Troops set up drone base
President Barack Obama said Friday that about 100 U.S. troops have been deployed to the African nation of Niger. Two U.S. defense officials said the troops would set up a base for unarmed drones to conduct surveillance. The move marks a deepening of U.S. efforts to stem the spread of al-Qaida and its affiliates in the volatile region. It also underscores Obama’s desire to fight extremism without involving large numbers of U.S. ground forces. The base will allow the United States to give France intelligence on militants its forces have been fighting in Mali.
Peterson goes to prison
Less than 24 hours after screaming out his innocence in court, Drew Peterson was transferred to an Illinois prison to begin serving his 38-year sentence for the murder of this third wife. The former suburban Chicago police officer, whose case attracted widespread media attention and inspired a TV movie, entered the maximum-security Stateville prison outside Joliet early Friday. A judge sentenced him Thursday for the 2004 drowning death of his fourth wife, Kathleen Savio. He’s also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Savio’s death was originally ruled an accident, but it was re-examined after Stacy Peterson vanished in 2007 and eventually ruled a homicide. Peterson, 59, had faced 60 years in prison. He’ll get four years’ credit for time already served.
2 die in helicopter crash
A medical helicopter crash-landed early Friday outside a nursing home, killing two people onboard and critically injuring a third, officials said. Helicopter owner EagleMed LLC of Wichita, Kan., had just recently undergone an exhaustive review — receiving its three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services in October, said Eileen Frazer, the commission’s executive director. A three-man crew was onboard the helicopter when it crashed while headed from Oklahoma City to Watonga, 70 miles away, to pick up a patient, said Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Woodard. No one on the ground was seriously injured or killed.
Compiled from wire reports.