Bin Laden’s three widows deported to Saudi Arabia

Pakistani authorities deported Osama bin Laden’s three widows and his children to Saudi Arabia today, less than a week before the first anniversary of the unilateral American raid that killed the al-Qaida leader in his hideout.

The departure of the family closed another chapter in an affair that cemented Pakistan’s reputation as a hub of Islamist extremism and cast doubt on its trustworthiness as a Western ally.

Once outside Pakistan, the wives may be willing to share any information they have about how bin Laden managed to evade capture for nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks .

Two of the widows are from Saudi Arabia, and the third is from Yemen.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Arraignment of 9/11 suspects will be broadcast at U.S. sites

The arraignment for the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four other Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be broadcast by closed-circuit television to eight sites in the eastern United States, a military judge ruled Thursday.

Army Col. James Pohl said in his ruling that remote viewing locations are necessary because of the significant public interest in the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants.

Dozens of journalists as well as relatives of Sept. 11 victims are expected to attend the hearing at the U.S. base in Cuba on May 5 when Mohammed and the others are to be arraigned on charges that include murder and terrorism.

Pohl’s order sets aside five viewing sites for families of Sept. 11 victims, survivors and emergency personnel who responded to the attack. Those will be at Fort Meade; Fort Hamilton and another site to be announced in New York City; Joint Base McGuire Dix in Lakehurst, N.J.; and Fort Devens, Mass.


Website raises $200,000 for Zimmerman’s defense

George Zimmerman’s attorney says a website created to raise money for his legal defense has raised more than $200,000.

Mark O’Mara said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday night that he learned about the money on Wednesday and will inform a judge at a hearing today.

Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, was released from jail this week after paying 10 percent of $150,000 bail.

The website used to raise the money has since been shut down, but O’Mara said he’ll likely start a new defense fund for Zimmerman.


Study explores science of religious belief, disbelief

Scientists have concluded that one of the reasons some people are less religious than others is that they think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane.

The study, published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science, indicates that belief may be a more malleable feature of the human psyche than those of strong faith may think.

The cognitive origins of belief — and disbelief — traditionally haven’t been explored with academic rigor, said lead author Will Gervais, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

“There’s been a long-standing intellectual tradition of treating science as one thing and religion as separate, and never the twain shall meet,” he said. But in recent years, there has been a push “to understand religion and why our species has the capacity for religion.”


Senate passes bill renewing domestic violence program

The Senate overcame election-year gender politics Thursday to pass a bill renewing the government’s main domestic violence program.

The 68-31 vote marked the first time since the Violence Against Women Act first passed in 1994 that its renewal has drawn opposition in the Senate.

“In 2012, we should be beyond questioning the need for the Violence Against Women Act,” Vice President Joe Biden said. He urged the House to act quickly so President Obama can sign the renewal into law.

But the path there could be equally tricky. Majority Republicans are writing their own version, which is likely to resemble a GOP alternative widely rejected by the Senate.

— From news service reports