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National news briefs — compiled July 26

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SAN FRANCISCO

Scare closes Bay Bridge

Authorities temporarily shut down the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after a suspicious device was found, snarling traffic on both sides of the crossing on a busy Friday afternoon. Authorities were notified around 1 p.m. about the device on the Treasure Island on-ramp, California Highway Patrol Officer Sam Morgan said. The island is midway across the span. Morgan said officials decided to close lanes and cleared all vehicles from the bridge nearly an hour later. Authorities reopened the westbound lanes, then the eastbound side, around 3:30 p.m. when San Francisco police neutralized the threat. No further details on the device were released.

WASHINGTON

Civilian-use drones OK’d

Federal regulators say they have certified two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use, a milestone expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operations later this summer. The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the drones are Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA. Both weigh less than 55 pounds, are about 4.5 feet long and have wingspans of 9 to 10 feet. A major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast starting in August to survey ice floes and migrating whales. The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea.

DECATUR, GA.

Murder charges dropped

On the eve of trial, prosecutors on Friday dropped murder charges against a woman they accused of conspiring to have her husband gunned down outside a suburban Atlanta preschool. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James told Judge Gregory Adams that, after reviewing evidence that includes records recently provided by the defense, he is no longer sure that Andrea Sneiderman is guilty of orchestrating the Nov. 18, 2010, slaying of 36-year-old Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman. James made the declaration during a sweeping pre-trial hearing ahead of Monday’s scheduled jury selection. Sneiderman still faces lesser charges that include lying to police and hindering an investigation.

Compiled from wire reports.


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