LOUISIANA / Oil rig search called off
The Coast Guard called off its search for 11 workers missing since an explosion on an oil rig off the Louisiana coast. Rear Adm. Mary Landry called it a very difficult decision. The Coast Guard said Friday crews had spent three days searching a large area surrounding the rig, but could not find the missing 11. The Coast Guard says it will resume the search if any ships in the area see anything. The Deepwater Horizon had burned violently for nearly two days until it sank Thursday morning. The fire's out, but as much as 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day could be rising from the sea floor 5,000 feet below, officials said.
NATION / Mine safety official eyed
The nation's top mine safety official is expected to face tough questions next week at the Senate's first hearing on the West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 in April. Joe Main, who heads the Mining Safety and Health Administration, will be the lead witness Tuesday when lawmakers examine weaknesses in safety laws that encourage some companies to ignore the health and safety of mine workers.
NATION / Prayer day ruling weighed
To pray or not to pray? That's the issue government leaders are facing after a federal judge ruled that the National Day of Prayer, set this year for May 6, is unconstitutional. The ruling can't take effect until all appeals are exhausted, but that's not stopping atheists and prayer advocates from firing off letters, e-mails and even planning to put up billboards to lobby state and local leaders across the country.
VIRGINIA / Suspected pirates indicted
Eleven suspected Somali pirates accused in separate attacks on two Navy ships off the coast of Africa were indicted in U.S. federal court Friday. The defendants did not enter pleas. An interpreter read them the charges of piracy, attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. The suspects were held after an March 31 attack on the USS Nicholas and an April 10 attack on the USS Ashland.
Combined news reports