In brief | Nation & world | 121413


Kansas airport worker arrested in plot to bomb Wichita airport to support al-Qaida

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas man was arrested Friday on charges that he planned to set off a car bomb at the Wichita airport in an attack intended to support al-Qaida, authorities said.

Terry Lee Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician who worked at the airport, was arrested before dawn as he tried to enter the tarmac in a vehicle he believed was loaded with high explosives.

But the materials in the car were inert, and no one at the airport was in any immediate danger, authorities said.

Loewen, who lives in Wichita, had been under investigation for about six months after making online statements to an undercover agent about wanting to commit “violent jihad” against the United States, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Authorities said Loewen spent months studying the layout of the Mid-Continent Regional Airport, its flight patterns and other details to maximize fatalities and damage. During that time, he developed a plan with other conspirators to use his employee access card to pull off the attack. The conspirators were actually undercover FBI agents.

Sheriff: Colorado high school shooter believed to have acted alone; 2 other students shot

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A suburban Denver student shot two other students at a high school Friday before he apparently killed himself, authorities said.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the shooter entered Arapahoe High School in Centennial armed with a shotgun and looking for a teacher he identified by name.

The teacher immediately left the school when he learned the student was looking for him, Robinson said.

The shooter then shot two students, one of whom is in serious condition at a hospital. The other is also hospitalized, with a minor gunshot wound. It was initially believed the student in serious condition confronted the shooter, but Robinson now says that wasn’t clear.

Robinson said the student is believed to have acted alone. Authorities also found a possible Molotov cocktail at the scene and are examining the device.

Senate sets vote next week on budget legislation; passage expected

WASHINGTON — One day after winning lopsided House approval, bipartisan legislation to ease across-the-board spending cuts and reduce economy-rattling budget brinkmanship appears likely to command the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate, officials in both parties said Friday.

Yet unlike in the House, significantly more Senate Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation than vote for it, highlighting the different political forces at work at opposite ends of the Capitol.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced a test vote for Tuesday on the measure, which cleared the House on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 332-94.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars joined the ranks of the bill’s opponents during the day, citing a provision to reduce cost of living increases for military retirees until they reach age 62. The result could mean “a cumulative loss in retirement income of $80,000” for a sergeant first class who retires at age 40, the group said.

“Although Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we can’t allow Congress to dismantle the programs they created over the past 12 years,” said William A. Thien, the VFW’s national commander.

By wire sources