GALLATIN, Tenn.

Accused of killing newborns, woman released on bond

A woman accused of killing her newborn twins was released Tuesday evening from the Sumner County jail in Gallatin on a $250,000 bond.

Broadcaster WTVF-TV reported that the family of Lindsey Lowe, 25, had secured a property bond set earlier by a judge and she was released into her parents’ custody.

Police have said that Lowe hid her pregnancy and then suffocated her twin boys last week to keep her parents from hearing their cries at the family home in Hendersonville.

Associated Press calls to Lowe’s home weren’t immediately answered.

Police have said they are working to determine the identity of the newborns’ father.

Lowe’s attorney, John Pellegrin, said she was engaged to be married, but he was awaiting the autopsy report to say anything definitive about who the father of the children was.

Authorities said Lowe, who works in billing at a dental office, faces two charges of first-degree murder.

WASHINGTON

Mullen: U.S. troop total in Iraq to decrease sharply

The number of American troops in Iraq will fall to roughly 40,000 by the end of this month as the U.S. winds down the war, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, initially said force levels would drop to 30,000 over that timeframe, but later Tuesday his spokesman corrected the number.

Capt. John Kirby said Mullen spoke in error when he told a crowd at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the number was lower.

Kirby said “the larger point” that Mullen made “is still valid: We are on track to meet the president’s goal of withdrawing all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year.”

There are about 44,500 U.S. troops in Iraq. When the U.S. officially ended its combat mission in Iraq on Sept. 1, 2010, it had about 50,000 troops. Under a 2008 agreement, all U.S. troops are to be out of Iraq by the end of this year.

RENO, Nev.

Air show fatalities now at 11 as officials identify remains

The death toll from Friday’s crash of a vintage World War II fighter plane at the Reno air races has risen to 11, authorities announced.

A spokesman for the Washoe County medical examiner’s office said that investigators have been trying to identify body parts since the gruesome accident at the annual National Championship Air Races. All of the victims’ names had been confirmed by police or family by late Tuesday.

More than 1,300 people had called a Reno crisis line in the days after the crash, many to report missing race spectators. Officials are trying to track down each missing person but haven’t released an official count.

The most recently identified victim is Craig Salerno, 50, of Friendswood, Texas. Medical officials confirmed his death to his wife Monday night.

The other newly identified victims include Cheryl Elvin, 71, of Lenexa, Kan., who was previously reported missing; John Craik, 45, of Gardner-ville, Nev., and James McMichael, 47, of Graham, Wash.

A preliminary report on the crash’s cause could be released later this week, but a full-fledged investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board will take months to complete.

SIRTE, Libya

Families flee ahead of expected push to seize city

Families in pickup trucks stacked with mattresses and jugs of water fled Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte on Tuesday ahead of an expected new push by revolutionary forces to seize the city, as the anti-Gadhafi forces claimed progress in the battle for a city in the remote southern desert.

A commander of the new government’s forces said late Tuesday they were in control of most of the Gadhafi desert stronghold of Sabha after a day of fighting. The commander, Bashir Ahwaz, said most of the tribesmen loyal to Gadhafi fled the city instead of putting up a fight, but three of his men and 19 pro-Gadhafi tribesmen were killed.

He said it would take another week for his forces to take control of all of Libya’s southern desert and its borders with Algeria and Niger. Several groups of officials from Gadhafi’s regime, as well as one of the ousted dictator’s sons, have fled to Niger.

ISLAMABAD

Sunni extremists kill 26 Shiite pilgrims on bus trip

Suspected Sunni extremists opened fire on Shiite Muslim pilgrims traveling by bus through southwest Pakistan on Tuesday on their way to Iran, killing 26 people, officials and survivors said.

Sunni militants with ideological and operational links to al-Qaida and the Taliban have carried out scores of bombings and shootings against Shiites in recent years, but this attack was especially bloody.

At least eight attackers in a pickup truck blocked the bus’ path as it traveled through Baluchistan province, and then forced the passengers off, said Khushhal Khan, the driver of the vehicle.

The passengers tried to run away, but the gunmen opened fire, killing 26 people, said Khan. The attackers then drove off. About 40 people were on the bus.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, one of the country’s most ruthless Sunni militant groups, claimed responsibility in a call to a local journalist in Quetta, but that claim could not be verified.