National editor's pick of the top news stories in the nation and world at this hour:
At least one American worker was among the hostages killed in Algeria, U.S. officials said, as the government there announced a "provisional" death toll of 12 hostages. Contrary to earlier reports that the siege was over, the hostage crisis continued Friday, with the government reporting that 100 of 132 foreigners had escaped -- but al-Qaida-linked militants were still holed up inside a natural gas complex. They offered to trade two American workers for two terror figures jailed in the U.S., according to a Mauritanian news site, prompting State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland to say, "The United States does not negotiate with terrorists." The American found dead at the complex was identified as Frederick Buttaccio, a resident of Texas. The reported tally of 132 foreigners initially kidnapped is far higher than the 41 the militants had claimed to hold, and it was unclear whether the 32 who had not escaped were still captive or were killed. The governments of some of the foreign nationals at the plant complained that Algerian forces stormed the compound Thursday without notifying them and without taking time to seek a peaceful outcome.
French soldiers in Mali claim to have captured Konna, the city whose fall to militants prompted their invention last week, and to have surrounded Diabaly, which rebels overran Monday. The French forces encircled the town to cut off supplies to the al-Qaida-linked extremists inside, and they say they chased off the rebels that were holding Konna. Telephone lines in Konna were cut, and the government closed all roads leading to it, leading Doctors Without Borders to complain that it needed access to deliver medical and humanitarian aid. As a security precaution, a key road leading to the large central city of Segou was closed to traffic between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Anti-doping officials who watched Lance Armstrong confess to using performance-enhancing drugs say it's a good start but he would have to reveal far more if he wants his lifetime ban from competition lifted. "He didn't name names," World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey said. "He didn't say who supplied him, what officials were involved." In a 90-minute interview broadcast Thursday on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, the first of two parts, Armstrong said he started doping in the mid-1990s. He admitted to using the blood booster EPO, testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone, as well as engaging in outlawed blood doping and transfusions. He acknowledged doping in all seven of his Tour de France victories. Armstrong has been stripped of all titles and banned for life from sports governed by doping rules, and he wants to return to competition in marathons and triathlons. "We're left wanting more," Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme said. "We have to know more about the system. He couldn't have done it alone. We have to know who in his entourage helped him to do this."
Ray Nagin, who came to national prominence as mayor of New Orleans for his role in managing the Hurricane Katrina crisis, was indicted Friday on charges of using his office to profit from the rebuilding of the city. He is accused of accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman who secured millions of dollars in city contract work after the 2005 hurricane. That man, Frank Fradella, has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with federal authorities. Nagin, 56, is also charged with accepting at least $60,000 in payoffs from another businessman, Rodney Williams, who has also pleaded guilty. The indictment also claims that Nagin got free private jet and limousine rides to New York from a businessman in exchange for waiving tax penalties he owed the city.
"Gorgeous" Gussy Moran, a tennis player who shocked and titillated 1949 Britain by showing up for Wimbledon wearing a very short skirt and frilly lace panties, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89. Moran, who was ranked fourth among U.S. women in 1949, wanted to make a fashion statement at Wimbledon that would fit her outgoing personality and perhaps protest the rules against wearing anything but white. She had an outfit designed for the occasion with a skirt that was shockingly short by the standards of the time and allowed people to gape at her ruffled underwear. Photographers jockeyed for low-angle shots from behind her, and she became an overnight sensation. Moran later worked as a TV sportscaster, but she was always remembered best for what she wore to Wimbledon.
The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.