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World and nation briefs

Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 9:45 am

Authorities mum about talks with alleged abductor

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. – As a police standoff with an Alabama man accused of holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker entered its fifth day, authorities were saying little except that their talks with the 65-year-old loner were continuing through a ventilation pipe.

Negotiators were still trying late Friday to persuade Jimmy Lee Dykes to surrender. Police have said they believe the Vietnam-era veteran fatally shot a school bus driver Tuesday, then abducted the boy from the bus and disappeared into the homemade bunker.

One of Dykes' next-door neighbors said the suspect spent two or three months constructing the bunker. Neighbor Michael Creel said Dykes put the plastic pipe from the bunker to the end of his driveway so he could hear if anyone drove up to his gate.

Miss. university could get first black chief

JACKSON, Miss. – More than 50 years ago, the University of Southern Mississippi rejected a chance to admit a black man and end segregation in the state's higher education system. Today, the school is likely to become the first of Mississippi's historically white public universities to be led by a black man.

College Board officials said Friday that they want Rodney Bennett, the University of Georgia's vice president of student affairs, to become the next president of 16,000-student USM.

Assuming campus interviews go well, he will likely be named to the post Thursday.

5 plead not guilty in India gang rape

NEW DELHI – Five men pleaded not guilty today after being formally indicted in a special court on 13 charges, including rape and murder, in the Dec. 16 fatal gang rape of a woman in a New Delhi bus, a lawyer said.

The men signed statements in the fast-track court saying they were innocent, said one of the men's lawyers. The lawyer cannot be identified under a gag order imposed by the court.

The court will begin hearing the evidence of witnesses Tuesday.

A sixth suspect, who is 17 years old, will be tried in a juvenile court and could face a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility if convicted. A conviction as an adult could have led to his execution.

–From wire reports