By Gus Bode

Casey Anthony cries as trial starts in Orlando

KYLE HIGHTOWER,Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter began crying Tuesday as a prosecutor described the child’s last day in opening statements in the first-degree murder trial.


Casey Anthony wiped away tears as prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick gave her opening statement. Drane Burdick told jurors that all the evidence points to the 25-year-old defendant as the murderer of Caylee Anthony, who was gone for a month before her grandmother alerted police that she was missing.

“It is time to tell the story of a little girl named Caylee,” Drane Burdick said

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty and says a baby sitter kidnapped the girl. The prosecutor told jurors that the baby sitter was made up.

If convicted, Casey Anthony could face the death penalty.

Drane Burdick offered a timeline of Casey Anthony’s whereabouts based on cell phone records. The timeline stretched from the time Caylee was last seen by her grandparents on Father’s Day on June 15, 2008, until her remains were discovered by a meter reader in woods near her home in December 2008. Jurors were shown images on a screen of a photo of Caylee taken on Father’s Day alongside an image of the little girl’s skeletal remains.

Casey Anthony waited a month before telling her mother that Caylee had disappeared, and only after her parents, George and Cindy, recovered from the towing lot a car with a foul odor that Casey Anthony had been driving.

Drane Burdick asked jurors, between descriptions of how Casey Anthony spent her days shopping, visiting friends and hanging out with her boyfriend with no signs of her daughter, “Where is Caylee Marie Anthony?”


The prosecutor described Casey Anthony’s appearance as a hardworking single mother as false.

“Casey Anthony … appeared to be … a loving mother, trying to provide support for her daughter,” Drane Burdick said. “But as the evidence in this case will show, that was an illusion.”

The trial has attracted national attention and dozens of people lined up in the early morning hours to be one of the few spectators allowed into the courtroom. Television personalities Geraldo Rivera and Nancy Grace sat in the courtroom gallery.

Brett Schulman, a 51-year-old professional poker player, arrived at the Orlando courthouse at 4 a.m. to snag the first spectator seat.

“It’s the largest case in central Florida history,” Schulman said. “And it’s in my backyard.”

Top gov. witness in terror trial returns to stand

EILEEN SULLIVAN,Associated Press

SOPHIA TAREEN,Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The federal government’s star witness was expected to reveal more potentially damaging details on Tuesday about the alleged close ties between Pakistan’s main intelligence agency and the militant group blamed for the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.

David Coleman Headley returned to witnesses stand in the terrorism trail of a Chicago businessman accused of collaborating in the three-day siege of India’s largest city — a day after gave a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and described how he was recruited by a member of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as ISI, to take part in the Mumbai plot.

As the government’s first and main witness in the trial of his longtime friend Tahawwur Rana, Headley’s testimony outlining links between the ISI and Lashkar could inflame tensions between Pakistan and India and place even more pressure on the already frayed U.S. and Pakistani relations.

It also could add to the questions about Pakistan’s commitment to catch terrorists and the ISI’s connections to Pakistan-based terror groups, especially after Osama bin Laden was found hiding out earlier this month in a military garrison town outside of Islamabad.

Headley already pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people including six Americans, and he agreed to testify against Rana to avoid the death penalty, making him one of the most valuable U.S. government counterterrorism witnesses.

“Headley’s testimony is a nail in the coffin of U.S.-Pakistani strategic cooperation,” said Bruce Riedel, a former White House adviser on Middle Eastern and South Asian issues. “Until now his commentary has gotten very little attention outside India, now it will finally get the attention it deserves here.”

The Pakistani government has denied the ISI orchestrated the Mumbai attacks, and a senior ISI official said Tuesday that the agency has no links to the terrorists behind the rampage. When asked about the testimony being heard in Chicago, the officer said “it is nothing.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because his agency doesn’t allow its operatives to be named in the media.

Day off before Blagojevich lawyers mount defense

CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys have a day off to make final preparations before they begin mounting a defense at the former Illinois governor’s corruption retrial.

Judge James Zagel has business unrelated to the case Tuesday. So he delayed the restart of the trial until Wednesday.

Defense lawyers have said they’ll call their first witnesses Wednesday. But they haven’t provided any names.

They describe their witnesses as prominent people who’ve been subpoenaed previously.

That means the witnesses could include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing. But his name came up often in government testimony.

Defense attorneys have left open the possibility of calling Blagojevich himself. But they may wait to decide that until others take the stand first.

Blagojevich faces 20 charges. He denies any wrongdoing.

High water damage shuts RR bridge near New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Flood damage closed a rail bridge just west of New Orleans, delaying freight and forcing Amtrak to shuttle passengers by bus at the Louisiana end of the City of New Orleans’ twice daily route.

A 26-foot span — the distance between two of the piers that support the bridge over the Bonnet Carre Spillway — was damaged, apparently when debris hit a pier, Canadian National Railway spokesman Patrick Waldron said Monday.

He said inspectors found the damage after an Amtrak engineer reported a rough ride there Sunday.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said he was told Tuesday that buses between Hammond and New Orleans will be needed at least until Thursday. The City of New Orleans runs between Chicago and New Orleans, with stops in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. The Los Angeles-New Orleans Sunset Limited uses the Huey P. Long Bridge; neither it nor the Southern Crescent between New York and New Orleans is affected, he said.

Amtrak has only had 1 ½ days of normal service on the City of New Orleans since April 26, when floods closed the 219-mile stretch of rail from Carbondale, Ill, to Memphis, Tenn. Amtrak had no alternative for that stretch, which reopened May 21.

About eight Canadian National freight trains also cross the Bonnet Carre bridge each day, Waldron said.

