Britain won't charge hacker

LONDON - British authorities opted Friday not to charge a computer hacker who waged a decadelong struggle to avoid trial in the United States for breaking into military computers.

Gary McKinnon, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, was accused of one of the largest-ever breaches of military networks, carried out soon after the 9/11 attacks. U.S. officials have said McKinnon's hacking shut down the U.S. Army district responsible for protecting Washington, and caused about $900,000 worth of damage.

McKinnon, 46, claims he was scouring sensitive U.S. computer networks in an attempt to uncover concealed evidence of extraterrestrial life. British prosecutors said Friday the appropriate place for trial would have been the United States, and they were recommending that police take no further action. That means no further charges will be leveled.

McKinnon's attorney, Karen Todner, said Friday that she was disappointed by the British decision, because it meant the extradition warrant against her client was still outstanding. She said McKinnon had been willing to plead guilty to charges in Britain. - AP

Russians back retaliatory bill

MOSCOW - Russian legislators have given initial approval to a bill that would impose sanctions on Americans accused of human-rights violations.

The measure, whose first reading in the lower house of parliament passed by a vote of 431-2, is a response to an American bill that President Obama signed into law later Friday. The U.S. measure opens new export opportunities for Americans wanting to do business in Russia. But one section would punish Russian officials accused of human-rights violations.

The Russian bill does not specify what criteria would be used to assess human-rights violations, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said targets could include people who abuse adopted Russian children and people responsible for the creation of secret prisons. - AP

Dog honks horn for rescue

LONDON, Ontario - A dog trapped with other pets in a truck for several days alerted police in Canada by honking the horn.

Police said Friday that the muzzled dog - along with two other dogs and two cats - had been left in deplorable conditions without proper care in the parked truck. The discovery came a week after someone complained to the London Humane Society in Ontario about three dogs exposed to unsanitary conditions in a home.

The police statement said the residents left with the dogs, likely to avoid Humane Society officers. Donna Hebert and Allan Folkins-Wyre were charged Thursday with several counts of cruelty to animals. The animals have been taken in by the Humane Society. - AP