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ILLINOIS / Feds link cabbie, al-Qaida

Federal prosecutors charged a Chicago cab driver on Friday with attempting to provide funds for explosives to al-Qaida and discussing a possible bomb attack on an unspecified stadium in the United States this summer. According to the complaint, Raja Lahrasib Khan, 56, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin, appeared on March 11 to be talking about an attack. Khan said bags with remote controlled bombs could be placed in the stadium and then, "boom, boom, boom, boom," prosecutors said. U.S. Magistrate Geraldine Soat Brown on Friday ordered him held pending a hearing Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said there was no imminent danger.


FLORIDA / Discovery launch April 5

NASA has settled on April 5 as a launch date for space shuttle Discovery. Senior managers met Friday and agreed unanimously on the launch date. Discovery will haul spare parts to the International Space Station.


WEST VIRGINIA / EPA to block planned mine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday took a rare step against a proposed "mountaintop" coal mine in West Virginia - proposing to block the mine, which has a federal permit. In mountaintop mining, peaks are scraped and blasted to reach coal seams.


CALIFORNIA / WSJ: Pension fund probed

The Wall Street Journal reported federal prosecutors have started a criminal investigation into investment activities at the California Public Employees Retirement System. Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported Justice Department officials in Los Angeles are examining potential influence-peddling. Fund spokesman Brad Pacheco told the AP his office is unaware of any criminal probe.


WASHINGTON / TSA nom pulls his name

President Barack Obama's second pick for Transportation Security Administration chief withdrew himself because of questions over his background as defense contractor. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding said distractions over his work would not be good for the administration or the Homeland Security Department, which oversees TSA. Obama's first choice withdrew in January.


WASHINGTON / FDA: Don't drink raw milk

The Food and Drug Administration says there are 12 confirmed cases of illness in Michigan after consumers drank raw milk from an Indiana dairy. The FDA said unpasteurized milk may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria. It cited 1,614 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations and two deaths from consumption of raw milk from 1998 to 2008.


WASHINGTON / RNC to fight donor limits

The Republican National Committee says it will take a dispute over the kind of money it can raise to the Supreme Court. A federal court panel in Washington ruled Friday it lacked the authority to overturn a 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding a ban on "soft" money, unlimited donations, by national parties.

From combined news reports

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