Around the nation

2013-03-26T00:00:00Z Around the nationFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
March 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Washington

Motown songwriter, producer Richards dies

BELLINGHAM - Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards died Sunday. He was 68.

Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, died Sunday at the Whatcom Hospice House, Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center spokeswoman Amy Cloud confirmed Monday.

Richards had been battling esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Universal Music.

As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits, the Universal Music release said. Those songs included the Jackson 5's first three No. 1 hits - "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save."

He also co-wrote "Love Child" for Diana Ross and the Supremes, as well Ross' solo "I'm Still Waiting." Other recording artists for whom Richards produced or wrote songs include Bobby Darin and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Pennsylvania

Groundhog's handler takes forecast blame

PITTSBURGH - An Ohio prosecutor who lightheartedly filed a criminal indictment against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog who fraudulently "predicted" an early spring said he may consider a pardon now that the animal's handler is taking the blame.

Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, told The Associated Press on Monday that the animal rightly predicted six more weeks of winter last month, but he mistakenly announced an early spring because he failed to correctly interpret Phil's "groundhog-ese."

"I'm the guy that did it; I'll be the fall guy. It's not Phil's fault," Deeley said.

Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor Mike Gmoser told the AP that he's reconsidering the charges in light of the new evidence and may issue a full pardon.

California

Mars rover back in action

LOS ANGELES - The Mars rover Curiosity is humming again after being sidelined by back-to-back computer problems.

The six-wheel rover fired up its onboard laboratories and analyzed a pinch of rock dust over the weekend. It had been unable to perform science experiments since late last month after experiencing a computer memory problem.

Mission managers said Curiosity will work for a week before it takes another break. But this one is planned, because the sun will block communications between Earth and Mars.

Before the computer woes, Curiosity drilled into a rock, tested the powder and found it contained some of the chemical ingredients necessary for microbial life. There are plans to drill into another rock before setting off for a mountain later this year.

New York

Somali terror-support suspect pleads guilty

NEW YORK - A shadowy Somali citizen who was interrogated about his ties to international terrorism aboard an American warship nearly two years ago pleaded guilty as part of a cooperation agreement, prosecutors said Monday.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame had been charged with providing material support to terrorist organizations, conspiring to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives and other charges. He entered the plea in December 2011 in a sealed proceeding in federal court in Manhattan.

Prosecutors didn't explain why they kept Warsame's plea secret until now. They called his case a breakthrough in how it uncovered new clues about al-Qaida in Yemen and its relationship with al-Shabab in Somalia, but provided few details.

The Associated Press

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