ending.
— AIR QUALITY-PHOENIX — Arizona officials say residents must be vigilant about air quality as warmer temperatures start to usher in dangerous ozone pollution.
— SCOTTSDALE STRANGULATION — A 61-year-old man accused of killing his wife at their Scottsdale home has pleaded not guilty.
— TUCSON-BODY FOUND — Authorities are trying to identify the body of a woman found in a desert area just south of the Foothills Mall in Tucson.
— SYNTHETIC DRUGS — The top prosecutor in Arizona's most populous county is warning sellers of synthetic versions of marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine that they could face prosecution under legislation recently signed into law.
— PHOENIX ZOO-BEAR — Operators of the Phoenix Zoo have learned the sex of an Andean bear cub whose gender was a mystery for the last three months as zookeepers left the mother bear alone to bond with her baby.