MARINA, Calif.

Surfer survives shark attack off state beach in California

A shark attacked a surfer Saturday off a California beach, biting him in the neck and arm and sending him to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Eric Tarantino of Monterey was attacked around 7 a.m., just minutes after he and a friend entered the water at Marina State Beach, The Monterey Herald reported.

The shark bit Tarantino, 27, on the neck and right forearm and left teeth marks in his red surfboard.

Tarantino’s friend, Brandon McKibben of Salinas, helped him out of the water, and other surfers used beach towels to try to stop his bleeding.

Tarantino was taken to a local airport by paramedics and flown to the San Jose Regional Medical Center, authorities said. 

Dana M. Jones, Monterey Sector superintendent for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, said Tarantino’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Jones said signs will be posted along the area’s beaches advising of the shark danger and recommending that beach-goers refrain from water activities for the next week.


Judge orders suspect jailed while he awaits spying trial

A Virginia man accused of acting as a Syrian spy is a flight risk and should remain in jail while he awaits trial, a federal judge ruled Friday.

The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton overturns a magistrate who had ruled Oct. 18 that Mohamad Soueid, 47, of Leesburg, could be freed on home detention. The magistrate had also disparaged the significance of the government’s case, saying that at worst Soueid appears to be no more than a low-level operative.

The indictment against Soueid accuses him of working with the Syrian intelligence agency to monitor Syrian expatriates in the United States who have been rallying opposition to President Bashar Assad’s regime. Human rights activists estimate that Assad’s crackdown on a popular uprising in the country has left more than 3,000 opponents of the regime dead.

Prosecutors immediately appealed the magistrate’s order to release Soueid, whom they portray as a savvy intelligence agent with access to the highest levels of Syrian government.

Haytham Faraj, Soueid’s attorney, acknowledged that Soueid is a supporter of the regime who maintains contacts with his native country – Soueid is Syrian born and a naturalized U.S. citizen – but said that does not make him a spy.


Cain expects favorable result from Iowa, New Hampshire

Presidential candidate Herman Cain is full of confidence about his 2012 prospects.

It’s been weeks since he set foot in first-voting Iowa or New Hampshire, yet he said Saturday he expects to finish first or second in each state.

He’s also predicting victory in South Carolina, which will hold the South’s first presidential contest in 2012.

“And then, look out,” Cain said Saturday before plunging into a crowd of football tailgaters at Samford University, a Baptist-affiliated school in Alabama.

That win, he says, will set the stage for him to capture the GOP nomination.

Cain, however, said he plans to “dial back” his campaign and media appearances in order to avoid missteps. Since climbing in the polls, he has had a series of fumbles, forcing him to clarify comments on abortion, immigration and terrorism suspects.

Cain has chalked up the mistakes to a grueling campaign schedule jammed with media interviews.

Such itineraries are standard fare in presidential campaigns and it is unclear how aggressively he will restrict his schedule.


Small-plane crash at airport kills both people on board

Authorities are investigating the crash of a small plane at a South Florida airport that killed both people on board.

The Federal Aviation Administration told Miami’s WFOR-TV that the single-engine aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances Saturday morning at the Richards Field Airport in Homestead.

The FAA said two people on board were killed, and the owner of the plane is from Miami. No other details were immediately available.

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