SPOKANE, Wash.

Gingrich says Obama wrong to apologize over Qurans

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday a U.S. apology to Afghan authorities for burned Qurans on a military base was “astonishing” and undeserved.

Gingrich lashed out at President Obama for the formal apology after copies of the Muslim holy book were found burned in a garbage pit on a U.S. air field earlier in the week.

Campaigning in Washington state, Gingrich said Afghan President Hamid Karzi owes the U.S. an apology for the shootings.

SAN DIEGO

Military officials seeking cause of deadly copter crash 

A collision that killed seven Marines in one of the Marine Corps’ deadliest aviation training accidents in years occurred over a sprawling desert range favored by the U.S. military because its craggy mountains and hot, dusty conditions are similar to Afghanistan’s harsh environment.

Officials were scrambling Thursday to determine what caused the AH-1W Cobra and UH-1 Huey to crash during a routine exercise Wednesday night. There were no survivors.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

Man acquitted of murder in drowning death of wife

A man who spent 18 months in an Australian jail for the drowning death of his wife during a diving trip in that country was acquitted of murder in Alabama on Thursday.

A judge ended the trial with his acquittal ruling before the defense had even presented its case, saying prosecutors lacked evidence to prove Gabe Watson intentionally killed his wife.  The couple was diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Watson pleaded guilty in Australia to a manslaughter charge involving negligence.

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

Woman accused of running daughter to death gives birth

An Alabama woman was under guard at a hospital Thursday after giving birth hours after her arrest in the death of her 9-year-old stepdaughter, who authorities say was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying about eating a candy bar.

Jessica Mae Hardin, 27, was transferred from the Etowah County Detention Center to a hospital on Wednesday. Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp  said he didn’t know whether the newborn was a boy or a girl.

SYDNEY

Coroner may rule that dingo did take the baby in 1980

More than three decades after an infant vanished from a tent in the Australian Outback, a coroner is expected to finally answer the question that divided a nation: Did a dingo take the baby?

On Friday, Northern Territory Coroner Elizabeth Morris opened a fourth inquest into the death of 9-week-old Azaria Chamberlain, whose disappearance in 1980 sparked the most notorious and bitterly controversial legal drama in Australian history.

Azaria’s mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was convicted and later cleared of murdering her daughter and has always maintained that a wild dog took the baby. She and her ex-husband, Michael Chamberlain, are hoping fresh evidence they have gathered about dingo attacks on children will finally convince the coroner to declare that a dingo killed Azaria.

LONDON

Charges of email deletion add to Murdoch scandal 

Rupert Murdoch’s News International has succeeded in settling a first wave of phone hacking lawsuits, but a report that the British newspaper company ordered the deletion of legally sensitive emails in 2009 shows that the scandal isn’t dying down anytime soon.

Murdoch’s company was hit by some 60-odd lawsuits following revelations that his News of the World tabloid routinely intercepted the voicemails of politicians and celebrities. The settlements may have stopped potentially embarrassing disclosures from being aired in open court, but dozens more cases are in the pipeline.

– From news service reports