“We’re working on alternative routes but there will be some freight delays,” he said. Other routes include one between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that was reopened Monday after being closed because tracks on levees were covered with sand bags. Floodwalls at Memphis covered the track until recently, he said.

Waldron said CN had a parallel route for freight when the track across from Cairo, Ill, was flooded, but Amtrak couldn’t use it because it had no stations.

Accounts of militant training camp near bin Laden

CHRIS BRUMMITT,Associated Press

GULI BADRAL, Pakistan — In this Pakistani village surrounded by forests and glacial streams just 35 miles from where Osama bin Laden was killed, people become uneasy when asked what goes on up the mountain.

It’s where villagers avoid cutting pine trees for firewood. And where they know not to ask questions.

When pressed, they say it’s a secret training complex for Islamic militants and that the Pakistani army is aware of it — even though the army denies that it exists.

Accounts gathered by The Associated Press in the Ughi area of Mansehra district add to suspicion that Pakistan is playing a “double game” — that is, accepting U.S. aid to fight militants on the one hand but tolerating and in some cases even encouraging and harnessing the power of extremism on the other.

Three men who identified themselves as mujahedeen — militants — told the AP that the training complex is one of at least three in the region that between them house hundreds of recruits.

The mission, the three say, is aimed at taking recruits to Kashmir to fight Pakistan’s archenemy, India. But Kashmiri veterans have been known to join forces with al-Qaida and other terror groups, including those fighting the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The charges of Pakistani duplicity have gathered strength in the aftermath of the May 2 U.S. raid against bin Laden, who was hiding in the army town of Abbottabad and a short walk from a military academy. Pakistani officials have denied any collusion, but the country is now coming under renewed pressure to abandon its links to all Islamist militant networks.

In 2001, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said the country was severing its ties to jihadi groups amid intense American pressure following the Sept. 11 attacks. But few are convinced that has happened.

The Mansehra area, a roughly four-hour drive north of the capital, Islamabad, was known to have hosted state-backed militant groups in the 1990s. The region was considered ideal for such activities largely because it is so close to Kashmir — about 25 miles from Pakistani-administered Kashmir, and about 45 miles from the boundary of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. Both countries claim the territory in its entirety.

When contacted by the AP last week, the army denied there are any training camps or any facilities hidden away in the Mansehra area. “The allegations are baseless,” said spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.

But in Guli Badral, locals say both extremists and men they presume to be soldiers are a familiar sight in the village square, where they shop for meat, flour and beans before getting back into pickup trucks for the two-hour trip along a rough track to the training camp.

The three militants who spoke to the AP about the camps did not give their names and asked that the names of their organizations not be published. They said there’s an army checkpoint on the road leading to one of the larger camps, near the village of Khatai. Militants and villagers alike gave the same advice to an AP team: Do not attempt to get any closer. It’s too dangerous.

At least one of the militants appeared motivated to speak out because of anger at the army, which he said was no longer so supportive as it once was. Before 2001, Kashmiri-focused militant groups had offices across the country where they could openly recruit and allegedly received considerable state funds.

The man said the army was “putting up hurdles” to the group’s work, including briefly arresting some of its members. He gave no details

16 killed in landslides at Malaysian orphanage

EILEEN NG,Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Two landslides that hit a Malaysian orphanage killed 15 boys and one adult but nine people survived, police said Sunday after a nearly 15-hour rescue mission ended.

District police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab said the bodies of 15 boys, aged 8 to 18, and a 34-year-old caretaker had been recovered. Six boys and three wardens who were critically injured in the landslides have been hospitalized, he said.

Medical officers had to amputate the leg of one of the boys at the site after he was pulled out due to a severe injury that caused incessant bleeding, health ministry official Azmi Shapie said.

Abdul Rashid said the last rescued victim, a 9-year-old boy, was pulled out nearly eight hours after tons of earth crashed through the orphanage for ethnic Malay Muslim boys in a sleepy village in central Selangor state.

Though it wasn’t raining when the landslides occurred Saturday afternoon, wet weather in the past few days was the likely cause, he said.

The 25 people buried by the landslides were among 49 who were attending a motivational camp at the orphanage, he said. Most of the boys were orphans, but details were still unclear.

“They just had lunch at the tent by the side of the house when two landslides apparently occurred seconds after each other,” Abdul Rashid told The Associated Press. “The tent collapsed, burying 25 people as they did not have time to escape.”

Mohamad Hambali Ismail, a warden at the orphanage, told local media that the children were preparing to receive visitors when the earth shook.

“I heard a loud noise. Suddenly the earth was chasing me. I had to run to save myself,” Hambali, 34, told the Malay-language Berita Harian newspaper.

A heavy downpour after the landslides hampered rescue operations by some 200 firefighters, police and others.

Abdul Rashid said rescuers had to dig through 14 feet (4 meters) of sludge using their hands and equipment, and that the last body was retrieved nearly 15 hours after the landslides.

A small stream runs near the orphanage, a huge three-story house at a foothill in the semi-rural village. The house was partly damaged and several tall trees fell due to the landslides.

Several houses near the orphanage were evacuated amid concerns of further landslides, Abdul Rashid said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is on a working visit to the United States, ordered an immediate investigation into the incident. Najib was quoted by the national news agency, Bernama, as saying the government would rebuild the orphanage and give financial aid to the victims’ families.

“I am saddened by the tragedy. … Hopefully, the government’s contribution can help ease the burden of the victims’ families,” he said.

Najib said he would visit the site of the landslides as well as families of the victims when he returns to the country Tuesday.

The Selangor state government ordered an investigation into the safety of hillsides in the area.

Several landslides have caused damage in the country’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, and surrounding areas in recent years. They are usually blamed on rapid development, deforestation and poor maintenance of drainage systems.

The worst landslide occurred in 1993 when a 12-story condominium block collapsed, killing 48 people.