5 arrest warrants in Malibu blaze

LOS ANGELES - Arrest warrants have been issued for five men accused of causing a Malibu fire last month that destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and caused more than $100 million worth of losses, authorities said yesterday.

Investigators used surveillance video, receipts and food wrappers to track down the men who were believed to have been at the cave where the fire started, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.

Baca identified the men as Brian Allen Anderson, 22; William Thomas Coppock, 23; Brian David Franks, 27; Eric Matthew Ullman, 18; and Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, all from the Los Angeles area. Three were in custody late yesterday, a sheriff's spokesman said.

- AP

Shooter's mother says she's sorry

OMAHA, Neb. - The mother of the gunman who killed eight people at a shopping mall Dec. 5 apologized yesterday for her son's crime and said she had done her best raising him.

"I have been absolutely devastated," Maribel Rodriguez said. "The most difficult part is giving all of my best efforts to convey to all these beautiful people that I truly am sorry."

Her son, Robert Hawkins, 19, fired more than 30 rounds inside the Von Maur department store at the Westroads Mall, striking 11 people. Eight died, and he killed himself.

Rodriguez, who had not had custody of Hawkins since she divorced his father about 15 years ago, said she was hurting more than the victims' families, since she was grieving for so many people: the victims, their friends and the community. "My pain is a billion times greater than any of them," she said.

- AP

Most visa fees going up Jan. 1

WASHINGTON - America's admission price is going up.

Starting Jan. 1, most people will have to shell out more money for U.S. visas. The higher charges will help pay for increased processing costs resulting from security measures imposed after 9/11.

The State Department said yesterday that it would raise application fees for tourist, business and student visas by 31 percent, from $100 to $131, and for immigrant visas by 6 percent, from $335 to $355.

The only foreign visitors unaffected by the increases will be citizens of 27 mainly European countries that are part of a waiver program and who do not require U.S. visas unless they want to stay longer than 90 days at a time.

- AP

Elsewhere:

NASA yesterday delayed

the launch of the shuttle Atlantis until Jan. 10 to give workers time off at Christmas, after back-to-back delays caused by errant fuel gauges.

A new $5 bill

, with splashes of color surrounding Abraham Lincoln and other high-tech changes that are designed to make counterfeiting more difficult, will go into circulation March 13, the government said yesterday.

Former Panamanian dictator

Manuel Noriega will get a new hearing on France's request to extradite him on money-laundering charges, a federal judge in Miami decided yesterday. Noriega, 73, has finished a U.S. drug-racketeering sentence but remains in federal custody.